New collaboration creates greater impact for the autistic community
Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions has partnered with First Place to support and serve their adult residents at First Place – Phoenix, a supportive community development that serves adults with autism and other neurodiversities.
The goal is to support First Place residents as they move towards independence.
The students work with the residents to review their medications as well as learn more about their daily activities. Throughout the conversation, they set goals and recommendations to work towards more lifestyle independence. For example, after reviewing medications an occupational therapy student realized the resident was having trouble opening a pill case. A pharmacy student also noticed the medication was being filled and mailed from another state. Together, they recommended that a physician in Arizona support medication needs and that a larger pill case be found with different mechanisms for opening.
First-year pharmacy student Amy Aboalam describes her experience as multifaceted. As health professional students, she says, they have the opportunity to support individuals with neurological diversities and to empower residents to be more independent. Students are able to refine interviewing skills and build rapport with patients.
“Independence – that’s the key word,” says Sarah White, first-year occupational therapy student.
This partnership also allows for interprofessional education where students are able to collaborate and learn from each other.
“I’ve learned so much. The little details. In my head I am thinking, ‘What medications [is the patient taking] and how can I maximize their effects?’ And [the occupational therapy peers] are focused on whether the patient can open the medication bottle? It has given me perspective, and it’s humbling to see the thought processes of other professionals,” shares Aboalam.