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Home Health Blog

Don’t Let Caregiving Give Way to Compassion Fatigue

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jan 29, 2016 10:32:07 AM

Caregivers for seniors selflessly devote time, energy, and emotional support. But an outpouring of caring over time can lead to compassion fatigue.‘Care’ is the root of caregiving. For seniors aging in place, caregivers devote time and energy — perhaps assisting with daily activities and chores, providing transportation, managing household expenses, or helping to cope with chronic illness and medication management. Yet in each of these tasks, there is an emotional component. Although caregivers may be subject to momentary feelings of frustration or exhaustion, the underlying current of feeling comes from affection and compassion — wanting to do everything possible to better the life of someone so dear.

When times get tough or in home caregiving demands increase, caregivers might lean on this wellspring of emotion in order to continue giving of themselves. But these resources are not infinite: an outpouring of caring over weeks, months, or years can cause something known as ‘compassion fatigue.’ Keep reading to learn more about this phenomenon, its widespread effects, and how to avoid giving way to this form of caregiver burnout.

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Topics: Caregiving

Medication Assistance Conquers the Dangers of Overmedication

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jan 21, 2016 5:02:28 PM

Residential RN case manager Louise did a medication reconciliation that overhauled her patient’s excessive drug regimen — and his life.One of the most difficult aspects of self-care at home is medication management. Studies have found that as many as two-thirds of hospital visits for seniors are triggered by medication problems. The issue of polypharmacy — taking four or more medications — can increase the chance of an error. The typical Medicare patient leaving the hospital may have as many as 13 drugs prescribed by 2 or more physicians of different specialties and practices. Managing a large number of drugs to be taken at certain doses and times can be tricky; it’s possible to miss a dose, or not realize that an important new drug is missing from the regimen.

In some cases, the problem may be overmedication: not taking too little medicine, but too much. For one recent Residential Home Health patient who was struggling to improve while at home, RN Case Manager Louise turned to his prescriptions to find the cause. Learn how her medication assistance uncovered a common error and overhauled her patient’s outlook — and his life.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Medication Management

Eating for Disease Management? This Healthier Cookie Is a Sweet Cheat

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jan 15, 2016 4:05:09 PM

Featured Recipe

Healthy food choices are often at the heart of managing chronic disease. When temptation hits, these healthier cookies can take the (place of) cake.Desserts and sweets can be among the first casualties of better eating. These foods are often packed with sugar (a danger for diabetes) and fat (an enemy of heart health), and represent ‘extra’ calories outside the realm of the sensible meal. By the same token, sweets pose a big temptation, one that we may not always be able to resist. Trying to abstain completely can sometimes result in the opposite: giving in for something especially rich, and quite possibly going overboard.

Instead of banning sweets forever, consider allowing yourself a healthier indulgence…in moderation. These hearty cookies contain almost no fat, thanks to an ingenious substitute for butter, and less sugar than many recipes. Using egg whites only wipes out unhealthy cholesterol. Raisins add natural sweetness, and oatmeal provides texture and dietary fiber. At less than 100 calories per cookie, it's a sensible way to indulge a sweet tooth while staying mindful of dietary restrictions.

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Topics: Recipe, Nutrition

Tackling Vision Challenges Elevates Home Care for Seniors

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jan 11, 2016 3:54:40 PM

Seniors are vulnerable to glaucoma and other diseases causing vision loss. Learn how in home occupational therapy can aid senior home care and safety.For many common diseases of the eye, a person’s risk level increases with age. Vision impairment or loss, whether gradual or sudden, can raise fresh injury hazards in everyday activities and threaten independence. As a consequence, visibility and safety are important considerations with respect to home care for seniors.

The most common global cause of blindness is cataracts, which develop slowly over time. The second-most common cause is glaucoma, a more rapid form that accounts for about 1 in 10 cases of blindness in the United States. For National Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, learn what you can do about vision loss and how in home occupational therapy can bring safety tips and quality-of-life gains aimed at longer aging in place.

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Topics: Visual Impairment

Residential Rewind 2015: Top Home Health Blog Posts of the Year

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

As another year draws to a close, the Home Health Blog reflects on the best-loved entries from 2015.As another year draws to a close, the Home Health Blog is taking a moment to reflect and review. As we tallied up the posts most read, liked, and shared this year, some clear themes started to emerge. Here’s a collection of our best-loved entries from 2015.

Guest Contributors

We were fortunate to have a few guests lend their insights to the Home Health Blog in 2015, and readers showed their appreciation by making these some of the most-read and most-shared of the year. One patient shared her accomplishments, a nurse brought back an uplifting message from a mission trip overseas, and a Residential executive opened up about an ‘it happened to me!’ moment that underlines the vitality of careful medication review by an expert.

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