You could say that testing Coumadin levels is similar to that of Goldilocks checking out the porridge, you just don’t want your blood to get too thick or too thin. The St. Francis Coumadin Clinic, now based at the Hospital, offers patients expanded expertise and access to help manage oral anticoagulants, such as Coumadin, by monitoring patients’ blood clotting ability.
Joining nurse practitioner Martha Mustion, who has been operating the clinic since it opened in 2004, are pharmacists Nancy Lawyer and Chris Birdsell. Both Lawyer and Birdsell completed training in Anticoagulation Therapy Management from the University of Southern Indiana. This course focused on all aspects of medication therapy management for many health conditions that require patients to receive medications like warfarin (Coumadin).
According to Lawyer, director of the hospital pharmacy, more hospitals are using pharmacists to monitor Coumadin levels. “Our physicians approached us (the pharmacy) about helping to conduct the clinic,” Lawyer said. “Plus, there is a national patient safety goal requiring pharmacists to be involved in anticoagulant therapy management.”
With the additional staff, the clinic is now offered four days a week. Clinic hours are: Monday from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday 1 to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.; and Thursday 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The new location in the vicinity of the old hospital lobby affords patients an easily accessible facility with comfortable waiting area directly outside the office.
To make an appointment or to discuss medication management questions or concerns, patients call to the Coumadin Clinic at (660) 562-7989. This number is also managed by the pharmacy department, affording access to informed and experienced professionals seven days a week.
Lawyer states that safety was a key reason for moving and expanding the clinic. “There is a significant recognition of the hazards of taking blood-thinners,” Lawyer confirmed. “By offering expanded appointment times, we can help more patients manage their medication and avert an adverse event or medication problem before it happens.”
All patients referred to the Coumadin Clinic are required to have a provider or physician order. The appointment will be face-to-face contact with finger-stick testing and results in minutes.
For questions or to make an appointment, call the St. Francis Coumadin Clinic at (660) 562-7989. For more information, visit the hospital’s website at www.stfrancismaryville.com.