Category: Benefits of Home Care

NursePartners becomes the second SAGE-certified Pennsylvania home care company

SAGE Care LGBT Cultural Competency Training - 2017 Bronze

NursePartners, Inc. is proud to be the only home care company in Philadelphia that is SAGETM certified for LGBT Seniors.  As an Independence Business Alliance (“IBA”) member and sponsor for many years, we know that aging LGBT seniors face a unique set of challenges when it is time to receive personal care.  If they move into an assisted living community or nursing home, they may have to hide their identities or not participate in favorite activities.  This forced change is not only difficult, but it is one that should never happen.

 

We sought to make a difference by training 25% of our employees to better understand how to connect and care for the aging LGBT community.  The training taught employees the intergenerational and racial nuances that apply to LGBT older adults. We learned how respond to bias behavior, incorporated new vocabulary, and received an overview of federal protections.

Previously these same employees completed the GEMTM training, a 7.5-hour training module that refines approaches for working with clients living with dementia.  This training involves role playing with a dementia coach and working through challenging behaviors.  Many of the techniques in Teepa Snow’s Positive Physical Approach to CareTM can also be applied to clients not living with a diagnosis of dementia.  This is because we focus just as much on our approach as the quality of care delivered.

We are prepared to service older LGBT adults in the Philadelphia region.  The following are some of the tasks our carepartners can complete:

  • Bathing, Grooming, and Hygiene
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Transferring and Positioning
  • Feeding and Diet monitoring
  • Toileting and Incontinence Care
  • Meal Preparation
  • Laundry
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Grocery Shopping/Errands
  • Grocery Delivery Coordination
  • Transportation in private vehicles or public transportation
  • Medication Reminders

All clients receive a care of plan uniquely made for them.  These plans are developed by a registered nurse and adjusted accordingly as conditions change.

NursePartners values the relationship with the client as much as with their family.  We know that the journey may be challenging and we are here to offer support.

Connecting through meaningful activities

One of the common mistakes we make as caregivers is to eliminate the very activities that give older adults a sense of purpose.  Our first inclination is to “entertain” instead of giving older adults a “job-related” activity.  However, older adults also need to feel needed and seen by others as productive members of society.  For many of us, productivity equates to the feeling of importance.

Assigning tasks requires creativity.  It is most successful upon taking the time to understand an individual’s unique history and personality.  For someone living with dementia, traveling back in time is common.  We can anticipate some of possible job-related activities by knowing what our clients did for work 20,30, or 60 years ago.  We piece this puzzle together through a thorough initial assessment and continued conversations with family and friends.

Sometimes job-related tasks can be accomplished by involving the client with their own care. Depending on their GEMTM level and living arrangements, clients may even want to take part in activities for other residents.  In the Diamond and Emerald stages, we need to take care to control for external stimuli that might distract from the schedule or make unnecessary changes.  For later GEM stages, we will then have to adapt tasks to ensure that the client continues to successfully complete them.

We welcome the opportunity to tell you more about our dementia care services.

Why Choose Us?

  • We focus on what our clients can do, not what they cannot.
  • There is a no cost, collaborative health and wellness assessment.
  • 24/7 availability, including holidays and weekends.
  • We are staffed with Certified Nursing Assistances (“CNA”s), not Home Health Aides.  All of our CNAs have years of geriatric experience and exhibit a passion for caring for those with progressive diseases.
  • Regular visits by licensed clinicians to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Carepartners are employees of NursePartners, not subcontractors.
  • We seek to engage our clients in meaningful activities; we seek to exceed your expectations.
  • Our standards are higher than those set by the healthcare industry.

 

Activities for those living with dementia

During the first week of services, NursePartners puts together an activity box for each of our clients living with dementia.  These give carepartners the tools they need to start building a successful relationship.

Carepartners know to communicate client needs as they arise.  Sometimes by learning more about our clients we can find activities that will best engage them.  Occasionally we bring additional items into the client’s home as we discover new interests.

We recommend keeping the brain actively engaged.  Families are encouraged to interact with the person living with dementia to find new ways to connect “and say hello”.  Jeremy Miller, BSW is a Certified Dementia Specialist who offers recommendations on his website: http://www.engagingdementia.com/engaging-products.

 

It is also recommended to involve clients in their own care.  Clients should feel a sense of responsibility.  Carepartners may accompany them to places such as the grocery store or they could shop for these items online.  Grocery delivery and other similar services are coordinated through our office.

Let us tell you more about how we can help you or a loved one age gracefully in place: 610-323-9800.

Substituting and Subtracting

NursePartners emphasizes the need to substitute and then subtract when helping someone living with dementia.  This requires thinking creatively and making the care recipient feel as though they are effectively communicating their need or desire.

Our team helps the person living with dementia feel heard and acknowledged by joining their world.  We spend extra time connecting before providing care.  If the person is trying to communicate something, we ask them to tell us about it.  If they are noticeably upset or sad, we take that extra moment to enter that emotional state ourselves for a little.  For someone unable to communicate effectively, this opportunity to describe something they forget or connect emotionally will allows us to provide care and for both the carepartner and the client to feel good about our interaction.

Click here to listen to what an assisted living community does in Germany: Waiting for the Bus to Nowhere

dementia, bus stop, substitute and substract, Philadelphia home care

 

Teepa Snow on Planning Activities to Enrich the Lives of People with Alzheimer’s

Strategies and techniques for dementia care

By now, you all know why we love the nationally renowned dementia care expert Teepa Snow and her GEMS® classification system techniques and strategies.  This Huffington Post article covers the essentials in providing family members and care partners the tools and tips that lead to positive and meaningful relationships with loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

As a person with Alzheimer’s and dementia progresses, it is important to continue to provide quality of life at each stage. Entertainment and activities are essential for the wellbeing of people with Alzheimer’s. While they do not slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s, these activities can improve the quality of life for your loved ones.

“They can make the difference between a deadly boring day of staring at the floor and a rich sense of purpose and contentedness. They can also help the caregiver make a connection with the person, no matter how brief.”

home care, meaningful activities, engaging, home health care

Move beyond entertainment

Games and activities help maintain motor skills and lessen agitation, depression, and stress. Projects that match your loved one’s skills and profession can provide a sense of independence and ownership. It’s important to adapt the activities you use to your loved one’s natural likes and  disposition. Here are some things to consider when providing a plan of care:

  1. What profession did you loved one choose?
  2. Which roles did they have and can you preserve or re-imagine some of that?
  3. Are they an extrovert or introvert?
  4. What were their hobbies?

While an extrovert is likely to enjoy group activities like bingo, your introvert will much rather do something on their own, such as solving puzzles or organizing coins.

For people with Alzheimer’s disease, a successful activity, whether it’s listening to music or playing a game, helps create meaning and pulls from past interests. These activities can provide your loved one with a chance to be more engaged, while fostering an emotional connection and self-expression.

According to Teepa, the single most important thing for family and professional care partners to keep in mind is:

“Provide more than just entertainment.

People with dementia can become tired or overstimulated if they have too much entertainment.”

Include productive and relaxation activities

It’s important to balance the day, by including productive activities (that the person can realistically to expected to be able to achieve), leisure time, fitness activities and, finally, rest and relaxation. Teepa stressed the importance of modifying your expectations as your loved one progresses through the stages of dementia. Activities that worked well with those in the early stages will not necessarily be successful for those in the mid- to late-stages.

People with dementia have the right to enjoy the highest possible quality of life and care by being engaged in meaningful relationships that are based on equality, understanding, sharing, participation, collaboration, dignity, trust, and respect.

At NursePartners, we work to match a highly qualified and experienced care partners to your preferences and expectations. We strive for hand-picked, exceptional care that meets the needs of each unique individual. Our specialized approach to care includes a customized treatment plan – our caregivers are dedicated to improving quality of life.

By keeping a record of everything from mood behaviors, health problems to daily activities, we can begin to understand what factors contribute to positive moods and overall happiness. Furthermore, our care partners have leading expertise and experience with dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Care partners also assist with transportation, preparing individualized meals, light housekeeping, and personal care.

If your loved one needs home care assistance or relief, our team would love to help. Contact us today.

Dementia Care Services

Dementia Care Services in Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties:

NursePartners has been serving its clients for over 15 years.  Each of our employees have years of geriatric experience and exhibit a passion for caring for older adults.  Carepartners that work in the GEM (dementia) division have undergone an 8-hour paid training.  They also receive continued coaching from a certified dementia practitioner and coach as they work with our clients.

Carl and Melva painting together on a cold winter day.

These are some of the services offered to our clients living with dementia:

  • We begin by working with the family to create a customized plan of care developed by an experienced Registered Nurse.
  • We help create and maintain a safe environment to prevent falls, injury, and wandering.
  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal preparation and assistance
  • Performing and assisting with personal care activities
  • Home exercise program support
  • Detailed family updates
  • Daily monitoring of each client
  • Permanent team of carepartners
  • Long-term care insurance reimbursement support
  • Coordinating grocery purchases and deliveries
  • Medication management

We may be able to offer dementia consulting services upon request.

National Aging in Place Council Comes to Philadelphia

NursePartners, in partnership with National Aging in Place Council Philadelphia members, are pleased to announce the formation of the NEW Philadelphia chapter.

The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) is a non-profit association of service providers dedicated to working together to help people in their later years live a healthy and comfortable life in the home of their choice.

Members of the Philadelphia Chapter include geriatric care managers, elder care attorneys, home care and home health care professionals, dementia experts, financial planners, home remodeling,  caregiver support groups, and moving services.

The mission of the Philadelphia Chapter is to support the residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas by providing products and services to retiring seniors that allow them to remain in their homes comfortably, independently and safely. In addition, our goal is to educate the public through hosting educational events throughout the year about the importance of planning ahead.

If your goal is to age in place, we urge you to take advantage of our senior support network. We can help ensure you have a plan, understand all available resources, and assist you so that you can remain independent in the home of your choice.

If you are interested in learning more about Philadelphia NAIPC or to view upcoming events, visit our chapter page at www.ageinplace.org/Local-Chapters/Philadelphia-PA or by emailing Philadelphia@ageinplace.org.

Informative articles and links to local providers and services can be found at the NAIPC website at http://www.ageinplace.org.

Preventing Falls during the Winter Months

The winter weather accompanies the increased risk of falls.  We can minimize fall risk by eliminating some environmental obstacles.
Some of these obstacles are:
  • Dim lighting
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Clutter or pets
  • Inadequate stair design
  • Improper use of mobility devices

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the following statistics:

  • One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
  • Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
  • In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion.
  • The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

Dispelling a few myths about home care

Over the next few weeks we will spending time with those we might not get to see often.  It is important to recognize that they will be putting their best face forward during these reunions.  We should have an acute awareness of changes that have occurred since we last saw them.

The AARP, published a report “Chronic Conditions Among Older Americans” where they state: “More than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older suffer from at least one chronic condition.”  This translates to 4 out of every 5 older adults.

Home care can be the perfect solution, but families worry about entrusting someone with the care of their loved one. When it comes to the health of your loved one, there is no room for uncertainty.  In the interest of setting the record straight, we’ve identified four major myths surrounding home health care:

Myth No. 1: Caregivers aren’t trustworthy

Many families believe that an in-home care provider cannot provide the quality of care their loved one needs and deserves. But trained care providers are knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated to providing peace of mind for you and your family. All NursePartners’ care providers are bonded, screened, insured, and have clean backgrounds.  You can rest assured that your loved one will be safe in our care. Each carepartner participates in a behavioral interview, competency testing, skill matching, and orientation to meet the needs of your loved one.

As a licensed home care agency, we specialize in providing highly individualized, quality care in one’s home or residence. We are a network of caring professionals who work with each family to enable safety, comfort, and happiness through home care services.

Myth 2: I will have no say in choosing a care provider.

Reputable agencies will work diligently to match care providers that fit the needs of your loved one. When you choose NursePartners as your home care provider, we begin by reviewing your loved one’s current level of health and wellness. After a care consultation and assessment, we’ll work to match an experienced carepartner to fit your preferences, including personality, communication, behavior styles, and skill set.

Myth 3: Home care will take away independence from my loved one.

Care at home can actually provide a new level of independence for your loved one. A professional care provider can help maintain a person’s safety and independence at home, from planning and preparing meals, to providing transport, and support around the house.

NursePartners strives for exceptional care, forming interactive, trusting relationships with our clients. By appreciating and understanding what is changing and what is still possible, we generate a plan of care that is positive and productive.

Myth 4: Home care is unaffordable.

Many people assume in-home care is more expensive than assisted living.  However, assisted living communities in our area cost at least $5,500 a month.  Once these communities determine that your loved one needs additional care, the daily rate will increase or they will be moved to another facility such as skilled nursing.

Home care is flexible because you choose the hours of care.  Although we may suggest a certain level of services based on our experiences, it is ultimately up to you to decide what coverage is needed.

Many individuals, if given the choice, would choose to remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. In-home care is an option for providing support, without moving them from their current residence. While there is a lot to navigate, it’s important for you and your family to know that many options exist.  Our team is available to guide you through this process.

If you or a loved one is thinking about home care assistance, our team would love to help.Contact us today.


Sources

“Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey.” Genworth (n.d.): n. pag. https://www.genworth.com. Genworth, 20 Mar. 2015. Web.

The prices of assisted living communities was compiled through a screening of over 20 assisted living communities in Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania and Camden and Burlington counties in New Jersey.

Alzheimer’s and the Ability to Walk

Dementia can affect areas of the brain that are responsible for movement and balance. Because of this, many individuals affected by Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia can gradually lose the ability to walk and perform everyday tasks. Knowing what to expect can make an easier transition for you and your loved one in the late stages of dementia.

Understanding Balance and Gait

A crucial and sometimes neglected part of dementia care is the observation of gait. Gait refers to the motion and stride of walking. One of the first signs of loss of mobility, is walking unsteadily and shuffling. Your loved one may seem slow or clumsy, causing more accidents and bumping into things. This “slowing” is typically associated with a syndrome called “parkinsonism.” Other signs of Parkinsonism include the shortening of steps, “stooped” posture, and the narrowing of the space between feet. When a person with Parkinsonism turns, they no longer pivot on their heels, but instead turn in a series of short steps. During the turns, their balance can become unstable; and are likely to fall backwards.

Apraxia is another condition associated with dementia and the ability to walk. An ataxic gait is characterized by imbalance, and abnormal, uncoordinated movements. Typically the individual can stand, but is very unsteady, taking small irregular steps. Very early in the course of apraxic walking in dementia, a cane or a walker can help. It is not uncommon to see a person go from a slow, cautious gait, to a normal walking pattern simply by taking up a cane.

How you can help:

  • It is important to note that people with dementia can have problems with walking that are not associated with Dementia. Exhaustion and pain can limit how far a person can walk. Sometimes that pain can reflect an unattended problem in foot care or muscle fatigue.
  • The person you care for may also require a mobility aid, such as a walking cane or a wheelchair in order to feel secure. Sometimes just being physically present can provide your loved one with the confidence and security to walk.
  • Consider a physiotherapist: They can help with anything from exercises to strengthen muscles to walking aids.

Care for a person with dementia who is immobile enough can become difficult. Many other problems can develop, such as constipation, blood clots and pressure sores. If you or a loved one needs home care assistance or relief, our team can help: Contact us today.

Sources:

Understanding Dementia: Balance and Gait Examination – DementiaGuide.com. DementiaGuide, 2001. Web. 23 June 2016.