8 Ways to Improve Your Hospital Stay

ways-to-improve-hospital-stay

Most of us try to avoid the hospital. But if you need a hospital, make sure and do the following:

1. Pick a High-volume Hospital and Doctor

Studies have shown that patients fare better when they’re treated at hospitals and by doctors that care for many patients with a similar illness or condition.

2. Ward Off Nasty Bugs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million U.S. patients acquire an infection in the hospital each year. One effective way to guard against this threat is to insist that every hospital staff member washes his/her hands with soap or alcohol gel before examining you. Wash your own hands often as well. This may be the single most effective way to prevent in-hospital infections.

3. Ask (lots of) Questions

Make sure you understand what medications and treatments you will be receiving, and ask your doctor to explain them if you don’t. If you need surgery or another serious procedure, it’s also important to know what will happen, how long it will take, and what to expect during your recovery period.

4. Know Who’s in Charge

Find out the names of your attending nurses and the doctor in charge of your care. Obtain a phone or pager number of the doctor who will track your progress inside and outside the hospital.

5. Disclose All Medications

The Institute of Medicine estimates that two out of every 100 patients admitted to a hospital experience a preventable adverse drug event. Keep a list of medications you are taking, including over-the-counter remedies and herbal supplements, and show it to every one of your doctors.

6. Avoid Surgical Site Errors

Ask your surgeon to state and mark the site of your surgery before you go under the knife. Taking this simple step may help prevent a surgery location mix-up.

7. Focus on Getting Home

Hospitals can be dangerous places. That last thing you want to do is spend more time than you need to in a building where antibiotic-resistant germs and other infectious bugs proliferate. Focus your energy on getting home as early and safely as possible. Upon discharge, ask your doctor to clearly explain the treatment plan for the rest of your recovery.

8. Bring an Advocate

Ask a family member or friend to serve as a second set of eyes and ears, to ask questions of clinical staff, and to double-check your medications and other treatments with doctors and nurses. You can also hire a caretaker to make sure you are comfortable. Go to www.professionalcaretakers.com to find an advocate for your hospital stay.

5 Ways to Spend Time with Elderly Family Members This Memorial Day

Summer is right around the corner; the kids will soon be out of school, vacations are planned and summer sports and pool days will fill your calendar. Along with being a busy time for weddings, there are several major holidays to plan around in the coming months. The first one will be here before you know it, as we remember military veterans throughout Memorial Day weekend.

If you have elderly parents or close relatives, Memorial Day weekend can be a great way to plan some time that your entire family can enjoy. Here are some of our favorite ideas!

1. Catch a Parade

The Memorial Day weekend is never complete without a parade, and chances are there is one happening near you. Parades are great for the whole family. They offer entertainment for all generations, and the relaxed environment offers plenty of opportunity to talk and share memories with your parents. Just be sure to plan for the day – have enough snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and fed, and bring an umbrella just in case!

2.Visit a Memorial or Museum

Your elderly parents likely lived through multiple wars, and may be veterans themselves. Honor the holiday and/or their service by visiting a memorial or museum. You can use this trip as an educational opportunity for the youngest members in your family, as they can learn a lot understanding how our history impacts people they know.

3. Plan a Day Trip

Most people have a three day weekend for Memorial Day, so use one of the days to take your parents on a short trip. You could pick a destination they always enjoyed visiting and haven’t been back to, or somewhere new for the whole family. They will appreciate the experience, and short car trips are great for whole family conversation.

4.Fly the Flag

If your parents are veterans, or had close friends or relatives who served, provide them the opportunity to raise the American flag at your house. You can make a small ceremony out of it with your family in the morning before doing other things. Though small, it is a nice gesture to help them honor the memory of their friends and family members.

5.Pay Respects

Honor the purpose of the holiday by going with your parents to pay respects to family members and friends who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Take along some flowers and take time to do some light maintenance such as pulling weeds if necessary. This will also help teach values to your kids so they too can understand the importance of the day.

There are plenty of ways you can spend time with your elderly parents this Memorial Day! With some careful planning you can plan activities to honor the spirit of the holiday along with creating enjoyable family memories.

Home Health Care vs. Home Care

Most physicians and nurses understand the difference between Home Care and Home Health Care. But to the public, these services are sadly synonymous. But these terms are entirely different in the healthcare industry. Home Health Care tends to be short-term in nature, involves skilled care, and is covered by Medicare. Home Health Care is often referred to as “skilled” or “certified.”

home care and companionship

Home Care tends to be long term in nature, involves unskilled care and is not covered by Medicare. Home Care is also called “non-medical”, “in-home”, “unskilled” and “custodial.”

For clarity, when you see Home Health Care think of it as “skilled care” or “medical.” When you see Home Care think of it as “”unskilled care” or “non-medical.” Many of you will recognize that unskilled care is very demanding and requires its own special skills. Be that as it may, “unskilled” is often the term used to describe Home Care.

Because it’s easy for the public to mistake one for the other, all of us in the healthcare industry need to help the public understand the differences in terms of when each type of care may be needed, costs involved and resources available so they can make informed care decisions.

What is Home Health Care?

Home Health Care refers to care provided in the home by a licensed medical professional, such as a nurse or physical therapist. Generally, home health professionals are only authorized to perform the tasks prescribed by the senior’s physician. It is usually prescribed after a hospital visit and is targeted by the physician as a specific need, such as IV therapy. Other types of medical care that fall under the home health category include wound care, pain management, injections, occupational therapy, physical therapy and skilled nursing. If any skilled care is needed, the physician will write an order for the service with a definite time period, usually short term in nature, i.e., “IV therapy for 2 weeks.” At the end of the period, the physician will reevaluate the order.

How Does Home Care Differ from Home Health Care

Home Care focuses on helping seniors with the daily activities they need to engage in life and remain safe and healthy. Family members or professional caregivers who do not have a medical license generally can perform these tasks.

The tasks include things like:

  • bathing
  • transferring
  • toileting
  • continence
  • medication management
  • companionship
  • meal preparation
  • light housekeeping
  • transportation
  • errands

Recognizing and Solving the Needs for Home Health Care and Home Care

The need for Home Health Care is very clear as the physician has to order it and he usually assigns this order to 3 specific agencies. In most cases it is the physician who recognizes the need. However, unskilled Home Care is often overlooked as a real solution for seniors. In many cases, unskilled Home Care is the missing piece of the puzzle!

Physicians, nurses and social workers may be reluctant to suggest Home Care for a number of reasons:

  1. Home care is an additional expense for the senior and it is usually not covered by Medicare. These professionals know that it may be an added financial burden for the senior.
  2. The Medicare rules that cover Home Health Care prevent these professionals from referring a specific agency. Under freedom of choice rules, physicians and nurses may fear the repercussions of referring an agency in violation of Medicare rules. Although these rules do not apply to Home Care, this attitude carries over and hinders their ability to recognize the need and suggest Home Care.
    Home Care by its nature is Non-Medical and that is not their realm.
  3. These factors along with the additional cost of Home Care mean that it is often overlooked. However Home Care can be a vital part to the recovery procedure. By way of an example:

Mrs. Smith had knee surgery. After the surgery, she was sent home with orders for physical therapy and given the names of 3 agencies that provide Home Health Care. This order is for Skilled Care and was covered by her Medicare policy. Physical Therapy is a skilled need, and not custodial or Home Care.
Mrs. Smith is recovering well but decides to feed her dog. Long story short, she trips over her dog and is readmitted to the hospital. However, had her physician suggested she supplement her Home Health Care with Home Care, this fall may have been prevented altogether. This saves money and aggravation for Mrs. Smith as well as a readmittance to the hospital and all the associated costs.

All of us in the healthcare industry need to recognize the confusion regarding Home Health Care and Home Care and help seniors understand the difference. Through education, family and friends can understand and help recognize the need for their loved ones. Physicians, nurses and social workers need to recommend a team approach of using non-medical in-Home Care services to supplement Home Health Care services for more and more cases.

Professional Caretakers 2017 Spring Scholarship Recipient Selected

Professional Caretakers is proud to announce the Spring 2017 scholarship recipient.

First, we would like to thank the hundreds of applicants from all over Texas and the country that applied for our nursing scholarship this semester. While there was an overwhelming response in applications from hundreds of dedicated students pursuing their nursing education, there was one applicant that stood out from the rest. Professional Caretakers would like to congratulate Kristi Reed as the recipient of the Professional Caretakers Nursing Scholarship Award, Spring 2016. Kristi Reed is a current nursing student attending Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Applicants for the 2017 Nursing scholarship award were asked to answer two questions in essay format:
1. Why are you pursing a Nursing degree?

2. If you could change one thing about the USA healthcare system what would it be and how would you propose implementing the change?

Kristi is pursing her education in nursing with the aspiration of joining the armed forces to serve as an Active Duty Registered Nurse in the Army Nurse Corps.

“I am finding that, personally, that there can be no greater purpose than serving others and helping those to find hope in every situation regardless of how badly it may seem at the time. When life is good, I want to be the nurse that rejoices with my patients. When life is difficult and my patients struggle, I want to be a nurse that encourages my patients to never give up on themselves, life, and always believe in a greater good.” – Kristi Reed

 

We thank Kristi Reed for her dedication to medical care and congratulate her on being the Spring 2017 recipient of the Professional Caretakers Nursing Scholarship Award. We wish her the best in her future endeavors and look forward to her continued success wherever her education and passion in nursing takes her.

Scholarship recipients are given a sum amount of $750 per semester over 2 semesters to relieve a part of cost towards tuition and books as they complete their education in the nursing field. For more information on our scholarships or to apply please see our website at https://professionalcaretakers.com/scholarship/.

Professional Caretakers is a family owned and operated business that has been providing private in-home senior and elderly care to Texas families since 1988.

nursing scholarship recipient spring 2017

Kristi Reed, recipient of Professional Caretakers Spring 2017 Nursing Scholarship. Showing her receipt for Graduation!

4 Things to Consider for Your Aging Veteran

As a nation, we place a lot of value in serving our country. When our men and women go off to fight in a war, we look to them as heroes for ourselves and our children. However, when they come back they’ve often seen unspeakable trauma, felt the pain of a serious injury, or suffered the loss of a fallen comrade. Sometimes they even come back an entirely changed person. Just like any other disabled person, as they age they may need more in home care from a caretaker to address all of their needs, no matter how big or small. Professional Caretakers is able to meet those needs. If you think your loved one might require home care assistance, here are a few things to consider.

Family Members With Dementia

Does your former service member have dementia or Alzheimer’s? Memory loss or the inability to complete daily tasks can really impair a person’s quality of life. If you aren’t sure if they’re ready for in home care, consider how they function on a day-to-day basis. Does he or she often forget how to do simple things? Is it putting them in danger? When dementia becomes a risk to their safety, you need to consider home care.

Veterans With PTSD

dementia in veterans

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common in veterans who have seen combat. Sometimes the symptoms of it don’t appear until veterans become seniors. They often suffer flashbacks, vivid dreams, and a variety of other symptoms that impede their lives. Managing these problems is often difficult for the family member who helps them around the house or deals with their medical issues on a regular basis. Hiring a caretaker that understands what the veteran’s needs are can improve their quality of life and also reduce the stress of the family member.

Physical Disabilities

Injuries sustained in battle like lost limbs can severely debilitate the veteran’s ability to get around. It becomes even more of an issue as they age and their bodies naturally become weaker. Often times, physical therapy is needed to help them regain mobility and learn to work with their bodies the way they are. Home care services can help with rehabilitation and provide the companionship veterans often need.

Paying for Home Care

Anytime home care is mentioned people panic because they know one-on-one home care is expensive. What they don’t know is that for many veterans in home care is covered by the benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as long they are enrolled in their healthcare system. Of course, the veteran needs to meet certain requirements set by the VA for care, but there are at least options that the veteran is able to consider.

Allow Us the Honor of Serving Your Veteran

At Professional Caretakers, our goal is to give your aging veteran the care they deserve. Their sacrifices and bravery warrant our honor, respect, and professional care. We would appreciate the chance to be your veteran’s caretaker. For more information, contact us today!

Why Hiring a Professional Caretaker is Best for Your Loved One

As our parents or loved ones age, it becomes more and more difficult for us to care for them. Their needs begin to increase and they seem to need help with things they never used to. It’s all part of the aging process and at Professional Caretakers, we know this all too well. Our in-home care services cater to the needs of each client while relieving some of the stress that’s often placed on the families who care for them. If you’re considering hiring a caretaker for your parent or other family member, here are a few reasons why it might be the best decision you’ve ever made.

You Won’t Feel Guilty

When our family members start to age, it often falls on the shoulders of the children to care for them. We don’t want to consider our loved ones a burden because we love them, but sometimes their needs add to the stress of our daily lives. How do you juggle the demands of your own life and the demands of caring for your loved one? With Professional Caretakers, you don’t have to feel guilty that you can’s help out every single day. Our in-home senior care specialists will care for and spend time with your family member no matter what their needs are.

Get the Care They Need

Senior Assistance

Sometimes senior care only involves assisting with groceries or housework. Other times, it’s much more complicated. People that have diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer often need specialized care that the average person can’t provide no matter how hard they try. It leaves the caregiver feeling inadequate and frustrated with themselves and sometimes even the loved one. Hiring a professional caretaker allows your family member to get the care they deserve.

In-Home Care Offers Companionship

One of the things that concerns aging seniors and their families is isolation. People need socialization to stay mentally healthy. When older people stop driving or have other mobility issues, they lose the ability to get out and see the people they love and do the things they enjoy. We can help with transportation to the beauty shop, shopping, restaurants, and doctor’s appointments. Even if they can’t get out, our caring professionals offer your loved one companionship so they never feel alone or isolated. Having someone to talk to and laugh with does wonders for mental health!

See How Professional Caregivers Can Help

Our professional in-home caretakers are compassionate and have a desire to serve. We offer many different services depending on your loved one’s needs. You can’t do it all and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Let us help you give your aging senior the care and love he or she deserves. Contact us today for more information!

7 Vital Questions to Ask When Searching for a Caretaker

A caregiver may be the difference between ensuring a loved one may stay within the family home or will need to move into a dedicated facility. Although there are some extraordinary options for care in assisted living facilities, the comfort and joy of living at home cannot be denied.

When searching for an in-home caretaker, it’s essential to ask several questions that will help you make the best decision for hiring your loved one’s caretaker. These questions are also helpful if you’re searching for a caretaker for your own needs.

Meet with Potential Caretakers in Person

No matter whether a caretaker’s level of involvement is brief and related to cooking meals and reminding about medication, or whether it’s a full-time type of assistance, it’s important to choose a caretaker with whom the client can build rapport and trust. This is most easily accomplished through an in-person interview. A caretaker may look great on paper, but he or she must be able to interact well with the client.

Ask for Specialties and ExperienceBenefits of In-Home Health Care

As with virtually any hired professional, an essential question regards the caretaker’s knowledge and experience. Although this information might appear on the caregiver’s resume, it’s helpful to ask the caregiver directly, so he or she can expand on the level of experience in various areas. For example, the caregiver might have experience administering medication or with social interaction like reading or singing.

What’s the Caregiver’s Schedule Like?

Experienced caregivers are in high demand, and many good caregivers are at least partially scheduled. If you find a particularly talented caregiver, you might actually have to consider getting onto that caregiver’s wait-list. You may also need to be flexible and accept a certain schedule, based on the caregiver’s available hours

Is Additional Help Available for Supervision and Assistance?

In some cases, an individual may need to receive care from more than one type of health care professional. The client’s basic needs, including meals, laundry, and  medication reminders may fall under the responsibilities of the caretaker.   More advanced needs may require a nurse.  It’s helpful to find an agency that provides both a caretaker and nurse that can work together if a client’s condition advances.

How Will the Nurse Develop a Personal Care Plan?

In healthcare, every client is different, and this idea is quite applicable when it comes to care in the home. Even if two different clients have the same disease or disability, it’s rare that each client will fare best with a care plan that wasn’t tailored specifically for his or her needs. The agency with whom you work should always work with you to create an individual and personal care plan.

What are the Qualifications and Associations of the Agency?

Working with a home care agency to find your caretaker is helpful because you can choose from available caretakers that will offer you the most complete care possible. An agency also helps you find caregivers who are bonded and insured, as well as employed by an agency that’s inspected by an outside organization.

What Happens if the Service Isn’t Satisfactory?

If you’re not satisfied with your caregiver’s visits, or you feel your loved one isn’t receiving the right care, it’s important that your agency is receptive to customer service and that they’ll listen to your problem. You should ask for this information before you sign any agreement for care or arrange for a caretaker to start visiting your home.

Consider Professional Caretakers

Are you looking for an experienced team of caretakers from a family-owned organization dedicated to non-medical and medical in-home care? Work with Professional Caretakers, a Caregiver Quality Assurance Certified agency in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Weatherford, Austin, or San Antonio. Get in touch today to see how we can help with a variety of services, including transportation, housekeeping, personal hygiene and respite care.

The Benefits of a Professional Caretakers Love

The Benefits of a Professional Caretakers Love

At Professional Caretakers, we know the important role we play in our client’s lives. We are there to not only help our seniors live a healthy and normal life in their home but also to show our love and encouragement.

Whether your loved one is overcoming an illness or just needs a little extra help with their daily activities, the expert staff at Professional Caretakers makes it their mission to be there. We do that by being compassionate and treating each of our patient’s as if they are a member of our own families. This, in turn, provides each aging senior with the support they need to live the best life they can while also boosting their spirits.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional In-Home Caretaker

From adopting healthier habits to reinforcing their emotional mindset, the love from a professional caretaker is priceless.

If you are trying to determine the additional benefits of hiring an in-home caretaker for your aging senior, other than the obvious, this blog is for you! Here are some additional ways a professional caregivers love can greatly impact your loved one.

More Activity

The older your loved one gets, the more inclined they are to stop being active. This can be contributed to the fact that they have no desire to be active or they physically just cannot at the time. However, as a health professional, we understand that being active,  by even the slightest bit can go a long way.

As a caretaker, we can help create a schedule for your loved one that incorporates more activity than he or she would normally do. This could be a walk to the mailbox or by adding a small exercise into their routine in the morning when they first wake. Either way, this small step can greatly contribute to the longevity of your family member’s life.

Promote More Self-Sufficiency

Despite popular belief, we don’t want your loved one to be completely reliant on us. Yes, it is our job to help with in-home care activities, however, we want your loved one to grow stronger. We want them to feel independent again, just as we would for our own family members. Because of this, we want to be an encourager to them because when you overcome an obstacle, that is when you truly feel good about yourself. With that positive reinforcement, your loved one will relearn that despite their medical ailment, they can eventually be just as self-sufficient as before.

Increased Mental and Emotional Strength

Overcoming a medical issue or even losing your independence can be taxing for an individual. This can happen not only physically, but also emotionally or mentally. As a caretaker, we see this all too often and do what we can to be the emotional and mental support your aging senior needs. As the person who will spend a lot of time with your loved one, it is naturally a part of our job and is our goal.

From anxiety to a sense of hopelessness, there are many emotions that can run rampant in the mind of someone who has in-home healthcare. However, with positive affirmations from not only you but also their caregiver, their mental and emotional health can be strengthened.

From helping them rediscover their impendence, increasing their emotional and mental stability, or getting more active, having a professional caretaker is beneficial.

If you are looking for compassionate in-home care for your loved one right in the comfort of their home, contact Professional Caretakers today.

Living with Alzheimer’s

Living with Alzheimer’s

 

“Alzheimer’s does not rob someone of their dignity, it’s our reaction to them that does.” – Teepa Snow

 

Alzheimer’s disease is something that many people fear. Whether it is you, someone you know, or a loved one who is facing this disease, it is scary.

With Alzheimer’s, plaques attack brain cells that eventually  degenerate and die, causing consistent and progressive memory loss and confusion. This typically affects people 60 years and older which makes in-home care a must.

Are You Looking for the Best In-Home Care for Your Family Member? Our Expert Staff Has over 25 Year’s Experience! Call Professional Caretakers at 877-921-9500 to Learn More

Keeping your  loved one home, may be the most important thing you can do.  Changing the entire environment is usually not the right answer for Alzheimer’s care.Either way, it is still very important that you as a family member understand how this devastating disease works. Doing so will allow you to better comprehend the symptoms and what that person is going through on a day-to-day basis.

A’s Of Alzheimer’s

Amnesia – Imagine not being able to remember basic information or past experiences? Things like birthdays or other the faces of other member’s in your family can become a distant memory that quickly fades. That is what your loved one experiences with amnesia.  Amnesia is by far the most recognizable symptom amongst Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Anomia – Currently, if you see a shirt, you identify that it is, in fact, a shirt. You even know how to verbally say shirt. Well, with Anomia, that is not the case. Your loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s can no longer do this. Anomia prevents those affected with the disease to recognize the names of everyday objects or recall words that they have known all their life.

Apraxia – Alzheimer’s does not only affect your brain, it also affects your skilled movements and speech. Someone living with Alzheimer’s usually experiences apraxia which makes moving limbs, lips, tongue and even the jaw more difficult to do. This is caused by the brain damage which then makes muscles extremely weak and difficult to control.

Aphasia – Along with the other awful symptoms of Alzheimer’s is aphasia. This causes the jumbled speech and written language that many Alzheimer’s sufferers experience.

Alzheimer’s disease is something that is very well-known, however, not many understand what it actually feels like to be crippled by it. By learning more about the A’s of Alzheimer’s, you are better equipped to help your loved one deal with it.

Alzheimer’s In-Home Care In Texas

Alzheimer’s disease can be a large hurdle for many families’ , especially for those who care for them. It can actually become a full-time job that is best handled by an experienced and knowledgeable in-home caretaker.

Benefits of In-Home Health Care

Benefits of In-Home Health Care

 

In-home healthcare provides many benefits for aging adults. And at Professional Caretakers, we get to witness these benefits every day.

With over 25 years’ experience in providing in-home health to seniors, we understand how keeping your loved one in his or her own home can provide them with a lot of positives, but also provide you with many advantages too.

Benefits of In-Home Health Care for Seniors

If you are wondering how in-home healthcare can benefit you and your aging senior, check out this list.

Comfort

Home is where the heart is. That is why allowing your loved one to stay in the comfort of their own home is vital. In-home care gives all aging adults the ability to grow old in the place they have grown accustomed to and love.

Independence

One of the best parts about getting older is the independence you get. In fact, as teenagers, that is something we all look forward too. That excitability about being more independent doesn’t go away as we grow older. With in-home healthcare, your loved one will keep that sense of independence by still being able to perform certain tasks with the help of their caregiver when needed.

Personalized Care

At an assisted living facility or a nursing home, there are several residents. A great benefit of opting for in-home care is that your loved one will have one-on-one care that is personalized. The caretaker will know your loved one’s personal needs and medical needs like their personality, medication, and medication schedule.

Benefits of In-Home Health Care for the Family

Less Expensive

Family members of aging seniors understand that caring for them can be expensive. If you decide to move them into a residence home, it can cost a pretty penny. This is especially true if you have no help as far as funding or insurance. At a senior facility, you are practically renting a room for your loved one to live as well as any daily medical assistance they may need. By keeping them in their own home and hiring an in-home caretaker, you eliminate those expenses.

Peace of Mind

Nothing is better than knowing that your family member is comfortable, safe, and healthy. That is what you get with in-home care. You won’t have to worry about whether or not they are taking their medication or remembering to eat because the caregiver will handle it all. And, with a caregiver handling these tasks, you can have a peace of mind.

Less Stress

With peace of mind comes less stress. With a trusted caregiver in place, you can focus more on your day-to-day life without focusing so much on your elderly family member. This curves any guilt you may feel and makes life a lot less stressful for you.

Expert In-Home Health Care from Professional Caretakers

At Professional Caretakers, our goal is to support our client’s in maintaining their independence and dignity while also providing exceptional full-time care. Located across the great state of Texas, our trained staff has experience in helping aging seniors and their families with any sized task.

To learn more about our expert staff and services, contact Professional Caretakers today.