Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News article] 3-D printing to the rescue of gastronomy for frail seniors — ScienceDaily

 

 

Elderly334x2403-D printing to the rescue of gastronomy for frail seniors — ScienceDaily.

Excerpt

Date: December 4, 2014
Source: youris.com
Summary: Researchers are now developing personalised food for elderly people with chewing or swallowing problems, by working on printable versions of meat and vegetables.

December 5, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions?

St Annes Nursing Home

St Annes Nursing Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the April 2012 brief at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • When economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase.
  • Previous research suggests that a likely culprit is poorer health habits tied to greater job demands.
  • However, the increase in mortality is largely driven by deaths among elderly women in nursing homes.
  • These nursing home deaths may reflect increased shortages of caregivers during economic expansions.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Reunion With Elderly May Include ER Visit

 

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 19 December 2011 Medical News Today article

…….Here are DeSilva’s five tips on how to tell if a senior relative needs immediate medical attention:

The person is unkempt with poor personal hygiene.

The home is very messy, dirty and has a foul odor.

Minimal movement by the person appears to be painful.

Mentally, the person is agitated or confused.

The person has not seen a physician in several months and is visibly unwell.

“Try to contact the primary-care physician first and alert them to the situation,” DeSilva said. But if holiday schedules or lack of information prevent that, bring them to the closest Emergency Department.

In the Emergency Department, you can expect the following:….

December 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guided care reduces the use of health services by chronically ill older adults

Guided care reduces the use of health services by chronically ill older adults

From the March 14 2011 Science Daily news item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 14, 2011) — A new report shows that older people who receive Guided Care, a new form of primary care, use fewer expensive health services compared to older people who receive regular primary care.

Research published in the March 2011 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine ***found that after 20 months of a randomized controlled trial, Guided Care patients experienced, on average, 30 percent fewer home health care episodes, 21 percent fewer hospital readmissions, 16 percent fewer skilled nursing facility days, and 8 percent fewer skilled nursing facility admissions. Only the reduction in home health care episodes was statistically significant.

According to the study, Guided Care produced even larger reductions in a subset of patients who received their primary care from one well managed health system. Guided Care patients in Kaiser Permanente of the Mid Atlantic States experienced, on average, 52 percent fewer skilled nursing facility days, 47 percent fewer skilled nursing facility admissions, 49 percent fewer hospital readmissions, and 17 percent fewer emergency department visits; the differences for skilled nursing facility days and admissions were statistically significant….

More information about Guided Care is available at  twww.GuidedCare.org.
From the Web site…”Guided Care® is a new solution to the growing challenge of caring for older adults with chronic conditions and complex health needs. A Guided Care nurse, based in a primary care office, works with 2-5 physicians and other members of the care team to provide coordinated, patient-centered, cost-effective health care to 50-60 of their chronically ill patients. The Guided Care nurse conducts in-home assessments, facilitates care planning, promotes patient self-management, monitors conditions monthly, coordinates the efforts of all health care professionals, smoothes transitions between sites of care, educates and supports family caregivers, and facilitates access to community resources. ”

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March 15, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aging safely at home? California’s disabled elderly are barely holding on

Aging safely at home? California’s disabled elderly are barely holding on

From the January 31, 2011 Eureka news alert

The network of public services that supports California’s low-income, disabled elderly is fragile, affecting the ability of these vulnerable residents to live independent lives in their own homes, according to a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

This policy note reports the first findings from a yearlong effort to follow the lives and challenges encountered by several dozen representative older Californians in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara who are enrolled in Medicare and Medi-Cal and who receive in-home and community care.

The documentary project comes as California lawmakers consider additional cuts to a network of services that help seniors remain “safely in their homes” — the stated goal of these public programs and the way in which an overwhelming number of Americans say they want to age.

The policy note, “Holding On: Older Californians with Disabilities Rely on Public Services to Remain Independent,” shows seniors struggling to live functional lives in the face of already reduced caregiving hours. For example:

Caring for the caregivers

Sara cares for her disabled son and husband, whose heart disease, diabetes, incontinence and limited mobility require 24-hour care. There’s help from In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and other family members, but Sara is the primary caregiver. Now, her back is acting up. She’s been delaying seeing a doctor to take care of her own needs — who will care for her family if she’s hospitalized?

Delicate balance

Paralyzed by polio, Mary breathes with the help of a ventilator and gets around in a wheelchair. She needs help to dress, bathe, use the toilet and eat. She’s created an elaborate system to meet her needs, using maximum IHSS hours of support and offering room and board to another caregiver in return for care. Mary’s happy with her life and rates her health as “excellent,” but she knows that even a small change in the delicate balance of her care system will send her to a nursing home.

His choice

Incapacitated by stroke and diabetes and confined to a wheelchair, Jack spent time in a nursing home a couple of years ago, and he’s not in a hurry to go back. In the nursing home, he felt unsafe and more isolated than he does in his own house with support from IHSS. Jack’s a realist. He knows a nursing home may be in his future again, but he wants to choose when and where he’ll go.

According to the researchers, all participants in the study are aware that the networks of care they’ve cobbled together could easily unravel, and most say they’d rather “make do” by eating less often, letting their homes become less safe or allowing their medical conditions to worsen than give up their independence and go to a nursing home — the likely scenario if they lose the in-home services they now rely upon.

“These seniors are using every sort of innovation and self-deprivation to make do,” said Steven P. Wallace, the study’s senior author and associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “They have nowhere to turn if their fragile care systems are further undermined.

“Policymakers need to see the faces of these vulnerable Californians as they crunch the numbers in budget discussions,” Wallace added. “Further cuts are an assault on their independence. Slashing in-home and community care will also increase total health care costs as these seniors increasingly use emergency room care, are hospitalized or enter institutions — under conditions that could have been prevented.”

Budget cuts looming

California, which is home to the largest number of older adults in the country, has several programs funded by federal, state and local dollars to assist low-income adults with disabilities. Proponents of these programs say that while such care isn’t perfect, it is far less expensive and more humane than the alternative — placing seniors in publicly financed nursing homes.

Yet, IHSS program-hours were trimmed by 3.6 percent in January 2011, and they face further across-the-board cuts of 8.4 percent, plus additional targeted reductions in the governor’s proposed budget. Adult day health care centers are slated for elimination, and supplemental security income cash benefits are to be reduced for single low-income aged and disabled individuals.

All the older adults in the study receive IHSS support, ranging from 20 hours of in-home help each month to the maximum of 283 hours per month. Most need help with household tasks, such as cleaning and cooking, and personal tasks like getting dressed or taking medications. Many require help getting in and out of bed, bathing and using the toilet. Some who might benefit from adult day health care or other supportive programs are unable to participate because of limited mobility or lack of transportation.

“California’s current system to support old and young adults with disabilities at home operates in silos and is not person-centered,” said Bruce Chernof, M.D., president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation, which is funding the study. “The Brown administration has an important opportunity to design a more stable, integrated, efficient and person-centered system that can meet the needs of these vulnerable residents throughout the state.”

Related Resources

 

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Personalized diets for elderly after hospitalization decreases mortality rates

From a Dec 2 2010 Eureka news alert

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, December 2, 2010 — Intense, individually tailored dietary treatment for acutely hospitalized elderly has a significant impact on mortality, according to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The intervention study just published in the prestigious Journal of the American Geriatric Society showed higher death rates six months after discharge (11.6 percent) of the control group compared to the intervention group’s death rate of 3.8 percent, which received intensive nutritional treatment designed and implemented by a registered dietician.

The study recruited 259 hospitalized adults aged 65 and older who were nutritionally at risk. After six months, the rise in the mini-nutritional assessment score (an indicator of nutritional status) was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group.

According to BGU researcher Dr. Danit R. Shahar, “This is the first study that used an individually tailored dietary treatment for acutely hospitalized elderly people. The results indicate that intense dietary treatment reduces mortality and can help reduce the need for re-hospitalization.”

In the study, a dietician met each patient upon admission to the hospital. The dietitian then followed the patient in his home, visiting three times after discharge.

The study dieticians (case managers) were the decision-makers regarding appropriate treatment and set up treatment goals. The basic approach was to develop a dietary menu based on inexpensive food sources and recipes. Patients had monthly contact by telephone to improve cooperation and prevent dropout from the study. The dieticians performed follow up assessment three to six months after discharges for all patients.

While the overall dropout rate was 25.8 percent, a standard range for elderly studies, after six months the rise in the mini-nutritional assessment score (an indicator of nutritional status) was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group.

 

 

December 3, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

Looking older than your age may not be a sign of poor health: Study

From a November 5, 2010 St. Michael’s news release

Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael’s Hospital

Looking older than your age may not be a sign of poor health: Study

Common practice of linking health to how old a person looks not an accurate indicator

Toronto, Ontario, November 5, 2010 – Even though most adults want to avoid looking older than their actual age, research led by St. Michael’s Hospital shows that looking older does not necessarily point to poor health. The study found that a person needed to look at least 10 years older than their actual age before assumptions about their health could be made.

“Few people are aware that when physicians describe their patients to other physicians, they often include an assessment of whether the patient looks older than his or her actual age,” says Dr. Stephen Hwang, a research scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Toronto. “This long standing medical practice assumes that people who look older than their actual age are likely to be in poor health, but our study shows this isn’t always true.”

For patients, it means looking a few years older than their age does not always indicate poor health status. The study found that when a physician rated an individual as looking up to five years older than their actual age, it had little value in predicting whether or not the person was in poor health. However, when a physician thought that a person looked 10 or more years older than their actual age, 99 per cent of these individuals had very poor physical or mental health.

“Physicians have simply assumed that their quick assessment of how old a person looks has diagnostic value,” explains Dr. Hwang. “We were really surprised to find that people have to look a decade older than their actual age before it’s a reliable sign that they’re in poor health. It was also very interesting to discover that many people who look their age are in poor health. Doctors need to remember that even if patients look their age, we shouldn’t assume that their health is fine.”

The researchers studied 126 people between the ages of 30 to 70 who were visiting a doctor’s office. Participants completed a survey that accurately determined whether they had poor physical or mental health. Each person was photographed, and the photographs were shown to 58 physicians who were told each person’s actual age and asked to rate how old the person looked.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, provides new insights and questions into the value and limitations of a long standing medical practice of judging a person’s health by how old they appear.

 

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About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who walk through its doors. The Hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research at St. Michael’s Hospital is recognized and put into practice around the world. Founded in 1892, the Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

 

 

November 6, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

   

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