For-Profit vs. Non-Profit Nursing Homes

Those of us who love old people either work in or know people who work in nursing homes.  Or, we have had loved ones in facilities.  There are strong feelings both ways.  Non-profit operators claim to give the best care because of their mission-driven attitude, unencumbered by financial demands.  For-profit operators claim to give the best care because they’re the ones providing the highest acuity and re-investing profits into facilities.

Here’s an article that shows how this argument is moot and that the two types of operators are a lot more alike than they realize … [click on the image below]

Transforming Long-term Care Blog

Transforming Long-term Care Blog

In the end, as you search out a long-term care facility either for placement of a loved one or for your own career, you need to find one that is, like the author of the article states, ‘built to last.’

You Can’t Handle The Truth!

You can't handle the truth

America Can't Handle The Truth

Let these numbers sink in for a minute …

[From USA Today Article] Starting on Saturday, Baby Boomers begin turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare — one every eight seconds. A record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011, rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show.

In all, the government expects 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare. Even factoring in deaths over that period, the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million in 2030.

At the same time, health care costs are projected to outpace inflation, and medical advances will extend lives, straining the program’s finances. It’s expected to cost $929 billion by 2020, an 80% increase over 10 years.

Is there a better example of the lack of true political leadership in the United States than this?  Neither Democrat nor Republican can claim they have been confronting these brutal facts.  Rather, each group sticks their finger in the air and responds to the political winds.

Are there any real (and digestible) plans to address the tsunami?  Anyone?

Hardened Arteries, Elderly Falls Linked

Thomas H. Maugh II Los Angeles Times

May 17, 2010 | 10:36 a.m.

A stiffening of the aging brain’s blood vessels reduces their ability to respond to changes in blood pressure, increasing the risk of falls by as much as 70%, researchers reported Monday.

Although the change in the arteries is only one of many factors that lead to falls among the elderly, the findings provide a potential target for intervention, said Dr. Joe Verghese, a neurologist at Albert Einstein University College of Medicine who was not involved in the research. Treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other factors, can reduce the stiffening.

“Even if it accounts for only 10% to 15% of all falls, that’s still large numbers that you are talking about,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of adults over the age of 65 fall each year, and 30% of those suffer moderate to severe injuries, including hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Most elderly who are hospitalized with a hip fracture end up in a nursing home.A variety of factors have been linked to falls, including diseases, foot problems, overmedication, environmental hazards — and abnormalities in the signaling potential of the brain’s white matter, which controls both cognitive and motor functions, have also been linked. The study was designed to demonstrate at least one mechanism by which these latter abnormalities could occur.
Dr. Farzaneh A. Sorond, a neurologist at Harvard University’s Institute for Aging Research, and her colleagues studied 420 people over the age of 65. The team used ultrasound to measure the flow of blood in the patients’ brains while they were at rest and when they were breathing rapidly.

Heavy breathing increases carbon dioxide levels and normally produces a dilation of the blood vessels, a phenomenon known as vasoreactivity. If blood vessels don’t properly dilate under stress, the brain does not get enough oxygen and glucose.

The researchers also studied the patients’ gait over a 12-foot course and had them keep a record of their falls. Poor gait is also a factor in falls. About 85% of 65-year-olds have a normal gait, but only 18% of 80-year-olds do.

The team reported in the journal Neurology that patients in the bottom fifth for vasoreactivity had a slower, worse gait than those in the top fifth and were 70% more likely to have suffered a fall during the study period.

“This gives us a window to intervene,” Sorond said. “There is a lot of data, for example, that says [cholesterol-lowering] statins improve vasoreactivity. We hope to be funded to study that over the next five years.” The team also plans to do imaging studies to see if the low vasoreactivity is linked to problems with white matter.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and a private donor.

Baby Boomer’s Palate

From AARP …

As individuals age, their taste buds become less receptive, and it may be difficult for them to appreciate the flavors of certain dishes. In order to enable hospitals to cater to the baby boomer population, food experts in the U.S. and UK are working to make prepared meals more appetizing for aging patients.

Chef Heston Blumenthal has teamed up with the experts at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the U.K. to create dishes that will make seniors salivate, according to Get Bracknell.

Because 60 percent of elderly patients who are entered into a hospital are malnourished, senior citizen advocacy groups say it’s important to provide meals that are appealing to them, the source reports.

“We are still working on how we are going to do this and we will be stripping the food back to see where we can change things to make them tastier but essentially, a cottage pie will still be a cottage pie,” Blumenthal told the news provider. “Elderly people will just be able to taste it more.”

In America, many sectors of the food industry appear to be catering to health-conscious baby boomers’ needs and wants.

The dairy market has begun to offer milk products that include probiotics and prebiotics, which aid in digestion, as well as plant sterols which can lower cholesterol and fatty acids which may promote brain health, according to the Seattle Times.

https://www.aarpglobalnetwork.org/netzine/Industry%20News/ProductsandServices/Pages/Hospitalscatertobabyboomers%27palates19775662.aspx

Serving up the Flu Vaccine

In this year’s complicated flu season, there have been periodic shortages of vaccines for seasonal flu, which typically begins in late November, and for the H1N1 flu that’s grabbing headlines as a new threat for people under age 64. But those over 50 need to be immunized against seasonal flu. That’s the most important step most older people can take to get safely through the flu season, says Karen Hall, M.D., Ph.D., a University of Michigan Geriatrics Center specialist…

http://seniorjournal.com/Spotlights/FLU2009/20091123-SmartSeniorCitizensGuide.htm

Save Our Seniors!

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From the American Health Care Association advocacy web site:

Ask Congress to stop proposals that further cut nursing home care.

AHCA/NCAL supports health care reform. Yet, two proposals in Congress would cut Medicare funding for care of America’s seniors in nursing homes nationwide by $14.6 billion in the Senate or $32 billion in the House. These cuts come on top of $12 billion in cuts that went into effect October 1. Together, these cuts are simply unsustainable.

Since labor represents 70% of nursing home operating costs, we worry that such deep cuts would affect jobs—forcing layoffs, lowering salaries, or reducing  benefits—and ultimately, would hurt seniors’ quality of care. Congress must stop proposals that further cut nursing home care and reconsider how the existing $12 billion in cuts, combined with state Medicaid funding shortfall, will negatively impact seniors’ care.

We are calling on Congress to ensure that total funding for nursing home care remains adequate to preserve quality care for America’s seniors and protects caregiver jobs. We invite you to join us.

Below please find several documents that will help you to better educate your Members of Congress about the negative impact of these cuts as we campaign to Save Our Seniors today!

How you can help:

Call or email your Members of Congress today!

Attend a Town Hall meeting, and/or set up in-district meetings with your Senators and Representative or their staff.

Invite your Senators and Representative to visit your facility.

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