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News Bedside Visits Help Patients Manage Medications

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Patients being discharged from a Samaritan hospital with high risk for readmission can leave with prescriptions in-hand and one less thing to worry about when they get home.

Through the Samaritan Medication and Education Discharge Service (SamMEDS), hospital pharmacy staff visit patients’ bedside to dispense the medication and answer any questions they may have. Pharmacy technicians also help with insurance paperwork and addressing financial hardships.

“There are so many factors that can cause a patient to not fill their prescription after discharge and subsequently be re-admitted to the hospital,” said Stacey Olstad, PharmD, medication reconciliation coordinator at Samaritan. “Sometimes it’s transportation issues, financial hardships or even prescription availability with the pharmacy. With this program, we can address all of the issues up front so we know the patient can go home with the prescriptions.”

The program has now also been expanded to include home visits by pharmacists.

“Transitions in and out of the hospital are where most errors happen with medication management,” said Jaqueline Joss, PharmD, Pharmacy Residency Program director. “By seeing the patient in the home we can identify issues preventing correct medication use. We also provide patient education, check for medication interactions and make sure the medication regimen is optimized.”

While the pharmacy home visits are currently focused on patients living in the mid-Willamette Valley, the SamMEDS bedside program is offered at all five Samaritan hospitals.

For prescription refills, patients can call or visit any Samaritan pharmacy.