Ronna Hauser, PharmD, senior vice president for pharmaceutical policy and affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), and Bri Morris, PharmD, Senior Director of Education and the NCPA’s Long-Term Care Division, discuss long-term care facilities and how they can impact this patient population.
Q: What is the NCPA Senior Care Summit?
Ronna Hauser: The NCPS Aged Care Summit is an exciting programming track, focused on the NCPA’s long-term care division. The NCPA Long-Term Care Division is a strong group of independent pharmacies who provide long-term care services to patients in need in their communities, and we tailor educational programs to their needs. This year we have several different offers for our members in the Long Term Care Division. A Summit session focuses on the good, the bad and the ugly of long-term care. So what will happen in the coming months and years that our long-term care pharmacists should be aware of.
We have a session that focuses on home medical pharmacy services, players, payers, gambling, so we’ll dig deeper into how these services are currently delivered. Then also future opportunities and how to get paid for home medical services in pharmacy. Then, as part of our summit, we also have a special session, it’s an exchange of ideas that long-term care pharmacists can participate in and do a lot of networking with their peers.
Q: How can pharmacists overcome staffing challenges in long-term care facilities?
Ronna Hauser: As we all know, the pandemic has truly impacted everyone in our country, but long-term care facilities in particular have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Our members have been able to really rally together and help long-term care facilities in this time of need. They provided vaccines to residents of the facilities. They provided additional care that went above and beyond to try to address some of the staffing shortages seen at the facilities. The way they can do that, again, is obviously to provide the specialized packaging, obviously to have their consultant pharmacists play a bigger role in patient care in the facilities. And again, as I mentioned, just generally looking after immunization needs at all levels that were perhaps provided by different providers for facilities. Again, we believe there are long-term opportunities for our members to continue providing services such as vaccination at their facilities in the future.
Q: What are the issues in the management of this patient population?
Ronna Hauser: This patient population, again, has been massively impacted by the pandemic. We have seen things change. We have seen patients during the pandemic who would normally go to an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility. We have seen them want to stay home and age in place. Again, one of the top advocacy priorities of the NCPA Long Term Care Division is to ensure that our members are paid to provide long term care services to patients who choose to age in place. and who otherwise would need to be in an institution. .
We feel that the pandemic has, in a way, provided more opportunities for patients who prefer to age at home, provided more opportunities for our members to be able to provide that higher level of service and that higher level of pharmacy of Long term care offers range to patients in their home environment.
Q: What is the impact of the social determinants of health on the care of the elderly?
Bri Morris: Absolutely, so Ronna talked a bit about the medical home, how important it is, and how so many seniors want to age in place. Well, with the social determinants of health, it’s where you live, work, play, all those things. So home medicine addresses all of these social determinants of health through medication management and delivery, and we’re actually meeting those needs so that the elderly care population doesn’t have to go to a facility. of nursing and that she may remain in the familiarity of their own homes.
Q: How can pharmacists have a positive impact on this patient population?
Ronna Hauser: Pharmacists, again, are pillars in the community. They know people in their communities. They live and reside in the same communities as the settlements. They get to know the staff at these facilities and provide a higher level of care than some national chains of long-term care services can provide. We have seen more and more opportunities for our members in long-term care during the pandemic. We expect to see this well beyond the pandemic, and again, it comes down to a grassroots level of improved care that our members provide to patients in these settings. We anticipate many opportunities for our members to expand their offerings to patients residing in specialty and assisted living facilities. Then we also see many opportunities to provide the same range of services to home-based patients.
Q: Would you like to add anything?
Ronna Hauser: I would just like to add that I hope all attendees at the NCPA Annual Meeting, who are interested in or currently provide long term care pharmaceutical services, learn more about the NCPA Long Term Care Division. We have an active membership. We have opportunities for various steering and advisory committees that guide our work in long-term care. We hope that more and more NCPA members will engage in long-term care efforts.