Sun Damage is Cumulative

Summer will soon be in full swing! It’s time to bring out those shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Make sure that in addition to those flops, you include wide brim hats, sun glasses, and sun screen whenever you plan to be outside. Dermatologists recommend that everyone generously apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher to protect their skin.

The ultraviolet rays from the sun can adversely affect skin and eyes. Research shows that 80% of skin aging comes from these damaging UV rays. Home health nurses see patients weekly, which puts them on the front line of skin cancer detection. Recurrent examinations enable them to identify skin changes, suspicious moles, or dry patches that might indicate basal or squamous cell skin cancer. This is especially helpful for those patients who have a history of skin cancers and need assistance monitoring areas of their skin that they cannot easily see.

Promote skin health and the importance of early detection in your home health marketing.

Here are some ways your agency can promote safe sun practices:

  • Post about the dangers of UV radiation and sun protection throughout the summer on your social media outlets and blogs.

  • Set an example! Use sunscreen and be a shade seeker!

  • Encourage your family and friends to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, avoid tanning beds, and midday sun.

  • It’s never too early to start protecting your skin! Offer to give safe sun presentations at local elementary schools. Call us at 866.232.6477 to hook you up with cool hand outs for the kids.   

  • Partner with your referral groups to sponsor a skin cancer screening event at a popular community gathering.

Visit the TAG Webstore for skin cancer awareness marketing flyers.

For more information on Skin Cancer visit the Skin Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Institute, or American Cancer Society 

Stroke Awareness is he best protection against having one!

Stroke awareness is the best protection against having one. Strokes occur when blood flow to an area of the brain is disrupted. The lack of oxygenated blood causes brain cells to die. The longer blood flow is interrupted the more brain damage is likely to occur.

A person should seek immediate medical attention if signs of a stroke are present. Here is an easy way to remember the signs:

F – Facial Drooping

A – Arm Weakness

S – Speech Difficulty

T – Time is of the essence - call 911

The good news is that many strokes can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. Start with a diet that is low in sodium and heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low fat dairy, and lean meats. Follow that with moderate daily exercise, stress reducing activities, keep alcohol usage in check, and no smoking. Now you are on board the stroke prevention train.

Controlling other medical conditions can also help prevent a stroke. By far the highest risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Other conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and diabetes can also increase the risk. These are conditions that home health nurses routinely monitor. In fact, many home health agencies use telemonitoring systems to monitor their patients 24 hours a day. Telemonitoring enables clinicians to monitor specific functions like sleep patterns, oxygen levels, and blood pressure as often as needed.

High blood pressure contributes not only directly to having a stroke, but indirectly, as it also contributes to other conditions that can lead to a stroke such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  A blood pressure of 120 systolic and 80 diastolic is considered ideal. Below that is low and above that is elevated. A blood pressure of 140 systolic and 90 diastolic and above is too high. 

Strokes can be treated effectively if medications are administered quickly. The key to stroke recovery is getting to the hospital right away. Calling 911 for a stroke means treatment can begin on the way to the hospital. EMS will take you to the nearest specialized stroke center to ensure a quick neurological diagnosis and proper treatment.

Once released from the hospital stroke survivors usually need rehabilitation to recover. Choosing home health for that rehabilitation offers the comfort and support of being home with family while receiving quality physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

Promote your agency’s stroke rehabilitation services to neurologists, clinicians, and treatment centers in your service area by providing patient information brochures. Visit TAGWebStore.com for home health stroke rehabilitation information and other condition specific print media.

Chronic Arthritis Pain

Chronic pain is a condition that many older adults suffer with daily. Persistent pain can be caused by a multitude of illnesses and conditions, with one of the largest contributors being arthritis. According to the CDC, there are currently 54.4 million Americans living with some form of arthritis. 

Arthritis is actually a term used for any number of inflammatory joint diseases. The most prevalent of these is osteoarthritis, which is often the result of joint cartilage being worn away.  Left untreated, chronic arthritis pain can lead people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, increasing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and other serious health conditions.

Home health and hospice routinely treat patients with arthritis and other chronic pain contributing conditions. They use various pain management techniques to provide as much relief as possible for each patient based on their specific needs. Under the supervision of physicians, physical therapists work with patients to increase muscle strength and flexibility, and to reduce pain.

Chronic pain can also cause psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Home care social workers provide counseling to patients and their families on how to better cope with their condition. The frequency of home care visits can be an added benefit for lonely elderly patients whose isolation can also contribute to depression. Negative emotions can worsen pain, and people who dwell on their pain can actually experience greater disability from it.

Common Types of Arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: joint insulation deterioration.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: autoimmune disease-causing immune system to attack the body.

  • Fibromyalgia: amplified sensations affecting the way the brain processes pain.

  • Gout: localized condition caused by high levels of uric acid, usually affecting the large joint of the big toe.

Highlight your agency’s services that provide relief from chronic pain:

  • Provide rheumatologists in your service area with patient education material on arthritis and managing chronic pain. Highlight your services during the visit.

  • Sponsor a lunch-and-learn for the staffs of your local clinics and hospitals to promote discharging to home health for improved patient outcomes and pain management.

  • Offer to provide a weekly mini class at your local senior centers. Promote your pain management services and other topics relevant to senior care like fall prevention, occupational therapy, nutrition, and brain sharpening exercises.

Visit TAGwebstore.com for all your home health and hospice print media.

Donate Life!

April is National Donate Life Month! This years’ theme is: “Life is a beautiful ride”, and the bicycle has been chosen as its symbol to represent the cyclical journey of organ donation and renewed life.

Home Health and Hospice providers, see firsthand the tremendous need there is for organ donation, and how many lives can be saved through a single lifesaving gift. For many Home Health and Hospice patients suffering from advanced kidney disease, liver disease, or congestive heart failure, the only hope for recovery an organ transplant. The need for more donors is staggering. According to national statistics:

  • Approximately 114,000 men, women, and children are on the national transplant waiting list.

  • Every 10 minutes another person is added to the national waiting list.

  • 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time.

  • 82% of patients waiting are in need of a kidney.

  • 95% of Americans are in favor of organ donation, but only 58% are registered.

  • One person can donate up to 8 lifesaving organs.

How you can get involved:

  • Spread the word about donation through your social media outlets. Check current organ donor data before posting: https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/

  • Sponsor a registration drive at local colleges in your service area.

  • Offer to speak at local churches on the importance of donation. Provide disease specific information like kidney, liver, heart, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that describe the support Home Health and Hospice can provide to patients and their families.

  • Partner with your referral network on Friday April 12th, Blue and Green Day, and organize a bike ride to raise awareness for organ donation.

  • Visit UNOS* to learn the facts and see how you can make a difference.

  • Register to be an organ donor: www.organdonor.gov    

 Visit Tagwebstore.com for your Home Health and Hospice patient education materials.

*United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government.

April is National Occupational Therapy Month

April is national Occupational Therapy month and the perfect time to promote the occupational therapy services your home health agency provides.

Many patients recovering from surgery or struggling with chronic illnesses have difficulty carrying out the activities of daily living (ADLs). Home health care provides occupational and physical therapists who help patients better manage their daily routines. Occupational therapists evaluate a patient’s home environment along with their physical capabilities to identify activities that might be difficult for them to accomplish. The therapists then create a program instructing patients in performing these daily tasks safely, which is especially useful for seniors who need to minimize fall risk.

Occupational therapists aren’t just concerned with functionality, they also provide emotional support. Therapists encourage patients to be kind to themselves and to accept that managing ADLs differently is okay. They teach energy conservation techniques to minimize joint stress, pain, and fatigue. Practicing energy conservation reduces the frustration of running out of steam by balancing rest and activity.

Energy Conservation tips:

  • Plan ahead by scheduling difficult tasks for when you have the most energy.

  • Take frequent short rest periods and lie down whenever possible.

  • The amount of rest you need and the amount of activity you can do will be different from day to day.

  • Avoid activities that cannot be stopped immediately if they become too much.

  • Sit to work whenever possible and rest before you feel tired.

  • Plan a balance of rest and activity, spreading the more draining tasks throughout the week.

  • Delegate responsibilities to others.

Here are ideas on how your agency can celebrate Occupational Therapist month:

  • Throw an OT party and invite former patients to share their success stories and take lots of photos to share on social media.

  • Highlight individual therapists in your social media posts. Have them share fun facts about themselves and give a short ditty about why they chose to become an occupational therapist.

  • Host a lunch & learn for your referral sources to point out all of the services you offer your patients and to seek feedback to improve your business.

  • Organize an OT get-together after work to facilitate team building and discuss the patients that have touched your heart.

Check out our online web store for materials to help promote your wellness message…