Livity Life Care Blog

Tips & Timesavers- For New & Seasoned CNA’s

Tawana Johnson - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

 

Tips & Timesavers- For New & Seasoned CNA’s

So, you’re brand new and a little nervous? Thats ok and natural. Being a CNA is a rewarding career, but there are LOTS to learn and lots of cover in those first few days at work! Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit overwhelmed and anxious. Someday–soon- you will be an “old pro” at this stuff. The first part of this is for the new CNA.

The Basics
It is a good idea to bring a little notebook to work with you. In here you can write down info you need about everything from phone numbers to resident issues. Jotting down info is a way to remember it! At periodic times during the day check the little book to see if there are things you still need info about. When you think of questions and no one is around to answer them- write them down. Later you can refer back to the book.

Facility Rules/Employment Issues
Now onto more things every new CNA should be aware of. It’s always a good idea to know the facility policies and rules before we start a new job. Sometimes this isn’t possible. You should make it a point to find out where to go to get this info if it isn’t provided to you. Here are a few questions you should ask:

1) Holidays/weekend pay differentials? Are there any?
2) Overtime pay: After 40 hours or after 80 hours?
3) Attendance/Tardiness: What are the exact limits/percentages?
4) Pay increases: Based on merit? Or length of service?
5) Performance reviews: When, how often, are raises included with them?
6) Uniform policy: Assistance with purchasing?
7) In service Hours requirements: Does facility offer enough hours to meet mandated 12 hours?
Phone numbers to call: For when you need to be out. Time limits?
9) Benefits: What is offered? When do they go into effect? What will cause termination of benefits?
10) Staff meetings: Times? Are the mandatory?

These are basic policy things every employee should know, and know well. Once you have this info, you can make choices about what you need to do- and when. Knowing this stuff will make your life a lot easier and will prevent surprises down the road.

Doing Your Job
For those ever important first few days, there are several things I recommend you get done, if possible. First off, find out which residents you will be working with on a regular basis. Why? You want to read their care plans as a tool to help you get to know them. Knowing what you are expected to do as far as nursing care is the reason you are there! Knowing what is in the plan will help you care for these residents in a safe and appropriate manner. You may not understand some of the things in the plan, if this happens then ask the nurse in charge of the unit. Nurses write the care plans, and they depend upon us to carry out the objectives to meet the goals in the plans. The nurse is an excellent resource for CNA’s. In your little book you may want to write down things about your residents- from the care plans. It will be awhile before you can actually place a plan with a resident! This takes time- getting to know them and what rooms they are in, never mind their care needs. Hopefully someone will be mentoring you; while being trained it is a good idea to relate what you are being shown to how it is worded in the care plan. Ask questions and learn. Your mentor has experience and can teach you much.

Watch how your mentor works- directly and indirectly with residents and staff. You should learn much just from observing. The next thing I recommend is that you check with the nurse at the beginning of the shift about what is expected of you:

Do any of your residents need VS, baths/showers, weights, or other care? When are VS needed by? Also ask about special snack/drink requirements. It is so much better to know this stuff ahead of time rather than ten minutes after they were due. Communication is vital in nursing homes- with nurses, peers, residents. Also make sure you find out where you are supposed to document your care. Ask about paperwork and where it is. It is very important that you get the paperwork done everyday.

After a few weeks, you will know which residents work well together; you will figure out how to prioritize your care to meet everyone’s needs. It takes practice and hard work. One thing that is very helpful is taking a few minutes at the beginning of the shift to plan your assignment- who gets done first, who gets showers and weights and what not. Gathering all your supplies you need before entering a room is a great time management skill all CNA’s have. Carry around a pocketful of gloves too. Check with the nurses, in most facilities you can bring in your own thermometers as long as you don’t bring them home for use. Having your own tools saves time.

The next sections are time-savers and tips CNA’s everywhere use to get their work done. Some things are pretty elementary and others are really cool. Try them.

Being Prepared:
Always be ready with a basic work kit: A waist pouch is a good thing to have- with a pen, tape measure, extra gloves, permanent marker, if possible your own B/P kit, watch and extra elastic hair things.

Keep a mental checklist of what you need before entering a room- linens, clothing, ect. Be ready.

When changing bed linens, roll all dirty linen into a ball within bottom sheet; this is easier to remove than several pieces. of linen.
Type a copy of abbreviations to a little card, then get card laminated. Keep in waist pouch.

Plan your work day- check with nurse about nursing priorities and go from there.

Resident Tips:

Another use for little spray bottles: Fill with water and add a few drops of bath oil; after shower/bath spray a little onto residents skin. Make sure you mark these bottles with what is in them!

Bath oil can also be used in showers- small amount rubbed into your hands & onto resident’s skin. Also, add a drop or two into a wash basin during rounds….

Find residents slipping out of their chairs? A piece of rubber-type shelving liner works well to keep them upright.

For stubborn BM, a little shave cream with aloe works wonders with cleaning. Use sparingly as the cream can be drying. Apply a little lotion after.

Residents may eat better if they start with a clean mouth: Provide oral care right before meals.

Remember that meals are supposed to be a fun time; don’t force feed your residents; allow them time to enjoy their meal! Same with drinks- don’t force them down.

Allow the resident to determine when they are ready.

Residents who feed themselves may have trouble keeping their plates on the table. Use the rubber shelf liner under the plates.

You can build up a utensil by wrapping a washcloth around the handle and securing it with a rubber band. After each meal remove the cloth for washing.

When feeding a helpless resident- remember to tell them what you are doing, what you are feeding them- before each bite. If they constantly spit the food out, think that maybe they don’t like the certain food and offer an alternative. During this feeding time, talk with the resident about current events or something like it.

Foods you know the resident likes should be made known to whoever is in charge of meal planning. This is a way for you to advocate.

Documenting meal consumption is a part of every CNA’s job. Be realistic when figuring amounts eaten. Look at serving sizes and look at what wasn’t taken in. Look at what was lost via drooling, spitting out…Check the clothing protector/bib!
Also, some residents like to hide their food…know this and keep an eye on it.

Remember that residents don’t always appreciate being made to wear a bib; ask them if they would like to. Don’t force it upon them.

Mentoring a New CNA
First, recall your first few days and weeks as a CNA. Have some empathy. And remember, the new CNA will watch everything you do and say. Be a role model.

Don’t expect the new CNA to know everything; yes- they have been certified but this doesn’t mean that they have hands on experience. Your job is to teach them this.

Be respectful of the new CNA’s questions. Answer them all as best you can; if you don’t know an answer either find out or direct the CNA to someone who does know.

Allow the new CNA to observe you for a day or two. Let them see how you work; how you handle your residents. This is called role modeling. Don’t assume that it is ok to have them make your beds and get your supplies. One of the things you should be striving for is to teach them how to be prepared and how to work best to get it all done.

Plan your work and your day with the new CNA. Show them how you prioritize things. If you have questions for the nurse, bring the new CNA with you so she can see how you interact.

While you are working, explain every little thing you are doing. You want to be certain the new CNA understands why you are doing certain things in a certain order….or to please certain residents. Allow the new CNA time for care plan reading. This is vital.

Allow the new CNA break times. They might need more than you think!

If your facilty doesn’t provide one, make a checklist of things you want to teach. This way you will cover everything.

No matter what, NO SHORTCUTS should ever be shown to a new CNA! They might think these cuts are ok on a daily basis, which they are not. Show them the right way!

Peer Relations Tips:
Treat others how you would like to be treated.

Using manners can leave a positive impression to just about everyone.

If you get your work done early, offer help to others who aren’t done.

Don’t back-stab, find fault with your peers. Instead find good – and offer praise.

When working short, it may be a good idea to “buddy up” with a partner. Doing things together is easier when we are stressed.

Always let your partner and nurse know where you are- even if you are only going to the rest room. This is true when you are doing care- if you know you will be awhile with a resident- say so ahead of time.

Be considerate of your peers: Don’t abuse your break times or meal breaks. Be prompt and on time.

Tell your family & friends that unless it is an emergency- not to call you at work.

Dealing With Dementia/Alzheimer’s

Keeping a sense of humor helps a lot.

Being positive is another trait that should be touted. Don’t assume something bad is always going to happen.

Once a struggle has begun, try to remain as professional as possible; don’t get into words and accusations. Don’t be the perpetrator of a power struggle. It’s not worth it. Make sure you report all behaviors to the nurse.

If a resident has become combative, your goal should be to protect the resident, other residents and of course – you. Try to act as a shield between the other residents, but don’t put yourself in a line of fire.

Sometimes it is better to walk away while a resident is having a hard time.

If you feel you might do or say something you could regret— LEAVE the room. Get someone else to take over; recognize your limits and respect them.

If you notice an increase in behaviors, ask the nurse about a special meeting to address your concerns. A team approach is always best. Now your good documenting will come in handy.

Documenting

When writing notes, be clear, concise and to the point. Be objective. Don’t write what you think happened or what you think caused an incident. Only write what you know.

Timely documentation is vital. If you take a set of VS and see that a resident has a fever, let the nurse know right away. Don’t wait until the end of the shift, or even wait until you’re done with this resident.

If your facility uses flow sheets, make sure you’re initials can be easily read.

Getting to know the particular types of paperwork you are required to do can take a little time; it is always better to ask before you sign your name to anything.

Never sign off anything you didn’t do. Never sign off something someone else has asked you to sign. Only document care YOU have given.
Being a witness to something and being asked to sign that you witnessed- this is another story.
Just make sure you write that you witnessed.

Use pens with facility approved colors. Don’t use pencils or markers. (KEEP IN MIND: Colored inks do NOT show up on copies- only B/W does)…

Taking Care Of Yourself

Don’t go to work sick. Ever. On the other hand, don’t call out over a simple hangnail either. Be respectful of giving enough notice when you call in. Also, never call to say you’ll be late and then call back to say you’re not coming in at all!

Eat right- right is different for all of us. Make sure you are getting enough calories in daily to do your job as well as your home life.

Drink a lot of water. CNA’s don’t always think of themselves when it comes to fluid intake! Eight (8) oz. glasses a day is the least we should be bringing in; more is cool. If permitted, carry with you a covered water bottle at work. Drinking enough water may very be one of the best things we can do for ourselves!

Do some stretching before work! Really- it helps loosen up all those muscles we use and this helps prevent back injuries.

Lift people and objects properly. Use good body mechanics: Lift with your leg muscles, not your back muscles. Keep your balance and always work in conjunction with a partner during lifts.

Get enough sleep. Again, this is a personal thing, each individual has different needs. Whatever your needs are, tend to them.

If you find that you are always getting upset about work, if you feel outraged at things- you need a break. Take a vacation. If this is not possible, then take a mental health day. I don’t condone taking time off that isn’t vacation – but there are those times that we all need a break. Especially right now when the nursing community is changing so rapidly.

Remember that you are a person who the new CNA looks up too; you are IT. So act it. Be professional, but friendly. Be there for those moments of self doubt and fear. Be a person who is positive and encouraging. NEVER rebuff a new CNA’s idea’s or observations: After all, they see things from a view point you haven’t seen for a long time.

The way you interact with the residents is very important during the mentoring period. Go over Resident Rights , and when the time is right use what you are doing as an example of honoring rights.

 

Credit:

http://www.nursingassistants.net/educational-articles/tips-timesavers-for-cnas/ 

 

Ideas for Improving Retirement

Tawana Johnson - Monday, June 13, 2016

 

Maintaining And Improving Your Health And Well-Being In Retirement

 
Screen shot 2015 11 09 at 3.11.43 pm

To enjoy your retirement and live life to the fullest, you need to protect your health. However, physical health is only one part of the happiness equation. You also need to take measures to improve and protect your overall well-being. Once you are finished with your career, you begin a new phase of your life where you aren't tied down by work. This change can come as a shock to some, but you should work to maximize your activity (and more importantly your enjoyment) of this part of your life to ensure your prolonged happiness and health. Consider the following tips to ensure that you live life after retirement to its fullest.

1. Stay Active

Living an active lifestyle is paramount to protecting your health and happiness. Not only does regular and moderate exercise keep your heart in good shape, but research has shown that it also helps maintain cognitive ability. Also, know that you don't need to go to the gym to focus on working out. You can have fun while exercising by going on walks, taking a dance class, or riding a bike.

If you have health concerns that inhibit your ability to do these exercises, consider swimming. You can even do small chair exercises if you lack the ability to swim. The important thing to remember is to stay active.

2. Spend Time with Loved Ones

Our families are the centerpieces of our lives, and no one will support you better than your family. Because a loving family life is crucial to fulfillment and happiness, make an effort to spend significant amounts of time with your loved ones.

3. Take a Class

Taking a class is not only a good way to meet new people, but it is also a way to keep your mind sharp. By trying to learn a new subject or activity, you will be introduced to other like-minded people that have similar interests. Whether it's a class that will work you mind or introduce you to a new activity or hobby with which to spend your time, it's never too late to learn something new!

4. Stay Connected

Even if your friends and family aren't in your local area, you can still connect with them on a daily basis. Social media, email, and multiplayer games such as Words With Friends are simple and fun ways to interact with those that are far away.

For a more personal communication, try a video call. Skype, FaceTime, and a number of other applications have made face-to-face communication easier than ever, even when there are miles, continents, or oceans between you!

5. Reach Out to Your Local Community

At this point in life, you understand the value of giving back to others. If you are looking for a way to plug into your local community and engage others, volunteer work is a very noble way to do so. Not only will you become part of the solution, but you will also help give your life a greater meaning and purpose.

6. Find a Furry Friend

Pets are a great way to improve the quality of your life. Dogs, cats, and other animals make great companions and can improve your well-being. In fact, research has shown that dogs have a special cognitive ability to understand the emotions and moods of their owners.

It's important to consider what kind (or size) of pet you can take care of. A larger dog that needs a lot of physical activity and could drag you down the street is probably not the best choice, but a smaller companion may be just right for you!

You've worked hard and earned your retirement, but it's important to stay active, both physically and mentally. Boredom can be a powerful tool (Seriously! It can lead to very creative thinking) but overdo it and it can take a negative effect on you and your daily life!

 

Credit: http://www.joanlunden.com/category/25-healthy-living/item/723-maintaining-and-improving-your-health-and-well-being-in-retirement 

Spring Cleaning for the Elderly!

Tawana Johnson - Friday, June 10, 2016

 

How To Help An Elderly Loved One With Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air and that means that it's time for some Spring Cleaning! Spring is the perfect time to swap out your winter wardrobe, get rid of piles and boxes from your home or garage and clean up the house; but caring for your home takes a great deal of time and elbow grease, which can become unmanageable for our aging loved ones.

As a caregiver, this is a great time to take notice of your loved ones living conditions. Are they living in a clean and safe environment? Is there excess clutter that could be hazardous to their mobility? Or maybe you're just trying to help them let go of old things because there's simply too much stuff! Many of our older family members have boxes or even rooms filled with memories they simply cannot let go of but urging them to tackle this process little by little, perhaps a box here or there, is a great way to eventually make sense of it all.

Here are some spring cleaning tips that will help you get the job done:

Make a checklist:

First things first! Write down everything you and the loved one you care for would like to get done. Weather it be washing the windows, cleaning out the refrigerator, sorting out summer clothes, or going through the garage - a list will help you organize and plan. Discuss with your loved one what task is most important and make that first on your to-do list... then, get started!

Reorganize kitchen

 

Reorganize:

Organization is key. Having things within arms reach cuts down the rick of injury. Take a step back and look at how things are placed around the house, as someone gets older you might need to re-think the way their kitchen or the closet is set up. Make sure important paperwork, kitchen utensils, food in the refrigerator, their bedroom and bathrooms are set up for easy access, that way seniors are less likely to have trouble with the things they use most. Having things effortlessly at-hand makes daily tasks much easier.

Cleanliness & Hygiene:

The first sign of a senior not being able to live on their own is the way they take care of themselves and their living space. If you walk into a loved ones home and their space seems to be poorly maintained, it might be a sign of self-neglect and social withdrawal. A clean living environment as well as good personal hygiene is crucial to a seniors health. Make sure your loved one is bathing regularly, wearing clean clothes, and generally maintaining themselves properly. If you find signs that they are no longer capable of performing these daily tasks, it might be time to look into getting them an assisted nurse or placing them into an assisted living physicality. If your loved one lives alone and could use some extra care, consider hiring a professional caregiving assistant to help around the house.

Family cleaning

 

Recruit a team:

The more the merrier. A day of spring cleaning doesn't have to be boring, make it a social event! If there are grandchildren, siblings, or even active friends, ask a few of them to come by and spend some time helping out. Socializing with friends and family is extremely important for seniors.

Clear the clutter - keep the best and throw out the rest!

Getting rid of life-long possessions isn't easy for anyone, but when too much "stuff" accumulates in a home it creates clutter, and clutter creates an unsafe, unsanitary, possibly hazardous, living space for our elderly loved one. For many seniors, it isn't easy to convince them to go through their collections. A lot of items found in their homes act as a trigger to a certain memory or special someone they might have lost. So help them understand that you're not trying to throw away their memories. Help come up with good reasoning to keep the best and throw out the rest. A good tip - remind them that they need to create space for their grandchildren's school portraits and artwork! 

Keep your elderly loved one involved:

No one likes feeling useless, so keep your loved one engaged no matter what their limitations are. If your senior family member has trouble getting around, have them sit and go through paperwork or polish silverware while your family takes care of the heavy lifting.

Smoe alarm

 

Safety:

Make sure your loved ones home is a safe place for them to live. Check all emergency devices and make sure fire/carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. Make sure their emergency response system is easily accessible as well as a telephone with programmed numbers incase they need to call for help. Check medications. Make sure no pills are expired and that they are taking them regularly. A company called PillPackis a GREAT and easy way for seniors to keep track of their daily medication.

Spring cleaning can actually be fun and more importantly, it leaves people feeling like they have a fresh start and a safe home. Don't let seniors do it alone. Cleaning, climbing and trying to lift heavy objects, such as furniture can be a turn safety hazard. Here is a Home Safety Checklist to go through before leaving your loved ones home. Happy Cleaning!

 

 

Credit: http://www.joanlunden.com/category/23-aging-parents/item/154-how-to-help-an-elderly-loved-one-with-spring-cleaning

http://www.joanlunden.com/category/23-aging-parents/item/154-how-to-help-an-elderly-loved-one-with-spring-cleaning

 

 

A Sensitive Topic: Elderly Abuse

Tawana Johnson - Thursday, May 26, 2016

 

Elderly abuse can involve:

 

Physical Abuse is a condition or event that causes physical harm. Physical abuse may be intentional such as hitting or pinching or it may be due to neglect including overuse of restraints and lack of physical care.

Sexual Abuse is unwanted sexual attention or exploitation. This includes sexual attention given to a patient who is unable to express his or her wishes or is cognitively compromised such as the patient with dementia.

Psychological Abuse is not easily identified but can include yelling, criticizing, humiliating or otherwise shaming the patient. Patients who are experiencing psychological abuse may exhibit behavioral changes.

Financial Exploitation occurs a caregiver takes advantage of access to a patients financial matters, steals or otherwise compromises the patient’s financial status. This could include direct theft, theft from banking accounts or applying for credit in the patient’s name.

Neglect is often unintentional and a result of inadequate staffing. Neglect occurs when a patient’s needs are not taken care of such as personal hygiene care or when the patient is not provided food, clothing or water. Neglect can contribute to a number of medical conditions such as bed sores, skin infections, malnutrition and dehydration.

Resident to Resident Abuse occurs when one resident is allowed to abuse another. Resident to resident abuse may be physical, sexual or psychological. Nursing home patients should be protected from other residents.

Signs of elderly abuse may include:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruising, cuts or welts
  • Bed sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Signs of Dehydration
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts
  • Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
  • Changes in mental status
  • Caregivers that do not want patient to be left alone with others
 


Not all patients with these symptoms have been subject to nursing home abuse but any sign should be cause for further investigation.

Credit: http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/
 

 

Elderly Depression

Tawana Johnson - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

 

Elderly Depression: Symptoms & Care


Does it seem like just yesterday that your mom lit up when you brought the grandchildren over? So why does she hardly smile and seem irritable around the kids now? Has your dad always been a lifelong baseball fan? So when did he start turning down box seat tickets at the ballpark? Sudden changes in mood and interest can signal more than just old age. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that elderly depression is not only widespread but "a serious public health concern." Recent research suggests that as many as 15% of elders - that's 6.5 million Americans-suffer from depression, and still more, 25%, report that they suffer from persistent feelings of sadness.

SENIOR DEPRESSION: A "MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM"

Dr. Gary Kennedy, chief of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a leading authority on elderly depression, calls the condition a "major public health problem." Kennedy says many health practitioners who care for the elderly are unprepared and unable to detect signs of depression. "Most don't ask the simple questions that screen for depression," he says.

To make matters worse, seniors themselves often ignore or hide their debilitating mental conditions. "Older adults are more sensitive to the mental illness stigma than any other group," says Kennedy. "They tend to think of mental health treatment as leading to mental hospitals or nursing homes."

While many elderly individuals may downplay their depression, the illness can have frightening consequences if not addressed. In older adult populations, it's common for depressed individuals to stop taking critical medications such as insulin treatment or prescriptions for serious heart conditions.

Research shows that elderly depression can double the risk of cardiac disease and increase the risk of developing other serious health conditions. In studies where nursing home patients with physical illnesses were examined, the advent of depression significantly increased the chance of death from those illnesses. In addition, non-depressed elders are more likely to recover from a heart attack, while depressed seniors have a greater chance of dying after a cardiac incident.

"Depression can be a deadly illness," notes Kennedy. "It's associated with suicide." In fact, the United States has seen a significant increase in the elderly suicide rate in the past 10 years, and many health experts blame untreated depression. Though adults over the age of 65 make up only 13% of the nation's population, they account for 20% of all suicide deaths, according to the National Institutes of Health.

WARNING SIGNS OF ELDERLY DEPRESSION

While it's natural to experience some grief in the face of major life changes, clinical depression doesn't go away by itself, lasts for several months, and needs to be treated by a professional. If you suspect that your parent or loved one is suffering from depression, pay attention to these health indicators:

  • Irritability- Did your mother used to be a content and happy person, and is she now cranky and easily irritated by small things? Sudden mood changes can suggest depression.
  • Loss of Self-Regard- Kennedy and other experts say that one of the most obvious signs of depression in elders is seen when they show a lack of pride in their personal appearance. Perhaps your mother has stopped wearing makeup, or your father has stopped bathing.
  • Social Withdrawal- Did you have lunch with your dad every Wednesday, but now he's making excuses about why he can't join you? Depressed elders tend to take on the "hermit mentality," shutting out others and avoiding social situations.
  • Increased Pain- One of the greatest myths about depression, says Kennedy, is that it's only in the mind. In fact, "depression amplifies physical pain," he says.
  • Recent Illness or Surgery
    Elders recovering from major illness or surgery, says Kennedy, are "much more likely to develop a depressive episode, and some go on to have a depression disorder." In fact, research shows that 15% of people who are discharged from a hospital leave with depressive symptoms.
  • Recent Loss
    "Depression in bereavement is common," says Kennedy, who notes that elderly persons have a much higher risk than do younger people of plummeting into depression after the loss of a loved one.

While 50% of depressed elders will eventually recover on their own without any intervention, you shouldn't hesitate to help a senior loved one who is exhibiting the signs of depression to get treatment. "More often than not, the depressed senior is brought in by someone else," says Kennedy. That's good, he says, because studies show that elders who have a support network are more likely to pull through a depressive episode than those who are isolated.

When selecting a psychotherapist, look for someone who specializes in geriatrics (care for the elderly). According to Kennedy, there are only 3,000 such specialists in the nation, so you may have to look beyond your immediate city or town, but getting specialized care may well be worth the extra travel time.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SENIOR DEPRESSION

When it comes to elderly depression, each patient is different and requires a customized treatment approach to his or her unique needs and circumstances. Often the treatment plan will combine the following different approaches:

MEDICATION

"Most studies show that only half of people treated with medicine get better," says Kennedy. Still, many respond well to medication. According to the NIMH, antidepressants influence the functioning of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. The newer medications, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) such as Prozac are generally preferred over older medications such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), because they are known to have fewer and less severe potential side effects.

Whatever the medication, each dose has to be properly administered to produce the desired effect. Many practitioners, says Kennedy, "under-treat when it comes to depression in the elderly. They think older adults don't need the full dose. But they do."

THERAPY

"With most treatment methods," says Kennedy, "if you add psychotherapy, you get the best results. Most people get medication only, but the best treatment is combined with psychotherapy."

Kennedy recalls one of his patients-an elderly Holocaust survivor in New York City. "Her mother died in the tragedy when she was a child, so throughout her life, she was very sensitive about being separated from her daughter," he explains.

But as her daughter grew up, she moved on and became involved with her own family and career. Feeling a tragic separation from her daughter, the 79-year-old woman sank into a depression. She stayed in, turned down social invitations, and developed a significant pain syndrome complete with severe headaches and weight loss. After a brief hospitalization for her symptoms, Kennedy was brought in to provide psychotherapy.

"Through psychotherapy, I encouraged her to stay active and do things that didn't depend on her daughter," says Kennedy. "Now she's totally independent. She goes to music and theater events all the time, and volunteers at a major museum. Through psychotherapy, we were able to keep her socially engaged, and she's done remarkably well."

ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY

For severe cases of depression that do not respond to medication, or where the depression is accompanied by schizophrenia or psychosis, there is the option of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This treatment uses electrical shocks to produce monitored seizures that release certain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, in the brain -- a process that can provide dramatic short-term improvement for depression. While extreme, ECT is generally considered by psychiatrists to be a very safe and effective procedure when performed under current guidelines.

DON'T LET YOUR LOVED ONE SUFFER

So what's the bottom line about elderly depression? Don't let it go untreated. If you suspect your parent is suffering from minor or major depressive symptoms, encourage him or her to seek help. By making yourself a part of the solution, says Kennedy, you're "opening a door that the senior may be too embarrassed to open herself."

 

Credit: http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-depression
 

What Is Home Care?

Tawana Johnson - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

 

What Is home health care?

Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).

Examples of skilled home health services include:

  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status

The goal of home health care is to treat an illness or injury. Home health care helps you get better, regain your independence, and become as self-sufficient as possible.

If you get your Medicare The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan. Covered benefits and excluded services are defined in the health insurance plan coverage documents through a Medicare health plan, check with your plan to find out how it gives your Medicare-covered home health benefits.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy or other health insurance coverage, tell your doctor or other health care provider so your bills get paid correctly.

If your doctor or referring health care provider decides you need home health care, they should give you a list of agencies that serve your area, but must tell you whether their organization has a financial interest in any agency listed.

What should I expect from my home health care?

  • Doctor’s orders are needed to start care. Once your doctor refers you for home health services, the home health agency will schedule an appointment and come to your home to talk to you about your needs and ask you some questions about your health.
  • The home health agency staff will also talk to your doctor about your care and keep your doctor updated about your progress.
  • It’s important that home health staff see you as often as the doctor ordered.

Examples of what the home health staff should do include:

  • Check what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
  • Check that you’re taking your prescription and other drugs and any treatments correctly.
  • Ask if you’re having pain.
  • Check your safety in the home.
  • Teach you about your care so you can take care of yourself.
  • Coordinate your care. This means they must communicate regularly with you, your doctor, and anyone else who gives you care.
 
This information was provided by Medicare.gov. For more information, please visit Medicare.gov.

 

Welcome to Livity Life Care's new website

Dean Blackwood - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thank you for visiting our new site. We hope you enjoyed all the new features and all the new navigation and design. We designed this new website so that it will be easier for you to get information about Livity Life Care and all of our services that we offer. Feel free to browse around remember that you contact us anytime by filling out the contact us form on the contact us page.

Qualities of a Good Nurse

Dean Blackwood - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I recently came across a very interesting article and I have to share it with you guys. The article goes into detail about the qualities a good nurse should have. Here at Livity Life Care, we are 100% positive that we possess all of these traits.


Here are the traits as described in the article.  

  1. A great nurse is compassionate. Compassionate is defined as the feeling of concern and sympathy for others. We need to remember that our patients, apart from cosmetic work or delivering babies, are generally not in the healthcare setting because they want to be. They are fearful and at risk of losing their health, possibly their lives, and concurrently, those visitors with them may be at risk of losing precious loved ones. They are not in control and are frightened, and they need us for support. This also means that we are consummate advocates for the patient and willing to speak up when we do not feel the environment is as safe as it can be.
  2. A great nurse is empathetic. Empathetic is defined as the ability and willingness to share in the feelings of others. It does not mean that we agree with the patient or completely understand what they are going through. It simply means that we are willing to make a concerted effort to listen to them, to put ourselves in their place and to attempt to understand their challenges. This needs to be done without judgment and with the understanding that everyone has their own set of values and their own life experiences that have brought them to this point.
  3. A great nurse is selfless. Selfless is defined as the ability to give to others at the expense of themselves. I have countless stories of nurses over the years that illustrate this ability to give to others. This could be as simple as missing lunch to hold a patient’s hand or to do something extraordinary for someone else. I had one trauma nurse I will never forget who was caring for a homeless man hit by a car. When the patient was being discharged back to the street, the nurse realized that his shoes were not removed during the trauma because he did not own any. His foot size was the same as the patient’s, so he gave him his shoes and wore shoe covers for the rest of the day. I felt that this was a tremendous example of selflessness. We recognized him as an everyday hero. The stories go on and on and we need to celebrate them when they happen.
  4. A great nurse is self-aware. Self-aware is defined as a high degree of emotional intelligence. We are more effective in anything that we do when we understand ourselves, the way we think, and where our values are in reference to others as well as our personal strengths and limitations. Having 15 years of Emergency experience taught me a great deal about myself. There were situations where I felt extremely vulnerable and ineffective, such as dealing with abuse or trauma of small children that basically rendered me emotionally distraught for some time after the events. In that situation, I needed to learn coping mechanisms to deal with the situations or needed the support of my colleagues to trade with me or help me when those times got tough. We all need to support and help each other get through our tough days.
  5. A great nurse is technically strong with a thirst for knowledge. It is our obligation as nurses to continue to remain on the cutting edge of our practice regardless the discipline. As nursing leaders, we should be reading on healthcare economics, leadership theory and other issues that impact those in leadership roles. Within the independent disciplines it is important to read journals, achieve certifications, continue our academic pursuits and read all of the information that comes from our healthcare organizations in regard to policy, product or process changes. Lack of knowledge can lead to adverse patient outcomes, and for that ignorance is no excuse but rather our responsibility.

Currently we live in unprecedented economic times that will affect the quality of care we deliver. The new healthcare challenges are changing the work environment for nurses and creating value conflicts more than before in the areas of personal, professional, institutionally and social. It is time for us to put the patient at the center of all we do and work to be what we have dedicated our lives to be - The greatest nurse!

- Cited: http://www.nursetogether.com/5-things-that-make-a-good-nurse-great#sthash.m0KPZbMP.dpuf