Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that robs many older adults of their memories, their self-awareness, and their independence. The progressive loss of cognitive function Alzheimer’s patients experience requires an escalating level of care. This can cause a real hardship for family caregivers.

Home health and hospice agencies help families care for their loved ones in the comfort and safety of their home. Home care enables Alzheimer’s patients to avoid the anxiety and confusion that comes with an office visit. Home health provides a multitude of services for the patient and their overwhelmed family caregivers:

  • Education about disease progress

  • Individual and family counseling

  • Management and evaluation of patient care

  • Observation and assessment

  • Medication and home safety education

  • Assistance with ADLs

  • Restorative therapy

  • Medical social services

Once a patient’s condition deteriorates to a six-month life expectancy, hospice can step in and take over. Alzheimer’s patients are often unable to report their symptoms, leaving them vulnerable to pain and various other conditions. Hospice nurses are trained to care for people who have lost some or all cognitive function and are excellent providers of palliative care for those nearing the end of life.

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Here are some ways your agency can plan now to get involved:

  • Partner up with local Alzheimer’s support groups. Provide refreshments and information on your company’s respite services and in-home support for those caring for Alzheimer’s family members at home.

  • Sponsor local awareness events like the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s .These walks raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research.

Forgetfulness vs Alzheimer’s: Tweets that you can copy and paste, courtesy of the National Institute on Aging:

  1. How can you tell the difference between mild forgetfulness & serious memory problems? Find out in this infographic: http://bit.ly/2nvUbLZ

  2. What’s normal aging and what may be a sign of Alzheimer’s? Check out this infographic to see what’s typical: http://bit.ly/2mQj4Fp

  3. Read and share this infographic about normal memory problems vs Alzheimer’s disease. http://bit.ly/2nhqeh1

Visit tagwebstore.com for Home Health and Hospice Educational and Marketing Materials.

Related: Find the Alzheimer’s Association in your community: https://www.alz.org/local_resources/find_your_local_chapter

 

Healthy Aging

The focus for healthy aging is usually placed on good nutrition and moderate exercise, but mental and emotional wellness should also be priorities for older adults. A good place to start is by staying connected with friends, family, and neighbors. As we age, we tend to become more isolated. Isolation can lead to social anxiety, self-esteem issues, and depression. Interacting with others, be it volunteering, taking a class, participating in a club, or a spiritual group activity, makes you feel better. Here are some other ideas for seniors to stay engaged:

  • Stay informed about what’s going on around you. Educate yourself about current events and how they affect you.

  • Don’t unplug, plug in! Don’t become an old turtle withdrawing into your shell whenever you don’t understand the latest gadget! Technology isn’t likely to slow down, so find an adult education class in your community or try an online service like TechBoomers.com, and learn how to keep up.

  • Interact openly with your doctor. Make a list of questions and concerns to discuss at your next visit. Review your prescription medications and ask about alternative therapies that might enable you to reduce them. Report any changes you may be experiencing and ask about ways you can improve your overall health.

  • Modify your expectations. Don’t despair when routine activities pose new challenges. You might not be able to do all the things that you once did in your youth, but you can find new ways to enjoy life.

  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep refreshes the body, mind, and spirit, but it can be evasive as we age. Aging causes sleep patterns to change, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Relaxation techniques like reading a book, listening to music, or drinking warm milk before bed can help.

  • Find the fun! Connect remotely* or personally with people you enjoy being around and who make you laugh.

Healthy Aging and Home Health:

  • Stay connected with your referral network throughout the month of September by promoting healthy aging

  • Post about senior health and the benefits of home health for post-surgical rehabilitation on your social media outlets.

  • Host classes on elder-care throughout your community. Highlight your geriatric care management, post-acute care, chronic illness care, functional disability therapies, and palliative care.

  • Contact assisted living communities in your service area about helping their residents with limited mobility. Provide information on your physical and occupational therapy services and how they can help residents maintain their independence longer.

Visit tagwebstore.com for all your home health and hospice educational and marketing materials.

*FaceTime, Facebook Messenger app, Skype, What’s App, Google Duo, Viber, IMO

Managing Cancer Pain

Cancer patients should never accept relentless pain as their new normal! All pain can be treated, and even if not totally alleviated, it can be minimized with a comprehensive pain management plan administered by a top-notch caregiving team.

A consistent high level of care is needed for a pain management plan to be effective. Home health and hospice teams provide just that. Home care nurses are trained to recognize tolerance changes that occur as cancer progresses. It can be hard for patients to describe their pain, but It’s important that they convey as much about it as possible. Pain is easier to treat at the onset, and staying in front of it is the key to controlling it.

Patients should participate in their pain management plan by documenting their pain:

  • Where is the pain?

  • Is the pain worse during the day or at night?

  • Rate the severity of the pain, on a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is the worst.

  • How does the pain feel: sharp, shooting, achy, burning, throbbing?

  • What makes it feel better: ice, heat, exercise?

  • What makes it feel worse: lying, standing, walking?

  • Does the medicine help the pain?

  • How long before you feel any relief after taking the medicine?

Cancer pain can be the result of the cancer itself or of any number of treatments. It can range from dull to sharp, and intermittent to constant. While the severity of cancer pain can vary widely, the frequency of home health visits helps nurses identify unreported symptoms and spot the onset of new site pain before it becomes intense.

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and educating patients about their disease and treatment options can be challenging, especially when they are still processing the news. Help your referral partners explain pain management and palliative care services to their new patients. Newly diagnosed patients who are informed about palliative care have an easier time embracing it as their disease progresses.

Always keep cancer care at the top of your marketing strategy but especially during September, National Pain Awareness Month. Highlight the benefits of in-home care for cancer patients with limited mobility, diminished immune systems, and sickness caused by treatments.

Visit TAGwebstore.com for home health and hospice patient education brochures and flyers, as well as referral building tools like our popular Guidelines for Hospice Admission Flip Chart.

Resources: cancer.org, cancernetwork.com

National Home Care and Hospice Month coming up in November…

We would all prefer to age gracefully in the comfort of our homes. Many adults are turning to home health, palliative, and hospice care in order to make that a reality. These health services are now a leading choice of care among the disabled, and the chronically and terminally ill.

This November honor your staff for the work they do in caring for those who can longer care for themselves. Promote the fact that your patients receive personalized health care in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. A typical Home Health Team consists of: Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologist.

Educate patients and their families about hospice and the physical, mental and spiritual support it provides those families facing a terminal prognosis. Let them know that choosing hospice is not giving up, but rather a decision to focus on pain and symptom management. It is surrounding yourself and your family with a care team that specializes in helping terminally ill patients enjoy the best quality of life they can in the time they have left. A typical Hospice Care Team consists of: Medical Director, Registered Nurses, Nurses’ Aides, Social Workers, Hospice Chaplains, and Trained Volunteers.

Celebrate the dedicated care givers in your agency who work together to minimize anxiety and discomfort for those facing a life-limiting illness, and enable patients to face the end of their lives peacefully in the comfort of their own home.

“It is highly appropriate in November that we celebrate the nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our country’s aged, disabled, and dying. No work is nobler, and no group is more deserving of our respect and admiration.”  – Val J. Halamandaris, former NAHC President

  Ways you can Highlight your Agency and the Services you Provide:

  • This November, honor physicians who understand and support the work you do for their patients through your social media posts.

  • Educate physicians and patients about palliative care and how it can assist those recovering from a serious illness.

  • Distribute FAQ brochures to all the libraries and coffee shops in your area. Be sure to leave them at community counters wherever possible.

  • Make the lives of your patients and their family caregivers easier by giving them a clear guide that shows them when their symptoms require a call to emergency services, to their home health nurse, or require no action at all. Zone flyers make this simple and are personalized to your agency.

  • Set up a booth at community events this month and distribute agency materials, including disease information brochures personalized to your agency. These brochures educate about specific conditions and tell how home health, private duty or hospice care can help.

 Visit www.tagwebstore.com for all your Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice Marketing essentials.