According to National Alliance for Caregiving and American Association of Retired Persons, more than 65 million people spend an average of 20 hours per week caring for an aged, disabled, or chronically ill family member or friend during any given year. These informal caregivers have direct and frequent access to their loved ones as they assist, coordinate, and support their activities of daily living. Including caregivers in the care team has shown to improve patients’ access to services, reduce unmet needs, provide better quality of care, and increase safety. Yet, despite the benefits, caregivers and healthcare professionals often struggle to collaborate in the plan of care for the older adult patient. The purpose of this conference is to recognize caregivers as agents of change in their loved ones’ care, explore challenges of caring for the aging population, and highlight ways in which healthcare professionals can initiate caregiver integration.
Mitchell T. Heflin, MD, MHS is Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Interprofessional Education and Care (IPEC) and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics for Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing. His career as a leader in Geriatrics and health professions education has focused on development, deployment and evaluation of education programs aimed at health professions learners from a variety of disciplines and introduction of innovative models of care with a specific emphasis on community-based and perioperative care of frail older adults. He served as Geriatrics Fellowship Program Director at Duke for 11 years and, over the same span, directed federally funded Geriatrics Education Programs. He also led the implementation of the Duke Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) program and co-directed the VA funded Specialty Care Education Center of Excellence for perioperative care. In his current role as Associate Dean and Director of the Duke Health Interprofessional Education and Care Center, he oversees the design, delivery, and evaluation of Interprofessional education programming for health professions students across campus.
Vera Reinstein, PharmD, BCPS is the Clinical Pharmacist with Alliance Health, the public behavioral health services managed care organization (MCO) for Medicaid and uninsured consumers in Wake, Johnston, Cumberland, Orange, Durham, and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. Dr. Reinstein is a proud gator, having earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Florida and completed her pharmacy residency at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro. She has been credentialed as a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist since 1994. Dr. Reinstein has practiced in various settings including academia with geriatric focus, industry, and hospitals, which included Ambulatory Care in the VA in Florida. From 2010-2016, Dr. Reinstein worked with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) at Duke University’s Division of Community Health supporting the Medicaid Case Management Program. In her current role since 2016 with Alliance, she provides to Alliance staff and community partners psychiatric pharmacotherapy education and support though consultation to Alliance care management. Her roles with Alliance include improving access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and naloxone, and to underutilized evidence-based therapies such as clozapine and long-acting injectable antipsychotics.
Caregivers: Managing Multiple Medications / Medicare
Melanie Bunn, RN is a Counseling Associate and Clinical Instructor with the Duke University School of Nursing and a skilled and experienced clinician, educator, and consultant. Her research efforts have focused on improving care of older people, especially those with cognitive impairment, through improving the education of interprofessional teams and families. She has volunteered as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator for over 25 years.
Cultivating Resilience in Challenging Times: Strategies for Caregivers and Professionals
Amy Levine, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, where she teaches courses in child welfare and mental health and serves as a faculty member in the field education program. Amy has a
practice background in both public and private child welfare services as well as mental health and worked for 12 years as a child, adolescent, and family therapist. Amy is also a North Carolina Certified Clinical Supervisor, providing supervision and consultation to LCSW-A’s in North Carolina. Amy’s practice and research interests include trauma-informed models of care, child and adolescent mental health, and the intersection of child welfare and behavioral health services. Amy enjoys providing training on a variety of practice topics and appreciates learning from and further supporting the important work carried out by our human service professionals.
Razia Hafiz, MD is Board Certified in Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. She currently serves as Community Living Center Medical Director and Geriatrics and Extended Care Service Section Chief at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Fayetteville NC VA Coastal Health Care System. She graduated from Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh and completed Residency and Fellowship at East Carolina University. She has lived in North Carolina for the past 24 years where she loves to spend time with family and enjoys reading, boating, and hiking on nature trails.
Erin Hinson, RN, MSN currently serves as Director of Nursing at Elizabethtown Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a residential facility for older adults who require daily care assistance. She brings 23 years of experience in nursing education and has taught at multiple levels including Nursing Assistant, Practical Nursing, Associate Degree Nursing, and Bachelor Degree Nursing. She has held positions of Director of Nursing and Dean at the community college level and has engaged in many leadership roles at the local and state levels. She is a recent caregiver to her late elderly mother who suffered from a stroke in 2012. After nearly nine years of organizing care, she felt compelled to share her home in 2020 and assume total responsibility for her while working full-time as a lecturer. Erin spent five months assessing medical needs, preparing meals and care plans, monitoring medications, providing companionship and support, among many other duties, until her mother passed in 2021. She is grateful for this time and says caregiving has notably fueled her passion for long-term care and geriatrics.
Erin earned her Master of Science in Nursing at University of Phoenix, Arizona and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Her background is in medical surgical nursing and leadership.
Karen Smith, MD, FAAFP, native of rural Maryland, is a Family Physician with private solo practice in the rural community of Raeford, North Carolina. Upon completion of Duke University Bachelor of Science degree in biology, Hahnemann University School of Medicine, and Duke FAHEC Residency training she chose to start her professional practice of medicine in North Carolina. She has been part of the Hoke County community for 26 years successfully implementing electronic health records as part of her delivery of care since 2003 allowing acute, chronic, and preventive services for her diverse patient population from birth to end of life. Recognizing the needs of her patient population reached beyond the exam room, Dr. Smith became involved with the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians as well as the North Carolina Medical Society where she served in all levels of the NCAFP with subsequently becoming president of the organization in 2005 and currently serves as the delegate to the American Academy of Family Physicians. She has served the national organization as a participant and past chair of the commissions on Practice Enhancement and Quality as well as currently serving on the Governmental Affairs. She has served the state of North Carolina with 13 years of service to the Division of Medical Assistance Advisory Board and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. Dr. Smith has served on numerous committees and boards throughout her career and most recently enhanced her participation dedicating services devoted toward the treatment of substance abuse disorders, healthcare reform initiatives, and onsite education experience for learners in healthcare. She worked with the Alliant Quality improvement Organization to engage and assist other doctors toward success with the Merit Incentive Payment System as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. She served on advisory groups for the Office of the National Coordinator and CMS Quality Payment Program as a physician champion. She is very active in healthcare transformation with leadership in physician led accountable care organization. She is engaged in global healthcare as demonstrated with direct support of mission work abroad but also support for the education and training of doctors worldwide. Dr. Smith is recognized as North Carolina Family Physician of the year in 2016 and American Academy of Family Physician of the year in 2017. She is married to Michael Hendricks, and they have four children Marcus, Marquise, Mikara, and Michaela.
Brigitte Laney, RN is not only the founder, but also the very heart of Carolina Hearts Home Care. In the nursing field since 2002, she brings deep experience and exceptional strengths in multitasking and critical thinking in her role. Brigitte began her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. While working as a personal care services aide, she earned an associate degree in Nursing from Robeson Community College as a NC Nurses Scholar. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. After working in home care as a Nursing Supervisor and on the intensive care units of several large hospital systems, Brigitte followed her calling to open Carolina Hearts Home Care in 2005. Brigitte continues to pursue educational opportunities and has been a CARES Dementia Specialist since early 2019. She understands firsthand the chaos that dementia creates for families, having cared for several family members affected by the disease. When not at work, Brigitte loves spending time with her family at the beach or the lake, where she can watch the sun rise or set over the water. Brigitte loves music, believes there is a song for every occasion, and never misses a chance to dance.
Caleb A. Malcolm serves as a caregiver for his 87-year-old mother in Robeson County. His mother is a retired schoolteacher who suffers from memory and communication challenges, diabetes, and other health issues that have resulted in being mostly wheelchair bound. Caleb retired from the Air Force in 2017 and moved home to take the lead over his mother’s care in the shadow of another sibling playing that role for his father who suffered from Alzheimer’s/dementia and passed while in the care of the VA. Finally, his team is made up of three private paid aides, five siblings and a home hospice service that care for his mother 24/7.
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