Collaboration among healthcare professionals between disciplines is becoming a focus of many medical educational institutions. The implementation of interprofessional programs require a multifaceted system of faculty coordinators and training, standardized assessments, clinical training sites, and administrative support. Nevertheless interprofessional education remains an essential component of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for improving health care education.1 As the role of pharmacist expands to different areas of healthcare it is important to ensure that pharmacy students are equipped with the tools to practice in diverse settings in order to collaborate with an array of other healthcare professionals for the purpose of providing top level patient care. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education includes interprofessional teamwork activities among it curriculum requirements in order facilitate safe practices in patient care. Curricula requirements are achieved through classroom based lectures, small group case discussion and simulations, practice site based experiences, and web based coursework and interactions.2 Interprofessional collaboration serves many functions for patient care and this paper will focus on patient care in the context of patients with disabilities.
Many factors of patient care for the average individual can become compromised in the setting of disability. Basic barriers can include communication with individuals who are not able to hear or speak, weighing individuals who are not able to step onto a scale, or moving patients who are not able to ambulate on their own. Other barriers than can affect effective patient care include the set up of the hospital or clinic area in order to make ...
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...ided to them. This disparity could be linked directly to the lack of education and knowledge of this patient population despite the inclusion of cultural competency within the pharmacy and medical curricula. The range of disability spans from physical, to cognitive, to developmental and these categories can be further stratified into those who were born with these disabilities versus those who developed them over time.6
Understanding the culture of disability allows for better patient care and pharmacists are in the perfect position in the community to bridge the gap in care between patients with special needs and the doctors who provide care for them. By recognising the culture of disability educators in health care institutions can expand the curriculum to include one of the most diverse patient populations and therefore help to advocate for their improved care.
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