Bed Sore Treatment: The Ultimate Guide A Guest Post by Tiffany Rubin, R.N. BSN

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ORIGINALLY POSTED BY JESSICA HEGG ON VIVE HEALTH: https://vivehealth.com/blogs/vive-blog/bed-sore-treatment

Bed sores are, unfortunately, one of the most common ailments resulting from mobility issues. It’s important to begin bed sore treatment at the first sign of any symptoms.  Pressure ulcers are much easier to deal with when they’re caught early.  Even better, if you understand a risk is present you can take precautions to reduce the likelihood of occurrence.

6 Crucial Tips for Successful Bed Sore Treatment

Your healthcare provider will want to examine the affected area or areas when diagnosing suspected bed sores. Surgery is usually not recommended as long as you have not progressed into later bed sore stages.

Here are simple tips to try that you can discuss with your healthcare provider:

1. Frequent Repositioning

If you are in a chair, wheelchair or bed for a long period of time you need to vary your position – This will help to facilitate blood flow and reduce pressure on your boney areas so you are less likely to get a bed sore. It is important to be regularly repositioned so the pressure is dispersed throughout the body.

Wheelchair Repositioning

  • Try shifting your weight by yourself every 15 minutes or so.  Go from left to right side of your buttox as well as shifting your position further forward or backward in your chair.
  • Consider a wheelchair or seat cushion to help re-distribute pressure across your bottom (high risk area). Avoid donut shaped cushions as they reduce blood flow to bottom increasing risk.
  • Consider a tilting, specialty wheelchair. These are expensive, but depending on your budget and access to a caregiver they can be worth it.

Bed Repositioning

  • Adjust position frequently.  Adjust between you left side, right side and back.  Ideally switching positions every 1-2 hours.
  • Consider a bed side rail to assist you with repositioning if you are unable to change positions without assistance.
  • If possible, adjust the elevation of your bed.  Do not raise it to more than 45 degrees to avoid too much pressure on the tailbone or possibility of shearing.
  • Alternating pressure mattresses provide automation to constant repositioning. Air compartments inflate or deflate (usually in 6 minute intervals) to reposition pressure areas across the body.  Alternating pressure mattresses come in 2 categories you can look into. Alternating pressure mattress overlay – pressure mattress gets placed on top of your regular or medical mattress. The overlay pad accommodates any sized mattress and can be secured underneath fitted sheets. An Alternating pressure mattress replacement – is a complete mattress replacement that goes on top of a medical bed frame. More robust system with low air loss. 

2. Proper Dressings and Wound Care

Proper dressing and cleaning of the pressure ulcer is essential.  Open wounds are particularly prone to infection. Appropriate care and use of dressings will promote healing and shield bacteria.

(Always avoid using hydrogen peroxide as it can further damage the skin.)

Proper care for bed sores is determined by the stage of the pressure sore:

Stage 1: If the skin of infected area is still intact the most important thing you can do is offload pressure immediately. Gently wash area with mild soap and water and consider asking your doctor about recommended moisturizers.
Stage 2: Be sure that area is kept clean and dry.  Use a saline rinse to rid of loose and dead tissue surrounding the bed sore.
Stage 3 & 4: Pressure sores that reach these stages are typically monitored and cared for by your health provider who will provide specific instructions for at-home care.

**Special treatment gels, foams, and dressings are available but discuss with your doctor which would be best for the condition of your bed sore.

3. Proper Nutrition

Making good food choices will help facilitate healing and help prevent future bed sores. Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E are ideal. Consider oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, olives (and olive oil for cooking) as a good starting point.

Nutritional drinks, such as Juven,, support wound healing and can be incorporated into your bed sore treatment. Vitamin C, Zinc, and Omega-3s are also great supplements to include in your diet for tissue repair. (These supplements are available OTC, but remember to discuss with your doctor before starting your own regimen.)

Maintaining a healthy weight is is frequently overlooked. In many cases, bedridden patients lose bodyweight.  This means less protection between skin and bone.  Conversely, with excess weight there will be more pressure on the body creating a higher risk. Do you best to monitor your weight and make sure you are maintaining a healthy balance.

Advanced pressure ulcers can possibly be treated directly or orally with antibiotics – this would be something that your healthcare provider would discuss with you if he or she feels it’s necessary.

4. Prevent Further Injury or Shearing

Pressure ulcers and sensitive skin are susceptible to further injury with very minor force. You are at increased risk of damage from friction during repositioning or other basic movements.

Make sure to apply powder to your sheets to reduce friction. Do not engage in unnecessary exposure to pressure in sore areas.  Keep your skin as moisturized as possible by staying hydrated and get the ok from your doctor to utilize barrier cream.

5. Incontinence Management

Limited mobility combined with incontinence makes for a heightened risk of infection, particularly with open wounds. Diapers and bed incontinence pads need to be used to reduce bacteria exposure to skin. Protective lotions can also be used to shield the skin. In severe cases catheters or rectal tubes may be necessary, please consult with your healthcare provider for details.

6. Change Bedding and Clothing Frequently

A fresh set of clothes and sheets makes everyone feel better. A clean environment is especially important when bed sores or a risk of bed sores are present. During daily checks of the skin, make sure to change clothes and sheets to limit the ability for bacteria to spread. Try to time body inspection with clothing and sheet changes to avoid exposure to additional shearing or friction.

**Sheets and clothes should be made of cotton or breathable fabric. Some flannel or jersey materials are too dense, restricting airflow, and in turn inhibit healing.

Bonus Tip: Sheets can be used as a tool to help reposition bedridden patients. Sheets disperse pressure evenly across the body for gentle movement.

Avoiding Pressure Ulcers in Wheelchair

Dealing with the risk of pressure ulcers for wheelchair bound patients requires a slight variation in care and there are a few specifics you NEED to know.

1. Is your wheelchair the proper size and fit?

Factors to consider:

  • Amount of mobility
  • posture
  • discomfort level
  • inhibiting conditions

(please consult with your primary care physician before making your final selection)

Weight Restrictions:

Measure weight to ensure that desired wheelchair can properly support patient.  Also keep in mind the weight of the chair.  If you need a chair that can be easily transported, a lightweight design may be more appropriate.

The Seat:

Determine the necessary seat width you will need

It’s recommended that you measure width of patients hips and then add 2 inches

Next, you need to find the appropriate depth, measure from the back of the hip to the back of the knees and subtract 1 inch.

The Backrest:

Additional back support can be provided by certain wheelchair designs.  Again, assess the intended patient’s condition and necessities to determine most comfortable fit.

**With person seated in wheelchair, measure from collarbone to seat.

The Footrest:

Determine what special features may be needed.  Some patients require their legs to be lifted, and there are different size variations based on user’s height.

**Measure from the back of the knee to heel of the foot

The Armrests:

You may not have realized that wheelchairs are available with different armrest and height variations.

**The height of your armrests should be determined by measuring from the elbow to seat of chair with arms up and bent at 90-degree angle

Full-Length -> ideal for having to perform standing or pivoting transfers and provides surface that allows to additional push and support.

Desk-Length -> designed for patients who spend time sitting at a surface or desk, and allow for you to comfortably get closer.

2. Check for proper fit at leats twice a year

The patient may gain or lose weight over the course of time which can compromise the proper fit.

Take note of any painful areas, and let your doctor know immediately!

3. Repositioning

Shift weight to take pressure off of certain areas and promote blood flow.  Leaning forward and side to side are the easiest movements

Caregivers must assist with shift weight every 15-20 mins.  We realize that this can be very overwhelming to manage and almost unrealistic

So consider the use of medical aids. Just like bed sores, treatment for pressure ulcers from a wheelchair can be enhanced with the use of alternating pressure pads or cushions.

WARNING: Do not utilize “donut” hemorrhoid cushions
(these are not designed to reduce pressure points and can worsen your condition)

What are Bed Sores?

A bed sore is an area on your skin that’s irritated and painful due to prolonged pressure.

One of the very beginning signs of a developing bed sore is sore skin.  Light skin tones will show that area is red, discolored, or darkening; while darker skin tones present purple, blueish, or shiny areas.  If untreated, these spots generally turn hard and warm to touch as they progress into stage 2 ulcers. Pressure ulcers are categorized in stages from 1 to 4, stage 1 being least severe and stage 4 being most severe.

Stages of Pressure Ulcers

Pressure sores are categorized in one of four ways:

Stage One

Your skin is discolored, but not broken. If you have a light complexion, the pressure ulcer may appear red or could look blue or purple. If you have a dark complexion, it may look white.

stage one bed sores

Stage Two

Your skin has a break in it and there may be some dead skin around the wound. You may also notice a reddish-pink area in the center, which could also involve a blistered area.

stage two bed sores

Stage Three

The pressure ulcer takes on the appearance of a crater and may go into your fat layer. The pressure sore may also have some pus or drainage.

stage three bed sores

Stage Four

A bed sore that is this deep involves your muscle, bone and possibly tendons and joints. Your healthcare provider may also notice a substance referred to as eschar.

stage four bed sores

In extreme cases, a bed sore may actually be unstageable , but this is rare if you’re seeking treatment. In this particular case, the tissue layers involved would need to be surgically removed.

Risk Factors

People who have the highest risk for bed sores are typically:

  •      Bedridden
  •      Spend most of their day in a wheelchair
  •      Incontinent
  •      The elderly (due to decrease skin elasticity)
  •      Diabetic
  •      Have fragile skin

If you are at risk for bed sores it is important you implement a prevention plan. Movement is the best way to avoid bed sores. Make sure you stay as active as possible, try to schedule fixed times for position changes and exercise into your daily routine.

It’s also important to make sure that you eat properly and drink plenty of water. Poor nutrition can increase your chances of getting pressure sores, especially if you aren’t getting enough vitamin C, protein and zinc.

Those who smoke are also at a higher risk for bed sores. Nicotine will hinder your circulation and slow your healing process.

Bed Sore Causes

When there is too much pressure on your skin for an extended period of time, it diminishes the blood flow to that area. This increases your chances of developing a pressure ulcer. A couple of other causes are:

If you have frail, thin skin, a bruise or a scrape can lead to a pressure sore.

The friction to your skin that can come from a wheelchair that is an improper fit, or the head of your bed raised too high.

Bed – Most vulnerable parts of body for pressure ulcers

  • Tailbone
  • Back of Head
  • Buttocks
  • Shoulders
  • Heels
  • Backs of arms or legs
  • Spine
  • Ankle
  • Knee

vulnerable pressure points laying down

Wheelchair – Most vulnerable parts of body for pressure ulcers

  • Shoulder Blade
  • Buttocks
  • Heel
  • Ball of Foot

vulnerable pressure points in wheelchair

Complications:

Ignored or improperly treated bed sores can lead to some very scary complications.

-Pressure ulcers that advance to stage 3 & 4 can become life threatening and require attention immediately.

-Lack of treatment may lead to amputations of affected areas

-Infections can spread to other areas of the body such as your blood, heart, and bones

What’s next?

STICK TO THE PLAN!

It’s important to follow a routine bed sore treatment plan.Take the time to consistently apply the regimen you and your healthcare provider have put together using our treatment tips and recommended products. Remember, knowing how to treat bed sores will help to prevent future ones. This will be your best line of defense for bringing about the quickest recovery and return to your best quality of life.

This article has been approved by Tiffany Rubin, R.N. BSN
  Nursenextdoordelaware.com

 

A Geriatric Psychologist’s Perspective on Aging Parents: Guest Post by Dr. Melissa Henston

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5 STEPS TO TAKE DURING A VISIT

Spending quality time with loved ones is usually something you look forward to. But when you have aging parents or loved ones, going home to see them can sometimes signify a rather different, and at times, stressful experience.

You may already have an inkling that Mom, Dad or a favorite aunt or uncle is having trouble with everyday life, but sometimes seeing changes in family members after months – or maybe years – of not seeing them can be disquieting. People change in their later years, and sometimes they can decline in health and spirit faster than you expect.

A Place for Mom expert and geriatric psychologist Dr. Melissa Henston provides some guidance on how to not only spot common problems, but tips on how to deal with any issues to get your elderly loved one the help they need.

1. NOTICE WHEN SOMETHING IS “OFF”

You can spot problems the minute you drive up to your loved one’s house, Henston says.

“There are a whole bunch of warning signs that are easy to spot. For example, the exterior of the house has peeling paint, or the driveway isn’t shoveled or the walkway isn’t treated. Once you enter the home, newspapers are still in plastic wrap and mail is piled up. Maybe the house isn’t as clean as normal or has an odor. You can usually tell when something is ‘off’.”

Having a grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s in tandem with working in the nursing home practice in her ‘previous life’ (during college), Dr. Henston has a personal connection to the elderly. She decided from a young age that her primary focus in psychology would be issues in aging, and she has devoted her practice to improving the lives of the elderly, informing families about the signs that their loved ones need help, and helping find the right care options for each unique situation.

Since a health crisis in the elderly can escalate quickly and catch everyone involved off guard, it’s important to not ignore signs that something may be wrong. Ideally, families will have conversations with their children or loved ones about getting their affairs in order and end of life care well in advance of having any issues, but here are some signs to be cognizant of when visiting aging loved ones:

  • House and yard need care / maintenance
  • Disheveled clothing
  • Broken appliances
  • Spoiled / expired groceries
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Cluttered / disorganized house
  • Depressed or low energy temperament

Henston emphasizes the importance to noting anything out of character or outside of normal behavior. She remembers personally having the discussion of green eggs and ham with her own father. “I told my dad, ‘Dad, you can’t eat this stuff. Ham isn’t supposed to be green.'”

If health or happiness seems to be compromised, it’s time to have a conversation and address problems.

2. APPROACH THE “TOUGH CONVERSATION” WITH CARE

Tread delicately when it comes to discussing retirement plans or end-of-life care. Henston comments, “Typically you need to look for the opening and opportunity, rather than just jumping in. Don’t try to take control. Try to get a natural conversation going.”

Remember that parents still consider you their child. You need to respect this relationship. Here are a few tips for setting the right ambiance for a positive and effective talk:

    • Sit in a comfortable location, such as over coffee.
    • Start with a normal, conversational tone.
    • Ask open-ended questions, such as “How is it around the house?” or “How is driving going?” or “What have you and Dad been doing for fun lately?” to get the conversation flowing.

3. DON’T FEEL GUILTY

Henston relays that guilt is one of the biggest problems for family members. Many families make promises to their loved ones that they will care for them, but sometimes this just isn’t feasible. Senior living is often the best option for expert care, socializing and good quality of life. She notes:

“Mom, Dad, aunts and uncles — even spouses — feel a tremendous amount of guilt about putting their loved ones in senior living. But the most important thing is to overcome the guilt and assess the situation. Look at the logistics and whether caring for your loved one is accommodating to everyone’s life. If there is a single parent, finances may be a problem. But the biggest problem is often that caring for them can be a huge disruption to your life and their life. In reality it doesn’t work out well.”

It’s important to also remember that the role of caregiver may fall solely on the elderly partner — who may have physical limitations. In many cases, caregiving is passed to family members who may or may not have the time, finances or necessary skills to provide the best care for their aging loved one. Families need to re-evaluate their initial promise and determine what is truly the best choice for their loved one.

So much goes into the decision of caring for an older relative. Here are some questions Henston notes are important to consider:

      • Can I take time off from work?
      • Can I afford to stop work for an extended period of time?
      • Can my children and older relative co-exist in harmony?
      • Will my children be able to tolerate not always coming first?
      • How will this impact my relationship?
      • How will this impact my relationship with my older relative?
      • How will my siblings and I manage this as a team?
      • How will any of this be paid for?

This line of questioning is totally realistic and an important part of the process of making informed decisions. It’s important to consider these questions before having the ‘tough conversation’ with your loved one. Henston comments,

“The ‘promise’ is often made during an emotional time in which we do not feel we have many options. There are common emotional roadblocks when making difficult choices about caregiving, and families might want to consider seeking practical guidance to help all parties feel more confident during the transition.”

4. HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION

Elderly loved ones usually appreciate an honest conversation. If you discuss that it’s important to communicate their wishes for retirement and end-of-life care, you’ll go farther than if you are condescending or dishonest.

Include them in the decision-making as it helps them feel as though they’re not being “put out to pasture.” Talk to them about their options; whether they include staying in their family home and what that entails, or if they want to explore and tour senior living and retirement communities to see if any seem to be the right ‘fit.’ Many people still have a stereotypical image of what assisted living and nursing homes look like. Today communities offer anything from comfortable and intimate settings to large, almost resort-like communities that offer social activities and amenities. Does your loved one like fancy, intimate, or down-home and cozy? If they help you find one that is appealing, they may be able to get over the stigma and stereotypical view.

5. CONSIDER THE RISKS

Henston discusses that it’s important to think of the risks involved if seniors live alone if they’re no longer capable. “There are many risks to consider if someone is truly living alone and shouldn’t be,” she relays. “For example, if there’s a physical issue where the senior has trouble getting around and they fall or get hurt it can be very scary. There was an elderly lady sitting on her bathroom floor who had fallen and couldn’t get up for 18 hours. Finally a neighbor noticed she hadn’t picked up the paper and checked on her to discover the problem.”

Here are some other issues to consider:

      • Elder Fraud
      • Isolation
      • Physical Constraints
      • Mental Constraints

If your loved one suffers from any of the above, there could be many consequences. From economical problems to depression and health problems; there are many things to think about. “If an elderly person can’t drive and get out easily, they can become depressed – it can become a situation of being imprisoned,” Henston candidly notes.

Above all else, approach the conversation as though it is a gift. You are concerned about their well-being and welfare. Henston reminds us, “Treat your aging loved one with love, respect, kindness and compassion. Consider what is truly the best decision for everyone involved.”

About Dr. Melissa Henston, Geriatric Psychologist

Dr. Melissa Henston is a geriatric psychologist in private practice with Colorado NeuroBehavioral Health, where she helps seniors and caregivers understand and navigate physical, cognitive and mental health changes. Additionally, Dr. Henston is a professor at the University at Denver, Graduate School of Psychology, where she teaches “Aging and Geriatric Psychology” to doctoral students.

Dr. Henston’s philosophy is that getting older is a unique process that requires self-acceptance and awareness to life values in order to achieve successful aging. She has worked with the Alzheimer’s Association, presented at conferences on aging, and lectured at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She diligently works with families who are facing problems that may develop as parents transition into needing more care and performs neuropsychological evaluations on older clients to help them understand cognitive issues that can arise with aging.

http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-

4 Basic Facts About Medicare :Guest Post By : GoHealth

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Originally Post on Senior Living Blog: October 16, 2016

http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-06-16-basic-facts-about-medicare/

Basic Facts About Medicare

But what exactly is Medicare? What are your coverage options? Why do you need it? We take a look at four basic facts you need to know before enrolling in Medicare coverage.

1. Different plans cover different benefits.

So what are your different Medicare insurance options?

Original Medicare – or Parts A and B – covers hospital and basic medical care. Once you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A.

Medicare Supplement – or Medigap – plans can help you pay for some health care costs not covered by Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage – or Part C – is a private insurance option which covers the benefits of Parts A & B. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage.

Lastly, a prescription drug plan – or Part D – offers coverage for different prescription medications.

2. The basics are required to move forward.

If you think you might want Medicare Advantage, you must first have Original Medicare, or Parts A & B. While you’ll likely automatically be enrolled in Part A once you turn 65, you must actively enroll in Part B.

3. Medicare is different than Medicaid.

They might sound similar and both start with the letter M, but Medicare and Medicaid are very different programs. We’ve already established that Medicare is health insurance coverage for those individuals aged 65 and over. Medicaid is a federally-funded health insurance program mainly for individuals and families with low incomes. Pregnant women and people with disabilities may also get coverage through Medicaid.

4. Note your needed prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D offers different plan options that cover different prescription medications. If choosing a Part D plan, make note of which prescriptions you or your loved ones will need in the near future. Medicare Advantage also offers some prescription drug coverage, so it’s important to review your specific needs before choosing between Part D plan options and Medicare Advantage.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information. 

Related Articles:

The Cost of Family Caregiving: Out-of-Pocket Spending Surprisingly A Guest Post by Christina Ianzito

Out of Pocket Caregiving Report

Our country’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers devote a large portion of their own money toward the care of their loved ones.

They’re spending an average of $6,954 a year — nearly 20 percent of their income — on out-of-pocket (OOP) costs related to caregiving, according to a new AARP study, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report.”

Hispanic/Latino and low-income family caregivers spend even more: an average of 44 percent of their total annual income.

And that’s on top of other financial strains many caregivers face, such as needing to cut back on work hours or take unpaid leave, says Nancy LeaMond, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer at AARP. “The strain can be enormous and may put their own financial and retirement security at risk.” She adds that passing the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which provides a federal tax credit of up to $3,000, “would give some sorely needed financial relief to eligible family caregivers.”

Cost Infographic

AARP also supports the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, which would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.

Here are some striking findings from the new AARP report, which determined the amount of money that family caregivers spent over the last year:

  • Family caregivers of all ages spend $6,954 in OOP costs related to caregiving on average.
  • Family caregivers earning less than $32,500 are under significant financial strain, spending an average of 44 percent of their annual income on caregiving.
  • Family caregivers for adults with dementia reported nearly twice the OOP costs ($10,697) than those caring for adults without dementia ($5,758).
  • Hispanic/Latino family caregivers spend an average of $9,022, which represents 44 percent of their total income per year. By comparison, African American family caregivers spend $6,616, or 34 percent; white family caregivers spend $6,964, or 14 percent; and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders spend $2,935, or 9 percent.
  • Long-distance family caregivers had the highest OOP costs at $11,923 compared with family caregivers living with or nearby their care recipients.

Family caregivers report dipping into savings, cutting back on personal spending, saving less for retirement or taking out loans to make ends meet. More than half of family caregivers reported a work-related strain, such as having to take unpaid time off.

Read the full report at www.aarp.org/caregivercosts.

Answers Your Top Medicare Coverage Questions A Guest by GoHealth

medicaid

Whether you’re a first-time Medicare buyer or a long-time enrollee, finding the right Medicare coverage can be confusing.

In an effort to help you find the right combination of plans, we’re answering the top consumer Medicare questions, including what your first step should be, your prescription drug coverage options, and much more.

Top 10 Medicare Coverage Questions

1. If I have Part A, how do I add Part B?

In order to complete your Original Medicare coverage and enroll in Part B, you must contact the Social Security office and actively enroll. Once you have both Parts A & B, you can complete your Medicare coverage with additional options.

2. What is a Medicare guaranteed issue right, and do I have it?

A Medicare guaranteed issue right is your right in certain situations to be granted a Medicare Supplement plan – or Medigap policy – regardless of certain other details concerning your health. In these specific situations, insurance companies must sell you a Medicare Supplement plan, cover all your pre-existing conditions, and not charge you more for a policy because of any health problems. Most commonly, you may have a guaranteed issue right if you lose coverage or your current health coverage changes.

3. If I only have Part A, what other types of Medicare can I get?

If you only have Part A, you are eligible to also get Part B. You cannot move forward with exploring other types of Medicare coverage until you have both Parts A & B.

4. Can I enroll in Part D without having Part B?

Unfortunately, you cannot. In order to move forward with additional Medicare options (including Part D), you must first have both Parts A & B.

5. What are my coverage options when it comes to prescription drugs?

If you need prescription drug coverage, you have a few different options. Once you get Parts A & B, you can choose to switch to Medicare Advantage, which sometimes offers prescription drug coverage. You can also choose to enroll in a Prescription Drug plan – or Part D – which offers different coverage options depending on which drugs you take.

6. How do I find my Medicare claim number?

You can call Social Security, and a representative there can help you locate your Medicare claim number.

7. How do I enroll in Medicaid?

You should call your state’s Medicaid department if you’re interested in Medicaid health insurance coverage.

8. What is the difference between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Supplement – or Medigap – plans help you complete your coverage. They can help you pay for health care costs that may not be covered by Original Medicare, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Advantage is a private health insurance option that is required to cover all the same benefits as Parts A & B, plus additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. You cannot have a Medicare Supplement plan and Medicare Advantage at the same time.

9. Why would I enroll in Medicare Advantage instead of Original Medicare? Aren’t they the same thing?

While they are similar, there are also differences between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare. By law, Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all the same benefits as Original Medicare, or Parts A & B.

However, there may be some differences in how you pay your out-of-pocket costs with a Medicare Advantage plan, or you may have a smaller or larger deductible. There also may be some differences in the coverage itself. For example, while Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, some Medicare Advantage plans do offer that coverage.

10. How do I avoid gaps in my Medicare coverage?

There are many different types of Medicare coverage available to help you avoid any gaps in your coverage. It’s important to explore all of your options and coverage combinations with a licensed agent.

Call 1-877-568-1851 – TTY 711 to speak with one of our licensed sales agents. To enroll in Original Medicare, please contact your local Social Security office.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

Related Articles:

GoHealth Answers Your Top Medicare Coverage Questions posted by GoHealth

Guide to US Veterans Benefits An Article Originally Posted on A Place for Mom Blog

veterans-day-images-pictures

 

ACCESS UP TO $2,000 PER MONTH IN VETERANS AID

The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance (VA&A) Pension provides benefits to veterans and their spouses to help pay for costs of care – both in-home care and senior housing. At A Place for Mom we work with many families who are not aware of the benefit and miss out on key financial support that help pay for senior living and home care expenses.

The benefit is anticipated to change next year and could impact the number of families eligible for this financial support. We encourage families to take action now to determine their eligibility.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VETERAN’S AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFIT

LEARN MORE

VETERAN’S AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFIT OVERVIEW

2016 BENEFITS

  • $1,788 per month for a veteran
  • $1,149 per month to a spouse
  • $2,120 per month to a couple
  • $1,406 per month to a veteran with a sick spouse

ANTICIPATED CHANGE 2017

We anticipate the payout to be consistent with current level, however, we believe the eligibility requirements will change.

2016 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Veteran served during an approved war period and honorably discharged.
  • Reviews current income and assets when applying. Veteran must meet following requirements:
  • – $80,000 or less in total assets with the exception of one home and one vehicle.

ANTICIPATED CHANGE 2017

The VA has provided guidance that the eligibility requirements will change in 2017.

It is to your advantage to apply today.

VETERANS BENEFITS 101

Veterans benefits provide those who have served their country, as well as their spouses, financial assistance during their retirement years. Veterans who are at least 65 years-old* and who served during war time (though not necessarily in actual combat) may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that can be used to help pay for care. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans are also often eligible. Veteran’s benefits can make all the difference for families who struggling to pay for care.

For further reading:

http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/guide-to-us-veterans-benefits?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTnpRME1HVTJZVGhqTjJRMyIsInQiOiJlYmpaNmVGNlhcLzJqU2o2ZUJoS1dQWEpZZkorK0lXWU5qRkhvZDR5ZDk1bzh3ZSt5dVlsaU9EWEc3TFhNTGRvZVRhRCsyRTNoUzhJbkVKSmpiQ28rZEptVWJldDhxQTRma1NCODRzUzZiWGM9In0%3D

 

How to Escort Seniors to the Voting Polls A Guest Post By : A Place for Mom Staff

senior-vote-2016-official-banner

Originally Posted in the Senior Living Blog: Posted On 24 Oct 2016

The United States has a proud democratic tradition dating back more than 200 years, and that tradition is based on the right to vote. Unfortunately, many older people who are receiving care at senior living communities aren’t always able exercise that right.

Seniors may be intimidated by the thought of getting to the polls and potentially waiting in long lines. Some might even wonder whether, as long term care residents, they’re still allowed to vote. Learn more about how to escort seniors to the polls during this election.

Escorting Senior Loved Ones to the Voting Polls

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, U.S. citizens will vote and determine the direction of our country.

This year, senior advocacy organizations are making sure senior living residents’ voices are heard and votes are counted:

  • The Senior Citizens League put together a checklist to follow to ensure seniors are informed and ready to vote, which includes:
    • Knowing your district, registration and voting method, to researching candidates and issues, and finally, making your voice heard.
  • Worldwide Programs for the Elderly promotes escorting seniors to the voting polls through a program, which provides escort and transportation to ensure that age and mobility does not limit a senior’s right to vote.
  • Voting by absentee ballot is another way for seniors to make their voice heard if they are unable to go to their local polling place on Election Day. Be sure to research the set of rules regarding the specific requirements and qualifications for absentee voting in your state.

How Senior Living Providers Can Help Residents Vote

Senior living and other long-term care providers can help residents vote, by:

  1. Distributing sample ballots to familiarize residents with voting procedures.
  2. Helping residents get absentee ballots to vote.
  3. Helping residents register to vote.
  4. Hosting debate watching events.
  5. Hosting political discussions.
  6. Posting reminders about registration deadlines.
  7. Providing information on upcoming candidates and elections.
  8. Provide transportation to the polls.

We applaud these efforts and believe it’s vitally important that every citizen have the opportunity to make their voice heard.

If you are concerned that a senior loved one who lives in senior living may not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, contact your local Long-term Care Ombudsman for assistance.

For more information about polling locations and other election related matters where you live, visit the USA.gov Voting webpage.

Do you have experience escorting senior loved ones to the voting polls? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

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Highlights from the 2016 OR Today Magazine Convention’s Key Note Presentation: An Interview with Phyllis

Original Article Featured in OR Today Magazine, November 2016 Edition

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Do you believe that workplace bullying and incivility are the same?

No. Workplace incivility can best be defined as low-intensity unpleasant behavior that is rude, impolite, or inconsiderate. While the target can feel insulted or angry; an actual desire or intent to harm the other person is ambiguous. Anyone has the potential to behave inappropriately towards a coworker given the right circumstances coupled with a lack of self-management.

Workplace bullying however, is ongoing, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behavior or actions directed at a person(s), causing the target to feel threatened, abused, humiliated or vulnerable. The person experiencing prolonged bullying can feel a range of psychological and physiological symptoms. The research supports that, those who bully, are very aware of their behavior and its effect on the others; even though they may deny that there is intent. Fortunately, there is only a very small percentage of the workforce that is capable of such sustained disregard for another individual.

So these behaviors are very different. Should the management be different as well?  

Yes, they should and I want to be clear as to why. The two keys here are insight and sustainability. The person who behaves in an uncivil manner has the ability to self-reflect on that indiscretion, feel remorse or regret and make the active choice to work on their self-management skills and achieve personal growth. A bully does not have this ability.

It is vital that we understand and accept that a nurse bully is a narcissist with a license. A narcissist lacks the capacity for empathy. The ability to reflect empathically on the consequence that one’s poor behavior has on another is vital for driving the desire to change. Bullies (narcissists) are incapable of this.

An uncivil staff member can gain insight though coaching and training. Positive, sustained changes in behavior can be noted within six to twelve weeks of working a clear emotional intelligence improvement action plan. A narcissist typically reacts in one of two ways to someone attempting to hold them accountable. They may escalate their behavior and retaliate or they will tell you what you want to hear and vow to reform. However, they cannot sustain any improvement because they lack a connection with the need to improve.

So why is managing bullying behavior in nursing so challenging?

This is a complex issue but one reason is that nurses are professional caregivers. Nursing leaders have a good deal of difficulty coming to terms with the fact that a bully/narcissist cannot be fixed. It is not a part of our caregiver DNA to “give-up” on someone. We talk ourselves into believing that if we just try a little harder that this individual will have an epiphany and the problem will be resolved.

The bully/narcissist is hoping that you will react exactly in this manner. They are experts at taking your wonderful qualities of empathy, patience and the need to heal and use them against you to achieve their goal of never being held accountable to sustained improvement. Essentially, we need to get out of our own way in order to take charge of this situation. Nurse leaders must try to accept that once someone shows you their true colors, you need to resist repainting them.

The only performance improvement plan for a bully/narcissist is a collaborative effort put forth by administration, human resources and the nurse leader that is time sensitive and rich with mandatory training. The documentation should discuss the need for improvement to be demonstrated within three to six months then sustained for six months as well.

Most bully/narcissists will not be able to withstand this type of scrutiny and may decide to move on. The others may stay but will find it very challenging to sustain the improvement. Should termination be the only option left, you can have the peace of mind that a sincere effort was made on your part; and twelve months’ worth of documentation to support your action.

 

 

7 Items Nurses Should Carry With Them:A Guest Post by Beth Martel

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Being a nurse is a job that demands you to be prepared for different patient situations and you might need different items on hand at all times. If you are new to this profession, this article might help you to prepare your bag with all the items that signify your identity as a nurse.

Following is a list of 7 items nurses should always carry with them:

1.                      SCISSORS:

Being a nurse, you need medical scissors for cutting tape and dressings. A nice pair of scissors that is especially for nurses comes in handy and ensures the safety and comfort for the user. You can also buy a colorful pair of scissors that would make your identity and your work a little more colorful.

2.                      STETHOSCOPE:

Stethoscopes are the inevitable tool that every nurse should carry with them. It assists the nurses to examine the functioning of heart, veins and intestines by hearing them with the help of a stethoscope.

If you are brand-conscious, then Littmann stethoscopes will keep you happy because of their goodwill in the market. They are the best-selling stethoscopes you can find in all different designs you might be looking for.

3.                      HAND SANITIZERS:

Being a nurse, keeping your hands clean and bacteria-free should be your top priority. And for that purpose, you must always keep a hand-sanitizer in your bag that comes in handy when you are about to touch or treat a patient.

4.                      BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS:

You must also keep a blood pressure monitor to keep a track of the patient’s blood pressure which you might have to check several times a day and a good blood pressure monitor would save a lot of your time and efforts of noting all the reading down and waiting for the machine to give the results.

5.                      MEDICAL GLOVES:

At times, you might have to some work that involves a lot germs and dirt that might leave your hand dirty and make you go ill which you cannot afford as a nurse who needs to be up and running all the time.

Therefore, medical gloves in your bag would act like a life saver for you in many circumstances. Make sure that you buy a giant box at once so that you do not have to fret for a long time.

6.                      MEDICAL TAPE AND DRESSINGS:

Whether you use it cover a wound of the patient or wrap it around patient’s arm after taking blood or injecting medication, use of dressings and medical tape is inevitable in this field. And it is highly recommended that you keep a good quality medical tape or dressings in your bag or your scrub pocket at all times.

7.                      THE NURSE TOTE BAG:

Last but not the least; you need a bag that has all the room for the items mentioned above including your personal stuff. Therefore, you can get one of the bags that are exclusively made for nurses with special compartments in it for your ease and better usability of the bag.

For a trendy nurse bag that can signify you identity well and make you look like a cool nurse with a good humor and liveliness, you can check out the nurse tote bags by Sarah.

Author Bio:

This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at HealthyRecharge.com

Share The Care Organization wants to make you aware of a special opportunity from Road Scholar

Share The Care

STC wants to make you aware of a special opportunity from Road Scholar
Road Scholar
The Road Scholar Caregiver Grant has a rolling admission – and asks that applications be submitted at least 4-6 weeks before the start of the program. For example, for a program starting on December 8, 2016, it would be ideal to have the application in by November 4th. At this time, we have almost 770 US-based programs open for enrollment all the way through December of 2017, so there’s a lot to chose from.
Who is Road Scholar? 
Not-for-profit Road Scholar is the world’s largest and most innovative creator of educational travel adventures. Our mission is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel. 
What is a Road Scholar Caregiver Grant? 
The Road Scholar Caregiver Grant is a unique respite opportunity for unpaid family caregivers to take part in a Road Scholar educational travel program. The grant is for Caregivers who are 50 years of age or older and provides an award of up to $1,300 to use toward a U.S.-based educational adventure that costs no more than $1,400. 
Who is eligible for a Caregiver Grant? 
A caregiver is eligible for a grant if … 
  • Their loved one is receiving home care, hospice, visiting nurse, LPN services, or comparable and related services. 
  • Their loved one is in adult day care, memory care, a nursing home or comparable or related facility.
  • They lost a loved one within the past two years who was in any of the above situations.
  • They live in the United States and are 50 years of age and older.
Why seek respite on a Road Scholar program? 
Participating in a Road Scholar program is a special experience of learning and community. Road Scholar programs are a wonderful way to feel revitalized, to make new friends and to spark creativity and intellectual curiosity. This unique Road Scholar experience could be especially helpful for caregivers who are experiencing isolation and feelings of depression, stress and anxiety. 
How does it work? 
The Caregiver Grant is an award of up to $1,300 applied to the cost of a U.S.-based Road Scholar learning adventure that costs no more than $1,400. Grant recipients are responsible for their round-trip transportation to and from the program. Road Scholar takes care of everything else: lodging, meals, field trips, transportation during the program and much more – it’s all included.
Learn more about Road Scholar Caregiver Grants 
For more information or to download an application, visitwww.roadscholar.org/caregivergrant. To request brochures to share about Road Scholar Caregiver Grants, please call 617-457-5429 or email scholarships@roadscholar.org.
Care to Share? Share The Care: http://sharethecare.org/ 
We would love to hear your caregiving stories, see your videos, share your pictures or advice on our website. Your stories and thoughts will help others that find themselves on the  paths that you have traveled.
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View some of your photos here.
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