Monthly Archives: May 2017

Senior citizens should be getting these vaccinations

Senior citizens should be getting these vaccinations

Vaccine recommendations for senior citizens by U.S. government

The U.S. government has an on-going campaign encouraging senior citizens to get a set of vaccinations recommended by the National Vaccine Program office. Following are the vaccines you need and how to learn more about them.

You may need one or more of these vaccines, even if you received vaccines as a child or as a younger adult.

Ask your doctor which ones are right for you.

Vaccines recommended for older adults can prevent:

Want to learn more about the vaccines you need? Use the Adult Immunization Vaccine Finder to receive personalized vaccine recommendations based on your age, health status, location and other factors.

You can also review the Adult Immunization Schedule  to see which vaccines you may need.

Don’t forget if you are traveling, you may need additional vaccines. See the travelers’ health page.

Talk to your healthcare professional about making sure you have all the vaccines you need to protect your health.

More Information:

·         U.S. Government Site on Vaccinations

·         National Vaccine Program Office

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Supporting Family Caregivers After a Loved One’s Stroke

 

Professional in-home care helps family help their loved one.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke each year. Although stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in America, more people today are surviving a stroke than ever before. Many of these survivors will make a full recovery, usually with the help of stroke rehabilitation. Others will be left with permanent disabilities that include paralysis or weakness, emotional changes, and problems with thinking, speaking and understanding speech.

During the recovery process, and as they are living with any long-term effects of their stroke, survivors often need a great deal of assistance and support for the best outcome and quality of life. Recovery can be lengthy. Patients need help managing their rehabilitation regimen and medications. They often need assistance with personal care and eating. Their home may be in immediate need of modifications to accommodate their reduced abilities and to prevent falls.

Family caregivers can become quickly overburdened as they support their loved one’s care.

It begins at the hospital. Stroke patients may have trouble understanding, much less remembering, information about their condition, care recommendations, and instructions on how to take medications. Dr. Paul Wright of Northwell Health explained, “In the past, you’d have one doctor come into your hospital room and that would be your physician. But over the years, we’ve started developing specialties and subspecialties, and now there are 10 or 15 physicians who show up.” This can be very confusing, and often, a patient’s family must step in to communicate with the medical team.

Next, a stroke patient may be discharged to a rehabilitation center for recovery. But the role of family doesn’t end at that point. Though their loved one is receiving professional care and supervision at the facility, families are still an important part of the care team. They visit their loved one; help navigate medical bills, Medicare and other insurance; work with staff to arrange for medical equipment at home; and schedule follow-up appointments.

Coming home after a stroke

When a stroke patient comes home, the real work begins. Many patients wish to return home as soon as possible, to recover in familiar surroundings while receiving continued treatment at an outpatient rehabilitation center. Yet their care needs may still be great, and living independently and safely requires some help! They most likely can’t drive. Their home may need to be adapted for one-story living if it has stairs and other obstacles. They may be unable to prepare meals or dress without help. The paperwork alone can be overwhelming. This is when the workload of family members really grows. Said Dr. James Burke of the University of Michigan, “Stroke survivors need a caregiver to spend the equivalent of half of a full-time job each week to help them.” His research revealed that “more than half of elderly stroke survivors receive help from a caregiver, requiring 22.3 hours of assistance per week on average. That’s nearly double what elderly patients who have not had a stroke require, at an average of 11.8 hours of help.”

Providing this care can take a toll on spouses, children and other family caregivers, so much so that they raise their own risk of depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, diabetes—and, as might be expected, stroke. Their careers can suffer, along with their financial well-being.

Families can’t do it alone. They should take advantage of support resources in the community, which might include help from other family and friends, and from local senior support organizations. For help with hands-on care and all-around assistance, professional in-home care is a great way to support a patient’s recovery after stroke, while protecting families from stress overload.

Trained, professional caregivers provide:

  • Personal care assistance for clients who need help with bathing, dressing, shaving, going to the toilet, or transferring from bed to chair.
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation with ingredients and preparation methods that follow the healthcare provider’s recommendations, such as for soft foods.
  • Care coordination and transportation to healthcare appointments and rehabilitation sessions, such as physical, occupational and speech-language-swallowing therapy.
  • Prescription pickup and medication reminders. The caregiver can also be alert for the side effects of medications.
  • Laundry and housekeeping services, as well as the removal of hazards that could cause a fall.
  • Supervision for the client’s prescribed home exercise program.
  • Professionalism that preserves the client’s dignity and normalizes the relationship of client and family.
  • Companionship to brighten the client’s spirits, reduce depression and encourage a safe return to walking, independent eating and other activities as recommended by the healthcare provider.

In-home care supports a stroke survivor’s compliance with medical and rehabilitation goals to help ensure optimum recovery and independence, and to lower the risk of another stroke. Just as important, it protects the health and well-being of family caregivers.

Are my father’s seizures related to his Alzheimer’s?

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

Seizures are, unfortunately, fairly common in Alzheimer’s patients. Seizures can be thought of as small “short-circuits” in the electrical brain activity. They almost always start on the outer surface of the brain.

In Alzheimer’s, as the surface of the brain has some scarring, and is not working as well as it should, this short circuiting can occur. This would be somewhat similar to having small fires in the electrical system of an older house – the wiring is not in perfect order and a short circuit can occur. These seizures are usually well treated with gentle seizure medicines. I particularly like lamotrigine, as I have found that it has the least side effects in a patient with a dementing illness, but of course you should discuss this with your doctor.

As an additional issue, given that he is so young, it would probably be worth while to make sure that he has had a very thorough work-up before accepting Alzheimer’s as the diagnosis. I would err on the side of being overly cautious, and consider obtaining a second opinion from a Cognitive Specialist (Neurologist) at a nearby university.

Is Accepting Hospice Under Medicare “Choosing to Die”?

Hospice is a type of care that focuses on relieving pain and other suffering for patients nearing the end of life. To qualify for Medicare-covered hospice care, a patient’s treating physician must certify that the patient’s illness is likely to be terminal within six months. Once hospice care is begun, there’s no more medical treatment for the terminal illness itself.

Given this requirement of a prognosis of only six months to live, and the ending of treatment for the terminal disease, many people resist hospice because it seems like “choosing to die.” Many people also fear hospice because they believe that all medical care will end. For several reasons, though, neither one of these fears should stop someone from choosing hospice care.

In the first place, the decision to choose hospice isn’t final. If a patient’s condition stabilizes or improves, he or she can give up hospice and return to regular Medicare coverage. All it takes is to have a change of mind about giving up treatment, or a doctor’s advice to try a new treatment. Or for some reason the patient might not like hospice care and prefer to return to regular Medicare coverage. Patients don’t have to give Medicare or the hospice provider a reason — they can end hospice and return to regular Medicare coverage at any time.

Choosing hospice does not mean giving up treatment — and Medicare coverage — for all illnesses or conditions that a patient might have. If he or she has any medical problem other than the terminal illness itself, he or she can receive normal treatment for it and have it covered by Medicare Part B.

Also, hospice provides patients with specialized medical treatment for any symptom of the terminal disease. This care includes any drug needed to stay as comfortable as possible, provided directly by hospice, without having to go to the pharmacy, get a doctor’s prescription, or use other insurance coverage. The same is true for medical equipment such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, or the like.

Invacare Continuing Care – Bed Rail Entrapment Awareness

Bed Rail Entrapment Awareness

Today there are about 2.5 million hospital and nursing home beds in use in the United States. Between 1985 and January 1, 2009, 803 incidents of individuals caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in beds with rails were reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Of these reports, 480 people died, 138 had a nonfatal injury, and 185 were not injured because staff intervened. Most individuals were frail, elderly or confused.

As the leading producer of bed systems and components (bed, mattress and rails) to the home and long-term care industries, Invacare strives to ensure individual safety. The importance of proper individual assessment, correct installation and the ongoing review and maintenance of the complete bed system should never be overlooked. With millions of bed systems in both home and long-term care environments, awareness of the potential for entrapment is vital.

In March of 2006 the Hospital Bed Safety Workgroup (in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration) published the Hospital Bed System Dimensional and Assessment Guidance to Reduce Entrapment (FDA Guidelines).

As an active member of the HBSW, Invacare and its subsidiaries have strived to provide bed systems (rails, mattresses, and beds) that reduce the risk of entrapment. Specifically, reducing the possibility that a user could be caught, trapped or entangled in the space in or about the bed rail, mattress or medical bed frame. This could result in death or serious injury.

Since the release of the FDA Guidelines, Invacare and its subsidiaries have modified our bed systems to meet these guidelines when products are purchased new, unused and as a system with all Invacare components. Invacare beds, rails and mattresses are specifically designed and manufactured for use as a system. Beds, rails and mattresses designed by other manufacturers have not been tested by Invacare and are not recommended for use with Invacare products.

Entrapment Zones
In the 2006 guidance from the FDA, there are 7 zones identified where patients can become entrapped. Being aware of the 7 zones can help with assessing the individulas needs, educating the caregiver, and reducing the risk of entrapment.

Clinical Guidelines
Eliminating the rail greatly reduces the risk of bed entrapment. It is important for healthcare providers, caregivers, family members and individulas to know when rails are acceptable, and how to properly utilize rails when they are installed.

Resources
Invacare has compiled a list of educational websites to provide more information about entrapment, and how it can be prevented.

We Elderly Care Expanded Catalog.

We Elderly Care Home Medical Equipment is in process of expanding our product base.  We now have access to over 15,000 Home Health Care items.

Recent agreements with Invacare and Inogen along with continued partnerships with  Essential Medical Products, Complete Medical Supply, Dr Comfort (Compression Wear), and Tranquility (Incontinence Products) have enabled the company to expand our lines of quality medical equipment and supplies, while offering discount prices to the public.

Visit our website:  www.weelderlycare.com/catalog.htm to view current and new products.  Items are being added weekly!

Call, email, or visit We Elderly Care.