Why You May Need to Hire an Extra Caregiver

Traditionally individuals who could not live alone or meet their own care needs could choose to live in a nursing home (licensed healthcare residences for individuals who require a higher level of medical care) which provided 24/7 staff to oversee the residents. It was the only game in town. Now there are more options including assisted living and independent living communities as well as a multitude of services geared towards aging-in-place for seniors. With more options, comes more confusion as to what you actually get for your money.

Too often people opt for assisted living or a nursing home not realizing that the services for care are limited. In the case of assisted living, the community may offer a staff that oversees needs, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the staff attends to the needs in a full-service capacity. Typically a menu of services will be offered at extra cost and may only cover a one-time-daily visit to the individual in their unit/room or something small like medication management.

Nursing homes offer more skilled care but there are increasing limitations.

Which is why, more and more, individuals find themselves living in assisted living or nursing homes while also having to hire a private caregiver to attend to their daily needs.

Hire a caregiver for your loved one who is in a nursing home for which you already pay $5000-15,000 a month?  It sounds crazy. Unfortunately, it’s not that crazy.

According to an article in the New York Times, nursing homes are suffering a shortage of residents; “nursing homes get only 43 percent of Medicaid’s long‐term care expenditures.”

This, of course, drives the cost of the facility upwards and the clientele down. Thus, “The 31 largest metropolitan markets have 13,586 fewer nursing home beds now than in late 2005.”

“To avert the crisis nursing homes say they will accept sicker patients, including those on ventilators, at higher reimbursement rates. They’re experimenting with 12hour staff shifts, allowing them to hire fewer employees but offer more flexible schedules. But what about those who already live in nursing homes, or will move in over the coming years, because they need the roundtheclock supervision no other kind of facility offers? ‘From what I’ve observed, as occupancy goes down, so will staff levels,’ Ms. Grant said. With most nursing home staffs already stretched too thin, that could hurt. Despite extensive federal regulations, including new rules adopted in the waning months of the Obama administration, nursing homes have no federal minimum staffing requirements (though some states have requirements). ‘You can cut with impunity,’ Ms. Grant said, and with financial pressures mounting, she worries that facilities will.”

The article ends with a warning; “…families with relatives in nursing homes might want to pay particular attention. If occupancy falls, maybe your loved one gets a private room. Or maybe the call button takes even longer to answer.”

So just because an individual is in a skilled setting like a nursing home, doesn’t mean they will be getting the hourly or constant care that they need. The individual may be part of a rotation, with a limited number of staff members, where care isn’t immediate. And this is why more and more, individuals find themselves living in a nursing home or assisted living while also having to hire a private caregiver to attend to their daily needs.

The purpose of many facilities is to provide oversight and supervision in the larger sense. It’s certainly less isolating to live in a community where you know help is in close proximity. However, for individuals who really need frequent attention to their activities of daily living, private care companionship and caregiving might make all the difference.

Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can assist with the activities of daily living, help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates and care managers. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

 

Parkinson’s Comprehensive Program

Broad Street realizes that providing the right solution for your care requires much more than an awareness of Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms. To provide the highest level of personalized care available, we’ve developed a Comprehensive Parkinson’s Program designed to empower you to live the life you choose.

Our Approach

We start with understanding. Despite the symptoms of Parkinson’s, you remain a vibrant person with a full life ahead. Whether your symptoms are visible or below the surface, we address them by creating a personalized plan that mitigates their impact on your life and the lives of those around you. It is by understanding your unique situation that we are able to develop a customized level of service specifically suited for your needs.

A Nurse Supervisor will come to your home and work with you to develop a dynamic plan of service. Your plan is designed to incorporate your goals and personal preferences which empowers you to maintain your daily routines. Critical to the success of your plan is the careful selection of the right Personal Assistants who have completed our Comprehensive Parkinson’s Training Program. This is a collaborative approach where your Nurse Supervisor communicates closely with our Human Resource manager to identify the best suited assistant. Your Personal Assistant then undergoes a secondary, customized training focused specifically on your condition.

Clinical oversight is also provided throughout your care by a Nurse Supervisor who provides support to you and your personal assistants and addresses any changes in your condition. Nurse oversight is also about communication. Through direct feedback and proactive management we ensure that necessary information is shared with your family and your multidisciplinary team. This allows us to work together in providing the most effective level of care.

The Result

With the establishment of clinically supported practices provided by trained professionals, your safety and wellbeing are enhanced. This, in turn, leads to empowerment, the key to a higher quality of life.

Struthers Parkinson’s Care Network

In 2016, we partnered with the Struthers Parkinson’s Care Network which was instrumental in the development of our training curriculum. The Struthers team coordinates a network of care organizations across the country facilitating a method of communicating successes and struggles encountered in the delivery of care. We continue to collaborate with The Struthers Parkinson’s Care Network to ensure that we are delivering the most effective training and utilizing the best practices available in support of our clients.

Comprehensive Parkinson’s Training

By focusing on education and implementation of best practices, Broad Street has developed a state-of-the-art training program unique to the Chicago area

Classroom Education

Our curriculum begins with a core education on the causes and symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. By knowing how dopamine impacts how the brain communicates with the rest of the body, it establishes a basis of understanding and recognition that symptoms are involuntary.  This creates patience when learning how to help manage changing conditions.

Hands on Training

Once a basis of understanding is established, we then introduce simulation exercises focused on techniques and tools used to provide physical and emotional support needed for specific symptoms (timely medication management, cueing to improve gait and prevent falls, nutrition and exercise, patience, understanding and respect).

Client Specific Education

Based on your input and our clinical observations, our Nurse Supervisors provide your personal assistant with additional training specific to your current conditions and most importantly, your goals and objectives.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Working with your existing clinical team, our nurses and personal assistants can capture and communicate requested information back to your team. This ensures the utilization of therapeutic practices, helps maintain and measure the effectiveness of your treatments and allows for adjustments in your care over time. Your multidisciplinary team may include:

> Neurologists and Movement Disorder Specialists

> Primary Care Physicians

> Social Workers

> Physical, Occupational and Speech/Language Therapists

> Exercise Physiologists and Physical Trainers focused on Parkinson’s

> Dieticians

> Family Members

 

Need help with Parkinson’s Disease? We provide Personal Assistants who are specially trained in the condition and who can help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s

Approaches to treating Parkinson’s Disease are rapidly changing. There’s more awareness and support for the disease than ever before. Recent celebrities like Alan Alda and Neil Diamond have publicly spoken about their own diagnoses, offering an honest and long needed dialogue about the disease and what its like to live with it.

Rock Steady Boxing

“There are many new options to improve the lives of PWP (people with Parkinson’s).  Neurologists are much more sub-specialized and movement disorder specialists are much more available in many U.S. communities,” says Steve Eisenstein, MD, a board-certified family physician in Northbrook, Illinois. He’s started working with PWP in his area, mixing training methods from traditional Shotokan karate and his new Rock Steady Boxing skills.

Programs like Rock Steady Boxing, a nonprofit organization geared towards wellness, gives people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing based fitness curriculum.  Local family physician and Rock Steady Boxing coach Dr. Steve Eisenstein offers some great tips in his article, “How to Get Your Primary Physician to be Primary Again.”

Need help with Parkinson’s Disease? Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who are specially trained in the condition and who can help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

Alan Alda on Parkinson’s Disease

Actor Alan Alda, best known for the tv program M*A*S*H was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 3 years ago. But that hasn’t kept him down or flooded him with fear. According to Alda, who speaks openly about his condition;

alan alda

(image courtesy of CNN and CBS This Morning)

“I’ve had a full life since then,” he said. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook, I started this new podcast.”

In a video featured on “CBS This Morning”, Alda communicates that you don’t need to be immobilized by fear when you first receive a Parkinson’s diagnosis;  “You still have things you can do.”

These are important words for many people who may fear the condition; a progressive disorder known for nerve cell damage in the brain.

Further information can be found on the Parkinson’s Foundation site which offers information and resources on the disease.

Need help with Parkinson’s Disease? Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who are specially trained in the condition and who can help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

Club Sandwiched Podcast with Broad Street

Thank you to Club Sandwiched for this great podcast!

As podcast host Andrea Weber relates; “Remember when I said that taking away your parent’s driver’s license was a big one? How about cleaning out their house? That’s a big one. Well, this episode just might win the award for one of the bigger moments in the Sandwich Generation – hiring a caregiver for your parent. In this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Sam Cross, founder and owner of Broad Street Home Care.”

For more information on Club Sandwiched, a great resource for anyone who is taking care of kids and parents, visit www.clubsandwiched.com.

Looking for home care for your aging parents? Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

 

Flu Season Vaccine

Flu season is nearly upon us. The U.S. Center for Disease Control states that the influenza activity starts to increase around October. Furthermore, according to the CDC, “it has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. Vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because they are at high risk for complications from flu. Flu vaccines are often updated each season to keep up with changing viruses and also immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against influenza. As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even in January or later.

The most recent flu vaccine is available at many commercial pharmacy chains (local chains include Walgreens and CVS), clinics and primary physicians.

Speak to your primary care physician or any other medical professional if you believe there is a possibility of complications with the flu vaccine.

Best to get the vaccine before the possibility of the flu itself, but if you think you have the flu, check for fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. 

For more information please visit the CDC website for full information regarding the various types of vaccines available and other important facts.

Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

What is Concierge Medicine?

Within the last decade many primary care physicians, frustrated with the limits imposed by insurance companies, started to sail their own ships by becoming concierge doctors. Now that health insurance is up for grabs under the new administration, concierge medicine is a nice option for people who want a solid relationship with their doctor and the security of knowing someone understands them on a more personal level.

Concierge medicine (also known as retainer medicine) is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. This may or may not be in addition to other charges. In exchange for the retainer, doctors provide enhanced care, including principally a commitment to limit patient loads to ensure adequate time and availability for each patient.

Concierge physicians care for fewer patients than those in a conventional practice and are generally more accessible via telephone or email at any time of day or night or offer some other service above and beyond the customary care. The annual fees vary widely, ranging, on average, from US$195 to US$5,000 per year for an individual with incremental savings when additional family members are added. The higher priced plans generally include most “covered” services where the client is not charged additional fees for most services (labs, xrays, etc.). Some of the other benefits of concierge healthcare are: in-home visits, worldwide access to doctors and expedited emergency room care.

Concierge medicine can come in a variety of fee-based models including one where the patient pays a monthly, quarterly, or annual retainer fee to the physician. The retainer fee covers most services provided by the physician in his/her office. Often, vaccinations, lab work, x-rays and other services are excluded and charged for separately on a cash basis or where additional services are charged to Medicare or the patient’s insurance plan. Some of the benefits and services typically included in these two retainer models are: same day access to your doctor; immediate cell phone and text messaging to your doctor; unlimited office visits with no co-pay; little or no waiting time in the office; focus on preventive care; unhurried atmosphere; cell phone, text message, and online consultations; prescription refills; and convenient appointment scheduling.

Of course there are always differences between practices and there are always pros and cons to working with a smaller group “out-of-network”. Understand your needs and do your research to determine if concierge medicine is an option for you or family member.

Broad Street can help. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources and doctors (including locally vetted concierge doctors) to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago.

For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

Broad Street in Make It Better Magazine

Assisted Living or Home Care? How to Help an Elderly Loved One Make the Right Choice
by Susan Pasternak – Make It Better Magazine, July 11, 2017

For Jeff Pryor, keeping his 93-year-old mother, Adele Pryor, in her own home after his father passed was a priority.

“It’s a very personal decision,” Pryor says. “My example was my father, who took care of my mother for 20 years after she had a stroke. I’ve tried to live up to that example and we have an opportunity to do that with care in her home.”

As baby boomers age and require more help with daily life, many will face the choice between staying in their homes with some sort of support, or moving to an assisted living facility. Making that decision is deeply personal, and should take into account personality, location of family, and finances.

When the last of the baby boomers reaches age 65 in 2029, that generation will represent more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population. Add to that the fact that 70 percent of Americans require some kind of long-term care after they turn 65 and this country will see a huge spike in demand for senior living facilities and services in the coming decades, according to a Genworth Financial study.

While there’s a range of living and support situations for aging seniors, many people initially consider the benefits and challenges of in-home assistance versus moving to an independent or assisted living facility, depending on how much care is needed. The benefits of staying in one’s own home are obvious; a move can cause emotional upheaval for those used to a lifetime of independence and the comforts of home. And experts point out that even in an assisted living facility, residents might end up requiring one-on-one care.

“We have plenty of clients who live in assisted living facilities,” says Sam Cross, administrator at Broad Street Home Care, which leverages its on-staff nurses and professional network to bring high-quality care to seniors. Broad Street nurses and other support staff members work with Pryor and his family to provide the best caregivers for his aging mother. “Really the two elements to consider are: where do you want to live and what services do you need?”

The goal of assisted living is to maximize independence for residents, while offering on-demand assistance with tasks such as meal preparation, housecleaning and laundry, the dispensing of medications, and bathing and dressing, if needed. Assisted living residences are ideal for people who are finding it a challenge to live independently, but do not require more intensive care found in a higher-level nursing facility. However, situations often arise that require higher level medical care, which is when the resident would likely need to hire supplemental help, or move to the assisted living facility’s skilled nursing section.

Assisted living facilities also offer social and emotional support, an intangible benefit for seniors who don’t want to feel isolated. These facilities often offer organized activities and outings. Meal times offer opportunities to engage with other residents, as do enrichment programs that are often scheduled throughout the week.

“Just being around people is important,” says Nancy Siegel, a care manager at Senior Living Experts, which offers personalized service to evaluate care needs, budget and geographical preference.

Ideally, a move to assisted living is initiated proactively, and not as a reaction to a change in health or the passing of a spouse, and started in good health, when the senior can make thoughtful and informed decisions.

“We urge people not to wait until there’s a crisis to start thinking about this,” says Maribeth Bersani, chief operating officer at Argentum, an advocacy organization representing for-profit senior living facilities. “Take tours and meet the residents. Go to an open house if there’s a new community opening up. There is some of that gut instinct involved. It’s a little bit like love: you’ll know it when you see it.”

An important factor to consider is price. In-home aid typically costs between $20 and $27 per hour, experts say. The cost for assisted living varies depending on many factors such as quality of the residence, the staff to resident ratio, types of meal plans, and other factors, with the national median falling around $3,000 per month, according to various studies. In a growing number of states, some assisted-living services are covered under Medicaid, but most people pay out-of-pocket or through a long-term-care insurance policy.

Whether looking for an in-home aide or an assisted living facility, experts caution to ask the right questions and to understand that higher prices do often translate to higher quality and more services. Seniors weighing the financial implications of either hiring in-home might consider hiring an aide for just a few hours a day to help with meal preparation and light housekeeping. However, quality caregivers looking for full-time work will then look elsewhere, or try to piece together multiple jobs, which isn’t ideal for what can be physically and emotionally tiring work.

“If consistency in a caregiver is important, you have to be prepared to meet a certain threshold of hours,” Cross says.

In addition to assisted living and in-home care, proactive seniors are also exploring another option: CRCCs, or Continuing Care Retirement Communities, which provide independent living options for on-the-go seniors but also offer services providing a greater level of assistance if the need arises. For example, should a spouse fall ill or become memory-impaired, they are able to move to an assisted living or nursing care building, while the partner is able to live independently, all on the same campus.

-Susan Pasternak

 

Summer Travel Tips

Traveling this Summer? Here are a few tips to consider before heading to the airport:

  • The Transportation Security Administration offers a handy checklist that offers up tips based on what is and is not allowed through security.
  • If you have special needs, the TSA offers support for security check-in via TSA Cares. The helpline provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process. Call ( (855) 787-2227) 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
  • Research the weather a few days before you leave so that you can pack accordingly.
  • Visit your doctor before you leave to make sure you’re on top of all vaccinations, medication refills and treatment instructions (take a copy with you written out by your doctor) in case you need to visit a medical provider at your destination.
  • If you’re changing time zones, medication schedules, along with changes in eating schedule may need to be considered. In addition, jet lag can be a real trial when you aren’t used to the disruption. Make sure you plan your activities with enough of a time buffer before your flight and after reaching your destination so that you don’t wear yourself out.
  • Make sure you have enough medications for the duration of the trip.
  • Long air travel can make one prone to Deep Vein Thrombosis. Drink plenty of water and take an aspirin (if it’s safe for you to do so) before your flight. Make sure you get up from your seat at regular intervals to walk a bit. If you are concerned, speak with your doctor before flying.
  • Pack spare items like prescription glasses or other necessary items, in carry-on bags and packed bags, that may end up getting lost or delayed during travel.
  • Go to the website of your destination airport to get familiar with the layout or to find out about any special announcements (construction or repairs) that are currently highlighted. In general the internet can be a great resource for specific travel information, delays and local announcements.

Travel has become more complex. If you haven’t gone on trip in a while you’ll be surprised at how the landscape has changed. Additionally, the summer months have increased traffic at the airports. You’ll feel more relaxed if you begin your trip prepared and supported.

Need extra help? Broad Street provides Travel Companions; Personal Assistants who help plan itineraries, support departure and return travel and provide active companionship during the trip for a more enjoyable and engaging experience.

We also provide Personal Assistants who can help manage overall health care and awareness in the home. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago.

For more information, please call 847.728.0134.

 

Questions to ask before you fill that prescription for an Opioid

Opioid use is currently a huge topic in America.  An estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers and the amount of deaths related to opioid use account for half a million since 2000.

One of the main reasons for the problem stems from the unfortunate fact that doctors didn’t think there was a risk of addiction associated with opioids used for acute conditions. So prescriptions were handed out liberally for folks with legitimate pain. Research has now shown that the risk of addiction is high even with short term use. The medical community is wiser but it’s still important as a patient to understand the risk.

Harvard Health provides a great list of questions to ask your health provider before accepting pain meds:

Is this medication an opioid?

Drug names are difficult to remember and easily confused, so you’ll want to determine whether a painkiller is an opioid.

Is this safe to take with my other medications?

Opioids aren’t advisable if you’re taking a benzodiazepine — a class of drug used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Are there any non-opioid pain relievers I could take instead?

Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like celecoxib (Celebrex) and diclofenac (Voltaren), which are more potent than nonprescription NSAIDs, are available by prescription. Although these medications may have more troublesome side effects than over-the-counter NSAIDs, they won’t lead to dependence or addiction.

Is this the lowest dose possible?

You don’t want to take a higher dose than you need for pain relief. It’s better to start with a small dose and ask your doctor to increase it if necessary.

May I have fewer pills?

Take the lowest dose possible for the briefest time possible. If you still have unmanageable pain once you’ve finished your prescription, you can discuss further options, including continued opioid use, with your doctor.

How should I taper off the medication?

You may need to gradually reduce the amount you take to avoid withdrawal symptoms like muscle pain and nausea.

Should I have some naloxone (Narcan) on hand?

This drug, which rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is available by prescription as a nasal spray.

Managing pain doesn’t need to have the additional concern of prescription risk attached to it. The CDC now recommends three days of use of opioids for most conditions of pain. Like many drugs of this nature the effectiveness wanes after too much use. Sticking to a short term regimen makes sense. Alternative therapies, like physical therapy, are also widely used to help relieve pain. Consider all of your options before you accept a prescription automatically.

Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can help manage medication and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like advocates to attend appointments with you and doctors to help answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.