DNA testing may sound scary, but the truth of the matter is that many of our body’s secrets are held in our genes. Unlocking them can help ensure the medical stability and high quality of life for those who memory loss creates communication barriers.
At Azura Memory Care, one of the cutting edge MOSAIC Therapies that we have found to greatly benefit our residents is neuropsychiatric pharmacogenomics testing. This tool tests a person’s genetic profile with FDA-approved medications to gauge their effectiveness on an individualized basis.
Provided by Assurex Health, their patented product GeneSight is the only neuropsychiatric pharmacogenomics technology that is supported by multiple clinical studies that have been have been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, New England Journal of Medicine and DiscoveryMedicine.
Typically covered by Medicare, this specialized testing can be done at Azura with just two small cotton swabs being used to collect DNA from the inside of one’s cheek. These swabs are then sent to the GeneSight lab for testing with results coming back in just a few days. Results are then tabulated into a report that is provided to Azura, the resident’s physician, and to the family. The results of the test are illustrated in three categories based on how the medication was metabolized for effectiveness and tolerability.
We use this information as a tool or guideline to help us personalize the medications and dosages used by that resident. Our goal is to ensure that from engagements to medications every aspect of our care is geared to creating a MOSAIC that truly supports our residents to live their highest quality of life possible.
In fact, recently a resident came to us whose behavioral expressions resulted in her being discharged from another facility due to exit seeking behavior, howling and experiencing severe agitation.
Upon entering Azura we asked permission to have her DNA tested through GeneSight to see if any of her current medications were causing interactions and to determine if other medications would better support her. At that time she was on five medications, but when the results came back it was immediately discovered that two of her current medications could be negatively affecting her and adding to her behavioral expressions.
Our Team began to work to discontinue these medications and saw an immediate change in the behaviors with no more exit seeking, screaming or agitation being observed. In addition, positive interactions with others dramatically increased and she became helpful around the house finding smiles every day.
It was truly a MOSAIC Moment to realize that within just a few days of joining our Azura family of care our cutting-edge approach has resulted in such a remarkable transformation!