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PT Elevated l Pharmacy Information for Physical Therapists l Veronica Riera-Gilley

August 10, 2022 • Behavioral Health • Kory Zimney

Welcome back to a NEW season of PT Elevated where we are broadening our topics to include more researchers but still focusing on topics that you can use in your clinic every day. This season some of our speakers are guests who will be live in-person at the EIM Align Conference this August 26-28 in Dallas, Texas.

On our tenth episode of season 3, Veronica Riera-Gilley is a holistic pharmacist and owner of Prairie Fire Pharmacy Consulting and Functional Medicine Pharmacist with Pharm to Table. Her passion is to maximize health with minimal medication. She is Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist, Advanced Mind Body Medicine Practitioner, Certified Lifestyle Coach, and Adaptive Yoga Instructor who helps people embrace healthy living, aging, and dying.

In 2004 Veronica earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 2004. Her journey into pharmacy began with the death of a close family friend. The family friend suffered a traumatic brain injury and was then put on a long list of medications. The side effects of the medication were not tolerable for her. She spoke to her physician and said she could not continue like this and was told that this was her new normal and to deal with it. She was given no guidance and continued the medication and shortly after she died of suicide. Veronica became a pharmacist because she wanted to be the healthcare professional that this family friend really needed, someone that could be the voice of reason and say that there are always other options, other ways to do things. That there are safer ways of using medications than others. Sometimes the answer is more medication and sometimes it is no medication at all. That is why Veronica is a pharmacist she wants to be that health care provider for patients who are sick and tired of being sick and tired and want to find a way outside of the pill box.

In this episode they expand on what holistic healthcare is and what being a holistic pharmacist is, medication, when it is necessary and when it isn’t, how clinicians can benefit from utilizing a pharmacist and more!

Here are some of the highlights:
Holistic healthcare looks at the whole person and we treat not just the symptoms but the root cause of the problem. Functional medicine is that framework to ask that question of why are you having this symptom? Conventional medicine has often prescribed in medication a pill for every ill.  Functional medicine says why are you having this symptom and what is the root cause? How are we going to treat that? It is not always something that comes back to a nutrition deficiency or some other physiologic thing going on in the body. Sometimes it is a emotional or spiritual. The holistic approach to health care is looking at the whole person not only at their physiologic needs but their spiritual and emotional needs as well and giving credit to all of it.

When Veronica was in pharmacy school, she was taught that Lifestyle and nutrition is the core of health. When lifestyle and nutrition failed, they were told to use medication. She gets excited when a patient comes in with an ailment that requires them to be on a long-term medication. Veronica says we need to be having the deep prescribing conversations with our patients, this is the planed and supervised process of discontinuing or reducing dosages. She says we should be having these conversations with our patients because most of these medications are band aids and not cures. They are buying us time to make those lifestyle changes are bodies are asking us to make.

Poly pharmacy is using multiple medications at once. The greater the medications you use at once the greater the likelihood of having medication related harm or drug interactions. Veronica says she thinks It is important that we find ways for patients to reduce their medication burden for their long term safety. Food as Medicine and Functional Medicine gave her more tools in her toolbox to help her guide her patients on how to reduce her medicine needs and improve their health without reaching for more pills. Listen and learn how Veronica works with patients to reduce medications they are on.

Veronica’s Clinical Pearl for Physical Therapist working with Pharmacist–
“I want to give a shout out to all our physical therapists and occupational therapists. I think that you are some of the professionals with the best skills to help our patients with gaining the skills that they need to reduce their medication needs. Learning how to move their bodies more efficiently and how to improve their cardiac health and manage their pain are all skills that you have to offer our patients and help them navigate life with a lower medication burden. So thank you for having a different skillset to bring to our patients that they really need to be able to have maximum health with minimum medication.”

Helpful research and training:
EIM Lifestyle Nutrition Course
Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine Course
Lifestyle Medicine and Emotional Health
Certification in Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle Medicine Certificate: Real World Application with Jessica Baker
Take 5! Reasons to Add Lifestyle Medicine to Your Practice

Ad Info: We are excited to be back in person and back to hands-on learning for the 2022 Align Conference. This year you can join an all-star lineup of speakers in Dallas, Texas, August 26 through the 28. The labs and lectures focus on sharpening the physical, hands-on treatments essential to patient care. Save 5% on registration as a PT Elevated Podcast listener. Visit and use the promo code PTELEVATED at checkout.  You can find
the promo code and a link to the website in the show notes. We can’t wait to see you!

Connect with us on socials:
@ZimneyKJ on Twitter
@PMintkenDPT on Twitter
Veronica Riera-Gilley, LinkedIn
Prairie Fire Pharmacy Consulting
Prairie Fire Pharmacy Consulting
Align Conference 2022, Website

Kory Zimney

Kory received a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of North Dakota in 1994. He completed his transitional DPT from Des Moines University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2020. His dissertation focused on the construct of trust as part of the therapeutic alliance and its relation...

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