Navigating Oral Cancer with Home Health Support

Oral cancer, though not as widely discussed as some other forms of cancer, poses a significant threat to individuals worldwide. It affects various parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, and throat, and can have serious consequences if not detected and treated early. In the realm of cancer care, home health services play a crucial role in providing support and management for individuals diagnosed with oral cancer.

One of the primary benefits of home health services for oral cancer patients is the personalized care they receive in the comfort of their own homes. Home health professionals, including skilled nurses, speech therapists, and nutritionists, can develop comprehensive care plans tailored to the unique needs of each patient. This may include assistance with pain management, wound care, and nutritional support to help patients maintain their strength and well-being throughout treatment.

Moreover, home health services can facilitate continuity of care for oral cancer patients, ensuring seamless coordination between healthcare providers and specialists involved in their treatment. Regular home visits by skilled professionals enable close monitoring of the patient’s condition, early detection of complications, and timely adjustments to treatment plans as needed. This proactive approach can help mitigate potential side effects of cancer treatment and improve overall outcomes for patients.

Additionally, home health services play a vital role in addressing the psychosocial and emotional needs of oral cancer patients and their families. Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be emotionally challenging, and having the support of compassionate home health professionals can provide much-needed comfort and reassurance during this difficult time. They can offer counseling, education, and resources to help patients and their loved ones navigate the physical, emotional, and practical aspects of living with oral cancer.

In conclusion, home health services are an invaluable resource for individuals diagnosed with oral cancer, offering personalized care, continuity of treatment, and emotional support in the familiar surroundings of home. By leveraging the expertise of skilled professionals and the convenience of home-based care, oral cancer patients can receive comprehensive support to optimize their quality of life and enhance their journey towards healing and recovery. Early detection, proactive management, and compassionate care are essential pillars in the fight against oral cancer, and home health services play a vital role in advancing these objectives.

The Epidemic of Obesity and How Research is Showing Telehealth Can Help

Elena Muller, MPH


This blog discusses how telehealth can help individuals with obesity track their activity, engage in education, monitor their vitals, and communicate with their clinicians. 

Over the last two decades, the prevalence of obesity in the United States increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. The prevalence of severe obesity climbed to 9.2% from 4.7% in the same time frame. Scientists predict that this number will only continue to rise as more Americans live a sedentary lifestyle and consume unhealthy foods. People are eating higher-calorie, higher fat, highly processed foods, and are less physically active than ever before. By 2030, researchers predict that 50% of the US population will be obese. 

Obesity is often associated with poorer mental health outcomes and a reduced quality of life, as well as conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It can influence hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and other conditions as well. Simply, obesity can exacerbate existing  conditions, while directly causing others. According to Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, chairman for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and professor of health policy and management at Emory University, obesity is the “leading cause of preventable mortality because obesity leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other diseases.”


Obesity Infographic
Click Image to Enlarge
Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

Telehealth’s Role in Facilitating Behavior Change

During the last year, more patients than ever before have turned to telehealth to receive care. Some are using it to manage their chronic conditions, or avoid the emergency department by enrolling in a hospital to home program, while others are using it for annual primary care visits or therapy appointments. 

Across patient populations, the benefits of telehealth has been shown. We know that telehealth can help patients safely monitor their condition at home. It can help them understand their condition through education, record their symptoms, improve medication adherence, and communicate with their providers in real time. Telehealth can even incorporate the caregiver into the patient’s daily plan. 

For obese and overweight individuals, telehealth tools can be extremely beneficial. Why? Because telehealth helps change behavior, and behavior change is the necessary catalyst for weight loss and healthier living. 

With telehealth, providers can offer nutrition coaching and education, symptom surveys (to monitor addictive behaviors, for example) activity tracking (through FitBit and other wearable device integrations), and remote patient monitoring of weight and blood pressure (and other vitals as well). It can enable more continuous care, providing a resource for on-demand treatment and counseling. With telehealth, obese individuals can access a combination of both behavioral care and clinical care—two areas essential for obesity treatment. 

Weight Loss Coaching with Telehealth

2018 study, assessed a 12-week telehealth-based weight loss program that integrated health coaching via video conferencing. A bluetooth scale was used by participants as well to track weight loss and gain during the 12 weeks. Of the 13 participants in the intervention group, clinically significant weight loss was achieved in 9 out of the 13 participants. In the control group, 1 participant achieved clinically significant weight loss (out of 12). The difference between the control and intervention group was the weight loss coaching platform—the control group had real-time access to a health coach who could review real-time data from the mhealth devices and assist or encourage as necessary. 

This study supports the idea that telehealth can help with weight loss. Video conferencing, education, and weight tracking enables the obese individual to understand their behaviors to make necessary changes in their day-to-day life.

Wearables, Text Messaging, and Health Coaching

A study published this month explored the efficacy of a 16-week telehealth intervention on weight loss. The 30 patients were enrolled in a program which consisted of activity tracking through wearable devices, automated text messaging, and trained health coaching. All participants were patients at an academic medical center’s primary care clinic. Results of the study showed 22 of the 30 participants recorded significant weight loss and an increase in physical activity. These findings suggest that telehealth tools are beneficial in promoting weight loss and physical activity amongst obese individuals. 

Telehealth Monitoring and Type 2 Diabetes

It’s essential to note that obesity is one of the root causes of type 2 diabetes, one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the US. Many providers across the country have launched diabetes prevention programs to help patients manage their weight to avoid vulnerability to type 2 diabetes. 

In an upcoming blog, we’ll discuss telehealth and type 2 diabetes further. We’ll explore how organizations are incorporating telehealth in diabetes prevention, as well as how organizations are using telehealth to monitor patients who have already developed type 2 diabetes. 

This article was taken from our partner in telehealth services – Health Recovery Solutions. If you would like more information, check out https://www.healthrecoverysolutions.com/blog/the-epidemic-of-obesity-and-how-research-is-showing-telehealth-can-help

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!

May is Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month!

With the increasing prevalence of wildfires and subsequent changes to air quality, understanding the dynamic relationship between air pollution and health is becoming an integral component of health management. Considering the air quality and the patient’s living environment brings about plans for healthcare management as well as building in contingencies for decline in air quality and the impact on patient’s health. In the rural areas Elite provides services, assessment of wildfire risk is integral in the spring, summer and fall months of episodes of service. Similar considerations are integrated for winter months and severe weather impacting electricity and access to clear roads. Incorporating contingency plans for oxygen use, portability of healthcare regimens, and effective evacuation plans become all the more vital in care planning. According to Thurston and Lee (2021), outdoor air pollution creates adverse health outcomes in 1 out of 3 patients. The costs of care and the exacerbation of disease, such as asthma, are valid concerns for providers in healthcare management where air quality is compromised. Observations include the variation of impact on males vs. females, as well as the strategies employed for asthma and related pulmonary conditions (Faraji, et al., 2021). In a rural environment, these concerns translate into an increased prevalence of pneumonia and other disease processes (Kapwata, et al., 2021).

Elite Home Health & Hospice engages in emergency planning in a proactive manner. This means coordinating with our local emergency service providers to create a communication strategy. We proactively monitor risks for evacuation and engage emergency services to support needs of our patients. These systems help us navigate risks and create solutions before the risk is elevated and options are eliminated.

Resources for air quality management include:

Airnow.gov

https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.htm

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/asthma

https://acaai.org/allergies/

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-treatments/allergies

Partner with us today for your patients through active home health, palliative care, and hospice services.

Patients with difficulty in managing asthma, allergies, or underlying respiratory conditions benefit from additional support from nursing services. Optimizing the living environment with the guided services of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology support the patient in utilizing strategies for respiratory training and creating a safe living situation. Consider the benefits of home health and palliative care to support your patient’s needs.

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder within the large intestine with symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition with a spectrum of symptoms and intensity that impact diet, lifestyle, and stress. IBS may increase risk of colorectal cancer. IBS affects between 10-15% of the US population (aboutibs.org).

IBS disease progression may result in:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea at night
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Unexplained vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent pain that isn’t relieved by passing gas or a bowel movement

These symptoms often require physician review to assess the current management strategy and identify potential interventions to manage symptoms more effectively. IBS symptoms may be a result of muscle contractions, abnormalities in the nervous system, an infection, stress, or changes in the gut microbes. Individuals at risk for IBS are women under 50 with a family history of IBS and a personal history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues (mayoclinic.org).

Typical medical team members may include your primary care physician, a gastroenterologist, and a registered dietitian. As the condition progresses, patients may experience to their swallow, and a speech language pathologist may be consulted for strategies to support a safe swallow (my.clevelandclinic.org)

Home health may be appropriate in these disease changes to address side effects of new medication regimens, identifying foods that would be less irritating to the system, and address changes to the swallow. Key professionals that are typically ordered are skilled nursing, speech-language pathology, and registered dietitian.