- Created on 28 January 2013
This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in decades – with the Centers for Disease Control already reporting widespread outbreaks in many states.
While anyone can get the flu, seniors are especially susceptible to the virus and are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.
"The flu can be very dangerous for seniors, so we are concerned about this recent outbreak," said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network. "We encourage seniors and their families to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the virus."
To fight the flu, senior care experts recommend the following: Get a Flu Shot: Experts strongly encourage all seniors and those in frequent contact with seniors to get vaccinated if they haven't already done so. Medicare covers one vaccine per flu season.
Practice Good Hand Washing: Wash hands with soap frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes: Droplets from a sneeze or a cough can travel up to six feet. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
Stay In to Stay Well: If there's an outbreak in the area, avoid trips to crowded shopping centers or community events.
Avoid Contact: Those with flu-like symptoms, especially school-aged children, should avoid contact with senior loved ones. Enlist the help of friends, neighbors or professionals to take over caregiving responsibilities, if necessary.
Rest Well, Eat Well: Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy foods. Experts also recommend a diet rich in Vitamins C and D and plenty of exercise.
If senior loved ones begin to show symptoms of the flu, contact their health care provider immediately. Antiviral medications (like Tamiflu) are available to help make symptoms less severe.
For more information about senior and caregiver well-being, visit the website www.caregiverstress.com.
- Created on 28 January 2013
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has been ranked among FORTUNE magazine's elite list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America. It is the eighth consecutive time the not-for-profit pediatric health care system has been named to the list.
Landing at No. 46, Children's is the only hospital in Georgia to appear on the list. Children's is among just three companies with headquarters in Georgia and is one of only two pediatric hospitals to make the list. Children's stands among well-known and respected companies, including Aflac, Google, Zappos and American Express.
Children's operates three hospital campuses, including Children's at Egleston, Children's at Hughes Spalding and Children's at Scottish Rite, as well as 17 neighborhood locations.
Children's puts a primary focus on employees, so it makes sense that the organization was ranked on a list that highlights specialty areas such as health care, child care and work-life success.
- Created on 28 January 2013
Losing weight is among the most common New Year's resolutions. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers who want to lose weight to be cautious when signing up for gym memberships. Joining a health club is a big decision. It is important that you visit the club and feel that it is a good fit for both your budget and your lifestyle.
Before you sign a contract at a new health club, BBB advises you to consider your needs and your budget.
• Determine your fitness goals. It's hard work to lose weight, and you need to find a program you can stick with, and preferably one that you enjoy. Find a health club or exercise facility that is convenient and that offers times that fit your schedule.
• Visit the facility before joining. Check on cleanliness, adequacy of space, machines and instructors, and any other factors important to you. Ask if you can try the facility out before you join.
• Consider your budget. Ask the health club about "joining" or enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn't meet your needs? If the facility closes, can you transfer your membership to another facility?
• Read the entire contract. Does it list all services and facilities and hours of operation? Is everything the salesperson promised included in the contract? What's included in the monthly fee and what will cost you extra? What is the total cost, including enrollment fees and finance charges?
• Check with the BBB first. Check a company's Business Review at bbb.org.
Before beginning an exercise program or diet, the BBB advises consumers to consult a doctor for an assessment of over-all health risks. Get the doctor's recommendations on exercise regimens that fit your health status and ability to stick with it.
- Created on 28 January 2013
There's a crisis in primary health care. In some cities, almost 90 percent of primary care physicians are not accepting new patients because their practices are full. And it's only going to get worse, warns noted physician and emeritus professor of medicine Dr. Paul Griner (www.DrPaulGriner.com), author of "The Power of Patient Stories: Learning Moments in Medicine."
"In 2014, 32 million people currently without health insurance will become insured and there will be nowhere near enough primary-care physicians to meet their needs," Griner says. "Less than 20 percent of new physicians are entering primary care, which includes the specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics."
Griner, an internist and longtime advocate of physician-patient relationship as the first and most vital diagnostic tool, says it's important to find a doctor who will take the time to listen to you. But first, you need to decide what kind of primary care physician will best meet your needs. For instance, a family physician can care for both you and your children. A general internist is trained for the care of adults. A geriatrician has additional training in the care of older patients. A gynecologist may also have an interest in primary care.
Once you've made that decision, he offers these suggestions for qualities to look for:
• Someone who is interested in knowing the whole patient -- not just the illness. As the great Sir William Osler, Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford, once said, "The good physician knows the disease the patient has. The great physician knows the patient who has the disease."
• A patient-centered atmosphere in the office
• Someone who is a good listener. Most diagnoses can be made or suspected by letting the patient tell his or her story
• Someone who is willing to say, "I don't know," but does know where to go to get the answer, such as referring you to another doctor or using medical knowledge bases.
• Readiness to use the latest technology for communicating with patients, such as the I-phone, e-mail or Skype.
• Someone who values team care and values the role of advanced practice nurses or physician's assistants.
"Ask around," Griner says. "Get recommendations from friends and colleagues; the experience of other patients is always helpful. Ask your county medical society for names of physicians who are accepting new patients, or ask the premier hospital in your area, then check their credentials and look for feedback about timeliness, friendliness, etc., on-line."
If you want to do something about the primary care physician shortage, there are ways the public can help, Griner adds.
• Advocate for more support for primary care through your state and U.S. representatives. "Support" can include more money for primary care training grants; better compensation for primary care physicians; and expansion of sites that qualify as physician shortage areas
• Support the development of local "accountable care organizations" or networks by your local hospital, health system or group practice.
• Support community initiatives to recruit primary care physicians through incentives such as loan relief.
- Created on 28 January 2013
Regular check-ups and cleanings are vital to maintaining oral health, which benefits a person's overall health. However, finding compassionate dentists who feel comfortable treating children and adults with developmental disabilities is more than a little challenging for parents and caregivers.
To address the gap in dental care services to this special community, the DDD Foundation Inc., opened a dental clinic 10 years ago, and has been quietly, yet effectively working to fill this deficiency in the metro-Atlanta community and beyond. Founded by Dr. Deidra Rondeno, D.D.S., the DDD Foundation ensures that people with developmental disabilities have somewhere to receive comprehensive dental care.
"In 1997, a state-run facility that treated more than 2,000 patients with developmental disabilities closed, leaving those patients with limited places to receive dental care," said Rondeno.
In 2002, Rondeno opened the DDD Foundation's dental clinic, which is currently located in DeKalb County, Georgia. Working with her colleague Dr. LaTonya Wade-Crear, D.D.S., in addition to a small staff of 12 people, Rondeno and the DDD Foundation's dental clinic lovingly dispense treatment to children and adults with special needs.
Today, the DDD Foundation's dental clinic is the only one of its kind in metro-Atlanta providing dental services to more than 3,000 patients coming from more than 70 counties across the state of Georgia. Patients also come from around the region, with some coming from as far as Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Among the services the clinic provides are dental exams, cleanings, extractions, root canals, dentures and fillings. The clinic also provides sedation to patients, as many have a limited ability to withstand dental intervention and need behavioral assistance to undergo dental procedures.
As metro-Atlanta's population continues to grow, families with children or adults with disabilities have also been increasing in number. As a result, the dental clinic has outgrown its current space and has been attempting to raise funds and secure grants in order to relocate to a larger facility, which would accommodate more patients and provide more comprehensive services.
One of the DDD Foundation's major annual fundraisers is its 5K run/walk, which is now called the Dental Dash at Dawn and is to be held this year on March 30. The other major fundraising event the Foundation holds is a golf tournament in the summer. However, in the past, monies raised have not fully met the financial needs of the organization, much less allow for expansion.
To that end, as 2013 begins, the DDD Foundation is on a mission to secure community and corporate financial support for the vital work it is doing, so it will be increasing its fundraising activities, as well as its coalition building inside and outside the disability community.
"It's challenging work, yet we have found a way to provide the services necessary to address the needs of this underserved community and we want to help many more," says Rondeno. "It's also very fulfilling work because we leave everyday knowing we are making a difference in our patients' lives. Not only are we improving their oral health, but we also help to reduce some of the stress in the lives of their families and caregivers who love them and want to keep them healthy," she said.
For more information about the DDD Foundation and its services, go to www.dddfoundation.org or call Sheri Lynch or Shannon Jefferson at 404-942-0086.