November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. In the United States, 5.4 million people are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the only cause of death among the top 10 that can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed. These facts are mirrored in the 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report.
Kindred’s Hospice Program utilizes an interdisciplinary model of care that is designed to meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of the patient and his or her family members in the final stages of the patient’s life. “Our hospice case managers monitor the overall care of the patient and family while under hospice care,” says Cindy Henderson, RN, BSN, CHPN, Director of Operations, Acclaim Hospice & Palliative Care, a Kindred Healthcare affiliate. “We work with the patient and the family to develop a care plan that will help the patient meet his or her final goals.”
An intervention known as noninvasive ventilation is being increasingly studied and used in patients with chronic respiratory failure. An article in a recent issue of the journal Respiratory Care, which followed a national symposium dedicated to the care of the chronically critically ill patient, examined its use in several patient populations. Noninvasive ventilation, or NIV, does not require an artificial airway, in contrast to tracheostomy (surgical creation of an airway through the neck) or the placement of a breathing tube through the nose or mouth. NIV is achieved most often through the delivery of pressure and flow to the normal airway through the nose and/or mouth.
The benefits of NIV therapy include reduced re-hospitalizations of out-patients and a reduction in potential complications such as infection that can occur with invasive ventilation techniques.
October 21-27 is Respiratory Care Week, a week set aside to recognize respiratory therapists for their hard work and dedication. “The respiratory therapists at Kindred provide a wide range of respiratory care to patients with complex respiratory disorders and other extensive medical complexities,” says Kelly Bailey, Area Director of Respiratory Care, Kindred Healthcare. “Our respiratory therapists add value and expertise to the interdisciplinary team through the development, utilization, and implementation of best clinical practices and standardization.”
Chronically critically ill patients, a population whose needs and challenges were the sole subject of a recent issue of the journal Respiratory Care, have a very high mortality rate, and survivors among the group suffer with severe impairments and functional dependence. For the caregivers of these patients, the effect can be devastating. According to one article in the journal, “it is difficult to imagine a group of patients with greater need for high-quality palliative care.”
This article points out that early integration of palliative care for these patients can be highly beneficial, particularly in helping patients and families define goals for care and manage the emotional issues that arise when a patient is chronically critically ill.
[caption id="attachment_538" align="alignleft" width="210"] Ms. Opdyke leaves Kindred Hospital with a smile and new appreciation for her extended lease on life.[/caption]
Aubrey Opdyke, a 27-year-old wife and mother came to Kindred Hospital – The Palm Beaches after a two-month battle for her life at a local sub acute hospital against Public Enemy No. 1; swine flu. Ms. Opdyke had spent five weeks in a coma, suffered six collapsed lungs, a near-fatal seizure and worst of all, lost the child she was carrying. The young mother had been six months pregnant with her second child when she contracted H1N1 that July. In spite of every possible effort, her baby girl could not be saved. Once her condition had stabilized, Ms. Opdyke was transferred to Kindred Hospital having lost two months of her life and the life of her child during the medically induced coma that had saved her life.
National Case Management Week, observed Oct. 14-20 this year, recognizes case managers for their hard work, dedication and advocacy for their patients, and also educates others about what they do.
The Palliative Care Summit for PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice was held in Snowbird, Utah on September 15, 2012, following the Rocky Mountain Geriatric Conference. The leadership team in attendance represented over 1400 employees of the PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice Division of Kindred Healthcare, Inc. Jim McDonald, Vice President of Western Region for Homecare and Hospice, and Ed Seiler, Senior Director of Hospice and Home Health Operations hosted the summit as a way to bring the western branches together and to give an overview of the BridgePoint Palliative Care program. There were commanding presentations, sharing ideas and best practices on the implementation and maintenance of a successful palliative care program. You can learn more about PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice's palliative care program here.
What is Palliative Care?
Last week was National Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week, a time set aside to honor healthcare food and nutrition professionals. Thousands of patients and residents are admitted to Kindred facilities every year, and our staff has an amazing ability to keep up with all of their dietary needs and restrictions.
The publication of the June 2012 issue of the journal Respiratory Care followed a national symposium dedicated to the “chronically critically ill patient,” the patient with ongoing costly medical interventions, risk for medical complications and death, and the need for extensive post-acute care services. One article and subsequent discussion was devoted to the topic of liberating patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation, or PMV patients, from their need for this ongoing treatment. PMV is defined, in this article, as mechanical ventilation needed for at least 21 days.
We know there are barriers to weaning patients from PMV, but it can be argued that we haven’t formally studied them enough to know how to overcome them. The barriers may include age, identifying windows of opportunity for weaning, a concurrent condition known as critical illness neuromyopathy (CINM) and cardiac issues.
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