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Senior Care Pharmacists


The title of pharmacist can be traced to ancient Greece. During the time of Aristotle, those who compounded drugs were called pharmakons. The word has changed little from its original form and still means approximately the same thing: one who compounds drugs, medicines, or poisons.

Pharmacy as a profession grew slowly in the United States. It is said that one of our earliest pharmacists was Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He learned to compound drugs because there were no other sources in the colony for obtaining medicines. The first school established to teach pharmacy in this country was the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, founded in 1822. It is still in operation today as a college of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

In 1906, the Federal Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was created in 1931. This agency must approve any pharmaceutical before it can be offered for sale in the United States. The field of pharmacy continued to grow, but it was only later in the 20th century that geriatric pharmacy came into existence as a profession. By the 1950s, some pharmacists had begun to focus on providing pharmacy services to nursing homes. Government health official George Archambault, now known as the founding father of this profession, coined the term "consultant pharmacist" to refer to the pharmacists working (that is, consulting) with nursing homes.

Today, senior care pharmacists, as the consultant pharmacists became known, still provide pharmacy services to nursing facilities. In addition, senior care pharmacists may provide services for elderly people in other environments, such as assisted living facilities, hospices, and home-based care programs. Because our country has a large and growing senior population, the skills and expertise of senior care pharmacists should be increasingly in demand.

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