by Susan Mikula Campbell
What do bingo, candy and a pharmacy have in common?
Not much, unless they are in the hands of Christopher Sauls, pharmacist at Summit Park Pharmacy in Wheatfield, as he works his audience of senior citizens.
Sauls introduced his pharmacy's new "Simplify My Meds" program on Monday to seniors attending Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's luncheon program at Wheatfield's Crestwood Commons.
The new medicine management program is designed to help make taking medications easier, more convenient, safer and more effective for patients.
"My goal (as a pharmacist) isn't just about the medicine ... it's about the person," Sauls said. He wants to be sure the right medicine is found for the individual, that they know what to expect, good and bad, that they know how to take the medication and that they have the tools to take it as prescribed.
Summit Park Pharmacy's "Simplify My Meds" program is simply that - a tool.
Instead of dealing with a multitude of pill bottles, patients can have their medications from the pharmacy for each week placed in a special perforated sheet that on one side contains printed information divided into daily categories of morning, noon, evening and bedtime with instructions, the color of the pill and patient information. On the other side, individual plastic bubbles contain the pill(s) to be taken at each particular day and time. The perforations allow the patient to tear off a specific day/time of pill(s) in case they are going to be away from home at that time.
"It's just plain easier," Sauls said.
Each senior at the program received one of the Dispill-USA sheets, except the clear bubbles contained Skittles or M&Ms candy instead of pills.
"A lot of folks here are on blood pressure and cholesterol medications. It's important to take them regularly and to take them at the right time," said Sauls.
His pharmacy also offers refill synchronization, by which patients need make only one trip to the pharmacy to get all their medicines. "It's a big, fancy word for 'to do everything at once'," he said.
Sauls also talked about the importance, especially for seniors, to get flu, pneumonia and shingles vaccinations, which can be obtained at the pharmacy.
Sauls topped off his talk by distributing door prizes by way of a special bingo game using names of pharmacy services instead of numbers and M&Ms for bingo markers.
Sauls will be taking his explanation of the Summit Park Pharmacy's "Simplify My Meds" program on the road. Upcoming free talks will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Forestview Senior Village, 3959 Forest Parkway, Wheatfield; call 716-693-8439 for reservations. Also at 11 a.m. Friday, March 8, he will be at the Wheatfield Community Center; call 716-694-8504 for reservations. Or, stop in at Summit Park Pharmacy, 2578 Niagara Falls Blvd., Wheatfield (by the Crestwood entrance); call 716-731-3500 or go online at[email protected].