Home Care Partnership with Lifeline

Posted on August 24, 2015

Partnership with Philips Lifeline – Free Lifeline to Home Care Clients of Constant Companions

Starting in September 2015, Constant Companions Home Care will become an official Philips Lifeline partner. We will provide all clients a free Lifeline Alert system if they are using 20+ hours of home care services with us. If a client wishes to decrease hours below 20 hours per week, the Lifeline will be in place and there will be no interruption to their services. The home care client can either continue with Lifeline at their own cost or discontinue the Lifeline services with no penalty.

We have recommended medical alert systems over the years. For many reasons, many clients underutilize direct care services. Having a Lifeline system set up in the home is a low-cost safety net for the more vulnerable client.

Constant Companions Home Care chose to work with Philips Lifeline because they provide excellent monitoring and notification systems.  Additionally, we will be notified if any client falls or is hospitalized. This will enable us to be more proactive in our care management services and to be well-prepared for the transition back home from a hospital or facility.

This offer is valid for all Constant Companions Home Care clients throughout San Diego and Riverside Counties.

For more information, feel free to contact Gabriela Brown at 888.883.8393

 

Released by Gabriela Brown, CSA
Constant Companions Home Care
888.883.8393
www.constantcompanions.net

SB 243 – Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rate Increase-Please Support!

Posted on April 17, 2015

SB 243 – Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rate Increase
SB 243 (Hernandez), one of CAHSAH’s priority Support bills, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, April 22. This bill would repeal the implementation of prior year Medi-Cal rate reductions, including the 10 percent reduction for affected Medi-Cal providers and would increase payment rates for specified health care providers up to Medicare payment levels. CAHSAH has secured amendments on this bill which include home health and hospice services.
Please contact all members of the Senate Health Committee (listed below)and urge them to SUPPORT SB 243 to ensure home health and hospice services remain accessible for all Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

Talking Points:

·         With the full implementation of the Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act resulting in over 11 million people enrolled in the Medi-Cal program, it makes no sense to continue Medi-Cal provider rates reductions enacted during California’s economic downturn.  We must ensure that Medi-Cal provider rates provide sufficient access to all Medi-Cal beneficiaries

·         Ranked 48th among all states, California already pays its Medi-Cal fee-for-service providers some of the lowest rates in the entire country. Overall, Medi-Cal compensated physicians at only 51 percent of Medicare levels.

·         Medi-Cal provider rates for home health services have not been increased since 2001.  Home health is cost effective care that allows patients to receive care in the safety and comfort of their own home.  Medi-Cal provider rates for home health services do not reflect the current cost of providing care which has steadily increased.

·         Lack of access to home health services will shift care to more costly emergency rooms and result in unnecessary hospital readmissions. Linking home health Medi-Cal rates to established Medicare rates will help to promote access for all Medi-Cal beneficiaries throughout California.

·         Requiring annual increases will help to ensure the end of Medi-Cal provider rate neglect.

 

SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE
Member District Party Room Phone Fax
Isadore Hall 35 D 4085 (916) 651-4035 (916) 651-4935
Ed Hernandez (Chair) 22 D 2080 (916) 651-4022 (916) 651-4922
Holly Mitchell 30 D 5080 (916) 651-4030 (916) 651-4930
William Monning 17 D 313 (916) 651-4017 (916) 651-4917
Janet Nguyen 34 R 3048 (916) 651-4034 (916) 651-4934
Jim Nielsen 4 R 2068 (916) 651-4004 (916) 651-4904
Richard Pan 6 D 4070 (916) 651-4006 (916) 651-4906
Richard Roth 31 D 4034 (916) 651-4031 (916) 651-4931
Lois Wolk 3 D 5114 (916) 651-4003 (916) 651-4903

 

Dementia Communication Strategies

Posted on April 16, 2015

Dementia Communication Strategies

Dementia Communication Strategies for Caregivers

Dementia communication strategies are necessary for the primary caregiver of dementia sufferers. Often, caregivers become distressed at the changes that occur in behavior or verbalization that happen as dementia progresses. Filters often fall to the wayside and inappropriate or embarrassing outburst can occur. It is important to remember that these outburst or comments are not a reflection of your loved one, it is simply the dementia.

One of the most difficult aspects in dementia care is communication. Dementia sufferers often experience trouble in processing information as the condition progresses. This, in combination with a decreased ability to express their needs, can cause significant distress for the dementia sufferer and those caring for them.

People with advanced dementia are dealing with cognitive deficits and associated behavioral issues. This issues include anxiety, fear, depression and frustration. It is most helpful to be aware of these changes and approach conversations in a caring, compassionate and calm manner.

Other helpful dementia communication strategies:

  • Never appear angry or authoritative, approach an individual with a smile and soothing voice. This will increase the possibility of relaxation and openness to conversation
  • Always state who you are and your purpose for being there.
  • Speak slowly and reduce movements.
  • Speak to them directly, with good eye contact. If a primary caregiver is present, they can provide any clarification or additional information regarding any questions ask.
  • Include them in all conversation. Marginalizing someone will create feelings of anger and confusion.
  • Minimize external distractions, especially if trying to give instructions.
  • Keep sentences short, using familiar words.
  • Wait patiently for responses. It will take them longer to process what you have said.
  • If asking questions, try to use Yes/No questions.
  • If giving instructions, issue one instruction at a time.
  • Give time to answer, if necessary repeat the question slowly and clearly.

If agitation occurs remember:

  • Remain calm.
  • Remain patient.
  • Try rephrasing request or question.
  • Use distraction and redirection if behaviors/responses become inappropriate.

If your attempt to communicate at that moment are not working, be willing to move to another topic or abandon the conversation presently. You can always try again, shortly, when the person calms down. There is no sense in forcing the situation, as this will do nothing more than increase agitation.

Above all, remember that there should be no power-struggle. It will be much more rewarding and effective to attempt to gain consensus and cooperation.

Gabriela F. Brown, CSA
Constant Companions Home Care
888.883.8393

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Care Telephony – ClearCare

Posted on April 16, 2015

Home Care Telephony System - Clear Care

Using The Latest in Home Care Telephony Technology

 

Recently, Constant Companions launched the use of the ClearCare System and home care telephony program. This program allows us to better track the attendance and activities our home care staff, provide timely updates to care plans, allow real-time access to information and updates to our clients and their families (if authorized by the client).  All care plans are entered into the system with specific activities outlined for each shift.

Before the caregivers can clock out they must update all activities and tasks assigned for the day. If they are unable to perform a certain activity or task, they must leave a verbal message as to why. Additionally, they can record a change in condition for both the agency and the family to hear. This has improved our ability to identify new needs in a timely manner and coordinate additional care and services as well as communicate more effectively with family members.

Home Care telephony technology records exact in and out times of all caregivers as they call in from the client’s home phone, assuring timely arrival and departure. If the caregiver is late in clocking in or out, an alert is sent to the office and is handled appropriately. These telephony logs are used to produce accurate and timely billing, significantly reducing discrepancies and encouraging prompt and full attendance in the home.

We are thrilled with the implementation of the Clear Care System and we are committed to continued efforts to provide access to accountable and experience care to the residents of San Diego and Riverside Counties. Please feel free to give us a call any time with questions or concerns, we welcome all input.

Please visit the ClearCare website for more information: ClearCare: Powerful Home Care Software

Submitted by Gabriela F. Brown, CSA
Constant Companions Home Care
888.883.8393

Aug-Sep 2013 Newsletter

Posted on September 4, 2014

Special Tips for Your Friends and Family

Uncertain Paths – Transitioning to Home Care

Your mom is in the skilled nursing facility and the social worker/case manager is talking to you about sending her home. It is recommended that she not be without personal care assistance/home care. All of a sudden, there are many decisions to make.

  • Do you bring her to your home?
  • Do you care for her every day in her own home?
  • Do you contact a home care agency or hire a caregiver privately?

No matter what is decided, this is unfamiliar territory that brings to surface many fears and anxiety. Hiring outside help for a parent creates a tremendous storm of emotions.

Read Our Featured Article: Uncertain Paths – Transitioning to Home Care

woman getting massage

Massage for Seniors: It’s A Good Thing!

There is growing evidence that seniors could significantly benefit from a regular massage session and a new specialty is rapidly growing to provide this service, tailored to the senior’s needs and concerns.

Learn More

nurse servicing patient

Uncertain Paths – Transitioning to Home Care

No matter what is decided, this is unfamiliar territory that brings to surface many fears and anxiety. Hiring outside help for a parent creates a tremendous storm of emotions.

Learn More

smiling woman talking

Hearing Loss – Bringing Seniors Back into the Conversation

Nearly one-third of people over the age of 65 are hard-of-hearing while nearly 50% of people over the age of 85 suffer from some form of hearing loss.

Learn More

Oct – Nov 2013 Newsletter

Posted on September 4, 2014

Special Tips for Your Friends and Family

Here’s the Skin(ny) – The Importance of Skin Integrity As We Age

No, I am not talking about weight; I am talking about the largest organ on your body, your skin. As we age, the skin, like every other organ in our body, begins to decline. While we don’t have any way to reverse this aging process there are things that we can do to boost it functioning and help to prevent skin integrity issues, a major complication for many seniors.

What does skin do for us?
  • Helps maintain proper body temperature
  • Wards off infections
  • Waterproof barrier that keeps moisture in and moisture out.
  • Provides sensory information about our environment and injury

As the body ages, the layer of fat under the skin starts to disappear as well as the blood vessels feeding the skin with lots of oxygen. As a result the skin becomes looser, unable to insulate us well, and thinner. The most visible evidence of this is wrinkling and sagging of the skin. As our skin becomes thinner, it becomes vulnerable to tears and pressure sores. Open skin is an invitation to infection and discomfort.

Read Our Featured Article: Here’s the Skin(ny) – The Importance of Skin Integrity As We Age

Do you have an aging parent or loved one? Contact us to learn about our caregivers.

happy 10th anniversary

Happy 10th Anniversary!

We want to extend a heart-felt THANK YOU to all of our referral sources, community partners and clients for their continued faith, feedback and recommendation of our senior home care services

Learn More

affordable alternatives

The Launching of Affordable Alternatives

Affordable Alternatives is a separate Home Care Referral Agency that seeks to provide seniors with a safer alternative to inexpensive home care.

Learn More

we care hiring system

The Use of CareProfiler in Full Swing

Care Profiler was developed to help healthcare organizations find caregivers that are responsible, attuned, and capable of creating meaningful connections with the people they care for.

Learn More

In the Service Of Seniors – As Seen on Union Tribune

Posted on July 14, 2014

San Diego Home Care Provider

San Diego Homecare Provider, Gabriela Brown featured on the San Diego Union Tribune.

Find us featured in the San Diego Union Tribune. The Tribune interviewed CEO, Gabriela Brown about some of the difficulties in convincing families to consider homecare before an emergency arises. Most often families do not consider homecare until a scary event arises in the life of their aging family member, and it becomes clear that they need help. Read the entire article below.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/08/tp-in-the-service-of-seniors-poway-company/

 

Fun in the Sun – Facts About Senior Dehydration and Tips to Prevent It

Posted on July 1, 2014

Summer is just around the corner and as the temperatures rise, so should our awareness of DEHYDRATION in SENIORS. Although dehydration can occur in any season and in any climate, summer can bring it about quickly, catching many seniors and their caregivers off-guard.

FACTS:

  • 31% of residents in Long-Term Care facilities are dehydrated
  • 48% of adults admitted into the hospital through the emergency department had signs of dehydration in their lab results
  • Dehydration is one of the 10 most frequent admitting diagnoses for Medicare hospitalization according the Health Care Finance Administration.

There are many reasons why seniors are particularly vulnerable to dehydration:

  • The body is not as efficient in regulating fluid balance
  • The body is  not as efficient in regulating internal temperature
  • The ability to sense thirst and hunger decrease
  • Medications can cause excessive water loss through sweating and urine output
  • Diarrhea
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of access to adequate hydration, due to mobility or strength issues

Inadequate daily fluid intake can result in mild to severe dehydration, even death. In fact the average human being can only survive about 4 days without water. Dehydration in seniors can occur quickly with serious consequences.

 

Signs of Mild Dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sticky saliva
  • Decreased urine output that is dark in color (should be clear to light yellow)
  • Cramps in limbs
  • General weakness
  • Dizziness or increased dizziness upon standing
  • Falling asleep easily during the day
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Little tear or sweat production
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

 

Signs of Moderate to Severe Dehydration

  • All of the above AND
  • Fever
  • Increased infections
  • Dry, sunken eyes
  • Skin that doesn’t snap back when lightly pinched (on arm)
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Severe cramps in legs, arms, back and stomach
  • Bloated stomach

 

Long-term effects of moderate to severe dehydration

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Debilitating loss of strength and balance
  • Debilitating confusion
  • Kidney failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Bedsores
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • Death

 

Even with the stakes so high, many seniors find it difficult to get enough fluids every day. With a little planning, however, they can do it.

 

Here are a few tips to help everyone on their way to full hydration:

  • Drink approximately 1/3 of your body weight each and every day. Example: If you weigh 150lbs, your minimum daily intake should be approximately 50 oz of fluids a day.
  • Sip throughout the day, Don’t wait until you feel thirsty
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Limit caffeinated beverages. This doesn’t mean eliminate, you can still enjoy a morning coffee or tea. Moderation is key.
  • Get a nice water bottle and note the total ounces with a Sharpie to measure intake.
  • Foods with a lot of water count! Melons, vegetables, fruit juice and soups are full of water.
  • Limit time spent in the sun. If you will be out for a prolonged outing, bring extra water or be sure to stop frequently for a beverage.

 

To start off your hydration program, weigh in and then monitor weight DAILY. A loss of 2% indicates mild dehydration; a loss of 4% indicates severe dehydration. Example: If you weigh 150 a loss of 3lbs is considered mild to moderate dehydration. Severe dehydration would be a loss of 5-6 pounds.  In the case of severe dehydration, contact your doctor immediately and sip liquids high in salt and potassium such as fruit or vegetable juice, Gatorade and broth, to restore electrolyte balance as well as fluid levels.

 

Happy Hydrating!

 

Gabriela Brown, CSA

Constant Companions Home Care

888-883-8393

www.constantcompanions.net

 

 

This article is not intended to replace the advice of a physician.

Seniors and Alcohol – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted on April 30, 2014

Many seniors partake of alcohol in moderation, however, due to physiological and psychological reasons, moderation can be too much for some seniors and for some it is leading to drinking problems or outright alcoholism that can complicate already complex health conditions.

As with all ages, alcohol affects men and women differently due to muscle mass and blood volume. Women also suffer more consequences with an increase in breast cancer and osteoporosis by drinking more than recommended amounts. It is recommended that women drink only one alcoholic beverage daily and men may have two.

One drink is equal to one of the following:

  • One 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer, ale, or wine cooler
  • One 8- or 9-ounce can or bottle of malt liquor
  • One 5-ounce glass of red or white wine
  • One 1.5-ounce shot glass of hard liquor (spirits) like gin, vodka,

Seniors face life stressors that can lead to the increase or onset of alcohol consumption and the symptoms are often dismissed or mistaken for age-related conditions. Not all seniors who drink regularly have a drinking problem nor do people who do have a drinking problem drink regularly. The key is awareness of your current drinking habits and to evaluate if they are having an effect on your physical, psychological or social well-being.

The Good:

The good news is that a daily drink is beneficial to otherwise healthy seniors, especially red wine.

  • Research is showing that light to moderate drinking after 65 may prevent cognitive decline and dementia by 35%-45%.
  • For postmenopausal women, moderate drinking has been linked to a reduction in the risk for osteoporosis and an improvement in bone density.
  • A daily drink has been shown to raise HDL, the good cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis.

The Bad:

Physiological Effects:

  • Less able to clear alcohol from the body, leaving excess alcohol, even at moderate amounts free to damage brain, liver, heart.
  • Lower immunity for those who those who consume too much.
  • Decreased balance and strength.
  • Chronic alcohol dependence increases the risk for depression, anxiety disorders, heart disease, liver disease and cancer.

Psychological Effects:

  • Isolation and loneliness is eased with the use of alcohol, making the person less motivated to seek out social situations, leading to more isolation.
  • If a person had a social network and is consistently seen drinking too much, friends withdraw, leading to isolation and more drinking.
  • Depression occurs in over 50% of people over 65. Alcohol is a depressant. It can increase the feelings of depression in those already suffering from depression.

Medicines:

Some medications can increase the effects of alcohol or be toxic in combination. Here are some examples:

  • If you take aspirin and drink, your risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding is increased.
  • When combined with alcohol, cold and allergy medicines (the label will say antihistamines) may make you feel very sleepy.
  • Alcohol used with large doses of acetaminophen, a common painkiller, may cause liver damage.
  • Some medicines, such as cough syrups and laxatives, have high alcohol content. If you drink at the same time, your alcohol level will go up.
  • Alcohol used with some sleeping pills, pain pills, or anxiety/anti-depression medicine can be deadly.

Nutrition:

  • Many seniors do not eat enough as sense of taste wanes with age. When drinking, less food in the stomach increases the rate of alcohol absorption into the blood stream
  • Dehydration is a common issue in seniors – dehydration causes lower blood volume which can increase the total blood alcohol level per drink.
  • Alcohol is a strong diuretic increasing the risk of dehydration.
  • Heavy drinking can take the place of adequate food consumption providing empty calories with no nutritional value.

The Ugly

Among persons over 60, up to 10% in community-based living fulfill the criteria for alcohol abuse. For those admitted to hospitals, the rate of alcoholism is 18%-20%, 38% in psychiatric institutions and 40% in nursing homes. The number of seniors who drink heavily is increasing and women are catching up to men.

It has been shown that many seniors who drink beyond recommended amounts over long periods of time:

  • Suffer more falls and injuries.
  • Exhibit symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s such as being forgetful or confused – some of which can be corrected by cutting down or abstention. However, after prolonged use some damage cannot be reversed.
  • Make diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases or conditions more difficult for physicians.
  • Can worsen conditions like osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and ulcers.
  • 70%-80% of hospitalized seniors have some problem with alcohol.
  • In a study of suicides in persons over 65 years of age, alcohol abuse was identified in 35% of men and in 18% of women. This is 18 times greater than seen in a random population control group.
  • Alcohol reacts negatively with more than 150 medications.

The Bottom Line

Otherwise healthy seniors should feel free to enjoy their favorite alcoholic beverage but the definition of moderation can change later in life. If you are currently suffering from a chronic condition, you may not benefit from light to moderate drinking. Continue to monitor and be aware of alcohol’s effects on you and adjust accordingly.

  • Be kinder to your body. If you are consuming more than 7 drinks in a week or more than 3 drinks a day, consider cutting down or quitting altogether.
  • Always check with your physician to make sure that there are no adverse reactions that may occur with any over-the-counter, herbal or prescription medications.
  • If you cannot cut down, don’t be afraid to ask for help. As with all stages of life, alcohol abuse and dependence can sneak up on a person for various reasons. Your physician or local social services agency can help direct you to the resources that you need to get your life back on track.
  • If you are witnessing an alcohol problem with a loved one, remember to approach them with love, support and compassion in an effort to help them to help themselves.

Sources:

http://www.bu.edu/alcohol-forum/critique-081-alcohol-intake-in-the-elderly-affects-risk-of-cognitive-decline-and-dementia-22-may-2012/

http://icap.org/PolicyTools/ICAPBlueBook/BlueBookModules/23AlcoholandtheElderly/tabid/181/Default.aspx

http://www.seniorsinsobriety.org/SISAbridgedResourse.pdf

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090115103803.htm

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/alcohol/depression-anxiety-top-reasons-older-adults-abuse-drugs-or-alcohol-survey-finds

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alcoholuse/alcoholandaging/01.html

http://www.ncadd.org/images/stories/PDF/factsheet-alcoholismaddrugdependenceamongolderadults.pdf

The Use of CareProfiler in Full Swing

Posted on November 6, 2013

Care Profiler was developed to help healthcare organizations find caregivers that are responsible, attuned, and capable of creating meaningful connections with the people they care for.

The Questionnaire takes about 20 minutes to take and looks for strengths and weaknesses in:

Interpersonal Workstyles: 

  • Empathy and EQ
  • Hospitality
  • Dependability
  • Self Control

Care Core Areas:

  • Comforting
  • Motivating
  • Socializing
  • Enriching

Performance Workstyles: 

  • Open to learning
  • Persistence
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Attention to Detail
  • Achievement

The results are then analyzed by the program to provide a detailed picture of each candidate to provide the most compatible placement with our clients. We have been using this tool since June 2012, and it has been a tremendous success for both Constant Companions and the seniors that we serve, as it goes far beyond the resume and interview. Not only can we qualify caregivers based on skill and experience, but we can now provide clients with caregivers that are more attuned to their particular personality and situation, a must when working in the home.

If you would like to learn more please visit our website at www.constantcompanions.net. If you would like to take the test, go to the “Click Here To Apply’ link on the home page. Indicate that you are taking the test ‘Out of Curiosity’. Please don’t forget to put in your email if you would like us to email the results to you.