North East LHIN Gets Capital Injection

In a bid to improve the services it offers, the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) just received a staggering $2.6m from the Behavioral Supports Ontario (BSO) project – a partnership among the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, Health Quality Ontario and LHINs.  If any organization needs extra resources and support, it is this one, given that this is the organization dealing with behavior and mental problems, including neurological issues and dementia.  The money will be used to bring in additional nursing staff, support workers and other health-care providers who can assist these elderly patients.

According to the CEO of North East LHIN, Louise Paquette, it is behavioral support which has been the “missing link in the health-care system.”  To ensure the money is spent as efficiently as possible, already discussions have begun amongst hospital officials, the North East LHIN, long-term care residences and other services currently available for the elderly community.  However, it will take until around February 2012 before initiatives will be implemented in the area (which comprises North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins).  In addition, North East LHIN will be having talks with the head of North East Specialized Geriatric Services, Dr. Jo-Anne Clark, again to ensure the money is spent in the best possible way to benefit the elderly and make life easier for the staff.

Cost-Effective Senior Health Care Under Threat?

Seniors and Healthcare

Home health care in West Virginia could be seriously under threat if government regulation currently under speculation, is accepted.  Over 50 percent of the region’s Medicare Home Health Agencies could very soon be put in the red which could result in a serious addition to patient health care expenditure for the elderly and frail.

But the good news is that there are some government officials who are fighting the proposal tooth and nail. According to an article in Market Watch, US Representative David McKinley has “publicly express[ed] his concern that changes to the home health prospective payment system (HHPPS) could seriously impact home healthcare in West Virginia, having ‘ruinous consequences for patients dependent on skilled home health services and the providers who serve them.’”

The proposal basically sets out further state aided financial reductions on the basis “that there has been only limited change in patient acuity in past years.”  This would be okay had the general situation not changed within the seniors community.  Apparently, health care providers are noticing that there are substantially more patients requiring care these days, and that they are sicker than in previous years.  Thus, increasing the prices for seniors is going to be very detrimental for that community, and, if they don’t receive the care they need, then the kind of situation that will likely arise will be one of them requiring further care at a higher cost.  Therefore, making these increases in price for seniors now, is probably not a financially-sound plan.  The seniors need to be taken care of properly and live out their years in dignity, but this proposal will probably achieve the opposite outcome.

Dealing with Arthritis from A to Z

Easing the Pain of Arthritis

Arthritis often develops in people as they age. It is common for those suffering from arthritis to seek out physicians with a specialty in the treatment and care of people with pain. These physicians, such as Harvey Finkelstein MD, are experts in the alleviation of the painful symptoms associated with arthritis.

Among the most prevalent symptoms associated with arthritis are inflammation of the joints, stiffness, and of course pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, out of more than 100 different kinds.  It is also sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease, and is caused by the simple “wear and tear” the joints are exposed to. It is logical then, for this kind of “wearing out” of the joints to manifest more as people become older.

What is happening is that the strong, rubber-like tissue known as cartilage, whose job it is is to cushion the bones where they meet at the joints. The specialized tissue allows the bones to slide over each other for smooth and painless movement. Over time the protective cartilage can break down and rub away, allowing the bones to rub together. This unprotected rubbing is the cause of the pain, stiffness and swelling people with arthritis suffer from.

Upon examination a pain specialist such as Harvey Finkelstein MD will first confirm that the pain in the joint is indeed caused by osteoarthritis and not one of the other types of joint diseases, which can sometimes be auto-immune in nature. Once the doctor is satisfied that his patient is suffering osteoarthritis he will decide the best course of action to take which will mitigate the pain arthritis sufferers experience.

Treatment can be as simple as over-the-counter pain meds such as acetaminophen, which is generally free of side-effects. If this does not relieve the pain, the doctor might recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS. These medications are useful because they not only help with the pain, but they can also reduce swelling. Aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are included in this category of drug.

Other treatments are also available if these prove to be less than adequate. Determination of dosage, type of drug and other specifics of treatment should always be left up to the physician to insure the best results and least side-effects.

Good News for Humboldt County Seniors

It has to be said that things haven’t been looking so good as of late for the frail, elderly of the United States of America who do not have much disposable income in recent years.    But there is one area where things just might be looking up for these seniors.  It seems that California’s Humboldt County might just be the place those looking for a new home, may seek to retire.

According to the executive director of Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Joyce Hayes, within the next year-and-a-half, there’s a very good chance that PACE will be brought to the area.  PACE is the Program of All-inclusive Care for Elderly and has so far not been available in the area.  In an article in the Times-Standard, hard-working Hayes factually pointed out, “we’ve done everything possible to make sure this is doable and we need to go forward.  We’ll have the first part of the application done by the end of September.”

If this really does happen, then the quality of life for seniors who cannot afford to pay extremely high prices for their health care in Humboldt County, really will substantially improve in the near future.

Top Treatment for Texas Geriatrics

Elderly Texans Get More than Just Physical Care

Under a fantastic program – the UNT Health Science Center’s Seniors Assisting in Geriatric Education (SAGE) – the elderly citizens of Texas get more than just a physical check-up.  The idea of the program is to actually listen to the elderly, while checking on their basic vitals.  Because – as this program has identified – the elderly need so much more than just a blood pressure check.  Invariably as one ages, they see fewer people so being cooped up alone for many days or even weeks can actually make someone ill.  As well as crucial monitoring, this program has led to better communication between patients and caretakers which leads to a general advancement in how to improve their health.

A second year medical student from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine went to check up on 102-year-old Beauregard Hale and listened to his story of his recent trip to NYC and Washington DC.  Mr. Hale is one of 272 elderly participating in the SAGE program.  And the student is impressed.  He said, “Mr. Hale, he’s such a healthy person.  He’s an amazing man.”  So it’s good for the elderly individual and inspirational for the young student – a program that is a win-win for everyone.

The program started two years ago and has already served 412 seniors in the area.  It has a funding of $2m from a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation as well as the same amount from the UNTHSC.

New Geriatric Psychiatric Hospital to Open in Texas

Plans are well underway for the opening of a new hospital for elderly psychiatric care in the Lufkin, Texas area, later this year.  There was a meeting over the summer of the Regional Board of Directors for the Rural East Texas Health Network (RETHN) which took place at the Burke Center’s Mental Health Emergency Center (MHEC) in the area.  At the meeting, discussions ensued as to what impact forensic cases have on the amount of beds available at Rusk State Hospital.  A review of data on MHEC’s admissions took place as well as elections for new board officers.

The Burke Center runs the RETHN whose mission is to improve behavioral as well as mental health issues across the region.  Those working for the RETHN include: judges, law enforcement representatives, local government officials as well as mental health workers.

La Fe Clinic Puts on a Health Fair for Seniors

Those seniors living in the Borderland Texas area had a chance to learn more about senior health services focused on them put together specifically for them.

This is two years now that the La fe Clinic has put on a seniors fair in south El Paso. There were many people there that perused the booths filled with information about from social security to Hospice facilities., Perhaps the biggest draw was a free massage.  The La fe Clinic organizers said events like these are extremely important for seniors.

“First of all, if you don’t know what is out there in the community this is one way to find out.The other reason is it’s a good way to find out your status in terms of health,” says Ignacio Escandon, of La Fe Clinic.

The event in El Paso is free of charge.