What’s That? Congenital Heart Disease

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What to Look For in Staff Training Part 3: The Training Differential

trainingWhy is poor training such an important issue?   Is there any evidence that effective training would improve quality of care for the residents?  A recent study reported a 70% reduction in pressure ulcers when staff were properly trained and given incentives to perform better. (1,2)  Other studies have shown a direct effect on resident care or safety as a result of education on reduction of restraints without increasing injuries. (3,4) In addition, researchers also found reduced resident aggression through staff behavioral training as well as the ability to use behavioral interventions with aggressive residents. (5)

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What’s That? How a Stroke Occurs

I took an informal survey of friends and family this week – those with parents of the age to consider elder care of some sort.  I was trying to understand their knowledge of popular diseases and medical conditions.  Specifically, I was trying to determine two things:

  1. What percentage of them were familiar with common diseases and medical conditions
  2. What percentage of them actually knew what happens to the body and/or what causes these diseases and conditions

I was not surprised that the vast majority of my participants had basic familiar with a number of common diseases.  I was surprised, however, that many were unsure of what actually happens during the course of many medical conditions.

With that in hand, I’d like to introduce a new series of articles called “What’s That?”

Each What’s That? post will provide background information on a disease or medical condition impacting those in assisted living.  An illustrated video (courtesy of CareFlash) will accompany the post, providing a multimedia explanation of just what’s happening when a medical condition occurs.

What’s That?  How a Stroke Occurs

As with all organs in the body, the brain needs oxygen and nutrients in order to function properly. These life-sustaining products are delivered to the brain via the blood that travels through the circulatory system.  A stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood to a portion of the brain, resulting in tissue death and loss of brain function. A stroke can be caused by a ruptured blood vessel, such as an aneurysm, or by an embolism, which is a small free-floating clot or particle that becomes lodged in one of the arteries of the brain and interrupts blood flow.  Depending on which area of the brain is affected, a stroke can cause speech impairments, paralysis, unconsciousness, or even death. (Source: CareFlash)

Stroke Watch the Stroke video

Using Social Networking to Research Assisted Living Staff

Social Networking

Social networking used to be a term used only by college kids.  But the explosion in popularity of sites like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and Linkedin have made these tools common destinations for many adults.

The concept is simple – social networking lets you post a profile of yourself, pictures and lists of interests and hobbies.  Friends and business acquaintances “connect” to you, creating social network.

While most people use these sites for fun or networking, you can learn quite a bit about people from their social networking profile.

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Event: Regency Park Oak Knoll Presentation and Book Signing


I’ve just confirmed that I will be speaking at Regency Park Oak Knoll in Pasadena, California.  The February 20th event will be a unique presentation and book signing format.

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Are Nurses Required in Assisted Living?

NurseA frequent concern for someone considering assisted living is whether there is adequate nursing or medical monitoring and assistance. In order to promote a healthy independence for its residents, assisted living communities often provide residents with numerous coordinated services including health services. Many residents choose assisted living because they can no longer manage tasks like properly taking their blood pressure readings, diabetic testing or medications. Consumers in need of medical assistance like medication management need to be aware of the fact that health services offered in assisted living environments vary by state.

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What to Look For in Staff Training Part 2: The Plight of CNAs

The statistics do not bode well for those working in nursing homes.   The direct care workers   are usually the lowest paid workers in the healthcare industry.(1)  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates CNA salaries ranging from $7.78 to $12.80 per hour.(2)   Unmarried minority women with at least one dependent child comprise a healthy cross-section of the profession.(3)  CNAs thus have built-in family stressors such as financial worries, finding daycare and caring for sick children. Multiply this with on-the-job stress due to long hours, frequent overtime, lack of respect, little time off and generally poor training; it is easy to see why staff turnover is so high.  The opportunities for career growth of direct care staff are limited when looking at their average education. CNAs usually have a high school diploma but their education most likely stopped there.(4)

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Home Health Aides: Present and Future (Jane Gross)

In today’s issue of the New York Times’ New Old Age blog, Jane Gross adds the third part of her series on home health aides.  The topic is so closely related to caregivers and the value they provide outside of providing care, that I wanted to share it with everyone.

Here’s an excerpt from this great article:

This is our third, and last, installment of questions and answers from Marki Flannery, president of Partners In Care, an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the industry leader in licensed home care services. Previously, in part one, I discussed with her Home Health Aides: Why Hire From an Agency? In part two, we covered Home Health Aides: What They Make, What They Cost.

Today, Ms. Flannery offers advise about hiring and managing people essential to our parents’ well-being, and of what the future holds once the baby boomers need home care for themselves.

Click to read the complete article on the New Old Age blog.

What to Look for in Staff Training Part 1: Importance of Preparation

It makes sense to check out the décor before sending a loved one to a long term care (LTC) facility.   Maybe even try the food in the cafeteria, check the comfort level provided in the beds, observe the cleanliness of the bathrooms, and determine whether the lighting is appropriate. Yet the most important aspect of LTC does not come from the outward appearances but from the caregivers.

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