The first week the Mental Health Center of Denver provided remote services due to COVID-19, more than 150 people were coming into the pharmacy every day. Now, 20-25 people visit the pharmacy at the Recovery Center daily. And about 12-15 people stop by the pharmacy at Wellshire Behavioral Services every day.
“We had to figure out some other way to get people their medication when decided in March that we were all going virtual,” said Director of Pharmacy Marilyn Siayap. “If people were no longer going to come into our building, we had to figure out a way to handle that. And the nurses and case managers were instrumental in that process.”
Delivering Medication to Those We Serve
The pharmacy team looked back on prescription fill data for the previous month and figured out a timeline of when people would need their medication. They also worked with doctors to see who could receive 90-day supplies instead of 30-day supplies. Case managers began delivering the medication directly to the people we serve.
“It involved a lot of thinking ahead, and we’ve all worked together to figure it out,” Marilyn said. “The collaboration with the other departments has been huge. My team has been able to get to know others from nursing and case managers. It’s built relationships and strong teamwork.”
The nursing department played a major role in adjusting the way the organization provides monitored medication.
Managing Monitored Medications
When someone we serve is on monitored medications, it means means they would normally come into our building, and we would educate them on how to take their medication and what it is for in-person. Then, they would leave with a box of their medication and return with the box at their next visit. This helps people stay compliant with their medication and informs our staff if they are taking them or not.
So, nurses worked with the pharmacy staff to get people who were on monitored medications either off of that process, or have medications filled and delivered to them.
“We continue to still monitor the medication for some of the people we serve,” said Nursing Program Manager Carla Vigil. “We just eliminated the face-to-face aspect of it.”
Our team has also continued to provide injection medication. Several nurses go to our residential facilities to provide injections, and people who do not live in our residential facilities and need injections can come into the pharmacy. In addition, they can receive a cab voucher, which has made it easier for some people to get to our buildings and maintain compliance with their injection medication.
“This has pulled all of us together – case managers, nursing and pharmacy staff to work much more closely together,” Carla said. “It’s been rewarding to see everyone get together and pull this off in such a quick a timeframe.”
And, the people we serve have expressed gratitude for what we’ve been doing, Marilyn said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how much of this continues,” Marilyn said. “Maybe some parts of this will be in place even after we’re able to be back to whatever ‘normal’ is.”