Medicine vending machine makes patient care easier at Shell Point Retirement Community

Published: March 16, 2022 5:00 PM EDT

It’s not uncommon for an elderly person to take as many as 10 different medications in one day.

Multiply that by 100 people and you can understand the challenges faced by medical providers.

Now, Shell Point Retirement Center is launching a new program in its skilled nursing facility that will make the process safer and more efficient.

The program is the only one in the state.

Shell Point Retirement Center’s Vice President of Healthcare Christy Skinner describes it as a one-stop-shop for prescription meds, a full pharmacy in a box. Storing 250 different drugs, equaling 95% of the medications residents need, when they’re within the in-patient care setting.

“A resident can come in, anytime day or night, and have medications available to them at the time of admissions,” Skinner said.

The dispenser is automated and secure.

“The nurse will come in at the start of their shift. They’re going to enter in their name. The fingerprint pad will light up and it scans the fingerprint,” Skinner said.

Everything is processed inside the machine, from printing labels to sorting and packaging prescriptions and loading them in a tray for nurses to distribute.

The center accommodates up to 180 patients.

Instead of sorting pills, Nurse Lindsey Bryant would rather her team pour time into patient care.

“Being in this type of setting, it’s really what the nurses are thriving for,” Bryant said.

Jim and Dottie Rudolph agree.

“This is a win-win situation,” Jim said. “It’s a win for the nursing staff. And it’s a win for the residents as well. I know as we get older, sometimes we depend more on medications to help us sustain our quality of life.”

The automated dispenser eliminates human error.

Dottie described it as “amazing.”

“There’s a lot of thought and preparation that’s gone into designing the machine,” she said.