The Clinical Pharmacy program at Virginia Garcia improved the lives of over 160 community members last year and the four pharmacies filled over 170,000 scripts for our patients.
Ayanna hefts a thick and bulging notebook out of her tote bag. “I call it my carb notebook,” said Ayanna. “It helps me track and manage my daily carbohydrate consumption.”
Since 1996, when Ayanna was diagnosed with diabetes, managing her diet and medications had been a challenge. When she lost her job in Hillsboro, she also lost her health insurance. Eventually, Ayanna couldn’t afford her medication and stopped taking it. What followed was a life changing event when she nearly passed out behind the wheel of her car and ended up in the hospital.
“I woke up in Tuality Hospital and when they told me what had happened I knew I was in trouble. They referred me to Virginia Garcia and their clinical pharmacy program, which is how I met Sarah. That’s the life changing part of the story.”
Sarah Deines, clinical pharmacist, and Nora Garfias, pharmacy technician, work with patients to help them understand their medications and to set up individual treatment plans to better manage their health. They have been working with Ayanna for the past year.
“I’ve had doctors tell me that I need to regulate my diet and that I need to keep track of how many carbohydrates I’m eating, but I never really understood how to calculate it.Sarah helped me work out a grams-to-portion calculation so I know how many portions of which foods I should eat.” This is where the notebook comes in. It also contains her medication chart so she can track her daily diabetes medication.
“I’m like a lot of people when it comes to taking medicine,” said Ayanna. “I can always find excuses not to do it.” Ayanna has also been working with Brian Tucker, a therapist at Virginia Garcia to help her overcome the behavioral challenges that can keep her from taking her medication regularly. “I feel accountable to Sarah and Brian for taking my medication. They’ve really helped me to be conscious of when I’m avoiding my responsibilities.” As Sarah can attest, there is a huge need for helping people with uncontrolled diabetes.
“In the second year of our clinical pharmacy program we’ve more than doubled the number of patients,” said Sarah. “We hope to keep expanding the diabetes education classes and are working on a longer range goal of shared medical appointments for multiple patients with diabetes. As we fine-tune the clinical pharmacy program, we’re looking at how we can serve the most patients while continuing to get great outcomes.”
*We are so grateful to our patients who chose to share their stories of health and healing with us. To respect their privacy, patient images and names have been changed.