Transitions in Care – Hospital to Home Pharmacy

SCRANTON -- A few months ago, two faculty members at an area university learned they'd received a grant from a National Health Foundation.

The instructors at the School of Pharmacy at Wilkes University will use the money to expand a program already in place at several hospitals in Scranton, and if you're a patient there, you might just see it at work.

It's a room a lot of people never even think about -- the pharmacy at a hospital, in this case, Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton. Workers here have a big job, making sure patients here have the medication they need while they're in the hospital's care.

"Dosing based on kidney function, liver function, disease state, age, all of that is done here in the hospital and dosed specifically for them," explained pharmacy director Michele Musheno.

Musheno says universities often send students to study here, but Dr. Judy Kristeller, a pharmacist and professor at Wilkes University, had an idea on how to expand care and how to better teach her students.

"She said she wanted to do this project on transitions in care. I thought it was a great idea," Musheno said.

"We really focus on connecting with the patient," Dr. Kristeller said.

Dr. Kristeller explained the concept of transition care, meaning care she and her pharmacy students give to patients here coming from home to a hospital, then from a hospital home again.

She developed a model that connects hospital pharmacies to a patient's community pharmacy once they're discharged.

"We start with the patient and then we think about their medications, not just from what's going on that brought them into the hospital, but we think about the chronic management of the patient," said Dr. Kristeller.

They then make a care plan that goes to that patient's community pharmacy.

Dr. Kristeller and her colleague Dana Manning, who met us at Moses Taylor but maintains her clinical practice site at Regional Hospital of Scranton, together applied for a grant to grow the program.

"The students are thrilled with the opportunity to really provide service that's important, really benefits patients, and allows them to learn about medication management, both in the hospital and with chronic care in the community," said Dana Manning, associate professor of pharmacy.

The goal is to prevent medication-related problems and prevent hospital readmissions when possible.

Aside from the money from the Cardinal Health grant --$150,000 over three years -- Wilkes officials say Moses Taylor Hospital added an additional $41,000 to expand on the transitions in care project.