Posts in Medical Care
If You Don't Know to Ask for Palliative Care, Will the Doctor Offer It to Your Loved One?

In 2011 and 2019, the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) conducted research about awareness, perceptions, and attitudes towards palliative care among adults, patients with a serious illness, caregivers, and physicians. A top concern among patients and caregivers is that doctors may not provide them with all the treatment options available. It seems that these concerns may be valid. Cardiologists and primary care physicians report being less comfortable with palliative care than other specialties. This post explores what caregivers, patients, and the medical profession can do.

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Age-Friendly Health Systems: A Welcome Innovation for Older Patients & Caregivers

If you accompany your parent or family member to doctor's appointments, you may have felt at times like the healthcare system simply isn't optimized for the needs of older patients. Fortunately, times are changing. The age-friendly health systems movement is gaining momentum. This post explores the what, who, why, and how of this emerging trend that will deliver more tailored care to older patients, as well as benefits for caregivers.

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Comprehensive Dementia Care Programs: Caregivers Are an Essential Part of the Equation

Unpaid caregivers provide 83% of total care to individuals with dementia. In 2018 alone, 18.5 billion hours of care valued at $234 billion were provided by family, friends, and other unpaid caregivers. Fortunately, healthcare systems and various not-for-profit foundations and advocacy organizations are exploring more comprehensive approaches to dementia care which provide resources for caregivers that can reduce their stress.

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When the Doctor Has Ordered Lab Tests and Your Parent Has Dementia…

This blog post may tread into the territory of TMI (too much information). However, if your parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s, helping them with lab tests can quickly become a challenge. While caring for my Dad, I adopted five techniques to help both of us through the trauma of routine lab tests. It’s my hope that these may help others out there too.

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Mom (or Dad) Seems Forgetful…Should I Be Worried?

I was recently speaking with a friend whose mother is in her early 80s. She lives across the country from her Mom and is starting to become concerned about changes that she's detected in her mother's behavior. It begs the question, if your Mom or Dad seems forgetful, should you be worried about dementia? In this blog post, we’ll discuss potential next steps if your family member doesn’t fit the profile for “normal,” aging-related forgetfulness.

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If the Doctor Recommends Surgery for Your Elderly Parent, Should They Say Yes?

Let's say that your elderly family member is of advanced age and perhaps they are already suffering from various health issues. If the doctor recommends surgery, what do you do? The reflexive response may be "yes," since we assume that doctors know best. But is it as simple as that? We’ll explore that question in this post

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Family Centered Hospital Communications: Not Just for Pediatric Patients

Its seems that many approaches to child care can be applied productively to other vulnerable populations, such as individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Yet, it seems like multi-generational, "cross-pollination" of best practices hasn’t occurred widely. The I-PASS study at Boston Children's Hospital focuses on family-centered hospital rounding processes. If family-centered communications can reduce medical errors for children, why not for older patients too?

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Mental Health Care: Too Often an Afterthought with Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients

Mental health care seems to be afterthought or downright ignored in our healthcare system. Yet, mental health services and expertise are essential components in a care plan for patients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers often find themselves at a loss, trying to identify the mental health services that their family members need….

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Delirium: When the Hospital Doesn't Agree with Your Elderly Parent

When an elderly parent is hospitalized, whether planned or unplanned, it's a stressful time for caregivers. Add hospital delirium to the mix and things can get overwhelming fast. Fortunately, awareness about delirium is on the rise in the medical community and there are things that both clinicians and families can do to reduce the likelihood of delirium developing.

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Caregiving Case Studies: Hospice Part II – End-of-Life Care in Acute Settings and at Home

Jennifer Martin, management consultant and healthcare strategist, recently shared her family’s experiences with hospice with me. We’re devoting two posts to hospice to cover the range of experiences more thoroughly. In this second post, we’ll focus on Jennifer’s mother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s experiences with hospice in a skilled nursing setting and at home, respectively.

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Caregiving Case Studies: Hospice Part I – End-of-Life Care in a Hospice Facility

Jennifer Martin, management consultant and healthcare strategist, recently shared her family’s experiences with hospice with me. Even in end of life situations, she found that navigating the hospice landscape may be challenging depending on each patient’s unique situation. In this post, we’ll focus on Jennifer’s Mom’s experience in a hospice facility and provide four takeaways for caregivers, plus a note for well-meaning visitors .

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Palliative Care: Matching Patient Goals and Treatment Options

Palliative care teams in hospitals, nursing homes, and medical centers can help patients clarify their goals around quality of life and then align those to treatment options. Many seniors and their caregivers are unaware that these resources exist. This post explores what palliative care is, its benefits, and recommendations for engaging with palliative care specialists.

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