Monday, July 23, 2018

Help those with high blood pressure naturally

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MONEY NEWS


Over 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure and a further 30 percent have prehypertension, making this condition extremely crucial to control.
“While health is important at any age, chronic insults to the arteries such as elevated blood pressure can certainly take their toll over time leading to increased risk for heart disease,” says Felicia Stoler, M.S., R.D., an expert consultant in healthy living who specializes in integrating behavior and nutritional modification to influence positive health outcomes.
“It’s important to schedule regular doctors visits, especially if you know you have a genetic predisposition to hypertension and monitor your blood pressure regularly with a home device,” she tells Newsmax Health.
While physicians are quick to prescribe medication to lower blood pressure, Stoler cautions that any medication can have side effects.
“Some people taking ACE inhibitors, for example, can have a dry cough while others suffer from dizziness and have an upset stomach. It’s important to try natural remedies first before diving into drugs.”
Stoler warns that high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer” because it rarely shows symptoms, so monitoring your numbers regularly can be life-saving. According to the American Heart Association, ideal blood pressure should be less than 120/80.
Here are some suggestions on how to lower or stabilize hypertension naturally:
  1. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich grains, oily fish, nuts, legumes and seeds.
  2. Daily activity is important, says Stoler. “You don’t have to sweat or get out of breath in order to reap the benefits. Take a five-minute walk every hour at work, which can add up to 40 minutes of activity during an 8 hour day.”
  3. Fish oil supplementation. Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower cardiovascular risk by reducing inflammation in the body and also reduce clotting time.
  4. Meditate. The American Heart Association released a recent scientific statement endorsing the practice of Transcendental Meditation as a valid technique to lower blood pressure. The report also said that the method was safe and had no side effects.
  5. Hawthorn. This herb is commonly used in Europe to lower blood pressure, says Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D, author of “The Natural Medicine Chest.”  “It improves blood flow and strengthens the contractions of the heart muscle.” In a British trial, this herb showed significant health benefits with a 1,200 milligram daily dose.
  6. Coenzyme Q10. This supplement lowers both the systolic pressure, when the heart is beating, and the diastolic pressure, when the heart is relaxed, says Kamhi. University of Western Australia research shows that taking 60 to 100 milligrams daily lowers blood pressure by up to 17 points.
  7. Aged garlic extract. A Brown University study showed that taking daily capsules of aged garlic extract lowers high blood pressure by 6 percent.
  8. Beet juice. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that a daily dose of beetroot juice significantly improved blood pressure in elderly patients with heart failure. It also boosted their exercise endurance levels by 24 percent after one week.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hearing aids can help those with dementia

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Chicago Tribune Health




Hearing aids might help increase memory, reduce anxiety and increase social interaction among dementia patients, local health experts say.

"Whether you have dementia or not, you need to hear," said Ronna Fisher, audiologist and founder and president of Hearing Health Center in Chicago and three suburbs. "It's not normal not to hear. Hearing is what makes us happy in our relationships. If you can't hear, you stop talking."

Improved sensory perception won't stop the progression of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, experts said, but increasing the ability to hear will help reduce a patient's loneliness and confusion.

The staff at Smith Village, a continuing-care retirement community in Chicago's Beverlyneighborhood, said it has noticed increased participation among residents who address their hearing problems.

"Getting hearing aids does help them," said Diane Morgan, memory support coordinator. "When their hearing is down, they experience paranoia or anxiety because they can't hear what's being said to them."

Fisher, whose father suffered hearing loss at an early age, said she began noticing in 2008 that when her dementia patients were fitted with hearing aids –– especially deep-insert hearing devices that remain in the ear for three months at a time –– they socialized more and their memories improved.

In a study released this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institute on Aging found that seniors suffering from hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Among other things, the research suggests that hearing loss could lead to social isolation, a risk factor for dementia.

The research should offer hope to physicians treating dementia patients, said Dr. Marsel Mesulam, director of th Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern's medical school.
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"Doctors and health care providers treating elderly patients should not throw up theirhands treating dementia," Mesulam said. "They can look at other factors that are treatable, like hearing loss or vision."


Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a term used to describe the common symptoms of memory loss and declining cognitive abilities that interfere with daily life, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Other causes of dementia include brain injuries, infections and tumors, and vascular, Parkinson's and other diseases that affect neurological function.


Nancy Rainwater, a spokeswoman for the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said that at the very least, a person's hearing loss might cause caregivers to assume there is dementia when there is not.


"Each patient is different," Rainwater said. "Get a formal diagnosis."


Naperville resident Debby Berger began taking her 86-year-old mother to Hearing Health Center last year. At the time, her mother's memory had declined. Since she has been fitted with deep-insert hearing devices, her memory has improved.


"Now that she can hear, if you tell her something, she remembers it," Berger said.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Safety & Quality Pay Off


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Advance for long term care

By Sanjaya Kumar, MD

Safe, high-quality care is an imperative in the evolution of health care. Everyone involved in the care process, from patients to providers to payors agree on this point.
No matter what payment system, billing process or reimbursement policy is implemented, top-notch care is becoming the focus. At the core of a superior care environment is a consistent experience based on best practices and actionable knowledge.
Yet, as the entire industry is rapidly moving from process to outcomes-based metrics, most health care executives and senior staff are still ill equipped to make prudent decisions that help improve care while ensuring their efforts are operationally and fiscally sound.
Today providers make these decisions using a combination of partial data, past experience and trial and error. However, with technological advancement, better methods of decision-making are coming to the forefront. If implemented appropriately, these methods can rapidly change the paradigm of care and the overall performance of the health care enterprise.
One main barrier to this is that performance-enhancing, actionable knowledge resides within silos of data scattered throughout the health care IT environment. Integration of this information through business intelligence systems will enable health care executives to more effectively direct resources to improve patient safety and care based on hard evidence.

Out of Functional Silos, Integration of Clinical and Financial MetricsToday, clinically relevant data can more easily be associated with financial metrics. For example, pressure ulcers have always been considered a drain on resources, but proving this was cumbersome. Software enables patient populations to be easily separated into different cohorts (e.g., various stages of pressure ulcers). Likewise, analytics built into software enables length of stay (LOS) and costs incurred by each group to be analyzed.
The differences between the groups are typically wide, with extended stays and higher costs associated with those who have stage III and IV pressure ulcers. And if these are acquired while in the hospital, Medicare reimbursement is at risk. This of course is in addition to the burden on the patient, many of whom must subsequently be cared for in a rehab or skilled nursing facility.
There are many other examples of how integrated data can clarify and "prove up" where and to what extent investments in patient safety and quality should be allocated. High-risk, problem-prone activities, as well as those that are covered under accreditation standards, can be used as variables in the prioritization process. Research can also support decision-making regarding investment decisions.
An analysis of insurance claims data completed by the consulting firm Milliman for the Schaumburg, IL-based Society of Actuaries (SOA) revealed that five common medical errors accounted for 55 percent of total medical error costs in 2008:
  • Pressure ulcers, $3.86 billion ($10,288 total cost per error)
  • Postoperative infections, $3.66 billion ($14,548 per error)
  • Mechanical complications of devices, implants, or grafts, $1.13 billion ($18,771 per error)
  • Postlaminectomy syndrome, $1.12 billion ($9,863 per error)
  • Hemorrhages complicating a procedure, $960 million (12,272 per error)
Access to cross-domain, interrelated information on demand, with presentation in a context that makes sense based on the decision-maker's roles and responsibilities, is critical to supporting executive decision-making, the launch of improvement goals and the measurement of results. Analytics and reporting support teams as they delve into the processes and systems that need to be revised or redesigned.
In addition, the quality effort must be applied consistently across the entire organization to allow performance improvement to be measured enterprise-wide and across all domains.

Understanding the Technological FundamentalsHealthcare executives have long dealt with large budgets for IT systems, software and hardware. Today's newer technologies will support not just an individual organization, but also the healthcare continuum. To be prepared to review and evaluate these technologies, leaders must be have a basic understanding of the following concepts:
  • Cloud computing: this term refers to hosted services over the Internet and is broadly divided into three categories: platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Among many advantages, these services provide access to a wide variety of service options and applications, the latest advanced application developments at a fraction of the cost of in-house development, and hosting on the most advanced platforms with the greatest computing power.
  • Integration and its complexities: With cloud computing services and their new, flexible and highly sophisticated technologies, the time-consuming and expensive task of integrating data across multiple tasks becomes considerably easier. This scheme provides match data types for the business owner with a map in place across all data types.

  • Role-based application architecture: Operating on the many-to-many principle, this architecture distributes data to many individuals from multiple sources. Each individual develops specific profiles with data access and permissions. To monitor metrics important to their role across clinical, operational and financial domains, users have the ability to customize their environment. This empowers and guides healthcare executives to make the most financially prudent and clinically sound decisions.
Next Steps for a Creating Clinical Business Intelligence EnvironmentNavigating the ever-changing tides of the health care environment and making driving a profitable, high-quality end result is not an easy task. Yet health care organizations have the data required to optimize performance and manage a financially and operationally efficient enterprise. As health care providers look to harness the power of business intelligence there are some key factors that deserve consideration. They include:
  1. Start with the end in mind. Setting a concrete vision for how a health care organization plans to implement and use a business intelligence system is critical to its success. Lack of vision will lead to numerous missteps and poor investment decisions.
  2. Choose the right technology platform. Health care providers need to review their environment and make sure the technology supports the overall vision. Technology for technology's sake will not yield the results desired from a business intelligence and decision support system.
  3. Drive cultural change. Ultimately, business intelligence solutions are used by staff to make critical decisions. Health care organizations need to ensure their organizations are prepared to take action with this knowledge. Clarity of roles and responsibilities and a supportive environment that encourages responsibility and accountability accelerate adoption and usage of this newfound intelligence.
  4. Implement checks and balances. Any decision support system needs constant monitoring to validate the use of the system and the decisions being made. Business intelligence is not a magic bullet to solve all your organizational issues. It is a systematic means of making informed decisions that should be monitored in terms of financial and clinical outcomes.
  5. Expect to fine-tune as you go. Implementing a business intelligence system is the start of a journey. Once the initial implementation takes place, health care providers will see a hundred other areas where business intelligence can be applied. They should expect this and make sure the technology used has the ability adapt and evolve with the needs of the organization.
Health care is at a crossroads. The intersections are safe, high-quality care, efficient operations and financially prudent decisions. Business intelligence, the technology, people and processes deployed will determine the level of organizational success in this endeavor. Every day health care providers wait to get moving is another day where profits and quality care are at risk.
Resources
1. Davis, C. (2010). Medical errors: Pressure ulcers and postop infections 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Using gratitude

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feelingsnet.com


Use this information about gratitude is important and will have a positive impact on the people you serve

Gratitude is an appreciation of someone who has done something desirable, helped us, and done a good deed. Giving thanks to somebody gives them a good feeling of being appreciated.
There is no need to wait until somebody does something that we want for us in order to say thank you. This wonderful and enchanting phrase, "thank you", can be used every day, to express gratitude for the wonderful world that illuminates our morning with beautiful rays of the sun, gratitude for our loving and supportive family, and so on. Our awareness of the wonderful things that happen in our life will only become greater and more powerful and enable us to continue to receive more of what we already have.

Expressing gratitude calms the emotions. Expressing gratitude brings us into harmony and is good for the heart and soul. Expressing gratitude opens many doors to happiness, serenity and good health.
Sometimes we give thanks in our heart - very quietly.
The effective way to feel a sense of gratitude is to change our focus towards the positive things around us that are already taking place in our lives.
Expressing gratitude as a way of coping with bad moods
Sometimes we feel depressed and out of sorts. The circumstances can be many and varied, and sometimes there may be no real reason, just that we "got out of bed on the wrong side".
There are many beautiful catchphrases: "it is all in our own hands", or "don`t take any notice of what they say about you, know your own value". These things are good and true, but people who are in a black mood are not capable of hearing advice from others. When they feel that their situation is dark and gloomy, it is hard to persuade them by means of such slogans.

We all experience a wide range of emotions, we all fall sometimes into the pit of anger, hatred, competitiveness, jealousy and fear. One of the strongest tools for getting out of this maelstrom and letting go of these difficult emotions is to express gratitude.

Being thankful is a practical action, with the power to heal body and soul. It has a magical power that can bring us out of our state of "emotional emergency".
We have to find time during the day to give thanks for all the good things in our lives, from our functional limbs to the external environment in which we live. Expressing gratitude works like a magic broom: if said wholeheartedly, it will free us from the shackles of sadness and discontent. After we give thanks for everything that exists in our lives, we will certainly reach a place of emotional serenity and balance.
Even if somebody has, for example, insulted and hurt me, I have to make the effort to find something positive. It always exists. Sometimes awareness helps to improve things or to understand new directions.
Expressing gratitude and appreciation opens many doors.
When we thank others for their actions, they immediately feel like doing more for us. Expressing gratitude is one of our tools for enhancing and increasing good things in our lives.
In fact, it works like a formula:

the more we give thanks, the more we will receive of the things we are asking for.

Uses of mint

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is some great information

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Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

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The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]

Many residents love mint

Mother Earth News

MINT SPLASH Mint leaves (peppermint is especially good) in a pint of hot water for about ten minutes ... then strain through a sieve, let cool, and chill. When you need a lift, sprinkle yourself with this solution. You'll perk up! (The liquid is usable for several days.)
MINT RINSE. Prepare mint-water as above and add it to your bath water for a tingly wash, or use the solution as a final rinse after shampooing. It's also good as a mouthwash, an after-shave lotion, and a soak for tired feet.
BREATH PURIFIER. Simply chew a sprig of your favorite mint.
TEA. Steep 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried (or 3 teaspoons of fresh) chopped mint leaves in a cup of hot water. Sweeten to taste with honey, then sip slowly, breathing in the fragrance. (Think of green fields warmed by the summer sun.) For iced tea, simply serve hot mint tea "on the rocks."
MINTED VEGETABLES. During the last two minutes of cooking, add two tablespoons of fresh chopped mint (or one tablespoon of dried chopped mint) to each quart of peas, green beans, carrots, or cauliflower.
ZESTY SALAD. Toss together two cups of lettuce, two cups of lamb's-quarters (the herb, not the animal), two or three scallions (green leaves and all), a couple of sprigs of fresh marjoram or lemon thyme (chopped), and three tablespoons of fresh, chopped mint (more if you want, but be careful not to overpower the salad with mintiness). Serve with your favorite oil-and-vinegar dressing. (Yield: 4 servings.)
MINT-CHEESE SPREAD. Add a few minced mint leaves to cream or cottage cheese, mix well, and spread on wholegrain crackers or rounds.
MINTED FRUITS. Add chopped mint to applesauce, baked apples, or fruit compotes. (For a morning eye-opener, blend chopped mint with orange juice.)
Finally, you might want to try what I call "mint sniff." Bruise a mint leaf, raise it to your nose, and inhale. Do this whenever you've forgotten the beauty in the world ... and — believe me — you'll remember.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

How to prevent falls

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NewsmaxHealth

Every second of the day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury for this segment of the population.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014 alone, older Americans experienced 29 million falls causing seven million injuries and costing $31 billion in annual Medicare costs.
Falling — the unexpected collapse to the floor or other surfaces —has been called the “next tsunami of health care problems” by leading podiatrist and fall prevention expert Dr. David Griffin of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group.

Falls are also the leading reason for emergency room visits by people aged 45 to 64 as well as older adults, Trevor Meyerowitz, PT, director of Rehabilitation for Preferred Physical Associates in Florida tells Newsmax. That results in 1.6 million ER admissions each year. And as Baby Boomers age, that number, too, will increase.

“There are many reasons that older adults are more prone to falling unexpectedly,” says Meyerowitz. “They develop muscle weakness, especially in the legs. Often the problem is poor balance when the brain fails to get the correct sensory input from the ocular system or the eyes, the vestibular system or the inner ears or the somatosensory system which involves the feet, muscles and ligaments relaying information back to the brain.”
Often seniors develop slower reflexes that cause them to trip over something and are unable to catch their fall in time, he says.
Surprisingly, closets are the number one location for falls.

“People can’t take their walkers in because the door is often too narrow, the lighting is poor and if they do lose their balance they put out their hand to catch themselves but can only grab onto hanging clothes,” he explains.
So the number one suggestion to prevent potentially deadly falls is to improve lighting throughout the house, adding nightlights especially on the way to the bathroom, he says. “Many of my patients fall at night on the way to the bathroom.”

  • Remove all clutter from the floor including towels in the bathroom, phone cords, and area rugs.
  • Use non-slip bath mats outside the shower or tub, and place non-slip strips on the floor of the shower or tub.
  • Install grab bars in the shower and toilet and use a shower chair to wash one’s feet.
  • Rearrange furniture in the home so that you can walk safely and unobstructed from room to room.
  • Do not use a footstool to reach items in the home. Place frequently used items within easy reach to reduce the risk of falling.
  • Some medications can increase your risk of falling. According to Harvard Medical School, these include antidepressants, blood pressure meds, anti-anxiety drugs, pain relievers and sleep aids. Don’t try to get up out of bed too quickly. Sit up and make sure you aren’t’ too dizzy to rise.
Meyerowitz says that you can improve your balance training with a physical therapist to increase muscle strength, flexibility, and reflexes. You can also do simple exercises such as standing on one foot and then the other for 30 seconds when brushing your teeth. Or sit on a chair and get up and down several times to build muscle strength and balance.
“You need to do your homework every day to reduce your risk of falling,” says Meyerowitz.



Friday, July 13, 2018

August Activity Newsletter

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

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The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]

Here is an August Activity Newsletter courtesy of Eldersong.

One idea was to reminisce about jobs
Here are a couple of
coversation starters
**Reminisce about household chores and responsibilities. Ask: What did your parents teach you about work? What kind of chores or tasks did you have as a child/teen - e.g., shovel snow, cut grass, wash dishes? Did you receive an allowance?

**Share recollections about participants’ first paid job outside the home, including memories of bosses, duties, pay, hours, co-workers. List common jobs for 1940s teenagers, e.g., bus boy in a restaurant, locker room attendant at the YMCA, soda jerk, usher in movie theatre, paper boy.

**Listen to the old Disney tune "Whistle While You Work"

**Ask the ladies if any had a career as a homemaker. Write a job description for the position! Ask: Which household jobs did you enjoy the most? The least?

**Read Walt Whitman’s poem "I Hear America Singing," which honors workers