Treating Self and Family Members

POLICY

Approved: June 2014

Additional References

College Contact: Pharmacy Practice


Introduction

Providing health care to self and/or closely related family members is generally considered to be inappropriate and a conflict of interest. Treatment in these circumstances could potentially compromise a member’s ability to be objective and unbiased in the exercise of his or her professional judgment. In addition to these reservations are concerns that a related person may not feel free to disclose personal information which could have an impact on treatment, a member may not maintain patient confidentiality when treating a related person, and/or, a dual relationship may pose a potential risk of billing fraud.(1) Further, in the event of an error, a family member may be hesitant to exercise his or her right to pursue a complaint.

Regulatory colleges are best equipped to determine standards of practice for respective members, including whether or not to permit a member to provide routine care to his or her self and/or other closely related family


Definitions

Family Member

For the purpose of this policy, a family member means a closely related person including the member’s spouse, child, sibling, parent or grandparent, and the spouse’s parents and siblings.

Minor condition

A minor condition is one that, in the member’s professional judgment, is not urgent or serious and that does not require a physician’s intervention.

Emergency

An emergency exists where an individual is apparently experiencing severe suffering or is at risk of sustaining serious bodily harm without immediate care.

Professional Boundary

There is no single all-encompassing definition of what constitutes a professional boundary. Boundaries are based on trust, respect and the appropriate use of power.


Policy

A member will not provide routine pharmaceutical care to his or her self and/or family members, except incidentally in the case of a minor condition, in an emergency circumstance, or when another appropriate health professional is not readily available.

In determining whether to provide care, the member should consider what a reasonable or prudent practitioner might do in similar circumstances. In those instances where the member decides that it is appropriate to provide care, the member will document the reasons for providing care in addition to the routine documentation and record-keeping associated with delivering pharmaceutical care. If possible, care should be transferred to another pharmacist as soon as it practical/possible.


Footnote:

  1. Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (2012); The Spousal Patient. P. 15