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Cultural Sensitivity and Medication Management: Reconciling Personal Beliefs with Care Plans

In Spanish we have a funny joke, which I think is universal: There’s a girl who is always praying to God to win the lottery. “I’m a good person,” she cried. “I really need this. Help me win the lottery, please.” One day, she got really upset about it and asked God why she hadn’t won yet, since she prayed every day. All of a sudden, she hears the voice of God say, “Maria, buy a ticket.”

 

In my work as an RN, I care for people of all cultures, heritages and religions, and sometimes I’ve seen prayer replace medication adherence. Personal beliefs sometimes feel in conflict with care plans for some consumers. By listening, educating, and creating an ongoing dialogue, care teams can be sensitive to different cultures and respect consumers’ faiths, while also giving them the best care possible.

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Dealing with the Diagnosis When a Disease Hits Home

In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Dementia. This diagnosis confirmed what my brothers and I had suspected for a number of years: something was wrong with mom. She got lost on her way to my brother's house on Christmas Day. She would say, "I have never been here before," as we made our 100th trip to the Dairy Queen for her beloved chocolate cone...

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How Care Teams Can Help Consumers Improve their Nutrition

I remember visiting a consumer I support during lunch time, as her family was making a meal. I was able to learn about their cultural preferences and traditions and see the types of foods in their diet. They have a limited income, but they find ways to add fresh ingredients to their meals, like growing their own tomatoes in their garden. This family was already finding their own ways to balance their diets, but they struggled to cut back on some of their staple, high-carb foods. Through the support of a care team, we helped them see the importance of portion control, which has helped them eat better without depriving them of their favorite foods.

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Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes often has no recognizable symptoms. I have frequently heard people say, "I think my blood sugar is a little high," or, "I think my doctor said I might be pre-diabetic," without fully understanding the impact elevated blood sugar has on their bodies. They continue to consume chips, soft drinks, and sugary cereals on a daily basis. Although they may not be feeling the impact directly, high (or even moderately high) blood sugar can cause long-term problems...

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The Value of Caregiver Mentorship

When someone decides to become a full-time caregiver, there are many new challenges and emotional considerations, especially when the caregiver is providing support to a family member. There are changes to the family dynamic, which is combined with medical diagnoses and disease progression that are often foreign to the caregiver. Caregivers enter into a situation where they are now fulfilling a different role in their loved one's life, and the experience can feel daunting. Care teams offer support, advice, and training, but sometimes in addition to this team, caregivers could really benefit from a mentor.

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Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery Begins At Home

Hip replacement is a procedure that is typically performed on elders in their 60s or older. People often undergo the procedure when their hip problems significantly interfere with normal activities. This is usually due to severe pain caused by arthritic conditions. This deterioration can get so bad that it affects a person's mobility. It can be difficult for people to feel or be independent at home when an individual is struggling with mobility issues and unable to complete everyday routines. When a person has hip replacement surgery, the home becomes an important part of returning to normal life after the hospital stay. Caregivers and care teams play a major role in the consumer's recovery after the surgery.

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Top 3 New Year’s Commitments for Care Teams

The New Year is a great time to reflect, acknowledging your accomplishments and observing the opportunities to improve in the year to come. As members of care teams who support caregivers, elders and individuals with disabilities, the beginning of a new year is a chance to find ways to improve care management and planning. It is also a time to consider new approaches to relationship building in order to achieve quality, person-centered care.

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Post-Hospital Syndrome: The Return to the Community After Hospitalization

Earlier this year, Harlan Krumholz, MD, a cardiologist at the Yale New-Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, published a provocative article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Post-Hospital Syndrome: An Acquired, Transient Condition of Generalized Risk". In the article, Dr. Krumholz reminds us that recently hospitalized patients are not only recovering from the illness or condition that prompted the hospitalization but are also experiencing a period of generalized risk for a range of adverse health events. He calls this an acquired "syndrome" that involves a temporary period of extreme vulnerability for other health problems.

 

Naturally, the post-hospital syndrome will vary from patient to patient based on a host of factors. However, care providers – notably those providing Home and Community-Based Services – should be on the lookout for changes in behavior that could include: heightened stress, sleep disturbance, medication changes, cognitive changes and deconditioning that can alter the ability to perform daily living activities. These changes often occur regardless of the original cause for hospitalization; it is a syndrome that can apply to all recent discharges in consumers– both young and old.

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Winter Safety Checklist

Winter can bring many challenges to families, especially when caring for or supporting an elder or individual with disabilities. There are emotional risks to consumers—like increased isolation from friends and community activities—and there are physical risks, like falls. Here are some things caregivers and care teams should consider this winter.

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The Benefits of Connecting Consumers with Home Improvement Resources

One consumer I support in Massachusetts has Alzheimer's disease and uses a wheelchair. When I went on home visits with her nurse, I noticed the consumer needed two people to help her out of the house, supporting her down the entrance steps and into a car. I also noticed the bathroom was very small, making it difficult to use a wheelchair. An accident was inevitable, so I spoke to the family about my concerns. They knew the need for a ramp and a larger bathroom would only become more necessary as time progressed, but they could not afford the home improvements. As a member of a care team, it is valuable to observe potential risks in the home, familiarize yourself with the resources available, and connect caregivers and consumers with services that can make their home as safe and accessible as possible.

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