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September 2, 2008

ULM pharmacy and nursing care for patients in Special Needs Shelter

Hurricane evacuees often manage with out a lot of extras, but it is essential they have their prescription medicines. Terrie Melancon, who evacuated Lake Charles on Friday with her 14-year-old son Lyle in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav, is “very thankful” for volunteers like Amber Bougeois, a first-year ULM College of Pharmacy student.

Terrie said, “Without his medicine, my son, who has kidney problems, would be in a real bind. When you have to leave your home, coming to a place like this where people are smiling—no matter how many hours they’ve worked here—it makes a big difference.”

Bougeois, of Letcher, volunteered alongside COP faculty, staff and students, filling prescriptions for several of the almost 300 patients from southern Louisiana housed at the Special Needs Shelter in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. “I think this is something I’ll look back on one day. Today, I’m just running on adrenaline,” she said.

Louisiana’s state-wide pharmaceutical care response team, which includes ULM College of Pharmacy, faculty, staff and students, filled more than 480 prescriptions yesterday (a national holiday) for evacuee shelters in Monroe and Bastrop. This team also includes the state of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals officials, the Louisiana State Board of Pharmacy, and the Wal-Mart Corporation. A similar system is also in place in Shreveport that includes the aforementioned team members, along with the Louisiana Poison Control Center.

College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Lamar Pritchard said, “This is a great opportunity for our students to utilize the skills that they have gained in our program to provide critical pharmaceutical care services for their fellow Louisianans in a very laudable and compassionate manner. It is a very satisfying site to see our students and their patients smiling at each other during a very trying time.”

ULM’s School of Nursing faculty, staff and students are also caring for Louisiana’s evacuees. Since Sunday, Nursing faculty have been working around-the-clock at the Special Needs Shelter, which is managed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Social Services. The School of Nursing also loaned more than 20 beds from the school’s lab, said Dr. Florencetta Gibson, director of School of Nursing.

“Our faculty have extraordinary clinical experience to take care of special needs. Our faculty have been caring for people who are less than one week post-operative, oncology patients, dialysis patients, respiratory patients, and those with other acute care needs. We are also serving those with major emotional needs. This allows our faculty to share their extraordinary nursing skills with people who are in need.”

Today, ULM’s nursing students will report to the Special Needs Shelter and begin their clinical rotations, she said.

Additional ULM Volunteer Efforts:

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