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We observe Sepsis Awareness Month in September as a time to raise awareness of this life-threatening condition. Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection, and it can quickly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
Sepsis is a medical emergency that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. The infection can start anywhere in the body, but the most common sites are the lungs, urinary tract, and skin.
The signs and symptoms of sepsis can vary depending on the person and the severity of the infection. However, some common signs include:
• Rapid breathing
• Rapid heart rate
• Low blood pressure
• Pale or mottled skin
• Extreme pain or general discomfort
If you think you or someone you know may have sepsis, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Sepsis is treated with antibiotics and fluids. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to remove the source of the infection.
The best way to prevent sepsis is to prevent infections in the first place. This can be done by:
• Washing your hands often with soap and water
• Getting vaccinated against common infections, such as pneumonia and the flu
• Taking care of cuts and scrapes
• Practicing safe sex
In addition to raising awareness, Sepsis Awareness Month is a time to encourage people to learn the signs and symptoms. By knowing the signs and symptoms, you can help save lives.
Here are some ways you can help raise awareness of sepsis during September:
• Wear a purple ribbon, the color of sepsis awareness
• Talk to your friends and family about sepsis
• Share information about sepsis on social media
• Donate to a sepsis awareness organization
Together, we can help raise awareness of sepsis and save lives.
This year from September 10th through September 16th, join us in celebrating Assisted Living Week 2023. We celebrate this week to recognize all the amazing people involved in assisted living facilities (ALF), including staff, volunteers, and hospice and home healthcare professionals.
This year’s Assisted Living Week has been given a “Season of Reflection” theme, designed to symbolize the staff in assisted living facilities that go above and beyond to make these facilities feel like home for residents.
We strive to maintain strong partnerships with hospice and home healthcare professionals. Many patients interested in home care come from assisted living facilities, which means a change of environment and transition of care is required. Our team works closely with staff in assisted living facilities to help make the transition to home as easy as possible. Working closely with a patient’s care team ensures a smoother transition with fewer setbacks, supporting the patient to help regain independence in their own home.
In addition to home healthcare services, we offer supportive hospice care to those in assisted living facilities. Our hospice services can be provided no matter where a patient is located, which includes patients living in assisted living facilities. Working closely with staff at assisted living facilities, together, we can create as comfortable an environment as possible for those who are terminally ill. Our goal is to help individuals live their final days, weeks, or months with respect, peace, and dignity.
We want to recognize the profound role that employers of assisted living facilities have on patients. Furthermore, we want to remind staff that we are here to help, creating partnerships that help us all thrive. Join us in raising awareness and celebrating Assisted Living Week 2023 by using the hashtag #NALW on social media posts.
Healthy Aging Month is an annual observance, dedicated to promoting healthy aging for seniors. The month of September was chosen for this observance because it is the month that marks the beginning of the fall season, a time when many seniors begin to think about their health and well-being.
The purpose of Healthy Aging Month is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy aging and to provide resources and information to help seniors live their best lives. The observance is also a time to celebrate the achievements of older adults and to recognize their contributions to society.
As the population of the United States continues to age, the importance of healthy aging is becoming increasingly clear. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be over 70 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States. This means that there will be a greater need for services and programs that support healthy aging.
There are many benefits to healthy aging. Seniors who are physically and mentally healthy are more likely to be independent and self-sufficient. They are also more likely to participate in social activities and to contribute to their communities. Healthy aging can also help to prevent chronic diseases and disabilities, which can lead to costly medical care.
There are many things that can be done to promote healthy aging. Some of the most important include:
A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It is also important to limit unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt.
Exercise is essential for maintaining physical health and preventing chronic diseases. Adults over the age of 65 should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
If you have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, it is important to manage it effectively. This may involve taking medication, following a special diet, or getting regular exercise.
Social interaction is important for mental health and well-being. Stay connected with friends and family and participate in activities that you enjoy.
Adults over the age of 65 need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
There are many resources available to help seniors live healthy lives. Some of these resources include:
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides information on a variety of topics related to healthy aging, including nutrition, exercise, and chronic diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides information on healthy aging. The CDC’s website includes a section on “Aging and Health” that provides information on a variety of topics, such as falls prevention, elder abuse, and dementia.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services and resources to older adults. NCOA’s website includes a section on “Healthy Aging” that provides information on a variety of topics, such as staying active, managing chronic conditions, and financial planning.
Healthy Aging Month is a time to focus on the importance of healthy aging and to provide resources and information to help seniors live longer, healthier lives. By following the tips outlined above, seniors can improve their overall health and well-being and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual event is an important reminder that vaccination is one of the safest and most effective strategies for preventing transmissible diseases. Each year, millions of people of all ages benefit from receiving vaccines.
Older adults are particularly susceptible to certain vaccine-preventable illnesses and are at higher risk of serious compilations from illnesses, such as the flu. Getting vaccinated as an adult can reduce the risk of health issues related to vaccine-preventable conditions.
There are more than 55 million people over the age of 65 in the United States. Older adults are often more medically vulnerable than younger people. Illnesses such as pneumonia or influenza can lead to serious complications, resulting in hospitalization, prolonged illness, or death.
To protect the health of older adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines to protect older adults from illnesses that could seriously damage their health.
Adults at high risk of meningitis, hepatitis A and B, or Hib may need additional vaccines to prevent those illnesses. Adults who travel may need vaccines for diseases prevalent in their destinations.
Many doctor’s offices and pharmacies offer vaccinations. Medicare Part B and Part D cover certain vaccines, as do private insurance plans. Some workplaces or community organizations offer free or discounted vaccines to people who might otherwise be unable to afford them.
To learn more about recommended vaccinations for people of all ages, visit the CDC’s vaccine schedule or talk to a doctor about what vaccines you need.
People sidestep discussing or even thinking about death for good reason. Though death is ominous, it is also inevitable. We recommend that those who have not made a will and advanced directive should seize the opportunity to do so.
Make life less stressful by meeting with an estate planning attorney to create a will. In particular, if you’re in your golden years, you will enjoy invaluable peace of mind with the creation of a will. Moreover, if you’re suffering from a serious medical condition, regardless of your age, you will also need a will.
Expressing desires for the distribution of assets to an estate planning attorney sets the stage for the creation of a will. The will is copied thrice; one copy remains with the estate planning attorney, another copy is given to the client, and a third is filed with the local probate court.
Desires for the distribution of a house, car, investments, cash savings and other assets will be executed exactly as stated in the will. The alternative is to die intestate, meaning without a will. Intestate death spurs a potentially lengthy and divisive probate process that does not guarantee assets will be distributed fairly.
Advanced directives are necessary in addition to a will. An advanced directive is a legal document that states a person’s wishes about receiving medical care. Advanced directives are especially important for patients in hospice care who might not be capable of communicating their desires to care providers and medical professionals. If an advanced directive is on file, those desires will be fulfilled exactly as expressed when the legal document was created at the point when the patient was of sound mind.
As an example, an advanced directive contains information about how one is to be cared for at the end of life while in a hospital bed or assisted living center. There are several different types of advanced directives. One such advance directive is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order that communicates one’s desire not to be resuscitated in the event of loss of consciousness or another life-threatening event.
Another example of an advance directive is the Medical Power of Attorney. Also referred to as the Medical POA for short, this legal document explains how one’s medical care is to be provided toward the end of life. The medical power of attorney identifies the specific party who will make medical decisions on behalf of the patient.
A living will is distinct from the aforementioned legal documents as it details the medical treatments a patient desires after suffering incapacitation and at the end of his or her life. The living will is also used to communicate the forms of medical care a patient does not desire. This legal tool is different from a traditional will in that it does not communicate one’s desires for the distribution of assets.
Examples of the desires communicated in living wills include:
Such matters are critically important when one is in significant cognitive decline or suffering a terminal illness.
Life changes in meaningful and unpredictable ways, necessitating the updating of one’s will to reflect those changes. An estate planning attorney will change the language of the will to correspond to the gain/loss of assets or other life events.
As an example, if one inherits assets from a parent, spouse, sibling or other party, the will should be altered to reflect the addition of those assets. Moreover, if one spends down assets when transitioning through the golden years, transferring money to offspring or other parties, the will should accurately reflect the new financial situation. Even life events such as divorce, remarriage and moving to a new property require an update of one’s will.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and causes more deaths than any other cancer.
World Lung Cancer Day is observed every year to raise awareness about the importance of preventing lung cancer and to support ongoing research efforts that may one day lead to new, effective treatments for lung cancer.
In honor of World Lung Cancer Day, we would like to share and highlight the benefits of home care and hospice services for patients living with lung cancer.
World Lung Cancer Day occurs every year on August 1. Since its inception in 2012, healthcare providers around the globe have devoted their time on August 1 to sharing important facts and statistics about lung cancer, and to encouraging people to receive early screening for this disease.
There are several steps you can take as a medical professional to raise awareness surrounding World Lung Cancer Day.
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, as nearly nine in 10 lung cancer cases are caused by smoking cigarettes. If your patients smoke, tell them about the many effective treatments for smoking cessation, such as medications and nicotine replacement. Other lung cancer risk factors are exposure to radon and secondhand smoke.
Patients at high risk for lung cancer can now undergo a low-dose CT scan that can detect early disease. High-risk patients for lung cancer are between 50 to 80 years old, have a 20-pack-year history of smoking (the equivalent of smoking one pack/day for 20 years), are current smokers, or have quit smoking at some point within the last 15 years. Tell any patients who meet these risk factors about the importance of lung cancer screening and encourage them to make an appointment.
The American Lung Association recommends personally contacting your elected officials in Congress and asking them to support additional lung cancer-related research. Government-funded medical studies can pave the way for future cures and treatments for lung cancer that can potentially save thousands of lives per year.
Another important step you can take to promote World Lung Cancer Day is to refer qualifying lung cancer patients to home health and hospice care.
Lung cancer patients in recovery or remission may benefit greatly from home health services. Home health can help patients live more comfortably with their condition while receiving quality care in the privacy of their own homes. Home health can significantly improve the quality of life of patients who are living with lung cancer.
Patients with terminal lung cancer may benefit from hospice care services that focus on reducing symptoms of end-stage lung cancer. Hospice care allows patients to spend more quality time with their loved ones and make final arrangements as desired.
We understand how overwhelming it can be for patients to navigate and choose a quality home health and hospice care provider. As a healthcare professional, you can ease this burden by referring your patients to our team and guiding them through their transition of care.
Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives to learn more about our many services.
Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or who you love, everyone deserves to feel safe receiving the care they need. For LGBTQ+ folks, hospice care can look different than it often does for cisgender, heterosexual people. As a healthcare care provider, we take the time to understand patients’ personal needs and guide them through their journey with patient-centered, inclusive practices.
A 2018 AARP study showed that 60% of LGBTQ+ people worry about a lack of sensitivity in their healthcare. Having multiple barriers to high-quality healthcare, such as poverty, racism, disability, and location, can also make it more challenging to find a provider who can meet their needs.
To practice equality in healthcare, everyone should receive care tailored to their needs and get information that will help them most according to those needs. Making hospice care more accessible to marginalized groups, like LGBTQ+ people, means we must understand their experiences beyond physical symptoms, too.
Inclusive care in a hospice setting involves treating each patient individually while validating the varied parts of their identity and taking the time to learn about the unique experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. It can be as simple as using the person’s correct name and pronouns and treating them with the same respect you would for any straight, cisgender patient.
Many LGBTQ+ patients have “found family” involved in their care instead of, or in addition to, blood relatives to support them. Additionally, if the patient wants spiritual guidance, a hospice care provider should be able to help find an LGTBQ+ friendly chaplain and other supportive resources that respect the person’s identity and wishes. Plus, showing sensitivity about the patient’s previous healthcare experiences can help them feel more comfortable receiving care from their current provider.
Healthcare focused on equality creates a broader understanding of diverse experiences that allow providers to offer specific care and help patients with thorough knowledge. It gives patients and their families more support and well-rounded information that applies specifically to them.
Many LGBTQ+ patients have their symptoms and concerns dismissed or devalued in typical medical settings. As a result, many are reluctant to share their needs or experiences for fear of discrimination. When we as providers understand this reality, we can help the LGBTQ+ community feel safer receiving hospice care. It ensures that patients have to do less work to be understood and receive the necessary care, especially while healing or going through the hospice journey.
By validating and including patients’ identities and being mindful of them in their care, providers give loved ones the space to be with the patient while they receive care. While communication between patients, providers, and others involved in care is important, having a provider who understands that the LGBTQ+ community has unique needs and struggles reduces the burden on patients.
We focus on healing, support, and balance between offering physical care and emotional healing. We want our patients to feel comfortable asking difficult questions, sharing their experiences, and knowing they have someone who will listen to and advocate for their needs. We know how overwhelming hospice can feel for many LGBTQ+ patients and their loved ones, and to us, inclusivity means providing care that reduces anxieties and makes end-of-life transitions as comfortable as possible.
Our care is all about love and healing, whether that be physical pain or emotional support. By presenting all options and giving patients control, we offer excellent palliative care that extends to emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.
Please contact us to learn more about how we provide equitable, compassionate hospice care.
Watching someone you love suffer from Alzheimer’s or another memory debilitating illness is incredibly difficult, and it can be even more challenging to decide when it’s time to consider hospice care. Here, we are sharing five signs it may be the right time to consider the extra support of hospice care for an Alzheimer’s patient.
The Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) Scale is a tool used to determine if changes in a patient’s condition are related to Alzheimer’s disease or another condition. If due to Alzheimer’s, the changes will occur in sequential order. Alzheimer’s disease-related changes do not skip FAST stages.
This means a person is no longer able to get around on their own. For example, they require assistance getting from room to room.
Without assistance, you may notice they put their shoes on the wrong feet or their day-time ‘street’ clothes on over their pajamas. They are also unable to bathe without assistance.
This includes urinary or fecal incontinence or both.
This may begin as the patient only saying 5-6 words per day and gradually reduce to only speaking one word clearly until they can no longer speak or communicate at all. This will also include the inability to smile.
Hospice care is for patients with a life limiting illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. The main focus is to manage pain and symptoms and ultimately keep the patient comfortable. When you choose hospice for your loved one, their care team can help you to understand what to expect in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. They will also provide support to you and the rest of your family throughout the end-of-life process.
If you would like more information on hospice care for Alzheimer’s patients, please contact us. We are here to answer any questions you may have.
In the United States, one in five adults will experience a mental illness in any given year. This includes a large number of people who are living with a terminal illness—and their caregivers—who must cope with facing the end of life and making the necessary arrangements.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As one of the country’s leading hospice providers, our team is devoted to connecting you with the care you need if you are living with a mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 by Mental Health America. The goal of this observance is to help Americans understand the importance of achieving good mental health and to empower people with mental health issues to seek treatment. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportune time to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of various mental health disorders.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “Look Around, Look Within.” It calls for Americans to focus on how one’s surroundings can impact their mental health. Specific topics that align with this year’s theme include:
If you can identify specific factors that may be impacting your mental health, it’s time to make changes to your surroundings that can get you on the path to feeling better. For example, if you have a serious, debilitating health condition affecting your ability to carry out normal everyday tasks, it may be time to seek assistance from a home health care provider.
Caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. Experiencing mental health symptoms like sadness, depression, anxiety, and stress every day for a long period can affect your career, relationships, social life, and general well-being. An untreated mental illness can also increase your risk for a wide range of physical health problems including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Unfortunately, stigma continues to surround mental illness and prevents many people with mental health problems from seeking the help they need to become healthier and improve their quality of life.
Mental health treatment can help you identify the factors in your life that are causing your symptoms and empower you to make changes that can reduce their impact on your mental well-being. If you are living with a terminal illness, seeking mental health treatment is especially important given how terminal illness places you at higher risk for anxiety and depression.
Having a terminal illness—such as cancer—is one of the top risk factors associated with mental illness. If you have a terminal illness or are caring for someone with a terminal illness, you may need help coping with certain treatments and with facing the end of life.
We offer hospice services that are personalized for every patient based on their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health needs—including mental health treatment. Counseling, bereavement, and support group therapy are some of the many mental health services offered by our hospice care providers. Our interdisciplinary teams are comprised of compassionate physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and others who are dedicated to helping you and your loved ones navigate a terminal illness while caring for your mental health.
If you are suffering from a mental health issue, don’t hesitate to speak up and come to us with your concerns. We will be more than happy to connect you with the help and treatment you need and guide you and your loved ones toward finding the right treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives and learn more about our hospice and mental health services.
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), designed to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can be overwhelming for individuals and their families.
When diagnosed with a terminal illness, knowing where to turn next can be difficult. Furthermore, many people have misconceptions about hospice and when it should be introduced. This article will break down these common misconceptions surrounding hospice.
Hospice care is for people with a prognosis of 6 months or less if their disease runs its natural course. This type of care focuses on making those with a terminal illness as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Hospice care includes social, medical, emotional, and spiritual support. The goal of hospice care is to provide terminally ill patients the opportunity to live the last stages of their life with comfort and dignity.
Unfortunately, many common misconceptions surrounding hospice may prevent individuals from taking advantage of hospice’s many benefits. One common misconception is that “hospice is a place.” However, hospice can be provided wherever a patient is located, which sometimes includes right in their home. Another common misconception is that “hospice is giving up,” but this could not be further from the truth. Many people end up living longer in hospice or sometimes graduate from hospice and no longer qualify.
While on hospice, patients can choose to keep their primary care physician (PCP). Hospice care staff will work with your PCP and other healthcare professionals to provide collaborative care. Some people also avoid hospice care because they feel it is “pointless” as their illness is terminal. While curative treatment may no longer be an option, that doesn’t mean other efforts serve no purpose. Living with a terminal illness can often cause individuals lots of pain. That’s why hospice care is a great option, as it serves to make individuals as comfortable and pain-free as possible. These supportive measures are key in the final stages of a person’s life.
Instead of waiting until the very end to receive hospice care, individuals with a terminal illness can fully benefit from hospice care sooner rather than later. Others may decide to stop hospice to try another experimental treatment. Hospice can be designed to work for each patient’s individual needs. With hospice, you or your loved one are in the “driver’s seat” of your own healthcare decisions.
Hospice care is a great healthcare option when curative treatment is no longer viable. Furthermore, hospice isn’t just for the last days or weeks of life. Hospice can support individuals for several months. Don’t let the common misconceptions surrounding hospice hold you or a loved one back from receiving supportive care.
Our care team supports patients in determining their own goals of care during the final stages of their illness. Our hospice care service focuses on comfort, support, quality of life, and education. Contact us today to discuss your questions and personal needs.