Geriatric Care Management and Home Health

May is National Older Americans Month and a good time to promote Geriatric Care Management and the role it plays in helping seniors navigate complex health decisions. It’s not widely known that many home health agencies offer geriatric care management as part of their care services. A geriatric care manager is generally a licensed nurse or social worker who acts as a surrogate relative to advise patients and their caregivers on appropriate short and long-term care planning. They are especially helpful to seniors who do not have family close by.  Care managers routinely:

  • Act as advocates

  • Assist with decision making

  • Evaluate short and long-term care needs

  • Explain complex medical issues

  • Coordinate care services

  • Direct and supervise caregivers

  • Assess insurance benefits

  • Refer estate planners

  • Communicate with long-distance family members

  • Consult with physicians

Home health care provides seniors with a collaborative team approach to health care, to identify and execute care practices based on the changing needs of the patient. As the senior population continues to grow and the need for care managers increases, it’s more important than ever that home health agencies promote this area of service.

Make senior care your marketing focus throughout National Older Americans Month. Here are some ideas for promoting home health services for seniors in your community:

  • Conduct classes on elder care at places of worship with large senior memberships. Start by explaining the basic areas where home health care services excel: geriatric care management, post-acute care, chronic illness care, functional disability therapies, palliative care.

  • Partner with local insurance providers and estate planners to host lunch-and-learns at senior centers throughout your service area. Provide materials that outline your services and the convenience of receiving health care in the home. 

  • Arrange a therapy dog visitation day with skilled service facilities in your area to provide some fur baby love to the staff and patients. Partner with volunteers from the Local Pet therapy provider in your area.

  • Call on assisted living communities to promote how partnering with home health care can benefit their residents struggling with declining mobility and other chronic health conditions. Provide information on your occupational and physical therapy services and how they can help residents maintain their independence longer.

Visit TAGWebstore for your home health and hospice marketing and patient education materials.   

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is March 10 – 16

Promote Pulmonary Rehabilitation throughout the month of March! Highlight the role home health can play in improving outcomes and reducing hospitalizations for patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a therapy program designed to reduce symptoms and increase stamina for people with breathing problems. PR is an individualized care plan that works in tandem with other medical treatments to teach patients how better to manage their condition. A typical PR strategy may include:  

  • Physical training

  • Energy-conservation techniques

  • Respiration coaching

  • Meal planning

  • Disease management procedures

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a long-term commitment that can be an effective treatment for: respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and COPD. Patients with severely compromised health and those with limited mobility can find it difficult to participate in regular therapy sessions. That’s where having a team of specialists come to the patient is so helpful. Home health can provide the therapy people need without their leaving home.

Home health care teams, nurses, technicians, and specialists provide high level care for patients with obstructed breathing.

  • Promote home care to the physicians in your service area. Remind your referral network that under Medicare patients are generally covered for most medically necessary COPD treatments including home health care ICD-10 codes J00-J99.

  • Cold and Flu season may be winding down, but the local walk-in clinics are still busy treating patients with respiratory illness. Call on these often-overlooked referral sources and distribute patient education materials about home health and COPD.

  • Advocate lung health through your social media outlets with links to helpful resources.

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

National Epilepsy Awareness Month (NEAM)

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. It was established to educate the public on the facts about epilepsy, in hopes of dispelling some of the misconceptions surrounding the disease.

Epilepsy, the fourth most common neurological disease in America, is a disorder where periods of abnormal brain activity produce seizures. It is generally treated with anti-epileptic medications to regulate the electrical activity in the brain and minimize seizures. For most people there is no definable cause for their epilepsy, but there are some cases that can be traced to: 

  • Genetic tendency

  • Trauma as the result of a severe head injury

  • Brain damage as a result of a tumor or stroke

  • Infectious diseases like meningitis, AIDs, and viral encephalitis

  • Prenatal injury such as infection in the mother, poor nutrition, or lack of oxygen.

  • Other neurological disorders like autism or neurofibromatosis

Home Health Care providers routinely care for patients recovering from stroke and other debilitating brain conditions. Contact your referral network next month to remind them of your agency’s patient outcomes and the important role Home Health can provide those struggling with frequent seizures.

Living with epilepsy can make a person feel as if they have no control over their life. Home health assists patients to manage their condition by carefully documenting their symptoms, seizures, and outcomes. This information can be a valuable tool in refining seizure management.

Seizure management starts by avoiding known triggers. Some known epileptic triggers include:

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Alcohol and drug use

  • Stress

  • Drug interaction

  • Certain foods

  • Acute dehydration

  • Extremely low blood sugar levels

During this month-long epilepsy awareness campaign, provide tips on what to do when someone is having a seizure on your social media sites:

Epilepsy Foundation – Adapting First Aid Plans: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety/adapting-first-aid-plans

CDC – Seizure First Aid: https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/first-aid.htm

Visit the Tag Web Store to procure your Home Care Flyers and other Home Health and Hospice marketing materials.

The Benefits of Home Health in treating Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects millions of Americans young and old alike, and a condition that home health and hospice care givers deal with frequently. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to make or process insulin requiring blood sugar levels to be checked continually.  Uncontrolled diabetes can cause eye, kidney and nerve damage, as well as double the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Controlling diabetes is an area where Home Health can contribute a great deal. Team nurses monitor patients’ vitals and blood sugar levels closely for improved disease management.  Better glucose regulation increases quality of life for older adults afflicted with diabetes.

Stay at the top of your referral network’s list this fall with an ample supply of our customized diabetes flyers and brochures for their patients. Our disease specific brochures and flyers are designed to educate your patient community while promoting your agency and services.

Indicators of Diabetes

  • Consecutive blood glucose tests that are equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL.

  • A blood glucose that is greater than 200 mg/dL.

  • An A1c test that is equal to or greater than 6.5%.

Types of Diabetes

  • Prediabetes is the condition when the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. The CDC estimates that 84 million Americans have this condition.

  • Type 1 diabetes is the condition where the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. About 5% of diagnosed diabetics have Type 1.

  • Type 2 diabetes is the condition where the pancreases cannot produce enough insulin or the body can not properly process it. This is the most common type of diabetes affecting 95% of those diagnosed.

  • Gestational Diabetes is an insulin deficiency condition that affects between 2% and 10% of pregnant women every year. Having this condition can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes late in life.

This November the focus for National Diabetes Month will be “Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes”. Use your resources to help raise awareness among women with a history of gestational diabetes. Women who have experienced gestational diabetes should:

  • Get tested for type 2 diabetes within 3 months of giving birth.

  • Discuss any future plans to become pregnant with your doctor.

  • Tell your child’s pediatrician if you had gestational diabetes.

  • Maintain healthy eating habits and moderate regular exercise to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes.

Visit www.tagstore.com for all your Home Health and Hospice marketing materials.

 

Boost agency awareness with diabetes education

Make diabetes education a priority this November. Not only is it American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month, but World Diabetes Day is Nov. 14.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects about 25.8 million Americans. Of those, about 7 million are undiagnosed. Even more shocking is the fact that about 79 million American adults have prediabetes — that’s 35 percent of adults age 20 and older! If the current trends continue, the CDC estimates that one-third of all American adults could have the disease by 2050.

And the illness is no laughing matter. Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is too high because your body either doesn’t make enough insulin to help the sugar get into your body’s cells or can’t use the hormone as well as it should. It increases a person’s risk of stroke, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and leg and foot amputations.

Such a serious and widespread health problem deserves your agency’s attention.

  • Start with a visit to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ education website. There you’ll find tons of free posters, fact sheets, videos and other useful materials.
  • Partner with a local optometrist and spread the word about the importance of regular eye exams to help make an early diabetes diagnosis. Optometrists can detect whether unexplained blurry vision or changes in prescriptions may be caused by narrowed blood vessels. Jointly host a discussion at a local senior center about this important issue. Be sure to take the doctor and the facility director to a healthy lunch afterward.
  • Volunteer to teach a diet and nutrition class in a local ALF with your favorite activity director. Tout the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in the prevention of diabetes. Bring along healthy snack alternatives to add to the discussion and promise a follow-up class on sensory changes as we age. Call 866-232-6477 for individual component pricing.
  • Post an item on your municipal government’s meeting agenda seeking to proclaim November as American Diabetes Month in your community. Be sure to sign up to speak during the agenda item’s reading or during the public comment portion of the meeting. View this sample proclamation for reference as you create your own.
  • Visit all the general practitioner offices in your market and educate them about your agency’s efforts in caring for diabetic patients. Leave behind disease-specific flyers or brochures.
  • Donate current diabetes books to your local library and insert a bookplate identifying your agency’s donation.
  • Give diabetic patients helpful tools to manage and monitor their condition. Zone flyers are an easy way to let them know whether their symptoms are normal, warrant a call to your agency, or are an emergency. Glucose logs help patients keep a clear record of their blood glucose levels and important screenings.