mother and daughter

An Unlikely Advocate: A Caregiver Finds atom Alliance After Opioid Overdose

by Lindsey Jett, CPht

atom Alliance is working with providers and patients throughout the state of Tennessee to increase awareness and education around the opioid epidemic that is facing our state and our nation. We are working with beneficiaries and their families, as well as community healthcare providers, to reduce opioid use in Tennessee.

Through my work with our Medication Safety Workgroup in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee, I learned about a Medicare beneficiary who experienced a near fatal opioid overdose in late 2016. Fortunately, quick thinking on the part of her family, the emergency department providers and her community pharmacist, she survived and is now thriving.

Living in a small community, the local pharmacist knew this family well and had filled prescriptions for the beneficiary and her family for many years. She was shocked and saddened to hear of her patient’s overdose on opioids. Overdoses in this rural community have become far too common.

The patient’s daughter was overwhelmed and turned to her community pharmacist for help after her mother’s unexpected overdose. The pharmacist spent many hours talking to the family, helping them create a tapering schedule to wean their loved one from unnecessary opioid use. The pharmacist became increasingly involved in this patient’s recovery, well-being and pain management.

The local pharmacist serves as the chair of our Medication Safety Workgroup and has helped focus our efforts on opioids and the steps we could take to ignite change in this area of Tennessee. When the pharmacist shared this story with our workgroup, we invited the patient’s daughter to join us as a guest speaker.

The patient’s daughter was eager to share her mother’s story, bring awareness to her community, potentially save another family from a similar experience and prevent overdoses. The daughter later joined the Medication Safety Workgroup as a standing member. She also joined our statewide opioid campaign and spoke at the local Care Coordination Community meeting to increase awareness around the opioid epidemic.

I am happy to report that the patient is doing well. She has regained her quality of life and found a balance with her pain management. But the real success in this story is how the pharmacist gave this family the help they needed and how the daughter turned a scary event into an opportunity to raise awareness and prevent tragedies. And atom Alliance was there to facilitate and foster this success by hosting the Workgroup and Coalition meetings, providing resources for pharmacists and creating a platform for communities to share their stories.

Let’s continue to work together to impact change and help prevent opioid-related overdoses in our communities.

 

Lindsey Jett

Lindsey Jett is a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) with more than ten years in healthcare experience as a retail pharmacy technician, consultant pharmacy technician, social worker and marketer for a major healthcare corporation.

Lindsey gained extensive experience as a patient advocate while Director of Social Services at a skilled nursing facility offering a full range of support services to patients, families and caregivers. She brings a vast knowledge of medicine and medication-related adverse drug events to atom Alliance, collaborating with healthcare professionals and offering guidance and technical support to Care Coordination Communities.

She received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master’s degree in Learning and Teaching from Lipscomb University. After teaching mathematics and science for Metro Nashville Public Schools for four years, Lindsey turned her passion for pharmaceuticals and healthcare into a second career.