Working with a particularly vulnerable population has given Tejal Patel, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Waterloo School of Pharmacy, a keen appreciation for how precious life is. Passionate about her patients, her practice and teaching, Patel has established herself as a pre-eminent pharmacist, clinician, educator and researcher in the specialty area of neurology.
Patel joined the Memory Clinic at the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team (CFFM FHT) in 2009 as part of a multi-disciplinary primary care team focused on patients with cognitive impairment. Her skillful provision of care — reviewing medications, assessing patient and caregiver capabilities, determining drug-related problems and performing cognitive testing — have helped countless patients with Alzheimer’s disease stay in their own homes longer.
Our Memory Clinic is very unique," she explains "in that it is a specialty care clinic borne out of a need to bring interprofessional care to primary care, where many individuals with cognitive impairment need access to various health professionals for various reasons.
The incredible success of the Memory Clinic has been noted, and Patel has been actively involved in training pharmacists at 80 additional sites across the province, mostly in primary care clinics. Keenly interested in sharing her knowledge and expertise, Tejal continues to act as a resource for questions related to pharmacotherapy, process, documentation and communication. She says
It is imperative that we continue to train the next generation of pharmacists to provide meaningful care.
Patel holds a BScPharm and PharmD from the University of Kentucky and completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Neurology/Pharmacokinetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her work with CFFM FHT, she is an assistant clinical professor with the School of Pharmacy, part of the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo, and in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University.
What is the most important thing pharmacists can do for their patients?
The most important thing we can do is to be advocates for our patients — advocates for the choice of the right drugs for the right duration of time for the right outcomes.
Through our long-term relationships with our patients, especially in the community, we know them better than we give ourselves credit for, and it is important that we use that relationship to advocate for the care they want and need.
From the Canadian Pharmacists Association