- Post-Hospital Syndrome: The Return to the Community After Hospitalization
December 18 2013 by Dave Young
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.
- Winter Safety Checklist
December 16 2013 by Michelle Spadafora
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.
- The Benefits of Connecting Consumers with Home Improvement Resources
December 10 2013 by Fatima Andrade-Hanoian
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.
- Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder During the Holidays
December 09 2013 by Erika Smith
I have so many wonderful holiday memories of my mother. She loved to buy fresh Christmas trees for us to decorate together, although I still remember with a special fondness the artificial white tree with the kaleidoscope lights. My father and siblings knew she took great pleasure in finding just the right gift for each one of us. I will always love my Lite Brite and Ms. Piggy Muppet. My brothers loved their Hot Wheels and Rock Em Sock Em Robots. She passed on the joy of baking with an Easy Bake Oven. We look forward to each holiday season because one of her favorite activities was baking home-made holiday cookies, cakes, pies, fudge and the fluffiest yeast rolls that would melt in your mouth.
But now my holiday planning needs to include how my sister and I will coordinate our schedules to make sure that we continue to meet our mother's fall and winter needs. My mom, like many consumers, experiences Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD), and we need to help her cope through this season and find new ways to participate in the holidays.
- Photographs of My Grandfather
December 06 2013 by Saran Craig
Life is a rolling reel. It has past, present and future. Life ebbs and flows in constant motion. Our memory is a series of photographs, moments frozen in time for us to remember, recall, relive. Some life photographs sneak up on us and resurface even when we don't want them to, and we put those back in the album--which is our memory--rather than holding them and reliving them. Some photographs from our life are beautiful, and we call on them when we want to remember. Our memory organizes our series of still shots of life into a nice, neat album with chronological order.
Life with dementia is a life full of moments, still photographs, no continuity or running reel. Life becomes one still shot at a time, jumbled in a box rather than an organized album. We wake in the morning not knowing what snapshot in time we will be looking at. The photographs can switch quickly from one moment to the next. Some are beautiful, some are scary, some we wish we could bury and never look at again. These are a couple of my photographs from my grandfather's battle with dementia.