Archive for January, 2011

Griswold Special Care, Gives You an Advantage

The American Medical Association reports that 60% of all prescribed medication is not taken as directed. Twenty-five percent of hospital admissions for those 65 years of age and older are a direct result of these individuals not taking their medicine as prescribed. Statistics abound of emergency room visits and readmission rates for those seniors 65 and older.

Researchers from the University of Washington, the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and the University of North Carolina studied 2,929 volunteer senior citizens from 1994 to 2007. The volunteers were screened for dementia upon enrollment in the study and screened again every two years for the duration of the study. Results indicated that those hospitalized for noncritical illnesses were 40% more likely to develop dementia than those that were never hospitalized. The researchers hypothesized that low oxygen levels, low blood pressure, unstable blood glucose levels, inflammatory processes, sedatives and pain medicines may play a role and they continue to study the phenomena.

As reported by the Mayo clinic, the health of up to 50% of seniors living at home may be affected by undernutrition or malnutrition. In addition to inadequate amounts of food and nutrients, causes of malnutrition in the elderly include a mix of physical, emotional and social issues. A decrease in the sensitivity of taste and smell affect appetite and shopping and cooking become more difficult and less interesting. As poor eating habits continue, a loss of muscle mass and strength and a weakened immune system develop.

Causes, effects, complications and costs of hospital admissions and readmissions may be preventable with services provided by the quality, qualified, affordable caregivers referred by Griswold Special Care. Caregivers monitor medication compliance, assist with reordering, and offer medication reminders. They accompany clients to physician appointments taking notes of any tests or changes in treatments and medication for the client or to report to responsible family members. Caregivers assist with the activities of daily living, prepare nutritious meals, assist with grocery shopping, encourage socialization and exercise fostering wellness, strength, muscle mass and balance.

Caregivers keep our seniors at home which gives them an advantage.

A Day in the Life of Caregiving

Last Monday was an interesting day-a study in life. One client and family friend ended a life well lived with a dignified passing, surrounded by family and friends. A client was admitted with a fractured hip and her family friend was insisting she is suddenly no longer competent to live alone. A new client so use to being alone at home was hesitant about new opportunities to explore new things. Then my 87 year old mom sent me a text!!!. Something new learned up in the mountains of Colorado, watching the snow, while visiting my sister. All three women about the same chorological age, but growing old very differently

Physically life stops when the heart quits beating or it is determined that brain function stops. But life can functionally stop when we stop learning, stop making our own choices and stop being a participant in our own care. The choices a person makes affects the course of their lives. It is documented that eating well, exercising appropriately and challenging our mind with new things can slow memory loss, maintain muscle mass and strength, and strengthen the body’s immune system. It is also as well documented that poor nutrition, lack of activity and social engagement puts a person at risk for chronic illness, memory loss, compromised skin integrity, increased risk of infection; and balance problems, loss of muscle mass and strength leading to increased risk of falls.

Fast forward one week. The client with the fractured hip is in rehab, resisting exercise, not eating well, thus is weaker than she should be at this stage of recovery and has developed bed sores. My home alone client got in the car and hit the roads with her new found caregiver/friend. My mom has not sent anymore text messages but took apart and fixed her vacuum cleaner. I wear a different caregiver hat to support them all

Homecare – Asking the right questions

Making arrangements to initiate homecare is often felt to be a complicated, daunting, and difficult process.  Having a stranger coming in to your home for the first time is often anticipated to be awkward, uncomfortable, and foreign; threatening independence and privacy.  Finding caregivers can be a confusing and overwhelming procedure.  Agencies all advertise quality and guarantees of satisfaction. Private caregivers network effectively and have low fees. Where do you begin? 

Several steps should be taken when researching any caregiving services.    

1. Make sure a state wide criminal record search is conducted within the last year. A private caregiver can get this done as easily as any agency.  Make sure references have been checked.  If you check the references, make sure you are talking to someone that can speak to the quality of the applicant’s work from direct observation and/or interaction.

 2. The caregivers should have had a face to face interview either by you or the agency that  is referring them before they are placed into the caregiving role. 

3. Verify that the range of services and skills needed match that which can be provided by the agency or private caregiver.

4. Discuss basic philosophy. The provider’s (agency or private caregiver)  focus should be  the needs of the client and family. Schedules and requests should accommodate these  needs and preferences and not evolve around the convenience of the provider. Satisfaction of the client and family should be the focus with adjustments of caregivers or schedules made as needed.

4. Research affordability of the service. The provider should be willing to quote rates over the phone and not require a home visit prior to giving this basic information. Make sure  you understand the rates. Many providers have rates based on multiple criteria. 

5. Some agencies have deposits, early termination of contract penalties, or termination notice requirements. Ask about and understand all terms of agreements and get them in writing.

6. Understand what happens if the caregiver is unable to come to work at the designated time. Who is responsible for finding a replacement?  How are notifications made? Who is responsible for making sure the required shifts are covered in the first place? 

Researching and selecting the best option for caregiving services is as important as choosing the right daycare, babysitter or doctor.  To be successful, they have to not only provide the quality and personal service you desire but also be a match to the personality of the person needing care as well as the family members involved.  Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need to be comfortable, but do be wary if the questions do not get answered.