Synthetic cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has been shown for the first time to kill the bacteria responsible for gonorrhoea, meningitis and legionnaires disease.
New York City, August 8-13
This article originally appears here: http://www.caregiversolutions.ca/caregiving/the-abcs-of-caring-for-yourself/
Providing care for a family member in need is a centuries-old act of kindness, love and loyalty. Caregivers, friends and family members can make an incredible difference in the lives of their loved ones who are diagnosed with chronic conditions.
As a caregiver you provide help with many things, including grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking, shopping, paying bills, giving medicine, toileting, bathing, dressing and eating. There are many rewards and challenges to providing care. There are times of intimacy, fun and laughter. In fact, research has found that caregivers feel approximately three times more positive than negative emotions related to caregiving. The literature reports some of the following statistics and comments:
• 96 per cent of caregivers report feeling “loving”.
• 90 per cent report feeling appreciated.
• 84 per cent report feeling proud.
Doing it with love
Caregivers often experience increased closeness with their loved one; they can find it meaningful to care for someone and often report having a sense of purpose. Caregiving can help clarify an individual’s beliefs and deepen their sense of their own values, compassion and patience, and improve their self-confidence and self-esteem. It can also create a positive psychological change as a result of successfully struggling with a highly challenging situation.
There are also times of sadness, frustration and exhaustion, however, which are often caused by a lack of practical skills and support: Caregivers often have to travel through a healthcare system that, unfortunately, is not designed to manage chronic long-term illnesses. That means struggling to coordinate doctors, managing multiple prescriptions, monitoring for changes in conditions and more. Studies have shown that caregivers are nearly twice as likely as the general population to develop multiple chronic illnesses due to stress and neglect of their own health and well-being.
Caring for another person takes a lot of time, effort and work. In addition, most caregivers juggle caregiving with full-time jobs and parenting and, in the process, put their own needs aside. Caregivers often report that it is difficult to look after their own health in terms of exercise, nutrition and doctor’s visits, and can often end up feeling angry, anxious, isolated and sad.
Deciding how to manage any kind of medical condition with your loved one is an important task. Things to consider include understanding your loved one’s goals, making sure you talk with your loved one, tag-teaming appointments with others, developing a health journal, helping to maintain a safe home environment and improving your own comfort.
Understand your loved one’s goals
Talk with your friend or loved one with chronic illness to help understand their goals. Get the conversation started by discussing events or activities they used to participate in and miss, whether that is fishing, walking the dog or playing cards, or something they would like to be a part of in the future. You can help your loved one meet their goals by discussing them with their healthcare providers, doctors or community service agencies.
Talk with, not at, someone
Your family member or friend may be put off by your advice if they think that you are speaking at them and not with them. Most people suffering from a chronic illness do not want advice; they want to talk things out so that they can come to their own decisions. At times, giving advice inhibits conversation. Put yourself in their shoes and talk in a way that encourages a positive reaction. For example: “I read that some people suffering from heart failure have trouble checking their weight every day. We could make a pact to make sure we weigh ourselves daily.”
Attending doctor’s appointments with the “patient” can not only be comforting to them, but also provides a second pair of ears.
Hint: Take all medications (in their containers) along to doctor’s appointments. It is also helpful to write down questions ahead of time and take notes. You could also help create a personal health journal with doctors’ numbers and a record of your loved one’s weight, oxygen use and symptoms, such as increased shortness of breath or fatigue.
By educating yourself about your loved one’s condition, you will feel more comfortable speaking about it and reinforcing doctors’ suggestions.
Make sure the home is safe
Look for things in the environment that might cause harm to your loved one, such as loose area rugs, wonky steps or missing/faulty handrails—all of which can be dangerous for someone who has trouble walking. Stairs can cause shortness of breath, so think about moving your loved one’s bedroom to the ground floor if you live in a multi-storey home. Place chairs around the house so that your loved one can sit if they need to.
How to take care of yourself
It is very important that you don’t neglect your own needs. While it may feel selfish, looking after yourself really is the best thing you can do not only for yourself but also for the person you are caring for.
Find friends and family that you can lean on for emotional support, or join a local disease-specific support group composed of other people in the same situation as you. You can also:
• Make sure you have regular check-ups and that those “little concerns” about your health are seen to.
• Keep exercising: Exercise is more important than ever as it gives you a break, combats depression and helps you maintain your health.
• Eat properly and get enough sleep.
Don’t go it alone
Find community resources and ask friends or family members to step in and give you time off. Or, if you are financially able, hire someone to assist you.
When you have a break, get your hair done or see a movie. Listen to music and exercise. In addition, meditation can be very helpful.
Excerpted with permission from Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada, with contributions from Maureen Tymkow, PH caregiver, and Carolyn Doyle-Cox, RN.
Visit phacanada.ca for more information.
There are risks involved in moving patients in the home when an assistive device is not used. An overexerted caregiver could accidentally injure themselves or harm the patient. The patient may be injury by being dropped, jarred or not properly handled during transfers that are unassisted by a device.
Traditional floor-based lifts typically require multiple caregivers for transfers in the home. They have a higher risk of tipping and can be difficult to move and adjust due to floor coverings or furniture within the room. Heavier and larger patients can make these types of lift even more difficult for caregivers to move and adjust.
Anyone who lifts and moves patients are at a high risk for back injury and other musculoskeletal disorders. Injuries are due in a large part to the overexertion associated with lifting, transferring and repositioning patients manually. Safe Patient Handling has been associated with fewer injuries and decreasing severity of injuries.
Studies have shown that patients feel more comfortable and secure when ua mechanical transfer device is used. It has been found that using mechanical devices to transfer patients takes fewer personnel and less time than manual transfers.
Patients and family caregivers may be unwilling or unable to accept changes in the home. They may fear that an assistive device will be unsafe or uncomfortable. In reality, assistive devices actually increase patient safety and comfort while enhancing the patient’s sense of dignity. Assistive devices also protect caregivers from injury while increasing their efficiency.
The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for the home and the family caregiver. It allows a single caregiver, often a family member, to safely transfer a loved one in the home without injury.
Proudly Made in the USA, the Titan 500 is a complete lift system that includes a free sling and free shipping. It does not attach to the structure of the home and can follow the patient as they move through the continuum of care. It is simple and safe to use and features a rechargeable electric lift motor.
By Alice Wong
This article originally appeared in Teen Vogue. (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/disability-rights-how-to-help)
In this op-ed, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, Alice Wong, explains the danger of H.R. 620 and how you can help protect disability rights.
What does it mean to be an activist? I became an accidental activist because this world was never built for me. For me, as a disabled woman of color with a progressive neuromuscular disability, every breath is an act of resistance and activism.
I graduated from high school two years after the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. It took me a long time understand the influence of this law on my sense of identity and pride as a disabled person. I no longer had to ask “nicely” for access or put up with discrimination. I had a law that represented my lived experience and my community. I could refer to the ADA and say that disability rights are civil and human rights.
Tomorrow, a bill will go for a vote in the House that will weaken the ADA and make it harder for disabled people to fully enjoy the world with their friends and family. The bill is called H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.
For more than 27 years, businesses and public entities have been required to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The ADA changed the opportunities disabled people have in every aspect of life.
Read the rest of the article here: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/disability-rights-how-to-help
The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for home care. The Titan 500 is a complete lift system and comes with the freestanding frame, 8 foot overhead beam, rechargeable electric lift motor, four-point lift bar, remote control, battery charger and a universal sling, with 4 sizes to choose from.
The Titan 500 ships freight and arrives in a large carton. It is partially assembled and two adults can fully assemble the lift in about 30 minutes. The Titan 500 does not attach to the structure of the home and allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a loved one without the stress and strain of a floor-based lift. The only real maintenance required is keeping the batteries charged and maintaining a straight lift belt to avoid twists and folds.
Each piece of the system is designed to lift up to 500 pounds. We have several safety
systems built in to the lift. These include a belt travel limiter to prevent the belt from
completely unspooling, a safety stop switch to keep the belt from winding all the way up
into the motor unit and an electric emergency down system.
The Titan 500 is proudly U.S. made and was designed by a service-disabled veteran. We
are located in Michigan and shipping is free within the continental United States. Options for the unit include a 10 or 12 foot overhead beam and a set of locking casters for the frame. Those incur extra charges. Contact us with questions and price inquiries.
The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead electric patient lift designed for home health care and a single family caregiver. It protects caregivers and their patients from the injuries associated with the manual lifting and transferring of patients in the home.
The freestanding system does not attach to the structure and can follow the patient throughout their continuum of care. A rechargeable electric motor gently lifts and lowers the patient while the caregiver glides them across the overhead beam and positions them for a safe and secure transfer.
Designed by a Service-Disabled Veteran, the Titan 500 is proudly “Made in the USA”.
It’s time to take health care away from the power of bosses and spouses.
In the spring of 1969, a dozen feminists gathered at a women’s conference in Boston and came to a sober conclusion: their encounters with the United States health-care system had been overwhelmingly negative. They felt unsettled by doctors, alienated from their bodies, grifted by fees, and altogether powerless to navigate an industry they believed objectified them just as popular culture did.
The conference launched a years-long project, with each participant delving into some aspect of anatomy, sexuality, or society related to women’s health. The result was a self-published volume of essays called Women and their Bodies, which the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective used to provide women with a resource produced from their own perspectives and experiences.
Within a few years, the landmark feminist booklet was re-dubbed Our Bodies, Ourselves, released by Simon and Schuester, and sold millions of copies. In 2012, the Library of Congress named it one of the most significant works in American history. In recent years, it has inspired Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, which similarly seeks to be a health-care guide “by and for” the transgender community.
While Our Bodies, Ourselves is remembered for its role in the history of women’s health and culture, less attention is paid to its political context. In the 1970s, the small collective became one of the first feminist organizations to demand a single-payer health-care system: “Suffice it to say that capitalism is incapable of providing good health care, both curative and preventive, for all people,” one entry read. “Cost-benefit analysis trades off the benefit to the people of collective public health in favor of the cost to the people of private, patch-up medical care. The capitalist medical care system can be no more dedicated to improving the people’s health than can General Motors become dedicated to improving the people’s public transportation.” In a subsequent edition, they expounded: “We believe that health care is a human right and that a society should provide free health care for itself . . . Health care cannot be adequate as long as it is conceived of as insurance.”
If the book’s then-radical content has so permeated mainstream culture that it would strike readers as obvious today, the same is not the case for its authors’ critique of American health care. In fact, nearly fifty years after the collective articulated its vision for a universal system, “feminist” arguments against single-payer pepper politics and the media.
In June, Planned Parenthood of California refused to endorse a bill for a statewide single-payer system, contending that it was critical to focus on defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against GOP attacks instead. Vice cast it as a job-crusher for the mostly women of color who work in healthcare administration. In 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — whose campaign foregrounded her feminist credentials — famously declared single-payer would “never, ever come to pass.” More recently, Senator Bernie Sanders’s release of an expansive Medicare for All bill has been met with skepticism by media personalities who backed Clinton for her feminist credentials. At the very least, it seems clear that single-payer health care is rarely framed as a feminist issue.
Some mainstream feminists knock single payer as a distraction from the fight to defend the ACA. But while the Affordable Care Act undeniably improved some women’s lives, it could not dismantle gendered barriers to care.
Of all systems, single-payer is capable of going furthest to eliminate them. That’s the vision that Our Bodies, Ourselves adopted nearly half a century ago, and it must be taken up again today.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:
By Judith Graham
This article originally appeared on Kaiser Health News
It can be found here: https://khn.org/news/how-older-patients-can-dodge-pitfalls-entrenched-in-health-care-system/
(Sally Elford/Ikon Images via Getty Images)
Being old and sick in America frequently means a doctor won’t ask you about troublesome concerns you deal with day to day — difficulty walking, dizziness, a leaky bladder, sleep disturbances memory lapses, and more.
It means that if you’re hospitalized, you have a good chance of being treated by a physician you’ve never met and undergoing questionable tests and treatments that might end up compromising your health.
It means that if you subsequently seek rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility, you’ll encounter another medical team that doesn’t know you or understand your at-home circumstances. Typically, a doctor won’t see you very often. In her new book, “Old & Sick in America: The Journey Through the Health Care System,” Dr. Muriel Gillick, a professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Program in Aging at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, delves deeply into these concerns and why they’re widespread.
Her answer: a complex set of forces is responsible. Some examples:
- Medical training doesn’t make geriatric expertise a priority.
- Care at bottom-line-oriented hospitals is driven by the availability of sophisticated technology.
- Drug companies and medical device manufacturers want to see their products adopted widely and offer incentives to ensure this happens.
- Medicare, the government’s influential health program for seniors, pays more for procedures than for the intensive counseling that older adults and caregivers need.
In an interview, Gillick offered thoughts about how older adults and their caregivers can navigate this treacherous terrain. Her remarks have been edited for clarity and length:
Q: What perils do older adults encounter as they travel through the health care system?
The journey usually begins in the doctor’s office, so let’s start there. In general, physicians tend to focus on different organ systems. The heart. The lungs. The kidneys. They don’t focus so much on conditions that cross various organ systems, so-called geriatric syndromes. Things like falling, becoming confused or dealing with incontinence.
Q: What can people do about that?
Older people are often unwilling to bring these issues to the attention of their doctors. But if a family member is accompanying the patient, they should speak up.
In some practices, a nurse practitioner may be more attuned to these issues than the physician. So, it’s a good idea to learn who in the medical office you go to is good at what.
Another approach is to request a geriatric assessment or consultation that will bring these issues to the forefront.
Q: How do geriatric assessments work?
A geriatric assessment does two major things. It looks at the whole person. And it focuses on that person’s functioning — on what they can do. Can they dress themselves, walk, get to the bathroom? Can they cook meals? Take a bus downtown? Balance their checkbook?
An outpatient geriatric assessment is typically 1½ to two hours and conducted by an interdisciplinary team. A social worker or a mental health professional will ask about the person’s family situation. Are they living alone? Do they have support? A nurse practitioner will look at physical function. And a physician will go over medical concerns and examine the cognitive performance of the individual. Then, the team pulls all these pieces together to look at what’s going on with that person.
When someone starts being frail — having consistent difficulty doing things — an assessment of this kind is often a good idea.
Q: The next step you talk about in your book is the hospital.
One of the big perils in the hospital is technology, which is also its great virtue. Technology can improve quality of life and be life-extending. But, sometimes, it creates endless complications.
An example are imaging tests such as CT scans. Physicians hardly think of this as an invasive test. But often one has to administer a dye to see what’s going on. That dye can cause kidney failure in someone with impaired kidney function — something that’s common in older adults.
Sometimes there’s no real need for scans. An example would be an older person who becomes acutely confused in the hospital, which happens a lot. The appropriate response is to look at what’s causing the confusion and take away the offending agent. Often, that’s a medication that was started in the hospital. Or, it’s an infection. But the routine knee-jerk reaction is to do a CT scan to rule out the possibility of a stroke or bleeding in the brain.
For the most part, doctors want to do whatever it takes to diagnose a problem. For younger patients, this may make sense. But for frail older patients with multiple medical conditions, a cascade of complications can result.
Q: What do you advise older patients and their families do?
When a test is proposed, ask the doctor “how important is it to pursue this diagnosis” and “how will the results change what you do?”
It’s also reasonable to say something along the lines of “every time I’ve had a test, it seems like I get into some kind of trouble. So, I really want to know, with this test or this treatment, what kind of trouble could I get into?”
Q: In your book, you talk about how a doctor-patient relationship can be sidelined when someone goes to the hospital. Instead, hospitalists provide care. How should people respond?
It’s really important to give that doctor a sense of the patient and who they are. Say, your 88-year-old mother is in the hospital, and she’s become profoundly confused. The doctor doesn’t know what she was like a week or a month ago. He may assume she has dementia unless he hears otherwise. He won’t understand it might be delirium.
You or a caregiver want to come across as someone who can make it easier for the doctor to do his or her job — versus someone who’s a nuisance. You want to build trust, not annoyance.
Q: What about skilled nursing facilities?
These are settings that people go to after the hospital, to get rehabilitation. Typically, the contact with doctors is minimal after an initial evaluation, though there’s a spectrum as to how much medical care there is.
A subset of older adults go to rehab just to get physical therapy after they’ve had a joint replacement or a hip fracture. They are really pretty stable, medically. If they get good physical therapy and nursing care, it’s probably OK that the doctor isn’t around much.
But there are also older patients who come to skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, after having had one complication after another in the hospital. These patients can be very fragile, with many medical problems. They’re at risk of getting some new problem in the SNF — perhaps an infection — or an exacerbation of one of the problems they already have that hasn’t resolved.
Q: What do you recommend?
When you arrive at an SNF, it’s a new cast of characters. A physician whom you’ll see fleetingly. Nurses. Physical therapists. Aides. If you’re a caregiver, make sure you have face-to-face time with these staffers.
SNFs are required within the first week or so to have a care planning meeting with the team. They’re supposed to invite patients and their representatives to the meeting. This is a good place to say something along the lines of “My mother has been through a lot, and now that we’ve met you and seen what you can do, we’d like you to do your best to treat her here and not send her back to the hospital.”
You have to have trust to make that happen. The family has to trust the medical team. And the team has to trust that the family isn’t going to get upset and sue them. A meeting of this kind has the potential to allow everyone to figure out what’s important and what the plan will be going forward.
We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit khn.org/columnists to submit your requests or tips.
KHN’s coverage related to aging and improving care of older adults is supported in part by The John A. Hartford Foundation.