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Home Health Blog

When Stroke Is Suspected, Speedy Actions Save the Day

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jul 14, 2016 2:27:02 PM

RW-SuspectedStroke-600x480-150115.pngIn a perfect world, home health care would progress without any setbacks. Improvements would happen exactly as planned, on schedule, without interruption. And health scares — related or not to a patient’s chronic illness — would be unheard of.

In the real world, however, health is a little trickier to maintain, especially at home. There’s so much to manage: home hazards, medication dangers, financial matters….Even when someone’s health and strength is progressing well at home, there’s no guarantee that a sudden symptom or warning sign won’t pop up. For Residential physical therapist Kimberly, her patient was appearing to do just great, until, just as quickly, she wasn’t. But Kimberly's medical expertise and calm approach allowed her to recognize the red flags and summon emergency help. Her story of wise clinical judgment and speedy action shows the value of urgent treatment when a stroke is suspected, possibly even reducing the extent of injury.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Stroke

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

Lyrical Language and Vivid Recall in Memoir of Stroke and Recovery

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 5, 2015 4:21:32 PM

Book of the Month: November 2015

BOTM-BLOG-BAN-OneHundredNames-600x460-150115Recovering from any physical setback takes hard work and patience. Progress may be slow and frustrating, caregiver demands can be high, and the effort required to restore physical strength can cause discomfort, exhaustion, or both. For cases of brain injury, such as stroke, a person’s setbacks may be cognitive as well as physical. One common effect is difficulty with speech and language, a condition known as aphasia, which affects an estimated 25% to 40% of patients who survive a stroke.

For one couple, writers Paul West and Diane Ackerman, words formed the basis of their professional and personal lives together. Our book for November is Ackerman’s literary account of her husband’s stroke, learning to cope with his aphasia, and their efforts to restore him to writing and word play over years of hard-fought recovery.

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Topics: Recommended Reading, Stroke

Health News Round-Up: Combating Cancer from a New Research Angle

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Sep 2, 2015 1:52:24 PM

Cancer Research Suggests a New Genetic Frontier in Treatment

Nurse Performing Genetic Testing Previously, treating a patient’s cancer meant treating the type of cancer: breast, prostate, skin, etc. Some types call for specialized surgeries, others for specifically developed medications, others for finely tuned chemotherapy or radiation regimens. But the field of cancer research is changing, with efforts increasingly focused on the genes that cause the cancer or help it to spread. And thanks to a new drug trial, reportedly the first of its kind, this approach could be gaining traction.

Previous findings had uncovered a common gene mutation found in both skin cancer and lung cancer. Researchers hypothesized that because of this similarity, a drug already approved for skin cancer might have a crossover effect on the other cancer type. Indeed, a substantial proportion of lung cancer patients responded to the drug. Other cancer types did not exhibit such promising results, which may be the result of fewer of those patients having the targeted mutation — the key may be narrowing down the right commonalities. Future studies along these lines are already in the works, and signs are pointing to new, more specific cancer treatments that are based on gene mutation rather than type.

(First trial targeting mutation, not cancer type, gives mixed results; Reuters)

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Topics: Caregiving, Health News, Nutrition, Stroke, Heart Disease, Smoking, Financial Health, Cancer, Fitness, Advanced Care Planning

Health News Round-Up: Cardiac Health Gains and Heart Attack Response

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jul 8, 2015 10:59:00 AM

The Latest in Heart Health and Treatment

Recent health news from across the web: a heart attack primer, insulin gets smart, the evidence on medical marijuana’s effectiveness, and more.Thanks to advances in comprehension and communication, emergency treatments for heart attacks are becoming ever faster and more effective. In the case of a heart attack, a speedy response can be lifesaving. This is why emergency response teams have evolved to assess and alert medical staff while still on the road, and hospitals and emergency doctors continue to refine treatment protocols in search of faster ways to open blockages and restore blood flow. This recent New York Times article offers a wealth of information about heart attacks, including step-by-step infographics. The simple question-and-answer style clearly describes heart attack symptoms to watch for and spells out the swift, critical actions to take if they appear.

(A Possibly Lifesaving Guide to Heart Attacks; New York Times)

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Topics: Hospice, Diabetes, Aging In Place, Nutrition, Stroke, Heart Disease, Smoking