Quality of Care

Medical Emergencies

Patients in medical cannabis dispensaries suffer from a variety of medical conditions and symptoms. Unless you are specifically trained, licensed, insured, and authorized by your employer to do so, you should never attempt to provide physical or mental health care or counseling services to members. Doing so may result in liability for you or the organization. Coordinate with your employer to deter- mine what health care resources are available in the community, including hospitals, clinics, counseling, crisis intervention, substance abuse prevention services, etc.

Staff should be ready to respond to a patient who has a medical emergency or may need profession- al help. In general, you should call an ambulance if a patient:

  • Suffers a seizure or heart attack
  • Falls down or is injured to a degree that requires medical attention
  • Loses consciousness or faints
  • Becomes suddenly disoriented, confused, or unresponsive
  • Asks for emergency medical care

You should only provide First Aid, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or use a defibrillator if you are trained and authorized to do so.

You should locate any First Aid supplies in the dispensary or cultivation center before there is an emergency. You should also locate your facilities "spill kit," a collection of supplies designed to safely handle bodily fluids in the workplace. Always use the spill kit to clean up blood, urine, mucus, or any other bodily fluid you encounter. A spill kit may contain sanity sanitary gloves, disposable towels, spill containment/disposal bags, cleaning supplies, etc.

If you have received special training in blood-borne pathogens (HIV, hepatitis, etc.), carefully follow your training if you encounter blood in the workplace. The chance of infection from a workplace spill is low, and following proper procedures makes infection even less likely. If you are not trained in blood-borne pathogens, secure the area containing blood and notify a Supervisor immediately.

Working With Patients Effectively

When working with patients on a daily basis, we can forget that these are people with illnesses and ailments, both physical and mental. Patients are coming to your facility because they need relief from their pain or other symptom. They can seem agitated or upset.

Things to consider when helping patients:

  • How might this illness be affecting this person physically?
  • How might those physical symptoms affect this person mentally? o How might their condition affect them socially?
  • How can I be respectful of this?

Remember, dispensing medical cannabis is a social and health service and should be patient focused. Employees at your dispensary should keep in mind the following "Patient's Rights":

  • Treated with dignity and respect
  • Privacy through confidentiality
  • Participate as a partner
  • Culturally sensitive environment
  • Equitable share of social resources
  • View challenges from their own perspective
  • Negotiate the distribution of roles with caregivers and dispensary workers
  • Collaborate in dispensary process
  • Help understand time frames and know costs involved

Positive patient interaction and rapport building are essential components to a pleasant experience for your patients. Points to keep in mind while interacting with patients:

  • First things a patients says are often most significant
  • Start where the patient is
  • Don't reveal too much about yourself and your personal experiences
  • Purpose of the interaction is to hear the patient's story in their own words
  • Don't judge their experiences against your own
  • Skills needed to form genuine partnerships with your patients:
  • Genuineness: Be real with your patients
  • Acceptance and Respect: Regard patients are partners. Have a positive view of human kind Names and Respect: What would your patient liked to be called?
  • Trustworthiness: Show that you can be trusted with sensitive information
  • Empathy: Showing the patient you understand what they are saying and feeling
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Discuss cultural differences instead of ignoring them

Strive to have positive interactions with patients! Interactions with patients can be both verbal and non-verbal. Pay attention to your own and your patient's non-verbal cues. Some might be unintentional but they can convey a lot.

The Medical Cannabis Patient's Bill of Rights

The Medical Cannabis Patients' Bill of Rights is designed to outline the basic rights of individuals who use cannabis pursuant to a recommendation from a physician to control symptoms of a serious or chronic medical condition. These rights can help those who provide medical cannabis to patients to ensure that they are upholding the highest possible standards.

Respect and Nondiscrimination: You have a right to considerate, respectful and nondiscriminatory care from your physician, designated caregiver(s), and dispensary.

Access to Physicians: You have the right to see a physician, discuss the use of cannabis as a medical treatment, and expect that your physician is in compliance with established standards of practice to ensure the validity of your recommendation.

Confidentiality of Health Information: You have the right to talk in confidence with providers and to have your health care information protected under the law.

Information Disclosure: You have the right to accurate and easily understood information about the local, state and federal laws and regulations.

Self-Sufficiency: You have the right to produce your own medicine if you are willing and able to do so. If a caregiver(s) produces cannabis for you, then you have the right to claim, move, or inspect those plants.

Quality Control: You have the right to cannabis and cannabis products that are free of mold, mildew, pesticide, adulterants, and pests. Moreover, you have the right to know how your cannabis was produced.

Choice of Providers: You have the right to a choice of dispensaries sufficient enough to give you safe access to a variety of quality cannabis and non-smoking alternatives.

Safety: You have the right to obtain your medication in a safe environment, which includes but is not limited to adequate security, health and safety protocols, and legal business practices.

Input: You have the right to make a complaint at your dispensary, without the fear of losing access. This includes complaints about waiting times, operating hours, the conduct of personnel, and the adequacy of the facilities.

Accuracy: You have the right to medication that has been labeled and weighed accurately. No dispensary should deliberately mislead a patient about the quantity or variety of medication being provided.

Fair Price: You have the right to pay a fair and reasonable price for your cannabis or cannabis-based products.

Representation: You have the right to weigh in on laws and regulations that affect your life.