These words elicit a wide range of emotions based on whom they’re being spoken to and the preparedness of the responsible parties including the discharge planner, the patient’s family and of course, the patient himself. The discharge planner silently chuckles with doubt as she sits in the multidisciplinary rounds
These words elicit a wide range of emotions based on whom they’re being spoken to and the preparedness of the responsible parties including the discharge planner, the patient’s family and of course, the patient himself. The discharge planner silently chuckles with doubt as she sits in the multidisciplinary rounds and hears these words from the powers that be, knowing full-well the ensuing challenges of a successful discharge within 24 hours. The family members nod in cautious agreement while reeling with fear of the unknown. Who will care for their loved one? What services will he need? What costs will be incurred? The patient is either excited, clueless or filled with trepidation.
Those of us who share the title of Case Manager, Care Manager, Discharge Planner, etc. and are licensed as a Registered Nurse or Social Worker are part of a club that’s small but elite, powerful yet not always respected, and resourceful but often lacking necessary resources. We’d all agree there are basically three types of discharges: Piece of Cake, Bit of a Challenge, and the Total Train Wreck. While we all love those Piece of Cake patients with the perfect, loving, caring family and a simple medication cocktail ordered at discharge, we also know that the Challenge and Train Wreck discharges are imminent and will require time, energy and patience.
And, we’re working in an environment riddled with uncertainty, constantly changing regulations and more “disruptive” new government and private payer initiatives than ever before including the “volume to value” conundrum which instructs us to prevent inappropriate admissions and readmissions while at the same time understanding that “heads on beds” yields money and frankly our job security. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 30-day readmission penalties are at the forefront of hospital executives’ agendas due to the significant financial penalties they can potentially impose on a hospital.
Furthermore, as a result of the evolving trend towards ambulatory care, the vast majority of hospital inpatient admissions are those with very clinically complex conditions. Yet, hospitals continue to carefully monitor lengths of stay to optimize reimbursement which further complicates the discharge process and shortens the amount of time the case manager has to create a safe and efficient transition to the next level of care whether that be to a long-term acute care facility, a skilled nursing facility, or home with some level of professional or custodial support.
To further support the radical changes in the industry, CMS is proposing amendments to the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) which defines initiatives and measures to improve the quality of post-acute care. According to CMS, “The IMPACT Act requires hospitals, critical access hospitals, and certain post-acute care providers to use data on both quality and resource use measures to assist patients during the discharge planning process, while taking into account the patient’s goals of care and treatment preferences.” Participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs will be dependent on aligning with these new requirements.
So, where do we go from here? A quick “Discharge 101” lesson will confirm the challenges those of us in the field face every day and should also help those unfamiliar with the process understand the complexities and roadblocks we face in facilitating transitions along the care continuum.
The formula for a successful discharge plan:
Once the plan is established, it’s time to execute the various action items. This is where the “fun” comes in for the discharge planner. Imagine Freddie, our “Bit of a Challenge” patient who was admitted on Monday, and according to the medical team is ready for discharge Friday. Freddie is a 91 year old, feisty gentleman with a history of COPD, degenerative disc disease and diabetes. To top it off, Freddie lives alone in a two-story house, has family who occasionally checks on him, relies on the city bus system for transportation and enjoys his bourbon. The case manager is tasked with taking each of these considerations into account and formulating a plan that will enable a safe discharge and prevent a readmission. (And, by the way, we are held accountable for inappropriate readmissions and are measured against this metric in our reviews…)
Freddie will need the following minimal level of services to successfully transition out of the hospital:
Keep in mind that Freddie isn’t even a Train Wreck patient, and he’s only one of 15-20 plus patients on the case manager’s census needing to be followed throughout the admission.
So… it’s no surprise that the discharge is a lengthy, complicated and often stressful process and is typically left to the case manager to coordinate all of these care interventions and services. Unfortunately, while we possess strong critical thinking skills and are multitasking masters, we lack the tools necessary to effectively perform our responsibilities.
If you speak with any care manager, you’ll find that with all the increased legislation, measurement and oversight, their responsibilities have drastically increased – while there are still only so many hours in a day. What many people may not know is there is hope on the horizon. There are now innovative software and database applications that have the power to streamline and organize information – helping you to identify the most appropriate next level of care with just a few clicks rather than spending hours of research and coordination. As you can tell, I’m very passionate about the critical role that care managers play in the care continuum. Please feel free and reach out to me directly if you’d like any additional information or if I can help you in any way. In the meantime, here’s hoping for more Pieces of Cake, and fewer Train Wrecks!
How accurate and up-to-date is your organization’s post-acute and community care data?
For more information about Carelike, please contact Katy Weisbrodt:
O: (404) 250-8376 | C: (770) 851-8653 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.carelike.com/hospitals
Carelike provides a national database consisting of more than 370,000 post-acute and community care providers that allows the case manager to more efficiently locate all the necessary providers required for a safe discharge and takes into account the patient’s medical needs, social needs, and financial constraints.
In addition, our CareMatchTM technology will help hospital case managers comply with CMS initiatives including the proposed patient discharge IMPACT Act rule which significantly reduces the burden on this already over-stretched group of professionals. The solution greatly improves communication between the hospital and community-based services and enables the case manager to fulfill her responsibilities and coordinate care with each of the various stakeholders involved in the discharge.
With proper billing-code utilization and the right care-coordination technology to match the best providers with care seekers, physicians and health care organizations involved in the discharge planning and care coordination of chronic and post-acute patients can be reimbursed for these services.
Since 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been reimbursing doctors and health care organizations for providing chronic care management. Unfortunately, many organizations are not receiving this reimbursement and may be missing out on federal funding for some of the sickest Medicare beneficiaries. With proper billing-code utilization and the right care-coordination technology to match the best providers with care seekers, physicians, and health care organizations involved in the discharge planning and care coordination of chronic and post-acute patients can be reimbursed for these services.
As reported by ModernHealthCare, CMS made payments for chronic-care claims for just 513,000 Medicare beneficiaries of the approximately 35 million individuals eligible for this program. (To be eligible, individuals must have two or more chronic conditions.) Some of this gap stems from physicians' overall lack of awareness of the billing code for care management. However, by speaking with physicians, coordinating chronic-care services and using the right care-management billing codes, CMS will reimburse physicians and health care organizations for their time.
The source noted that approximately 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions. Examples of the covered conditions include, but are not limited to:
Hospitals that partner with acute care nurses, discharge planners and care coordinators can take advantage of the average $42 per patient per month reimbursement for chronic-care service coordination and specialist consultations.
As noted in ModernHealthCare, another reason some health care providers are not taking advantage of this opportunity is due to the necessary written patient permission for the reimbursements. However, the 2017 add-on now eliminates the need for written consent and allows a verbal okay from patients.
According to CMS, the payable CCM service codes include:
Some of the services included under the CCM cover:
Qualified clinical staff include:
CMS also noted that CCM services are priced in both facility and non-facility settings, including skilled nursing, nursing, assisted living or other facility settings.
Patient readmittance in the first 30 days results in a CMS reimbursement penalty, so it's imperative that discharge nurses have top quality care providers for post-acute and chronic patients.
Unfortunately, research studies showed that 17.3 percent of Medicare fee-for-service patients aged 65 and over were readmitted within 30 days in 2012, according to the National Health Statistics Report. Readmissions occurred due to care coordinators poorly managing transitions during discharge, infections or complications caused by the hospital stay or the reappearance of the condition that led to the hospitalization in the first place.
Reducing readmissions falls on care coordinators in charge of locating care providers with the skills and qualifications that best suit the needs of the patient.
To accomplish this, care coordination companies, such as hospitals or health IT companies, are building discharge-planning software. However, these platforms need a robust database of talented and experienced care providers to ensure post-acute and chronic patients recover quickly and do not need readmittance.
One way to help reduce the chances for chronic and acute patient readmission is to provide ongoing treatment and care following a hospital discharge. This enables an open dialogue and regular visits to ensure the patient is following the physician's recommendations.
Individuals receiving ongoing treatments from their primary care physicians and suffering from two chronic conditions need extra care providers in between doctor visits. Aligning these care services along with the CMS reimbursement is important to capture lost revenue opportunities.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to taking advantage of the CMS reimbursement is finding the best-suited care providers to deliver post-discharge and follow-up services. Matching a nurse without the right qualifications can lead to readmission, which penalizes the reimbursement. Often, as noted by the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform, the inability to receive good primary care support in the local community is a main contributor to preventable readmissions.
Care coordinators arranging for discharge planning or long-term follow-up services for chronic patients need easy access to a wide range of care providers. Further they need the ability to accurately tailor their searches to locate the most appropriate health care professional to align with unique care seeker needs. By identifying the best local care providers for managing post-discharge chronic care patients, hospitals can reduce their readmission rates and ensure they're receiving the full CMS reimbursement.
Carelike creates a custom portal for care coordinators, who can then use licensed data that focuses on either national or local/regional care providers. Hospitals that already have their own systems can rely on Carelike's API that simply plugs into existing systems for easy access to the extensive database.
Using Carelike's dashboard, care coordinators can easily track patient statuses, add noted, document care transitions and take advantage of the extensive database of providers who all manage chronic and post-acute conditions. This provides an additional layer of context during the transition phase that's crucial for communicating additional information about patients.
Companies in the process of building a software solution to meet the growing need of matching care providers with care seekers could benefit from using the Carelike database.
Carelike provides the technology and resources to help hospitals, health care organizations and care coordinators take advantage of CMS reimbursements for chronic care and post-acute care management. Click here to learn more about Carelike.Read in 5 minutes
As baby boomers enter retirement, more of this generation is thinking about senior living situations outside of assisted living.
As baby boomers enter retirement, more of this generation is thinking about senior living situations outside of assisted living communities or relocating to typical retirement destinations like Arizona or Florida.
The fact is, many people want to stay near their hometown and maintain a sense of community once they enter the senior years. According to an AARP survey, 69 percent of respondents indicated they preferred to stay in their home and be near the locales they grew up in. These results make a lot of sense: Seniors want to be near their grandkids, sons and daughters, and lifelong friends, and as the old adage goes, "There's no place like home."
However, living on your own presents a lot of challenges once you age, both personally and financially. That's why a lot of seniors have turned to home sharing and Airbnb to overcome a lot of these obstacles.
"Home sharing helps seniors financially and offers a sense of community."
Mortgage debt and seniors: Looking at the numbers
After the 2008 housing bubble, it became clear that owning your home and maintaining a mortgage was going to require navigating certain obstacles moving forward. When you're a retired senior relying on savings, Social Security, and if you're lucky, retirement funds, the bank account is usually running low for most after the mortgage is paid every month. What's more, AARP highlighted a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Board stating that median mortgage debt for seniors increased by a stunning 82 percent between 2001 and 2011.
Home sharing: A new solution for senior living
Because of these skyrocketing costs, a lot of seniors are renting out rooms, or in some cases, their whole homes, on Airbnb and other home-sharing sites to pay the bills and still stay in their homes. In fact, Airbnb even put out a report showing that older Americans have earned nearly $750 million from relying on services through Airbnb, and seniors over 60 are the fastest-growing demographic for the company.
Others are turning to local shared housing programs that now exist in more than 20 states, according to Bankrate. Not only do these programs help reduce rent and mortgage payments, but they also curb loneliness and allow seniors to age in place: A win-win situation all around.
What providers need to know
As a home health provider, it is important to be even more mindful of these housing trends as baby boomers continue to enter retirement. It's likely that as home-sharing technology becomes more advanced and companies like Airbnb become the norm, more seniors will be looking to these types of arrangements as a long-term housing solution.
With your patients likely living with other seniors or in home-sharing situations, you will need to be understanding of their living arrangements. Schedules might change and your visits might need to be held in these type of environments moving forward.
The home health sector is also becoming increasingly tech-friendly to keep up with these demands, so look to apps to help you organize your appointments and better communicate with patients who may be utilizing home-sharing services.Read in 2 minutes
Carelike offers a comprehensive and un-biased database of home health agencies that meet your needs for providing the highest level of quality care.
Locating the right home health care provider for yourself or a loved one requires finding someone with the qualifications that best suit your particular needs. For most family, there are many needs to try to match to a care provider.
One of the current obstacles facing care seekers is the rise in demand for care providers. As the average lifespan of the general population continues to rise, more people will need care providers, which makes finding the right match more difficult.
Current forecasts highlight this trend and predict even greater demand in the coming years. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected the employment outlook for home health aides to rise 38 percent between 2014 to 2024. This is more than five times the projected 7 percent rate for all occupations over the same time period. These numbers illustrate just how great the demand for home care providers will skyrocket.
Major growth expected in the home health aide sector will create greater competition among care seekers who are all trying to get the best possible home health aide. What are the right qualifications for you or your loved one?
Finding a care provider with the right home health aide training remains one of the biggest challenges when evaluating prospective home health agencies and their staff.
Depending on yours or your loved ones needs, the type of home health aide training you're looking for will vary. It might include assisting with housekeeping or other instrumental activities of daily life, such as cooking meals and facilitating transportation to doctors or leisure activities. In other scenarios, you might need a care provider to take vital signs, dress basic wounds, has specialized training in dementia or Alzheimer's, or even help with medication schedules. Regardless of your needs, though, it's important that the home health aide you're seeking has the proper training to handle tasks and provide the best care and companionship for your loved one.
New training programs are being launched around the country such as the Integrated Model for Personal Assistant Research and Training (IMPART) and Building Training, Building Quality (BTBQ), according to Home Health Care News. By identifying care providers who have undertaken these additional training programs to enhance their skills, you can find a better qualified prospect.
As noted by the source, studies have revealed that greater training for senior care providers:
These traits help ensure a better standard of care for you or your loved one.
"It's important that home health aides have strong communication skills."
Foreign language fluency plays a major role in delivering top-notch home health care. If the care provider you seek out is unable to communicate clearly with you or your loved one due to translation problems, it can cause a decline in the quality of care.
While many will accurately pinpoint Spanish as the second most spoken language in the U.S., the others might surprise you. After English, the top five most spoken languages in the U.S. according to CORE Languages are:
Finding a care provider that can communicate proficiently with you or your loved one in a native tongue ensures a better relationship.
And while finding multilingual care providers will remain a top priority, it's also important that you locate a home health aide that has solid communication and interpersonal skills all around. The ability to build a personal rapport and establish trust through both words and actions are key components of a strong relationship.
Surging demand for home health care aides will mean you'll have to diligently sift out underqualified candidates. Pouring over reams of paper resumes is a time-consuming and labor-intensive method to locate the ideal care provider. Additionally, how can you be sure that the skills listed are truthful and accurate?
Instead of spending hours online or calling dozens of different agencies, the data available through the Comprehensive Community Resource Finder from Carelike provides you with more than just basic candidate contact information. Carelike offers a comprehensive and un-biased database of home health aides that meet your needs for providing the highest level of quality care. While many other online directories only list providers who are contracted with them, Carelike lists all licensed providers in your area - giving you the most comprehensive view of your options.
Additionally, Carelike's CareMatch™ Advanced Search technology, lets you narrow down your search to pinpoint the precise qualifications you're seeking in a caregiver, whether this includes providing specialized Alzheimer care, speaking a particular language or knowing how to handle specific health conditions.Read in 4 minutes
Being more active on social media, attending conferences and leveraging Carelike's CareMatch technology can go a long way to improving your marketing campaign and boosting your referral network and client base.
As a home health care provider, you know the importance of networking and marketing yourself to continually find new clients. But carving out the time and money from your already thinly stretched calendars and budgets can make these crucial tasks difficult or even impossible.
However, with the right focus on a streamlined, cost-effective strategy, you can launch a robust marketing campaign with little money and minimal time.
Consider these simple yet valuable techniques for marketing your home health care business on even the smallest budget:
Boost your online presence
The internet has been a boon to small organizations and self-employed individuals who want to expand their reach and build their brand. However, it is surprising that many home health care providers will spend a substantial amount of money on traditional printed marketing materials, such as brochures and business cards, while neglecting their online presence.
"Your online presence reaches a larger audience than traditional printed materials."
Improving your online presence, position and reputation will help you reach a wider audience, and at a fraction of the cost and time of print marketing. Social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, offer you an open channel to upload and interact with current and prospective clients.
Along with social media, online review site and local business apps like Yelp and Angie's List are a great way for people to locate new services. Ensure that your home health care operation is listed in these places and that your contact information is available and accurate. These sites will also house feedback from customers voicing their satisfaction or lack thereof. While it's okay to reply to posts about your services, remember to keep things civil and professional, since this information will be available for all to see.
You can use these resources to upload insightful information about the industry, build up your referral base and keep your clients and peers updated on current success stories.
Attend conferences and local community events
Locating and attending conferences and conventions for home health care providers broadens your professional network. Forging connections at these events creates new referral channels and can even substantially expand your social media following if you leverage these interactions correctly.
From the National Association for Home Care and Hospice to the Home Care Association of America or the American Association for Homecare, there are plenty of organizations of all sizes that host conferences and provide numerous opportunities throughout the year to engage in networking. Even organizations like your town's Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce will host breakfasts, luncheons or cocktail hours to gather local small businesses.
Leverage CareMatch technology
Having access to an expansive nationwide network of families and seniors seeking care providers can be a great advantage to expanding your operations. With more than 350,000 senior care options available in the database, Carelike's CareMatch search capabilities let you gather better qualified leads while also letting care-seekers see your detailed profile highlighting your qualifications and experience.
Additionally, Carelike is in partnership with dozens of organizations that are looking to the Carelike directory to make referral recommendations. Organizations range from patient advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, to EAP programs, to hospital systems like the Mayo Clinic, health insurance companies, discharge planning software companies, and many more. When you populate your business information with Carelike, you are not only getting exposure on Carelike.com and with their CareMatch technology but you also get exposure to thousands of professionals making referral recommendations based off of the information you provided Carelike.
Being more active on social media, attending conferences and leveraging Carelike's CareMatch technology can go a long way to improving your marketing campaign and boosting your referral network and client base.Read in 3 minutes
Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings.
Home care aides have long been facilitators of independence and good health for seniors. From providing assistance for individuals who want to age in place to ensuring their clients remain active participants in their communities, it's crucial that care providers have the means to promote this self-sufficiency.
Thankfully, an assortment of emerging technological devices and internet platforms have arisen that ease the facilitation of this independence and health lifestyles for seniors.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets have made the world more interconnected than ever before. While Facebook began solely as a means for college students to stay linked, it quickly transformed into a global network accessible to people of all ages. Increasingly, older adults are using the channel. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of online individuals ages 65 and older log in and use Facebook - a jump of 14 percentage points from the 48 percent of this cohort who reported using the site in 2015.
"Facebook keeps seniors connected with friends and families."
One of the great things about social media is that it allows seniors to interact with friends, families and even strangers - a key component to remaining independent and healthy. However, the service also provides a channel for seniors to keep everyone updated about health problems or other issues preventing them from living life to the fullest.
As computers become smaller and more ubiquitous, innovative companies have been incorporating technology into just about everything. This has facilitated the advent and growth of wearable technology. And it's having an impact on the home health community for good reason.
Each year, roughly 33 percent Americans ages 65 and older and half of people 85 and older, experience a life-changing fall, Live Science reported. These slips can cause severe injuries and prevent individuals from reaching their phone to contact an emergency service.
A medical alarm system that includes a pendant or device that senses a sudden fall and impact reduces the chances for long-term injuries or worse. These devices have become much more advanced in recent years, with internet connections and immediate contact methods if the wearer doesn't respond.
Increased access to wearable technology allows home care aides to stay informed of any potentially dangerous slips or falls that might occur to the seniors they assist.
Finding the right home care aide and matching him or her with the ideal person is crucial for maintaining solid relationships.
Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings. The information is then sent to Carelike’s network of Channel Partners who license and view the provider information in order to make referral recommendations to their patients. This robust and comprehensive search technology connects the most ideal care provider candidate best suited to the care seeker’s needs. For a minimal fee, care providers can set up a detailed profile with a comprehensive list of qualifications and experiences. This enables the CareMatch technology to produce more accurate connections that allow for better relationships between care providers and care seekers.Read in about 3 minutes
There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.
Believe it or not, 2016 is coming to a close, which means that a lot of people are thinking about New Year's resolutions. There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.
A new year is always a fresh start. Consider some of these New Year's resolutions for caregiver in order to have a happy and healthy 2017 for both you and your patients.
1. Take more time for yourself: As a caregiver, you often have a lot of responsibilities both at work and at home. And, more often than not, it can seem like you are burning the candle at both ends at times. However, your career as a caregiver is all about finding the right work-life balance. After all, if you are completely burnt out at work, you aren't going to be in the right mindset to properly care for your patients. Be sure that you take time off when you need it, find room to exercise and relax, and keep those extra-long days to a minimum.
2. Get organized: With so many patients, medication schedules and updates to keep track of, caregivers need to take steps to be more organized. Fortunately, there are a lot of tech solutions that can help you accomplish this. Also be sure to document all of your patients' papers and files in an online forum so that they are easy to find. Some time management tools include CareZone, Evernote and Personal Caregiver, to name a few.
3. Learn how to delegate and say 'no' when you need to: Caregivers by nature want to make sure they are doing everything they can for their patients. However, it's simply impossible to meet everyone's needs 100 percent of the time. To prevent burnout and make sure your patients are properly cared for, you will need to learn how to say no when you simply don't have the time and to lean on family caregivers and friends of patients when you can't be there in person.
4. Start doing your research: With so many therapies and treatments getting more advanced by the minute, the possibilities for better care are endless. When have some down time, begin reading studies and publications about caregiving so that you are staying on top of the best cutting-edge treatments. You could also take the time to learn about healthcare plans and reforms so that you are better equipped to answer common questions from your patients about coverage and costs.
5. A renewed focus on nutrition and exercise for your patients: Seniors need daily exercise and nutrients in order to live the best quality of life. However, this is far too often swept under the rug in most care plans today. While you are documenting your patients' care plans, be sure to also include information about diet and exercise so that you have a holistic care plan in place for all of your patients heading into 2017.
If you are unsure about what your New Year's resolution should be this year, consider one of these suggestions to get 2017 off to a good start.Read in 2 minutes
Alzheimer's disease has become one of the biggest public health crises in the U.S., especially over the past few decades.
Alzheimer's disease has become one of the biggest public health crises in the U.S., especially over the past few decades.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, more than 50 percent of nursing home residents who used long-term care services were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, and it is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Although these statistics are alarming, they only tell one part of the story when it comes to this condition. The Alzheimer's Association also says that 47 million people are currently living with Alzheimer's or other dementias worldwide, affecting people from all walks of life.
Alzheimer's at a glance
This disease doesn't just affect those who are afflicted, but it also impacts whole families and communities. Support from caregivers, friends and family members is absolutely crucial for patients who are trying to battle Alzheimer's, so it is important to understand the behaviors and challenges.
Alzheimer's goes through three general stages: all with mild, moderate and severe cognitive decline, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The progression of these stages depends on the person, but the disease can last anywhere from four to 20 years.
Cognitive decline can also afflict individuals in different ways, but some of the more common ones include difficulties communicating during work or social interactions, losing valuable objects, trouble remembering names, speech pattern decline, and the inability to plan or organize daily tasks. Eventually these symptoms can progress into more debilitating symptoms, such as forgetfulness about personal history, personality changes and physical problems as well.
Searching for breakthroughs in Alzheimer's
Breakthroughs in science are also needed now more than ever to stop this disease from progressing. As Forbes recently pointed out, a promising new drug, solanezumab, did not pass late-stage clinical trials with Alzheimer's patients, meaning that many researchers are going back to the drawing board and looking for a more practical approach to conquer the disease.
However, there are some glimmers of hope. Fortunately, many researchers and policymakers have recently made Alzheimer's a priority. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $350 million to go toward Alzheimer's research this past summer after pressure from more than a thousand Alzheimer's advocates who expressed their concerns.
No matter what happens in the future with Alzheimer's, it's clear that a combination of medical innovation and informed policy decisions are needed in order to give families, caregivers and patients the resources they need to meet the immense challenges of this condition moving forward.
As Alzheimer's continues to affect more people in the U.S., various awareness efforts have taken place across the country. Many people have joined in Alzheimer's Awareness marches, worn purple during Alzheimer's Awareness Month and shared their stories on social media with hashtags like #ENDALZ or #IGoPurpleFor in order to shine the spotlight on the disease and research efforts. Many celebrities have also shared their support and personal stories about the fight against Alzheimer's, including comedian Seth Rogen, the cast of "The Big Bang Theory," athlete Tony Hawk, musician Grace Potter and fashion expert Nina Garcia.
The field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern healthcare.
Caregiving is a task that requires a lot of patience and understanding. In addition to having empathy for those who need your medical care, you must find ways to make caregiving management less stressful and more meaningful for both you and your patients.
Many of your patients rely on family members to help them complete daily tasks, especially if they struggle with cognitive issues like Alzheimer's disease or physical disabilities. Everything from medication instructions to appointment scheduling must be communicated with family members and other loved ones to ensure your patients are finding the right balance and staying as healthy as possible.
That's why coordinating schedules with patient family members is so important. It helps you communicate better with the people who need your services the most, and it also makes your job a little easier as well. Fortunately, the field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern caregiving.
If you're a healthcare provider looking for better ways to coordinate schedules with patient family members, read below for some sound advice on how to get started.
1. Talk about your schedules from the very beginning: It's easy to get overwhelmed with your work as a caregiver, so you'll need to set boundaries and schedules with new patients and their families from the very beginning. Let them know when you will be available for work and when certain hours and days are off-limits. Being a caregiver means you can likely balance your own schedule and do amazing things for your patients. However, job demands can be challenging in this field, so it's important to schedule time for yourself as well.
2. Make a care calendar for patient family members: With so many appointments, medications and treatments to keep track of with each patient, care calendars are a must. Just like you, patient family members have careers, schedules, relationships and kids to think about in addition to their loved one who needs care. Having a care calendar lays out all of the information your patient needs upfront so that both parties can keep track of medications, doctor's visits, physical therapy sessions and other treatments needed to stay healthy.
3. Try out caregiving apps: Smartphones and other remote devices have become a huge asset for caregivers who want to balance schedules, especially with patients and their family members. According to Provider magazine, there are several reputable apps to choose from that can help you balance your activities directly from your phone or tablet, and some even link to social media sites and online calendars to make life even easier for all parties involved. What's more, many of these apps are available for free through the iOS and Android stores. Some of these include Balance, CareZone, Balance and Care/Mind. If you already carry around a smartphone for personal use, try downloading one of these apps to see if it works for you and your busy lifestyle.
Balancing your time as a caregiver can get tricky, especially with so many people to care for. However, by following these tips, you can worry less about scheduling and focus on what matters most: your patients and their families.Read in about 3 minutes
The terms "Uber" and "healthcare" have been used together a lot in the news lately, and it's no wonder.
Ride-sharing apps like Uber have taken over a considerable share of the transportation market in the past several years, especially in cities. Though the benefits of grabbing a ride from your phone are obvious for the general public, many businesses in the private sector are beginning to capitalize on the affordability and ease of use with Uber, including the healthcare sector.
Paving the way
Circulation, a transportation platform based in Boston, is now setting up a platform with health systems to arrange rides with Uber's application programing interface. Many experts working within Circulation believe this model has huge potential, as it could provide a reliable form of transportation for home health workers. It also works on demand to deliver high-quality healthcare workers to patients suffering from non-emergency medical issues safely and accurately. According to Home Healthcare News, John Brownstein, Circulation's co-founder, Harvard Medical School professor and a health care adviser to Uber, Circulation is already looking toward the future.
"That would be the next phase of this platform," he said. Brownstein went on to explain that Circulation was "designed with seniors in mind … there's definitely an opportunity to use Circulation for on-demand home health services."
Working with hospitals and providers to use Uber for home healthcare could indeed help many seniors suffering from cognitive issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer's. These patients might feel more comfortable seeing a medical professional in their own homes. The same could be true for homebound seniors with physical impairments, such as those who rely on a cane or wheelchair to get to their appointments.
Is an 'Uber for healthcare' on the rise?
The terms "Uber" and "healthcare" have been used together a lot in the news lately, and it's no wonder. After all, on-demand services are incredibly easy to use and convenient, which is not the case for healthcare in many ways. Wait times to see a healthcare professional are rising, and many people want the personal connection with providers that quick appointments don't always allow. It would seem that an "Uber for healthcare" would solve many of these issues.
Still, there are some professionals in health tech who are wary about on-demand health services. In a recent TechCrunch article, the argument is that healthcare is a multi-faceted need for consumers and can't be solved in the one-time transaction, such as a ride to the airport. Most people, the author argues, value the doctor-patient relationship above anything else, which can be hard to nail down in an on-demand experience.
However, that's not to say that Uber can't be a great stand-alone tool for health systems to use for homebound seniors or patients with cognitive decline. Brownstein also spoke with the Boston Globe about a project he led last year called UberHEALTH, which successfully helped transport medical professionals in Boston and 35 other cities to administer more than 2,000 flu shots. In a survey given to those who participated in the program, 78 percent said that the delivery of the vaccine was crucial in deciding to be part of the platform.
While it's still unclear whether or not Uber will turn into a fixed part of the healthcare system, there are signs that it could become more common in the home health sector in the future.Read in about 3 minutes