Nursing Home Unites Local Healthcare Community
Cave City, Arkansas is a small town. A very small town. Less than 2,000 people live there. But the thing about small towns is their citizens support each other, come together as a community and when something new comes along, it can create ripples throughout the area. The staff at Cave City Nursing Home are creating exactly this effect in their new personalized medicine approach to patient care.
Cave City Nursing Home is located just off Main Street and has roughly 100 staff and 70 long-term residents. “We have people who have been here 15, 18, 20 years,” said Debbie Stewart, LPN, ADON, “We know them. We know their family.”
In February 2014, Cave City Nursing Home started using YouScript® as part of its medication management strategy. Older patients are uniquely vulnerable to adverse drug events and treatment problems. About three-quarters of older adults have more than one chronic condition, such as hypertension, diabetes or osteoarthritis, and tend to take more medications as well. The average person over the age of 65 takes four to five prescriptions and two over-the-counter drugs. This can cause problems since the risk of adverse drug events increases exponentially with each new medication.
Cave City was already performing mandatory pharmacist-led medication reviews, but now they’ve integrated YouScript into that process. The first round of analysis revealed many patients needed small adjustments, such as separating administration times. Other patients needed larger changes, such as one patient known for having sleep problems who was taking thirteen medications. “She was miserable all night long, continually needing something for her pain or something to help her sleep,” said Stewart. The staff analyzed her regimen, then changed or stopped several of her drugs. “Afterwards, she started sleeping better than she ever had in her life. I’ve known this lady for years. And I’ve noticed a whole change in her personality. She sits at the table and talks with people. She smiles. She’s a totally different person.”
Personalized Care Helping To Unite The Community
Outside doctors have taken note. In addition to the staff at Cave City, residents regularly see a network of general practitioners, physical therapists, dentists, surgeons, social workers, and pharmacists outside the home. Shortly after implementing YouScript, the staff at Cave City began using the analysis provided by the program to talk to these outside practitioners about medication choices. Most have been very interested and receptive. Some have even requested access to YouScript as well to help personalize their patient’s care.
One of the community’s big goals is reducing hospital admissions. Jansen and Brouwers (2012) found that about one out of every eight elderly patients in US hospitals are there because of adverse drug events. “We have several tools to help reduce the potential for these readmissions,” said Stewart, “and we think YouScript is a great tool to help us with that.” Reducing admissions is a win for the patient, Cave City, and the hospitals, too. “It’s a win for the healthcare system as well because it’s saving money. It’s saving everybody money.” When asked what they’d say to other geriatric care professionals, Stewart said, “[Personalized prescribing] is a phenomenal tool... It needs to be used.”
By using YouScript, Debbie Stewart and the rest of the staff at Cave City Nursing Home have been able to improve their patients’ quality of life and, through it, act as a uniting force in the local healthcare community.