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Home Health Blog

Residential Recognizes National Healthcare Decisions Day

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 16, 2015 3:30:00 PM

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Residential Home Health and Residential Hospice recognize the value of advance care planning and making a legally binding advance directive.The face of healthcare is continuously changing. The methods of prolonging life are becoming ever-more sophisticated, but in some cases, they can also be more aggressive or invasive to the patient. Consequently, seniors and their families can find themselves weighing the costs and benefits of these advances. Some may want to pursue every avenue of treatment available; for others, the sacrifices in quality of life may not seem worth the time that could be gained. Choices like these are incredibly personal and will vary depending on the individual, health challenge, and type of intervention. All patients have a right to make and stand by their own choices, including refusing a treatment. However, if an individual becomes unable to make or express his or her own health decisions, it can be difficult to discern who should step in, and also to guess at what the person’s preference would be.

While thorny issues like this may be unpleasant to contemplate, addressing them ahead of time can offer better assurance and peace of mind in the long run. Today is the eighth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, aiming to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Both Residential Home Health and Residential Hospice recognize the value of considering these tough questions ahead of time, documenting your wishes, and communicating them clearly — including naming a trusted proxy to express them with and for you. Read on to learn what kind of decisions may arise, what preparatory steps you can take, and the importance of communication, not only during the decision-making process, but after.

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Topics: Advance Directive

Celebrate Occupational Therapy Month with a Safer, More Capable You

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 14, 2015 2:15:00 PM

Occupational Therapy Month

In honor of Occupational Therapy Month, we recognize the many ways in which Residential Home Health’s occupational therapists better patients’ lives.For Occupational Therapy Month this April, we honor the Residential Home Health clinicians who bring the prospect of safer, more independent living to so many of Residential’s patients. Unlike a nurse or physical therapist, an occupational therapist is uniquely poised to focus primarily on everyday function and safety within the home.

The practice of occupational therapy includes identifying activities that pose a struggle or safety hazard for a patient, and then adapting the task in order to fit the person doing it. Patients who work with an in-home occupational therapist are shown and coached to perform everyday activities more safely and efficiently, and may even be enabled to confidently perform some tasks that might have felt impossible before. Read on to discover more practical and life-improving benefits that these expert clinicians bring.

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Topics: Home Health Care, Fall Prevention, Aging In Place, Home Improvements

Health News Round-Up: To Improve Health, Learn About Your Disease

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 11, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Study Your Condition to Improve Your Health

Recent health news from across the web: the case for getting informed, health care decision-making aids, a wake-up call for night owls, and more.

Giving a patient access to his or her medical records used to be unheard of — but times are changing. With electronic records enabling better sharing among providers and with patients as well, there’s a growing trend toward better-informed and -educated patients. Large-scale evaluations are showing that patients who are given access to their test results, medication information, and even doctors’ notes from previous visits report improved understanding of their own health picture. They also have more success at following doctors’ orders and making healthy lifestyle changes.

This article follows the story of a young scientist who was told he had a brain tumor and began to collect massive amounts of his own data, as well as conduct copious research on his condition. When he suspected something had changed with his tumor, he was able to push for more tests — and his suspicions were well founded.

(The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records; New York Times)

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Topics: Hospice, Fall Prevention, Diabetes, Health News, Stroke, Advance Directive, Financial Health

Should Your Elderly Parent Move In With You?

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 9, 2015 3:19:00 PM

Having Mom or Dad move in can eliminate some stressors, but it might not be ideal for either of you. Is this the right move — and the right time? If your parent or loved one is aging in place, he or she may need help: perhaps one or two requests at first, but over time, your role as a caregiver can grow. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that 43.5 million American adults provide caregiving to someone over the age of 50; 14.9 million of these are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

If you find yourself visiting more frequently and helping more, you may wonder whether it would be more convenient to bring your loved one home to live with you. This decision has a number of clear positives:

  • Your commute time for caregiving would be eliminated.
  • You’d be overseeing one household, instead of two.
  • You’d have peace of mind, no longer worrying how your loved one is faring without you there.

But although moving Mom or Dad in might eliminate some immediate stressors, it can introduce others. Most importantly, it might not be the best option — for you or for your loved one. Consider the following as you decide whether this is the right move, and the right time.

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Topics: Caregiving, Aging In Place, Financial Health

Patient’s Wise Emergency Preparedness Enables Safer Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 7, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue

To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.‘Aging in place’ refers to living safely and independently at home, without being relocated due to health complications. But in order to avoid a bigger change, seniors who wish to age in place need to remain open to smaller changes around the home for their own safety and peace of mind. This could mean adjusting a home lighting setup for better visibility, or making improvements to the bath or shower for continued ease of use.

A major component of aging in place is preventing and preparing for a fall. This is particularly important for patients with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that hinders a patient’s balance and mobility. About one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s, and there is currently no cure. To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, Real World Stories, Aging In Place, Residential Nurse Alert