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HomeMeds program offered to North Hills seniors

July 6, 2018
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Seniors citizens can receive a free review of their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications thanks to a HomeMeds program offered through North Hills Community Outreach.

With so many seniors on a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, it’s helpful to have someone navigate their prescription intake, according to Carolyn Pschirer, director of services at the NHCO office in Allison Park.

HomeMeds is an evidence-based, in-home medication management tool offered by NHCO through AgeWell Pittsburgh to seniors, 60 and older, in the North region of Allegheny County, according to Nancy Jones, North Boroughs Outreach manager in Bellevue.

Seniors can contact NHCO to have a HomeMeds visit by a volunteer who is specifically trained in this program. The volunteers are able to visit the seniors at their residence or any space they feel comfortable, Jones said.

Senior citizens are to bring all of their prescription and nonprescription medications to the volunteer. This can include over-the-counter medicines as well as any lotion or skin medication they may take for health needs on a regular basis, Jones said.

The role of the volunteer is to then collect the list of these medications and enter everything into a database. Pharmacists then have access to this database and alerted if there are any medications that are duplicates or if the senior citizen is taking two medications that may have bad interactions.

“It’s basically a program designed to provide this safety check for seniors,” Jones said.

Pschirer said seniors may be seeing multiple doctors, in and out of their network. These doctors do not necessarily know what their other doctors are prescribing. Or seniors may take over-the-counter items on their own that might not interact well with a prescription.

AgeWell has partnered with Giant Eagle pharmacies in this program, said Jones. Pharmacists can also alert the participant’s doctor for any concerns.

“It’s a nice addition to healthcare and managing medication,” Jones said.

The NHCO volunteers are required to take a full-day of training, Jones said.

“Seniors can feel confident they are talking with an expert,” Pschirer said.

There is need for volunteers for this program and they do not need to have prior medical experience to do so, Jones said.

Seniors or potential volunteers interested in the HomeMeds program should contact their office at 412-307-0069.

The NHCO is always seeking volunteers for a variety of senior-based programs they offer. This includes Safety for Seniors, according to Jennifer Kissel, of NHCO.

The NHCO currently has approximately 90 seniors in waiting to have safety checks done at their homes and they are in the need of volunteers for this. They also have Free Rides for Seniors shuttles, which includes two shuttles, funded by the St. Margaret Foundation, that take older residents to and from appointments and shopping in the Route 28 corridor.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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