The Canadian Council of the Blind, GTT is re-posting this information on behalf of Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers (ASIC). If you have any questions or comments please direct them to Rob Sleath at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wal-Mart pharmacies in BC now offering accessible prescription medication information
In addition to the eight pharmacy chains (listed below) which currently offer accessible prescription medication information (APMI), Wal-Mart Canada is now offering this service at no charge to its pharmacy customers in British Columbia effective February 2017. Wal-Mart pharmacies in BC join a growing number of pharmacy chains offering APMI at no additional cost to the consumer. These pharmacies include:
* Bulkley Valley Wholesale
* Coopers Foods
* London Drugs
* Overwaitea Foods
* Peoples Drug Mart
* PriceSmart Foods
* Save-On Foods
* Urban Fare
These pharmacies provide prescription information through an audio label affixed to the prescription bottle. Accessing the audio information is as simple as placing the prescription bottle atop a ScripTalk Reader and pressing a single button. The Reader will then announce the critical prescription information that your pharmacist has encoded into an RFID label, which will include:
• Patient’s name
• Name and strength of medication
• Dosage instructions
• Prescribing doctor’s name
• Refills remaining
• Dispensing date
• Prescription number
• Dispensing pharmacy name and telephone number
• Potential side effects and warnings
Readers can be acquired by contacting En-Vision America directly at 800-890-1180. They will ship one directly to your home at no cost provided you have a prescription pending and/or an established patient profile at one of the participating pharmacies listed above.
Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers is pleased that British Columbians who are blind or sight-impaired have several different choices when it comes to fulfilling their prescription needs with APMI. We intend to maintain close relationships with senior management from each of these participating pharmacy chains in order to work on further expanding these choices. We would appreciate receiving feedback regarding your experience with any of the pharmacies who provide APMI so that we can assist in ensuring consumers receive efficient and effective service.
Helpful Tips Regarding APMI Service
We offer the following tips for those interested in acquiring the APMI service:
1. For those who already obtain prescriptions from any participating pharmacy and wish to have all future prescriptions dispensed with APMI, contact En-Vision America today at 800 890-1180 and request they send you a ScripTalk Reader.
Delivery time takes approximately seven business days so requesting the Reader today will ensure you have the device when you next fill your prescription.
2. Ask your pharmacist to update your “Patient Profile” to indicate an encoded RFID label is required on all future prescriptions. This should eliminate the need for you to ask for it each time you present a new prescription or request a refill of an existing prescription.
3. Wherever possible, and before you conclude your appointment, ask your prescribing doctor to fax your new prescription to your pharmacy. Many pharmacies offering APMI require up to 48 hours turnaround time to dispense medications with APMI. Having your prescribing doctor fax the prescription in advance will save you a second trip to the pharmacy. And, when you pick up your medication, ask the pharmacist what turnaround time is required to encode the label as some pharmacy outlets are equipped to produce APMI labels in-store.
4. Also ask your prescribing doctor to add “requires accessible audio label” to your prescriptions. This will serve as a backup to ensure the pharmacist does not overlook this important requirement.
What You can Expect from Wal-Mart Pharmacies Wal-Mart Canada has committed to providing APMI service, with the following features, through its BC pharmacy outlets:
1. The prescription medication information to be contained in the auditory label is currently the default information programmed within the ScripTalk technology. This includes: patient name, name and strength of the medication, dosage, quantity, prescription date, use by date, refills remaining (if any), prescriber, name/telephone number of dispensing pharmacy, prescription number and warnings.
2. Patients or their personal representatives (with appropriate consent) may request ScripTalk encoded prescriptions in person at a Wal-Mart pharmacy or, in the case of an authorized prescriptions refill, by telephone call to a Wal-Mart pharmacy.
3. Physicians or other legally authorized health care professionals may request ScripTalk encoded prescriptions by telephone, electronically or by other authorized method when submitting a prescription to a Wal-Mart pharmacy.
4. If a ScripTalk encoded prescription request is submitted to a Wal-Mart BC pharmacy, Wal-Mart will make every effort to have the ScripTalk encoded prescription ready for patient pick-up within 48 hours from the time the ScripTalk encoded prescription request was submitted.
Wal-Mart will contact the patient to confirm that the ScripTalk encoded prescription is available for pick-up.
5. At the professional discretion of the Wal-Mart pharmacist, a 48- to 72-hour interim supply of the prescription medication will be dispensed to the patient and, if requested, the Wal-Mart pharmacy will take reasonable steps to mark the prescription container for easier identification by the patient. If the Wal-Mart pharmacist exercises his/her professional discretion against providing an interim supply, the patient will be entitled to choose either to fill the entire prescription at that time in the regular manner or to have the entire prescription filled as a ScripTalk prescription.
6. If a patient wishes to have a ScripTalk prescription delivered to his/her home, delivery will be free of charge for those Wal-Mart BC pharmacies that provide delivery service (currently, Penticton, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey West, Langley) and for the remaining Wal-Mart BC pharmacies if the patient lives within 10 km of the pharmacy. Otherwise, delivery charges will be borne by the patient. The provision of free delivery service for the remaining Wal-Mart BC pharmacies within 10 km of the patient’s home does not apply to prescription refills.
One of the many goals for Access for
Sight-Impaired Consumers is to expand sources where British Columbians who are blind or sight-impaired can acquire accessible prescription medication information. APMI enables those affected by significant sight loss to independently manage their medical prescriptions safely, confidently and independently. Please take a moment and share your APMI experience with us by emailing email@example.com so that we can work to further improve the service offered by participating pharmacies.
The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness
A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”.
That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis.
Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”!
In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive.
With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence.
Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences.
With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel.
During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required.
I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period.
In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be.
Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service.
Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring.
Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB.
For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.
View all posts by Albert Ruel
2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Wal-Mart pharmacies in BC now offering accessible prescription medication information, Re-posted for Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers (ASIC)”
Albert: Actually, my Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist does not sound all that enthusiastic about this. And, my feeling is that I already know almost of what this would tell me if I had it. Besides, if I donât know something, I call the pharmacist. Sometimes, I think that the more high-tech we want to go, the less direct human contact we will have! Also, as it is now, I âhave to rememberâ this kind of information – I have to keep using my âlittle gray cellsâ to keep mentally limber. If I start doing everything with technology, I may forget how to do it – if that technology ever fails me. You know, we old farts have to keep on our toes! Yeah, I know that does not apply to you. Cheers until Saturday. Boy am I glad itâs goind to be very cold on that day. I wonât mind staying in! Jim P.S.: âNot every learning curve must be attempted!â – Jim Hamilton
Jim, I have trialed this device and demonstrated it to the CCB BC-Yukon Division AGM and Conference last April. It works very well and provides great and detailed information on the drug, the prescribing Doctor and the dosage instructions. All of it is available whether the Pharmacy is open or not, and it remains current and accurate whether or not we have the memory to store the information in our heads. Shopper’s in BC was ordered by the Human Rights Tribunal to make this available to their blind customers, and ASIC continues to advocate this service to other Pharmacies around the Province. For me, I won’t be using the service any time soon, but that’s only because I don’t take any drugs at this point in my life, and my memory is still intact. Tomorrow though is another day, and I’m glad this is an option going forward.
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