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Medical Arts: Community pharmacy with a “difference”

Stepping through the doors at Medical Arts – the locally owned, two-location pharmacy launched in the 1950s – one immediately notices a difference. It’s the pharmacists. They’re up front and at eye level without having to walk through aisles of groceries, gift items, greeting cards or cosmetics.

“That’s because our focus is entirely healthcare,”
says pharmacist Harry Haramis, as he begins to explain differences “unseen” by the naked eye.

Broadly, Medical Arts has two healthcare business units: The community pharmacy team (what you see when you walk in through the door) and the nursing home team, which you never see because it’s active in a private workspace dedicated to serving 18 personal care residences.

“Personal care residence” refers to the many kinds of facilities Medical Arts serves: Long-term and complex care – such as St. Joseph’s on York – as well as retirement homes and Cornwall Hospice. Medical Arts specializes in all these, supporting nursing teams and residents in Maxville, Cornwall and Akwesasne. But the pharmacists also make house calls for people who need help in their private homes.

In total, Medical Arts serves hundreds of customers daily. No wonder the pharmacy employs more than 50 people, including six fulltime pharmacists, some of whom are also certified geriatric specialists, diabetes educators and menopause consultants.

The Medical Arts “difference” becomes even more tangible after touring the compounding lab and the sterile intravenous preparation lab, the latter that can reduce the burden on the hospital’s ER by keeping people “out” of the hospital.

“Imagine how stressful it would be to transport a frail, elderly person from their long-term care bed, by ambulance, when what they need is IV hydration or an IV antibiotic, says pharmacist Josée Lemay. “We’re on duty 24/7/365, and because we live locally, we can attend a life-threatening crisis very quickly.”

It’s a fascinating tour, but to wrap it up, pharmacist Suzie Pilon talks about the team: People are aware of pharmacists’ expanded scope of practice, which includes everything from prescribing to administering vaccines. But our pharmacists would not be able to fully embrace these responsibilities if it weren’t for the registered technicians who are accountable for much of the work pharmacists used to do.

Medical Arts is also the only pharmacy from Brockville to Valleyfield that serves the needs of hundreds of people in SDG who live with ostomies, and the first to launch a bilingual ecommerce website: ostomyboutique.ca.