Addressing the Needs of an Aging Population

Published on 09 August 2019

By 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that 20% of the population will be 65 years or older. As the field of geriatric medicine continues to grow so does the demand for consultant pharmacists like Curt Wood, B.S. '90, BCGP, FASCP, founder of Elder Care Pharmacy Consultants LLC.

For nearly 20 years, Wood has assisted long-term care facilities in providing quality patient-centered care for geriatric patients across Missouri. He currently consults at more than 20 facilities and is recognized as a Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP).

Why did you get involved in long-term care pharmacy?

St. Louis College of Pharmacy provided me with a great clinical foundation, and I was eager to use those skills after I graduated. Once I discovered long-term care, I found my calling. I felt working with the elderly population gave me the greatest opportunity to use my clinical skills to influence the most patients.

Why did you choose to specialize in geriatric pharmacy?

The patients I work with need someone who understands their needs as well as the regulations established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). I take pride in making the best recommendations for my patients based on scientific evidence, my experience and CMS guidelines.

I feel strongly about advocating on behalf of patients. Some of my patients are unable to communicate. It’s important for me to be able to communicate with their family members about the benefits and risks associated with their loved ones’ medications, so they can make the best decisions possible. I also work with physicians and nurses to ensure patients are receiving the best medicine and care available for their conditions.

What makes Elder Care Pharmacy Consultants LLC unique?

While almost every pharmacist will work directly with elderly patients at some point, most of the patients I work with are over the age of 75. All pharmacists who treat elderly patients are used to dealing with metabolism changes as our patients age. Because my patient population is older than the average elderly patient, the effects of aging are more magnified.

Our experience, knowledge of regulatory issues and guidelines, and evidence-based practices set us apart. We spend time getting to know the patients, members of the interprofessional health care team and the long-term care facility to ensure we are all on the same page. If we notice a consistent issue, we work with the health care team to provide education and training to ensure our patients are getting the best care.

How do you stay up-to-date on changes in pharmacy?

There is pressure on both pharmacies and pharmacists, and it comes from multiple angles. We see pressure from reimbursement costs, complex regulations, the expanding scope of practice and changes in legislation.

Issues like these are what inspired me to get involved in the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA). I think MPA does a masterful job of influencing critical issues that affect the pharmacy profession and legislation, and by serving on the board of directors for MPA, I’m able to give back to the profession and ensure it moves forward in a positive direction.

How did the College make an impact on you?

The College provided a great foundation for me when I transitioned into the profession, and it continues to make an impact on me still. Through the College, I’ve been able to establish invaluable connections with a great network of thought leaders and professionals.

I always enjoy the opportunity to connect with other pharmacists. Even though we may not share the same type of practice setting, it’s great to have the opportunity to discuss their processes and ideas and consider how I could apply them to long-term care.

Determined to provide the best care for his patients, Wood continues to advocate for the profession and work with long-term care facilities to address the growing needs of the geriatric population. His experience paired with his desire to help this specialized population is needed now more than ever.

This story was featured in the spring 2019 issue of Script magazine. To read past issues of the magazine, visit the Script magazine archive.

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