Monday, February 17, 2014

New ways for diabetics to monitor blood sugar?

No more needles for diabetics?

Will future monitoring of blood sugar levels be as simple as putting on contact lenses?

We got a glimpse into that possible future when Google announced several days ago that it is testing a new method for diabetics to monitor their blood-sugar levels by wearing a contact lens equipped with tiny chips and an antenna. Google has a prototype of what it calls a "smart contact lens" which reads a person’s glucose level every second through his or her tears. This may sound unlikely but Google wouldn’t discuss this if it didn’t have a chance of succeeding.

This would be welcome news for diabetics and their loved ones who constantly experience the inconvenience of pricking fingers and then testing drops of blood throughout the day and then doing it over and over again, day after day.

That’s today’s reality unfortunately until we reach a point where futuristic development like these contact lenses can change things. With many elderly patients in particular it’s important to have loved ones or caregivers assisting them with monitoring blood sugar levels and then making sure proper diet choices are made throughout the day.

Whitsyms also provides caregivers for people with Diabetic Neuropathy which is temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue caused by decreased blood flow and high blood sugar levels. When treating diabetic neuropathy, the goals are to prevent the disease from getting worse and to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Learn more here about how Whitsyms can help people manage this difficult condition.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fight Against Alzheimer's

September was World Alzheimer's Awareness Month and there were numerous efforts throughout the month to raise awareness about the disease. The video above has Maria Shriver hosting a Google Hangout with a discussion about the disease and the impact it’s having on people all over the world. You can learn more about the disease through the Alzheimer's Association or the Alzheimer's Community Care websites.

Along with raising awareness, there’s a renewed push to treat the disease. Unfortunately, recent attempts to treat late-stage Alzheimer's patients have not been very encouraging. With that, some in the R&D community are shifting the focus of their research to prevention. For example, the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix recently landed a $33 million NIH grant to see if an anti-amyloid therapy can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. The focus will be on early-stage and high-risk patients who could benefit the most from therapies that would prevent the disease as opposed to fully developed cases.

While these long-term issues are being addressed, many families are confronted with the realities of the disease on a daily basis. In our experience working with families, we’ve seen how overwhelming and stressful it can be to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. We’ve also seen how every case is different and the importance of creating a care plan that meets a specific patient’s needs.

Fortunately, it is often possible for a person with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia to live in the comfort of their own home provided caregivers are in place and safety measures are put in place to prevent wandering or driving. It’s important for caregivers to follow a daily routine for each patient and then be prepared to adapt as the disease progresses. It’s also important to be creative and flexible. Our referred registered nurses have experience in assessing and evaluating the level of care given to the patient, and to report to the patient's physician.

Learn more here about how Whitsyms can help you and your family manage this difficult condition.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Brian Williams to have knee replacement surgery

54-year old news anchor Brian Williams will have knee replacement surgery and will be taking a temporary leave from the NBC news anchor chair. Williams explained that he took a helmet to the knee years ago in a high school football game, but that the pain had become unmanageable over the past year.

Williams is facing a decision being addressed by many Americans and particularly the elderly, as knee pain becomes too much to bear over the years. Fortunately, for most people this surgery can have a very positive impact on their quality of life.

Once you consult with a doctor and consider this option, you’ll see that many of them have a very clear routine in place, as they plan pre-operative education to prepare patients for their transition to a new knee along with post-operative physical therapy. Most patients spend several days in the hospital and then move on to out-patient services.

Older patients will naturally need more help during the post-operative phase, so it’s important to plan for this ahead of time. Whitsyms can help you or your loved one find the right caregiver to help during this period with all sorts of personal needs like housekeeping, running errands and help with bathing to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

Call a Whitsyms Nursing customer service representative at 1-877-382-6089 to find out more.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Type of Hip Surgery Used for Some Patients

Many seniors are faced with the need for hip replacement surgery at some point and these procedures generally require a long rehabilitation and recovery period. This article from The New York Times looks into a procedure called anterior hip replacement that is becoming more common. This procedure differs from traditional hip replacements in that it permits the surgeon to reach the hip socket without cutting through major muscle groups as the incision is made at the front of the hip instead of through the buttocks or the side of the hip. As a result, proponents of this approach claim that the recovery time can be much shorter for patients.

Of course, when dealing with major hip surgery, the recovery period will take time regardless of which procedure is selected. But for some patients the anterior hip replacement could present an interesting option. Many patients are interested in less invasive procedures and the Times article indicated that around 20% of hip replacements use this option. It’s also growing in popularity as more physicians learn the procedure.

Still, as with most medical issues, patients will get a variety of opinions from different doctors and every case is different. It’s important that you or your loved one consult with physicians you trust and choose what’s best in your situation. Every procedure has its own set of advantages and risks, but the option of a less invasive procedure will certainly appeal to some.

Either way, the recovery period is critical for every patient. Recovery time is generally 6 weeks though time can vary for each person. After you’ve done your research and selected the right doctor and procedure, it’s also important to plan for your post-operative or after-surgery care. Patients usually enter a rehabilitation facility for physical therapy and occupational therapy before being discharged to their homes. At this stage Whitsyms can help you or your loved one find the right caregiver to help during this period with bathing, dressing and many other daily necessities.

Call a Whitsyms Nursing Service patient care representative
at 1-877-382-6089 to find out more.
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Monday, July 15, 2013

They listened!

This week the US Senate Appropriations Committee took an important step to address the rapidly expanding Alzheimer's epidemic. Thanks in part to your advocacy, Senate leaders from both parties spoke to the importance of investing now to address the skyrocketing costs of this devastating disease.

On Tuesday the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies voted to include $104 million for Alzheimer's disease in its fiscal year 2014 funding bill. And earlier today the full Senate Appropriations Committee also voted to support this increased funding for essential research and caregiver support.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the subcommittee and honoree at this year’s Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, referred to Alzheimer’s disease research as a “crucial investment” that’s a priority “on both sides of the aisle.” The chairman urged swift consideration of the bill by the full Senate. His thoughts were echoed by other Senators including Ranking Member Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the full committee. There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and that number is poised to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Caring for Alzheimer's, the country's most expensive disease, costs our nation $203 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion a year by 2050. Yet today, for every $27,000 Medicare and Medicaid spend on caring for individuals with Alzheimer's, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends only $100 on Alzheimer's research. Later this year the full U.S. Senate may have the opportunity to vote on this legislation. 

Please ask your Senators to support this crucial funding!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Making sure loved ones take their pills

Many elderly people rely on medications to control various health issues and it’s very important to take those medications regularly as prescribed. Many of us with elderly parents appreciate the need to monitor these medications to make sure they’re being taken regularly and properly.

Unfortunately, too many people fail to take their meds as prescribed. This often leads to unnecessary complications and visits to the doctor or the hospital. Many insurance companies have tried to implement programs to help patients, particularly seniors, take their medications. We’re also seeing a number of apps like this one that are available to provide scheduled reminders. Unfortunately, few seniors are comfortable using smartphones and apps.

If you are employing a home caregiver from a nursing service keep in mind that home health aides and certified nursing assistants can remind their patients when to take their prescribed medications. They may also assist them with reading the labels and opening the pill bottles. However, they may not administer the medications. Only a licensed nurse may make medication pours while carrying out the physicians medical plan of treatment.

Helping seniors with their medications is just one of the many services professional caregivers provide that can make a huge difference in a loved one's quality of life. If you have any questions about medication reminders or any other professional caregiver services please call one of our experts at 1-877-382-6089.