A Prescription for Senior Health

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A Prescription for Senior Health

Apr 30, 2023
A Prescription for Senior Health

On the national landscape of senior care facilities, Los Angeles Jewish Health stands apart. It distinguishes itself on multiple levels: through the quality of its care, the breadth and depth of its expertise, and the warmth and compassion of its dedicated staff. There is also another key differentiator: Unlike most of its peer institutions, Los Angeles Jewish Health has a full-service, on-site pharmacy, raising the bar on excellence in senior health across our community.

Located in the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer (JEK) Medical Center on Los Angeles Jewish Health's Grancell Village campus, the pharmacy was licensed in 2007 and can dispense medication to residents in JEK's skilled nursing facility, as well as to individuals in the Auerbach Geriatric Psychiatry Unit (AGPU). Pharmacy director Aida Oganesyan oversees one other pharmacist and four pharmacy technicians, as well as a pharmacy resident in conjunction with Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy (WesternU).

"We're a devoted team, and we take pride in our commitment to going above and beyond to meet a broad range of residents' needs," Aida says. "We make it our goal to get to know our patients so we can be active partners in their care."

Value of care.

Value of care is a major priority for Aida and her colleagues. "It's something we really emphasize: developing good relationships with providers (whether they're primary care, nurse practitioners, or nurses) and learning the backgrounds of our patients to ensure we're providing the same quality of care we would give our own loved ones," she says.

As part of their effort to understand Los Angeles Jewish Health residents' needs, the pharmacy team often interacts with patients and their families. "We do comprehensive medication reviews with residents; we talk to family members if they have questions about residents' medications; and we interact with seniors in the AGPU," Aida says. "We all work collaboratively to advance Los Angeles Jewish Health's signature focus on patient-centered care."

This high level of personal attention is a key point of distinction between Los Angeles Jewish Health and other senior care organizations. "Most skilled nursing facilities solely rely on a contracted pharmacist who reviews the residents' medications monthly. At Los Angeles Jewish Health, our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians monitor our residents' medications daily," says Chief Medical Officer Noah Marco, MD. "Aida and her team help our physicians prescribe the right medication, at the right dose, at the right time—all the time."

The AHSP-accredited pharmacy residency program is another unique feature of Los Angeles Jewish Health's pharmacy services. "Each year, we precept a yearlong pharmacy resident through our collaboration with WesternU for a year of hands-on learning and mentoring, and they get licensed during their time with us," Aida says. "We're proud to help nurture the next generation of pharmacists."

Aida, who became the interim director of pharmacy in 2020 and then took the position permanently in 2021, served as Los Angeles Jewish Health's first pharmacy resident in 2013. "Los Angeles Jewish Health has been my home since the very beginning of my career, and I can say with absolute certainty that this place is truly exceptional," she says.

In addition to its role as a training ground for young pharmacy talent, Los Angeles Jewish Health is also a launching pad for innovative initiatives that are advancing the field of pharmacy writ large. "We've developed an antibiotic stewardship program with our providers, and we have a pharmacist-led hypertension management program," Aida says. "Now, we're developing a transitions of care program with the Taper building, where we review medications for short-term rehab patients."

These innovations, in conjunction with published research conducted by Los Angeles Jewish Health pharmacists, are expanding the tools pharmacists can use to increase the health and wellness of seniors both locally and nationwide.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Marco? "Our pharmacists are making the lives of our residents better and improving outcomes for countless older adults around the country," he says.

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