Plan for September: Living better through education

September is National Pain Awareness Month. According to the American Pain Foundation, about 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year. What’s more, about one in three Americans lose 20 hours of sleep or more every month due to pain. Those in pain don’t suffer alone — their family members suffer, too. Commit to observing Pain Awareness Month by educating your community and helping them find ways to cope with the condition.

  • Hospice agencies can distribute Pain and Symptom Logs to patients to help educate them and their caregivers about the importance of pain and symptom tracking. Find them at
  • Ask your area pharmacists whether you can leave brochures at their counters about pain management and how your agency can help. Find them at
  • Give patients who suffer from pain a durable Zone Flyer that clearly shows them what’s normal, what merits a call to your agency and what warrants a call to 911. Show your referral sources that you are using this handy tool to improve patient education and outcomes. Find them at
  • Leave stacks of flyers about pain management, chronic pain or arthritis in the waiting rooms of local rheumatologists, internists and family practice physicians. Find them at

High cholesterol is a problem that plagues millions of Americans. In fact, about 71 million American adults (almost 34 percent!) have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This puts them at about twice the risk of heart disease as people with lower levels of the substance, and only about 1 in 3 adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control. Do your part to increase awareness of this condition during September’s National Cholesterol Education Month.

  • Host a free class for seniors on heart health or diet and nutrition. Find a ready-made class at
  • Visit with local internists, cardiologists and family practice physicians and ask to leave informational brochures about heart disease, stroke or diabetes at their checkout desk. Find them at
  • Visit your area hospitals over the weekend and stock their waiting rooms (not just the main waiting room) with rack cards educating about heart disease, weight loss, and stroke — and how your agency can help. Find them at

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is Sept. 15-21. Show your support for the rehabilitation professionals at your agency and in your community by taking part in this celebration sponsored by the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation.

  • Call on orthopedic surgeons and leave behind tablet mousepads that educate about your agency’s physical therapy services. The mousepads include a 25-sheet tear-off pad for note taking. Find the mousepads at
  • Educate your community about the benefits of physical and occupational therapy. Offer to stop in and give a short five-minute presentation about the benefits of physical and occupational therapy during this month’s meetings of your local rotary clubs, Lions Clubs, elected officials and other meetings that draw a large number of senior attendees. Be sure to leave behind stacks of physical and occupational therapy flyers. Find them at
  • Visit the offices of local neurologists and leave behind home care speech therapy brochures. Find them at