The pandemic of COVID-19 has struck us in an unfortunate way. A lot of Canadians lost their loved ones and many of us dealt with issues we had never dealt with before. We have been seeing a rise in cases related to compromised mental and physical health. We are seeing businesses going down and most importantly, we have not been able to meet our friends and family.
Another thing that has been significantly impacted is people’s access to health care. For example, a lot of primary care clinics had to close indefinitely in the wake of the COVID-19 spread. However, to ensure continuity of care, this problem was circumvented by the incorporation of audio and video platforms for the provision of health care. Delivery of health care in this way is called virtual care and although in use for decades, has seen a burgeoning over the past few months. More and more people are switching to virtual care, as they find it easier and more accessible.
In Ontario, there are several platforms in use that are completely free for the patients. One of these platforms is Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) through which, you can have an appointment with your doctor over a video call, and it is fully covered for you by the government of Ontario. All you need for this is a computer/smart phone with a camera and an internet connection. However, in case that may be a limitation, some clinics are also providing free telephone consultations to existing and new patients.
People who have been affected the most by the reduced access to health care due to COVID-19 crisis are the ones who do not have a family physician and rely solely on walk-in clinics for their health care. This means that they may be at risk of poor health as continuity of care is disrupted. Pharmacists are playing an important role to help these people and ensure timely delivery of care to them. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, here at Guildview pharmacy, we called to follow up with a patient. The patient was unwell and reported symptoms of a urinary tract infection (frequent urination, burning on urinating, fever, and pain in her abdomen). After making an assessment, we referred her to a walk-in clinic for a phone consultation and recommended that she receives a certain antibiotic, keeping in mind her allergies. As a result, we received a prescription and dispensed the medication for her to make sure that she receives appropriate care.
At Guildview pharmacy, we try to stay in contact with all our patients through telephone follow-ups during this difficult COVID-19 crisis to ensure that they are in good health and are receiving the care they deserve.
Written By: Yumna K. Qureshi, RPh