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 

Home Care and Huntington’s Disease

Home Health and Hospice agencies care for patients with progressive brain disorders such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a progressive hereditary brain disorder that usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50.  The early symptoms can be vague and exhibit as irritability, depression, or difficulty grasping new information. These are often accompanied by physical indicators such as loss of coordination or small involuntary twitches. As the disease progresses these small twitches become more pronounced, making it difficult to walk, stand or even swallow. Huntington’s disease will eventually result in severe mental and physical disability.

The benefits that home health care provides neurological patients with physical disabilities is obvious. What may not be obvious is how home care can reduce the confusion and anxiety that a patient with diminished brain function experiences when leaving their safety zone. Oftentimes even leaving the confines of their bedroom can be overwhelming for them.

When marketing your services always emphasize the emotional benefit that Home Health and Hospice provides patients and their families. No one wants to see someone they love suffer, let alone become agitated to the point of sedation while being transported for treatment. Home Care minimizes episodes of agitation and in some cases can almost eliminate the need for a patient to leave home at all.

With May approaching, and being Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, here are some ways your agency can get involved:

  • Partner with your referral sources and sponsor a TEAM HOPE WALK to raise awareness and provide hope for those suffering with Huntington’s Disease.

  • Organize a SRIKE OUT HD night at your local bowling alley. Encourage other Home Care and Hospice agencies to join you to raise awareness. Be sure to invite the local Media, and don’t forget to post the event on your social media outlets.

  • Get involved with local brain injury support groups. Provide refreshments and information on your company’s respite services and in-home support for caregivers.

Support Resources:  The Michael J. Fox Foundations - Parkinson’s Support | National Brain Tumor Society  | Brainline |HDSA

Visit TAGWebstore.com for Home Health. Home Care, and Hospice marketing media.

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.

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.