Blood Donation

Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood?

On December 31, 1969, President Nixon designated January as National Blood Donors Month. The goal of this proclamation was to bring awareness and support for the voluntary donation of blood. Many blood banks run short of supply following the holidays which impacts local hospitals in their ability to provide life-saving treatments. There are many organizations actively collaborating on how to best support routine blood donation from communities.

Blood Donation Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic helped to raise awareness of donation of whole blood, plasma, and platelet donations. Shortages revealed the need for varying not just the donation type but the varying types of blood. While there are limitations on who can receive what blood, no matter the blood type (A, AB, B, and O), the donation is needed. This is also true for Rh factors (+ or -); your blood can save a life.

Blood Type

Thyroid Health and the Aging Process

The thyroid, more specifically the thyroid gland, is part of the endocrine system. The gland is responsible for producing two hormones, the thyroxine (T4) and the triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid sits just below the voice box and is made up of a right lobe and a left lobe. The thyroid is involved in the metabolism processes of the cells. Disorders of the thyroid can result in too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little production (hypothyroidism) of hormones.

In the elderly, thyroid disease can be confused with other conditions given the symptoms that are present and the physical changes a person may experience. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, heat intolerance, anxiety, and gritty eyes. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness, feeling cold, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and depression. With aging, individuals may only experience one or two symptoms.

Daily medications are often prescribed for the treatment of thyroid disease either supporting hormone production or inhibiting hormones. Consistency with a prescribed medication regimen is critical to effectively managing thyroid disease. Home health services are available to support understanding thyroid disease in the elderly, creating effective medication management regimens, and supporting healthy lifestyle choices around weight changes and energy levels for self-care.

For more information, check out these resources at

https://www.btf-thyroid.org/what-is-thyroid-disorder#:~:text=The%20thyroid%20gland%20is%20an,your%20body%20to%20work%20normally.

Home Health and Glaucoma

Managing progressive illnesses, such as glaucoma, require proactive interventions. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-tips-for-living-better-with-glaucoma), individuals diagnosed with glaucoma can prevent progression by

  1. adhering to medications
  2. avoiding falls and accidents
  3. maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  4. reading
  5. creating a support team

Home health services support patients by creating positive routines for the care and management of their person and their disease (https://preferhome.com/senior-resources/common-senior-illnesses/glaucoma/). Because glaucoma can impact the way an individual processes light vs. dark, contrasts, transitioning from different lit rooms, or have sensitivity to light or glare, home health professionals, such as occupational therapists, are uniquely trained to examine and process these environmental challenges.

Our goal is to keep patients in their chosen living environment. Proactively setting up systems helps make this a reality.

Growing and Serving more communities in 2023

Elite Home Health & Hospice is committed to serving the communities of the Lewiston/Clarkston valley, Moscow, and Orofino. We have been able to expand our services and support patients as far as Kooskia and up into Potlatch in 2022. We grew by adding in palliative services in April of 2022. Our growth is not going to stop in 2023. We plan to launch with home health services in Craigmont and Winchester in early 2023 and expand services by the end of the year.

This endeavor means that we are looking at what makes Elite an employer of choice within our communities. We believe that within the jobs that we create to support these communities we are employing individuals with a mission to provide “life-changing service.” Home Health, Palliative and Hospice services are also opportunities for individuals to pursue work-life balance with a flexible schedule, competitive wages and benefits, and a work culture that is supportive. Our core values of CAPLICO are a driving force for how and who we are.

C – Customer Second

A – Accountability

P – Passion for Learning

L – Love One Another

I – Intelligent Risk Taking

C – Celebration

O – Ownership

WE are regularly reviewing our areas of service and how to better meet those needs. If you are a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, registered dietitian, social worker, or nurses’ aide, we would love the opportunity to speak with you about your goals and aspirations. Our home health and hospice programs are always growing. We know the needs of our community are great. If you are a provider (a physician or nurse practitioner), we would love to speak with you about ways that you can participate in Elite’s unique mission to provide “life-changing service” in hospice and palliative care.

2023 is going to be a great year. We are so excited to have you join us!

Senior Health Fair at the Elk’s

Join Elite Home Health & Hospice in partnership with the Lewiston Elks Lodge No. 896

Together, we proudly present the 2022 LC Valley Senior Health Fair.

This event takes place on Wednesday, September 14, 3:00 – 6:00pm at the Lewiston Elks Lodge, 3444 Country Club Drive, Lewiston.

During the event there will be senior health screenings, senior health related vendors and presentations, plus refreshments and a giveaway.

The event is open to the community and FREE of charge. For more information or to RSVP 509-758-2568.

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

According to Psoriasis.org, psoriasis does not have a clear origin. However, what results is an inflammatory response that demonstrates dysfunction of the immune system. The physical signs of the inflammation such as raised plaques and scales may result from an overactive immune system. This changes the speed of cell growth and impacts the life cycle of skin cells from weeks down to days. Doctors have to manage additional complexities in seniors when considering treatment (Balato et al., 2014). Managing comorbidities, the challenges with taking multiple medications, and progressive functional impairment of body systems impact what treatment options are available. The first strategy is to use a topical treatment (Balato et al., 2014).

Inflammation caused by psoriasis can impact other organs and tissues in the body (psoriasis.org). Other conditions may co-exist, such as arthritis which can result in permanent joint damage. A significant concern for seniors is in the overall management and strategy as these conditions can go undiagnosed and therefore untreated (Butler and Koo, 2015). Increasing awareness and understanding of this disease is critical for effective management.

Resources:

https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40266-014-0156-6

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-18380-0_5#citeas

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

The National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an opportunity to learn and better understand the role of vaccines in your healthcare plan. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. The COVID 19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life. There have been known challenges with patients’ ability to attend important appointments and receive routine vaccinations. There has been significant questions raised about vaccines and how they work which has created delays in how people are accessing and scheduling immunizations.

During NIAM, we encourage you to talk to your doctor, nurse or healthcare provider to ensure you and your family are protected against serious diseases by getting caught up on routine vaccination. If you have questions, ask your provider. If you are on our home health, palliative, or hospice services, ask one of your clinicians for information and resources.

June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

Our role in home health and hospice is to meet the needs of our patients where they are and help them achieve their goals. Managing the debilitating side effects of chronic headaches and migraines in the elderly is a unique skill that requires our attention for home health recovery and supporting the patient through symptoms while on hospice.  In the realm of home health, successful management of migraines is critical as there is an increased risk for stroke and other neurological symptoms if left untreated; in fact, poorly treated migraines often resulting in the severity intensifying which impacts quality of life (Curto et al., 2018).  Part of the management involves assessment of body weight, hydration needs, muscle/fat ratios, and albumin levels; each of these is vital in advocating for pharmacological solutions and identifying environmental factors which may be impacting the patient’s management of their condition (Wijeratne et al., 2019; Curto et al., 2018). Further, routine medication reviews address common challenges in the geriatric population for low treatment adherence resulting in suboptimal health outcomes (Wang & Wang, 2021). Addressing these concerns may result in further determination of other underlying conditions that may be a cause for headaches, such as elevated blood pressures (Wang & Wang, 2021).  Knowing these elements, aids providers in creating comprehensive strategies for their patients. Finally, medication reviews also help to address misuse of prescribed medications in the management of migraines in the elderly (de Rijk et al., 2017).  Home health completes regular medication reviews and access to healthcare professionals to train proper dosing and administration.

If you are looking to learn more, check out these resources:

https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/head.13247

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11916-021-00976-x#citeas

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/494758

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14656566.2018.1543660

June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects the muscle, specifically resulting in fluctuations in strength with worsening upon exertion and improvement with rest. This feature is critical in the management of the disease and directs rehabilitative efforts to support functional recovery and optimize return to muscle function. Exercise-based interventions have been assessed on individuals with motoneuron disease, peripheral nerve disease, neuromuscular transmission disease, and muscle disease (Cun et al, 2007).  Critically, interventions that targeted specific muscle groups by implementing strategic exercises and modalities resulting in improvement in bodily functions, activities, and participation as defined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) (Cun et al., 2007). Therefore, addressing disease which impact the neuromuscular junction may consider the role of rehabilitative professionals in physical and occupational therapy to optimize recovery according to the ICF model (Cun et al., 2007).  Exercises that have proven most impactful include a combination of aerobic and resistance training (Westerberg et al., 2018).  Additional research is needed to investigate the benefits of modalities, such as ultrasound. However, the measurements for success in treatment reviewed elements of fall risk and safety in transferring positions (Westerberg et al., 2018). Myasthenia gravis is a disease process with 5 main classifications which identify specific areas of the body most affected (Trouth et al., 2012).  While classes 3 and 4 may most benefit from physical and occupational therapy, classes affecting oropharyngeal and respiratory muscles, 2 and 5, may benefit from speech pathology to aid in strategies for safe swallowing (Trouth et al., 2012). The role of therapy in supporting functional outcomes is critical in any phase of myasthenia gravis which impacts the patient’s ability to engage in activities of daily living.  

For more information, read the following articles:

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ad/2012/874680/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081147/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003999307014517