Pharmacy Students Interact with Senior Population
Through the Hancock County Agency on Aging, pharmacy students at Findlay have the opportunity to interact with members of the senior population.
In 2010, the agency received a state-funded, three-year grant that focuses on fitness and wellness and includes four programs: medication therapy management (MTM), enhanced wellness, enhanced fitness and brain fitness. UF students and faculty are assisting the agency with providing the MTM activities associated with the grant.
“It’s great for the agency to have collaboration with the University and the College of Pharmacy,” said John Urbanski, director of the Agency on Aging. “Our hope is to develop a long-term plan of action where we provide medication therapy management to a wide variety of seniors.”
“The students love the interaction with the patients,” said Jayne Gibbs-Peseckis, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, who is coordinating the fifth-year pharmacy students involved in the project. Gibbs-Peseckis noted that students generally do not get this type of direct interaction experience until their sixth year, so this opportunity is an extra benefit to the students involved.
According to Urbanski, the seniors have some mixed reactions to the project. “Those who have participated have enjoyed it and appreciate the assistance … The biggest challenge is getting them to understand the value of it,” said Urbanski. “That’s why we continue to raise that awareness.”
Kari Angwin and Sarah Vandevender, pharmacy students who are involved with the project, commented that through the direct interaction, they have the opportunity to learn from the seniors what they expect from pharmacists. Both students hope that more students will get involved and continue to build connections with the community.
In a broad sense, MTM services provided by pharmacists can include medication therapy reviews, medication consults, anticoagulation management, immunizations, health and wellness programs and many other clinical services. Pharmacists provide MTM to help patients get the best benefits from their medications by actively managing their drug therapies and by identifying, preventing and resolving medication-related problems.
Students, with a supervising pharmacist faculty member, meet one-on-one with seniors to take their medical histories, review medications and provide education as needed. The UF faculty members and social workers at the center are working together to refer seniors in need for each others’ services. Social workers at the center can refer seniors to the MTM program when seniors express interest or when the social workers think the seniors are in need of that kind of support. The pharmacists and students, in turn, refer seniors for social service support. UF social work students also are present at the center and can freely interact with the UF pharmacy students. “It is a good example of interdisciplinary education, collaboration and care,” said Gibbs-Peseckis.
In addition to one-on-one meetings with seniors, each month, faculty and students participate in education presentations and health screenings. September’s program was an introduction to MTM. In October, the session focused on diabetes and included a blood sugar screening; November included hypertension education and blood pressure screening; and December’s program was about medication-food interactions and included blood pressure screening. During the spring semester, topics will focus on cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and more.