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Southern African Journal of Critical Care (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2078-676X
Print version ISSN 1562-8264


BRONKHORST, E; SCHELLACK, N; GOUS, A G S  and  PRETORIUS, J P. The need for pharmaceutical care in an intensive care unit at a teaching hospital in South Africa. South. Afr. j. crit. care (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.30, n.2, pp.41-44. ISSN 2078-676X.

BACKGROUND: The role of the pharmacist has evolved over the last 2 decades beyond traditional functions such as stock control and dispensing. OBJETIVES: To describe the functions performed by a clinical pharmacist while based in a surgical and trauma intensive care unit of a teaching hospital. METHODS: An operational research study that included indications of programme success was conducted. Interventions to assess therapy and achieve definite outcomes to satisfy patients' medicine needs were documented for 51 patients over a study period of 8 weeks. RESULTS: A total of 181 interventions were suggested by the pharmacist, with 127 (70%) accepted and implemented by the medical and nursing staff of the unit. The most frequent interventions were related to: untreated medical conditions (15.5%), appropriate therapy or course (13.8%), investigations indicated or outstanding (12.2%), and inappropriate doses and dosing frequency (11%). Interventions were also made regularly to address system errors or non-compliance and factors hindering therapeutic effect. Of the 250 h the pharmacist spent in the ward, most time was used for pharmaceutical care (28%) and ward rounds (21%) with members of the multidisciplinary team. CONCLUSIONS: The study results demonstrated that a clinical pharmacist's contribution to patient care at ward level resulted in improved monitoring of pharmacotherapy. Medicine-related problems were identified and addressed.

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