Monday, July 21, 2014

Parent in a Nursing Home, Question to ask Beforehand

If you are ever faced with, putting a parent or other loved one in a nursing home you usually ask all the questions you can think of off the top of your head. What type of questions should you ask, and how do you know if you are being told the truth, and not the nursing home's version of the truth?

Ask about staff to resident ratio in the nursing home, and you will generally be told it is higher then it really is. For a more honest look at the figures, when you walk in a nursing home across the nation you will see a piece of paper with those staff ratios and it is more honest then what you will be told by the administrator.

This piece of paper will list only nursing staff, you will see RN, those are the registered nurse's and on the day shift there will be plenty of them in a nursing home. In the evening there maybe only one RN, but most units or floors will have at least two LPN's (licensed practical nurses). The CNA column is the amount of certified nurse's aides on staff per shift.

For a 200-bed nursing home during a day shift, you may see six RN's, up to 12 LPN's and twenty-five CNA's. This looks great on paper and if an aide calls in sick; chances are that aide is not replaced. Sometimes when an LPN calls in sick it is not listed on the paper, nor are they replaced. For the day shift, you have generally 18 licensed staff members and 25 certified staff members to take care of 200 residents. That is not bad on paper, and if all show up as scheduled, it works fine.

It is not a reality usually that everyone shows up which means everyone is working harder then usual. The best bet to get a real glimpse is to just open your eyes and walk on a unit with the administrator on a tour of a nursing home, and keep your eyes open. Do a rough head count of the staff members on a unit, see if they are over worked.

Day shift is usually staffed better then the other shifts and be very apprehensive of a 200-bed nursing home, which has only less then seven aides scheduled on the night shift. Those seven aides will be responsible for turning residents, who need to be turned every four hours, and walk any residents who are able to the bathroom and assist them there.

What planned activities do the nursing home have for residents? If there is an activity going on during your tour of the nursing home, look and see how the staff is interacting with the residents. Do the residents look happy; do the staff members look happy? A good nursing home will have plenty of activities that residents of all abilities can participate in.

Usually on every unit of floor of the nursing home, you will see a calendar of events, planned activities for the month for the residents. Do the activities look like something your parent or loved one would enjoy?

Ask questions such as can you come in and volunteer at these activities if you choose this nursing home for your parent. A good nursing home always needs plenty of volunteers to help occasionally and this is a great way to see what goes on at a nursing home from the inside.

How will the therapists at the nursing home help your parent? Visit the physical therapy room, and talk with the therapist if possible. Therapists are not only there for the residents who need rehabilitation, they are there to help the residents maintain what physical skills they have currently. The therapists in a nursing home also work with the staff members on correct posture, so that the staff knows how to transfer a resident safely who may not cooperate all the time from a wheelchair to a regular chair.

In a nursing home, your loved one will have the best care possible if you ask the right questions and make mental notes on staffing issues. Get to know the staff, be a frequent visitor, and get in to helping out as much as you can.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Natural Healing Migraines

Having endured migraine headaches since I was a young girl of five years old I have dealt with too many within my lifetime. If there were a magical pill I could take to end them for the last time I certainly would do that, but there is no magical pill so I have learned ways to deal with them so I control them and not the other way around.

Last summer I wrote an article about how to ease migraine headaches and limit how much they control my life. Those migraine headaches medicines both prescription and over the counter just make me far more ill, so I do not use them very much.
Most people who do suffer from migraine headaches also report that medication taken at the wrong time will set our bodies into vomit mode. When your head is pounding the last thing you want, is your body to vomit, so why take medicines when you know it will happen? I have had countless iv fluids and even been hospitalized before I found the answers I sought for so long.
You need real migraine headaches help and it is not going to come out of a bottle or even a shot if you do not watch what you eat on a daily basis. Trust me, one that one folks, I have found a way to control my pain simply but avoiding food and other triggers.
Did you know that some of the very foods you eat could cause migraine headaches? It is true and once I had heard this long ago I searched for a book and found it. That book is long gone but the lessons learned remain with me today many years later because I learned that migraine headaches can be caused by certain foods.
Hot dogs, processed cheese, lunch meats and chocolate all are migraine headaches triggers. Limiting these foods can help; my limit is two grilled hot dogs (which I love) before the migraine headaches sets in. I did write an article on these as well and you can locate more of those food triggers here.
This is a great idea to figure out what triggers migraine headaches, but there are so many triggers out there. These migraine headaches triggers not include not only foods but stress and things in our environment as well. It surely is enough to make your head spin.
Creating a trigger notebook will allow you to see a pattern of your migraine headaches and once you see the patterns you can realize what your triggers are. All you need to do is write down foods you ate during the day, stress levels, and what is happening around you.
Sunlight is a trigger for me, so I try to stay out of it, but even inside I must guard against it. Sunlight streaming through a window will set off migraine headaches, as will sleeping on too flat of a pillow.
If I do happen to get migraine headaches even with the precautions that I take, I try rubbing my neck, taking a hot shower, take a few capsules of fever few or use a hot rice bag to relieve the pain. A rice bag is a great way to relieve the pain from migraine headaches. These rice bags are great for any type of pain that you maybe experiencing and can be made any size.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Heart Patients and Summer Foods

In the summer time at picnics and other gatherings, there is a variety of foods cooked by different people. Heart patients will not be able to enjoy the offerings as much as other people will. This is because the summer foods such as mayonnaise base salads, hot dogs and hamburgers, and potato chips are all laden with salts that and cholesterol which are not good for us.

To ensure that heart patients can eat and enjoy the day, they usually need to bring their own low salt alternatives. However, since every adult should be watching his or her sodium intake in my opinion, anyone can bring these items to any gathering. Perhaps if more people limited the salt there would not be as much of a meed for blood pressure pills.

There is low salt mayonnaise that can be used with low cholesterol macaroni that make a good salad. Most others who are not on this type of diet will eat it as well because it tastes good. Use low sodium mustard is desired but easy on the eggs, pickles, or olives, which are not on our diet. Opt for low sodium ranch dressing instead of plain mayo or salad dressing.

There are even low salt or no-salt potato chips that you can bring along to any outing. Picking up a bag of baked chips instead of chips, which are fried, is always a better idea. There are several brands of flavored crackers, which are low salt so they are a good idea as well.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, and even sausage usually have a very high fat content and are loaded with salt. Heart patients are supposed to avoid these. Instead, take some low fat Turkey slices, reduced salt mayonnaise, and a loaf of bread, which makes it healthier meal. You could even bring along some low sodium on sliced cheese. Do not forget the lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced onion, these toppings are sodium free.

If you are making a trail mix use, unsalted peanuts, bits of dark chocolate and marshmallows. If you want smores choose low salt graham crackers, dark chocolate and regular marshmallows. Add cool whip to cakes rather than frosting to make them available for heart patients.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Migraines and Salt Intake

Many people do not realize the effects that salt has on their bodies. After I had my heart attacks in October of 2009, I had to go on a low salt diet, as do all heart patients. Within months, I realized that the migraines that plagued me since I was five years old were suddenly gone.

Migraines had affected me since I was a child. These migraines occurred at least three times a month and sometimes they landed me in the hospital. When I was about thirty-five, I learned that processed foods made these headaches worse so I cut back on those foods.

For instance, I cut back to two hot dogs at a cook out and I had a slight headache not that raging one I had when I ate three. In the summer time at cookouts, I would eat three grilled hotdogs but I rarely ate them other times in the year. I did eat a lot of cheese and sandwich meat because it was cheap, as a single mom, I pinched pennies.

After the heart attacks, I began reading labels to make sure I was staying on the low salt diet. Cold cuts, hotdogs, sausage, and cheese went off my diet for the most part, because they were high in sodium. The benefit for me was lower blood pressure and the migraines virtually disappeared. I have had a few since then but they are very rare and always occur after I splurge on sodium-laden foods.
Occasionally when I will eat too much salt, the migraines come back because the blood pressure goes up. I can feel it. Most of us do not realize the effects that our food intake does to our bodies.

Unfortunately, after some people have heart attacks they still did not limit the salt and their blood pressure remains high. Therefore, they have recurring heart attacks. I am very careful about what I put in my body. I am anal about salt intake because I am scared to death to have another heart attack.

I am very careful when I go out to a restaurant. I order baked chicken or a chef salad, but the heavily seasoned items are off my list of eatable foods. Instead of the beer battered Haddock I love, I opt for baked fish which is lightly seasoned and not breaded. I choose a baked potato instead of the French fries, which are usually salted before they come from the kitchen.

For picnics or parties where there is a wide array of food, I will always go for the plain looking foods. I also make a low salt dish to pass so that I know at least there is one thing I can eat. Being on a low salt diet does not mean I have to eat bland food or go hungry. It simple means I need to make better choices and if this means I get the added bonus of the rare migraine it is a great choice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breast Self Exams Are Critical to Your Health

Performing self breast exams should begin when a woman is in her twenties according to the website. Early detection could save your life, that's why it is so important for all women to check their breast on a monthly basis beginning at age 20. This allows you to become familiar with your breast and make it easier for you do detect changes if there are any.

There are 3 ways to do a self breast exam looking in the mirror, while showering, and of course laying flat on your back and feeling the breast. The WebMD site explains why you need to perform all of these ways of examining the breasts. Simply the breasts look and feel different in different positions.

In the mirror: Look
Stand in front of a mirror topless in a well lit room.
Examine your breasts visually, first with arms at your sides. Next place your hands firmly on your hips and tighten your chest muscles. Then bend forward in the mirror allowing your breasts to fall. Now place your heads behind your head and check your nipples from side to side. Also look at the undersides of your breast, lifting them if necessary.

In the shower: Feel
Check armpits are breasts for any lumps or thickenings. Examine your chest area from bra line to collarbone. Raise one arm over your head and use the other hand to examine the opposite breast. Use an up and down motion from bra line to collarbone and repeat on the other side.

Lying down: Feel in a circle
Lie down and place one arm behind your back and use the other hand to examine the other breast using a circular motion. Start at 12 o'clock and move toward 1 o'clock in small circular motions.

Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o'clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in one inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Feel the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit for any lumps or thickenings. Also push gently on your nipple, it should easily be moved.

It's recommended to do a self breast exam monthly, usually a few days after your period or the first of the month if you no longer menstruate. Remember to report any changes to your doctor as soon as possible. Not all lumps are cancer but early detection is crucial if it is. You can sign up for free email reminders of when to do your monthly exams at the Bright Pink website.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Health Benefits of Walking Groups

There are many benefits of participating in walking groups. Walking in groups will help with weight loss, cardiovascular health, and overall health. It also can help you to be less lonely by forming new friendships or even romantic relationships.

Improving cardiovascular health is a benefit of walking groups. Getting out there and doing simple walking revs up your heart at a safe level. With the walking group, you have people around you who can help if God forbid you have another heart attack. There is bound to be someone who is walking for the same reason, and you can share experiences and help one another in your quest to stay heart attack free.

Weight loss is a great benefit of walking groups. The weight will not melt off overnight, because it was not put on overnight. However, with each step, a tiny percent will fall off, and soon you will see the changes in weight that you are looking for. Start slow and keep the distance to where it is comfortable for you. Each day increase your speed or distance and those weight loss changes will occur quicker than you can imagine.

Forming friendships that are lasting is a benefit of waling groups. People who are walking usually have the same type of goals from this form of exercise and those goals will form friendships.

Healing from bad romantic relationships is a benefit of walking groups. Some may wonder about this one, but think about it if you join any type of group or change your habits you are more likely to heal from bad relationships quicker. Walking in groups will help you heal quicker because you are meeting new people and getting back into the swing of life.

Depression affects many people, and one of the best things you can do is get out and meet new people who will uplift you and make you feel better within. Healing in walking groups is a great benefit of walking groups. No one has to know you are depressed, so it will be more comfortable for you. The sunshine will also lift your spirits.

It is widely known that there is strength in numbers. Walking in groups will speed things along in emergencies. In the case of young women or older kids who often walk alone, walking with partners will decrease the likelihood of crimes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Find Walking Partners with These Ideas

Walking is great for your health in many ways. Walking alone for your health is never a good idea. Here are some ways to find someone to walk with.

When the weather is nice it is the perfect time to get out there and walk. However, health patients or people who have mobility problems feel more comfortable walking with other people. It is hard at times to get someone in your household to walk with you.

Still if you are walking to lose weight or otherwise walking for your health, you need to get out there and walk. Walking alone can be boring or even dangerous to some of us. Heart patients may have a heart attack so they should not walk alone, and neither should teenage girls for obvious reasons.

The answer of course is to organize a walking group with people who wish to walk for the same reasons. Many large cities have groups that meet in parks to walk, but for those of us who live in small towns or rural areas the groups are nearly non-existent.

You could hang a sign in a convenience store asking for walking partners but that does not always work out as planned.

You could create a Facebook walking group for your area and announce it to people in your local area. Those Facebook groups are perfect for many things and creating on for this purpose may be just the perfect thing for your needs. Just make sure your group has your purpose, town, and state so others can find you.

The Facebook group not only allows you to set up the arrangements as far as time and distance, and location, you also see the faces of those who also wish to walk. You form bonds in these types of groups so it is like walking with an old friend in some cases.

Set up nightly walks at a public place. Locally our high school leaves the track around the football field open. While the mile long oval may be boring to walk alone it is safe from vehicles so walkers may use headphones. It is always better to walk in there with someone who is walking for the same reasons, because you will have something to talk about. Who knows you might even strike up a friendship as you walk and that is always a good thing.