Joining Forces in Spain to Improve Healthcare for Disadvantaged Communities Throughout the Pandemic
Home Care Services, Local Pharmacy and Jones Healthcare Group’s Venalink Spain Operations Team Up to Provide Medications and Adherence Programs for Patients in Need
The date is March 23 in Seville, Spain. Cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, and officials have just locked down the community to help prevent the spread of the virus. With so many unknowns, healthcare providers are managing more patients than ever and health systems are strained.
In response to the growing crisis, Arima Siap, a Spanish home care services provider, launched “pop-up” emergency care centres in sports arenas across the city to help disadvantaged communities access healthcare, including those who do not have homes or care providers.
With the centres under development, there was still one problem: Arima needed pharmacy partners to consult and provide medications for patients, as well as support systems to ensure medications were taken as prescribed. That’s when Arima’s Project Director, Francisco Calabozo, made the call to Jones Healthcare Group’s Venalink Spain team.
Through his home care work, Francisco was very familiar with the Venalink team, its medication management leadership, and its strong network of pharmacy partners. With this, he asked for Venalink’s support finding pharmacies willing to help the cause – in particular, those close to emergency centres whose staff were also trained to dispense medications in Venalink’s SPD adherence packaging as part of their service offering. Francisco knew he needed pharmacy leadership support and the right tools to help patients in need, while simplifying medication distribution.
With this important initiative in mind, Venalink reached out to Maria De la O from Garcia Bustamante Pharmacy for her support. This would entail supplying medications to an emergency centre in the Venalink SPD, maintaining ongoing close contact with medical teams and working hand-in-hand with administration – all while managing the overwhelming workload for her own pharmacy.
“When the Venalink team contacted me to help disadvantaged patients, I did not hesitate to join the effort,” says Maria. “It was clear I had a moral and social duty to my neighbourhood, my city and society in general, given the circumstances.”
The task was challenging, but Maria never wavered. Through her leadership, she and her team worked in close collaboration with doctors and nurses to check every single treatment for each patient, all of whom were admitted at once and with little health documentation. These disadvantaged patients had incredibly complex medication schedules and particularly low adherence to their prescribed treatments – it was no quick or easy task for the team.
Francisco notes Maria and Garcia Bustamante Pharmacy’s support was fundamental for patient safety during the crisis. The team was able to ensure everyone in the city received care regardless of social status, reducing the burden for disadvantaged communities. “Patients truly benefitted from the close collaboration of the pharmacy and emergency care providers – this collaborative work was key to the initiative’s success. The Venalink SPD system simplified the distribution process and helped patients take the medications they needed to get well, when they needed to take them.”
The General Director of Andalucia Social Services, Emilia Barroso, echoed these thoughts in recent industry roundtable discussions – pharmacies providing medications in the Venalink SPD removed a tremendous workload from caregivers in emergency centres and helped improve patient adherence through this service.
While the emergency centres are now closed as COVID-19 cases decline in Spain, the community is keeping the sports arena empty for now to ensure space is available to reopen centres if required.
Jones Healthcare Group and Venalink are proud to recognize our customer, Maria and Garcia Bustamante Pharmacy for their tremendous dedication to helping communities during the pandemic – and all of the pharmacies and service providers who continue to make a difference improving patient health through unprecedented times.