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Handmaker Residents Have an Opportunity to SOAR

by Nanci Levy | Feb 24, 2017

Project SOAR 2017For the eighth year in a row, Handmaker residents have had the opportunity to participate in Project SOAR (Students and Older Adult Relationship). This is a program coordinated by Dr. Jenene Spencer, an instructor in the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy’s Practices and Science department, and is facilitated at Handmaker by Andrea Ramirez, our  Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator.

For a nine-week period, from February 15-April 19, first year Pharmacy students are on the Handmaker campus meeting with residents that they are paired up. They meet for an hour, once a week, as part of their training. Under the supervision of Dr. Spencer, the students review the residents’ charts to familiarize themselves with the medications that the residents are taking. Then they meet with the residents to practice their communication and interviewing skills. The nine week session ends with a celebration for the residents and students, complete with a slide show, and a huge cake with the U of A logo.

Participating residents love this program! Many have participated in the program year after year, and enjoy the weekly visits from the students, sharing their stories and learning about the students as well. If you go into the apartments of the residents who have participated in this program, you will see photos on their shelves of some of the pharmacy students that they have worked with. Clearly these students have had a meaningful impact on our residents’ lives.

This program is of great benefit to both students and residents. Residents get a special visitor weekly, as well as an extra pair of eyes to look over their medication lists. Students have the experience of speaking with older adults, practicing their communication skills while also making a new friend.

Just a few weeks ago one of residents came back from the CVS pharmacy across the street from Handmaker with a big grin on her face. “You will never guess who I saw at CVS! I saw one of the pharmacy students who I worked with a few years ago.”  You could see how proud she was of that student, and of the role that she played in the student’s education. So are we.