3 Things To Consider When Looking For Home Health Care Services

When it comes to caring for ailing loved ones in the home, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. This is especially the case if you have younger children to take care of, as well as a job outside of the home. That is why so many people are turning to home health care services for their loved ones. It enables them to make sure their loved ones are taken care of without the need to take them out of their home. Here are three things you need to consider when looking for home health care services.

1. Be certain about how much insurance will pay for home health care services.

If your loved one still has their own private health insurance, whether through work or not, you need to take a look at their policy to see how much they cover for home health services. This will vary, dependent on your loved one’s insurance plan.

If you don’t have access to their insurance documents and your loved one can’t find out themselves, the representative at the home health care agency will be able to find out once they file the insurance paperwork.

If your loved one has Medicare, then you need to know that there are some home health services they won’t pay for. These services include:

  • 24-hour home health care
  • Meal delivery
  • Personal care
  • Help around the house

Medicare will, however, cover home health expenses relating to part-time care. So, as long as you or someone else can be there to take care of them for a good portion of the day, Medicare will pay for skilled nursing care in the home on a part-time basis.

2. Make sure the home health care agency is licensed and has a good reputation.

Because in-home health care agencies provide medical treatment for patients, it is important that they be licensed to operate in the state where you live. You can find this out by performing a search online. If they are not licensed, then you should move on to another home health care agency that is.

One thing that is a little more difficult is finding out their reputation. If you don’t know anyone who has used home health services before, then you could search for reviews of the agency online. However, if you do know people who have used home health services, don’t be too shy to ask them how they felt about the agency they used.

You can get a lot of valuable information, such as particular nurses who treated their loved one very well or nurses you should avoid, etc. Never underestimate the value of knowing an agency’s reputation before your hire them to care for your loved one in the home.

3. You will still need to be active in your loved one’s care.

Even if you hire home health services that are there 24 hours a day, you still need to be active in your loved one’s care. You need to make sure you regularly discuss your loved one’s treatment plan with the home health care agency, and that you are aware of any changes that are made by doctors.

If you can only have part-time home health care for your loved one, then you especially need to make sure you are kept up-to-date about their treatment plan. That way you don’t make any mistakes with their medication or treatment when you are the one there caring for them.

Learn More

Sublingual Allergy Treatment: Immunotherapy Without Injections

If your allergy symptoms make you feel terrible and you hate taking allergy medicine because of side effects, you might want to try a product that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved in 2014. A fast-dissolving tablet that you place under your tongue once per day helps your body become accustomed to the allergen and eventually stop reacting to it. This treatment works if you’re allergic to pollen from certain types of grasses, but you may have other options if you react to different substances.

Immunotherapy for Allergy Treatment

The tablets that you place under your tongue contain a specific amount of allergens. This is a form of immunotherapy; your body eventually learns to tolerate the allergens as you repeatedly put the substances in your system through the tablets. 

The therapy works in a manner similar to allergy shots—except you don’t have to endure injections or repeatedly go to an allergist for treatment. Instead, you have your first treatment at the clinic, after which you receive a prescription for the tablets—as long as you didn’t have any negative reaction to the medication the first time.

The Allergy Skin Test

Before getting a prescription, you’ll need a skin-prick test to confirm that you react to at least one of the specific allergens included in the tablets. The newly approved medication includes extracts from: 

  • Kentucky blue grass
  • orchard
  • perennial rye 
  • sweet vernal
  • Timothy

Unfortunately, if you’re allergic to a different substance, such as ragweed or dust mites, this particular medication will not work. However, you may still have an option for sublingual therapy.

Off-Label Use

Many allergists prescribe other sublingual tablets as so-called “off-label use.” That means the FDA has approved the medication for other uses but not for this particular purpose. In this case, the ingredients of the sublingual tablets are the same as those in allergy shots, so doctors are legally allowed to prescribe them in a different form.

If you’re allergic to a substance not targeted by the recently approved medication, ask your doctor about other options for sublingual treatment. 

Effectiveness

Don’t expect the tablets to act as a miracle drug. In research reported in the FDA news release, study participants experienced up to a 30% reduction in their allergy symptoms. Nonetheless, that can be a substantial amount of relief when you’re dealing with seasonal hay fever. If you normally take medication to decrease symptoms, perhaps you’ll be able to reduce your dosage or stop using it altogether. Learn more about whether this treatment could work for you, talk to local professionals such as Mark Montgomery MD FACS.

Learn More

Keeping Young Eyes Safe: On The Field And Off

As a parent, you want to ensure that your child stays safe and healthy. If you are a parent of a teen athlete, this is even more important. If your child participates in high impact or other physically demanding sports and has vision that needs correcting, contact lenses may be your best and safest option. 

While there are glasses that are designed for wearing during sport activities these are not always the safest choice, especially in high impact sports like football. While polycarbonate lenses are stronger and resist shattering or breaking, the force of being struck by a baseball, limb, or even hitting the ground can cause frames to break, which can cause further injury to the face or eye area. 

Contacts offer several benefits for teen and/or preteen athletes:

Clear Playing Field

Athletes have to be on their toes, whether that means warding off other players, or keeping their eyes peeled for rocks and trees as they speed down a ski hill. Glasses can be knocked off during rough conditions, which can cause a player to lose their stride and/or their balance. Contacts offer a player a wider field of vision without the impairment that glasses can cause. 

Weather Resistant

Nothing is worse than glasses that fog up, especially when your safety and your team’s win depend on a player’s ability to see. Extreme weather conditions do little to stop the most dedicated of players, but rain, snow, ice, and dust can obscure a player’s vision, especially when he does not have the time to stop and clean off his glasses. 

Easily Replaced

Most teen athletes are smart enough to travel with an extra pair of glasses, but what happens when that spare pair becomes the next causality in the game? Contacts are much easier to travel with and in the case of disposable contact lenses readily available in pairs. Since contacts are much less likely to be damaged during game play or physical activity, it is also much less likely to need constant replacements. This means less stress and less impact on your wallet. It is much more enjoyable to spring for your athlete’s after-game pizza party than for a new pair of glasses. 

Speak with your son or daughter’s optometrist (such as one from Ashworth Vision Clinic) to see if contacts are the right choice for your child. Make sure to discuss your child’s activities in detail and any contraindications that might exist. 

Learn More

Alternatives To Prescription Drugs For Pain Management

In recent years, as health care options are expanding and changing, more and more attention is being placed on the topic of pain management.  The days of doctors solely treating chronic pain with prescription painkillers and analgesics are relatively gone.  Now, there are new methods and techniques for patients.  In fact, clinics are opening in most major cities to serve as pain institutes or pain management centers.  Here, then, are some of the newest methods for managing chronic pain.

Acupuncture—One of the most promising options for chronic pain patients is actually an ancient form of alternative medicine.  Acupuncture is an art form that is almost two thousand years old that originated in China.  With acupuncture, a specialist will insert very fine needles, roughly the width of a human hair, into the patient’s body at specific points.  These needles stimulate the nerve centers of the body and help the patient to produce endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, to help aid in the treatment and blockage of pain receptors.

Biofeedback—One of the more futuristic techniques that has been developed, biofeedback, almost appears as if it came from the pages of a science fiction novel.  With biofeedback, patients are connected to a series of sensors and monitors that display bodily rhythms such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and temperature.  Any changes or alterations in these areas are visible to the patient and can be seen as a potential indicator that the body is experiencing or about to experience pain.

The patient is then shown ways to actively control these functions through relaxation and breathing techniques.  By watching how the body responds to the use of these relaxation methods, the patient is able to see just how to better control his or her own body and help them with methods to manage their own pain naturally.

Electrical Stimulation—Another seemingly futuristic pain management alternative is the use of electrical stimulation.  Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units are a new tool to ease pain.  A TENS unit is used by the patient to block the nerve transmitters that send pain messages to the brain.  In effect, they block the brain from realizing that the body is feeling the pain.  This is done by attaching electrodes to the area that is affected—the lower back, for instance, of a person suffering from degenerative arthritis in his or her spinal column.  These electrodes adhere to the patient’s skin and are then connected to a machine that sends out pulses of electricity through the affected body part to help stop the pain. 

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)—A final technique in treating chronic and debilitating pain is Radiofrequency Ablation, also sometimes referred to as RFA.  RFA has proven quite effective in treating back pain from injuries and arthritis.  In this technique, an x-ray is taken to determine the exact placement of the apparatus before the procedure occurs.  Once the nerve is identified that is transmitting most of the pain receptors, a needle is inserted and electric waves are then transmitted through the needle to effectively burn out the nerve.  This procedure can eliminate pain in the affected area for six months to a year.  Some patients have even had permanent easing of their back pain from RFA.

Patients who suffer from severe pain brought on by injuries or debilitating illnesses such as arthritis and fibromyalgia do not have to suffer in silence or take heavy medications that leave them feeling doped up.  Instead, they have several options encompassing new science and older alternatives that can help them ease their pain. For more information, contact a clinic such as Illinois Pain Institute.

Learn More

Funeral Homes 101: 4 Ways To Save On Funeral Costs

Funeral arrangements are one of life’s largest purchases. Unfortunately, a funeral is also one of life’s biggest unexpected costs. Like any big purchase—buying a home, paying for a wedding, or purchasing a new car—a funeral will have a significant impact on your income and budget. Fortunately, you can shop smart and save money.

Here are four ways to reduce the cost of a funeral:

1. Limit Visitation Hours

It is not necessary to have a funeral that lasts for more than 2-4 hours. Although it might be nice to have an entire evening to view and remember your loved one, it is not necessary to spend all of that time at the funeral home. Many times going to a family member’s house afterwards is just as soothing. 

If you want to save a significant amount of cash, limit the viewing hours to one day and only for a few hours at most. This will reduce your time in the funeral home, which will reduce the overall cost of the event.

2. Only Purchase Important Items

Shopping for a funeral is tricky. It’s an emotional time and you may find yourself breaking out the big bucks to may for unnecessary items. You may also wind up paying for expensive versions of items that you do need, which again is unnecessary.

If you are going to go shopping, bring along someone that is close to you. They can ensure that you only purchase the most important items—and if you want to purchase something else, they can help pay for it.

3. Opt For a Basic Casket

There are several types of caskets, each with its own price point. The price of a casket largely depends on the materials it’s made from, it’s condition, and it’s amenities. Other factors, such as the brand or model may also affect the price.

If you are looking to save money, consider getting a bare-bones casket without any fancy trimmings. You can always dress it up with your items, or drape a nice fabric over it to spruce it up.

If you are going to have your loved one cremated, consider renting a casket for the viewing. This will also save you money.

4. Supply Your Own Items

If you are having an open casket ceremony, consider supplying the clothing and other accessories yourself. Although you can get the clothing and other accessories from the funeral home, they will probably cost more.

If you don’t have anything that fits the person, visit a thrift store or bargain store to find a nice suit or dress to fit your loved one.

Planning a funeral is an emotional and tricky time. It also takes a huge chunk out of your savings account. If you’re on a tight budget, use these four tips to help reduce the out-of-pocket costs of the funeral. You can also speak to a funeral director such as one at Clark Funeral Home Inc about the options they may have available.

Learn More

4 Steps To Better Dental Health

Taking proper care of your teeth is critical for good dental health.  The amount of time and effort you invest into your teeth will pay huge dividends for you. You are probably aware that daily and brushing and flossing are necessary, but there are other steps that can help you maintain the health of your teeth. Knowing other steps that can help improve your smile is important.

Step #1:  Know your health

Taking certain medications can cause you to frequently experience dry mouth. This causes your body to produce less saliva and could increase the chance of decay. Be sure to discuss any medications you are taking with your dentist.

Additionally, hormonal imbalance in menopausal women can reduce the amount of saliva your mouth produces, and this should be taken into consideration and discussed with your dentist.

Step #2: Stop smoking

The use of tobacco products may cause severe damage to your teeth and gums.

Listed below are common dental problems for smokers:

  1. Increased risk of oral cancer.
  2. Greater possibility of getting gum disease.
  3. Discolored teeth that are stained by the tobacco product.

Consider discussing a method to help you quit smoking with your doctor.

Step #3: Eat a balanced diet

The food you put into your body will impact your overall health. Work to eliminate snacking on sugar and foods that are loaded with fat. These contribute greatly to decay and should be avoided on a daily basis.

Additionally, snacking can cause bacteria to build up on your teeth. Be sure to brush after each time you snack to protect your teeth from plaque.

Step #4: Examine your mouth regularly

Be sure to take the time to look at your gums, tongue and teeth on a regular basis. Your dentist will only see you a couple times a year and you should look for sudden changes.

Listed below are things to look for regularly:

  1. Swollen gums – This could be the early signs of gum disease and should be addressed by your dentist.
  2. Lesions or sores – Check for any unusual sores on your tongue or cheeks.
  3. Chipped teeth – If you damage a tooth in between your dental visits, it’s important to have this examined.

The way your take care of your teeth is certain to show itself over time. Be sure to talk to a dentist like Pike Lake Dental Center about ways to help you maintain your dental health.

Learn More

How To Stop Rheumatic Fever From Causing Rheumatic Heart Disease

If you have been diagnosed with rheumatic fever (RF), then you should do everything possible to prevent it from damaging your heart. If the fever moves to your heart (a condition known as rheumatic heart disease or RHD), it damages the valves and interferes with proper blood circulation within the heart. Here are measures to prevent RHD and cardiovascular disease:

Proper Antibacterial Treatment

Eliminating or reducing the bacterial load is the best way to prevent RF from developing into RHD. Your doctor will prescribe a regimen of antibacterial medications that you should follow religiously. The most common of these medications is penicillin and aspirin, which you may have to take for many years.

Maintain a Strong Immunity System

According to WebMD, a weakened immunity increases your chances of developing RHD, so do everything in your power to keep your body’s immunity strong. Some of the helpful measures here include:

  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Moderating your alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting proper nutrition

According to Harvard Health Publications, you should be wary of products that promise to bolster up your immunity. Most of them either don’t work or can endanger your health. If you want to try something, it is a good idea to ask your doctor about it first.

Tell Your Dentist About Your Fever

It is also advisable to tell your dentist if you have, or have had RF before. The fever increases your chances of developing bacterial endocarditis. During a dental procedure such tooth extraction, the oral bacteria may get into your bloodstream and flow into your heart. Oral bacteria are more damaging to the heart than your mouth because they can eat away the inner lining of your heart.

If the dentist knows that you have the fever, then he or she will take extra precautions when working on your teeth. For example, he or she may give you antibiotics before extracting your tooth. This lowers the risk of the bacteria getting into your bloodstream.

Observe Dental Hygiene

For the same reason outlined above, you should observe a high degree of dental hygiene. The more pathogens you have in your mouth, the higher the risk that some of them will get into your blood vessels. Brush and floss regularly, and have every “small” dental problem you may have checked by a dentist.

These are some of the measures that have helped many people with rheumatic fever from developing rheumatic heart disease. Remember that you may have to observe them for many years. You run the risk of developing RHD at any time if you get complacent.

Learn More