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Tuality stroke team to hand out free pill boxes

October 08, 2013

For immediate release
Contact:  Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654

Can something as simple as a pill box save a life? You bet it can, says Dr. Daniel Friedman, a neurologist and the stroke team director at Tuality Healthcare. Friedman and his team will start handing out free pill boxes in mid-October to any stroke patient at Tuality Healthcare.

The goal is to get patients to take their medications regularly and to reduce the need for emergency room visits or readmissions to Tuality or Forest Grove Community Hospital.

Friedman cited national research as the reason for the free pill-box giveaway. Research by the New England Healthcare Institute found that an estimated one third to one half of all patients in the U.S. do not take their medications as prescribed by their doctors. Non-adherence has been shown to result in $100 billion each year in excess hospitalizations alone. Funding for the pill boxes was provided by a grant from the Tuality Healthcare Foundation.

“Not taking your medications can cause a whole host of problems,” Friedman said. “We do know that people who struggle with taking medications on a regular basis have a higher risk of stroke.”

To combat this problem, any Tuality patient who has a stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack event will receive a visit from a Tuality Healthcare Home Health nurse who will teach them how to properly use the pill box.

These pill boxes have capacity for patients who take medications in the morning, at noon, in the evening, and at bedtime. The boxes are color coded by time of day – yellow is morning, red is noon, blue is evening and purple is at bedtime.

Tuality personnel will call each patient after three months to check up on the use of the pillboxes. The result, according to Friedman, is that the patient will use the pill boxes regularly and not be subject to costly hospital readmissions.

Funding the pill boxes was an easy decision, said Cece Clitheroe, director of the Tuality Healthcare Foundation. “We’re finding that smaller projects like this can have a big, immediate impact,” she said. “It also supports the Foundation mission, which is to help Tuality Healthcare build a healthier community.”