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Aspirin Dos and Don’ts

An aspirin a day keeps the stroke away.

One thing aspirin does is interrupt the process that makes your blood clot. Taking one every day helps keep your blood flowing smoothly and helps prevent blockages in your blood vessels that can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good idea for you.

 

Regular aspirin use may help women avoid Parkinson’s disease.

A study found that women who took at least two aspirin a week had a 40% lower risk of Parkinson’s. Researchers aren’t sure why. Maybe it’s because women tend to take higher doses for arthritis and headaches than men take for heart problems.

 

Aspirin was developed in the 1890s

As far back as 1500 B.C., people were hip to the medicinal powers of the willow bark plant. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that scientists figured out which part of that plant was doing the healing. In 1897, a scientist used a new form of the drug to treat his father’s rheumatism. And the aspirin we know today — acetylsalicylic acid — was born.

 

Don’t’ give a child with the flu aspirin because it can make them sicker.

Aspirin is a no-no for kids who have a fever or a viral infection like the flu. It’s linked to Reye syndrome, a serious condition with symptoms like vomiting, confusion, and being overstimulated. It causes swelling in the brain and liver and may lead to a coma.

Until age 19, you’re usually better off reaching for acetaminophen or ibuprofen, unless your doctor specifically says to use aspirin.

 

50% of North American adults consuming aspirin

The No. 1 reason over half of people ages 45-75 pop these pills is to help prevent a heart attack.

 

It is safe to take aspirins another way besides swallowing it.

Aspirin comes in different forms: tablets, powder, gum — and as a suppository.

It’s probably easiest to take it by mouth, but it affects your body the same, no matter how it gets in there. Follow the directions on the package.

 

Too much aspirin could cause ringing in your ears.

High doses can cause tinnitus. The ringing should go away once you stop taking the medicine.

The most common side effect is a tummy ache. Eat something before you take a dose to help avoid that.

It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to aspirin, but it’s rare.

 

You cannot take aspirin for a headache when you are pregnant.

For moms-to-be acetaminophen is a better choice for pain relief.

But if you’re at high risk for preeclampsia, your doctor will probably recommend a low dose of aspirin to prevent high blood pressure and protein in your urine.

Since aspirin can cause extra bleeding during labor, you shouldn’t take it during the last 6-8 weeks your baby’s on board, unless your doctor told you to.

 

Dissolve aspirin in your water to give it added zing when you working in your garden.

Who knew? Aspirin can be good medicine for plants, too. A solution of one and a half tablets in 2 gallons of water sprayed on your garden every 3 weeks can give you more and bigger veggies. The key ingredient, salicylic acid, bumps up plant growth and helps protect them from disease.

Other reported fixes with aspirin — making a paste for acne or bee stings, protecting your hair from chlorine, boosting your car battery — don’t have the science to back them up.

 

It’s not bad for you to take aspirin after the date on its bottle.

One large study found that most drugs are still OK up to 15 years after they’re made. Manufacturers are required by law to give an expiration date: It’s their suggestion for when you should use the medicine for the best results.

To be safe, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any expired medicines.

 

Canadians to government: Help keep seniors at home

home care london ontario

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Canadians want to stay at home when get older, and they want the government to help.

The vast majority, 93%, of Canadians believe the country should adopt a national health-care strategy to keep seniors at home as long as possible, found a Canadian Medical Association report. And they say that strategy should involve lightening the burden on hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities by keeping seniors at home longer.

“The results of this year’s CMA report card send a clear and direct message to policy-makers and public office holders that all levels of government need to act to address the demographic tsunami that is heading toward the health-care system,” said CMA president Dr. Anna Reid in a press release.

What’s more, most people think the country currently is doing a poor job at taking care of its seniors and isn’t ready for the growing population of elderly Canadians.

Less than half, 41%, believe facilities in their areas can handle the number of seniors who can’t stay at home.

Canadians are worried about their own futures, with 83% saying they’re concerned about health care in retirement, and 77% saying they’re worried about having access to high quality home care and long-term care.

“The anxiety Canadians have about health care in their so-called golden years is both real and well-founded,” Reid added. “Let there be no doubt that a national strategy for seniors health care should be a federal priority.”

The CMA surveyed 1,000 Canadians over 18 between July 17-26, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

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Home care clients who require urgent care need an alternative to the Emergency Department

Between 2008 and 2013, the number of Canadians receiving some form of home care grew by 55 per cent, to 1.4 million. And as our population continues to age, more and more Canadians expect that care at home will be a viable option. Since the beginning of many coordinated home care programs in the late 1980s home care clients have changed. They are sicker, frailer, more acute, and more complex. The challenge is that in spite of the growth in numbers and increasing complexity and acuity, home care programs are having to do more with less. Demand for home care is increasing, but funding has not kept pace. Although home care programs are seeing more clients who are sicker, the volume of service per client is shrinking in order to keep up with this growing demand.  If home care is to be sustainable in this environment, we need new and innovative options to adequately address care needs in the community.

Home care programs offer sophisticated care and effectively manage complex conditions and multiple chronic conditions. However, there are times where a more acute event, a decrease in health status, or a need for more intensive observation or intervention is required. Interventions that are not required, nor are they best provided, in an acute care hospital or busy emergency department. Yet because we do not currently have an integrated health care system, if someone currently requires more urgent intervention for a condition that is not life threatening, there is little option other than going to an emergency department.

A promising alternative to the current situation is a transitional or halfway hospital. A transitional hospital could serve a population in a geographic area in an integrated manner when they are already a part of a home care program. A home care client may have fluctuating levels of health and need an urgent intervention, but not necessarily from an acute care hospital. For example, a frail elderly person who suffers from a short-term illness like a virus that creates a state of dehydration or electrolyte imbalance that cannot be fully managed at home and requires a short term intervention. There are a myriad of other health concerns that are urgent – but not emergencies -, that lead home care clients to seek hospital care because there are no intermediary options.

This kind of solution exists in many parts of Sweden. A transitional short stay (24-72 hours) unit designated just for home care clients—for clients known to their team and connected to their team – a truly integrated system. Such an option could be offered in Canada. There would of course be parameters around the type of concerns that could be seen and how many over-night stays could be accommodated. In a transitional, or half way hospital, the services provided would be much less intensive than the hospital would provide, but more intensive than home care can provide. Most often the individual might require frequent intervention for a few days such as IV antibiotics, comprehensive wound care, or monitoring of a frail elderly person for a few days. Home care provides regular but episodic care whereas in a transitional hospital care would be more regular and could support integrated care; at least for home care clients. Monitoring and decision making by a health care professional such as physicians or nurses or more frequent observation by a regulated professional would be possible. This level of care would be less expensive than occupying space in an emergency department or in an acute care hospital and being seen by member of the health care team would be expedited because the client is already known to the team. This would be the case in an integrated system.

In Canada, this level of care is only available in acute care hospitals. In many cases clients with complex chronic conditions recognize a problem they are experiencing that requires intervention. It is time for some creative problem solving and decision making if we hope to create a sustainable health care system into the future. . It is time to stop doing things the same old way in home care programs—after 30 odd years it is time for a change.

Kimberly D. Fraser is a professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.

CCAC health professionals are on strike Friday morning across Ontario, including London

A strike by nurses who co-ordinate home care has pushed overcrowded Ontario hospitals into uncharted waters that could strand patients in wards and backup emergency rooms, a leading hospital official says.

“We’re kind of entering unknown territory,” Windsor Regional CEO David Musyj said. “Extra minutes turn into extra hours, hours turn into half-days — it starts to add up.”

Windsor is part of the broad sweep of Ontario that may feel the squeeze of a strike that began at midnight Thursday and left nearly 3,000 health-care workers on the picket line at nine of 14 community care access centres (CCAC) across the province.

Such a strike hasn’t occurred since Ontario Liberals began steering money away from hospitals and toward cheaper home care. Hospitals have since used home care as a pressure valve to quickly and safely discharge patients to the community.

But with the strike, that pressure valve may jam shut, and hospital officials won’t know how bad it might be until it happens.

“A week from now, I don’t know,” Musyj said.

Some nurses, social workers and therapists with CCAC are normally stationed weekdays in hospitals and ERs to quickly find home care for those who need it. Hospitals discharge most patients on weekdays and not at night or on weekends. In Windsor, those CCAC staff help discharge 50 patients a day.

But with the strike, there will be no one from CCAC in hospital, leaving hospital staff to fax requests to CCAC offices to a skeletal staff of managers and those not in the nurses’ union.

The London-based agency acknowledges the strike by 450 of its workers may cause delays for people seeking new or expanded home care.

“There may be delays in responding to patients with less urgent needs,” Southwest CCAC spokesperson Andria Appeldoorn wrote in a media release Friday.

A spokesperson for CCACs provincewide went even further, saying the strike robs the agencies of the majority of staff and will cause some delays.

“People will not come on to (home) service as quickly as if we didn’t have a strike,” said Megan Allen-Lamb, who is also CEO of North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC.

Those delays could be made worse because hospital wards and ERs are already filled to the rafters, Musyj said.

In the past seven days at London’s University and Victoria hospitals, there have been more patients than staffed beds planned for each day, with capacity ranging between 102% and 113%, according to the hospitals.

Officials at London Health Science Centre (LHSC) didn’t agree to an interview Friday, instead issuing a short media release.

Carol Young-Ritchie, LHSC vice president, wrote that the CCAC has a plan to minimize disruption to patients.

“We don’t anticipate any changes to ongoing provision of priority services to patients,” she wrote. As to patients who need home care but are not deemed a priority, Young-Ritchie was silent.

Nurses at CCAC, and to a lesser extent social workers and therapists, serve as gatekeepers to those seeking new or expanded home care or a place in a nursing home.

The strike means some calls for help will be fielded by people who aren’t part of a regulated health profession such as nursing — but the CCAC says they will only assist those making decisions about access to care.

“Non-union staff members have been trained to support patient services during this labour disruption,” Appeldoorn wrote.

But though hospitals and the CCAC expect some delays, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins didn’t acknowledge that as even a possibility.

“We understand that the CCACs have developed contingency plans and are working with all of their partners to ensure patients continue to receive the care they need,” he wrote in a media release.

Neither the CCAC nor the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) has publicly disclosed their contract demands, but it’s clear their disagreement is more to do about how pay will be boosted than about how much. Nurses want annual raises of at least 1.4% to keep pace with ONA colleagues in hospitals and nursing homes. The CCAC previously agreed to deals with other unions to pay about that amount but with some coming as lump sums that wouldn’t automatically be applied to future contracts.

Other CCACs on strike Friday were North East, North West, Central East, Central, North Simcoe Muskoka, Waterloo Wellington, South East, and Erie St. Clair. “Your employer has drawn a line in the sand . . . Their actions are wrong, mean-spirited and disrespectful,” ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud wrote to members.

Both sides accuse the other of walking away from the bargaining table. READ MORE


 

 

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