In 2004, Lutheran SeniorLife, as part of their overall vision of comprehensive long-term care for seniors, opened a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in Aliquippa, PA called LIFE Beaver County. Since then, Lutheran SeniorLife has opened LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) Programs in Butler and Lawrence Counties, as well.
LIFE Programs assist the frail elderly to continue living in the community, avoiding institutionalization by providing, among others, medical and social services in a holistic faith-based approach. Currently, they are servicing more than 400 participants at their three county sites.
Prior to discovering CareKinesis, the Lutheran SeniorLife VieCare LIFE management team had not considered partnering with a company devoted entirely to PACE pharmacy services. The Lutheran SeniorLife LIFE programs utilized a provider that served long-term care facilities, delivering all medications directly to the facilities. However, most LIFE participants prefer to have their medications delivered right to their homes. Thus, under the former pharmacy provider, LIFE staff was responsible to sort and then transport medications to their participants, which required the involvement of multiple employees. The more people involved in a process the more likely mistakes may occur.
“We wanted to get our employees out of the role of sorting and transporting participant medications,” explained Toni Hively, Executive Director. “We knew we wanted a more efficient and effective pharmacy partner to minimize the role of our LIFE employees in this process and focus on our specific needs.”
“The fact that CareKinesis is PACE-specific initially interested us,” said Hively, whose team unanimously supported the transition to a pharmacy that was sensitive to their needs, knew how PACE operated, and could deliver medications directly to participants.
The management team at Lutheran SeniorLife VieCare LIFE was most impressed that CareKinesis understood how the PACE model of care required a different kind of medication management and delivery service.
According to Hively, “We would not have changed if the alternative was another long-term care pharmacy.”
“Transitioning to CareKinesis has been remarkably smooth for our participants and employees,” said Hively, citing the key factors as planning, patience, and open communication with both the former and the new pharmacy providers.
After six months of partnering with CareKinesis, the LIFE management team reports success:
- Reduced medication errors
- Staff, Physician, and Participant satisfaction with the service and transition process
- Hours of saved staffing time due to the following:
- Staff no longer sorts and delivers the medications
- Medications that need to be administered at the center are delivered to the center
- Electronic Medication Administration Records (e-MARs) are provided in real time, thus reducing errors
Recognizing that all transitions are difficult, “Any challenges that arose were resolved quickly,” explained Hively. “Our staff—including the physicians—are satisfied, there was good educational follow-up, and the participants are satisfied with the change,” she said.
“In addition, we continue to have great customer service from CareKinesis.”