Press

A collection of resources for senior care providers and their businesses.

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: October 27, 2017

CMS’ Discharge Planning Proposed Rule and the IMPACT on Post-Acute Care Transitions

The IMPACT Act, which is still in the process of being implemented today, was an effort to standardize those assessments across all PAC providers, so that case managers and others would be able to compare apples to apples and make the best care decisions for their patients.

No one knows better than a case manager the importance of quality data to help facilitate a safe transition of care for our patients. Quality data includes accurate, relevant and current information about the patient AND the post-acute care entities. In September 2014, Congress passed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act. At the time, patient assessment data was standardized by provider type, but not across the different post-acute care (PAC) settings. So, a skilled nursing facility, a physical rehabilitation center, and other types of PAC facilities might have completely different sets of questions they asked during patient assessments, and different ways of recording that information. The IMPACT Act, which is still in the process of being implemented today, was an effort to standardize those assessments across all PAC providers, so that case managers and others would be able to compare apples to apples and make the best care decisions for their patients.

“In essence, the act seeks to standardize data elements used through various patient and resident assessment instruments by aligning certain data elements across instruments, to support our ability to measure and compare quality across the providers and settings of care,” said Patrick Conway, MD, MSc., CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator, and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality, and CMS Chief Medical Officer, in a 2016 video from MLN Connects published on YouTube.1 “The act allows interoperability, which permits the seamless exchange of information across providers—not only PAC providers, but other providers who offer care to individuals as well. In the ideal state, important information would follow the patient, as services are delivered in hospitals and by physicians, long-term and PAC providers, and home- and community-based service providers. This will be a critical step towards coordinating care and proving Medicare beneficiary outcomes.” 

Certainly, the goals Conway mentioned are the same goals of case managers everywhere—to have a uniform way to measure and compare PAC providers in order to make the best possible decision for each patient based on his or her individual needs. But we’ve still got a ways to go.

In October 2015, just over a year after the introduction of the IMPACT act, CMS announced the Discharge Planning Proposed Rule, which would “revise the discharge planning requirements that hospitals, including long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies, must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” according to CMS’ website.2 “The proposed changes would modernize the discharge planning requirements by: bringing them into closer alignment with current practice; helping to improve patient quality of care and outcomes; and reducing avoidable complications, adverse events, and readmissions.” Importantly, CMS says, the proposed rule would also, finally, “implement the discharge planning requirements” of the IMPACT Act.

Under the proposed rule, hospitals and critical access hospitals would be required to:

  • Develop a discharge plan within 24 hours of admission or registration;
  • Provide discharge instructions to patients who are discharged home (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • Have a medication reconciliation process with the goal of improving patient safety by enhancing medication management (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • For patients who are transferred to another facility, send specific medical information to the receiving facility; and
  • Establish a post-discharge follow-up process (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only).

With already-heavy workloads, case managers are going to need sophisticated tools in order to be ready to meet these requirements when the rule takes full effect. For example, in order to develop a discharge plan within 24 hours as the proposed changes require, case managers will need to find a way to sift through information about hundreds of different PAC providers quickly and efficiently. Luckily, software solutions exist now that allow case managers and other hospital workers to do just that—a comprehensive database with contact and geographical information, quality scores, medical and non-medical resources, and corresponding financial information for a variety of PAC providers.

Another critical feature of such a database, when it comes to meeting the requirements of the new CMS proposed rule, is that both the clinical care team and the patient and family members can access the database to make sense of the choices available. That’s because the new rule has a lot more focus on taking into account the patient’s input in their own care. “The proposed rule emphasizes the importance of the patient’s goals and preferences during the discharge planning process. These improvements should better prepare patients and their caregivers to be active partners for their anticipated health and community support needs upon discharge from the hospital or post-acute care setting,” says the CMS website. “In addition, patients and their caregivers would be better prepared to select a high-quality post-acute care provider, since hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies would be required to use and share data, including data on quality and resource use measures. This results in the meaningful involvement of patients and their caregivers in the discharge planning process.”

Case managers are committed to providing the highest quality and most complete post-acute care information to our patients. We realize the importance of patient and family buy-in of the discharge plan and its direct impact on keeping the patients from being readmitted to the hospital, and I believe that most of my colleagues support the proposed rulings in the IMPACT Act to help make this a reality. We also know, however, that it’s really difficult to access current, clean PAC data (that we trust) in an efficient manner. We need a resource database that not only provides lists, qualifications and special offerings of post-acute care providers but offers quality scores to help assure the case manager is creating the best discharge plan. We have a ways to go, but I’m confident that this type of solution will blaze a new trail for our patients and care team members.

About Carelike

Carelike's extensive database of medical and non-medical transition care providers allows your discharge team to improve their efficiencies. Provider data is augmented with proprietary professional quality metrics as well as CMS scoring. Our technology provides ease of use standalone portals or EHR integration to help discharge teams select the best care providers. 

Organize your patient and family communication with our CareTrait technology. Comply with CMS initiatives including the proposed patient discharge IMPACT Act rule and significantly reduce the burden on this already over-stretched group of professionals. The solution greatly improves communication between discharge teams, patients and families and prioritizes preferred community-based services enabling the case manager to fulfill their responsibilities while improving care coordination. 

 

 

References:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQpGMg2-bhQ

2. https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-10-29.html  

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Blog  |  On: December 22, 2016

5 New Year’s Resolutions for care professionals

There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.

Believe it or not, 2016 is coming to a close, which means that a lot of people are thinking about New Year's resolutions. There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.

A new year is always a fresh start. Consider some of these New Year's resolutions for caregiver in order to have a happy and healthy 2017 for both you and your patients.

1. Take more time for yourself: As a caregiver, you often have a lot of responsibilities both at work and at home. And, more often than not, it can seem like you are burning the candle at both ends at times. However, your career as a caregiver is all about finding the right work-life balance. After all, if you are completely burnt out at work, you aren't going to be in the right mindset to properly care for your patients. Be sure that you take time off when you need it, find room to exercise and relax, and keep those extra-long days to a minimum. 

2. Get organized: With so many patients, medication schedules and updates to keep track of, caregivers need to take steps to be more organized. Fortunately, there are a lot of tech solutions that can help you accomplish this. Also be sure to document all of your patients' papers and files in an online forum so that they are easy to find. Some time management tools include CareZone, Evernote and Personal Caregiver, to name a few.

 

There are plenty of great New Year's Resolutions for care professionals this year.

There are plenty of great New Year's resolutions for care professionals this year.

3. Learn how to delegate and say 'no' when you need to: Caregivers by nature want to make sure they are doing everything they can for their patients. However, it's simply impossible to meet everyone's needs 100 percent of the time. To prevent burnout and make sure your patients are properly cared for, you will need to learn how to say no when you simply don't have the time and to lean on family caregivers and friends of patients when you can't be there in person.

4. Start doing your research: With so many therapies and treatments getting more advanced by the minute, the possibilities for better care are endless. When have some down time, begin reading studies and publications about caregiving so that you are staying on top of the best cutting-edge treatments. You could also take the time to learn about healthcare plans and reforms so that you are better equipped to answer common questions from your patients about coverage and costs.

5. A renewed focus on nutrition and exercise for your patients: Seniors need daily exercise and nutrients in order to live the best quality of life. However, this is far too often swept under the rug in most care plans today. While you are documenting your patients' care plans, be sure to also include information about diet and exercise so that you have a holistic care plan in place for all of your patients heading into 2017.

If you are unsure about what your New Year's resolution should be this year, consider one of these suggestions to get 2017 off to a good start. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: November 28, 2016

Coordinating home healthcare schedules with patient family members

The field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern healthcare.

Caregiving is a task that requires a lot of patience and understanding. In addition to having empathy for those who need your medical care, you must find ways to make caregiving management less stressful and more meaningful for both you and your patients.

Many of your patients rely on family members to help them complete daily tasks, especially if they struggle with cognitive issues like Alzheimer's disease or physical disabilities. Everything from medication instructions to appointment scheduling must be communicated with family members and other loved ones to ensure your patients are finding the right balance and staying as healthy as possible.

That's why coordinating schedules with patient family members is so important. It helps you communicate better with the people who need your services the most, and it also makes your job a little easier as well. Fortunately, the field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern caregiving.

If you're a healthcare provider looking for better ways to coordinate schedules with patient family members, read below for some sound advice on how to get started.

 

There are several caregiving apps that can help better manage your time with patients and their families.

There are several caregiving apps that can help better manage your time with patients and their families.

1. Talk about your schedules from the very beginning: It's easy to get overwhelmed with your work as a caregiver, so you'll need to set boundaries and schedules with new patients and their families from the very beginning. Let them know when you will be available for work and when certain hours and days are off-limits. Being a caregiver means you can likely balance your own schedule and do amazing things for your patients. However, job demands can be challenging in this field, so it's important to schedule time for yourself as well.

2. Make a care calendar for patient family members: With so many appointments, medications and treatments to keep track of with each patient, care calendars are a must. Just like you, patient family members have careers, schedules, relationships and kids to think about in addition to their loved one who needs care. Having a care calendar lays out all of the information your patient needs upfront so that both parties can keep track of medications, doctor's visits, physical therapy sessions and other treatments needed to stay healthy.

3. Try out caregiving apps: Smartphones and other remote devices have become a huge asset for caregivers who want to balance schedules, especially with patients and their family members. According to Provider magazine, there are several reputable apps to choose from that can help you balance your activities directly from your phone or tablet, and some even link to social media sites and online calendars to make life even easier for all parties involved. What's more, many of these apps are available for free through the iOS and Android stores. Some of these include Balance, CareZone, Balance and Care/Mind. If you already carry around a smartphone for personal use, try downloading one of these apps to see if it works for you and your busy lifestyle.

Balancing your time as a caregiver can get tricky, especially with so many people to care for. However, by following these tips, you can worry less about scheduling and focus on what matters most: your patients and their families.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Press Release  |  On: November 15, 2016

Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry

Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions.

Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry

Media contact:
Stephanie F. Jackson
Carelike, LLC.
Tele: (404) 250-8370

ATLANTA, GA. (November 15, 2016) -- As many Americans (especially baby boomers) are discovering, finding the perfect care service for a senior loved one is challenging. Per data from a 2015 AARP report, approximately 43.5 million adults provided unpaid elder care, mainly to relatives. This number only stands to grow as baby boomers age, and Carelike has come up with a solution.

With most senior-placement companies, care seekers use online or call-in services to find an assisted living community or home health aide for their loved one. However, they only get information from a small, select number of providers who have a contract to be listed on that referral company's website. This means care seekers miss out on many providers who might more closely fit their needs, have more esteemed credentials or elicited better patient reviews.

The senior care referral industry has been around for years, and so has Carelike (previously SNAPforSeniors). The organization is well-connected and has the experience and expertise required to drive a much-needed change to the industry. Their business model has always put the care-seeker first. Everyone who is a licensed senior care professional - not just those who "pay to play" - shows up in Carelike's comprehensive database of providers. This is because Carelike pulls from 400 different sources to gather data on senior and post-acute care providers. The organization then goes to great lengths to clean, filter and augment the data to give care seekers the most up-to-date and accurate picture of each provider.

This methodology has made Carelike the preferred partner for organizations who help consumers find care, which include renowned health organizations, health insurance companies, care management companies, EAPs and patient advocacy groups, including the Alzheimer's Association.

If you haven't heard of Carelike, it may be because the company has always worked behind the scenes providing well-known, reputable organizations with data. Now that this company aims to appeal to consumer care seekers, Carelike will share providers' information with not only organizations who license the data but with family members looking for senior services through their new consumer search site.

Carelike is the only online senior listing company that provides that type of exposure for providers - to both consumers and professional care-seekers at organizations who license the data. Meanwhile, Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions. Discover the possibilities for yourself at CareLike.com.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: September 13, 2016

How to become a home health aide

Caregiver jobs offer a gateway to an exciting and rewarding career path that other occupations simply can't offer.

Caregiver jobs offer a gateway to an exciting and rewarding career path that other occupations simply can't offer. However, the idea of all the studying, classwork and experience required to become a nurse practitioner or doctor often dissuades compassionate people from pursuing these careers. Fortunately, there's a way you can help others in no time at all - by becoming a home health aide.

As U.S. News and World Report explained, home health aides perform a combination of nursing duties and housework in an effort to make living at home easier for clients. For instance, they might one day help wipe up a spill in a senior's kitchen that the individual can't bend down and clean on his or her own. The next afternoon could be spent bathing patients and attending to wounds.

Andrea Devoti of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice told USN that home health aides have a unique and profound impact on clients.

"Many of our patients will think of their [home care aide] as the nurse that really cured them because he or she helped them do the things they needed to do to get well," she said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for this job is growing, and home health aides make an average hourly wage of $10.54. If you're looking for a way to make money doing exactly what you love, you might consider pursuing a career as a home health aide. Learn how to get started:

Determine if this career path is right for you
If you're reading this article, you no doubt have a passion for helping others. However, there is more to the home health aide job than providing care. It's important to understand all responsibilities to determine whether this career is the right for for you.

According to the BLS, home health aides may help clients with daily living tasks like bathing and dressing, organize and plan their appointments, check vital signs, perform housekeeping, encourage socialization and go grocery shopping.

 

CPR training group.

Home health aides may need to undergo CPR training to become certified.

Receive training
If those duties seem like tasks you'd enjoy, then the next step involves training. Formal education is not a requirement for this position, but you will need training from a qualified agency, which will teach you how to check vital signs, nutrition basics and first aid, among other relevant lessons. Afterwards, you'll have to pass a competency test in order to receive certification.

Apply for jobs
Now, it's time to start your job hunt! You'll likely apply for a home health agency that will then connect you with clients. This way, you can receive guaranteed hours and employee benefits as well as support for caring for clients.

To make sure you land the interview, Entrepreneur advised making sure you meet most of the qualifications before applying. Additionally, adjust your resume to better demonstrate how your skills make you an ideal candidate for a particular job. 

What are you waiting for? If a career as a home health aide seems like the right fit for you, get started on your journey today.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: September 01, 2016

Stay safe as a home health care worker

A general sense of caution is vital for home health workers considering you have limited control over the work environment.

Homes are often regarded as safe havens. However, if you're working in the home health field, it's important to avoid letting your guard down even if the house's walls are lined with embroidered pictures of flower fields. While you certainly shouldn't fear your clients, a general sense of caution is vital considering you have limited control over the work environment. Here are a few tips to stay safe on the job:

Beware of dog
Even the most experienced animal experts are at risk for injury. Just consider the Bengal tiger who attacked Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy in 2003. The men had put on shows with these animals 2,000 times without incident before one cat inexplicably mauled Roy, according to the Today show.

While it's unlikely you'll encounter a tiger while working in home health jobs, pets can pose risks, too. Survey data cited in the book "Advances in Patient Safety: New Directions and Alternative Approaches (Vol. 1: Assessment)" found that 17 percent of home health care workers have dealt with aggressive pets on the job. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare advised those in this field to not touch pets. In fact, you might benefit from requesting the client put the animal in a cage or separate room during your visit.

 

Beagle sitting in kennel.

As tempting as it may be, avoiding touching clients' pets to remain safe.

Practice caution with clients
While your job is to help clients with daily living activities and provide care, you have to look out for your own well-being, too. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, health care workers are at a higher risk for workplace violence than other occupations, much of which is due to violent clients. Individuals you work with are unwell in some shape or form, and their condition can make them aggressive. For instance, a devastating prognosis or certain medications can prompt people to be combative.

This won't be the case with every client you encounter, but if an incident does occur, use it as an opportunity to evaluate cause and risk factors. Adjust your practices to protect yourself, or speak with your employer about working with a colleague on certain jobs to create a safer environment.

"Always bring along non-latex disposable gloves and hand sanitizer."

Keep it clean
Your own home might be spick and span, but there's no telling what conditions will be like in your clients' houses. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, unsanitary spaces exasperate the spread disease and infections and can cause medical supplies to become contaminated. Some may even put home health workers in the midsts of bed bugs or mites.

If this is the case for you, always bring along non-latex disposable gloves and hand sanitizer. Additionally, limit what supplies you take into the home, as this will expose less equipment to potential contamination. Finally, watch where you place your belongings, like a purse or backpack. Instead of setting them down on the carpet or upholstered furniture, which are more likely to harbor germs, set them on a table or keep them in the car.

Handle with care
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nursing assistants are among the top occupations for incurring musculoskeletal injuries. Lifting patients is a major contributor to this issue. It's important for home health workers to practice appropriate techniques when moving clients.

This can be challenging in the home health field considering these workers often go to jobs alone and client homes don't always have lifting equipment. In this case, you should assess the patient's risk for falls and keep an open line of communication with your employer about the situation. Together, you and the agency you work for can come up with a plan to keep both you and the client safe from injury.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: August 04, 2016

How home health providers can discuss long-term care options with seniors

Unless you're a live-in caretaker, chances are there will come a time when you client needs a more permanent solution for his or her health needs, such as moving to assisted living community.

As a home health provider, you have such an important job helping seniors age in place as long as possible. However, unless you're a live-in caretaker, there will likely come a time when you client needs a more permanent solution for his or her health needs, such as moving to assisted living community. Here's how to approach that discussion with older adults:

Act as the buffer for family members
If your clients have family members involved in their lives like adult children, these individuals will likely be the ones making the final decision. However, there's a good chance they'll invite you to the discussion with the senior.

In this position, you might best serve as the buffer between family members and the senior. As research published in "Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses" explained, seniors may feel like their freedoms are being taken away when family members provide care. This sense of confinement may increase when discussions of assisted living come into play. You can keep the peace in the family by conveying important information while emphasizing that the senior will still maintain his or her independence.

Don't procrastinate on this duty
Telling clients that they may fare better in an assisted living community isn't always an easy conversation. In fact, you might find yourself avoiding the topic altogether. Otherwise, it could be the family that's stalling. Either way, this type of procrastination can do more harm than good, especially when clients experience cognitive decline.

As the Alzheimer's Association explained, people are more likely to react positively to a long-term care move when they are involved in the decision-making process. That requires home care workers to have this conversation while the client is still able to understand what this transition means and can communicate their thoughts.

 

Senior woman in wheel chair gardening.

Assisted living communities allow seniors to enjoy hobbies like gardening.

Focus on the benefits of assisted living communities
While it is important to discuss why part-time care is not sufficient for the client's health needs, you can also highlight how transitioning to assisted living brings tons of advantages. For one, staff at these locales know that the move can be challenging, and that's why they create a welcoming atmosphere. Plus, they have plenty of activities for residents to fill their days, such as outings at the theater to fitness classes.

As Helpguide.com explained, most reservations seniors have about assisted living communities turn out to be myths. For example, independence isn't lost with this transition as many older adults fear. In fact, assisted living communities are designed to preserve autonomy, providing care when needed but giving residents a lot of personal freedom. Residents can enjoy their normal hobbies like reading or gardening and still visit with family and friends. Many residences host events to encourage visitors to get involved with the community.

As a home health provider, you have a duty to care for your clients, and that includes quelling their fears and helping them lead a more fulfilling lifestyle. Be honest with seniors about whether your services can help them, and guide them and their families through the transition to assisted living.

For an additional resource regarding discussing moving options with seniors, check out the senior guide to downsizing.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: July 20, 2016

More opportunities await home health care providers

As of right now, the demand for home health care is rising. Here's what providers need to know.

Regardless of your profession, it is important to stay on top of industry trends to get a better idea of both future outlooks and overall job security. The same rings especially true for home health care providers. Nurses and aides would benefit from researching trends in this field to understand how they can adapt with the times.

As of right now, the demand for home health care is rising. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for home health aides will rise 38 percent by 2024. Learn about some of the factors driving this trend so you can know what lies ahead: 

An aging population
It's no secret that baby boomers are rapidly entering the age of retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 44.7 million individuals age 65 and older in America in 2013. This age group is expected to grow to 98.2 million by 2060,. This highlights the need for health care to focus on this population's unique and often serious well-being needs.

One way to prepare for this transition is to boost funding home health care services. That was one such solution discussed at the 2013 National Association for Home Care & Hospice annual meeting, the Association of Health Care Journalists reported.

"Hospitals or nursing homes are no longer the only options," Senator Harry Reid said during his presentation. "In the months and years to come, the home health care industry will become the de facto solution for many as our aging population requires more care."

 

Happy senior couple walking together on beach.

Baby boomers are reaching retirement age.

Rising health costs
As a health care provider, you may find clients using your services partly because the alternatives are just too expensive. According to a study published in Health Affairs, insurance costs are going up as health care advances. That is, progressive treatments and drugs are more expensive than their past, perhaps less effective counterparts. While this trend equals better health outcomes, it can also cause pain for the wallet.

Home health care is a cost-effective way to combat this problem. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services highlighted, a single bedroom unit at an assisted living community can run residents up 3,293 per month. Meanwhile, in-home options, like the use of home health or home care, can be done on an hourly basis. This way, clients can pay for just what they need.

As a home health provider, you have the unique opportunity to deliver high-quality care in the comfort of your clients' homes while helping them save money. Your job is vital to the well-being of the senior population, and job opportunities are abundant.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: May 11, 2016

Addressing health care workplace violence

Health care workers see folks on their worst days, which means they may be extremely sick, scared, angry and even violent.

Health care workers don't get enough credit for what they go through. From home health aides and registered nurses to physicians and psychiatrists, there is no telling what types of patients they'll care for in a given shift. Remember, health care workers see folks on their worst days, which means they may be extremely sick, scared, angry and even violent. That latter trait occurs all too often, putting care professionals' physical safety and emotional well-being at risk.

"A total of 154 shootings occurred at hospitals between 2000-2011."

A violent epidemic
According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the health care industry lays claim to the second-most violent workplace, falling behind only law enforcement. The article reviewed other studies on the issue and found that this problem exists for just about every field in health care.

For example, 61 percent of providers who work in the home setting encounter violence each year, and 40 percent of psychiatrists suffer the same fate. However, emergency room workers may get the worst of it. All ER nurses endure verbal assaults, while 82.1 percent experience physical attacks. Additionally, violence happens to 78 percent of ER physicians.

These statistics demonstrate that health care workers are more likely than not to experience workplace violence. As Dr. James P. Phillips told Medscape Medical News, those who don't work in the medical industry may be surprised at these findings.

"Workplace violence with nurses, physicians and other health care workers is a much bigger problem than the general public knows," Phillips said. "Health care providers also seem to be unaware of the extent of the violence."

Phillips explained to Reuters that many of these violent acts involve weapons in addition to kicking, punching and spitting. A total of 154 shootings occurred at hospitals between 2000 and 2011, and attackers were motivated by anything from revenge against health care workers to mercy killings.

The reason behind these staggering statistics remains unclear. According to Phillips, the mental condition of the patients plays a major role in these high rates of violence. Specifically, conditions like dementia, substance abuse and delirium make people act in ways they wouldn't otherwise. He also blames environmental contributors like gang activity or poor food quality in medical facilities.

Medscape highlighted another perspective from University of Cincinnati in Ohio's Dr. Gordon Gillespie. While he didn't offer an alternative rationale for behavior, he did point out that many instances of violence related to patients who didn't have behavioral health issues were unreported. As such, the statistics were misleading in regards to both the prevalence of the issue and why it was occurring.

Underreporting also leads to the problem not getting enough attention. As Phillips explained to Reuters, this may be due to providers making excuses for their patients - blaming their actions on an altered mental state, for example. Otherwise, workers may not report the issue because they don't feel it will be taken seriously.

 

Tired doctor with hand on head.Health care workers are at risk for workplace violence.

Address workplace violence in health care
Regardless of why medical professionals experience violence on the job, the health care industry must address these all too frequent assaults and threats. Of course, there is no foolproof solution to the problem, but certain strategies can better protect nurses, doctors, aides and other providers.

For instance, Reuters pointed out the solution to better track past instances of violence, and more effective patient chart designs may help. This way, employees could follow special protocol for patient care, such as avoiding being alone with the individual, for instance. Another possibility is making physical assaults on health care workers a felony. Overall, medical facilities must create an environment where workers feel comfortable and safe enough to report instances of abuse.

Raising awareness on health care workplace violence is the first step to combating the issue. Preventing assaults, whether verbal or physical, is vital to keeping medical professionals safe and healthy.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: April 19, 2016

3 common health problems facing seniors

With 14.1 percent of the population made up of seniors, it's clear that the health care industry is tending for many aging bodies.

Americans are continually entering retirement age. In fact, according to 2013 statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, the U.S. was home to 44.7 million adults 65 and older. With 14.1 percent of the population made up of seniors, it's clear that the health care industry is tending for many aging bodies. That means medical professionals, from doctors to home health aides, must remain aware of common health issues related to seniors. Here are a few to keep in mind:

1. Obesity
Being overweight is one of the most common challenges impacting seniors. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that between 2007-2010, 34.6 percent of seniors were obese. This condition is linked to a number of issues, including diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, difficulty breathing and sleep apnea, among others. 

Seniors face unique obstacles with their weight compared to the general population. Not only is extra weight harder on their bodies, but seniors also have additional risk factors. As Everyday Health explained, older adults experience slower metabolisms, especially those who don't exercise. Additionally, even though they may require fewer calories based on their sedentary lifestyle, seniors may continue eating the same way they always have, leading to weight gain.

As a health care professional, it's important to provide nutrition and exercise consultation to your senior clients. Additionally, encourage them to remain active, as this can help them maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.

2. Arthritis
A disease often associated with age, arthritis is a major problem among seniors, Dr. Marie Bernard of Maryland's National Institute on Aging told Everyday Health.

"Arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with," she said.

Nearly half of the older adult population lives with this painful disease. Between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the latter is most common among seniors, and it can cause stiffness that makes mobility difficult. While this discomfort can be discouraging, geriatric caretakers should do their best to keep their older clients moving. According to the National Institutes of Health, a combination of exercise, a well-balanced diet and joint protection (like proper-fitting shoes and mobility assistance devices) can contribute to an effective treatment plan.

 

Male nurse talking to patient.Senior clients may need canes to stay mobile.

3. Depression
Many people don't realize that depression is actually a prevalent health issue among seniors. Intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and fatigue are not a normal component of aging, regardless of what your client and his or her family may believe. In fact, seniors who do not receive treatment for depression may even commit suicide, according to the NIH.

Many seniors have difficulty adjusting to shifting family roles and may feel isolated, as not working provides less opportunities to socialize. As a health care provider, it's important to identify symptoms of depression in your senior clients. These may include feeling tired and anxious, being unable to focus, an inability to sleep or staying in bed too long, and experiencin

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