Top Three Preventable Things That Force Seniors from Their Homes

Our homes are truly our castles. We work hard to afford our homes, and take pride in every detail. And really, these things don’t change as we age. Many people–some surveys say 90% or more–want to stay in their homes forever. Personally, I have never met anyone who has selected their nurs

ing home and is excited for the day they can move in. This isn’t to say that nursing homes are a bad solution–they serve a purpose and I completely understand that–but just to note that most people want to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

It isn’t hard to figure out why seniors are forced out of their homes and into assisted living facilities and/or nursing homes. There are some very preventable reasons that cause seniors to move from the comforts of their own home to communal living.

The three major reasons an older person must move out of their home are falls, food, and medication errors. By devising a safe plan around these three areas, most seniors can remain in their homes indefinitely.

Preventing falls as a key to independence — Falling is a complex issue with many causes and solutions. Creating a safe environment is key to eliminating falls. The biggest risk factor of being hurt by a fall is having a previous fall. One in three individuals over the age of 65 injures himself or herself every year in a fall. Once a fall injury occurs, staying at home becomes less of an option for an older person. A serious fall can result in injuries requiring surgery and rehabilitation, or in extreme cases, even death. Simple things like removing throw rugs and keeping hallways well lit are simple solutions that can help eliminate the risk of a fall. Teaching seniors the proper way to fall –in such a way as to lessen the risk of serious injury–is important as well.

Nutritional needs and how they change in the elderly — Proper nutrition is another reason older adults must move from their homes into places that provide meals. As we age, our appetite decreases and we lose weight. While losing weight in itself isn’t necessarily bad, the lack of proper nutrition makes older people more susceptible to other illnesses, making them weaker and unable to care for themselves properly in many instances. By providing smaller meals throughout the day, the seniors can continue getting proper nutrition without feeling overly full.

The importance of medication management — The final reason that older adults lose their independence, in combination with the other two reasons, is compliance in taking prescribed medications. There are many factors that contribute to an older person becoming non-compliant with their medications, including cost, confusion, lack of knowledge, and forgetfulness. Staying on track with medications as they’re advised by a doctor is absolutely critical.

These three risk factors–falling, food and medication errors–are all interrelated and easily managed. By developing a strategy to deal with each of these concerns, a senior can remain in their home, and their family can have peace of mind in knowing their loved one is safe and happy. Home safety evaluations are offered throughPhysicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living. You can arrange for one by calling 402-331-2273 or taking a look at our website.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “ currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”


how-do-nebraska-and-iowa-rank-in-senior-health-care

A new report by America’s Health Rankings looked at 34 measures that affect senior health, including physical inactivity, obesity, poverty, drug coverage, and hospital re-admssions. While lifespans may be increasing, so are rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, which the study suggests will eventually lead to a nationwide healthcare crisis. The report also ranked each state in terms of senior health, with Minnesota taking the top spot and Mississippi coming in last.How do Nebraska and Iowa rank?

Both states fared well in the study, with Iowa coming in at number 5 and Nebraska ranked at number 14 overall.

Iowa‘s strengths include low prevalence of activity-limiting arthritis pain, high percentage of volunteerism, and high percentage of creditable drug coverage. Challenges Iowa faces include high prevalence of obesity, limited availability of home health care workers, and high percentage of low-care nursing home residents.

Other highlights for Iowa:

  • Iowa has the highest prevalence of flu vaccination in the nation.
  • Iowa has a high rate of 4- and 5-star rated nursing home beds.
  • Iowa has some of the lowest numbers of poor mental health days per month among seniors.
  • 29.1 percent of seniors in Iowa are obese.

Nebraska‘s strengths include high percentage of volunteerism, high rate of highly-rated nursing home beds, and low prevalence of food insecurity. Challenges Nebraska faces include low percentage of social support, high geriatrician shortfall, and limited availability of home health care workers, a common problem amongst many states.

Other highlights for Nebraska:

  • Nebraska’s rate of 4- and 5-star nursing home beds is higher than most other states.
  • Nebraska has a high percentage of seniors with credible drug coverage.
  • In Nebraska, 67,000 seniors are obese and 82,000 seniors are physically inactive.
  • Fewer Nebraskan seniors are marginally food insecure when compared to most other states.

Challenges seniors face

The study also found a number of impending challenges seniors will likely face in the coming years, including the fact that:

  • 13% of Americans (40.3 million) are 65 and older. This is projected to grow to more than 19% in 2030. By 2050, seniors will make up a quarter of the population.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 seniors live with one chronic condition, and among those, 50% have two or more.
  • 25% of older Americans are currently obese, and among those, 20% have been diagnosed with diabetes, more that 70% have heart disease, and around 60% have arthritis.
  • Adults 65 and older spend upwards of twice as much on health care each year than those aged 45-64.

A statistic that is even more frightening is the dwindling numbers of qualified care providers for the population. Additionally, if the number of obese seniors in the U.S. continues to climb, we will need stronger caregivers, or more caregivers per person, driving up costs. Many elderly people have not planned well enough to live longer, so when they do (which has been the case recently), they are unprepared. This limits their options when it comes to staying at home, or figuring out other types of care.Â

The report is intended to be a wake up call to seniors, their families, the health care industry, and the government, all at once. The U.S. is at critical time in its history where a demographic change will likely have wide-reaching effects on the entire population’s health care. The best advice we can offer everyone is to be prepared.

What are you and your family doing to plan for the senior health crisis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”


Be Prepared to Care for Your Parents When They Grow Old

No one likes thinking of the day when their parents are unable to care for themselves. Even so, being prepared for the future will make the entire process more manageable and less stressful if and when it arises. Think of it this way: if you and your parents are caught off guard by a sudden debilitating illness, you may not be able to act quickly enough (or have a plan for) fixing the situation, which has the potential to be detrimental to your parents’ health in that critical time of need.And don’t think it won’t happen to you. More than 65 million Americans are currently filling roles as family caregivers, according to the Caregiving Action Network. With an aging population, these numbers are expected to grow significantly over the next 30 years.

In this post, we’ll look at several things you should consider when planning for your parents’ future care needs.

Ask your parents what they want

If your parents are still in good health, now is the perfect time to ask them about their future care needs. Even though this can be a difficult conversation to initiate, there are many ways to bring it up. For example, you may try mentioning a recent newspaper article on the subject, or try talking about experiences your friends have gone through. Your parents may already be thinking about it, but the only way to really find out is through conversation.

Once the conversation is started, here is a list of things you need to address (adapted from an article by Meg Favreau on Wise Bread):

  • What are their retirement plans?
  • Do they both have an updated living will?
  • What about insurance for long-term care?
  • Is there another financial plan in case they need care?
  • What would their ideal scenario be if they need long-term care?

Beyond this, be sure to address your own opinions and needs. Would you be willing to take on a caregiving role? Would you be able to take any time off of work to do so? Is there anyone else, like a sibling or other loved one, who should be in on the conversation as well?

Costs involved

Like it or not, caregiving is expensive. According to the AARP, the average family caregiver of someone aged 50 or older spends more than $5,000 per year out of pocket taking care of their family member. What’s more, a 2009 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare found that the money spent by 47% of working caregivers caused them to us up all or most of their savings.

The type of care required also affects costs. For example, it may be cheaper to have home health care rather than moving your parents into a nursing home.

Depending on the situation, it may even be possible for you to get paid to be a caregiver. Check with local Medicaid requirements and insurance policies. If you don’t know where to start, call a local senior care agency.

Favreau recommends creating hypothetical budgets for multiple scenarios so you and your parents can weigh the pros and cons of each.

The stresses of caregiving

Caregiving is a notoriously stressful job. Taking on the role of the caregiver changes the parent/child dynamic, sometimes for good, but many times for bad. Confusion in roles and of who is in charge often fuels this situation. While it is comforting to have someone familiar in the role of caregiver, it also puts pressure and expectations on the family that can cause stress and anxiety.

With that said, family caregiving can also reap many rewards, one of which is bringing you closer to your parents. Things will naturaly get sticky from time to time, but that’s just a normal part of the situation. Whether or not you decide to be your parents’ caregiver is a personal decision, and before doing so, it’s important to make sure you and your parents are prepared for anything.

What are your thoughts on being a family caregiver? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Contact us for a free consultation, or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”


Home Health Care Stats Men and Women

As we touched on in a previous post, the goal of home health care is to help those suffering from debilitating medical conditions live independently at home for as long as possible (these are very often seniors). To meet these goals, a team of health care professionals provides services to help with the senior’s activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, physical therapy, and medication management. Roughly 1.5 million patients received home health care in 2007 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and these numbers have surely grown significantly given the record number of Americans living well beyond the age of 65 today.In 2012, the CDC released a report estimating the differences in the use of home health care between elderly men and women in the U.S. The results show that women are much more likely to receive home health care then men, although this gap narrows as each gender’s age increases. Below are some noteworthy stats from the report.

Rate of home health care use

  • Women 65 and over are 55% more likely to use home health care than men of the same age group
  • The rate for women 65-74 is 60% higher than the rate for men in the same age group
  • Women 85 and over are 22% more likely to use home health care than men of the same age group

Post-acute care, length of service and payment source

  • Elderly men are more likely than elderly women to have had an inpatient stay immediately prior to receiving home health care
  • Compared to men of the same age group, women 65 and over are more likely to have received home health care for one year or more, and nearly twice as likely to have Medicaid as their primary payment source

Services received

  • 84% of home health care patients (both men and women) used skilled nursing services
  • 40% used physical therapy
  • 37% received assistance with ADLs
  • 17% received homemaker services
  • 14% received wound care
  • 14% received dietary counseling

Chronic conditions

Eight common chronic conditions were examined in the report. Among elderly home health care patients:

  • 48% had essential hypertension
  • 39% had heart disease
  • 32% had diabetes
  • 15% had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allied conditions
  • 13% had osteoarthritis and allied disorders (excluding spine)
  • 10% had dementia
  • 9% had malignant neoplasms
  • 8% had cerebrovascular disease
  • The report revealed that women are more likely than men to have hypertension and twice as likely to have osteoarthritis. Men are almost twice as likley to have malignant neoplasms

The CDS hopes that by identifying specific characteristics of the elderly population with these findings, health care providers will be better equipped to meet the elderly’s needs.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation, or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”


Elderly Care Benefits of a Home Health Care Provider

With a rapidly increasing elderly population who wishes to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, it’s no wonder the home health care industry is booming. What’s more is that this industry surge is helping to make home health care a cheaper alternative to a nursing home or other care facility — and a much more comfortable and preferred option for your elderly parents.

What is home health care?

The goal of home health care is to help seniors suffering from a debilitating medical condition live independently for as long as possible. The services, which can be provided by a variety of home care professionals depending on your loved one’s needs, aim to help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, bathing, etc. Other services may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, administering medication, skilled nursing and more.

It’s worth noting that there is a difference between home health care and home care. Home health care is more medically oriented than home care is and usually involves helping an elderly patient recover from illness and/or injury. Home care provides much less skill-specific services like housekeeping and companionship. Home health care is often provided by people who are licensed practical nurses, therapists or home health aides, commonly working for a senior care agency, hospital or other professional health care provider.

How do I hire a home health care provider?

Finding the right professional caregiver to provide home health care is very important to your loved one’s well being. Not only do you want a licensed professional but someone who is a good personality match as well.

Very little senior care is hired direct like a babysitter, Caregiverlist founder Julie Northcutt told Fox Business. Senior care is more complicated. You’ve got to know how to administer medication, you have to interact with memory loss. It requires training.

Experts and industry veterans alike will say that going through an agency that is licensed in the states it offers services in is your best bet to finding that perfect caregiver or caregiving team. Using an agency also protects families from any liabilities since agencies are responsible for payroll taxes, workers compensation and the conduct of their employees. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.

What about Medicare?

Although it varies on a case by case basis, Medicare often covers many of the expenses associated with home health care. An agency can help guide you through this process. Here’s a list of common Medicare offerings for those who qualify via MedicareInteractive.org:

  • Skilled nursing and home health services up to seven days a week for no more than eight hours per day and 28 hours per week.
  • Skilled therapy services such as physical, speech and occupational therapy services performed by or under the supervision of a licensed therapist.
  • Medical social services ordered by a doctor to help with social and emotional concerns related to an illness.
  • Medical supplies provided by the Medicare-certified home health agency.
  • Medicare often pays up to 80 percent of durable medical equipment such as a wheelchair or walker.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”


Senior Health Heavy Drinking and Smoking Linked to Early Aging

A new study shows that those who smoke cigarettes and drink heavily have an increased risk of oxidative damage to the brain tissue than those who abstain. The study is apparently the first to look at the effects of smoking and age on neurocognition in those seeking treatment for alcohol dependency, reported PsychDaily.com. The new findings are significant to how alcoholism is treated, suggesting those who actively understand and adopt interventions will be more successful in overcoming their addiction. Factors like the increasing age of the person and and whether he or she is a heavy smoker during early abstinence can actually impede cognition during this sensitive period.

Complete results of the study are slated to be published in October of 2013 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Until then, we’ve adapted an excerpt below.

“We focused on the effects of chronic cigarette smoking and increasing age on cognition because previous research suggested that each has independent, adverse affects on multiple aspects of cognition and brain biology in people with and without alcohol use disorders,” according to corresponding author of the study Timothy Durazzo, Ph.D. “This previous research also indicated that the adverse effects of smoking on the brain accumulate over time. Therefore, we predicted that [alcohol disorder] AD, active chronic smokers would show the greatest decline in cognitive abilities with increasing age.”

On top of this, many of those in alcoholism treatment programs are smokers, an issue that is largely ignored, according to Alecia Dager, Ph.D., an associate research scientist in Yale’s department of psychiatry.

Various other factors such as nutrition, exercise, hypertension, diabetes, genetic predispositions and depressive disorders also can influence cognitive functioning during early abstinence, Durazzo said.

By measuring the cognitive health of individuals in the study ranging in age 26 to 71 at various stages of alcohol abstinence, the results indicated that the combined negative effects of drinking and smoking became more significant the older the person was. While it’s no secret that cognitive function declines naturally as we age, the study shows that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes speeds up the process, surely something to consider the next time we reach for one of our favorite vices.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”


which nurse type is right for me

Finding the right nurse for your assisted living needs can be difficult. You can choose between a CNA, LPN, or RN.

Like in many other career paths, the nursing world has professions that require various levels of skills and certifications. When your aging loved one requires professional healthcare, your senior care provider will can help set up with the appropriate type of nurse whose skills best suit your loved one’s needs, whether it be a CNA, LPN or RN (or a combination of the three). The level of care can be tricky. CNAs, LPNs and RNs are capable of practicing within a scope of care — with most care is directed by an RN. Even so, most care tasks can be completed by a CNA.

Let’s go over what each of the three positions is and what tasks they can perform.

Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified nursing assistants receive basic training to take care of patients in a variety of settings, from nursing homes to hospitals to the home. To become a CNA, one must complete a certification program approved by the state board. These programs can take a few weeks or months to complete and are offered at community colleges, hospitals and private companies. Once certified, CNAs are supervised by registered nurses.

Common CNA responsibilities include:

  • Bathing, dressing, feeding
  • Catheter care
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Helping with daily tasks
  • Maintaining medical documentation.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses have a more advance skill set than a CNA. Working under the supervision of an RNs or doctors, LPNs provide care to people of all ages, newborn to elderly. To become an LPN, one must have a high school diploma and complete a two-year practical nursing program, widely offered at community colleges. Licensing and certification requirements vary state by state.

Common LPN responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Feeding
  • Maintaining medical documentation
  • Applying dressings
  • Treating/preventing bedsores
  • Observing medical reactions
  • Drawing blood
  • Setting up medical equipment
  • Administering medications/IVs

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses are highly trained and experienced healthcare professionals who work in hospitals, nursing homes, private care companies, etc. RNs are involved in all aspects a patient’s care, working closely with doctors, LPNs and CNAs. Naturally, RNs receive more schooling and training then LPNs, usually in the form of completing a 2-year program or bachelors degree.

Common responsibilities for RNs include:

  • Supervising CNAs and LPNs
  • Administering injections and medications
  • Interacting directly with doctors regarding patients
  • Developing and executing patient care plans
  • Determining/setting up necessary medical equipment
  • Maintaining medical documentation and nursing notes
  • Various administrative duties
  • Educating staff

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.” Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

 

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

elderly-care-universal-design

There have been murmurs in the elder care community lately about the benefits of Universal Design. Basically, when choosing a new home or renovating your current digs, keep in mind the usability of the space for people of all ages — after all, multigenerational homes are becoming more and more common in the U.S.

So what exactly is Universal Design? AARP describes it as such:

 

Universal Design is about creating an attractive, stylish space that everyone, regardless of age, size, or ability, can live in or visit. A home with Universal Design makes it easier for residents to live in, and for guests to visit now and in the future, even as everybody’s needs and abilities change.

 

Universal Design — commonly referred to as UD — goes beyond just the home. It can also enable and empower a diverse population through universally accessible transportation, streets, buildings, et al. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that UD pairs chic design with accessibility, so you won’t have to live in a house with a bathroom reminiscent of something found in a sanitarium. While most people can’t afford a complete renovation of their homes, there are some low-cost fixes that can be easily done, including creating a no-step entry, a single-floor living space, and installing easy-to-use handles and switches.

AARP blogger , a 41-year-old full time caregiver of her aging parents, shares some insight on why incorporating UD into your home is a good idea:

Think of the future you — While you may be healthy now, it might not always be that way. Shea recommends doing yourself a favor and audit your house today, making note of what needs to be changed now and on into the future.

Think of your family — Many UD amenities that are befit for seniors are ideal for small children, too. For example, wider hallways that can fit a walker or a wheelchair can also fit a stroller.

Think safety — Fall proofing a home will help ensure an elderly person’s safety. Likewise with proper lighting and building a rap into your home. “Everything about UD has safety as an underlying factor,” She writes.

Are there any other benefits of UD that we missed? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.  Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

what does hospice care include

Hospice is actually a philosophy of care instead of a cure. When seriously ill patients don’t want to spend their final days confined in a hospital, hospice care is a dignified and comfortable alternative for many. Essentially, the aim of hospice care is to emphasize the quality of a person’s life at the end of his or her life. This is accomplished through health care professionals administering palliative care (i.e., comfort care) in a comfortable setting — either in a hospice facility or at home, depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. It’s also important to note that hospice care does not mean the patient is giving up hope. Rather, when called for, it should be viewed as the most appropriate care for the last phase of a person’s life.

Typically, hospice care includes the following:

 

  • Physical care. Hospice will take care of a patient’s physical needs, from bathing to getting dressed to physical therapy, et al — keeping in mind the best way to control a patient’s pain and other symptoms that cause discomfort.
  • Emotional and spiritual care. Counseling may be provided for the patient and close friends and family. Any spiritual needs of a patient can be identified and addressed as well.
  • Respite care. The patient’s family and other caregivers are able to take a break thanks to the help of health care professionals.
  • Social care. Social workers work with patients and their families to answer questions about insurance, finances, Medicare, funeral and memorial services or other practical issues.
  • Equipement. Depending on the patient’s needs, equipment such as an electric bed, wheelchair and other medical supplies will be supplied by hospice.

What about Medicare?

Hospice care usually means what Medicare will provide. Still, geriatric and palliative care surveys have found that there’s a barrier for people who may want hospice care but can’t receive it due to current Medicare requirements. In some cases, current Medicare regulations can makes it difficult for a patient to enroll in for-profit hospices rather that non-profit hospices due to the high costs associated with caring for a terminally ill patient. Of course, this can vary on a case-by-case/state-by-state basis, so it’s best to consult with a senior health care provider to see what options are available.

2011 U.S. hospice stats (via nhpco.org)

  • Nearly 1.7 million patients received hospice services.
  • The median length of hospice service was 19.1 days.
  • 66.4% of patients received hospice care at home.
  • Only 21.9% of patients received care in a hospice inpatient facility.
  • Currently there are more than 5,300 hospices in operation in the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.  Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

palliative careMost people will likely tie palliative care to an end-of-life hospice setting but this is often not the case. A relatively new medical specialty, palliative care doesn’t just help the dying, rather it’s focused on providing comfort and improving the life of people of all ages suffering from serious, chronic and life-threatening illness.

Diseases that call for palliative care include cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, renal failure, AIDS, COPD, among others. Some patients move out of palliative care once they recover while others with chronic conditions may move in and out of comfort care as needed.

There are currently more than 1,400 hospital palliative care programs in the U.S. and about 80% of large U.S. hospitals and 55% of small hospitals have palliative care programs, according to Diane Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

How does palliative care work?

A palliative care team is usually comprised of several health care professionals, including a physician, nurse and social worker. Oftentimes a chaplain, psychologist, physical therapist and/or others can called in based on the patient’s needs. The goals of each patient may vary as well. One patient may wish to live as long as possible, no matter the quality of life, while another may choose to focus on comfort.

Taking a holistic approach, palliative care attempts to meet the challenges brought on by illness in every aspect of a patient’s life and can even be extended to family members and caregivers in the form of education about the illness and respite care.

By emphasizing the whole person, even their personal life, palliative care improves a patient’s quality of life. This is backed up by research, as studies have shown that palliative care not helps reduce stress and depression in patients, it can actually prolong their lives.

Share your palliative care experiences with us in the comments or on Twitter.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.  Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”