September is Healthy Aging Month

During Healthy Aging Month, we focus on celebrating the many positive aspects of aging. Here are some tips to incorporate in your daily routine that can lead to a healthier lifestyle, allowing you to live your life to the fullest.

  1. Exercise – Get moving and active on a daily basis!
  2. Socialize – Stay in touch and find safe ways to connect with friends and loved ones!
  3. Stay balanced – Try new methods such as yoga to reduce stress and improve your overall balance!
  4. Rest – It’s important to make sure you are getting a good, quality rest each night.

These are important tips to keep in mind for all ages and stages of life. Not only this month, but from now on, remember to take care of yourself and those who surround you. Healthy aging starts with you and your health decisions.

Supporting Assisted Living Facilities During COVID-19

Happy National Assisted Living Week!

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our daily lives, assisted living facilities continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their residents and employees. While keeping your loved ones safe might mean you cannot connect in person, here are some ways to support facility residents and employees from a safe distance.

  • Get artsy. Spending the afternoon drawing pictures, painting windows, or snapping some fun photos are all great ways to get creative and share uplifting moments with residents. This can be a great way to engage children of all ages or to turn your talent into the highlight of someone’s day.
  • Become a Pen Pal. Since residents are socializing less due to the pandemic, starting a pen pal friendship with someone in an assisted living facility is a great way to communicate and share stories while practicing social distancing. This is the next best thing to in-person conversations!
  • Send a special delivery. You can never go wrong with sending a surprise package to support both staff and residents! Any sort of delivery – snacks, flowers, games, care packages, etc. – will brighten the day of anyone in an assisted living facility.
  • Coordinate a window visit. Sit outside, have a conversation, and share your smile with your loved one in a facility. You can play an instrument for them, talk on the phone, or even play a game – just to name a few!
  • Shoot a video. Creating a fun video of loved ones saying ‘hello,’ sharing words of encouragement, or acting out a skit are all directions you could take when shooting a video to share with those in assisted living facilities.

Whether it’s a photo of your playful dog, writing a letter sharing an uplifting story, or sending a bouquet of flowers for the front desk to display, it may be just the boost of happiness someone in an assisted living facility needs during this time. As we celebrate National Assisted Living Week, we encourage you to reach out to both residents and staff members with acts of kindness, reminding them of your support and love during these times.

How COVID-19 Affects Diabetes

By: Portia Wofford

Physicians, scientists, and researchers are still learning about COVID-19 and its effects on the body. As they study the impact coronavirus has on different illnesses and disease processes, diabetes is getting attention. The CDC notes that having Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing infections, they should take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Complications from diabetes related to COVID-19

Currently, there isn’t enough research or evidence to prove that diabetics are at an increased risk for COVID-19. However, if your diabetes isn’t well-controlled, you could have worse complications if you contract coronavirus. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), when diabetics don’t manage their diabetes and blood sugars, they are at risk for diabetes- related complications. Additionally, other conditions —such as heart or lung disease — and diabetes worsens the chance of you getting sick from COVID-19 because your body’s immune system is compromised. A recent study showed patients with COVID-19 and diabetes who had high blood sugars were more likely to have longer hospital stays.

If you do get COVID-19, the virus could put you at higher risk for sepsis  and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Sepsis is a complication of COVID-19, which causes widespread inflammation throughout your body and can shut down organs. DKA happens when high levels of acid (ketones) are in your blood.

  • It’s hard to manage your fluid and electrolytes level in DKA.
  • DKA makes it difficult to maintain your fluid and electrolyte levels.
  • This makes treating sepsis hard because DKA causes you to lose electrolytes.

In addition to diabetes-related complications, diabetics also have a risk of developing other complications of COVID-19, such as pneumonia, organ failure, and kidney injury.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Coronavirus

According to the CDC, people at any age with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on the CDC, the ADA warns that people with Type 1 or gestational diabetes might also be at an increased risk. The ADA states it’s important for any person with either type of diabetes to manage their diabetes. Those who already have diabetes-related health problems are likely to have worse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 than diabetics who are otherwise healthy.

Tips to avoid infection

  1. Stay home as much as possible
  2. Monitor your blood sugar regularly. Maintaining optimal blood glucose, as determined by your healthcare team, is important in preventing severe complications to COVID-19.
  3. Wash your hands
  4. Avoid sick people
  5. Wear a mask
  6. Check-in with your doctors, via telehealth. Most providers schedule telehealth visits—rather than in-person visits. Ask your provider if he or she offers this service.
  7. Exercise. Try exercising at home. Walk around your neighborhood, but be sure to social distance. Right now, there are exercises and workout plans online where you can follow along.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hand with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you as well.
  9. Wear a mask and social distance. CDC recommends at least 6 feet apart.
  10. Eat a healthy diet:
  • Eat foods low in sugar
  • Limit foods high in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat
  • Try lean proteins instead of fried foods
  • Don’t forget your green, leafy vegetables

If your glucose readings change because of changes in your diet and activity level, speak with your healthcare team before making any adjustments to your insulin or other medications.

Your COVID-19 diabetes plan

Because of social distancing and shelter-in-place rules, it may be harder for you to get your supplies.

Stock up on enough supplies to last you for a couple of weeks, in case you get quarantined:

  • Healthy food
  • Simple carbs like honey, fruit juice, or hard candies in case your blood sugar dips
  • Make sure you have a 30 day supply of insulin and other medicine
  • Extra strips and batteries for your glucometer
  • Extra glucagon and ketone strips
  • Diabetes alert bracelet or necklace

Keep your home health team updated on your plans, and if you notice any COVID-19 symptoms be sure to alert your home health nurse.

What to do if you get sick

Be sure you know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Muscle or body aches

Notify your Hospice of the Midwest nurse , with your most recent blood glucose readings, if you have any of these symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe illness, and appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.

Portia Wofford is an award-winning nurse, writer, and digital marketer. After dedicating her nursing career to creating content and solutions for employers that affected patient outcomes, these days Portia empowers health related businesses to grow their communities through engaging content that connects and converts. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for her latest.

Common Hospice Qualifiers

For many people, the decision to receive hospice care is made following the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness. Even so, some families still question this decision. Here are some common Hospice qualifiers to help determine when it might be time to elect the hospice benefit. 

  • Falls
  • Frequent physician, ET and/or Hospital visits
  • Weight loss and or BMI < 22
  • Decline aggressive therapy or is not a candidate
  • Wounds
  • EF < 20%
  • NYHA Class IV symptoms at rest
  • Little or no response to Bronchodilators
  • Serum < 2.5
  • Dysphagia and/or aspiration pneumonia
  • Shortness of breath and/or o2 sat of 88% or less
  • Frequent injections
  • Edema
  • UTIs
  • Upper respiratory infections, bronchitis or pneumonia

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms and have questions about our services at Hospice of the Midwest, please contact one of our office locations near you to speak with a staff member about these Hospice qualifiers.

Music Therapy Benefits in Hospice Care

A Music Therapy Case Study | Joshua Gilbert, MT-BC

Throughout life, song can positively affect us both physically and emotionally. It influences bodily functions that we believe are beyond our control, such as heart rate, blood pressure and release of the body’s natural pain relief chemicals. Music therapy offers significant benefits for patients, caregivers and families. We offer it as part of our hospice services.

In a case study conducted (by Joshua Gilbert) on the impact of music therapy over a four-month period, with an older adult in hospice care, results exhibited significant signs of improvement in the following categories:

  • Quality of life
  • Self-esteem
  • Emotional expression
  • Breathing patterns

Through involvement in music-based interventions, these improvements allowed the patient to benefit from music therapy during hospice care. The patient often smiled, laughed and made positive comments about the music. After participating in deep breathing exercises and harmonica playing, the patient’s breathing became deeper and less labored. Additionally, the patient developed increased confidence in improvising harmonica music, and more open about expressing her emotions surrounding death.

Despite patient status or level of consciousness, music therapists can console and comfort them through music. Research has shown hearing is the last outside sensation that registers with a dying patient. Let us help your loved one make this experience more soothing.

To read the full case study, please click here.

Meet Our Carroll Caregivers | Brooke Schiltz

We’re Keeping It Local – Look for the Purple Scrubs!

Hospice of the Midwest is proud to serve the town of Carroll, Iowa and its surrounding communities. We are dedicated to providing exceptional in-home hospice care and pride ourselves on our local caregivers. We would love for the Carroll community to get to know our team better (although many of you might know some of these ladies), so please read on to learn more about Hospice of the Midwest caregiver, Brooke.

Meet Brooke Schiltz

Just down the road from Carroll, in Breda, Iowa, resides new member of the Hospice of the Midwest family, Brooke Schiltz. Despite being new to the hospice field, Brooke’s hospice heart and dedication to helping patients at the end of life is already prevalent.

Brooke comes from a long line of healthcare workers and knew her calling in the field as early as high school. After receiving her CNA certification, Brooke began her career in caring for others as a high schooler, working at a local nursing home for two years. After working at a hospital in Des Moines and with a nursing agency for most of her career, Brooke has made the transition to Hospice of the Midwest in order to be closer to home.

Eager to begin her hospice career and serve the Carroll area, Brooke has a passion for keeping patients comfortable during their last days and assisting in lessening their pain. After hearing her fellow coworker, Barbara’s, praises about the hospice field, Brooke is also ready to learn from her peers and gain experience through hospice.

Brooke would urge those seeking hospice services to choose Hospice of the Midwest because of the dedication our nurses demonstrate. She explains,

“Our nurses will sit down and spend time with their patients, even after all their required tasks are finished. They truly care about the patients’ life experiences and always do more than just the bare minimum.”

If you or anyone you know is in need of hospice services in the Carroll area, please contact Hospice of the Midwest at (641) 332-3006.

We would love to give a shout out to the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, as their beautiful building made a great spot to snap some photos of our employees! Their website offers fantastic resources regarding local events, shopping, businesses within the Carroll community, and more. Check it out!

Meet Our Carroll Caregivers | Joy Vannahme

We’re Keeping It Local – Look for the Purple Scrubs!

Hospice of the Midwest is proud to serve the town of Carroll, Iowa and its surrounding communities. We are dedicated to providing exceptional in-home hospice care and pride ourselves on our local caregivers. We would love for the Carroll community to get to know our team better (although many of you might know some of these ladies), so please read on to learn more about Hospice of the Midwest nurse, Joy.

Meet Joy Vannahme

Also born and raised in Carroll, Joy Vannohme understands more than anyone that in a tight-knit community you care for one another and show respect for your fellow community members who treat each other like family. Through working with Hospice of the Midwest, Joy is able to give back to her community in the most caring of ways.

“It is a privilege to be able to educate patients and their families and to act as a stronghold for them; whether that being someone for them to cry on, hug, or just be near.”

Joy has been a nurse for two years and with Hospice of the Midwest as an RN Case Manager for one year now. She is dedicated to supporting both the patients and their families through what could be the hardest time of their lives. Offering this support allows Joy to ensure everyone is comfortable by knowing what each step of the process entails and what to expect.

“We have an amazing team. It’s not just because of how amazing our nurses are – we have massage, music therapy, and other services that go above and beyond for everybody. Even if it’s a weekend, I know I can call a social worker and she’ll give me the answer I indeed. We are a family. We are all dedicated to the patients on every level.”

If you or anyone you know is in need of hospice services in the Carroll area, please contact Hospice of the Midwest at (641) 332-3006.

We would love to give a shout out to the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, as their beautiful building made a great spot to snap some photos of our employees! Their website offers fantastic resources regarding local events, shopping, businesses within the Carroll community, and more. Check it out!

Pinning Ceremony with Retired WWII Army Sergeant

Retired WWII, Army Sergeant, Paul Kunin poses with wife, Beverly after being surprised by Hospice of the Midwest ~ MN staff and Military personnel, Sargent Chad Ellwein.

The Kunin family and staff sang the National Anthem acapella while he was pinned by Sargent Ellwein, given an Appreciation certificate and saluted. Staff then displayed and draped a handmade military quilt with Army insignia over Mr. Kunin. All enjoyed a cupcake reception outside on the veranda afterwards.

“I will never forget this,” Paul said, “thank you from the bottom of my heart. This has been one of the most memorable days of my life.”

Meet Our Carroll Caregivers | Barbara Jacobsen

We’re Keeping It Local – Look for the Purple Scrubs!

Hospice of the Midwest is proud to serve the town of Carroll, Iowa and its surrounding communities. We are dedicated to providing exceptional in-home hospice care and pride ourselves on our local caregivers. We would love for the Carroll community to get to know our team better (although many of you might know some of these ladies), so please read on to learn more about Hospice of the Midwest nurse, Barbara.

Meet Barbara Jacobsen

Born and raised in Carroll, Iowa, Barbara Jacobsen is invested in her community and continues to serve her hometown as a nurse with Hospice of the Midwest. Since spending a little more than eight years in the nursing field, Barbara has truly found her passion in hospice nursing.

After working in long-term care as a CNA for nearly six years, Barbara made the decision to go back to nursing school; graduating just two years ago. With the areas of hospice or oncology catching her interest, Barbara ended up finding Hospice of the Midwest and says, “The rest is history.”

Barbara truly loves the one-on-one experiences she gets to have with her hospice patients. Instead of worrying about a multitude of patients at once, she cherishes the relationships she is able to develop with each of her patients, while being able to focus on only them in that moment.

“I think that because we truly focus on someone as a person and not as a disease process – that’s what makes us special here at Hospice of the Midwest. We not only focus on the medical needs of a patient, but we also take the time to get to know them.”

If you or anyone you know is in need of hospice services in the Carroll area, please contact Hospice of the Midwest at (641) 332-3006.

We would love to give a shout out to the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, as their beautiful building made a great spot to snap some photos of our employees! Their website offers fantastic resources regarding local events, shopping, businesses within the Carroll community, and more. Check it out!

 

Common Hospice Diagnoses

Hospice of the Midwest is here for you – 24/7/365.

Choosing Hospice is often a difficult decision. We help lead this conversation and can ease the anxiety of the transition from cure to comfort for patients who are appropriate for hospice care. If two or more of these potential indicators are present, hospice should be considered.

Common Hospice Diagnoses

End Stages of: Cancer, Heart Disease/CHF, Pulmonary Disease/COPD, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, Neurological Disease/CVA, Renal Disease & Liver Disease.

If your loved one is requiring increased assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, oral care, toileting, transferring to their bed/chair, walking, eating, etc.; this may be an indicator that hospice should be considered.

Additional indicators include:

  • Muscle Loss/Weakening or Weakness
  • Multiple Falls
  • Multiple ER Visits/Hospitalizations
  • Recurrent/Multiple Infections
  • Altered Mental Status
  • Unintentional Mental Status
  • Unintentional Weight Loss
  • Difficulty at Mealtime
  • Increasing Shortness of Breath
  • Multiple Medication/Frequent Medication Changes
  • Sleeping Longer/Napping More
  • Skin Breakdown/Wounds
  • Other Diagnoses that Contribute to Decline

If you have questions about the hospice benefit or when to elect your benefit, please contact Hospice of the Midwest at 515-218-2143 (Johnston, IA) · 641-323-2047 (Grinnell, IA) · 641-332-3006 (Guthrie Center, IA) · 651-344-1040 (Woodbury, MN).