Local Pharmacy Goes the Extra Mile

Locally owned and operated Wheeler Pharmacy is going above and beyond to keep more seniors independent. The pharmacy’s Home Connection program is bringing the care and expertise of a pharmacist into private homes every week.

Wheeler Pharmacy is the only pharmacy in the country to have a program like Home Connection.

The program was started about 20 years ago by pharmacist Cathy Hanna and pharmacy student Lynne Eckmann. Today pharmacist Lynne Eckmann and her pharmacy technician Kim Leake run the program.

“The goal is to keep independently living older adults in independent living as long as possible,” Eckmann says.

The Home Connection program currently has about 60 senior citizens under its care. The program brings a pharmacist or technician into each patient’s home every week.  The patient’s medications are sorted and filed to ensure they take their prescriptions properly.

Patients have a few different options as to how the pills are distributed. There are large containers with pods that break each day into four time periods for medication. There are also smaller packaging systems that are useful for air travel.

However, for seniors with memory problems these boxes may be inadequate. There is a third device, an electronic box, that has a timer to remind patients when to take their medications. It is locked so that only the correct medications can be taken at a certain time.

Click below to see a video on the different boxes available.

Eckmann is on call for her patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“A lot of time is spent in the communication factor, and that’s where we see a breakdown in the healthcare system,” Eckmann says.

Eckmann believes these open lines of communication have a big role in the program’s success for its patients.

Over the years Eckmann has kept the program affordable for seniors. There is a one-time enrollment fee of $100, and a monthly fee of $75. It is clear that money is not the reward Eckmann is seeking.

“My reward is when people who didn’t think they needed the program call me and say ‘I have no idea how I did it without you,'” Eckmann says.

Eckmann is thankful, too. She says she loves the people she gets to meet and the stories they tell. “Geriatrics is my passion…I love what I do and I love having the opportunity.”

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