5 Ways to Reduce Falls

Posted on Jul 02, 2018

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in three seniors will experience a fall in any given year. What’s even more alarming is that less than half will tell their doctor about the fall. When you consider that falls are the leading cause of injuries to seniors, this is an issue families need to take seriously. Falls can result in a wide range of injuries including: cuts, hip fractures, head injuries, and even fatalities. However, there are practical steps families can take to protect their elderly loved ones.

Clean Up- A clean home is a safe home. Make sure the home is easy to navigate by getting rid of all the clutter that may have accumulated. Keeping hallways and heavy traffic areas of the home free of obstacles is an easy way to promote safety. This should also include repairing falling hazards like loose rugs and wayward floorboards.

Install Handrails- Giving seniors an extra point of contact can shore up balance deficiencies. Put in handrails in areas like hallways, showers, around the toilet, and other accident-prone areas to give seniors one more way to stay safe.

Light it Up- One often overlooked fall instigator is poor lighting. When hallways and stairwells are poorly lit, it can be hard to know where to step and identify hazards. Motion-activated night lights are also a great idea to create a safe environment at any time of the day.

Proper Footwear- A good pair of shoes with a non-slip sole is the ideal kind of footwear. However, some seniors prefer to just wear socks. If this is the case, opting for socks with grips on the bottoms can be a nice compromise. However, shoes are still the best option.

Non-Slip Mats- Floor surfaces that will frequently have water on them should have non-slip mats. This includes showers, tubs, bathroom floors, and kitchen floors. Doing so will give seniors a safe point of contact when conditions are slippery.

Staying Active to Encourage Brain Health

Posted on Jun 28, 2018

Maintaining an active lifestyle is great for the heart, blood pressure, and the waist, but it’s also good for the brain, especially as we get older. By studying brain scans of older adults, researchers have learned that areas of the brain related to memory and decision making perform better among those adults who stay active. The active seniors in the studies tended to think faster and have a better memory.

By keeping active, seniors can improve their odds of avoiding memory loss and dementia. This benefit even rings true for seniors who are frail and limited in motion. The studies showed that even these adults can benefit from physical activity that is appropriate and safe for their condition.

When seniors make the decision to get active, it’s best to start slow and work up to longer or more difficult activities. A good goal would be 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week, but it’s okay if it takes some time to get there.

There are plenty of options older adults can choose from to stay active, and it’s important to pick something they really enjoy. A walk in the park, aquatic activities, or even dancing can all be counted as physical activity.

Adults who are frail or starting to experience limited range of motion should check with their doctors before they decide on a physical activity. They will likely require the presence of an able-bodied adult for safety reasons.

Keeping active is just one way seniors can improve their mental health. At Cura-HPC we want to help seniors stay mentally sharp and improve the quality of life for anyone in need of Tulsa hospice care. If you have a loved who needs hospice and palliative care, call Cura-HPC. 

Important Hospice Patient Changes to Look For

Posted on Jun 11, 2018

As the primary caregiver for a loved one, families will spend the most time with a patient, which means they have the best opportunity to spot changes in a hospice patient. Catching these changes early can help doctors make better decisions and improve the quality of the care provided. Here are two kinds of changes families should be looking for.  

Physical

Changes in a patient’s physical condition almost always warrants a conversation with someone on the hospice medical team. Common physical changes include:

  • Increased Number of Falls
  • Pain when moving or lying down
  • Refusal or sudden inability to turn or move
  • Skin changes such as sores, tears, bruises, rashes, itching, or a change in color
  • Bladder or bowel functions
  • Eating or drinking habits
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sight or hearing

Mental

Changes in patient’s mental state can be just as important to note as physical changes, but they aren’t as easy to spot. Families need to be vigilant and watch out for:

  • Increased sleeping during the day
  • Difficult to wake from sleep
  • Confusion about time, place, or people
  • Restless (picking or pulling at the bed linen)
  • Talking about things unconnected to the events or people present
  • Increased anxiety, fear, or loneliness at night
  • Suicidal thoughts or depression

A patient receiving end-of-life care via hospice and palliative care will likely go through lots of mental and physical changes, which makes it hard to know which changes need to be brought up with the nurses and doctors. When in doubt, it’s always best to let the hospice medical team know about changes. Having more information will only help them create a care plan that’s right for a patient’s unique needs.  

What You Need to Know About Palliative Care

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Palliative care is a unique form of care that is vastly different than other forms of medical care. The unique nature of palliative care makes it ideal for meeting the needs of patients, under the correct circumstances. It’s important to understand the basic definition, goals, and applications of palliative care.

Definition

Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care for patients with terminal illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a terminal illness. It is suitable at any age and for any kind of terminal illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

Goal

The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care teams focus on treating people suffering from the symptoms and stress of terminal illnesses. This type of care treats pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and any other symptoms that may be causing discomfort.

Administration

A pure form (meaning only palliative with no curative) of palliative care is most commonly found in a hospice setting. However, palliative care methods are also used in conjunction with curative care as well. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

If you or a loved one is in need of palliative and hospice care, call Cura-HPC. Our experienced team will provide the highest level of care and compassion to all patients under our care. We are able to provide the full range of hospice services including pain management, personal assistance, spiritual care, coordination of care, and bereavement care. 

Prescription Medications at Hospice

Posted on May 21, 2018

Rarely, if ever, will a patient be enrolled in hospice care who isn’t currently on some regimen of prescription medications. To ensure a smooth transition and a high level of care for the patient, one of the first steps a hospice medical team will take is a prescription medication review.

As patients move closer to the end of their life, they are often shuffled from specialist to specialist and this can cause issues with medications. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, one in six older adults who are admitted to the hospital is because of an adverse drug event. This number increases to one in three for patients over the age of 75.

Performing a medication review ensures no medication errors slip through the cracks and helps the hospice provider fully understand the condition of the patient. Once the review is complete, the hospice provider can make any adjustments needed to make the patient comfortable.

One reason that prevents families from enrolling in hospice care is the fear that the patient will no longer be allowed to take the medications they have been prescribed. While a hospice provider may stop some prescription medication that is designed to offer long term health benefits, there are no rules against maintaining prescription medications that provide comfort to the patient.

The medications that are and are not prescribed to a patient will have a big impact on the quality of hospice care a patient receives. That’s why we take this aspect of palliative care so seriously. Our staff is passionate about finding the right medication regimen for each patient to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.