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Volunteering may be for others, but the benefits belong to YOU

There’s a quote going around that says, Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. Many people believe their volunteer experiences changed the way they saw the people around them and developed a better appreciation of what they had. It isn’t often that one hour of doing something for others has the power to transform. Yet, it happens every day in a variety of causes. Read more

4 Ways Gratitude Is Good for You

Modern medicine is one of the reasons the 21st Century is a great time to be alive, and our ability to prevent dangerous diseases has changed the quality of life for grateful generations. In 2015, 91.8 percent of American children 19–35 months old were vaccinated against chickenpox. If you’ve ever suffered the soul-crushing itching of chickenpox, you know those children are lucky.

But our sophisticated medicines and surgeries still can’t cure everything. Chronic pain, for example, which has both a physical and a mental component. Our medicines are great at treating physical symptoms, but they can’t do much about the mental side of things. That’s where gratitude comes in. Gratitude is a practice of the mind that benefits both the mind and body whether you suffer from chronic pain, are feeling the effects of advanced age, or just want to stand at the helm of your own health. Read more

Six Fat-Free Ways to Handle Stress

It may have started when your boss watched you fly through the main doors 10 minutes late or last night during bedtime when your youngest announced he has a book report due today.

Perhaps it is the neighbor who expects full participation with every cause that hits Instagram or the mean girls that seem to follow your teenager’s every move with negative commentary.

Before you realize it, you are standing in front of the open freezer listening to your serving spoon scrape the bottom of an empty ice cream container. That’s right. You are stressed, and the fact that the only way you can cope with the pressures of life is to drown your concerns in heaps of whipped cream or melted cheese only adds to the problem.

Instead of snacking your way through a crisis, consider these six fat-free strategies to handle the most bitter of stressful situations. Read more

Healthy Eating for Aging Adults: 5 Tips to Help You Live Longer and Stronger

You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Eating well is important for everyone at all ages, especially the older we get. According to the World Health Organization, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to changes that naturally occur with the aging process. Many diseases that plague the elderly are a result of dietary reasons. Studies have indicated that malnourished older adults tend to visit doctors, hospitals, and emergency rooms more often. Read more

Does your loved one need palliative care?

It was Henry Miller who once said, “It is a very limited concept of medicine that strives to understand disease, but not the needs of sick people.”

Nowhere is that need greater than the care of our elderly. Fortunately, the healthcare industry is taking steps toward recognizing the unique needs of our senior loved ones by providing specialized care that meets the healthcare needs of the patients as well as the emotional and supportive needs of those who love them.

Commonly known as “comfort care,” palliative care provides a team of specialists who cater to the varying healthcare needs of a patient. That team often includes a physician, nurse, pharmacist, a social worker, chaplain and volunteers. Read more

6 tips to help find residential care for a bariatric patient

More than one-third (34.9 percent) of American adults are obese, according to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A person is clinically obese if their body mass index (BMI) level is 30 or more. Overweight and obesity have become pressing global health concerns. With a higher number of bariatric and aging patients comes an increased demand for skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities that can accommodate their unique care needs. Historically, bariatric patients have faced challenges when trying to find long-term care. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs) are having to innovate to accommodate these patients and provide high-quality care.

There are facilities that can accommodate obese patients and provide excellent care, but they may require a bit more effort and research to find. There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to locate a skilled nursing, rehab or assisted living care for a bariatric patient.

Specialized Equipment for Bariatric Patients

Ask if the facility has bariatric equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limits how much healthcare workers are allowed to lift, so if the patient needs help getting in and out of bed toileting or bathing, special equipment will be necessary. This can include larger beds (a standard hospital bed can only hold up to 350 pounds), chairs, wheelchairs and mobility aids, and shower and bath equipment, depending on you or your love one’s needs. A heavier individual may require an electric patient lift instead of manual equipment such as a classic Hoyer lift.

Because these items are extremely expensive, the number of beds available to accommodate heavier residents at any given location will be extremely limited. Waiting lists are typically quite long, since nursing facilities are not obligated to accept patients like hospitals are.

Proper Training

Patient transfers can be tricky and dangerous for individuals of an average weight, so great care must be taken when caregivers assist heavier residents. This is for the patient’s safety and that of the facility’s employees.

“The largest risk is the issue of injuring patients and caregivers from improper transfer,” says Jeff Oldroyd from Holladay Healthcare, a nursing home located in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We do give additional training in these specific transfers to our caregivers. This training is usually provided by experienced nurses and physical therapists.”

Do not be afraid to ask the facility about special training and experience requirements for any staffers who may be caring for you or your loved one. Frequent transfers and repositioning are crucial for proper hygiene and prevention of bedsores or compression ulcers.

Adequate Space in Living Areas

A larger room or apartment is ideal for larger patients in care facilities, but do not forget to inspect communal areas such as dining rooms and activity rooms as well. Isolation can be a real concern for these patients since their mobility is typically limited. Make sure there is enough space to maneuver a larger wheelchair in the facility so you or your loved one can interact with staff and other guests outside of their room. Creating opportunities for a patient to engage and participate in social and recreational activities will improve their quality of life and may even result in weight management or even weight loss.

Appropriate Activities

While resident involvement is important, bariatric patients have specific health and activity needs. In many cases, “regular” exercise is not possible or safe for them. Make sure to ask the facility about modified activities for patients, especially if they have recently undergone surgery. This is especially important in a rehabilitation setting where a patient is working to heal and regain or improve their functional abilities. For instance, a facility with a pool and a water therapy program can provide activity options that are more conducive than typical weight-bearing and high-impact exercise programs. An experienced physical therapist will be able to adapt a PT regimen to make sure they meet their health care goals.

Compassionate Staff

Overweight patients are likely accustomed to comments about weight and physical activity. But, beyond the equipment and therapy, it’s important to know that the staff will see a bariatric patient as more than just a number on the scale. It can be difficult for anyone to find placement in a facility, and you want to make sure any special needs will be taken care of.

Ask Your Physician

Physicians often have contacts at many skilled nursing, assisted living, and rehabilitation facilities in their area. In many cases, they may be your best resource when it comes to finding a reputable facility. Communication between the facility and a physician will be key for ongoing care, so receiving a referral from your doctor will be an added bonus.

“We do have additional communication with physicians for patients with specialized needs such as obesity,” said Mark Hymas from Copper Ridge Health Care, a SNF in West Jordan, Utah. “There are specific protocols for each diagnosis, and those symptoms are monitored and shared with physicians in real time. Physicians are then able to make determinations to monitor and adjust treatments.”

Patients of any size may encounter significant obstacles and frustrations related to their healthcare. Finding a facility with the proper equipment and training, adequate space, appropriate exercise and activity programs, and compassionate staff can be difficult. However, these important tips will help you select the right care setting for yourself or your loved one.

This article was originally published by AgingCare.com. It has been republished here with permission.

What’s that bump on your wrist? Could be a ganglion cyst

Wondering what that bump on the back of your wrist might be? Chances are, it’s a ganglion cyst. In earlier days, people would treat them by smacking the lump with a heavy book (often the Bible) — hence the name “Bible bumps.”

“It’s a common problem,” explained Dr. M. Shane Frazier, orthopedic surgeon at Revere Health. “It is by far the most common tumor of the hand or wrist. Besides carpal tunnel syndrome, the next most common ailment is a ganglion cyst.”

Typically, ganglion cysts fluctuate in size and may even disappear on their own. While these cysts are not necessarily harmful and can be left alone, the main motivators for removing the cysts are their location and appearance.

Ganglion Cyst Location

As stated in an article on WebMD, the cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, however, they occur most often in women. Seventy percent of ganglion cysts occur in people between the ages of 20 to 40.

Even though these cysts are often painless, their location can create discomfort or pain. Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve, and they can sometimes interfere with joint movement.

Ganglion Cyst Appearance

For many, the size of the cyst creates unwanted attention with an awkward conversation often following. Let’s face it, a golf ball-sized lump on the top of your wrist is certain to spur a conversation among strangers.

“For some people, ganglion cysts are very small,” said Dr. Frazier. “But others can be painful and unsightly. A little while ago, I treated one approximately the size of a golf ball.”

Ganglion Cyst Treatment

If your ganglion cyst is causing pain, the treatment options may include aspiration or surgery.

Aspiration involves placing a needle into the cyst and drawing out the jelly-like soft liquid that comprises the cyst. Then an anti-inflammatory solution may be injected into the lump.

Surgery is often recommended when painful cysts interfere with normal function, attract undue attention or cause numbness or tingling.

“It’s a same-day, outpatient procedure. Usually the scar looks pretty good, the pain goes away almost immediately and most people report motion returning quickly following surgery,” said Dr. Frazier.

Although not life-threatening, ganglion cysts can be physically painful and lead to a number of painful, embarrassing conversations. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to have your doctor check it out. This can help ensure that you receive a proper diagnosis and can discuss treatment options — apart from the Bible smacking, which is strongly discouraged.

Whether it’s carpal tunnel syndrome or a ganglion cyst, you do not need to endure the discomfort of these common “bumps in the road.” Surgical specialists such as Dr. Frazier and others with Revere Health Hand, Wrist and Elbow Center can provide effective treatment for these and other common hand and wrist conditions.

This article was originally published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.