NFMMC Medication Adherence Program: Listening to Understand; Reaching Out to Help


Millennium Collaborative Care has been proud to extend Delivery Service Incentive Payment Program support, including Innovation Fund support, to innovative initiatives under the leadership of Sheila Kee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, that are currently addressing social determinants of health and improving the delivery of healthcare for patients at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in Niagara Falls, NY.
Sincerest thanks to NFMMC team members for sharing insights into their daily efforts to provide compassionate, comprehensive care, and truly make a major difference in their patients’ lives.

Cearrah Rickard began her career at NFMMC in April of 2017 working as a Care Aide on the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. In August 2018, Cearrah transferred to the position of Care Coordinator, the position she held when the Medication Adherence Program was still in the “idea stage.” Cearrah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently attending Capella University working on a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

NFMMC Medication Adherence Program

By Cearrah Rickard, NFMMC Health Home

The following are a few stories of patients that have been touched by the Medication Adherence Programt. Their names have been changed to respect their privacy.

The first patient discussed is one who seems to be on the journey to success. Mary F. is a 55 year old black woman that showed up on the New York State Psyckes list. She first met with the Medication Adherence Team on 5/16/19, the hope being that helping her return to counseling would aid her in resuming her necessary medications. This patient was very welcoming and kind, opening her home with no hesitation for this meeting. She spoke of her love to cook and how she often ran low on food due to her feeding the neighborhood. Through the conversation the smell of alcohol was present on Mary’s breath and several empty cans were noticed on her end table. After a bit of lighthearted talking, Mary began to discuss her current needs. She spoke of needing help to find mental health counseling and trying to find a rehab center to stay in.

At this point the patient was given information on the hospital’s Health Home. She was excited and wanted to sign up, so she was enrolled during that meeting. The Medication Adherence Team scheduled an appointment for her to start counseling and scheduled transportation. Later, it was found that the patient was already linked with the health home and had a care manager. The care manger provided the information that the client gets very forgetful when drunk and will “go with the flow” of whatever is going on around her to conceal her state.

The care manager also stated that the patient has been given all the necessary information about rehabs but Mary always refuses to go when the time comes. While she has not accepted rehab yet, Mary has made it to both of her mental health screenings and gotten to meet the psychiatrist. She was started on a new medication regimen which she has gotten the first fill for. The Medication Adherence Team has met with her since and followed up over the phone, the patient has several upcoming appointments for counseling and plans on attending them.

The next patient is one that has a long history of non-adherence to his medications. Greg R. is a 26 year old white male fighting his schizophrenia diagnosis. Greg met with the Medication Adherence Team during his latest inpatient stay on the NFMMC Behavioral Health Unit.

Upon meeting him, he spoke of his counselor and how she was a great asset. However, when it came to his psychiatrist, he felt as though the man did not listen to him and only wanted to get him on more medications. Greg admitted that even though he was taking his medications while an inpatient, he would not continue once he was released.

This patient is completely in the mindset that his diagnosis is wrong and that anxiety is the only thing wrong with him. He blames his hallucinations on lack of sleep and the lack of sleep is due to anxiety. Similarly in his mind, every symptom he has can be traced back to anxiety. The Medication Adherence Team has reached out to his counselor and advised the client that starting with a new psychiatrist may be ideal.

While it may be the case that this a new doctor will diagnose him the same way, having him stay with someone he thinks is against him will negatively impact his journey. The team is still working with Greg to help him get on track with the right providers and to help him stay positive when it comes to reaching out and getting more help.


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