By: Portia Wofford Home health clinicians play an essential role in caring for patients who are: At risk of developing sepsis Recovering from sepsis or septic shock Home health providers are vital in preventing hospital admissions and readmission among sepsis patients. According to the CDC, sepsis is the bodys extreme response to an infection. It is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency. Many patients receiving home healthcare services have chronic medical conditions and comorbidities that put them at risk for infection, including COVID-19 and sepsis. According to the Global Sepsis Alliance, COVID-19 can cause sepsis. Research suggests that COVID-19 may lead to sepsis due to several reasons, including: Direct viral invasion Presence of a bacterial or viral co-co-infection Age of the patient According to Homecare Magazine, approximately 80% of people with COVID-19 will have a mild course and recover without hospitalization. The remaining 20% of patients with COVID-19 may develop sepsis and be admitted. Patients with severe illness will need home health care. A study published in Medical Care by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that when strategically implemented, home health care can play an essential role in reducing hospital readmissions for patients recovering from sepsis. According to Home Health Care News, the study points out that sepsis survivors who were less likely to return to the hospital if they: Received a home health visit within 48 hours of hospital discharge Had at least one additional visit and Had physician visit within their first week of discharge According to the findings, these interventions reduced 30-day all-cause readmissions by seven percentage points. Home health clinicians are trained to monitor patients and identify signs and symptoms of sepsis. Additionally, they can teach patients and their caregivers how to prevent and recognize sepsis. According to research and estimates, rapid diagnosis and treatment could prevent 80% of sepsis deaths. Home health care can contribute to early detection of sepsis Early detection is critical. For each hour treatment initiation is delayed after diagnosis, the mortality rate increases 8%. Home health nurses can monitor and educate patients and their caregivers on signs and symptoms to report to include. Additionally, home healthcare agencies can provide screening tools that fill the gaps in identifying at-risk patients during transitions from inpatient to outpatient settings. Home health provides case management for chronic comorbidities Some comorbidities like Type 2 Diabetes, chronic heart disease, and dementia were associated with sepsis risk in almost all infection types. Those with other chronic illnesses, cancer, and an impaired immune system are also at increased risk. Monitoring can help reduce risks. Post-discharge and follow-up visits, including telehealth visits, may provide positive intervention for post sepsis patients. Nurses can review and coordinate care to adjust medications, evaluate treatments and interventions, and refer for appropriate treatment. When it comes to serious complications, our sepsis program effectively: Prevents infections that can lead to sepsis Recognizes sepsis symptoms before they become severe Rapidly responds if sepsis symptoms occur by initiating appropriate treatments and referrals Follows-up with care to ensure continued recovery Abode’s sepsis program promotes quality of care and improves outcomes for those at risk for developing or recovering from sepsis.
During Healthy Aging Month, we focus on celebrating the many positive aspects of aging. Here are some tips to incorporate in your daily routine that can lead to a healthier lifestyle, allowing you to live your life to the fullest. Exercise – Get moving and active on a daily basis! Socialize – Stay in touch and find safe ways to connect with friends and loved ones! Stay balanced – Try new methods such as yoga to reduce stress and improve your overall balance! Rest – It’s important to make sure you are getting a good, quality rest each night. These are important tips to keep in mind for all ages and stages of life. Not only this month, but from now on, remember to take care of yourself and those who surround you. Healthy aging starts with you and your health decisions.
Happy National Assisted Living Week! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our daily lives, assisted living facilities continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their residents and employees. While keeping your loved ones safe might mean you cannot connect in person, here are some ways to support facility residents and employees from a safe distance. Get artsy. Spending the afternoon drawing pictures, painting windows, or snapping some fun photos are all great ways to get creative and share uplifting moments with residents. This can be a great way to engage children of all ages or to turn your talent into the highlight of someone’s day. Become a Pen Pal. Since residents are socializing less due to the pandemic, starting a pen pal friendship with someone in an assisted living facility is a great way to communicate and share stories while practicing social distancing. This is the next best thing to in-person conversations! Send a special delivery. You can never go wrong with sending a surprise package to support both staff and residents! Any sort of delivery – snacks, flowers, games, care packages, etc. – will brighten the day of anyone in an assisted living facility. Coordinate a window visit. Sit outside, have a conversation, and share your smile with your loved one in a facility. You can play an instrument for them, talk on the phone, or even play a game – just to name a few! Shoot a video. Creating a fun video of loved ones saying ‘hello,’ sharing words of encouragement, or acting out a skit are all directions you could take when shooting a video to share with those in assisted living facilities. Whether it’s a photo of your playful dog, writing a letter sharing an uplifting story, or sending a bouquet of flowers for the front desk to display, it may be just the boost of happiness someone in an assisted living facility needs during this time. As we celebrate National Assisted Living Week, we encourage you to reach out to both residents and staff members with acts of kindness, reminding them of your support and love during these times.
By:Portia Wofford Physicians, scientists, and researchers are still learning about COVID-19 and its effects on the body. As they study the impact coronavirus has on different illnesses and disease processes, diabetes is getting attention. The CDC notes that having Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing infections, they should take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19. Complications from diabetes related to COVID-19 Currently, there isn’t enough research or evidence to prove that diabetics are at an increased risk for COVID-19. However, if your diabetes isn’t well-controlled, you could have worse complications if you contract coronavirus. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), when diabetics don’t manage their diabetes and blood sugars, they are at risk for diabetes- related complications. Additionally, other conditions —such as heart or lung disease — and diabetes worsens the chance of you getting sick from COVID-19 because your body’s immune system is compromised. A recent study showed patients with COVID-19 and diabetes who had high blood sugars were more likely to have longer hospital stays. If you do get COVID-19, the virus could put you at higher risk for sepsis and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Sepsis is a complication of COVID-19, which causes widespread inflammation throughout your body and can shut down organs. DKA happens when high levels of acid (ketones) are in your blood. It’s hard to manage your fluid and electrolytes level in DKA. DKA makes it difficult to maintain your fluid and electrolyte levels. This makes treating sepsis hard because DKA causes you to lose electrolytes. In addition to diabetes-related complications, diabetics also have a risk of developing other complications of COVID-19, such as pneumonia, organ failure, and kidney injury. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Coronavirus According to the CDC, people at any age with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on the CDC, the ADA warns that people with Type 1 or gestational diabetes might also be at an increased risk. The ADA states it’s important for any person with either type of diabetes to manage their diabetes. Those who already have diabetes-related health problems are likely to have worse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 than diabetics who are otherwise healthy. Tips to avoid infection Stay home as much as possible Monitor your blood sugar regularly. Maintaining optimal blood glucose, as determined by your healthcare team, is important in preventing severe complications to COVID-19. Wash your hands Avoid sick people Wear a mask Check-in with your doctors, via telehealth. Most providers schedule telehealth visits—rather than in-person visits. Ask your provider if he or she offers this service. Exercise. Try exercising at home. Walk around your neighborhood, but be sure to social distance. Right now, there are exercises and workout plans online where you can follow along. Wash your hands. Wash your hand with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you as well. Wear a mask and social distance. CDC recommends at least 6 feet apart. Eat a healthy diet: Eat foods low in sugar Limit foods high in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat Try lean proteins instead of fried foods Don’t forget your green, leafy vegetables If your glucose readings change because of changes in your diet and activity level, speak with your healthcare team before making any adjustments to your insulin or other medications. Your COVID-19 diabetes plan Because of social distancing and shelter-in-place rules, it may be harder for you to get your supplies. Stock up on enough supplies to last you for a couple of weeks, in case you get quarantined: Healthy food Simple carbs like honey, fruit juice, or hard candies in case your blood sugar dips Make sure you have a 30 day supply of insulin and other medicine Extra strips and batteries for your glucometer Extra glucagon and ketone strips Diabetes alert bracelet or necklace Keep your home health team updated on your plans, and if you notice any COVID-19 symptoms be sure to alert your home health nurse. What to do if you get sick Be sure you know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19: Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing New loss of taste or smell Fever or chills Vomiting or diarrhea Muscle or body aches Notify your Abode Home Health nurse , with your most recent blood glucose readings, if you have any of these symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe illness, and appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Portia Wofford is an award-winning nurse, writer, and digital marketer. After dedicating her nursing career to creating content and solutions for employers that affected patient outcomes, these days Portia empowers health related businesses to grow their communities through engaging content that connects and converts. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for her latest.
For many people, the decision to receive hospice care is made following the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness. Even so, some families still question this decision. Here are some common Hospice qualifiers to help determine when it might be time to elect the hospice benefit. Falls Frequent physician, ET and/or Hospital visits Weight loss and or BMI < 22 Decline aggressive therapy or is not a candidate Wounds EF < 20% NYHA Class IV symptoms at rest Little or no response to Bronchodilators Serum < 2.5 Dysphagia and/or aspiration pneumonia Shortness of breath and/or o2 sat of 88% or less Frequent injections Edema UTIs Upper respiratory infections, bronchitis or pneumonia If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms and have questions about our services at Abode Hospice, please contact our office at (804) 359-3400 to speak with a staff member about these Hospice qualifiers.