A geriatric training method pioneered by Marilyn R. Gugliucci, PhD, president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America) has proved successful enough that she plans to implement it on a national level. This project, called Learning by Living, involves students residing in a nursing home for two weeks to better understand the experience of aging in a long-term care setting. Gugliucci started this type of training four years ago with students at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she serves as director of geriatrics education and research. "By living the life of an elder resident these students have learned to open their hearts to older adults and as a result have created meaningful friendships, " Gugliucci said.
In response to the report by the Care Quality Commission that one in four care homes in England are providing a poor service to older people, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Dickon Weir-Hughes said: "Poor care is never acceptable and nurses working in care homes have a responsibility within the NMC code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives (2008) to act without delay if they believe they, a colleague or anyone else may be putting someone at risk. This includes issues relating to the environment of care. "We know that we need to do more to help safeguard the health and wellbeing of patients and the public. These issues are being addressed through projects like our review of pre-registration nursing education which will set new standards for future nursing students.
"A new study says almost one out of three adults in the U.S. currently serves as a caregiver, " NPR reports. "The time and energy they put into caregiving becomes like an unpaid job. On average, they spend about 19 hours a week providing care, doing everything from bathing and dressing an elderly parent or loved one to balancing a checkbook or doing household chores." The survey was sponsored by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, with funding from the MetLife Foundation. Many results "are similar to those from earlier versions in 2004 and 1999. Two-thirds of caregivers are women. The average age is about 48. Almost all -- 86 percent -- care for a relative.
Hospital-at-home care may be a practical alternative to traditional hospital inpatient care for patients with acutely decompensated (suddenly worsening) chronic heart failure, according to a report in the September 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Nearly 7 million Europeans and 5 million North Americans are affected by chronic heart failure, a progressive and disabling syndrome, according to background information in the article. Hospitalization for chronic heart failure for older patients has increased and occurs in 2 percent to 3 percent of patients over age 85 every year. In the United States, decompensation (worsening) of chronic heart failure leads to more than 1 million hospital admissions per year and a 50 percent risk of subsequent hospitalization within six months of discharge.
The Associated Press reports: Federal investigators report that a government-run program designed to bring "extra scrutiny to poorly performing nursing homes" is missing "hundreds of troubled facilities" that could qualify the closer look. "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identifies up to 136 nursing homes as 'special focus facilities' subject to more frequent inspections because of their living conditions. In every state except for Alaska, there are between one and six such facilities. But investigators said four times as many homes, or 580, could be considered among the nation's worst." Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, said the new investigation by the Government Accountability Office indicated that the government's "special focus" is too limited.
The following summarizes selected women's health-related blog entries. " Health Care Reform is a Woman's Issue, " Nancy Folbre, New York Times ' "Economix" : An exchange between Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) at Friday's Senate Finance Committee hearing illustrates why health reform is such an integral issue for women, Folbre -- an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst -- writes in the blog. In a discussion of what benefits private insurers should be required to offer, Kyl said he "'does not think he should be required to pay premiums to help finance maternity costs, since he has never needed maternity care, '" Folbre reports.
Homewatch CareGivers New, Expanded Pathways To Memory trade; Program To Help Enhance Cognitive Function For Patients With Memory Loss
Based on the ground-breaking program released in 2005, Homewatch CareGivers, the largest, most experienced international provider of full-service home care, announced the release of its newly expanded Pathways to Memory™ Program, a set of therapeutic activities delivered in a nurturing, failure-free environment that stimulates and enhances cognitive function for patients with early to mid stage dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other memory loss conditions. Now with more than 100 memory-enhancing activities, Pathways to Memory has achieved from 50% to more than 200% improvement in memory screenings with clients. The program is available exclusively through Homewatch CareGivers-certified specialists.
Some Illinois nursing homes create dangerous and unsafe environments by mixing seniors and younger mentally ill residents, the Chicago Tribune reports: "More than any other state, Illinois relies heavily on nursing homes to house mentally ill patients, including those who have committed crimes. But a Tribune investigation found that government, law enforcement and the industry have failed to adequately manage the resulting influx of younger residents who shuttle into nursing facilities from jail cells, shelters and psychiatric wards." Citing government records, the article reports that "mentally ill patients now constitute more than 15 percent of the state's total nursing home population of 92, 225, " and "the number of residents convicted of serious felonies has increased to 3, 000.
An 81-year-old San Francisco woman with dementia, little money and an equally aged caregiver sister who is suffering from cancer. A 72-year-old Riverside woman with Alzheimer's who cannot be left safely on her own, forcing her son to cut back his working hours to care for her. A 78-year-old Los Angeles man with Alzheimer's whose daughter will have to quit her job to take care of him if day care services are cut. These are some of the hundreds of thousands of low-income seniors who are likely to lose income - and some of the tens of thousands who will also lose some or all of the in-home and supportive care they rely on - as budget cuts resulting from California's 2009 fiscal crisis go into effect starting Oct.
Industry leaders say the nursing home industry could be at a tipping point. "The nation's nursing homes are perilously close to laying off workers, cutting services - possibly even closing - because of a perfect storm wallop from the recession and deep federal and state government spending cuts, industry experts say, " The Associated Press reports. "A Medicare rate adjustment that cuts an estimated $16 billion in nursing home funding over the next 10 years was enacted at week's end by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services." This move came in addition to state-level reductions or flat-funding "that already had the industry reeling. And Congress is debating slashing billions more in Medicare funding as part of health care reform.