This one simple word can strike fear whenever it is spoken, but let’s look at the true facts and value that this wonderful organization brings to those who are facing a life-limiting illness or injury.
Hospice is not a death sentence; it neither hastens nor postpones death and is focused on the belief that quality of life is as important as length of life. Hospice involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management and emotional as well as spiritual support expressly tailored to the patients’ needs and wishes.
Did you realize that Hospice provides care in the patients home or anyplace the patient considers home, such as nursing home, hospital or any long-term care facility. Services are available to patients of any age, religion, race or illness.
How much does Hospice cost, the hospital benefit is always covered under original Medicare. Medicare will pay 100 percent for medication relating to the terminal diagnosis and equipment needed for comfort and safety. Sometimes a patient’s health improves or the illness goes into remissions, if that happens your physician may feel that you no longer need Hospice care.
Anyone can inquire about Hospice services. You or your loved one may call a local Hospice and request services. The Hospice staff will then contact your physician and he/she can make the referral. Hospice services can begin as soon as a referral is made by your physician. The Hospice staff will contact you and set up an initial meeting. The staff will review the services that Hospice will offer, and you can sign the necessary consent forms for care to begin.
Hospice is a service that provides not only care when needed but much support for the patient and the family. Don’t be afraid to contact them if you have a need and let them explain the services and support that they can provide for you, and your family.
Let’s talk about how and when you should consider going to the emergency room. First of all your primary care physician has a commitment to see you when you are sick. They will and want to be there when you need them the most. Understandably when you do not feel well, you want to get better right away, this may lead to unnecessary trips to the emergency room. It’s important for us to remember that the emergency room is for EMERGENCIES, it’s not a doctor’s office and generally is not pleasant sitting in the waiting or triage areas. You’re primary care physician would much rather you come to see them, this will save you prolonged wait time; save you from a big expense; and possibly keep you from getting admitted to the hospital.
If you are not sure if you should go the emergency room……CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN! If you have a difficult time getting an appointment in your physician’s office let their office manager know they will help resolve this for you. If you still have a problem seek out your physician and let them know, believe me they will want to know that you are having a difficult time getting into the office to see them when you need to be seen.
There are GOOD REASONS to go the emergency room, such as signs of a heart attack, stroke, severe shortness of breath, bleeding that doesn’t stop after 10 minutes, sudden severe pain, poisoning (if possible call your local poison control center first and ask for immediate home treatments), a severe or worsening reaction to an insect bite or sting or to a medication, especially if breathing is difficult. Other reasons could be a major injury, such as head trauma, unexplained stupor, drowsiness or disorientation, vomiting up blood or severe or persistent vomiting and suicidal or homicidal feelings.
There are also BAD REASONS to go the emergency room, such as earache, minor cuts where bleeding is controlled, a minor dog or animal bite where bleeding is controlled, a sprain, a sunburn or minor burn from cooking, an insect sting (unless there is breathing difficulty, go the E.R.), sexually transmitted diseases, colds and cough, sore throat, flu, and a broken bone (unless your doctor cannot treat you the same day or if a bone is showing/the limb is deformed, then GO TO THE E.R.). .
If you have a chronic illness such as COPD or Congestive Heart Failure and you start feeling sick…GO TO SEE YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN RIGHT AWAY! If you do there is a good chance your doctor can keep you OUT of the emergency room AND out of the hospital.
The final message here, always reach out to your primary care physician first if possible…remember they are committed to making sure you get the care you need when you need it. Your doctor knows your medical history and can quickly help you make the right choice for the appropriate care setting whether it should be the emergency room or making an appointment to come into their office for them to treat you. Trust your physician to be there for you, and remember this could save you time and money!
Flu season is upon us and your primary care doctor would like you to take a minute to refresh yourself on ways to avoid the flu virus that kills thousands every year and hospitalizes even more. Please use the following methods that work together to assist in keeping you from the flu:
Get your flu shot!
It’s not too late. Flu season at its worst ranges from October through May. The flu vaccine takes only two to four weeks to take full effect and lasts at least six months.
It will not make you sick although many people associate the flu vaccine to their head or chest cold. The truth is, the weather in our area is changing toward fall and winter patterns which causes many people to “catch cold” this time of year. The typical head or chest cold are very different from the flu virus.
Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face.
Keep those pesky germs washed away and kept away from entering your system.
Smoking tends to suppress the immune system and research shows that more smokers contract the flu than people who do not smoke. If you do get the flu, smoking affects the respiratory tract which will more than likely make your flu symptoms more severe.
Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat balanced, nutritious meals.
Doing these things helps ensure your immune system is as ready as it can be when it is called upon to battle the flu virus.
Take precautions regarding the air and hard surfaces.
Use disposable tissue when possible if you cough or sneeze. Be sure to dispose of the tissue right away. If a tissue is not available, use the crook of your arm rather than your hand to cover your mouth.
Clean and disinfect surfaces often to keep active germs at a minimum.
Don’t be shy!
Tell your co-workers, relatives, social and church friends to stay home with their flu for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. If you are around someone who is ill with flu-like symptoms, avoid close contact when possible.
Keep your Primary Care Physician informed.
It is important to inform your Primary Care Physician when you begin with any flu like symptom or if you know you have been exposed to someone with an active flu. Your doctor should know your risk categories and may want you to be seen or to take antiviral medications. Early action can make a big difference in how long and how severe a flu might be.
Please contact your Primary Care Physician’s office to receive your flu vaccine if you have not already received it. Your doctor’s staff can answer any questions you might have about the vaccine, avoiding the flu or what to do if you think you might have the flu.
Why is There a Pneumonia Shot?
Pneumonia is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in the United States. Combined with the flu, it is the fifth leading cause of death in the US, period.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can get pneumonia, but some groups are at higher risk than others. These groups include:
What Does the Pneumonia Shot Do?
The pneumonia vaccine for adults (PPV) protects against 23 types of pneumonia. Although antibiotics such as penicillin were once very effective at treating pneumonia, the disease has mutated and is becoming more and more resistant to modern antibiotics. That is why it is so important to be vaccinated against this very serious disease.
Who Needs It and When?
Anyone in the high risk category should have a pneumonia vaccine. Ask your doctor when the best time to be vaccinated is for you. Usually, only one dose of the vaccine is necessary for adults.
Pneumonia Vaccine Info for those over 65
It is very important for all people over 65 to have a pneumonia vaccine. Pneumonia is MOST dangerous to this age group. Contact your doctor about getting this important vaccination, especially during flu season.
What are the Side Effects?
Side effects to the PPV are generally very mild, it is considered an extremely safe vaccine. Common side effects include:
Very rarely, severe allergic reactions have been reported. It is a possibility that very serious problems, including death could result from this vaccine, as with any medication. Please note that the risk of serious complication from acquiring pneumonia is much higher.
Does Medicare pay for this?
YES. Medicare pays for it in full without any out of pocket expense for you.
Where Can I Get Mine?
Local Health departments offer the vaccine but many do not bill Medicare and therefore require patients to pay upfront.
We have found that area Walgreens, Kroger, and other large chain pharmacies have the vaccine and their pharmacists are professionally trained to administer the vaccines without an appointment. They can bill Medicare and you will not be charged.
You can learn more about the Pneumonia vaccine for adults by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/default.htm.
It is important to make your Primary Care Physician aware of when you receive this vaccine. Please take the form you receive stating you’ve been given the vaccine to your doctor’s office for his/her record.
I know most of us have a real love hate relationship with regular exercise. However what we need to focus on is how regular exercise can help you if you become ill. There are many studies that prove that regular exercise can help you stay healthy and when becoming ill, the more active you have been the easier it will be for you to recover. Still it is hard to make yourself get up off of the couch and begin some type of routine. Almost anyone at any age can safely do some kind of exercise and physical activity. It is very important to talk with your physician before you start any type of physical exercise, your physician can help guide you on how to safely increase your activity, and most of all make sure you are ready to start a routine program.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to do some type of exercise regularly. Exercise is a great anti-depressant; it makes you feel better, sleep better and overall provides a sense of well-being. If you have a pet, what better way to spend a summer evening than to take your beloved pet for a stroll, not only will you enjoy it, so will your pet. So let’s make an honest effort to get off of our couches and enjoy life more.
Remember if you sit down and don't bother to get up again, your quality of life goes downhill and boredom sneaks in and takes over. The most important thing to remember is how much better you feel once you get up and go. There are many programs in the community that offer great deals to seniors who want to become more active.
Statistics tells us that we sit an average of 9 hours a day, and that more than 6 hours of sitting increases the chances for obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression and high blood pressure.
Your primary care physician is a participating member of Quality Independent Physicians, an organization dedicated to improving your health, quality of care and communication.
Your primary care physician’s job is to provide you with the information to use health care services in the most effective manner possible and making sure your wishes are not overlooked. Helping you develop individual health goals and plans to achieve them involves all aspects of the healthcare system including:
Your doctor’s goal is to be your partner for providing you with quality healthcare. If at any time you have trouble getting an appointment or having your needs met, make sure you tell your primary care physician of your concerns; your doctor will want to know if there is a problem. Also remember you should know the name and phone number of the office manager, this person is also there to help you when you feel an issue needs to be addressed. Your primary care physician wants to have a long, rewarding and healthy relationship between you and their practice. Working closely with your doctor can help them to achieve this goal.