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Home Health Blog

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

Health News Round-Up: Dementia Considerations and Holiday Expectations

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Dec 22, 2015 4:52:00 PM

Balancing Holiday Traditions with Dementia Changes

Recent health news from across the Web: dementia and holiday traditions, brain fitness, medication management tips, and more.This compassionate piece centers on one family adapting to a mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s disease, and how it has changed their holiday customs. They make fewer social appearances and do extra preparation to preserve her routines, while still missing her old presence. The article includes some helpful tips for including loved ones with dementia in the holiday hubbub while minimizing potential agitation.

(When Mom Has Alzheimer’s, A Stranger Comes For Christmas; NPR)

On the same topic, author Marguerite Manteau-Rao raises some tough points about the difficulties of factoring a loved one with dementia into a busy holiday schedule. Pointing out that individuals with dementia may not remember a visit the day before or after, but can feel hurt when external cues remind them of the holiday, she pulls no punches.

(How to Be With a Loved One With Dementia During the Holidays; Huffington Post)

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Topics: Dementia, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management, Stroke, Heart Disease, Fitness, Emotional Health, Lung Disease

Medications Matter — Urgent Action to Correct a Dangerous Misstep

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Oct 21, 2015 3:48:31 PM

Residential in the Real World

Residential nurse Jennifer not only helped to catch a medication error, but also intervened to stop a possible life-threatening complication.Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is known for saying, ‘Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.’ Having to remember complicated medication instructions — sometimes for multiple drugs, possibly to treat several chronic conditions — can understandably lead to errors or missed doses. There are numerous complex reasons why people may not follow their drug regimens: perhaps they’re discouraged by an unpleasant side effect, or forget to fill or refill a prescription. Another reason may be a knowledge gap, if individuals don’t fully understand what a drug does or why it is important for their health.

This is why the process of medication reconciliation is standard procedure during the first visit with Residential Home Health. This thorough clinician assessment reviews all medications in the home, comparing them with each other and with the patient’s medication list from electronic pharmacy and health records. In order to have a successful plan of care, after a transition to home or any time, it’s important to ensure that patients are taking all the medications they should (and at the proper times and doses), and none that they shouldn’t. For Residential nurse and case manager Jennifer, a recent visit with a new patient revealed an especially dangerous medication error. Read about her urgent response, and how she helped protect her patient from possibly life-threatening consequences.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Medication Management

Health News Round-Up: Proper Prep for Insulin Pen Effectiveness

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Oct 1, 2015 4:25:32 PM

For Best Results, Insulin Pens Need Preparation

Proper Prep for Insulin Pen EffectivenessFor many patients, insulin injection is a key part of diabetes management, and pharmaceutical companies continue to innovate with ever-more convenient delivery methods. One advance has been the pre-mixed ‘NPH insulin pen,’ a convenient all-in-one device that eliminates the need for separate needles and vials. However, the results of a recent study highlight the importance of proper preparation of an NPH insulin pen: namely, shaking it to ‘resuspend’ the medicine inside.

Inside an NPH insulin pen is a mixture of crystals and liquid that settles into unequal proportions over time. Without shaking, the researchers discovered that patients’ blood sugar control varied widely, far less reliable than the correctly prepped pens would deliver. To sufficiently resuspend the insulin in an NPH device, the pen should be tipped back and forth 20 times just before injection. And when it comes to proper technique for any medication in your regimen, you can always reach out to your doctor or Residential Home Health clinician for help.

(Shake, shake, shake your NPH insulin pen before injecting; Reuters)

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Topics: Dementia, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management

Health News Round-Up: An ‘Ounce of Preemption’ Before Treatment

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Aug 18, 2015 4:48:21 PM

Preparing for Surgery or Treatment with ‘Prehab’

Recent health news from across the Web: prehab training before aggressive treatment, side effect dangers, music’s pain-fighting properties, and more.Patients who undergo surgeries, or other aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, are often guided in rehabilitation exercises afterward to build back lost strength and endurance. However, some specialists have begun to explore the potential of rehab-style exercise done in anticipation of such procedures. They reason that this so-called prehab allows patients to enter treatment at a better level of fitness that will help them endure procedures better and recover faster.

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Topics: Dementia, Joint Replacement, Palliative Care, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management, Heart Disease, Cancer, Fitness, Bereavement