Long-term care pharmacies mainly provide medications and pharmaceutical services to the residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other similar settings. Their primary objective is to ensure that residents receive expeditious and appropriate medication management and healthcare support.
Travel vaccinations are typically not a primary service provided by pharmacies serving long-term care facilities. Travel clinics, primary care physicians, or specialized vaccination clinics administer travel vaccinations. These facilities are better suited to give international travelers various travel-related vaccinations and health information.
International travel continues to increase in prominence at an exponential rate. According to the World Tourism Organization, there were more than 900 million international visitors in 2022, twice as many as in 2021.
Numerous travelers fail to obtain a pre-travel health consultation; some even report travel-related illnesses such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and skin disorders. Also apparent is travel-related mortality, with an estimated one death per 100,000 travelers visiting a developing nation for one month.
There are significant consequences if patients need to adequately prepare for international travel, as demonstrated by these statistics. Consequently, there is a compelling need for increased access to preventive health services, such as routine and travel vaccinations. Not only are pharmacists and pharmacies readily accessible to the public in the United States, but they are also apparent as a source of travel immunization services.
Before travel, pharmacists must consult with patients and evaluate the following three objectives:
- Assess the client’s suitability for travel based on their medical history and knowledge of the travel’s purpose and nature.
- Analyze the potential and anticipated health hazards.
- Translate the findings into patient-, destination-, and itinerary-specific precautionary measures counseling. Infectious and noninfectious hazards must also be taken into account.
The assessment described above should include an evaluation of the patient’s immunization history, with a particular emphasis on routine vaccinations. Because many vaccine-preventable diseases that are uncommon in the United States may still be prevalent in other countries, pharmacists must emphasize the significance of ensuring that all routine vaccinations are up-to-date before traveling.
Creating a preventive travel health kit with items the traveler may need or have difficulty locating at their destination is an additional counseling point for patients preparing to travel. Include prescription and over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, and a first aid kit. Depending on the destination, travelers may also wish to bring insect repellent and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or 30.
It is essential that pharmacists not only counsel their patients on health factors that may affect their travels but also suggest preventative measures that should be taken before travel.
Role of the Pharmacist
While the primary concentration of long-term care pharmacies is on serving residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, pharmacists in these settings may still play a role in providing travel vaccinations. Here is how a pharmacist in a pharmacy serving long-term care patients may be involved in offering travel vaccinations:
- Pharmacists can provide residents and their families with consultation and education regarding travel vaccinations, potential health risks associated with travel, and the significance of being up-to-date on vaccinations before traveling.
- Pharmacists can assess the vaccination needs of residents who intend to travel and make recommendations based on their travel destinations, itineraries, and medical histories. They can assist in determining which vaccinations are mandated or recommended for particular travel destinations.
- Sometimes, pharmacists in long-term care facilities may be authorized to administer specific vaccines. This may include routine or travel-related immunizations that fall within their scope of practice and are approved by the appropriate regulatory authorities.
- Pharmacists in long-term care settings can coordinate with primary care physicians, travel clinics, and other healthcare providers to ensure that residents receive the required travel vaccinations and meet their overall health requirements.
- Pharmacists can examine residents’ medication profiles to ensure no drug interactions between their current medications and the required travel vaccinations. They can also assist with adjusting medication regimens to accommodate travel arrangements if necessary.
- Pharmacists can keep accurate and current vaccination records for residents who receive travel vaccinations. This documentation is essential to residents’ medical history and may be required for travel documentation.
It is essential to note that a pharmacist’s level of involvement in providing travel vaccinations in a long-term care pharmacy setting may vary based on state regulations, pharmacy policies, and the pharmacist’s training and credentials. In certain instances, pharmacies in long-term care facilities may collaborate with external healthcare providers or clinics to ensure that residents receive the proper travel vaccinations.
Suppose you are considering obtaining travel vaccinations for a long-term care facility resident. In that case, you should consult with the facility’s healthcare team, including the pharmacist, to determine the best course of action and to prioritize the resident’s health and safety during travel preparations.
Getting immunized before your trip will help keep you and your family healthy and safe while traveling. Knowing that you are protected against diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and typhoid will give you peace of mind, allowing you to appreciate your time.
It is essential to receive vaccinations at least four to six weeks before travel. This will allow the vaccines to take effect and protect you while traveling.
Today, contact us to learn about the travel immunizations we provide and how we can prevent you from carrying back unwanted mementos.