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4 Ways to Explain the Benefits of an LTC Pharmacy to AL Community Members

Many Assisted Living (AL) communities make the decision to integrate with a senior care pharmacy after a careful evaluation of the right Electronic Health Record (EHR), the best medication management program, and the strongest pharmacy partner. The benefits to the organization and the residents include additional oversight to ensure safe and timely prescription ordering and delivery, medication cost savings, and a streamlined medication pass process, which gives staff more time to focus on residents.

Investment in Integration

Although AL leadership and staff recognize the many benefits of a robust relationship with a Long-Term Care (LTC) pharmacy, the investment in integration with the pharmacy is often not optimized. Community members who choose to continue using their previous retail pharmacy create a dual-track medication management system:

  • One that is efficient, with additional layers of quality control.
  • One that relies on additional staff time to ensure prescriptions are confirmed, received, and delivered when needed.

There are several reasons residents may not want to use the community’s preferred LTC pharmacy including personal preference and a long-standing relationship with the retail pharmacist and pharmacy staff. However, most commonly it’s because the benefits haven’t been presented in a way that’s easy to understand.

Keeping Residents Healthy

Community employees themselves don’t always understand the benefits of this change and how it can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. Because AL communities are committed to supporting members’ right to make decisions about their day-to-day lives, the choice of pharmacy is often viewed as an extension of the right to choose how they receive healthcare.

While maintaining a right to choose is important, it is important to remember that an integrated, collaborative relationship with an LTC pharmacy promotes best clinical practice in AL and reduces the likelihood of hospitalization or decline due to medication-related issues, such as inappropriate dosing, timing, or duplicate meds. Thus, keeping the resident as healthy as possible to continue making all the other important self-determinations.

Path to Success

A conversation that effectively balances the rights of the individual resident and the benefits to the community for use of the LTC pharmacy partner can be challenging. Four steps that can make these conversations less difficult are:

  1. Change the narrative
    Rather than introduce the community’s relationship with an LTC pharmacy as just another option available to the resident, describe it as a best practice for care to keep the resident as independent as possible.
  2. Explain benefits from resident’s perspective
    Although there are a multitude of operational and fiscal benefits of the LTC pharmacy for the AL organization, the conversation should focus on the benefits to the community member, such as guaranteed timely delivery of medications or ability to change medications as needed. It is especially important to note that LTC pharmacies operate 24/7 compared to retail pharmacies that do not.
  3. Emphasize safety and quality of care
    A pharmacist who can easily view information for residents provides an added level of safety and quality control to ensure that duplicate medications, or medications that interact with each other, are not prescribed.
  4. Know when to end conversation
    At first glance, the most obvious time to talk about use of the community’s pharmacy partner is before or at move-in. However, this may also be the most difficult time to convince a resident or family members to switch providers because the relationship between the community and resident is new and based on expectations, not a proven foundation of trust. If the resident or family members are resistant to change, acknowledge their reticence and offer to re-visit the conversation when they are more comfortable and familiar with the community.

The best practice for transitioning community members to the LTC pharmacy partner is to have these conversations with all members of the community – at move-in and as follow-up conversations if the resident initially chooses to stay with their retail pharmacy. While some situations may lend themselves naturally to follow-up conversations, such as not receiving medication when needed, executive and wellness directors as well as staff should be prepared to re-introduce the idea at regular intervals.

It is important to respect a resident’s relationship with a local pharmacy, or local physician, but it is also important to acknowledge the clinical and safety benefits as well as the operational benefits of integrating with an LTC pharmacy. AL directors must always keep in mind the difference between the right to choose and the right to thrive.

Learn how PointClickCare can help your organization realize Benefits of an LTC Pharmacy

December 13, 2022