Blogs - Tagged: home care


Limit Heat Exposure in the Elderly

Posted: 06.27.14 | Category: Education & Training, Homepage Solutions

Summer is well on its way, and when the temperature heats up it’s imperative to provide your elderly patients with a little extra care. Below are two common illnesses seniors may be at risk for during the warmer months, and suggestions on how to avoid them.

Heat Stroke

heatwave-small-square2.121348According to the CDC, heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature.

Small increases in temperate can shorten the life expectancy for seniors, so limit outdoor activities and instead choose locations that offer cool atmospheres.

It is imperative to seek medical attention immediately if you believe a patient is experiencing a heat stroke. Warning signs may include:

  •  An extremely high body temperature (above 103ºF)
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Dehydration

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During the warmer months elderly patients are at a greater risk for dehydration because their bodies do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They also lose the ability to conserve water as they age, so hydration is priority.

Steps to stay hydrated:

  • Offer fluids regularly
  • Keep water accessible and available
  • Encourage patients to drink 8 ounces of fluid with medication

Heat Up Your Educational Plan This Summer!

TCG CHEX eLearning offers a lineup of specialty courses that discuss caring for the elderly, including our extreme weather course, which provides an overview of heat related safety issues.

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OIG Performs Study to Analyze HHA Background Check Requirements

Posted: 06.13.14 | Category: Education & Training, TCG CHEX eLearning, TCG News

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted a study titled: “State Requirements for Conducting Background Checks on Home Health Agency Employees.” Part one of the two-part study analyzed state background check requirements, and the findings showed that of the 50 states and the District of Colombia:

  1. Forty-one states require HHAs to conduct background checks on progressive employees
  2. Of the 10 states that have no background check requirement, four states reported that they have plans to implement background check requirements in the future
  3. Thirty-five states specify convictions that disqualify individuals from employment
  4. Sixteen states allow an individual who has been disqualified from employment to submit an application to have his/her conviction waived

Source: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-14-00131.asp

According to the OIG, “CMS may wish to use the information from this report as it administers the Nationwide Background Check Program.” For more information on the study, visit www.oig.hhs.gov.

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What is Homebound Status and what are the Exceptions?

Posted: 06.09.14 | Category: Education & Training

In order for home health services to be paid by the Medicare home health benefit, the agency must be certified to participate in the Medicare program and the patient must be a Medicare beneficiary. In addition, there are other criteria that must be met. One of those criteria is the patient must be confined to the home, or more commonly referred to in our industry as “homebound.”

What does homebound mean? Generally speaking, a patient is considered homebound if they have a condition due to an illness or injury that restricts their ability to leave their place of residence except with the aid of: supportive devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs and walkers; the use of special transportation; or the assistance of another person; or if leaving home is medically contraindicated and the condition of the patient being such that there exists a normal inability to leave home and, consequently, leaving the home would require considerable and taxing effort.

Does this imply or indicate that the patient can’t ever leave the home while receiving the Medicare home health benefit? No, it does not, as the Federal Register states, “Any absence of an individual from the home attributable to the need to receive health care treatment, including regular absences for the purpose of participating in therapeutic, psychosocial, or medical treatment in an adult day-care program that is licensed or certified by a State, or accredited to furnish adult day-care services in a State, shall not disqualify an individual from being considered to be confined to his home. Any other absence of an individual from the home shall not so disqualify an individual if the absence is of an infrequent or of relatively short duration. Attending a religious service shall be deemed to be an absence of infrequent or short duration. It is expected that in most instances, absences from the home that occur will be for the purpose of receiving health care treatment. However, occasional absences from the home for nonmedical purposes would not necessitate a finding that the patient is not homebound if the absences are undertaken on an infrequent basis or are of relatively short duration and do not indicate that the patient has the capacity to obtain the health care provided outside rather than in the home.”

Note that the homebound status does have exceptions. If there is ever any question, check with a peer or your supervisor to ensure patients brought onto service in your organization meet the criteria of homebound status. More importantly, make certain your documentation supports this criteria.

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