Cholesterol Awareness

What is it about cholesterol that makes it harmful? It is, after all, produced in our body, so why is it so bad? These are the kinds of questions health care providers regularly address when explaining cholesterol.

The liver makes the majority of the cholesterol that our bodies need to function properly, so with additional amounts obtained by eating meat, eggs and dairy we can easily go overboard. The real problem is that cholesterol production increases as we age. If we don’t adjust our habits and reduce external cholesterol consumption, it can build up in our arteries and lead to a cardiovascular event or stroke.

Home heath physicians and nurses routinely treat patients with maladies that are the direct result of high LDL- cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels. While it’s true that some people inherit a propensity for high cholesterol and need to regulate their levels with medication, many people can regulate them through diet and exercise.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, making it the perfect time to remind your referral partners about the services you provide patients dealing with heart disease and stroke recovery. Start by supplying your referring physicians and clinicians with educational health brochures related to cholesterol damage. 

Do your part as a health care professional to educate the public about cholesterol.:

  •  Share cholesterol facts throughout the month on your social media feeds:

    1)   Consider a heart healthy diet heavy with HDL friendly foods like olive oil, legumes, fatty fish, nuts, flax seeds, and high-fiber fruits.

    2)  Exercise moderately every day,

    3)  Avoid tobacco and alcohol,

    4)   Maintain a healthy weight

  • Partner with healthy eateries to host lunch-&-learns with local non-profits that share your vision. Provide information about cholesterol monitoring and demonstrate your expertise and value as a Home Health provider.

  • Provide disease prevention brochures to a variety of establishments throughout the community: public health centers, pharmacies, walk-In clinics, and senior centers to name a few.

Visit tabwebstore.com for all your Home Health and Hospice Marketing essentials.

 Resources: MedlinePlus.gov, heart.org

Battling Depression with Home Care

Most people think of Summer as bright, sunny, and pleasant, but someone suffering with a depressive disorder might think of it as dark, dreary, and oppressive.

Depressive disorder, depression, is a serious mental condition most commonly categorized by an acute loss of interest in life and a persistent despondency. Most everyone has incidents in their lives that cause deep sadness, but people who feel extreme sadness and overwhelming despair for an extended period of time are likely clinically depressed. Some factors that contribute to clinical depression include:

  • Chemical imbalances in the brain that adversely alter a person’s temperament.

  • Negative thinking which can increase the risk of depression.  

  • Gender: women experience depression more often than men.

  • Medications which can negatively affect mood and behavior.

  • Genetic predisposition: A family history of depressive behavior can increase the likelihood of developing it.

  • A traumatic life event such as death, divorce, or bankruptcy.

  • Serious illnesses:  cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease cause emotional distress that can evolve into depression.

Home health and hospice provide patients and their families with medical and emotional support. Hospice teams in particular routinely deal with depressive disorder stemming from both traumatic life events and serious illness. Hospice teams include social workers, physiologists, and clergy who are trained to recognize and care for patients and family members suffering with depression. 

Remind your referral sources when making your presentations about the advantage of personalized home care for their patients at high risk of developing depression.

Visit TAGwebstore for patient education materials on specific conditions that contribute to clinical depression.

 

Resources:

ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

Mental Health America

National Institute of Mental Health

3 Minute Depression Test

Preventing Heatstroke

Participating in strenuous outdoor activities on a hot summer day can put you at risk of a heat-related illness. If you play sports or work outdoors you should take precautions to guard against heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Some tips to help you beat the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages.

  • Replenish depleted salt by drinking sports drinks or electrolyte fortified waters.

  • Plan outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the extreme midday heat.

  • Take frequent cooling breaks and don’t overexert yourself.

  • Wear a brimmed hat and lightweight clothing.

Heat exhaustion left untreated can lead to a heatstroke. The signs of heat exhaustion can be similar to that of the flu. If you are feeling overheated, clammy, or light headed, are sweating heavily, and your heart is racing, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion. To relieve heat exhaustion, you should get out of the heat, rehydrate, and lower your body temperature as soon as possible. Ignoring the signs of heat exhaustion can lead to a more serious and possibly fatal heatstroke!

Indications of a heatstroke include:

  • Body temperature that exceeds 103֯

  • Disorientation, dizziness, or loss of consciousness

  • Hot, flushed, dry skin

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Heavy perspiration

  • Rapid, strong heart rate

  • Headache

If you think someone may be having a heatstroke immediately move them out of the heat, cool them down by whatever means available, and call 911! Immerse them in cool water, or douse them with a garden hose for a quick cool down. Place ice packs around the person’s neck, armpits, and groin until help arrives.

Promote heat safety throughout the summer on your social media outlets. Provide your home care nurses and health care aides with access to hydration throughout the day.

Partner with TAG! Your source for patient educational materials.

July is Bereaved Parents Month

The natural order of life is for children to outlive their parents. If that natural order is disrupted it creates a life shattering scenario that no one is ever prepared to face. Losing a child is perhaps the most devastating emotional trauma that anyone can experience. Palliative care specialists and hospice are a great source of support for parents caring for a seriously ill child, especially when their child’s diagnosis becomes terminal.

There have not been many studies dedicated to grieving the loss of a child. The research that has been done indicates that the psychological damage parents suffer does not heal over time.  They tend to experience intense sorrow and a display many of the characteristics of complicated grief. Simply defined, complicated grief is an unceasing despair that does not fade over time and interferes with a person’s ability to return to a normal life. Complicated grief requires professional counseling to overcome.

Common signs of complicated grief may include:

  • Intense lasting sorrow

  • Continued disbelief that their loved one is gone

  • Relentless preoccupation with their loved one's death

  • Extreme bitterness or anger

  • Obsession with reminders of their loved one

  • Sustained inability to enjoy happy memories of their loved one

  • Persistent longing for the deceased

  • Severe detachment

  • Excessive avoidance of reminders of their loved one

  • Compelling desire to join their loved one

  • Exaggerated distrust of others

  • Overwhelming hopelessness that life no longer has meaning

  • Escalating dread that interferes with the activities of daily living

  • Increased isolation from others and social activities

  • Displaced blame or an unrealistic idea that they could have prevented the death

Parents will try anything to save their child’s life, but when treatments are no longer effective, hospice care can ease the child’s discomfort and, in some cases, extend life. Hospice gives a terminally ill child the best possible quality of life while supporting distraught family members.

Take time this month to visit children’s hospitals in your service area to provide support for families facing the unthinkable.

Visit Tagwebstore.com for your hospice marketing media.

 

Related Resource: https://grief.com/books-on-the-loss-of-a-child/ 

Home Care and the Lung Cancer Patient

Home care is available for cancer patients in all stages of their disease, be it home health or hospice care. The majority of those patients are battling lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that over 140,000 people will die from lung cancer this year, making it by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.

The prognosis for lung cancer can vary widely depending on the cancer type and the stage it is in when diagnosed. Lung cancer may be incurable, but it is almost always treatable. Home health care works with cancer patients who are home bound to provide supportive care and help with the activities of daily living.

Home health also provides help with:

  • Explaining the disease process

  • Counseling for patients and their families

  • Managing patient care

  • Observing treatment progress and advising when adjustments are needed

  • Educating about safety in daily activities and emergencies

  • Monitoring medications

  • Evaluating nutritional needs

Lung cancer patients typically have a team of doctors and specialists working together to eradicate their cancer. This collaboration usually consists of: thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, palliative care physicians, and medical and radiation oncologists.

Much in that same way, hospice uses a team approach to treat patients. Hospice teams are made up of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, therapists, volunteers, and chaplains. A cancer patient is generally eligible for hospice care when treatments are no longer effective, and their disease is determined likely to follow its normal path of progression.

Hospice care focuses on quality of life for the patient as well as their family. They minimize patient discomfort through symptom and pain management, while providing respite care, emotional support, and bereavement counseling for family members.

Reach out to the oncologists and cancer treatment centers in your service area with information on how partnering with home health and hospice can improve the quality of care for their cancer patients.

Help your referring partners address the many misinterpretations about hospice and the services they provide for terminally ill patients and their families by visiting the tagwebstore.com : The Real Truth About Hospice Flyer.