4 Culinary Questions to Help You Choose a Nursing Home

When you think about nursing home food, what comes to mind? Candlelight dinners, menus you can vote on and Thanksgiving dinner on the patio? Probably not. But at a five-star skilled nursing facility, that’s exactly what you’ll get. When choosing a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility for your loved one to recover in, it is always important to take a good look at the food. Read more

Does your loved one need palliative care?

It was Henry Miller who once said, “It is a very limited concept of medicine that strives to understand disease, but not the needs of sick people.”

Nowhere is that need greater than the care of our elderly. Fortunately, the healthcare industry is taking steps toward recognizing the unique needs of our senior loved ones by providing specialized care that meets the healthcare needs of the patients as well as the emotional and supportive needs of those who love them.

Commonly known as “comfort care,” palliative care provides a team of specialists who cater to the varying healthcare needs of a patient. That team often includes a physician, nurse, pharmacist, a social worker, chaplain and volunteers. Read more

The benefits of midwifery

True or false: Midwives deliver babies at home without advanced medical care available.

The answer? A resounding false! While more than 90 percent of births in the U.S. are delivered by physicians, a growing minority of women rely on midwives to provide their prenatal care and delivery. These women use state-of-the-art technology and best practices in medicine combined with a patient-centric philosophy to give expecting mothers what they believe is the highest-quality healthcare with the best overall outcomes.

I had the opportunity to interview Diana Lee, a certified nurse midwife and a women’s health nurse practitioner at Revere Health to find out more. Read more

COPD doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying life

What do Loni Anderson, Christy Turlington, King Edward VII, Johnny Carson and more than 12 million Americans have in common? They have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Another 12 million have it but don’t know it. COPD is now the third leading cause of death in America, yet many people are unaware of COPD and its devastating effect on the lungs.

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Reduce Fall Risk

What’s the leading cause of injury in older adults? It’s not what you think…

If I were to ask you, “What is the most likely cause of injury death for older adults?” what would you say? Car accident? Bike accident? Yoga accident?

Falls are surprisingly the leading cause of injury death for adults ages 65 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control reports over 2.5 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries each year. Among those that fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as head trauma and fractures. Read more

6 tips to help find residential care for a bariatric patient

More than one-third (34.9 percent) of American adults are obese, according to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A person is clinically obese if their body mass index (BMI) level is 30 or more. Overweight and obesity have become pressing global health concerns. With a higher number of bariatric and aging patients comes an increased demand for skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities that can accommodate their unique care needs. Historically, bariatric patients have faced challenges when trying to find long-term care. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs) are having to innovate to accommodate these patients and provide high-quality care.

There are facilities that can accommodate obese patients and provide excellent care, but they may require a bit more effort and research to find. There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to locate a skilled nursing, rehab or assisted living care for a bariatric patient.

Specialized Equipment for Bariatric Patients

Ask if the facility has bariatric equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limits how much healthcare workers are allowed to lift, so if the patient needs help getting in and out of bed toileting or bathing, special equipment will be necessary. This can include larger beds (a standard hospital bed can only hold up to 350 pounds), chairs, wheelchairs and mobility aids, and shower and bath equipment, depending on you or your love one’s needs. A heavier individual may require an electric patient lift instead of manual equipment such as a classic Hoyer lift.

Because these items are extremely expensive, the number of beds available to accommodate heavier residents at any given location will be extremely limited. Waiting lists are typically quite long, since nursing facilities are not obligated to accept patients like hospitals are.

Proper Training

Patient transfers can be tricky and dangerous for individuals of an average weight, so great care must be taken when caregivers assist heavier residents. This is for the patient’s safety and that of the facility’s employees.

“The largest risk is the issue of injuring patients and caregivers from improper transfer,” says Jeff Oldroyd from Holladay Healthcare, a nursing home located in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We do give additional training in these specific transfers to our caregivers. This training is usually provided by experienced nurses and physical therapists.”

Do not be afraid to ask the facility about special training and experience requirements for any staffers who may be caring for you or your loved one. Frequent transfers and repositioning are crucial for proper hygiene and prevention of bedsores or compression ulcers.

Adequate Space in Living Areas

A larger room or apartment is ideal for larger patients in care facilities, but do not forget to inspect communal areas such as dining rooms and activity rooms as well. Isolation can be a real concern for these patients since their mobility is typically limited. Make sure there is enough space to maneuver a larger wheelchair in the facility so you or your loved one can interact with staff and other guests outside of their room. Creating opportunities for a patient to engage and participate in social and recreational activities will improve their quality of life and may even result in weight management or even weight loss.

Appropriate Activities

While resident involvement is important, bariatric patients have specific health and activity needs. In many cases, “regular” exercise is not possible or safe for them. Make sure to ask the facility about modified activities for patients, especially if they have recently undergone surgery. This is especially important in a rehabilitation setting where a patient is working to heal and regain or improve their functional abilities. For instance, a facility with a pool and a water therapy program can provide activity options that are more conducive than typical weight-bearing and high-impact exercise programs. An experienced physical therapist will be able to adapt a PT regimen to make sure they meet their health care goals.

Compassionate Staff

Overweight patients are likely accustomed to comments about weight and physical activity. But, beyond the equipment and therapy, it’s important to know that the staff will see a bariatric patient as more than just a number on the scale. It can be difficult for anyone to find placement in a facility, and you want to make sure any special needs will be taken care of.

Ask Your Physician

Physicians often have contacts at many skilled nursing, assisted living, and rehabilitation facilities in their area. In many cases, they may be your best resource when it comes to finding a reputable facility. Communication between the facility and a physician will be key for ongoing care, so receiving a referral from your doctor will be an added bonus.

“We do have additional communication with physicians for patients with specialized needs such as obesity,” said Mark Hymas from Copper Ridge Health Care, a SNF in West Jordan, Utah. “There are specific protocols for each diagnosis, and those symptoms are monitored and shared with physicians in real time. Physicians are then able to make determinations to monitor and adjust treatments.”

Patients of any size may encounter significant obstacles and frustrations related to their healthcare. Finding a facility with the proper equipment and training, adequate space, appropriate exercise and activity programs, and compassionate staff can be difficult. However, these important tips will help you select the right care setting for yourself or your loved one.

This article was originally published by AgingCare.com. It has been republished here with permission.

5 Reasons walking every day will change your life

What makes you feel good, look good, and only requires a pair of tennis shoes? Walking. We know exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but finding motivation to get active before or after a long day can be tough. This is why walking is a great option. It may be a less intense form of exercise, but walking offers so many health benefits, from improved mental health to chronic disease prevention. Read on to see why taking a few minutes out of your day to walk could be the best thing for your body.

Improved mental health
Whether you walk outside in the fresh air or on a treadmill while listening to your favorite tunes, walking is proven to improve mental health. A study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people suffering from depression who regularly walked 30-45 minutes for three months showed signs of improvement when their medication didn’t cure their symptoms. Walking can give you energy, decrease anxiety and stress, improve your ability to focus, and give you a break from your to-do list.

Healthier Heart
Walking has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as prevent diabetes—all of which can contribute to heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends walking at a brisk pace for at least thirty minutes each day to receive these heart benefits. If you’re not quite in shape enough to do this, the American Heart Association suggests setting a fitness goal for walking a few minutes at a time and increasing this time as you get more in shape.

Prevent Dementia
Dementia is a growing concern among adults, but exercise is one of the best and proven ways to prevent it. According to a review of Archives of Medical Research, exercising regularly can decrease your chances of dementia by 50 percent. Walking not only helps your current health but can also keeps disorders like dementia under at bay.

Improved bones and muscles
Walking also helps strengthen your bones and decrease arthritis symptoms. It can reduce fractures and symptoms of osteoporosis by preventing the loss of bone mass. Muscles and joints also benefit from walking, as the movement helps distribute pressure and nutrients for a healthier range of motion and increased strength.

“Walking is one of the best aerobic activities a senior can do,” said Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing. “We encourage everybody to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking activities per day. Walk to the mailbox, walk down the aisles of the grocery store, or go to the rec center. Walking would be a great addition to a daily routine.”

Weight loss
Maintain a healthy weight by walking regularly. It’s a great way to burn extra calories and lose weight over time. Due to it being a low-intensity and social exercise, you’re more likely to be consistent with making time for it versus other more extreme workouts.

So, whether it’s your heart or your mind that you’re looking to strengthen, consider taking a daily walk. Your body will be thanking you for years to come.

This article was originally published by Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.