Thanks to the pioneering work of pharmacist and educator Stephen Setter, aging Americans are more likely to prolong their ability to live independent lives in their own homes, improving their quality of life and saving themselves (and often the state) the high cost of nursing home care.

Dr. Setter creates that reality for countless Spokane elders, leading a national trend toward pharmacists becoming more involved in drug therapy decisions and in counseling patients.

As one of only 10 certified geriatric pharmacists in the state of Washington, Dr. Setter consults with Elder Services, a social work agency based in Spokane that takes a community-based approach to improving the care of geriatric patients. Many older patients suffer from chronic diseases requiring the attention of four or five doctors, each prescribing a variety of medications. As a result, overmedication can adversely impact their quality of life.

As part of a team of health care providers, Dr. Setter makes regular in-home visits to elderly patients, assisting with prescription-related issues, sometimes reducing or even eliminating medications. He also trains in-home caregivers, educating nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and family members about drug interactions and the tell-tale signs that a patient is cognitively impaired due to medication.

The outcome? With assistance, geriatric patients can remain in their homes and retain their lifestyles for a longer period than they could otherwise manage.

Featuring: Stephen Setter, Pharm.D.

Dr. Setter serves on the Parkinson’s Regional Center of Spokane board and is a pharmacy consultant to the Northwest Inland Alzheimer’s Association. He has lectured and published extensively on numerous pharmacological topics, particularly geriatric pharmacy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and managing diabetes and its complications. He serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the professional journals Clinical Therapeutics, Postgraduate Medicine, Clinical Neuropharmacology, and the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

Dr. Setter received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1986 from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree in 1996 from Washington State University in Spokane. He completed a post-graduate fellowship in geriatric pharmacy at WSU in 1997. In 2001, he was honored as the Pharmacist of the Year by the Washington State Pharmacy Association.