February 8, 2018
PharmD students volunteers at Lurie Terrace senior apartment community. From left to right: Erica Godley, Anisa Bici, Krystal Holmes, and Ariel Alber.

Last month, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy student volunteers sat down with residents at Lurie Terrace senior apartment community to help them keep track of their medication by creating a personalized medication list.

The Longitudinal Early Practice Experience (LEPE) program pairs two students in their first and second year of pharmacy school with an older adult community member. During home visits with their partner, students discuss health history and medication usage. Lucas Hamelink and Anisa Bici’s LEPE partner mentioned a concern during one of their visits. In their senior community, some members were unaware of their medications and did not have concise list readily available during visits to the doctor. Lucas and Anisa took the initiative and developed a plan to host a medication reconciliation event.

“The lists serve multiple functions,” explained Lucas, P2. “Primarily, they are a resource for the individuals. They have all of their pertinent medical information in one place, like a list of their doctors and pharmacy and their phone numbers, and each of their medications, why they take it, and who prescribed it. For some people, this covers a huge amount of information, and it's helpful to have it organized and in one place.”

“We provided people with pocket-sized lists of their medications to carry with them,” continued Anisa, P2. “At every doctor's appointment, they are asked what medications they take. Now, they have a complete and organized list to use to answer that question. The medication lists are also helpful in the event of an emergency. They listed their emergency contacts and preferred hospitals, which is useful for first responders.”

“This was a great opportunity for students to sit down and discuss patients’ real situations,” said Lucas. “More importantly, we were able to serve people in our community and give our time and effort to help others. The residents may have gained the physical medication list, but they also appreciated the care that students demonstrated.”

“It's important for students to interact with community members because that is what the majority of us will be doing in our careers,” added Anisa. “We won't be practicing in a classroom, we will be in the community or in the hospital, serving real patients. The ultimate goal of our profession is to positively impact people with our service. These interactions are also helpful because they allow us to advocate for the profession. Students can help teach more people about pharmacy and the services we are qualified to offer.”

Anisa and Lucas would like to thank Dean Nancy Mason and Caitlin Ferguson for their help and support with this new initiative. Also a special appreciation goes to Drs. Sarah Kelling, Heidi Diez, Trisha Wells, and Marina Maes who took time out of their day to come precept this event.