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Lift Chairs: Good for more than just lifting!

Did you know that lift chairs do more than just lift the user from sitting to standing?

Lift chairs do more than just lift!

Lift chairs do more than just lift!

There are many benefits to having a lift chair in your home including the customized size, ability to target specific pressure points on the body and ability to recline to positions that elevate the body.

Specific physical issues lift chairs target:

  • Circulation Problems
  • Arthritis
  • Mobility Problems
  • Weight
  • And Preventative Measures

Do you think you’re a good candidate for a lift chair?  Leave a comment or complete our contact form to find a lift chair provider in your area!

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Category: Lift Chairs

Avoiding the Fall: Walking Aid Fitting

Every year over 50,000 individuals end up in the ER due to falling while using a walking aid.  Most of these falls occur because of improper fitting of the walking aid.  If you or your loved one is using a walking aid, we ask that you take these quick and easy steps to make sure the walking aid is on the correct height setting to prevent major injuries from falling.

Fitting canes

Fitting canes

Fitting a Walker or Cane

  1. Your first step is to get your favorite pair of shoes on that you wear most often.
  2. Then stand straight with your arms down and your elbows slightly bent, the way you would normally stand.
  3. Your friend will then measure from the middle crease of your wrist to the ground.
  4. Finally, set your walker or cane to that exact measurement.

If your walker or cane does not set to that exact height, do not keep the walking aid.  It is very hazardous to use a walking aid that does not fit.  Also, keep in mind that you should not have to bend down for the walking aid to support you.  You should be able to stand up tall and still have the walking aid supporting your body.

Fitting a Rollator

Fitting a rollator is very similar to fitting a walker or cane.  You will still need to be wearing your favorite shoes and stand with elbows slightly bent.  Your friend will then measure from your hip joint to the ground.  The top of the handle grips should be the same height as your hip joint.

Have you tried other measurement tricks?  Let us know what you think!

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Category: cane fitting

Adaptive Sports for Wheelchair Users

As a wheelchair user, have you thought about getting involved in your local adaptive sports?  There are many options out there for competitive and athletic wheelchair users that allow you to engage with other wheelchair users in the community and also keep you in shape.

Wheelchair Tennis

Wheelchair Tennis

The most popular adaptive sports are wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.  Both wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis are established sports with modified rules and highly competitive tournaments held on the local, regional and national level.  You can get involved through the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in their USTA Wheelchair Tennis program or through the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) for leisure or competition.

Sport Wheelchairs

For most adaptive sports, athletes will need a sport wheelchair.  These adapted wheelchairs have extra wheels to prevent falling backwards, enhanced center of gravity and low backs to get those touch shots.  Overall, the sport chairs help to make you more agile, stable and quick on the court.

If you’ve participated in adaptive sports, please share your experience with us in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Category: Adaptive Sports

Is traveling with portable oxygen in your future?  While traveling with oxygen is possible, there are several factors to take into account.  You will first need to check that if you need portable oxygen while in-flight.  Once you discover you need portable oxygen, you’ll need to check with your airline to see which portable oxygen devices they approve and also how much oxygen you’ll need.

Traveling with Portable Oxygen

Traveling with Portable Oxygen

Since 1986, airlines have been prohibited from discriminating against passengers with disabilities, including those who need portable oxygen.  While regulations vary between airlines, the Air Carrier Access Act assures that passengers needing portable oxygen will be allowed a certain amount of supply and devices aboard their flight.

Another challenge faced by travelers is the question of whether or not you need portable oxygen on your flight.  As most of you know, the air quality diminishes as you ascend from sea level so on standard commercial flights that cruise between 30,000 and 40,000 feet above sea level, the cabins must be pressurized.  The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires air pressure to be equal or lower than 8,000 feet above sea level which is sufficient for most of us.  However, for passengers with respiratory problems, the air pressure may not be enough to keep them healthy.

Consult your healthcare provider before travel if you are suffering from emphysema or COPD, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial lung disease or have difficult time breathing during normal everyday activities.

Please share with us your experiences in traveling with portable oxygen.  To find an oxygen provider in your area, click here!

CPAP Mask Man

The Masked CPAP Man

A common misuse of prescriptions is the act of halting treatment when you start to feel better.  Most of us know that this is not effective and your symptoms will come back.  For many new CPAP users, the reaction is the same.  The device seems like an annoyance so when they start waking up feeling refreshed again, they simply stop using it.  This reaction is understandable because for many, it is difficult to see the major health benefits of the CPAP until they go back for a sleep study to see the actual proof.

Today, let’s review the health benefits of CPAP treatment for sleep apnea to keep you using your CPAP faithfully every night!

Simply from the CPAP giving patients a full night’s rest, they find themselves more alert, more able to concentrate and more emotionally stable.  Everyone knows that when you don’t get enough sleep, you can be irritable and unable to concentrate, but there are many more benefits.

A major health benefit of CPAP treatment is weight control.  In many cases, sleep apnea is actually caused by obesity so when they start treating their sleep apnea, their improved sleep patterns tend to cause them to make better eating decisions during the day.  Many eat during the day when they are feeling drowsy so without the drowsy feelings, they are less likely to indulge.

One more, although there are many more health benefits to talk about, is hypertension.  Use of CPAP treatment has a direct correlation to improvement of blood pressure.  Sleep apnea causes high blood pressure so the reaction after continued CPAP use is lower blood pressure and much healthier heart.

You may have noticed that all of these health benefits are dependant on one another and in some cases, caused the need for a CPAP in the first place.  We’d love to hear from you so if you have thought on your own sleep apnea or treatments, leave a comment below!

The Many Forms of the CPAP Mask

Whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach, there is a CPAP mask for you.  Your CPAP mask should be secure and comfortable, allowing for maximum quality sleep for the entire night.  There are many CPAP masks to choose from including the nasal, nasal pillow and full face mask.

Nasal Mask

CPAP Nasal Pillow

CPAP Nasal Pillow

Your nasal mask fits securely over the nose with headgear fastened at both the top and the bottom of the triangular shape attachment.  This mask is most commonly used for people that sleep on their side and need a lightweight mask for comfort.

Nasal Pillow

A nasal pillow fits securely to the base of the nostrils with two small pillows that are attached by headgear on either side of the pillows.  This mask has the least amount of contact with the face and is most effective for patients who only breathe through their nose while sleeping.

Full Face Mask

Many CPAP users require a full face mask which covers the nose and mouth.  This mask is most effective for patients who breathe through their mouth during sleep.

There are endless options in CPAP mask designs and we recommend discussing these options and your preferences with a local respiratory provider.  Complete our form to find a provider in your area!

Please share with us your thoughts on CPAP masks!

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Category: CPAP Masks

As a wheelchair or scooter user, you may feel limited in the accessibility within your home and around your community, but you don’t need to.  There are very effective portable ramp designs available to make your home and places you visit more accessible.  Read on to learn about the different designs and uses of portable ramps!

Trifold Ramp

Trifold Ramp from EZ-Access

Rubber Threshold Ramp

The rubber threshold ramp is great for outside doorways in your home.  These ramps are lightweight, but sturdy options to get your wheelchair or scooter through an outside threshold safely and easily. Learn more.

Portable Pathway Ramp

The portable pathway ramp is a sturdy option for front door steps.  This ramp fits an entrance with several steps.  There is no assembly required, just simply position the ramp and it’s ready to use.  Learn more.

Suitcase Ramp

This ramp is a convenient accessibility solution for raised landings, vehicles and multiple step entrances.  The simple one fold design makes it easy for storage and travel and is also very sturdy and safe to use.  Learn more.

Trifold Ramp

The trifold ramp is much like the suitcase ramp only it folds up into a smaller, more convenient ramp to have with you when traveling to turn any difficult passage into an accessible entrance.  There is some assembly required.  Learn more.

As always, we believe the best home medical care you can receive should be close to home which includes specialized evaluations for mobility ramps.  To find a qualified mobility ramp specialist in your area, simply complete the form here.

Which mobility ramps have you found useful in your home and around your community?  If you’re a provider, please share how mobility ramps have helped your customers.

Dr. White Talks About Getting More Sleep

As a mother of 3 young children this post from Dr. White about  healthy amounts of sleep really struck home.  There are many factors that affect the amount of sleep we get on a regular basis. In many cases simple lifestyle changes could make a real positive impact. In other cases, a discussion with your physician may be an appropriate next step.

One New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping: Get More Sleep

Dr. David White, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer for Philips Home Healthcare Solutions

It’s no secret that today’s nonstop lifestyle is detrimental to our sleep. Whether due to work, television, stress or any number of other reasons, more Americans are staying up late and getting up early. The average American sleeps only six hours and 55 minutes per night during the week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Additionally, 15 percent of adults and 7 percent of adolescents regularly sleep less than six hours per night. A lack of sleep is taking its toll.

What’s the price you pay for sleeping less than the currently recommended amount?

Poor concentration. One early indicator of sleep deprivation is a loss of the ability to maintain attention or stay focused on a given task. Most of us can rise to the occasion and concentrate for a short period of time with generally good results. But, for activities like driving, or any task requiring over five to 10 minutes of serious concentration, inadequate sleep leads to poor outcomes. And, your cognitive impairment will get steadily worse for at least two weeks if you don’t sleep longer at night. Many of us have jobs that do not require sustained attention, so we appear to function well with relatively little sleep. However, this does not mean that our brains are working optimally. It simply means that many of us are “on auto-pilot” at jobs that may not constantly challenge our minds.

Memory loss. Another casualty of shortened sleep is your ability to retain memories and learn new skills. Memory consolidation (encoding or firmly implanting a memory in the brain) occurs the night after you learn something while you are sleeping. If you don’t get a good night’s rest after learning a motor task (like typing) or grasping an intellectual concept, your ability to perform that task or remember that concept is impaired.

Bad choices and bad mood. Your ability to inhibit some risky behaviors is hampered by lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is also well known to have a negative effect on emotions. Losing sleep flattens your mood and makes you a more dour, irritable and negative individual. Plus, the negative influence on your mood carries over to your ability to address personal or moral decisions effectively.

Sleep experts are currently investigating whether inadequate sleep affects complex brain functions such as decision making, planning and goal-oriented activities. Certainly, a diminished ability to concentrate degrades cognitive ability. However, there is mixed evidence as to whether sleep loss specifically influences complex cognition apart from this loss of attention. It seems that some mental functions are more affected than others by sleep deprivation. Basic decision making, logical deduction and reading comprehension seem to be minimally affected by sleep loss. However, creativity and the innovative aspects of cognition decline.

Whether sleep duration affects athletic performance is not as well studied. It seems quite clear that reaction time deteriorates with reduced sleep. To the extent reaction speed is important in an athletic event, worsening performance can be predicted. Most evidence suggests that short sleep reduces athletic prowess and that extending sleep duration may improve your performance in sports.

Research addressing sleep and athletic performance indicates that:

• Four hours’ less sleep (eight to four hours) on a single night decreases accuracy and consistency in throwing darts.

• One whole night without sleep yields slower times for short distance sprints, while an afternoon nap following a night of partial sleep deprivation improves sprint times.

• Increasing sleep for 110 minutes per night for several weeks in college basketball players improves free throw and three-point goal percentage and results in faster sprint times.

It seems pretty clear that there is lot of upside to getting enough sleep. A good night’s rest goes a long way toward improving your reaction time, memory, complex cognition and probably athletic prowess. This year, resolve to create an effective nighttime routine and a positive sleep environment. Unplug from the TV or mobile devices before bed and limit your caffeine intake as it gets later in the day. Make sure you get those Zzzs; an adequate nightly sleep has a lot to offer.

Article from Huffpost Healthyliving http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-white-md/need-sleep_b_1194893.html

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Category: Uncategorized

Impact of Competitve Bidding Reported

Check out this survey reported on in  HMENews. Patient access to diabetic supplies and patient choice has been drastically impacted by Competitive Bidding. Sadly, the results of this survey don’t come as a surprise to many in our industry, but we’re glad these groups have taken the time to bring this information to the forefront.

Survey: Bidding program really does limit access

By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor 12.23.2011

CHICAGO – Beneficiaries in Round 1 competitive bid areas have limited access to the most widely used diabetes testing supplies, says the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).

A survey by the association found that mail order contract suppliers, on average, offered only 38% of the product brands that are listed on www.medicare.gov. Of the nine brands identified by the Office of Inspector General in a 2010 report as the top mail order brands by market share, contractor suppliers offered, on average, only 1.44 of the brands, or 16%.

“We were getting all of these stories from our educators who were hearing about problems, or having their patients tell them they don’t have a certain meter any more,” said Martha Rinker, chief advocacy officer for the AADE. “When we talked to CMS about it, or any other party, they’d say it was just anecdotal. We thought this was the best way to get concrete information.”

With an average reimbursement cut of 56% for mail order diabetes supplies, it’s not all that surprising that many suppliers are offering lesser-known–and less expensive–brands. Dr. Peter Cramton, a vocal critic of the current competitive bidding program, predicted providers would cherry pick and switch patients to different brands to try and squeeze out a profit.

“It’s in line with what I expected to see based on the current design of the program and the type of behavior it creates,” said Tom Milam, a member of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) and former CEO of mail-order diabetes supply firm AmMed Direct.

For Round 2, which expands the mail order diabetes bid to all 50 states and several U.S. territories, CMS has implemented changes it believes will prevent low-ball bids: Contract winners must provide, at minimum, 50% of all the different types of diabetes testing supplies on the market by brand names; and contract winners are prohibited from influencing or providing incentives to beneficiaries to switch their brands.

But unless CMS plans to police suppliers, stakeholders don’t believe the provisions will work.

“It’s easy to bid and give a low bid and say you’re going to do something and not do it,” said Rinker. “I think it’s going to be up to us who work with the patient community to get some congressional interest in this to make CMS take an interest.”

Article from HMENews http://www.hmenews.com/?p=article&id=hm201112nviNI0

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Category: Uncategorized

Bring Health Care Back Home – Jack Resnick

This opinion piece was so spot on we felt it necessary to spread the message as much as possible.

Bring Health Care Home

By JACK RESNICK
Published: December 4, 2011

ONE of my patients called me with a high fever, chills and dropping blood pressure. He was 48 and had been a quadriplegic since he was shot during a robbery in the hardware store he owned. I called an ambulance and admitted him to the hospital, where we soon brought his urinary tract infection under control. But he developed a bedsore, which became infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that breeds in hospitals. He didn’t survive the hospitalization.

This was in 1998. Ever since, I have struggled to treat my patients in their homes and avoid hospitals except when absolutely necessary. I practice general internal medicine on Roosevelt Island in New York City’s East River, where many of my patients are elderly and homebound: survivors of the polio epidemic, people with multiple sclerosis, paraplegics, some on respirators.

Patients who are treated at home by a doctor and nursing staff who know them intimately and can be available 24/7 are happier and healthier. This kind of care decreases the infections, mistakes and delirium, which, especially among the elderly, are the attendants of hospital care. And it is far more efficient. According to a 2002 study, for the patients treated by the Veterans Affairs’ Home Based Primary Care program, the number of days spent in hospitals and nursing homes was cut by 62 percent and 88 percent, respectively, and total health care costs dropped 24 percent.

I had one 83-year-old patient whose arthritis kept her from moving around, but she loved to talk about her career as a rocket scientist — working on weather rockets, not military ones. One day, a well-intentioned neighbor dropped by and called 911 after finding her feverish and dehydrated from diarrhea.

My patient had never been treated before at the hospital she was taken to, and as a Russian immigrant, had no family here for the hospital to contact. She became disoriented; the hospital assumed she was demented and transferred her to a nursing home. It took me two months to track her down and many more to get her home, where, among well-known attendants and friends, she became lucid again. If she had lived out her days in an institution, she would have cost Medicare a great deal of money, and her life would have been shorter and far less happy.

All too often, ambulances take people to the nearest hospital, not to the one where their doctor is on staff. State laws make it difficult to administer simple treatments in the home. Emergency rooms want to admit patients, and hospitals want to discharge them to nursing homes, rather than send them home.

The good news is that last year’s health care reform act included provisions for the creation of Independence at Home Organizations — groups of doctors and nurses who treat patients in their homes — and incentives to make that work appealing. The organizations can invest in extra services and home visits (for which Medicare typically will not reimburse them) because they will share in a cut of the savings that result from avoiding hospital visits and expensive procedures. The program is to go into effect no later than Jan. 1.

However, Medicare is behind schedule and has not yet issued the rules or applications to begin the process. It has been focusing instead on another provision of the new law intended to deliver more efficient care, creating accountable care organizations — groups of hospitals, doctors and nurses who work together to treat patients. But Medicare should make getting the Independence at Home Organizations up and running a priority.

We have the technology. Electronic medical records can give a doctor with an iPad as much information as any institution. With hand-held machines and a few drops of blood, doctors can get test results in seconds at a patient’s bedside. Portable X-ray and ultrasound equipment can be wheeled into homes. Monitors can alert doctors to any change in a patient’s heart rate.

The fact that this care is possible at home means that the role of hospitals must change. Acutely ill patients who need operating rooms or intensive care will still be brought to hospitals. But they should be quickly discharged to the care of the doctors and nurses who know them best.

For too long the institutions that make up our health care system — hospitals, insurers and drug companies — have told us that “more is better”: more medicines, more specialists, more tests. To rein in spending and deliver better care, we must recognize that the primary mission of many an institution is its own survival and growth. We can’t rely on institutions to shrink themselves. We need to give that job to patients and their doctors, and move health care into the home, where it is safer and more effective.

Jack Resnick has a solo internal medicine practice.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on December 5, 2011, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Bring Health Care Home.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/opinion/bring-health-care-home.html

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Category: Uncategorized
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