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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.

 

Surprising Things That Can Damage Your Liver

Sugar

Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to create fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup cause a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you’re not overweight. One more reason to limit foods with added sugars, like soda, pastries, and candy.

 

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG enhances the flavor of many packaged and prepared foods, from chips to diet drinks. (You might see it on a food label as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “yeast extract,” or “soy extract.”) Still, some studies of animals suggest that the chemical may make the liver fatty and inflamed, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer. Scientists need more research to know if MSG affects humans the same way.

 

Herbal Supplements

Just because the label says “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. One serious danger is kava kava, an herb that can relieve menopause symptoms and help you relax. Studies show it can keep the liver from working, causing hepatitis and liver failure. Some countries have banned or restricted the herb, but it’s still available in the U.S. You should always talk to your doctor before you take any herbs to make sure they’re safe.

 

Obesity

If you’re carrying around extra weight, fat can also build up in your liver cells, which can lead to NAFLD. It can make the liver swell. Over time, hardened scar tissue can replace healthy tissue (a condition doctors call cirrhosis). People who are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes are at highest risk of NAFLD. There’s no cure, but eating well and exercise can sometimes reverse the disease.

 

Too Much Vitamin A

You can find vitamin A in eggs and milk as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are red, orange, and yellow. Many supplements also include it since it helps improve vision, strengthen bones, and give a boost to your immune system.  But in very high doses, vitamin A is toxic to the liver. To stay safe, never take more than 10,000 IU a day.

Unsterile Tattoos

When you get a tattoo or body piercing in a licensed, clean shop that sterilizes its equipment after each customer, the chances you’ll get a serious infection like hepatitis C are low. But if tools aren’t properly cleaned, your risk of hep C shoots up. The virus spreads through contact with the blood of an infected person and causes serious, sometimes lifelong liver illness. Check out the shop and its safety record before you get inked.

 

Soft Drinks

Scientists studied the diets of a group of people with NAFLD, taking into account their weight, the amount of fat in their blood, and if they had diabetes. One thing stood out: 80% of them drank 2 or more soft drinks a day. It didn’t matter if it was calorie-free or regular soda, which means an ingredient besides sugar could play a role in the condition. There’s no hard evidence, but some researchers think artificial sweeteners might be to blame.

 

Antidepressants

It’s rare, but some antidepressants can harm your liver, even if you take them for only a few days. In some cases, the damage can be deadly. Older people or anyone taking a lot of other meds are at higher risk because their liver may be damaged already. If you’re taking antidepressants, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re on the smallest dose you need. Make sure you know the symptoms of liver illness to watch for.

 

Trans Fats

Trans fats are a man-made fat common in packaged foods and baked goods. (You’ll see them listed in the ingredients as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening.”) A diet high in trans fats not only boosts your chances of gaining weight, it makes severe liver disease with scar tissue more likely. In one study, mice that ate a fast-food diet high in trans fats had liver damage after only 4 months.

 

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Get the Heart Facts

Get the Heart Facts

You know that a bad diet and too little exercise can hurt your ticker. But there are lots of sneaky sources of heart disease that you may not be aware of. Here are some you need to know about, and heart-smart steps to help you keep healthy.

Dental problems

Need extra motivation to brush and floss every day? People with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, too. The connection isn’t not clear, but some experts think bacteria from your gums may move into your bloodstream, leading to inflammation of the blood vessels and other heart problems. See your dentist every 6 months for checkups. Make an appointment right away if you spot redness or soreness on your gums, or changes in your teeth.

Shift Work

Working at night or irregular hours raises your risk of a heart attack, according to a recent study from Western University in Canada. Researchers say shift work has a bad impact on the body’s circadian rhythm (a.k.a. your “internal clock”), and they think that harms your heart. So if you don’t work regular day hours, take extra steps to lower your risk of heart disease: Get exercise, eat a balanced diet, and see your doctor for regular checkups.

Traffic Delays

Anyone who’s ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic will tell you it’s stressful. That may be why research links spending a single hour in traffic to higher odds of having a heart attack. High noise levels — like the kind you hear on a freeway — are also linked to heart disease. If you can’t avoid traveling during rush hour, squash stress by listening to relaxing music. Or share the ride and chat with your fellow passenger.

Early Menopause

If you’re a woman and you go into menopause before you turn 46, your odds of having a heart attack or stroke may be twice as high as those who go through it later. A drop in estrogen, a hormone with ticker-friendly effects, may play a role. Ask your doctor to test you for heart disease risk factors (like high cholesterol).

Snoring

If your partner says you regularly snore or you sound like you’re gasping for air while sleeping, see your doctor. You might have a serious condition called apnea. It can happen when your airway is partially blocked and it causes you to have pauses in your breathing. The disorder is linked to high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, strokes, and heart failure. Treatments can help you breathe easier and lower your risk for heart disease, too.

Hepatitis C

If you have this liver infection, you’re more likely to have low cholesterol and low blood pressure than people who don’t have the disease. But even so, you still have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers think hep C may cause inflammation of the body’s cells and tissues, including those in the heart. Work closely with your doctor to keep tabs on any heart symptoms.

Not Getting Good Sleep

When you routinely get less than 6 hours of shut-eye a night, you raise your risk of higher blood pressure and cholesterol. It increases the odds you’ll become obese and get diabetes, too (both of which can hurt your heart). That doesn’t mean you should sleep your way through the day. When you spend more than 9 hours horizontal on a regular basis, it raises your odds of getting diabetes and having a stroke — major risk factors for heart disease. Baby your brain, body, and heart — aim for 7 to 9 hours of slumber a night.

An Unhappy Marriage

A good match makes your heart happy and healthy. Older adults who are content in their unions have a lower risk of heart disease than those who aren’t, according to a recent study from Michigan State University. The likely cause? Stress. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to make bad diet choices and do other things that can hurt your ticker, like drink too much alcohol. What’s more, stress hormones may have a negative effect on the heart. So consider seeing a couples’ therapist or clergy member together if your marriage isn’t a happy one.

Lonelines 

When you spend time with loved ones, it thwarts stress and helps you stay active. Lonely folks may be more likely to have heart disease. If you’re not near family or close friends, get connected by helping someone in need, or adopt a dog or cat. Volunteers and dog owners might enjoy better heart health and live longer, to

Belly Fat

Any extra weight is hard on your heart, but the kind around your midsection is especially dangerous. It may trigger your body to make hormones and other chemicals that can raise blood pressure and have a bad effect on your blood vessels and cholesterol levels. If you’re a woman and your waist is more than 35 inches around, or 40 inches if you’re a man, talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise plan. Research shows that yoga and short bursts of high-intensity exercise are great ways to whittle your middle.

Too Much Tube Time

Couch potatoes, stand up! People who park themselves in front of the television a lot are more likely to get heart problems than those who limit their TV time. Every hour you spend watching TV on a daily basis may increase your risk by almost 20%. Sitting is the most likely culprit; it’s linked to problems like high blood pressure. Until researchers know how and why TV and heart trouble are connected, try to limit your time in front of the tube.

Too Much Exercise All at Once

Exercise is great for your heart. But if you’re out of shape or only work out occasionally, start slowly and build your endurance. When you exercise too long or too hard, it may put you at risk for heart attack and other problems, research shows. Not sure what’s safe for you? Start with a gentle exercise like walking. If you have a high risk of heart disease, talk to your doctor, and consider using a heart monitor while working out.

WebMD




Dealing with Depression

Have you been feeling anxious or blue lately, and you can’t shake that feeling? If

so, you’re not alone. One in five seniors has mental health challenges. It’s a

Canadian health crisis, yet we’re often hesitant to discuss it because there’s still

stigma, or negative stereotypes, around mental illness. Seniors face unique risks

for developing depression. As we age, we may feel increasingly isolated or lack

community support. A change in mental health could also be related to medical

conditions, reduced mobility, physiological changes in the brain, or life events

such as financial strain, the loss of a spouse or moving out of the family home.

People with a family history of mental illness, or who have experienced

depression before, are especially vulnerable. Late-life depression is not a normal

part of aging. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as a persistent depressive

mood, sleeping problems, changes in appetite, difficulties with memory or

concentration, negative thoughts, or thoughts of death and suicide should seek

help immediately. The majority of older adults respond well to treatment.

Seniors can also support their mental health by staying active, such as

participating in activities at their retirement home, exercising regularly and

socializing with friends and family.

Contact White Wings Home Care Services for more information

info@whitewings.ca

www.whitewingshomecare.ca

519-615-7621




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.

Helping More Seniors Get Care They Need at Home

Ontario Improving Access to Home and Community Care in the London Area

Seniors in London and the rest of southwestern Ontario are receiving better access to home care and community supports to help them live independently and at home longer.

Ontario is providing nearly $21 million to support home care for more seniors and for expanded community health care services, including mental health supports, in the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

This investment will support programs that reduce unnecessary emergency room and hospital readmissions, including:

 

  • Expanding Home First, which helps patients move from hospital to home faster with additional community services.
  • Adding more spaces at day programs that provide seniors and adults with complex needs with personal care services including medication administration, mealtime assistance and blood pressure checks.
  • Increasing overnight caregiver respite support through Behavioural Support Ontario to allow four nights per month at five providers across the LHIN for the families of seniors who are living with dementia or have other behavioural challenges.

 

Improving access to home care and community supports is a key priority of Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care and helps to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place. This is part of the Ontario government’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

 

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