Healthcare at Home Helps You Stay YOU!

Healthcare at Home Helps You Stay YOU!

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July is meant for the social butterflies! From Family Reunion and Picnic Month to Social Wellness Month, it’s time for those who like to visit to shine.

What do social events have in common with home health, outpatient therapy, or hospice services? Staying social is tough if you’re not feeling well enough to enjoy conversations!

All three services help patients feel the very best that they can. That could mean more meaningful visits with those you love. It might be hard for folks to grasp this idea, especially with a service like hospice, so let’s explain what each service truly has to offer.

Hospice: Hospice offers enhanced medical oversight outside of a hospital; the hospice team visits patients wherever they call home. With this added support in their preferred setting, patients utilizing hospice may be more likely to want to socialize (if their illness allows) than if they were in a hospital setting with visitor restrictions.

A common myth about hospice is that it overmedicates patients, so they are not alert enough to communicate with family and loved ones. Hospice works to add comfort and minimize pain. However, it controls discomfort in a way that allows patients to be as alert as possible.

Pain is not a normal part of dying, but it can be a part of the disease that’s causing the patient’s death. Fatigue and additional sleeping can also be part of the dying process. While hospice supports those facing the end of their lives, it also intends to make the final days, weeks, or months of a patient’s life as comfortable as possible.

Home Health Services: Patients may utilize home health care following an injury, illness, or a new diagnosis or while they manage a long-term condition. It allows them to have support to stay safe and independent. Patients who feel their best are more likely to maintain their social lives.

Home health nurses can manage medications, educate patients and their families about their conditions, and help them maintain their ability to complete tasks at home. They can also evaluate patients to determine if therapy could help. Home health can help patients avoid experiencing health setbacks that result in hospitalization, frequent visits to the ER, or stays in a nursing home.

Outpatient Therapy Services: Use it or lose it! That’s the main takeaway from physical and occupational therapies.

It’s much easier to see friends and loved ones when we can move freely and safely toward their embrace or easily get in and out of vehicles to reach their front doors.

Once someone has been hospitalized or immobile for a long period, it can take some work to regain strength. If patients maintain stability and reduce their risk of falling, they are more likely to maintain their abilities.

Speech and language pathologists, or SLPs, can provide speech therapy services to help those who have experienced neurological conditions, such as strokes or forms of dementia. Through this branch of therapy, SLPs help patients maintain their ability to converse by teaching them to talk louder and slower or how to follow a sequence of events. Following ordered sequences, such as recipes, is important to manage everyday life.

Who Qualifies for Health Services at Home?

This is a very interesting question, and the best way we can answer it is to help you explore your coverage! Medicare, Medicaid, and many insurance companies pay for home health and hospice.

Hospice has very specific requirements, one of which is that the patient’s diagnosis could result in their passing away within six months. If a hospice patient uses the services for six months, they can re-qualify, or if they’ve improved, they may no longer qualify. It can be surprising how many common diagnoses could qualify patients for hospice care, which is why we’re willing to help patients explore what services might be best for them at home.

No matter your health needs, you don’t have to manage them alone. Contact us today at info@caringedge.com to explore how healthcare services at home can help you achieve your goals.

These Boots Are Made for… Walking Month!

These Boots Are Made for… Walking Month!

walking

May is National Walking Month. It seems like a fitting time to celebrate because it’s also Nurse’s Month, and no one gets their daily steps in like a nurse on the go!

Getting plenty of exercise and hitting step goals can seem easy while we’re feeling our best, but as we age, we can slow down, and we may not even realize it. Decreased movement can creep up and become problematic after retirement or reducing our workload. While not everyone is headed out to do a marathon, regular walking is a great way to maintain mobility, strength, and long-term independence.

Benefits of Walking:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances energy
  • Fortifies the immune system
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Brightens your mood, reduces anxiety, and improves depression
  • Increases your balance and coordination
  • Helps to ease arthritis
  • It may lower your risk of developing a chronic disease

After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.

—George Macauley Trevelyan

Common Barriers to Walking:

Finding Relief

Unfortunately, as we age, if we don’t move it, we lose it, so it’s best to address mobility issues as soon as possible. If you are experiencing barriers to everyday movement like walking, don’t delay speaking with your medical team.

Whether you have discomfort when you move around or you’ve slowed down a bit, your doctor may be able to find a root cause for your issues. They may also be able to order physical or occupational therapies.

Outpatient therapists can teach you how to move in a way that limits your pain and maximizes your independence. They can also help you find ways to move to decrease your risk of falling.

Lastly, if you need mobility aids such as a cane or walker, outpatient therapists can help you find safe options. Canes and walkers are not one-size-fits-all. Sure, they’re available at medical supply shops, but they are all different, and some devices could cause harm if they’re not the right size for your needs. Outpatient therapists can help you find the best devices and teach you how to use them so you can enjoy moving again!

How to Make Walking Fun:

  • Speak with your doctor about any discomfort when you walk to learn the root cause before you begin.
  • Find a walking partner (join a group or think about starting one).
  • Scope out a beautiful place to walk, such as an established path at a local park or a trail near lakes and rivers.
  • If the outdoors isn’t safe for you, consider walking at your local shopping mall during quieter times, or find out if your local schools allow hallway walking.
  • Wear bright, easily visible colors.
  • Keep your hands open to catch yourself if you have a fall (avoid holding phones or water bottles).
  • Watch the ground and everything around you for uneven ground or potential obstacles that could trip you up.
  • Carry a light bag such as a waist pack or backpack to keep a few essentials handy and your hands free.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with plenty of grip.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Start small and increase your daily steps/distance as you gain confidence and ability.

If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk. Hippocrates

If you’re interested in how CaringEdge’s outpatient therapists can help you get back on your feet, contact us at info@caringedge.com.

Get Some “Spring” in Your Step!

Get Some “Spring” in Your Step!

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Perhaps you’ve had a recent fall or a near miss or didn’t move as much as you would have liked this winter. Aging, injuries, stiffness, and being cooped up indoors can slow us down. The good news is there’s room to improve!

Did you know that walking speed can predict the future of your independence? Research shows that the slower someone walks, the more likely they are to have difficulty with tasks of daily living, more likely to have falls, and more likely to be hospitalized! This is astounding information, and many don’t realize that gait speed can be tested and improved.

What is Gait Speed?

How fast someone walks.

A Gait Speed Evaluation Can Predict:

  • The risk of future falls
  • If assistance may be needed with tasks of daily living/personal care
  • Life expectancy

Why Complete a Gait Speed Analysis?

If you’re falling, losing balance, or you’ve started to slow down, the test may help indicate if you’re at risk for further decline. It can help your healthcare providers create a plan of care to help you improve. Sometimes, the plan can include outpatient therapies along with the recommendation for having help with tasks of daily living to reduce your risk for further decline.

How Long Does the Test Take?

Under five minutes!

What do I have to do?

Walk as usual for a short distance while you’re observed by clinical staff.

Gait Speed Analysis by CaringEdge:

 Our physical therapists can offer a gait-speed analysis evaluation. Depending on the results, you could be eligible for regular and routine physical therapy. Physical therapy has been proven to improve independence and safety and, ultimately, enhance your quality of life!

A free gait speed analysis can provide a consistent, reliable, and statistically relevant way to track and prevent falls and calculate the risk for further decline. The scores can also be documented as a data point that we can re-screen regularly to monitor the residents’/patients’ mobility, safety, and risk level with functional mobility.

Demystifying Gait Speed:

Many seniors feel that they have to slow down when they walk. While this rings true when walking on icy or uneven surfaces, it’s not so true for walking around your home daily to complete the tasks you need. The slower seniors walk around their homes, the more likely they will have a trip or a fall.

We say it often: you lose it if you don’t use it. A gait speed analysis can be a great starting point to help you get back to doing the things you want to be doing again. We’d happily meet with you, assess your condition, learn your goals, and create a care plan. Best of all, we accept Medicare for our home health services! Therapies can typically be covered to keep out-of-pocket costs minimal or completely erased.

Your future is now! Let CaringEdge’s therapists and home health get you back to feeling your best. Reach out to us today at info@caringedge.com.

Don’t Go Falling for It!

Don’t Go Falling for It!

senior man climbing upstairs with walking stick

The majesty of winter is here. You’re bundled up and headed out to adore the beauty and ope! You’re staring up at the universe faster than you can say the word ice.

We’ve all been there. When we were young, we might have a good laugh over it. When we begin to age, each fall can cause panic. So, how do you avoid these nasty little blunders when old man winter sets in?

  • Walk like a penguin with a wide stance
  • Wear ice cleats (YakTrax is a familiar brand)
  • Keep your hands free to catch yourself
  • Use railings whenever it’s possible
  • Keep snow melt or sand handy for sprinkling
  • Take someone’s hand—only if it’s safe
  • Avoid rushing
  • Bundle up (dress for the slide, not the ride—this is usually advice for being on a motorcycle, but it can apply to winter, too)
  • Go through the snow if it’s safer (wet feet/clothing is no fun, but falls can be worse)

What to do After a Fall

If in doubt, have your doctor check you out! Sometimes, you dust off and get up and limp away, only to find that three days later, you’re struggling with pain in your lower back.

Be diligent and seek care if you have any thought that you’re injured, and ALWAYS see a doctor if you hit your head from a fall. It’s just better to be safe than sorry for falls.

It’s also important to track how many falls you’ve had. Those who have fallen often need to see their doctors to learn the root causes. It’s not always a slippery floor. There could be several factors putting someone at risk.

When you see your doctor, list all your symptoms and any changes to your sleeping, eating, or activity patterns before you visit. If you’re taking supplements and medications, be sure to bring a current list and be honest about how you take your medications. If you forget now and again, offer that information, too. Your doctor is not there to scold you, but they want the best for you. Clarity is essential to receive the best treatment!

Home Evaluations & Therapy Services

Therapy services from CaringEdge can help! Our physical and occupational therapists can help you get back to working order if you’re falling or at risk of a fall.

Our occupational and physical therapy staff could give you a lot of tips to improve your safety. One of the most important things they can recommend is the placement of grab bars around your home.

Grab bars are often found in the shower or bathroom, but they should always be purchased and installed by someone knowledgeable about how they work. Stick-on or suction grab bars are unlikely effective and could pose a danger if they come unstuck as you fall and grab them.

Check with your doctor to see if you qualify for outpatient or home health therapy services, or contact us at CaringEdge at info@caringedge.com. We aim to help as many seniors as possible to live independently and safely!

The Secret to a Healthy Heart

The Secret to a Healthy Heart

Ahh, February. It’s almost time for pink and red decorations, gifts from sweethearts, and sugary snacks—everywhere. Don’t forget; it’s American Heart Month, too!

Did you know that more deadly heart attacks happen during the winter and holiday season? How about the fact from the CDC that 1 in 5 people having a heart attack don’t even know they’re having one?

The American Heart Association reported that December 25th has the highest number of heart attacks compared to any other day during the calendar year. The second-highest day is December 26, followed by the third-highest day on the first of January.

What do all these days have in common? Holidays can throw people off their routines. There may be travel, nights spent sleeping poorly on bony hide-a-beds, more visiting into the late-night hours followed by the early morning coffee chatter that throws people off their routines.

As a result of all the socializing and fun, folks may skip more medications, move less, eat more, and may also use more alcohol or too much caffeine. They’re also probably forgetting their recommended eight glasses of water to flush out the holiday fun.

All of these factors compounded may contribute to the uptick in heart attacks around these days of the year. The good news is that all those dates are behind us, and if you’re enjoying this blog, you can share some of this helpful information with your loved ones!

Do you know what the symptoms of a heart attack are? Many folks don’t know that they’re even having a heart attack!

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack:

  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn/indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, back, jaw/teeth, or upper abdominal area
  • Shortness of breath

Prevention Tips:

  • Exercise
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet
  • See your healthcare provider to know your numbers and your risks
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Use “sometimes” foods and beverages in moderation
  • Work on stress reduction

Regular & Routine Medical Care

Maintain your health through regular visits to your primary care physician. They can recommend specialty care and services such as home health if you are managing chronic conditions, like diabetes, that put you at risk of a heart attack.

Regular cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose checks help your doctor understand your risks so they can advise you on the next steps. Self-care like managing stress, getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating right can also help to reduce the risks.

Self-Care & Diet

In the land of hard work, slowing down can feel impossible. It can even look selfish to some, causing guilt if we take a moment. But to be healthy, we need prep time to schedule workouts, shop and prepare healthy foods, and relax. We also need the ability to exercise safely.

Heating up quick and ready-to-eat sodium-laden prepackaged foods can take a toll. It’s important to make time to prepare and eat healthy meals. You don’t have to do it alone, though. If you’re struggling to adjust your diet, your doctor may recommend the help of a registered dietician through home health to advise you on making the right changes.

Support at Home

If you’re interested in reducing your risk for a heart attack and could use some help, consider CaringEdge. We offer home health services to make you feel your best.

Our home health nurses can monitor your vitals, medications, and any new symptoms you may be having. Dietitians can also offer education on how your nutritional habits impact your health.

With the help of CaringEdge home health and outpatient therapy, you may regain the ability to exercise and move safely and freely around your home. Lastly, with our help, you can learn how to maintain your health and stay independent in your daily activities.

Let CaringEdge set you up for success, and get back to being you again! Reach out to us at info@caringedge.com with any questions you may have about services.

How to Stay Safe in the Tub

How to Stay Safe in the Tub

elegant bathroom design

Bathtime should be relaxing! Whether you like to soak your cares away in a tub filled with bubbles or prefer a warm shower, these cares shouldn’t add stress. For some, bathtime has caused falls, injuries, or near misses to the point that it’s more hassle than self-care should be.

January is many things, but it’s also bathtub safety month. According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of senior falls happen in the bathroom. That number is alarming, but prevention is possible.

What Keeps People from Enjoying Bathtime?

  • Fear of falling
  • Prior falls
  • Pain
  • Memory loss
  • Limited mobility
  • Inaccessible bathtub/shower
  • Injuries
  • Diminished strength
  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of balance

 Bringing Relaxation Back

If you’ve had an injury or are experiencing pain, consult your doctor to determine if your insurance will cover outpatient therapy. Medicare may cover the bill.

Outpatient physical or occupational therapy can help you regain strength and balance and teach you new techniques to safely get in and out of the shower or tub. Outpatient therapists can show you how to move more painlessly based on your needs. Best of all, these experts can recommend everyday exercises to help you stay strong even after you recover.

Therapists may also recommend some helpful equipment to help keep you safe. Shower chairs, grab bars, hand-held shower heads, and long-handled sponges are all useful for safe bathing/showering.

Durable medical equipment comes in different heights, sizes, and weight capacities. Outpatient occupational and physical therapy specialists can offer expertise on which products are appropriate for you and your bathroom.

Be cautious when choosing bathroom décor and equipment on your own. Stick-on grab bars are readily available, easy to install, and may be fashionable, but perhaps dangerous to use if they don’t stay in place.

Set up your bathtime to have toiletries easy to grab once you’re finished. Be sure you have proper lighting and that rugs are firmly secured to the floor before hopping in the tub.

Adding a Layer of Safety

Having someone to help you safely step into the tub or wash your back can reduce the risk of falling. If fear or dignity keeps you from a thorough wash, hiring a trusted professional rather than asking a family member can be beneficial. Each person’s comfort level differs, but having family help with the most personal care doesn’t work for everyone.

Regardless of who helps you, ask them to look over your skin during the process. Skin breakdown can affect overall health. Wounds that don’t heal properly can create pain and potentially need antibiotics, wound care, surgeries, or hospitalization.

Skin Checks

  • Sores
  • Blisters
  • Bruises
  • Wounds
  • Skin tears
  • Changes in your skin or moles

CaringEdge can offer home health services that can help you enjoy bathtime again. They can provide home health services from a nurse to address medication safety or outpatient therapists to help you regain your strength and independence with tasks of daily living like bathing. Prevention is always best, so consider getting help before health problems escalate from falls to skin breakdown or more complex issues. Please get in touch with us to learn more at info@caringedge.com.