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Caregivers play a crucial role in providing unpaid care to a loved one with a physical, cognitive or mental health condition. Canada’s 8.1 million caregivers know these duties are both a rewarding and challenging experience that requires careful coordination with multiple entities, from health care professionals to family members.

Teva Canada, part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., recognizes this and is responding. It has launched numerous initiatives to provide support and resources to caregivers while raising awareness and understanding around the important role for pharmacists in caregiver self-care and empowerment.

“Too often caregivers go unnoticed as they move through the healthcare system,” says David Boughner, Senior Director Commercial Management at Teva Canada. “They play such an important role in advocating, mediating and coordinating as they interact with health care professionals. One of those critical professional touch points is the pharmacist and the pharmacy team.”

That relationship is an essential cornerstone of the caregiving journey. Teva Canada’s research found that 83 per cent of caregivers pick up medication for a loved one and that 78 per cent say the pharmacist is important in making them feel competent and confident in managing medication for the care recipient.

Recognizing the importance of the caregiver-pharmacist connection, Teva Canada collaborated with the Canadian Caregiver Network (CCN) and its digital support solution for caregivers – Huddol – a web and mobile app that connects caregivers into a collaborative network to share and connect with peers.  The combination of these efforts led to the development of the Caregiver Friendly Pharmacy program which includes accredited training for pharmacy teams and online resources that are further supported with a mapping tool that helps caregivers find a pharmacy in their local area that specializes in their needs at TevaCaregivers.com.

Participants in the Teva Huddol CFP Outcomes Report stated they experienced negative consequences as caregivers, including an impact on their social life (62 per cent) and family life (56 per cent). The potential toll of caregiving was also confirmed in the Canadian Carers Pulse Survey. Respondents said caregiving has taken a toll on their emotional health (69 per cent), while over half said it affected their physical health.

The data highlights the need for the Caregiver Friendly Pharmacy program and its host of online resources accessed through TevaCaregivers.com. It includes printable downloads, like My Pharmacy Checklist, an easy-to-use check list outlining health conditions and treatments of the person being cared for; and Tracking My Support Network – handy for keeping relevant contacts, including nurses, family members and physicians in one place to be shared with pharmacists.

The site also offers the My Caregiver Handbook for tips that will help navigate the healthcare system more easily and efficiently, a listing of provincial and federal support organizations and a template for a power of attorney. There’s also a specialized guide for caring for someone with multiple sclerosis.

In addition, the Caregiver Self-Assessment is an essential tool, given the prevalence of burnout and fatigue among caregivers. It’s a concise list of key questions that can be used to flag the possible signs of physical and emotional distress.

As Christine Poulin, General Manager with Teva Canada points out: “We know from research that despite playing a vital role in providing healthcare support, 90 per cent of Canadians say the Canadian healthcare system would suffer if caregivers were not taking such an active role. We also understand the scope of responsibilities that rest on caregivers and, with advances like the Caregiver Friendly Pharmacy program, are committed to providing the information and support they need in partnership with the pharmacy team.”

Presented by Teva Canada.