Does Medicare Pay for Home Health Care?

Home health care is an alternative to traditional in-hospital care that’s growing in popularity. Care at home offers convenience, ease of access and peace of mind for many families in the US. However, like all other health care options, cost is often a consideration. Not all families can afford to pay in full for home health care services out of pocket. Seeing as in-hospital treatments are normally covered by Part A of a Medicare plan, you might think that you have to opt for hospital care to qualify for cover. But does Medicare pay for home health care under some circumstances? The good news that there are home health care services you can access through your Medicare plan.

What Does Medicare Cover for Home Health Care?

Medicare is a government health plan funded through tax money. Most people contribute to Medicare during their working years. In the same way you contribute to social security tax, part of your income tax goes towards Medicare cover. Cover provided by Medicare can is divided into four categories; Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Most Americans are only eligible to claim Medicare benefits are the age of 65, or after retirement. However, there are exceptions. Certain people with severe disabilities can be eligible for Medicare benefits even before retirement age.

What Does Part A and B of A Medicare Plan Cover?

Upon retirement, American tax payers normally qualify for Part A Medicare cover automatically without the need to pay monthly premiums. Part A covers hospital care or the cost of being in a medical facility.

Although this cover is useful, it’s not a comprehensive health care plan that will pay for all your health care expenses. Additional costs such as visits to the doctor, medical tests, medical equipment and certain procedures are covered by Part B of a Medicare plan. Unlike Part A, there is a monthly premium of approximately $144 for Part B Medicare cover.

What Does Medicare Pay for Home Health Care?

Provided you have both Part A and B cover, you can claim for from Medicare for any of the following home health care services:

  • Part-time or intermittent nursing services
  • Part-time or intermittent home health aides
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical social work

Considering all the home health care services covered by Medicare, you can claim for almost any home health care service available. The only drawback is that you can’t claim for home health care benefits indefinitely. There are some requirements candidates must fulfill in order to claim home health care from Medicare.

Who Qualifies to Claim for Home Health Care Benefits?

As mentioned, there are some requirements to claim home health care through Medicare. Some of the main requirements for claiming are as follows:

  • The home health care treatment must be part of a plan prescribed by a doctor or qualified medical professional.
  • Necessary services can’t be claimed for indefinitely. This means that you can only claim for a set duration of time as prescribed by a qualified health care professional. When the prescribed treatment time expires, eligible candidates need to reapply for care and obtain an extended treatment recommendation from a heath care professional.
  • Home health care services can’t be administered full-time. This means that Medicare won’t pay for 24/7 home health care services.
  • Eligible candidates must be certified as being home-bound by a doctor. To qualify as home-bound, a patient mustn’t be able to leave home without a wheelchair, walking frame or another person to assist. The patient must be able to prove that leaving home requires a considerable amount of effort.
  • The home health care services have to be administered by a home health care agency that’s registered with Medicare.

Lastly, it’s a requirement that Medicare must approve any home health care costs you wish to claim for. You need to make sure that Medicare will pay for your treatments before receiving care from a qualifying home health care agency.

Medicare won’t pay for home health care services if they aren’t administered through a registered home health care agency. Furthermore, Medicare won’t pay if you only require minor household services like cleaning, cooking and shopping. All household tasks must be performed by qualified health aides and they must be part of a prescribed health care plan.

What Kind of Home Health Services Can You Claim For?

Although the above describes what you can claim, you might still feel a sense of confusion. Does Medicare pay for the home health care you need? To clear up confusion, here are some examples of eligible candidates who can claim:

  • Patients who are recovering at home post-surgery qualify for necessary nursing services, such as wound care at home.
  • Patients recovering from a stroke can qualify to receive care from a health aide during the recovery process.
  • Recovering stroke patients, amputees and disabled persons can qualify for rehabilitation, such as physical and occupational therapy.
  • Diabetic patients can qualify for complex wound care after an injury.
  • Elderly patients suffering from temporary illnesses, infections and injuries can qualify for nursing care and health aide services.

Health aides can deliver a variety of services to patients. Qualified home health aides often perform daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning duties on behalf of patients. Home health aides also assist in helping patients with movement impairments move around. Patients with memory problems often need to be reminded to take their prescribed medications, which is another task home health aides can help with.

What Won’t Medicare Cover?

Although Medicare will generally cover almost any home health care services, they won’t cover 24/7 home health care. Severely disabled patients often need 24/7 assistance, with a nurse permanently available. However, this won’t be covered by home health care.

Chronic home health care also isn’t covered. This means that if you have an elderly loved one who is permanently dependent on a health aide, Medicare is unlikely to cover your costs.

Home Health Care Cost vs Traditional Care Costs

Seeing as not all persons in need of home health care can claim from Medicare, the cost of at-home health services compared to traditional options is an important consideration.

For instance, how does home health care costs compare to nursing home expenses? While many people think that home health care is a much more expensive option, it isn’t always the case. In fact, hiring a home health aide to care for an elderly loved one for 40-44 hours a week can cost as little $5000 monthly. Compare that cost to a nursing home, which can cost almost $7000 a month, by comparison.

Keep in mind that home health aides aren’t qualified nurses and can’t administer skilled health care services. A health aide won’t be able to deliver complex wound care. Your health aide also won’t be able to deliver medications through an IV or to tube feed a patient, as these all require the skills of a nurse. If your loved one requires any of the above-mentioned health services, traditional treatment might still be a cheaper option for you.

That said, home health aides are qualified to help patients with daily activities like cooking, cleaning and moving around. Patients who need help getting dressed and eating can also rely on a health aide for care.

So, when choosing whether to opt for home health care vs traditional care, consider what kind of care your loved one needs. If your loved one needs a lot of medical assistance, home care costs might end up being more expensive. But if you have an elderly loved one with dementia who simply requires supervision to stay safe alone at home, home health care can be cheaper than other options.

Rozanne WildsDoes Medicare Pay for Home Health Care?
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What Causes Arthritis? Symptoms, Treatment and Care

Arthritis is a common ailment among the elderly. When working with aged patients, our staff at Advantis Home Care, often deal with issues related to arthritis. Many at home elderly care patients need special medications and help with problems related to arthritis. But contrary to popular belief, arthritis isn’t just a disease for the elderly. Although most arthritis sufferers are older patients, the disease could affect almost any age group. Age doesn’t directly cause arthritis. So, what causes arthritis and how can you and your loved ones deal with the condition?

What Causes Arthritis?

As the leading cause of disability in America, arthritis is a very well-known condition. But despite how common the condition is, many people don’t understand what arthritis is.

Arthritis is simply a word that refers to joint inflammation (or swelling). Many people mistakenly believe arthritis to be a disease in itself, but arthritis is more of an umbrella term that can apply to various diseases that cause joint inflammation.

Arthritis can be present in only a few joints or may be found in every joint throughout the body. Even if a patient only has one inflamed joint, they have arthritis in that joint. There’s no limit to how many joints must be affected.

There are almost 200 arthritis-related conditions recognized currently. What causes arthritis can depend on the specific type of arthritis a patient is dealing with. Anything from wear and tear on joints to injuries and genetic factors play a role.

The most common causes of arthritis are:

  • Loss of padding tissue in joints due to wear or injury
  • Autoimmune diseases that attack healthy joint tissues or alter connective tissues
  • Accumulation of crystals in the joints (normally caused by an unhealthy lifestyle)
  • Joint infections

Although some types of arthritis are preventable, many are hereditary. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle choices can help in managing broad variety types of arthritis-related conditions.

Types of Arthritis and Causes

Arthritis can affect people of all age groups and is about equally common in both sexes. Some of the most common types of arthritis include the following.


Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis. The condition arises when cartilage tissue in joints breaks down, often from wear and tear. Cartilage tissue plays an important role in padding joints to make movement easier. Without it, bone grinds against bone during movement, leading to joint inflammation and discomfort.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis making it the most common type. Elderly persons are more prone to suffer from osteoarthritis, seeing as the padding tissue in joints often degenerates with age.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that’s caused when the autoimmune disease attacks healthy joint tissues. Problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis aren’t limited to the joints, however. The condition can also cause the immune system to attack and break down tissues in the eyes, skin, blood vessels, heart and lungs.

Women are 3 times more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, with most sufferers being between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. There are approximately 1.5 million rheumatoid arthritis sufferers in the US.

Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis can be a lifelong condition for many, but there are ways to manage it.

Gout and Metabolic Arthritis

Gout is a common form of arthritis caused by tiny crystals present in the joints. High levels of uric acid in the body deposit in joints, causing the formation of crystals.

Unlike most other forms of arthritis, gout can often be prevented. Many lifestyle choices can lead to elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. If uric acid builds up in the body more quickly than the kidneys can remove it, gout will start to develop.

Because of this, gout can often be reversed completely through lifestyle changes alone (although certainly not always). Excessive alcohol intake and over-consumption of red meats and sugar are some of the most common lifestyle factors associated with gout.

While many people can benefit from making good lifestyle choices, not all forms of gout are entirely reversable. For instance, there are certain chronic medications that can increase a patient’s risk of developing gout. Even though these medications can lead to gout, patients aren’t always able to stop taking them.

Additionally, some people naturally seem to produce more uric acid than others, making them prone to developing gout.

Infectious Arthritis

When arthritis is caused by a joint infection, it’s referred to as infectious arthritis or septic arthritis. Infectious arthritis can be from a bacterial, viral or fungal infection. The condition is often associated with other signs of infection in the body, such as fever, although this may not always be the case.

The onset of infectious arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage as a result of the infection. Infectious arthritis is usually isolated to a singe joint in the body and can occur in persons of any sex or age group.

Treatment commonly involves the use of antibiotics to clear up infections and potential drainage of fluid on the affected joint.

Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile arthritis includes a number of arthritis-related conditions that are commonly present in children. Despite arthritis’ reputation as a disease for the elderly, an estimated 300,000 children in the US also suffer from joint inflammation.

Autoimmune diseases such as juvenile lupus, juvenile myositis and systemic sclerosis are often the cause of juvenile arthritis.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is an umbrella term to refer to forms of arthritis caused by autoimmune and autoinflammatory reactions in children. The majority of children diagnosed with arthritis in the US suffer from juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Living with Arthritis

Seeing as many forms of arthritis are non-reversible, learning to manage the condition is often they key to a better quality of life.

Arthritis can be managed through anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your doctor. Apart from this, a healthy diet can also reduce inflammation and discomfort associated with arthritis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what changes you can make to manage your arthritis better through lifestyle changes,

Apart talking to your doctor there are also some therapies and home remedies you can try to manage your discomfort:

  • Use hot and cold therapy on sore joints
  • Exercise regularly to combat fatigue and improve your health
  • Get enough sleep, as lack of sleep can cause arthritis pain to become worse
  • Be sure to follow a diet that’s rich in healthy nutrients
  • Cut out food types associated with uric acid buildup in the body
  • Try physical therapy or occupational therapy

In severe cases, patients can also undergo surgery and joint replacements to alleviate inflammation and discomfort.

Home Care for Arthritis Patients

Many forms of arthritis are severely debilitating. Patients often find themselves unable to move without experiencing discomfort.

Elderly persons with arthritis are especially vulnerable, as their arthritis is often accompanied by other age-related problems. Coping with dementia and arthritis together can be challenging, as patients easily forget to drink their medications.

Home health care can help take away the stress of living with arthritis. If you or a loved one suffer from arthritis and require care, you can opt for receiving all the care you need in the comfort of your own home.

Health aides can accompany arthritis patients daily, helping patients remember to take medications and assisting in daily activities.

Professional nursing services can also be booked via a home health care provider. This is especially useful for patients who have recently undergone surgery, like a joint replacement, as the nurse can provide the post-surgery care necessary for a full recovery.

As an added benefit, arthritis patients can make appointments for physical and occupational therapy sessions at home. Allowing them to receive quality care without ever leaving the house.

Rozanne WildsWhat Causes Arthritis? Symptoms, Treatment and Care
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Diabetes Management Guidelines for Patients

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 million Americans are diabetic, and some don’t even know it. This is a staggering figure, highlighting the grave crises facing the country. Patients that don’t know they’re diabetic can’t follow diabetes management guidelines for their condition. November is National Diabetes Month, which means it’s the perfect time to learn more about this condition.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood sugar levels to increase due to the body failing to produce enough insulin (a hormone responsible for transporting sugar from your blood into your cells for storage or energy). Another problem related to diabetes is not being able to use the insulin the body makes effectively.

Learning about the disease and following diabetes management guidelines is crucial to controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding other health conditions like damage to tissues, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body’s immune system erroneously starts attacking and destroying cell-producing cells in the pancreas.

Children and teenagers are most likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, however, if you have a sibling or parent who has it, or you carry genes associated with the condition, you are at risk. Since your body is unable to make insulin, treatment involves taking insulin.

Type 2

This is the most common type of diabetes and results from your body becoming resistant to insulin, thereby causing sugar to accumulate in the blood. Risk factors include:

  • Being 45 and older
  • Being overweight
  • Not being physically active
  • Having other conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high triglycerides.

Additionally, you’re at a higher risk if you’ve previously had gestational diabetes or prediabetes and if your parent or sibling has the condition.


Having prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but lower than what constitutes a type 2 diagnosis. People with prediabetes are at risk of becoming diabetic within 10 years.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has high blood sugar. Even if you’ve never had diabetes, you can develop it once you become pregnant.

If you’re older than 25, overweight, have had gestational diabetes before, have polycystic ovary syndrome and have a family history of type 2 diabetes, this increases your risks. After delivering your baby, the condition should go away, however, your risk of getting diabetes in the future becomes considerably higher.

Causes of Diabetes

The causes of diabetes are dependent on the type. Ultimately though, diabetes is triggered by your genes and lifestyle choices.

Type 1 Diabetes Causes

Although the cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, genes may be the culprit in some cases, or it could also be due to a virus. Type 1 diabetes is caused by factors that cannot be controlled and therefore is not preventable.

Type 2 Diabetes Causes

Genes and lifestyle lead to type 2 diabetes. Family history is a major factor, as genes that make one predisposed to the condition are passed down from generation to generation.

However, your lifestyle also plays a role. Being overweight or obese is a high-risk factor. Extra weight in your belly can make your cells more resistant to the effects that insulin has on your blood sugar.

Causes of Gestational Diabetes

Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy cause gestational diabetes. Also, being overweight when you fall pregnant or gaining an excessive amount of weight during your pregnancy will increase your chances of getting the condition.


If you are diabetic, the general symptoms you will start to notice include:

  • sores that don’t heal
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight loss that’s unintentional
  • Frequent urination

Besides these general symptoms, some symptoms are exclusive to either men and women.
Women may notice their skin becoming dry and itchy, and they may develop a yeast infection or a urinary tract infection. Unfortunately women with gestational diabetes rarely show any symptoms. They often only learn that they have the condition after undergoing a routine blood sugar tolerance test done between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Because diabetes symptoms tend to be quite vague, it can be difficult to recognize them initially. However, if you do pick up on any of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately. The earlier you get diagnosed, the sooner you can start taking measures to control the condition

Diabetes Management Guidelines

Diabetes Diet

You can’t manage diabetes without changing how you eat. Start by creating a meal plan that will help you manage your blood sugar, pressure, and cholesterol. Choose water over sweetened drinks and ensure that you eat smaller proportions. Swap foods high in calories, salt, sugar, trans fat and saturated fat for fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, olive oil, whole grains, and nuts. A dietician can help you with this.

Get Active

Being active for at least 30 minutes a day a few times a week can make a huge difference. Whether it’s walking, swimming, or cycling, you need to get moving! Exercise is vital because every inch you lose improves your health and prevents your risk of becoming diabetic if you’re not already.

Quit Smoking

The combination of smoking and diabetes narrows your blood vessels, forcing your heart to work harder. Giving up smoking will lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, improve your blood circulation and decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, nerve disease, and diabetic eye disease.

Don’t Forget Your Medicine

Taking your medication for diabetes and other health problems you have is important for the healthy management of diabetes.

Speak to your doctor about what vaccines you need to get (for example flu shots or pneumonia shots) to avoid getting sick, as this can cause your blood sugar levels to go up. Also remember to speak to your doctor about adjusting your medicine’s dosage to complement your fitness routine to prevent excessively low blood sugar.

Check Your Sugar Levels

Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially if you’re taking insulin. Keeping track of your sugar levels will assist you in making better choices about your diet, fitness routine, or medication. It will also alert you of when you need to make some changes.

You can use a tool known as a blood glucose meter to check your sugar levels at home. You should aim to stay in the range of less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for 8 hours and less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after you’ve eaten. Levels above 215 mg/dL are considered high, with the upper acceptable limit being approximately 180 mg/dL.

There’s also another scale for measuring blood sugar levels called the hemoglobin A1C test score. In this scale, measurements between 4-6 are good, 7-8 is acceptable and 9-14 is high.

It’s important that you keep a record of your blood sugar levels. Next time you visit your doctor or health care team, this information will should be readily available.

Mental Health Matters

It’s common to feel sad, stressed, angry, and even depressed when living with diabetes. Nonetheless, stress can increase your blood sugar levels and depression makes disease management more difficult.

Speak to someone – professional or otherwise – who will listen to you and help you to feel better. You can also try doing yoga, starting a hobby, taking walks, meditating, and listening to music to help lower your stress. Getting enough sleep will also help improve your mood.

Home Health Care for Diabetic Patients

Home health aides provide a range of health care services in the home, based on what a patient’s needs are.

For diabetic patients, health aides can assist with:

  • Making sure you take your medication on time
  • Helping with exercises
  • Making sure your weight stays at a healthy mark
  • Helping you take care of any slow-healing wounds
  • Checking your blood pressure

Health aides can help patients lower the stress that comes with living with a chronic illness, which is also beneficial to the patient.

Consequences of Not Following Diabetes Management Guidelines

Diabetes can bring about new health problems, especially if not managed properly. If your blood sugar levels are very high and remain that way for a long time, this can make you vulnerable to other medical complications, some of which are very serious. Examples include:

  • Heart disease and heart attack
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve disease
  • Dementia
  • Foot sores
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Stroke
  • Depression

Gestational Diabetes Complications

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby can be at risk of premature birth, being born weighing an abnormal weight. Other complications infants from diabetic mothers can suffer from include jaundice, low blood sugar, breathing problems, higher risk of having type 2 diabetes when they get older, and even stillbirth.

Mothers can also develop high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes at a later stage. The possibility of having gestational diabetes in future pregnancies also increases after one occurrence.

In Conclusion

Diabetes may be a complicated disease, but it’s manageable. All it takes is putting a little effort into your health every day. Whether you’re diabetic or not, take the time to learn about diabetes management guidelines so that you can stay ahead of the disease. And remember, it is possible to continue living a healthy life with diabetes.

Rozanne WildsDiabetes Management Guidelines for Patients
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Why Choose Home Health Care Services?

The term home health care is not confined to a single definition. It’s a broad term, referring to a range of home-based health care services and general assistance and patients with various medical needs can benefit. But you might be asking, why choose home health care instead of hospital care, for example? Well, carry on reading to find out more about the benefits of home health care and what patients are most eligible.

Home Health Care Is a Great Alternative

Home health care is about caring for the individual and helping them be as comfortable as possible while they recover or go about their daily lives. It’s also very convenient because patients can enjoy the luxury of receiving certain services which would typically be in-hospital treatments, but from home.

You can recover, manage your illness, or age gracefully in a setting that’s most comfortable for you – your own home. This is why home care is better, than so many alternative for a lot of families.

Who Can Make Use of Home Health Care Services?

Some examples of persons who could use home health care services include anyone who’s recently been hospitalized, people who are living with disabilities or people suffering from chronic illnesses. It’s also particularly useful for the frail and elderly.

Why Choose Home Health Care over In-hospital Care?

You might be worried about the quality of the service you’ll get at home as opposed to staying in a hospital. The short of it is you don’t need to worry about a thing. The personnel are as experienced and qualified as any, which means that the level of service you get with home health care is the same as what you would get at a hospital. You’re still getting the best care, but you get to enjoy it at home. A win-win!

Care and Assistance Is Personalized

A major perk about home health care is that services are tailored to the patient’s unique needs, making in-home care very flexible. Patients can specify what their daily needs are and assistance can then be provided to ensure those needs are met.

Services Go above and Beyond

Services as well as assistance are not limited to just the medical. Perhaps you or your loved one is worried about not being mobile enough to perform basic, everyday tasks?
Fortunately, home health care makes provision for this by offering a range of services that have to do with the day-to-day life of the patient. These include helping with chores and other housework, running errands, transportation, as well as companionship. Also, if either you or your loved one is unsure about the safety of your home, an aging-in-place specialist can pay you a visit and help you remodel it to make it more suitable for an elderly person to live in.

Studies Favor In-home Care

Studies have shown that your environment can have a direct impact on your recovery. Research has proven that patients who recover from surgery and illness actually recover faster when they do so at home. Furthermore, patients are less likely to develop an infection from being exposed to germs and, therefore, are also less likely to be readmitted.

Home Health Care for the Disabled

People living with disabilities have very specific health care needs. It’s understandable that you might want to take care of your loved one yourself, but hiring someone to help you take care of them can be a good idea. It can become quite taxing to look after someone on your own, so having a skilled professional to give you a hand can afford you the opportunity to take some time to yourself and relax, knowing that your loved one is in good hands.

Sometimes, caring for one disabled person can take so much effort, it’s simply more work than you can handle yourself. Disabled persons in need of tube feeding and other specialized medical care can get qualified medical care at home to ensure everything is done properly.

Why Choose Home Health Care over Old Age Homes?

For some, the busyness of life can mean that we often don’t have the time to look after our aging loved ones. Having to juggle work, kids and a social life can be too much to handle. This is when many people start thinking about the possibility of placing their aging parents in an old age home. But before you do that, you should think about some of the disadvantages of old age homes.

Divided Attention

Old age homes are meant for taking care of many elderly people at once. This means that care and attention needs to be split between all the residents, which means that sometimes, care might not be delivered quick enough to those that need it.

Home health care, on the other hand, gives you peace of mind, knowing that your loved one is getting the full one-on-one attention they need – when they need it. Whether they need assistance for a few hours each day or 24/7 assistance, their needs can be met.


Living in an old age home can feel isolating. This is especially true if the facility is far from family. Moving to an environment that is unfamiliar can be quite distressing, especially for seniors suffering from conditions such as dementia. Remembering basic things like where to find the bathroom can be so challenging, it truly becomes disheartening.
In-home care allows your loved one to remain in an environment they are used to and most comfortable in.

Old Age Homes Can be Lonely

Living in an old age home can be lonely, especially if family can’t visit on a regular basis. Being away from family can make seniors feel lonely, which can have a negative impact on their overall health. In-house care can eliminate this by providing companionship, allowing them to have someone visit them every day, who they can talk to so that they don’t feel so alone all the time. Seniors can also easily stay close to their children in the same town or on the same property, as locating a home for the elderly won’t be an issue.

Old age homes can sometimes lack that homely feel. This is further reinforced by the schedules they run by – seniors go from being accustomed to your own routine to being forced to adopt a new, unfamiliar one. This can make them feel less independent and like they’ve lost their freedom. Home health care makes it possible for seniors to hold onto their independence by continuing to live by their own routine.

Home Health Care Is a Better Option

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why choosing in-home care for your aging relatives could be more beneficial than an old age home. For the elderly, home health care aims to give them the supportive care they need while still helping them maintain a level of independence.

Home Health Care Services

Patients can receive a whole range of services according to their specific situation. Really, it’s all about figuring out what the patient needs and planning care accordingly. This can range from the most basic to the most specialized.

If, for instance, you have been injured or you’ve just had surgery, your doctor can let you know what type of care you’ll need and your home health care service can work according to your doctor’s recommendations. However, you don’t necessarily need a doctor’s prescription to make use of home health care services.

Home Nurse

This is one of the most common home care services and entails a registered nurse providing care to a patient in the form of administering medication, wound dressing, intravenous therapy, pain control, as well as monitoring the patient’s general health for instance.

Health Aides

Health aides typically provide general care and assistance to elderly patients, but they can also care for younger patients. Some of the everyday tasks health aides assist with include:

  • Helping patients get out of bed
  • Ensuring patients move around safely
  • Assisting in maintaining personal hygiene and dressing
  • Cooking for patients can helping them eat
  • Helping patients take prescription medications on time and as prescribed
  • Offering companionship

While health aides aren’t qualified nurses, they serve an undeniably important role in home health care.

Occupational Therapy

Stroke patients can relearn daily duties through a personalized occupational therapy care plan and in-home therapy sessions. Children with learning disabilities or people with severe mental health problems can also benefit from occupational therapy to help them cope with the demands of everyday life.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can help them patients with musculoskeletal injuries and challenges. Improving patients’ mobility and helping injuries heal properly is an important focus. Through specialized physical therapy care, many patients are able to improve or regain the use of their muscles and joints after injury, stroke or trauma.

Respiratory Therapy

Patients suffering from acute or chronic respiratory problems caused by asthma, lung cancer, emphysema or pneumonia can benefit from respiratory therapy. Respiratory therapists can help many patients with rehabilitation, but often treatment focuses of management of untreatable conditions through managing life support

So, Why Choose Home Health Care?

Home health care is an alternative option to in-hospital rehabilitation and recovery, as well as old age home care. What makes it unique is that you can still experience the best quality medical care without having to leave your home. What’s more, this care is just as safe and effective as alternatives, making it an option you well worth considering. Rest assured that you or your loved one will be taken care of in the most respectful, compassionate and professional of manner.

Rozanne WildsWhy Choose Home Health Care Services?
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Health Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a diverse and growing field in medicine. Most physical therapy patients suffer from musculoskeletal issues, movement impairments and chronic pain in joints, but this isn’t always the case. A lot of physical therapy patients are regular people looking to improve their health, such as athletes and people with desk jobs who lead sedentary lifestyles. There are many benefits of physical therapy that are largely unknown,

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy, involves treating health conditions such as chronic or acute pain, soft tissue injuries, cartilage damage, arthritis, gait disorders and physical impairments.

Most conditions treatable by physical therapy are of musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and neurological origins. Physical therapists use methods such as massage, acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, ice and heat and electrical stimulation to help patients during their recovery process.

Such methods help to improve a patient’s physical functions, whereas ongoing physical examinations of the patient’s health helps therapists to monitor problems. Examinations can also help physical therapists to diagnose conditions sometimes, however, many patients already obtain a diagnosis from their doctor before visiting a therapist – in which case physical therapy is usually a recommendation from the doctor.

Physical therapists aim to improve the quality of life of patients and enhance their physical, psychological, emotional and social well-being. Movement is an integral part of life and improved movement can often drastically improve a patient’s overall quality of life. It has been proven that physical therapy treatment may eliminate the need for surgery in patients with multiple injuries.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

There a many advantages of physical therapy. While some patients do stand to benefit more than others, almost anyone could benefit from seeing a physical therapist.

Pain Reduction

Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques or treatments such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation can assist with relieving pain and discomfort. Treatment can also restore muscle and joint function to help with better body movements. In some cases, these therapies can completely heal the patient and prevent pain from returning.
Back pain is an especially common problem in modern society. Many people have sedentary office jobs, which can lead to a lot of back tension. Over time, the problem can become worse, leading to almost chronic back pain. Physical therapy can help patients get relief from back pain, while also helping to improve posture.

Surgery Prevention

Physical therapy can help patients heal from an injury, which can prevent the need for surgery to recover. This is one of the many benefits of physical therapy, but it’s definitely among one of the most advantageous. Even patients who are scheduled for surgery can benefit from post operation physical therapy, as it will help speed the recovery process.

Improved Mobility

Physiotherapy can be a wonderful way to assist when patients who experience difficulty walking or have other mobility impairments. Specific stretching and strengthening exercises can help to boost overall mobility and reduce discomfort related to moving.

After a thorough examination, a physical therapist will devise a treatment plan for each patient’s mobility impairments. Prescriptions and assistive devices often comprise part of the overall treatment plan.

Rehabilitation After a Stroke

Stroke patients are commonly left with restricted body movement as an aftereffect of brain damage. Physical therapy on a regular basis assists in strengthening and balancing for weakened parts of the body.

After undergoing physical therapy, a patient’s ability to move around and perform tasks around the home often improves, allowing patients to live a more independent life. Daily activities such as getting dressed and maintaining personal hygiene are basic functions that many patients want to regain when starting physical therapy sessions after a stroke.
Other neurological conditions that can benefit from treatment through physical therapy include cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

If you or a family member are suffering from a neurological disorder, talk to you doctor about the possibility of introducing physical therapy as part of your treatment plan.

Recovering from Sports Injuries

Physical therapy can be highly beneficial to athletes from all walks of life. Specialized therapists know that every sport has a different impact on the body. The types of injuries athletes tend to obtain from their sport tend to differ greatly from one sport to another. Golfers often struggle with knee problems and wrist pain, whereas football players might suffer from back and shoulder problems, for instance.

Physical therapists are able to develop a specific recovery for injured athletes. When treating a sports injury, the goal is always to help athletes partake in their sport again.
While many people partake in sport for purely recreational reasons, athletes competing in competitive sports on a professional level are usually eager to return to their sport. Unfortunately, partaking in sports too soon after sustaining an injury can exacerbate and cause temporary injuries to leave permanent damage. Physical therapists can help professional athletes return to their sport as soon as possible, but also prevent permanent issues by advising athletes whether they’re ready to return.

Improved Balance

Balance issues can greatly increase patients’ risk of falling and injuring themselves. To treat balance problems, physical therapists will assess patients to determine their risk for falls. Exercises to help improve balance ensure that patients retain a better sense of stability. Physical therapists can introduce exercises to enhance coordination to a patient treatment plan. Specially customized devices are also often recommended to help with safer walking.

Age-related Complications

Unfortunately there are many health complications that increase in prevalence with aging. Problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis are common issues among the elderly, often even requiring joint replacement. Physical therapy is the most beneficial treatment in supporting patients recovering from joint replacement and can also help with managing arthritic conditions effectively.

Reduced Swelling

Water retention is a common problem and can lead to uncomfortable swelling of limbs. Many conditions are associated with fluid retention in the body. Causes for water retention include certain medications, cardiological problems, kidney complications, damaged veins and cirrhosis.

There are some things patients can do to reduce their risk of developing edema (swelling of the limbs), but the problem isn’t always easy to treat. Physical therapy serves as an excellent treatment option for patients suffering from edema.

Heart and Lung Disease

Normally, patients will go through cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or some kind of cardiac-related procedure. Physiotherapy provides extra care to support patients during their recovery period. Lung disease patients can also benefit from strengthening and breathing exercises to help clear fluid on the lungs and open up the airways for better breathing.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Strengthening

The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for maintaining some of the body’s most basic functions. Unfortunately, when these muscles become weak, cause patients can experience embarrassing complications in the form of incontinence. Physical therapists can assist in strengthening pelvic floor muscles to improve patients’ ability to control the release of pelvic muscles.

Physical Therapy at Home vs Visiting a Therapy Practice

Many patients in need of physical therapy suffer from impaired movement. This makes it difficult when patients need to visit an office for therapy sessions. One of the benefits of physical therapy at home is that patients with mobility impairments don’t need to go to regular therapy sessions at a physical therapy office.

But there are many reasons why patients might not be able to commit to visiting an office. Transportation issues or childcare responsibilities also often pose a problem for many patients.

Receiving physical therapy at home is a great alternative. Home health care offers patients the convenience of getting professional medical care without ever having to leave the house. A patient can book an appointment and the physical therapist will visit the patient’s residence for treatment.

Receiving treatment in a comfortable environment can also help patients perform better during sessions, helping to speed up recovery times.

Rozanne WildsHealth Benefits of Physical Therapy
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Coping with Dementia: A Guide for Caregivers and Patients

Dementia, which is now officially called major neurocognitive disorder, is characterized by memory loss and a decline in language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills. It isn’t a disease but rather an over-arching term that affects people with a wide range of diseases and disorders. The most common disease associated with dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

People with dementia will experience a reduction in their ability to complete everyday tasks that require general thinking skills. It’s a debilitating condition because it not only prevents the sufferer to carry out day-to-day activities, but also affects relationships due to change in behavior.

The symptoms of moderate to severe dementia make living independently unsafe, which results in the need for dementia patients to have full-time care. Coping with dementia can be difficult, but understand the causes can help to make the transition of living with dementia easier.

Dementia Causes and Symptoms

There are many symptoms of dementia, but you don’t have to have all the listed symptoms to be diagnosed. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Memory loss or decline
  • Diminished language comprehension or expression
  • Increasing confusion
  • Personality or behavioral changes
  • Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
  • Difficulty with reasoning or problem-solving

There’s no one specific cause for dementia. It could be the result of an injury, infection, or disease. Although dementia is often associated with old age, it’s not the only cause. It’s often the result of cell damage, which could be localized or spread out over a large area. In turn, this cell damage could be the result of many other factors. Some of the factors that could cause dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • HIV
  • Traumatic brain injury

A number of neuropsychological tests can be performed on the patient to see if they have symptoms of dementia. These tests measure cognitive skills, memory, orientation, language skills, as well as reasoning and judgment. However, dementia is still difficult to diagnose. In order to properly diagnose dementia, a doctor must recognize a pattern of the loss of skills and function. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see a pattern without seeing the patient on an ongoing basis.

Regardless, additional tests can still be run, including CT or MRI scans, which check for evidence of a stroke, bleeding of the brain, a tumor, or hydrocephalus, as well as PET scans, which monitor brain activity and measure whether the amyloid protein has been deposited in the brain, which is an indication of Alzheimer’s disease.

Coping with Dementia: Dementia stages

It’s generally accepted that there are three broad stages and seven stage models of dementia. The three progressive stages of dementia are: mild, moderate, and severe but the rate at which the dementia patient declines varies from person to person and also depends on the type of dementia they have. Understanding the various stages helps caregivers provide the right care to each patient and can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

The seven-stage model (Global Deterioration Scale) of dementia is as follows:

No Dementia (Stage 1-3)

Stage 1: During the first stage of dementia, the person functions normally and there is no memory impairment or memory loss. People with no dementia diagnosis are considered to be in stage 1.

Stage 2: At stage 2, the person experiences very mild cognitive decline, as well as normal memory loss associated with aging. At this stage, some level of forgetfulness will start to be noticed but symptoms of dementia are still not apparent to family members or caregivers. During stage 2, a balance of independence and care need to be given. It’s still assumed that the person can perform most tasks, but that help should be on hand if required.

Stage 3: At stage 3 friends and family generally start to notice cognitive problems. The person may start to experience memory loss, decreased performance at work and speech difficulties, as well as problems focusing on everyday tasks. It’s crucial that caregivers start to recognize the symptoms at this stage to provide appropriate support.

Early-Stage Dementia (Stage 4)

Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline is experienced during stage 4 and neurologists are able to confidently diagnose early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s. This stage generally lasts an average of 2 years. During stage 4, the person will have difficulty focusing, have poor short-term memory, may forget personal details, and have difficulty with simple arithmetic and finances, as well as have trouble traveling alone.

Mid-Stage Dementia (Stage 5-6)

Stage 5: At stage 5, the person experiences moderately severe cognitive decline and begins to need help with daily activities. They will begin to experience significant confusion and cognitive deterioration and may no longer be able to live alone. This stage lasts an average of 4 years and at this stage, dementia is quite easy to diagnose.

Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline is experienced at stage 6. This stage is characterized by worsened memory loss, difficulty recognizing family members, and some personality changes. The person may wander and routinely get lost, have difficulty with perception and start experiencing delusions or hallucinations. At this stage, a disturbance in sleeping patterns generally starts to begin.

Late-stage Dementia (Stage 7)

Stage 7: Stage 7 is characterized by very severe cognitive decline. This is the final stage of dementia and at this point, communication is limited and physical ability has started to decline. The person will most often experience difficulty eating or swallowing, angry outbursts due to confusion, incontinence, and restlessness. They will also be more vulnerable to infections like pneumonia at this stage.

Treatment for Dementia Patients

Unfortunately, most types of dementia can’t be cured, but if managed correctly, the symptoms of patients can be reduced dramatically. If you are caring for a parent or other loved one with dementia at home, what’s most important is ensuring that they have a safe, comfortable environment to live in that minimizes confusion and the number of outbursts. While coping with dementia isn’t easy, it’s possible for a dementia patient to live a fulfilling life, especially during the earlier stages.

Some therapies to help make dementia patients’ environment more comfortable include:

Occupational Therapy

Since dementia is a progressive condition, which means it continues to get worse with time, it’s important to prepare for the worst and ensure that the dementia patient’s environment is as safe and comfortable as possible. An occupational therapist can help you with this as well as teach you coping mechanisms. The main goal is to prevent accidents and prepare for dementia progression.

Adjusting the Dementia Patient’s Environment

Because people with dementia suffer from memory and cognitive decline, tasks that seemed routine before will now seem momentous and everyday objects will seem unusual and confusing. Because of this, it’s important to modify their environment so that it’s easier for them to navigate this confusing space. Adjustments include safety measures such as removing knives and other sharp objects and minimizing tripping hazards.

Reminiscence Therapy

This type of therapy is especially important for family and close friends of the dementia patient as they will have the most memories to discuss and reminisce about. Talking about memories and reminding them of important facts about their life and milestones such as where they went to school, what they used to do for a living, which neighborhood they grew up in, and what they used to like to spend time doing with their friends and family. You can use various prompts for this exercise like playing some music that is significant or showing the patient photos or objects from their past.

Simplifying Tasks

For the same reason that adjusting the environment is important, simplifying tasks is also useful in helping dementia patients cope with day-to-day tasks so that they don’t get overwhelmed. This could include breaking tasks down into smaller parts or explaining each task in straightforward terms. Lots of structure and routine is also good for dementia patients to minimize confusion.

Home Health Care for Dementia

To cope with dementia during the later stages, sufferers will normally require constant care. Home health care is a great option for dementia patients. Patients get to be in a comfortable, familiar environment while still receiving professional care. Children caring for elderly parents also get to have peace of mind that their parent is in good hands, allowing them to focus on work and other everyday activities, all while being able to have their parent living with them under the same roof.

Rozanne WildsCoping with Dementia: A Guide for Caregivers and Patients
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Wound Care At Home: Home Health Care Options

Everyone has had a cut or two at some point. Usually, it’s no big deal. You simply clean it and put a band-aid on. In a few weeks, it’s like it never happened. However, some wounds are more serious than this, requiring more attention for the wound to heal properly. A wound is a break in the skin caused by anything, from a surgical incision to an injury. While some wounds can heal quickly and easily on their own, others are the opposite. Fortunately though, taking care of a serious wound at home doesn’t have to be stressful. You can get assistance with your recovery thanks to professional wound care at home services provided for by professionals known as wound care nurses.

Wound Care Nurses

Home health care providers aim to offer patients flexibility on their journey to recovery. One way they do this is through providing wound care for patients permitted for home care by their doctors.

Certified wound care nurses are specialized in the treatment and care of complex wounds, making them ideal for wound care at home. Yes, family may be able to help, but wounds like those acquired from surgery need to be treated by professionals, as their complex nature can make them a bit tricky to manage.

As a home-based patient, your wound care nurse will assess, treat and create plans of care that will enable you to heal efficiently.

Well-rounded Care

Assessments are done before starting patient care. Assessments don’t only look at the wound itself, but take on a holistic view of the patient’s circumstances. Factors like wound characteristics, as well as the kind of family support available to the patient, are considered.

This ensures that the care plan fully compliments the patient’s unique situation. Even though wounds can be similar, every patient has their own journey to recovery and home care nurses understand this.

Wound care at home is a collaborative effort that includes a team of healthcare providers all working together to care for a patient.

Types of Wounds

Open and Closed Wounds

Wounds can either be open or closed. Open wounds are characterized by exposed body tissue due to a break in the skin while closed wounds occur underneath the surface of the skin (for instance, bruises), meaning the underlying body tissue remains unexposed.

Open wounds are more complex and need to be handled carefully to avoid any complications that may hamper the wound’s healing process.

Chronic Wounds

Chronic wounds – as their name suggests – are wounds that take a longer than usual time to heal, especially compared to acute wounds, which are quick to heal. Since chronic wounds take a lengthy period of time to heal, they require skilled intervention to be treated.

Causes of chronic wounds include:

  • Reopened surgical wounds
  • Pressure ulcers – caused by broken-down skin from excessive pressure in a bony area
  • Arterial/venous ulcers – caused by poor blood circulation, resulting in leg or feet injuries
  • Diabetic ulcers – caused by a loss of circulation as well as feeling
  • Sharp objects

Examples of chronic wounds include the following:

  • Surgical incisions
  • Animal bites
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Chemical, thermal and electrical burns

Chronic wounds often take a lot of care to heal and there’s a risk of serious infection if these wounds aren’t treated properly.

Why Is Wound Care Essential?

The importance of proper wound care cannot be stressed enough. Poor care can lead to serious complications and even infections, which can put your health at risk.

Prevent Infections

If the appropriate precautions of wound care are not followed, chances are you’ll develop an infection.

Infections are caused by an increase in bacteria in the wound and, if left untreated, wounds can become worse, which delays the healing process.

Signs of infection can include:

  • Redness or swelling around the wound
  • An unpleasant odor from the wound, even after it’s been cleaned
  • The wound or area surrounding it feels warm
  • The wound changes color
  • Pus buildup in the wound
  • Wound pain that’s getting worse
  • Fever
  • Feeling nauseous and vomiting

If either you or a loved one has some of the above symptoms with a chronic wound, it’s crucial to seek out medical help as soon as possible.

Control Surgical Site Infections

A surgical site infection is an infection that develops in the part of the body where surgery was performed. Site infections can either only involve the skin or can be more serious, affecting the tissues underneath the skin such as your organs and even implanted material.

Minimize Risk of Sepsis

Sepsis – also known as blood poisoning – is a blood infection caused by bacteria. Because the infection is in the blood, it can spread throughout the body, making it very dangerous if it’s not controlled as soon as possible. Sepsis is potentially fatal and will normally lead to death if left untreated.

Avoid Septic Shock

Sepsis that is left untreated evolves into what’s known as septic shock, a life-threatening condition that needs to be attended to immediately. Approximately half of all patients who develop septic shock die.

Facilitate Speedy Healing

Efficient wound care is directly linked to a faster healing process. So, if you neglect your wound, it will take longer to heal, delaying your recovery and leaving you vulnerable to complications.

Reduce Scarring

A good care plan can help to reduce scarring as the wound heals. Knowing what to do and what not to do can go a long way in minimizing scars during the healing process.

Benefits of Professional Wound Care At Home

Some wounds are more complicated than others. Sometimes, a patient or their caregiver might not have the expertise to adequately care for the wound.

Yes, family may be able to help, but difficult wounds like those acquired from surgery need to be treated by someone who knows what they’re doing. This is why wound care nurses are so beneficial for patients recovering at home.

Hospital Quality Care at Home

Wound care nurses are highly skilled, making them super reliable in delivering the best care to their patients. This affords patients the ability to still enjoy the highest standard of quality care even at home.

Reduced Risk of Readmission

Having a professional assist helps to minimize any risks of infection that you might otherwise become exposed to. Wound care nurses involved in your healing process can significantly reduce the risks of any wound-related complications, which reduces the risk of readmission to the hospital.

Diabetic Patients

People living with diabetes usually have to deal with wounds that don’t heal completely or that take a long time to heal. This leaves them at higher risks of getting infections and developing other complications.

Professional wound care at home is very beneficial for diabetic patients. Nurses can ensure that the right precautions are adhered to and appropriate care is taken in treating the wound. Furthermore, they can help patients manage their healing in conjunction with their condition (not just diabetes) in the best possible way.

Wound Care Nurse Services

Wound care nurses offer a multifaceted service to their patients. The following are things wound care nurses can assist with:

  • Changing the dressing
  • Treating wounds that are not healing as they should
  • Helping the patient with pain management
  • Advising patients on a suitable diet plan and lifestyle to assist wound healing

Dietary advice can be especially helpful for slow-healing wounds in diabetic patients. Wound care nurses can provide an all-round service to their patients. Nurses also provide education to patients and their families on wound care and techniques, along with ways to prevent complications.

Something to Consider

With all the benefits and convenience that it brings, you can rest assured that professional wound care at home is certainly something that will help you enjoy a smoother recovery process.

Wound care can be a lengthy and complicated process, which is why it’s so important that it’s done properly.

Re-admittance to hospital due to complications from a poorly managed wound must be avoided. While many wounds are easily manageable without the aid of a professional, more challenging wounds can heal better with the help of a qualified home care nurse.

Rozanne WildsWound Care At Home: Home Health Care Options
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Elderly Fall Prevention: Reducing Risks at Home

Falling can happen at any age, but even more so for those who are older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four seniors aged 65 and above fall at least once every year. These falls can be very dangerous – even fatal. This harrowing figure highlights the urgent need to educate seniors and their loved ones on the importance of elderly fall prevention in order to reduce the frequency of falls and increase safety. A handful of the most common causes are found in the home, which means we can’t speak about elderly fall prevention without looking at the living space itself.

Elderly Fall Prevention: Why Are Seniors at Risk?

Unfortunately, aging brings with it a reduction in lower body strength as well as balancing and walking difficulties. These three factors play a major role in increasing the possibility of falling.

Where Do Most Falls Occur in the Home?

Falls usually happen in the bathroom, shower, and any other slippery environment like the kitchen and porch area. However, they can happen anywhere in the home, especially where objects are lying around, where there’s poor lighting and on the stairway.

Most Common Causes of Falls in the Elderly

There are a number of medical conditions that can increase an elderly person’s fall risk, these include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Joint and muscle disorders
  • Spinal cord complications
  • Foot pain
  • Drowsiness

Basically, any condition that makes moving around more difficult can lead to an increased risk of falling. Elderly people already struggle with good balance – any complication on top of this difficulty amplifies the problem.

Other factors that increase the falling risk include:

  •  Wearing poor-fitting shoes or loose clothing that drag on the floor
  • Wearing socks and walking on slippery floors
  • Moving too quickly from one position to the next (for example from sitting to standing)
  • Walking in the dark at night and problems with vision

Vitamin D deficiency, as well as drowsiness and dizziness from some over-the-counter and prescription medications could also pose a risk.

Environmental Causes

There are also risks scattered around the house that can be major safety hazards. These include wet and uneven floors (such as buckled hardwood floors), loose carpets, throw rugs, unstable furniture, steps, poor lighting, cluttered spaces and even pets. Making use of an aging-in-place specialist is an available option. They are professionals who can offer you advice and guidance on how to remodel your home so that it can be safe to live in.

How to Prevent Falls at Home?

Falls are not only dangerous, but they are also costly, as injuries resulting from falls often require hospitalization. Luckily, there are preventative measures that can be taken to help minimize elderly fall risks. Learning these tips and tricks is necessary for keeping you or your loved one safe.

Elderly Fall Prevention in the Bathroom

Install grab bars in your shower or tub and next to your toilet so you have something to hold onto as you move around. Get slip-resistant rugs to prevent slipping. Use a raised toilet seat. Ensure that your bathroom is well lit with bright lightbulbs and perhaps get a nightlight as well. Finally, you can also make your shower larger and install a plastic seat to minimize standing.

Elderly Fall Prevention in the Kitchen

You need to keep your kitchen as organized as possible. Make sure that the floor is clean without any spilled liquids, food or grease, which can make you slip. Store items like dishes, cooking equipment and cooking ingredients in an area that’s easily accessible.

Elderly Fall Prevention in the Bedroom

Firstly, your bedroom must always be well lit and you should never get up in the dark. Keep your light switch close to your bed (should you need to get up in the middle of the night) and don’t leave things lying on the floor.

Everywhere Else

Keep your spaces tidy and uncluttered so you can avoid stumbling and tripping over objects like loose extension cords. Use non-slip mats, get rid of unstable furniture along with any objects that have sharp corners (this can cause injury if you fall).

Store things in such a way that they are easy to reach so you don’t need to use a stool or ladder to get to them. Install handrails on your stairway and hallway and place fall mats that are specially designed around your home in places where falls are most likely to occur.

Fall Prevention Exercises

One way seniors can protect themselves from being so vulnerable to falls is through exercising. Besides the health benefits, exercising helps seniors increase and improve balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility, which in turn improves walking and stability. Examples of different exercises and activities seniors can do are walking, Tai Chi, yoga (both Tai Chi and yoga are great exercises because they are simple and painless to do) and swimming. Whatever you do, just get moving!

Health Aides as a Prevention Strategy

Health aides are a form of home health care services that focus primarily on elderly care and assistance. They are an excellent method for elderly fall prevention because they provide supervision and can make sure that fall risks are identified and mitigated. Health aides can assist seniors to move around safely by offering support, help them retrieve items that are too difficult to reach, and even assist them with tasks like bathing, which means that the risk of slipping is greatly reduced. All in all, health aides ensure that there can always be someone around in case a fall does occur and a trip to the doctor can be taken immediately.

Injuries from Falling

Statistics show that falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths for seniors aged 65 and upwards. At the same time this data was collected, falls were also the number one cause of non-fatal injuries at home. Evidently, elderly people experience the daily risk of suffering serious injuries from falling. Even if you think you don’t have any injuries, it’s essential that you still visit your doctor to make sure, since not all injuries show symptoms. Better to be safe than sorry.

Examples of Injuries

Falling can cause hip, spine, pelvis, leg, ankle, arm and hand fractures. It can cause kidney damage, pressure sores, cuts, as well as head and brain injuries. What’s more, you might have to deal with chronic pain, which is never fun.

Loss of Independence

Falls can rob seniors of their independence and mobility. For example, seniors who are 75 and above are more likely, compared to those aged between 65 and 74, to be admitted to a care facility and stay there for a lengthy period of up to a year or longer. This goes to show that the older people get, the more serious the fall injuries become.

What to Do If You Fall

Step One

As difficult as it may be, the most important thing to do is to first and foremost is to remain calm. This is important because panicking can make it harder for you to assess the situation accurately and can lead you to injuring yourself even further.

Step Two

The second thing you should do is to use your medical alert system if you have one. This is extremely helpful because it allows you to remotely call for help by pushing a button after you’ve fallen and need help getting back up. This is especially handy if you are alone or when no one is close enough to hear you calling.

Because of how beneficial it can be, all senior citizens should get themselves a medical alert system. There are a variety of different systems, but make sure you choose one that has a fall detection or fall prevention feature.

Step Three

Lastly, if you are unable to get up, do not force yourself. This might do more harm than good. Instead, try to slowly get yourself onto your hands and knees. Grab onto the nearest sturdy object (if there isn’t an object near you, you can simply crawl to one) and use it to slowly push yourself up using your hands until you are sitting on whatever piece of sturdy furniture you could find.

Stay in that seated position until you feel confident enough to stand. As soon as you are up to it, go see a doctor to make sure that there are no injuries.

Remember, Falls Are Preventable

The importance of elderly fall prevention awareness can’t be stressed enough. The high number of falls that occur each year shows that a lot of seniors aren’t well informed about the fall risks in their homes and how to protect themselves. The good news is that falls can be prevented, along with injuries. Your home should be the one place you feel most safe –and you can. The key is to know what the risks are and to put interventions in place to mitigate them.

Rozanne WildsElderly Fall Prevention: Reducing Risks at Home
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Occupational Therapy at Home: Can You Benefit?

Occupational therapy aims to help people suffering from mental, cognitive, psychological or physical impairments to cope with everyday life. The aim is to assist people to learn new skills that will help them to perform regular daily activities such as socializing, performing routine physical tasks and learning new things. Because occupational therapists help people with all manner of challenges, from cognitive to physical, a lot of people can benefit from therapy. Traditionally, occupational therapists work in their own offices of therapy or at hospitals, but occupational therapy at home is becoming an increasingly popular option.

What Is Occupational Therapy At Home?

Occupational therapy at home can be used to describe two entirely different kinds of treatment. Often times, people use the term to refer to “DIY therapy”. In other words, therapy activities that parents or loved ones perform with a child or family member at home. While these activities are a form of at-home occupational therapy, they don’t require a professional therapist to be present to oversee activities.

What many people don’t realize is that occupational therapy at home can also refer to a therapy session with a qualified occupational therapist. With the rise in popularity of home health care services, it’s becoming increasingly more common for occupational therapists to visit patients at their homes.

Benefits of Professional Occupational Therapy At Home

There are several benefits to receiving professional occupational therapy at home:

  • Patients with mobility challenges don’t need to go to an occupational therapy office or hospital for treatment
  • Costs are often lower than treatment in hospital
  • Patients suffering from anxiety have the comfort of a familiar environment
  • Save time traveling to and from therapy sessions
  • Trauma and stroke patients can relearn how to perform daily activities in their own home, meaning all environmental factors can be accounted for during therapy sessions

Seeing as one of the largest goals of occupational therapy is to help patients learn (or relearn) daily tasks, the home environment can provide the perfect space for therapy. After all, there are a broad range of daily tasks that patients must perform at home each day.

What Is an Occupation in Occupational Therapy?

In terms of occupational therapy, the word “occupation” can refer any daily activity a patient needs to, is expected to or wants to perform. The entire purpose of therapy is to help patients achieve the goal of performing certain occupations through the following methods:

  • Equipping a patient with the knowledge or skill to perform a desired occupation
  • Adjusting a patient’s environment to help him/her perform an occupation

In most cases occupational therapists will strive to help patients perform occupations without the need to adjust the environment. Therapists will only adjust a patient’s environment in cases where the patient is physically or cognitively unable to function in a normal environment.

Seeing as an occupation can be defined as any activity a patients needs or wants to perform, it can include almost anything such as:

  • Studying and learning activities for school
  • Routine housework activities
  • Self-grooming activities
  • Fine motor activities, such as typing or writing
  • Leisure activities, such as participating in sports or playing a musical instrument

In some cases, occupational therapy can be required to help a patient perform basic tasks such as eating. Patients don’t always need occupational therapy to cope with everyday life, however. Sometimes occupational therapy can be optional to improve a patient’s ability to perform a non-essential task, such as sports,

Who Can Benefit from Occupational Therapy?

Anyone struggling to perform certain daily activities can benefit from occupational therapy. Most occupational therapy patients face cognitive or physical challenges that they can learn to live with through a professional therapy program.

Common physical challenges that call for occupational therapy could include:

  • Amputation recovery
  • Rehabilitation after a stroke
  • Learning to live with birth defects
  • Recovery after injuries to the spinal cord
  • Adjusting to loss of sight or hearing (sensory impairment)
  • Adapting to neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis or dementia
  • Regaining lost movement of muscles after injury or surgery

In the case of spinal cord injuries, occupational therapy could aim to help patients regain lost function of limbs. In cases of severe injury, therapy might focus on teaching patients to live with paraplegia rather than regaining recovery of movement.

Occupational therapy for cognitive, mental and psychological conditions could include:

  • Helping patients with age-related mental challenges
  • Assisting children with learning disabilities to study effectively
  • Aiding children and adults to cope with social challenges related to autism
  • Teaching persons with mental health disorders to function in everyday life

Therapy for patients with mental health issues could focus on learning skills to manage emotions more effectively, or overcoming fears and anxiety through practical tasks. It should be noted that occupational therapy can be part of a mental health program, but should be combined with other forms of mental health care, such as psychological treatment.

When it comes to occupational therapy for learning difficulties and autism, a therapist might make use of techniques that help teach certain tasks, helping children learn to overcome the challenges associated with their respective conditions.

At-Home Occupational Therapy Activities and Plans

Parents with children who suffer from learning disorders and autism can apply some occupational therapy techniques into daily activities to help children adapt with their unique challenges. Examples could include creating rubrics or applying techniques to help children cope with emotions. Although such therapy techniques can be self-made, occupational therapists are specialized in creating therapy plans for a wide range of physical and cognitive conditions.

Occupational therapists will often assign patients and families with exercises and practices they can perform between therapy sessions. These will often be part on an ongoing occupational therapy program and progress from one therapy session to another will serve as an important method of analyzing progress.

Of course, it’s imperative that patients and their loved ones adhere to the instructions given by their occupational therapists for at-home activities between sessions. Often, most patient progress isn’t made during therapy sessions. Instead, the role of the occupational therapist is to set out a recovery plan for the patient and family. If the patient wishes to make any substantial progress through occupational therapy, the plan set out by the therapist should be strictly followed.

Your occupational therapist will often change your at-home treatment plan between therapy sessions to account for progress made (increase the difficulty of activities), or to overcome current obstacles in effectively applying therapy.

Can Your Loved One Benefit from Occupational Therapy?

A magnificently broad range of conditions can be addressed through occupational therapy, far more than mentioned in this article.

Various conditions relating to old-age, developmental disorders and physical disability can benefit from professional occupational treatment therapy.

Occupational therapists can even assist in treating obesity by helping patients transition to healthy lifestyle changes. Therapy can also focus on helping diabetic patients adapt to caring for themselves. This could mean helping patients learn what is expected of them in terms of healthy living and regulating their health with diabetes.

Simply put, occupational therapists help people to live life on a practical level. This rule applies regardless of whether someone is facing practical obstacles related to loss of an ability, or complex challenges related to difficulty with self-regulation.

If you suspect that you or a loved one could benefit from occupational therapy, there’s no harm in asking for professional advice. An occupational therapist will be able to advise you on whether you or a loved one could benefit from therapy.

In most cases, occupational therapy will be part of a larger treatment program, which could include physician care, psychological treatment, or even physical therapy. If you’re currently seeing a health professional, such as a doctor, you can ask them about incorporating occupational therapy into your current treatment program.

Rozanne WildsOccupational Therapy at Home: Can You Benefit?
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Guide to Pediatric Home Health Care

Home health care is a growing trend among Americans. Even though a lot of families aren’t aware of the benefits of home health care yet, awareness is spreading. To many people, home health care might sound questionable – like some sort of rising trend among people who like to challenge conventional medicine, but this is far from being true. The truth about home care is that only qualified professionals are legally permitted to work in the field. Home health care experts receive the same training to work in their respective professions as hospital staff would undergo.

One of the fastest growing sectors in home health partitioning is elderly care, but there’s no person too young or old to receive health care at home. Pediatric home health care can help countless families care for the health care needs of their children in the comfort of their own homes.

How Fast is Home Health Care Growing?

Home health care is growing in popularity at a rapid pace. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for growth in home health care is that it’s on the rise. The demand for home health aides is predicted to grow by 36% between 2018 and 2028 alone.

This growth is largely contributed to the growing number of elderly people in need of basic care and assistance from health aides. While it represents the fact that home health care is growing, the rising popularity of other forms of home care, such and nursing and therapy, isn’t factored in to this statistic.

Home Health Care is More than Health Aides

Home health care is about more than hiring aides to assist patients that face disability challenges. Pediatric home health care specifically can include various forms of therapy and assistance with a broad range of medical disorders – not all of which will render a child immobile.

To some extent, the growing popularity of home health care is reminiscent of the old days, when doctors routinely made house visits to treat patients. Patient visitation makes sense, seeing as a lot of patients suffer from medical problems that make visiting a medical practice challenging.

Receiving as much care as possible at home is also more convenient and accessible for many patients. To get medical assistance at home allows patients to stay comfortable in a relaxed environment. When pediatric home care serves to assist patients during the recovery period after surgery, it allows for patients to recover out of hospital, away from potential pathogens that exist in a hospital environment.

Professional Medical Treatment

The prospect of home health during the recovery period after surgery can seem attractive, but not all patients are eligible. If you’re interested in home health care for your child or loved one, you’ll still need to consult with your doctor about whether it’s a viable option.

It goes without saying that high-risk patients will need to remain in hospital until a physician clears them as stable enough for recovery at home. In this way, your home health care provider and doctor will need to work together to establish the best care for your child.

Pediatric Home Health Care Options

As previously stated, some children might be eligible for pediatric home health care during recovery post-surgery. However, home care doesn’t always serve as an alternative to hospital recovery. Some pediatric home health care options are aimed at providing short sessions of in-home treatment rather than extensive, chronic care.

Below is a list of pediatric home health care options for different conditions.

Infant Bilirubin Therapy

Infant jaundice is a common problem among newborns and mothers with incompatible blood types. Most often, it’s due to an ABO incompatibly, where the mother lacks an antigen present in the blood of the infant. Treatment for infant jaundice involves phototherapy – which means it’s treated by exposing the child to specially developed lights.

Medication Infusion Therapy

Certain medications must be administered intravenously through a needle, or through the use of a catheter. Some conditions that commonly warrant medication infusion therapy include cancers, immune deficiencies and infections that are unresponsive to oral antibiotic treatment.

Asthma Nursing Care

Although some asthma sufferers can live relatively normal lives, a lot of younger sufferers are hardest hit by the condition. Some children are at high risk for asthma-related fatalities. In such instances, physicians might prescribe specialized asthma nursing care, which can be administered at home.

Specialized Therapy

A lot of children require some form of physical-, occupational- or speech therapy. When working with a pediatric home health care provider, appointments can be made for home treatment.

The need for therapy isn’t an indication of a child’s intellectual abilities, some children simply require special care due to learning disorders, physical challenges, autism or even psychological problems, such as high levels of anxiety. Qualified, experienced health care practitioners display the necessary sense of patience, understanding and competence to provide the highest quality of care possible.

Appointments can be made according to your personal schedule for therapy on an ongoing basis. For children who lack confidence, the familiar home environment can help set them at ease, which could make therapy sessions more effective.

Enteral Feeding

For disabled children who suffer from mental subnormalities, enteral feeding (also called tube feeding) is often required. This involves feeding through a tube that releases food directly into the stomach or intestinal tract. It’s not practical to travel daily for feeding, so home health care is the best option. Nurses and medical staff will also be able to assist with other health care requirements.

Wound Care

Pediatric home wound careIn the home health care setting, wound care most often involves the ongoing treatment of problematic persistent wounds. Complex wounds are often indicative of underlying medical complications such as diabetes or infection, but surgical wounds can also qualify. Your pediatric home health care provider will work with your doctor in wound treatment.

Home wound care nurses are experienced in the treatment of complex wounds. Through proper communication, evaluation and cooperation, your nurse can work together with your doctor by recommending treatment plans, which you can discuss with your doctor.

Although a lot of home wound care can be performed by a loved one, the help of a medical professional can be crucial for recovery. Complications can present during home wound care – the guidance and expertise of a wound care nurse can help patients overcome challenges through expert care and recommendations for improved recovery rates.

Can Your Child Benefit from Pediatric Home Health Care?

Pediatric home health care can encompass more than the medical assistance listed above. There are many medical conditions where home care can greatly improve the quality of life for both the pediatric patient and their family. Children suffering from respiratory disorders, orthopedic ailments, infection disorders and even cardiovascular complications can all benefit from receiving home care as part of a medical care plan.

If you’re interested in pediatric home health care, but you’re not sure if your child is eligible, talk to a home health care provider about your options. Advantis Home Care offers home health care to both pediatric and geriatric patients in Miami. Our staff are knowledgeable on home health care treatment options and can advise you regarding what options are available for your child. We’ll work with your existing medical practitioners to help incorporate home care into your child’s health care plan.

Is Pediatric Home Health Care Affordable?

Home health care might seem like an extravagant luxury, but this isn’t the case. In many cases, treatment at home can be more affordable than hospitalization or medical care administered in a practice.

Many children who require pediatric home health care qualify for cover from Medicaid. In almost all states, Medicaid will pay for pediatric home health care if the treatment is deemed necessary by a physician. Medicaid will also pay out for occupational- and speech therapy in some states, but not all.

Unfortunately, financial assistance from Medicaid isn’t always enough to cover all the expenses involved in home health care. When Medicaid payments aren’t sufficient, you can discuss payment options with a local home health care provider. Private health insurance providers are often willing to pay for home health care – especially when it proves as a cost-effective alternative to hospitalization.

Home care often costs less than alternatives, making it a convenient, personalized and affordable option for many American families.

Rozanne WildsGuide to Pediatric Home Health Care
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