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2858999_f520As a geriatric care manager, I am forever explaining the difference between home care and home health care. There are many misperceptions by health care professionals and the general public alike about what each of these terms means. It starts with the widespread misuse of language. The phrase “home health care” is often used interchangeably with the term “home care.” They couldn’t be more different. Let me sort out this confusion between home care and home health care.

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16d37c0a78849c0818cf9d4e038ef6ccQuality patient care: It’s the holy grail of health care … and just as hard to find.

Millions of management hours are spent trying to meet and document quality improvement benchmarks. Marketing material is effusive and glowing with promises of quality care for your loved ones in long term care settings, such as skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

Yet, quality care remains elusive.

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b75dcc8e44224b573fdf77437f9b16b2According to the National Institute of Health in 2011, “50 percent of older adults who live on their own and 75-80 percent of elders living in facilities are suffering from chronic pain (www.nlm.nih.gov).”  Much of it is undertreated.

Pain in elderly patients is not always assessed properly, and may be under reported. According to two reports in “Rx Consultant” and “Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy,” 30% of people with moderate pain and more than 50% of those with severe chronic pain are not receiving adequate therapy.

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LoveI was at the corner coffee shop yesterday when I ran into a man who I have seen over the last few years at a certain nursing home down the hill. I’d never really talked to him, though he’d been a constant presence at dinner time, helping his wife as I sat and fed other patients in the same dining room.

As he got into his car, I asked how his wife was.

He smiled an ironic little smile something between pride and exasperation. “If you asked her she’d say she was getting better every day,” he said.

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9425e1aa464bf22a0823d2e4b47d5674When I reflect on some of the caregivers I’ve worked with over many years, I recognize them as some of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever known. Caregivers have always been my heroes; from the days when I watched them care for far too many patients at one time in a nursing home, to the following years doing home care, I’ve been in quite awe of them. The dedication, the patience, the gentleness, and of course the plain hard physical work.  Transferring and bending over bedridden patients all day and night in order to do personal care, and assisting patients from bed into wheelchair or back into bed.

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3a241d632c461af71a15c1198cff46d1With nearly 50% of all seniors over 80 years old having some form of Dementia, Geriatric Care Managers are in the position of teaching caregivers and family members how to communicate with their loved ones. The following list of “do’s” and “don’ts”  from the Alzheimer’s Association are important reminders that even though an elder has memory deficits and cognitive decline, their human dignity is still very much intact. Kindness, compassion and learned communication techniques can make all the difference.

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Dr. Erwin

We are excited to introduce to you another local medical professional who we have the pleasure to work with.  Dr. Kathleen Erwin is more than just a psychiatrist, she shares the same level of passion for helping others and enthusiasm for advocacy that we do at Grace Care Management.  Her warm and friendly personality is apparent from the moment you walk into her office doors.  In our interview, Dr. Erwin shares some of her work with us and also what her view is on the current health care system.  We hope you enjoy our feature just as much as we enjoyed sitting down with her!

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grandpa2He used to call me “Windy Cindy from Windy City.” I just called him Grampie.

Whenever I think of aging not just gracefully but with joie de vivre, I think of Grampie. Family legend has it, he suffered a nervous breakdown from being too kind to his poorer customers during the Depression.

Story goes, he owned the first Harley‑Davidson shop in Hudson, Massachusetts. He was so good‑hearted that he found it difficult to collect debts when folks were down and out. Because of his soft heart, he went bankrupt and they found him crying one day in a closet. They sent him away to a psychiatric ward and he came home a much different man.

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Anita OlsonThis month we proudly introduce you to another one of our very talented San Diego caregivers.  Anita Olson was nominated as our July 2015 San Diego Caregiver of the Month!  We put together a brief interview with Anita to share how she became a caregiver and what she loves most about her profession.

The entire Grace Care Management team thanks you Anita for the wonderful work you do!

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JimPaternitiSquare

One of the most important jobs we have as care managers at Grace Care Management is to find the best referrals for our clients to support their health care needs and goals.  Working with many people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Minds in Motion (MIMO) is one of those programs we were excited to come across and introduce to you.  Founded by Jim Paterniti and Lester Cohen, Minds in Motion is bringing education, support and empowerment to the local community and all free-of-charge.  Both Jim and Lester were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and so their program was designed through first hand experience, with a deep passion for helping others.

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