Thursday, July 19, 2012

Caregiving echos uncertainty and stress

Change; whether change is positive or negative the emotions it echoes is uncertainty and stress.       When we talk about caregiving stress and uncertainty are the emotions that family members experience.  Their life has changed by taking on the role of caregiver.  The uncertainty of the future and the stress of their daily activities causes issues like eating disorders, lack of sleep, and medical problems like high blood pressure.   When you ask family caregivers how caregiving makes them feel, most say depressed.  Depression is the result of the stress and uncertainty of their particular situation.  They feel alone and without answers. 
That is why it is so important for family members to attend support groups.  Support groups offer the comfort of knowing you are not alone and that others feel the same way.  Support group members provide guidance to each other with instruction tips of how to care for loved ones.  Suggestions of what works for one may help another caregiver’s situation. 
Family Caregivers Network offers Caregiver Support Groups to family caregivers.  Our initial support group has been running for 12 years.  Held in Quakertown, Independence Court an Assisted Living Facility hosts our meeting on the last Thursday of the month at 6pm.  A second Caregiver Support Group is held the second Thursday of the month at our office in Pennsburg.   Tell your friends, neighbors, or loved ones who are caregivers about these Support Groups and encourage them to attend.   Call Family Caregivers Network
1-866-539-7515 to attend one of our meetings.    If you live out of the area you can easily find a Caregiver Support Group near you.   Call your local "Office on Aging" or  "Children of Aging Parents" , 1-800-227-7294 to find out more about Support Groups.  

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.   Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Reduce Medication Errors

Half of heart patients make medication errors within a month of being discharged from the hospital, according to a study conducted by Vanderbilt University Hospital in Tennessee and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, published earlier this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Of the 50 percent who made errors, nearly a quarter (23 percent) was considered to be serious errors, and 1.8 percent were deemed to be potentially life-threatening, U.S. News & World Report noted.

The study found even highly educated patients made serious medication errors, as did patients who were given guidance and individualized instructions by a pharmacist, according to MedPage Today. Patients who received a follow-up phone call from their physicians post-discharge didn't reduce the number of mistakes, the data showed. Despite intervention by pharmacists and medical staff, these frequent errors are cause for concern.

There needs to be better supervision and management of medications in patients, especially older patients.  New automated medication systems have ensured better compliance with medication administration with less errors.  The Lifeline Personal Medication Dispenser does just that,

Seniors rely on their medications to keep them healthy, but complex medication schedules can lead to mistakes: missing doses, taking incorrect amounts, or taking medicines at the wrong times. These mistakes could lead to unnecessary doctor or hospital visits, illness and even death.
  • For seniors, approximately 1 out of 10 hospital admissions are the result of the incorrect use of medications.*
  • Not taking medications correctly can have serious consequences, including increased discomfort, inadequate disease prevention and possibly even death.**
  • Lifeline is the only service with a 98.6 % dispensing adherence, among monitored subscribers. 
For more information about the Lifeline Personal Medication Dispensing system contact Family Caregivers Network.