Picking up prescriptions is a regular part of Phil Caul’s life.

“I’ve got vasculitis, lymphedema, arthritis and I’m dealing with depression and anxiety, as well,” he says.

Caul is closely monitored by several specialists and sees his family doctor on a monthly basis. His pharmacist, Jamie Flynn, is also a big piece of the puzzle.

Flynn says he has many patients like Caul who live with chronic disease.

“Arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, mental health conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are all some of the common chronic diseases,” says Flynn.

Flynn says pharmacists can play an important role in chronic disease management.

If we see patients on a regular basis, we can do medication reviews to go over our patients’ medications and then see if they are getting the best use of the medications. Are they taking the best medications, are they taking them at the right time, are they taking too many medications or should something be added,” says Flynn.

With diabetes, Flynn says a pharmacist can help teach patients how to administer insulin injections and about blood sugar monitoring.

“To help the patient with a new blood sugar monitor with the test strips, with the lancets, how do you use that device, what to look out for, what results we’re looking for, what’s good, what’s bad, when to test,” says Flynn.

According to Flynn, the pharmacy can be an especially valuable tool for monitoring those with high blood pressure.

“We want to see what a person’s blood pressure is, what their baseline is, how far is that from normal,” says Flynn. “It also depends on the patient’s age and other conditions in terms of what we want a target blood pressure to be for that patient.”

For Caul, Flynn suggested some lifestyle changes and reviewed his medications. Caul says it’s knowledge – and a relationship – he values.

“The best thing I found is if I’m educated about medications, about my own body and that, then I deal with it better,” says Caul.

“It’s going to be something that they’re going to have for a long period of time and we want them to manage that as best they can so they can do all the things they want to do and feel as healthy as they can,” adds Flynn.