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Here at Always There Home Care, we are grateful you are slowing down to read our newsletter full of items that relate to home care, home health care, aging and eldercare, as well as some useful tips for daily living. Please enjoy in the spirit of community and cooperation in which this newsletter was sent.
Persons With Dementia Have
Higher Rate of Hospitalizations.
Among older persons with dementia, hospitalizations or ER stays place them at an increased risk of delirium, functional decline, and iatrogenic (hospital or physician caused) complications during an inpatient stay. Emergency hospitalization of older people, particularly those with dementia, is not a trivial event. A recent study by Dr Phelan and her colleagues at University of Washington clearly demonstrates this.
Elizabeth A. Phelan, M.D., M.S., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study to determine whether (JAMA. 2012; 307: 165-172. www.jamamedia.org)
Among study participants with dementia, the average annual admission rate was more than twice that of those without dementia.
Three diseases: bacterial pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and urinary tract infection, accounted for two-thirds of all potentially preventable admissions, and admission rates among those with dementia were significantly higher for all 3 conditions.
Admission rates for dehydration and duodenal ulcer, though low overall, were also significantly higher among those with dementia.
Early detection and outpatient management for these conditions among patients with dementia may very well minimize the need for hospitalization.
The frightening bottom line here is that persons with dementia end up in the hospital far more often than those without dementia.
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"It isn't the great big pleasures that
count the most; it's making a great deal
out of the little ones."
~ Jean Webster
Protecting Elderly Folks From Adverse Winter Weather Conditions
It is crucial for older adults to exercise extra caution during the winter months to protect themselves from adverse weather conditions, says the February 2011 issue of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics' Healthy / Years.
Winter can be a dangerous time for older adults and the health letter offers the following winter hazards that the elderly must protect themselves from:
Hypothermia - This winter hazard may result from:
- Our internal thermostat doesn't work as effectively, as we age, so we may be unaware that we are becoming so cold that we are at risk from hypothermia.
- We generate less compensatory body heat because we move less.
- Older adults actually can shiver less and, in any case, shivering decreases as your body temperature drops, so don't rely on it as a guide, according to Michelle Eslami, M.D., professor of geriatric medicine at UCLA Health System.
According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypothermia, which causes the core body temperature to fall to unhealthy levels, kills about 300 Americans age 65 and older each year.
- Frostbite - This is also a big risk, especially if you have heart disease, diabetes or other circulatory problems, and/or take beta blockers, which decrease the flow of blood to the skin.
- Back injuries - Shoveling snow puts individuals at risk for back injuries. Also, the ice that often accompanies wintry conditions increases the chances of a fall, which can result in serious complications.
- High blood pressure - Research suggests that the cold may raise an individual's blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney problems. Shoveling snow can further overload the heart, warns the letter.
- Increased stress and strain on the body - According to Dr. Eslami, older adults have less "physiologic reserve," which operates as a sort of "buffer zone" that helps us cope with, and recover from, stress and strain on the body, such as that presented by cold. That reserve naturally decreases with age, making us less able to handle the stress cold temperatures placed on the body. This may be exacerbated by chronic diseases, such as diabetes and by medications (including over-the-counter cold medications) that make an older adult even more susceptible to temperature extremes.
- Indoor hazards - Tracking snow or mud across the floor can result in puddles and wet patches that can cause you to slip.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning - This risk may arise from a malfunctioning water heater or furnace, or if you use an unvented gas space heater. Those with heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable.
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Paths clear for those
who know where they're going and
are determined to get there.
Why Palliative Care and
Hospice is the Ultimate Gift
Our colleagues in hospice agencies frequently refer to us for supportive personal care to their clients nearing the end of life. We are honored to provide this care, but it is always our hope that in the future, clients and families will be referred to hospice earlier in their disease process. This article explains well why this is so very important.
I am writing no less than 45 days after my mother died from a GI bleed from ovarian cancer. Not once did my mother's team of doctors mention palliative care. It was not until days and even hours before her death that hospice was discussed and implemented. Our family was blind sided by this.
While no one likes to talk about the topic of death it is important to remember that this is a natural cycle of life. Doctors are always on the cutting edge of medicine and talking about the possibility of death seems like failure. In reality not talking about the services available to family is the ultimate failure.
Here are the top 5 reasons why:
- Pain. Patients may get to a point where pain is not manageable with the regular visits to the office. To know that there are potential solutions from a team that understands the full situation and can target medicine toward avoiding suffering is key. It can make a huge difference in quality of life and the person's overall attitude toward the options available. It puts the patient in the driver's seat.
- Quality of life. Running from doctor to doctor, balancing prescriptions at the pharmacy and not tending to one's overall quality of life can be draining. If more attention were paid by doctors to palliative care during serious illness the patient would feel a sense of relief that there is a friend on the sidelines ready to work with the entire team to manage symptoms and if need be start discussing hospice.
- Hospice gives the patient comfort at a time of great stress. Hospice should not be a last-minute option. It should be done with great thought and care with the patient's needs in mind at all times. To be able to stop all treatments and procedures and focus on the remaining days ahead without pain and suffering is often a relief.
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Adopt the pace
of nature: her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
KUDOS from Kelly
By Kelly McNamara
Stephen is a relatively new employee and has already been a wonderful and valued caregiver to A E during the night and a support to his wife H E. His care of A E and his assistance with meals, and other housekeeping chores have made it possible for this lovely couple to remain in their home safely. It's great to have him as part of our team.
Antoinette excelled at a very special assignment for us. My grandmother JF has a live in caregiver who needed to take several weeks off over the holidays. Antoinette graciously stepped in and did a wonderful job. Her patience, her enthusiasm, her competence, and her genuine joy in her work combined to make her a wonderful caregiver for my grandmother. She kept J safe, comfortable and busy with three times a week trips to the local Activity Center. She quickly became an honorary member of our family.
Again a fairly recent hire, an ambitious and immensely competent young CNA and BSN nursing student, Bridgette was the lead caregiver with V D in Jerome Home. She was a wonderful help to V D and her family as the client made the transition to Jerome Home from Arbor Rose. Her skills and attentiveness insured the client remained safe and comfortable.
Akousa Mensah, and Patience Merisma
Both these caregivers are also BSN nursing students, who provided wonderful care to A D in Arbor Rose. Their competent and attentive care at night insured A D was well cared for, safe and comfortable while also providing her with companionship. They also were part of the care team for V D in Jerome Home and helped her through some stressful nights while she adjusted to her new surroundings and settled into a routine. Night shifts can be especially challenging and we appreciate all these caregivers' professionalism as they carried out their duties well.
All Kudos caregivers will receive a gift card and our gratitude. Many many thanks to all of you for once again extending yourselves to ensure that we are of course.... Always There..!!
Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.
~ Josh Billings
Providers We Love
We are privileged to have received referrals from and be able to coordinate care with many Assisted Living facilities, rehab facilities, and Medicare Home Care and Hospice agencies. Our growth is in large part due to the trust the staff in these organizations have put in our caregivers. We are likewise impressed with them and we are committed to referring to them on a regular basis.
Arbor Rose, Assisted Living, New Britain
Long a favorite facility of ours, Arbor Rose boasts a wonderful and caring group of staff, activity folks who keep life interesting for residents and a very welcoming environment for our pet therapy program. Our caregivers who are providing service for some residents at Arbor Rose have determined that Arbor Rose serves the best food and has the friendliest and most attentive dining staff of any facility in which they've worked. High praise indeed! Arbor Rose is the perfect environment for those who want to age in place gracefully and well cared for. Thanks to our colleagues at Arbor Rose for their continued support and trust in our caregivers. It is always a pleasure to work with all of you!
Vitas Hospice, Waterbury, Fairfield, Hartford
We are always proud to refer our clients to Vitas Hospice. Their beautiful new acute care inpatient unit at St Mary's is just another reason to refer folks there who are struggling with their family members café under hospice. Vitas has distinguished itself on its response time, its amazing and unique Veterans program and its commitment to providing continuous care (24 hour care by Vitas staff LPNs or CNAs at Medicare's expense). Continuous Care is provided by Vitas when clients are actively dying or need short-term symptom management. The vast majority of people have expressed their desire to end their lives at home in peace and comfort. Vitas excels in this area. We are proud to be
a referral partner.
Seabury Active Living Retirement
One of Connecticut's first retirement communities, Seabury has grown impressively from its original facility. The sprawling campus now boasts several individual residences, from apartments to substantial single homes. Their memory care unit is superb. The surroundings provide lovely views in all seasons. An immense fitness facility, including a large pool promotes continued fitness of older adults. Seabury boasts an impressive participation of its residents in the fitness facility. Seabury also has an innovative Life Care program and Seabury at Home service. Their home care program provides both Medicare as well as home private duty services for the community and surrounding area. It is a privilege to work in co-operation with them.
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About Always There Home Care
Always There Home Care provides compassionate, dependable and professional one-on-one care for seniors who need assistance in the comfort of their homes or residential care communities. Services from highly qualified and trained caregivers range from companionship, meal preparation and incidental transportation to personal care, medication management and RN-directed case management. Available 7 days a week, services range from a few hours a day to 24-hour care.
Always There Home Care understands that every situation is unique and creates individualized care plans to help improve a client's quality of life.
Our caregivers are totally committed, highly qualified and carefully
selected individuals who are personally and thoroughly screened, bonded and
insured. Most are Certified Nurse Assistants or Home Health Aides. Most
importantly our caregivers are dependable and extraordinarily caring of others.
In addition to their previous experience, our caregivers receive continuous training
that includes dementia, hospice care, home safety, nutrition and other topics related
to seniors. These highly qualified and trained caregivers are ready to help you and
your loved ones with a variety of daily activities such as:
Personal care / Meal planning and preparation
Transportation to doctor appointments and other errands
Caring companionship / Light housekeeping
Medication reminders / Information and referral services
Our personalized, nurse- supervised services are available 7 days a week and can range from a few hours a day to 24 hour and live in care.
For more information or service needs, call 24 hours a day at: 203-879-6675
or visit www.AlwaysThereHomeCare-CT.com
We are Always There!