Deciding to go to college, university or a trade school is a major transition, but for those living with a specialty condition, like inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, psoriasis, hemophilia, severe asthma/eczema or even cancer, it can generate additional concerns.
Will my condition affect my social life? Will my professors be sympathetic if I need to miss class? Will I ultimately be able to do what I want to do? All these feelings can be overwhelming for hopeful students and their parents as they prepare for their next step.
There are steps that can be taken to help ease that burden, avoid emergencies, and create a positive experience. Accredo, the recommended specialty pharmacy under WellfleetRx, shares three tips on how to prepare for life on campus with a specialty condition.
1. Plan Ahead
Know and recognize triggers for episodes or flare ups. Whether it’s stress, certain activities or situations, foods, or something else, try to avoid these as much as possible, or have an active management plan in place to control symptoms or disease complications should they arise.1
Managing nutrition is also key to one’s overall health and an important factor for managing specialty conditions. For example, up to 80 percent of oncology patients are malnourished at some point during their journey2, and poor nutrition status in oncology patients is associated with higher rates of hospital admission, increased length of stay, and reduced tolerance to both chemotherapy and radiation treatment.3
Finding healthy options in dining halls or meal preparation at home will help students to be more prepared.4 Universities often have a registered dietitian on staff that will walk students through all the dining options if they have specific dietary needs. A registered dietitian is also available to help support members with cancer or certain rare disorders with nutrition-focused counseling, and management recommendations.
2. Prioritize overall health
Overall health is very important to controlling a specialty condition. Prioritizing sleep and exercise are two simple ways to do this.5 Yet, 70 percent of college students report attaining insufficient sleep6, potentially negatively impacting immunohealth, cognitive performance, mood and more.7
Managing nutrition is also key to one’s overall health and an important factor for managing specialty conditions. Food choices and your level of physical activity will affect health now and in the future. Establishing and maintaining healthy habits during the transition to adulthood will reduce student’s risk of developing chronic disease and improve overall quality of life.8
Remembering doctor appointments and taking medications as prescribed are also very important. The convenience of a mail-order specialty pharmacy like Accredo can be helpful in getting medications when and where students need them while they may be away from home. Accredo also has highly-rated digital tools that can help remind students to refill their medication and support health progress while on the go. In fact, patients are up to six percent more adherent and engaged when using our digital tools.9
3. Ask for help
Know the location and resources available at the campus health center or local hospital.10 Accredo can help train the health center, city and school resources in cases of unique therapies and their administration in order to make sure someone is able to appropriately assist in an emergency. In addition to supporting specialty patients with their therapy needs, Accredo offers social worker support which can help coordinate local resources for students with specialty conditions – community support groups, transportation to appointments, information, etc.
With the help of Accredo, specialty patients can embrace major milestones and manage their condition with confidence. Our many experts include our specialty pharmacists, patient care advocates, nurses, patient access representatives and social workers. They are available to assist and support patients and their families, including 24/7 access to our clinicians. One mother of a recent graduate supported by Accredo said, “We couldn’t have done it without them. She’s not just surviving, she’s thriving.”
Accredo helps patients with chronic specialty conditions thrive
Accredo specialty pharmacy serves patients with complex and chronic health conditions including cancer, inflammatory conditions, bleeding disorders and other rare diseases. Living with these conditions and navigating the challenges of the medications used to treat them can be difficult – that’s why Accredo supports specialty patients with an ecosystem of clinicians and experts with condition-specific expertise.
At Accredo, our 15 condition-specific Therapeutic Resource Centers (TRC) allow us to deliver individualized care to patients who need it most. Accredo patients have access to and support from:
- Specialty-trained pharmacists
- Field-based infusion nurses who meet patients for in-person administration and coaching
- Telephonic nurse educators
- Nutrition counseling and social worker support
- Proactive copay assistance coordination
- Safe, prompt delivery of medications
Accredo is the recommended provider of specialty medications through Wellfleet Rx. Enrollment in the specialty pharmacy program is easy. Members can speak to a patient-care representative toll-free at 1-877-895-9697 to get started. To learn more visit Accredo.com.
About the author
Mary Dorholt, PharmD, is Managing Director and Clinical Practice Lead for Accredo. She is responsible for providing the clinical vision and oversight that fuels Accredo’s patient care model and programs. She and her team serve as clinical subject matter experts for specialty therapies including: establishing clinical protocols and engagement models to support patient interactions, developing research and reporting to demonstrate successful outcomes and engaging and educating account management, sales, pharmacy staff and plan sponsors on clinical elements of specialty patient care.
Dr. Dorholt has a 24-year history at Express Scripts and the former Medco organization. Prior to her current role, Dr. Dorholt was responsible for the provision of specialty strategic guidance to employer, government, and labor organizations. In this capacity, she was also responsible for marketplace oversight and internal and external communications related to specialty drug management. Dr. Dorholt has extensive knowledge and experience in the development and implementation of specialty solutions, Medicare Part D strategies, and clinical support services. She has been a frequent speaker and author related to specialty and Medicare topics during her tenure. Mary holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota.
2 Trujillo, Elaine B., et al. “Closing the gap in nutrition care at outpatient cancer centers: ongoing initiatives of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 118.4 (2018): 749-760.Ñ5
3 Thompson, Kyle L., et al. “Oncology evidence-based nutrition practice guideline for adults.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 117.2 (2017): 297-310.
8 Slawson DL, Fitzgerald N, Morgan KT. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: the role of nutrition in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Jul;113(7):972-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.05.005. PMID: 23790411.
9 Accredo medication possession ratio for RA&I, oncology, MS patients 2020.