I have always had a passion for working with our nation’s veterans and was excited to begin my advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) rotation at the Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons. Long-term care is a special niche, and this facility is even more unique than most. Normally, consulting is provided by pharmacists located outside of the home and medications are mailed in from outside facilities. However, at Fitz there is a fully functional pharmacy located in-house which allows the pharmacists to act in many different roles keeping their day to day activities versatile and exciting.

Not only do pharmacists promptly deliver maintenance medication specially packaged into unit-dose cards and have the capability to sterilely compound IVs, they also provide on-site consulting, medication reconciliation, antibiotic stewardship, and work closely with interdisciplinary teams. Pharmacists are an integral part of committees that review residents who have fallen and that ensure appropriateness of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and sleep medications.

Along with extensive opportunities for clinical interventions, this rotation has also provided first-hand experience with rules and regulations surrounding long-term care facilities.

The pharmacy at Fitzsimmons is currently undergoing an expansion and will soon be servicing other state-run veteran living centers. This provided me the opportunity to work with the State Board of Pharmacy to ensure the transition will be smooth and compliant as the facilities merge. The State Board also came for an on-site inspection while I was on rotation and I had that opportunity to complete an insurance audit.

This rotation far exceeded my expectations because I didn’t realize how variable and well-rounded the pharmacists’ role could be at a site like this. I was even able to get creative and personalize a veteran’s walker in hopes that he would be more inclined to use it and bonded with the facility cat, General, as well as many of the residents.

This story was contributed by CU Pharmacy student, Megan Wary

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