UM SRH Pharmacist Resumes Medication Assistance Consults at Regional Senior Centers
After a long hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health's Transitions Pharmacist, Melanie Chapple, PharmD, has returned to the Cambridge Senior Center to provide medication management assistance to local seniors. A recent session drew more than 40 seniors in attendance -- more than double the number that Chapple was used to seeing during previous visits.
Through a program initiated by UM Shore Regional Health's Population Health Department in early 2020, Chapple began visiting nine senior centers throughout Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot counties once a month to meet with seniors who needed help with their medications. The program was very successful until in-person events at the centers were suspended due to COVID-19. Chapple has resumed her visits to senior centers in all counties except for Queen Anne's, where she hopes to return soon; in the meantime, she is providing consults for those seniors via telehealth.
"Medication can be a real source of confusion for seniors," Chapple said. "And there can be adverse effects from not taking medications correctly. Problems stemming from medication misuse are often a factor when seniors need to be admitted to the hospital."
Chapple also helps seniors overcome possible barriers to medication, for example, helping them sign up for automatic refills, assisting with paperwork for drug assistance programs, and reviewing their Medicare Part D coverage.
"Unfortunately, the Hurlock Senior Center has not reopened, but bus transportation was provided to the Cambridge center for seniors who previously went to Hurlock," Chapple said. "A good number of my Hurlock seniors came on the bus, and I almost cried because Beulah Jackson, who had turned 100 years old when I was last in Hurlock, was among them!"
While at the center, Chapple gave a talk on blood pressure and medications, and had seven new medication consults with local seniors in attendance. She also helped judge the Center's Easter bonnet contest.