The Importance of Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is something that every adult should do for themselves and their family.

Preparing for “what if” enables you to make decisions about the care you would like to receive should you become incapacitated, and relieves family members of the burden of having to act on your behalf in a crisis.

 Although you may tell your wishes to friends or family members, they may not always agree with them. An advance directive is the best way to ensure your health and end of life decisions remain your own. The primary documents you should include in your advance care plan are a living will and a medical power of attorney.  

 A living will is the document that details the type of medical treatment you do and do not want administered, where you want to receive care, and who will provide it. The care decisions outlined in your living will should include specific instructions on administering life-sustaining treatments, hospice care, and organ donation.

A medical power of attorney allows you to choose a surrogate to make decisions about your care in the event that you cannot. This would include general health care decisions, as well as decisions about end of life care. The person you name will not be able to make these decisions until a physician declares you are unable to do so.

 A “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order is a medical order written by your doctor based on the information you provide. You should outline your wishes regarding when you approve the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in your advance directives. CPR can include chest compressions, defibrillation, mechanical ventilation, and medication.

  •  Original copies of your advance directives should be kept in a secure place.

  • Your health care surrogate, physicians, and medical facilities should all have copies of your directives.

  • Carry an advance directive information card in your wallet with contact information for your health care surrogate.

  • Advance directives should be reviewed annually.

An advance care plan can be used at any stage of life and should be updated as circumstances change.

Provide your referral sources with information on Advance Care Planning and the advantage of educating patients on the benefits of Home Health and Hospice Care.

 

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Breast Cancer Awareness

Fall is just about here and It will soon be time to bring out your pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October people of all ages and all walks of life will wear pink in support of the brave women and their families fighting breast cancer.

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women besides skin cancer. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found at an early stage.  While there are a variety of diagnostic tools available to detect breast cancer, mammograms are currently the most common screening method used. Mammograms are recommended every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74.

Take the opportunity this October to remind your referral sources of the role that Home Health care plays as part of the patient cancer care team.

Home Health care benefits physicians by providing:

  • Updated clinical assessment data.
  • Better case management to reduce calls.
  • Early detection/intervention for better disease management.
  • A streamlined plan of care.
  • In-depth outcome reports

 Home Health care benefits patients, families, and caregivers by:

  • Improving quality of life through greater symptom management.
  • Maximizing patient activity tolerance.
  • Instructing when conditions indicate immediate attention may be needed.
  • Reducing emergency room visits and re-admissions.

 Some ways you can get involved:

  • As Health Care providers be sure to share information on breast cancer through your social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  • Encourage your cancer patients to share their stories.
  • Partner with your referral network and host a fundraiser.
  • Have your nurses speak at local women’s groups on the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
  • Wear your Pink!

Visit TAG Web store for your Home Health and Hospice marketing and educational materials.

Chiropractic Partnerships and how they can benefit Home Health

With the number of older adults continuing to rise, geriatric chiropractic care has become a popular health care choice for many seniors. Chiropractic care for moderately healthy older adults can increase their mobility, lower their risk for falls, alleviate pain, and relive many chronic conditions. So, it should come as no surprise that the offices of your local chiropractors are  filled with potential Home Health and Private Duty patients.

At least 92% of seniors have at least one chronic condition. Studies have shown that patients with chronic conditions such as COPD treated with chiropractic care have fewer adverse events.  Including local chiropractors in your referral network provides exposure to older adults who by the very nature of their patronage are seeking symptom management alternatives.

Partnering with the chiropractic and alternative medical community is a good way of Informing seniors about how Home Health and Private Duty can assist them now or in the future. Whether these patients are recovering from injury, rehabilitating after surgery, or improving their strength they could all potentially benefit from your home health services. 

 

  • With National Chiropractic Health Month being celebrated all across the country this October, it would be a great time to introduce yourself to the chiropractors in your service area. Provide a goodie basket of swag and enlighten them on how home health care can benefit their clients.
  • Fall prevention assessments are a great tool to entice chiropractic patients. Ask your area chiropractors if you can leave home safety flyers in their patient waiting rooms.
  • Host a class on aging with your local Chiropractor, Nutritionist, and Acupuncturist. Talk about your agency’s services, particularly those regarding fall prevention, vestibular rehabilitation and medication management. Distribute your general marketing brochure to attendees.
  • Reach out to one of your Chiropractor partners about group rates for your staff. As Home Health providers they engage in intensive tasks day after day. It’s an investment in employee wellness and loyalty.

Visit www.tagwebstore.com for your Home Health, Private Duty and Hospice information materials.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month! Gear up now to show your support for these brave women and help raise awareness for finding a cure.

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancers specific to women. It is estimated that 1 in 75 women will develop it during their lifetime. The symptoms can be subtle and easily mistaken for other illnesses. Talk to your doctor if you are over the age of 50 and have any of the following symptoms for more than 2-3 weeks and they are new or unusual for you:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Bowel disruption
  • Frequent urination
  • Satisfied with eating small portions of food

There is no viable screening tool to detect for ovarian cancer. Current methods are not sensitive enough to distinguish it from other noncancerous conditions. Women with a family history of breast, colon, or ovarian cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease and should be vigilant about symptom recognition.  

Make A Difference:

  • Visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition to find out how you can get involved.
  • Promote a Wear Your Teal day for your staff and referral network. With action there is hope!
  • Sponsor a run/walk event in your community, and be sure to provide teal ribbons for participants.
  • Supply your referral groups with brochures on cancer and other women’s health issues.

Visit TAG web store for all your Home Health and Hospice resources.

Blood Cancer Awareness

Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month is coming up in September. The recognition was established to acknowledge the vast number of people fighting blood cancer and the ongoing search for a cure.

Leukemia is a blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and causes an overproduction of abnormal white blood cells that grow until they eventually crowd out the normal cells that carry oxygen, control bleeding, and fight infections. There are several types of leukemia which can be acute or chronic. The most common types are lymphocytic and myeloid.

Lymphoma originates in the lymphatic system. This cancer mutates the infection-fighting lymphocyte cells causing them to grow at a rapid pace. Once these abnormal cells outnumber the healthy ones they inhibit the body’s immune system. Lymphoma is treatable but as with many cancers the prognosis varies depending on the type and stage of the disease.

The exact cause of blood cancer is unknown, but it seems to develop from a combination of genetics and environment. Common treatments include: chemotherapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant.

Common Symptoms of Leukemia and Lymphoma:

  • Fever and chills
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged Liver or spleen
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Bruising easily
  • Recurrent nosebleeds
  • Night sweats
  • Bone pain
  • Small red/purple spots on the skin (petechiae)
  • Severe itching

Boost your professional health care presence by partnering with your referral network in the fight to cure cancer. Go to lls.org to find a program that is right for your company.

Visit our TAG web store for all your Home Health and Hospice communication essentials. Check out our Admission Guideline Flip Charts and our Medicare Homebound Decision Tree Flyer.