Pharmacy President Provides Education
Nicole Brandt, PharmD, CGP, knows how effective the interdisciplinary team can be in addressing clinical issues such as sleep problems. That is why she jumped at the opportunity to co-present in last year’s (with AMDA Past President Eric Tangalos, MD, CMD) webinar, “To Sleep: Perchance to Dream.”
“As we tackle issues with older adults, the team approach works best. As President-Elect of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), one of my goals is to work closely with AMDA. When the medical director and consultant pharmacist work together and with other team leaders, it is very powerful,” Dr. Brandt said. Dr. Tangalos added, “Better sleep makes for better daytime activities, including participation and enjoyment. All parties involved on the care team must first realize that sleep gets worse in all of us as we get older and that drug therapy, particularly chronic benzodiazepine use, has far more risks than benefits.”
Addressing sleep issues in post-acute/long-term care requires collaboration and communication, Dr. Brandt said. “The team provides an array of different perspectives. I’m passionate about bringing disciplines together to improve care and address problems and challenges.” Dr. Brandt’s webinar described age-related sleep changes; addressed psychiatric, medical, and neurological causes of sleep problems in the elderly; and discussed methods to evaluate sleep concerns in this population and appropriate treatment approaches.
The goal of education like this is that participants will take what they learn back to their facilities to implement in education and training for caregivers and other staff. “The kind of education we provide to staff—as well as patients and families—is key. They play a role in addressing sleep issues, and we need to empower them to participate in problem-solving,” she said.
Dr. Brandt didn’t always want to pursue geriatrics; but once she made that decision, she pursued it with a passion. “During my clinical clerkship, I realized that this was a population with growing needs and medical concerns. I also saw an opportunity to improve quality of life and really care for elders. And I enjoyed the chance to work as part of a team,” she said, adding, “I realized that I loved geriatrics.”
Most recently, dementia care is a special focus for Dr. Brandt. “I enjoy talking and listening to family members and caregivers and being an advocate for them and their loved ones. We can work together to improve policies and delivery of care.”
Already a well-respected clinician, educator, and author, Dr. Brandt is just getting started. “Ultimately, I would like to help improve care delivery and models of care both in the US and internationally. I would like to develop a global model of geriatric care that encompasses pharmacists and other team members.” Click here to view Dr. Brandt’s column in Caring for the Ages.
The recording of “To Sleep: Perchance to Dream” is available here.