Archive for July 2018

Study Finds Hospice Care Reduces Hospitalization

Posted on Jul 13, 2018

Tulsa hospice

One of the most difficult parts of caring for an aging loved one is the frequent trips to the hospital. These trips are emotionally draining and they can be expensive. Thankfully, hospice care has proven to be an effective way to reduce trips to the hospital. A study by the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA) found that while 44% of nursing home residents are likely to be hospitalized in the final 30 days of their life, that number drops to 22% for nursing home residents who are enrolled in hospice care. As a Tulsa hospice care provider, we are passionate about reducing hospitalizations for our patients an improving their quality of life.

This study involved 505,851 non-hospice residents and 241,790 hospice-enrolled residents living in more than 14,000 facilities across the nation. Of the residents studied, 37.63% of non-hospice and 23.18% of hospice residents were hospitalized in the last 30 days of their life. This means that for every 10% increase in hospice penetration there is a reduction in hospitalization risk of 5.1% for non-hospice residents and 4.8% for hospice-enrolled residents.

After the study was completed, the researchers found that higher facility-level hospice penetration decreases hospitalization risk for both non-hospice and hospice-enrolled residents. Their findings also dealt with nursing home end-of-life care delivery, collaboration among providers, and cost-benefit analysis of hospice care.

Studies like this continue to show the many benefits of hospice care. However, the sad reality is that the majority of hospice-eligible patients will never receive one day of hospice care. At Cura-HPC, we work hard to ensure as many patients as possible receive the Tulsa hospice care they deserve. 

Hospice Care 101

Posted on Jul 09, 2018

Making the switch to hospice care is almost always a hectic time, especially if it’s a family’s first time to enroll a loved one in hospice. As hospice care functions somewhat differently than standard medical care, families often have several questions. Below is a basic guide to the ins and outs of hospice care.

Hospice Eligibility

It’s important to understand the qualifications for hospice care. The most important factor in hospice qualification is that a doctor determines the patient has a terminal illness, which is defined as having a prognosis of 6 months or less if the disease or illness runs its normal course. There are no exclusions for the kind of terminal illness a patient has. Any terminal illness can qualify a patient for hospice care.

Hospice Team

Once the patient is deemed eligible, a hospice team will meet with the patient and their family to create a customized care plan. The patient’s regular doctor can be part of this team if the patient chooses.

The Goal of Hospice

The care plan will be designed to make the patient as comfortable as possible, not to cure the illness. This style of medical care is referred to as palliative care. Palliative care seeks to improve the quality of life for patients and their families through the prevention and relief of suffering. This goal is accomplished by the treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual issues.

Where Hospice Care is Available

Hospice care can be administered in almost any setting. This includes the patient’s home, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient facilities, and anywhere else the patient is comfortable.

The Cost of Hospice

In most cases, families will pay little to nothing for hospice care. Medicare will likely cover everything needed to treat the terminal illness, including both clinical services (like pain relief) and support services. Some services may also be available to caregivers and loved ones at no additional cost.

If you have more questions about hospice care, please call Cura-HPC. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you make this difficult transition. 

Signs of a Heart Attack

Posted on Jul 02, 2018

As our loved ones age, it’s important that we are able to recognize and deal with common health risks that come with aging. Heart attacks are one of those conditions family members need to be able to catch quickly to seek medical attention immediately. Below are the four signs of a heart attack according to the American Heart Association.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

These symptoms may manifest differently in men and women, but it’s important that families act fast if they think their loved one is experiencing a heart attack. In the event of a heart attack, call 911 as fast as possible. Every second counts when a heart attack is happening.

For more information about heart attacks and what you can do when one strikes, go to the American Heart Association’s heart attack resource center. There you can learn about the signs of an attack, risk factors, and even what to do after an attack happens.

Keeping our elderly loved ones safe is everyone’s responsibility. Sharing this information with other family members at the next family gathering may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it might just save a life. 

5 Ways to Reduce Falls

Posted on Jul 02, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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