Hidden Costs in Senior Care

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Hidden costs in Senior Care Hidden Costs of Elderly Care Communities There are many ways to refer to an elderly care community. Some call them “nursing homes,” “assisted living facilities,” and even a “rest home.” Most people don’t realize that there are many levels of care and titles when it comes to senior living communities. These details can be confusing and often times misunderstanding. It’s no secret that living in an elderly care community can be expensive. According to a market survey of long-term costs conducted by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, “the national average for assisted living base rates was $3,550 per month in 2012. Genworth Financial conducted a cost of care survey that showed residents of assisted living communities can typically expect a 4.29% annual increase in their base rate” (Shelton). But there are more factors to consider in addition to the “BASE” cost of living. Additional charges may apply according to the residents’ level of care. This means if a resident needs assistance with organizing medications or needs transportation to doctor appointments, there will be charges added to the base cost. A common term used for this is “activities of daily living” or “ADL’s.” ADL’s may include medication management, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating, or meal preparation. For instance, if an elderly resident is recovering from knee surgery and needs additional help with bathing for a few weeks, they will be charged additional fees by the facility in which they live. A licensed nurse is usually required to do an assessment on prospective residents prior to admission to care communities. The nurse is qualified to assess whether the resident may need additional help (or assistance) upon admission. During the assessment, the nurse may find that the resident needs help with medication management or help transferring from a wheelchair to bed. This additional help results in additional costs. These additional costs can range from $150 to $700 or more per month. Another hidden fee that most do not consider is the deposit fee. This non-refundable fee can range from $1,000 to $5,000 and covers administrative expenses and covers renovations between residents. In some cases, it makes more sense for the elderly to stay in their own home and pay for in-home care. For instance, if an 85 year old couple can pay for a registered nurse to come once per week and set up medications, take vital signs, and complete a physical assessment, the monthly charge would be $180. If the couple added 5 visits weekly by a caretaker to prepare daily meals, this would only add $900 monthly. This adds up to 20 caretaker visits and 4 RN visits per month for only $1,080 and it...

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Seniors keeping pets

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Keeping Pets can be a Necessity for Seniors A growing number of Seniors are keeping pets throughout the golden years. There are benefits to owning pets at any age, but it is especially nice for seniors.  Often times, it has been the pet that has provided much needed companionship and comfort to its senior owner. Owning a cat or dog can give people a sense of purpose and well-being as they take care of another living creature.  Most pet owners consider their pets “family members.” “We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets,” says pet researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD. He’s a professor of psychology at Miami University. “What [makes] a meaningful relationship varies from person to person.” It’s no doubt that most pet owners develop an attachment to their furry family members.  Because of this bond, it could be devastating for a senior to lose a pet due to their own failing health conditions.  Some seniors have to move out of their family home and into an apartment or retirement home as they lose their independence and self-sufficiency and can’t take their pet(s) with them. As caregivers, we may need to provide care for a client’s pet as well as the client.  At Advanced Home Health Care, LLC, we can provide services to our clients’ pets.  We actually like it very much!  It is our belief that providing great pet care can potentially keep our clients happier and healthier. Studies have shown that petting your dog or cat can lower blood pressure.  Dog owners may walk more which is good for overall health.  Because it feels good to you and your pet, your body may release a relaxation hormone that can cut down on levels of a stress hormone.  “It also soothes your pet,” says Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. Studies also show that heart attack survivors and people with serious abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than people with the same heart problems who don’t have pets (Fields, 2013). As family members of seniors, we need to remember these important benefits of keeping pets with their elderly owners.  It’s evident that pets can help with physical well-being and emotional well-being. Source: Lisa Fields, “6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health”, WebMD site, Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on 24 October, 2013   Jessica, RN Call today for Skilled Nursing or Elder Care in the Omaha, Metro 402-490-3120...

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Malnutrition in Seniors

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Advanced Home Health Care and Nursing is a Nurse owned company that provides Senior Care and Companion Services in Omaha, Nebraska Malnutrition and Dehydration are Often Missed by Caretakers or Healthcare Workers According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, malnutrition can be defined as “the unhealthy condition that results from not eating enough food or not eating enough healthy food.”  Malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly is often missed by health care workers.  It can manifest as many different symptoms.  These include dementia, an emaciated appearance or being underweight (defined as 15% to 20% below ideal body weight), muscle wasting or loss of subcutaneous fat, poor coordination, poor wound healing, brittle or thinning hair or hair loss and reduced resistance to infection (Gants, 1997).  These symptoms are often times seen as typical signs of aging so they can be underestimated. Even if they’re eating regularly or not necessarily emaciated, an elderly patient is also at higher risk for malnutrition because of aging.  Nearly 30% of people over age 65 have a diminished ability to produce stomach acid, which impairs absorption of many important nutrients, such as folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium (Gants, 1997).  Dental problems can make chewing difficult and a diminished sense of taste and smell make food less appetizing.  This can make soft, sugary foods more appealing to eat.  These types of foods do not usually hold much nutritional value. An estimated 5-10% of elderly people living in the community setting are malnourished (Furman, 2006). About 60% of hospitalized older adults (age 65 or older) and 35-85% in long-term care facilities are experiencing malnutrition (Furman, 2006).  By looking at these statistics, it’s evident that malnutrition seems to be more common in hospitals and long-term care facilities.  It is unknown why this aspect of health care is often overlooked.  My thought is that healthcare workers are more focused on treating the symptoms of their patients rather than the causes.  This isn’t to imply that these professionals are being naïve or incompetent but rather they simply don’t have the time or resources to “dig” much deeper than symptom resolution. Physiologic changes related to aging make an elderly adult especially prone to dehydration.  They have about 10% less body fluid than a younger adult, so they have less fluid reserve to start with.  Because they may crave foods with more salt or sugar content due to diminished sense of taste, they may eat and use more salt, raising their body’s need for water.  At the same time, however, their thirst response can diminish, so they may not recognize the need to drink more.  This becomes a vicious cycle.  Before symptoms are noticed, an elderly person can become severely dehydrated quickly. ...

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Saying Goodbye

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Advanced Home Health Care and Nursing is a Nurse owned company that provides Senior Care and Companion Services in Omaha, Nebraska   The slowest stages of grief for those still living: Alzheimer’s Disease I knew what was coming but I desperately wished I could turn around and go home.  I heard the “ding” of the elevator and felt it shake as it stopped on the lower level.  My eyes burst into tears and I couldn’t control myself.  My family greeted me as the doors opened but I couldn’t even respond to them.  I rushed passed them to my beloved grandma’s room where she lie dying the slowest death.  She was finally succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease.  It’s not actually Alzheimer’s Disease that killed her, however.  Her body had forgotten how to function and she became septic. Her eyes were closed as I walked slowly toward her and grabbed her lifeless hand.  It was still warm and felt as though she were just taking a nap.  I leaned in and told her I was here.  I told her I loved her and that I would never forget her.  Memories of us together flooded through my mind like a movie.  She was the person I always hoped I’d become.  But this isn’t how I thought it would end.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to end. Over the years I’d learned to push away my emotions regarding my Grandma’s disease.  From her diagnosis around 8 years prior to her death, it was a very slow death sentence.  Her disease had caused all of her loved ones to relive the 5 stages of grief every time they visited. Sometimes we’d walk in to see her and it seemed like she smiled at us as if she knew us.  This would inspire us to deny the fact that she would eventually be reduced to a lifeless person. I love learning about various disease processes and different things we can do to reverse the effects or even cure ailments.  I would pour over supplement information praying I would happen upon the latest “secret” cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.  I would question Grandma’s drug regimen wondering if there was some sort of pill we could add or eliminate that would change her condition.  Then I would realize there was no cure. Denial is the first stage of the grieving process. I remember feeling a bit angry that she couldn’t remember who I was.  While it may seem unreasonable to some that I would feel angry, I couldn’t help it.  This was my grandma.  The woman who practically raised me.  The woman who picked me up from school every day and took me for mint chip ice cream at...

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Respect your elders

Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Advanced Home Health Care and Nursing is a Nurse owned company that provides Senior Care and Companion Services in Omaha, Nebraska   As I think about my elders and how they have lived life I marvel at the things they must have endured.  The Great Depression, wars, the 60’s, and the list goes on.  Civil rights have changed, Women’s rights have changed, humanity has changed. Our elders hold such interesting memories about the world and how they’ve been a part of its evolution.  When I look into the eyes of a wrinkled and aged woman, I can’t help but wonder what those eyes have seen.  I’m sure they’ve seen love gained and love lost, birth and death, riches and poverty, weakness and strength.  How I would love to write down all of her stories! It’s important for us to remember that everyone has a story.  While some people project hate and anger, there is probably a reason whether it’s justified or not. Some may even have nothing but love in their heart but they endured unimaginable things.  As a nurse, it’s important for us to remember that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness.  Our patients are most likely in pain, whether emotional or physical.  We must remember that everyone has a story of their own.  We should try to learn from them rather than judge them.   Jessica, RN Call today for Skilled Nursing or Companionship Services in the Omaha, Metro 402-490-3120...

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Patient Rights

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 in Jessica's Blog | 0 comments

Advanced Home Health Care and Nursing is a Nurse owned company that provides Senior Care and Companion Services in Omaha, Nebraska Patient Rights It’s amazing how many new things I learn each day!  And to think I “knew it all” when I was twenty years old is laughable.  I still don’t know it all, but as I age I’m constantly picking up new information. Before I became a nurse, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as “Patient Rights.”  I simply thought that if I needed to go to the doctor I went and whatever the doc told me to do, I did. I’m not knocking health care here because I’m part of it.  But, not all doctors are created equal.  Not all nurses are caring.  Not all ailments can be diagnosed. For these reasons, it’s important to know your rights as a patient.  There is such a thing called a Patient’s Bill of Rights.  It is required that you know about them upon admission to the hospital and when you hire a home health care service.  They can be slightly different from state to state, but overall they are very similar. If you have time, read through the rights I have listed and next time you’re treated by some sort of health care entity, see if any of them pertain to your situation. Always remember that you are ultimately in charge of your own body.  Be your own advocate! Patients  Rights:   1)      Patients have the right to choose the home health agency that provides their care; 2)      Patients have the right to participate in the planning of their care and to receive appropriate instructions and education regarding the plan, prior to the care being provided and as changes are made in the plan of care; 3)      Patients have the right to request information about their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, including alternatives to care and risks involved, in terms that they and their families or designees can readily understand so that they can give their informed consent; 4)      Patients have the right to refuse health care and to be informed of possible health consequences of this action; 5)      Patients have the right to care given without discrimination as to race, color, creed, sex, age, or national origin; 6)      Patients have the right to be admitted for service only if the agency has the ability to provide safe, professional care at the level of intensity needed and to reasonable continuity of care; 7)      Patients have the right to confidentiality of all records, communications, and personal information; 8)      Patients have the right to review all health records pertaining to them, unless, the physician has documented otherwise in the medical...

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