Let’s Talk Generalized Anxiety

Most of us experience worry at one time or another, especially with big exams, business presentation, or first dates. However, Anxiety Disorders are different – they involve more than just temporary worry or fear. It’s pervasive and doesn’t go away. Anxiety starts interfering with mood and daily activities such as job performance, relationships with significant others and friends, school work. Anxiety often comes with other mental health “friends,” such as depression.There are several types of anxiety out there- Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, and phobias. Today, we’ll learn about Generalized Anxiety, a disorder that affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1 % of the total population.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD) is excessive worry or anxiety, most days, about many different topics. Some things that people might worry over are disasters, health, money, family, work, and other issues. The difference between worry and with GAD is that it’s more intense, pervasive, and not limited to a set stressor for a limited amount of time. When suffering from GAD, it’s difficult to control your worry, and there are many triggers. A common component is that people have difficulty tolerating uncertainty and try to control or plan situations.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about different things that are out of proportion to the actual event.
  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes.
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they’re not.
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty.
  • Indecisiveness and fear or making the wrong choice
  • Inability to set aside or let go of worry.
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless, or feeling on edge.
  • Difficulty concentrating

Physical symptoms:

  • Feeling tired or trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Digestive Issues – nausea, diarrhea, Irritable bowel syndrome, vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased Heart Rate

You may have noticed that we included both emotional AND physical symptoms above. While mental health disorders are their own category, it’s essential to recognize that mental health influences physical health and vice versa.

Let us know if you have any questions by contacting us!

Dementia and Delusions/Hallucinations

Dementia takes an immense emotional toll on caregivers and it can be really hard to cope with. It’s important to remember that dementia is a symptom of a disease, not the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Dementia is “a broad category of brain diseases that cause long-term and often gradual decreases in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning”.

One of the symptoms of dementia is delusions. In a nutshell, a delusion is a belief that may be bizarre, weird, or untrue that is fixed – no amount of evidence will change the belief. Delusions are unfortunately common in dementia, with about 1/3 of patients having them. It’s heart-breaking to see someone we love experience this. Some common delusions can be that someone/something is spying on the sufferer, moving things around, stealing their items, or that a loved one is having an affair.

Delusions can be scary-not only to the caregiver but also to the sufferer. The important thing to note is that it’s not done on purpose. It feels very real to the patient. Because it’s not rational, arguing or trying to convince the sufferer that it’s untrue will not help. In fact, it might make things worse. The sufferer might get defensive and it might even fuel their false beliefs. We have to remember that the person with dementia is trying to understand their world and environment, while also having decreased cognitive function.

You can respond in a few different ways:

  1. Reassure and comfort the person. Respond to their emotions, not their words. For example, if they are scared someone is breaking into their home, maybe say “That must be really scary to think that. I’ll keep you safe.”
  2. Don’t take it personally. Listen to their emotions and try to understand their reality. Validate their feelings and let them know you care.
  3. Don’t try to convince the person that their delusion is false. Respond to the feeling that it evokes.
  4. Use as few words as possible. You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse the person.
  5. Distract. Engage the individual in another activity or ask them to help with a chore. Maybe offer a snack, watch a TV show together, or make a puzzle.
  6. Take care of yourself. It’s important that you don’t experience caregiver burnout. Read more about why burnout matters and how to prevent it here. https://edwardk43.sg-host.com/our-blog/taking-care-of-caregivers-social-workers-point-of-view

Do You Have the Warning Signs of Depression?

The national average rate of depression is 6.7 % in a given year. In home care, 1 in 7 patients meet full diagnostic criteria for depression and 1 in 3 suffer from significant clinical depression. Because depression can affect treatment outcomes, it is imperative to address any symptoms of depression. Depression doesn’t just affect our mood but also gives physical and behavioral symptoms.

There are three “classes” of symptoms to look for:

Emotional or Cognitive: depressed mood, lack of interest or motivation in things you enjoy, having problems making decisions, difficulties focusing, memory problems, excessive guilt, and flat mood.

Behavioral: crying uncontrollably, angry outbursts, withdrawing from others, becoming a workaholic, abusing alcohol or drugs, cutting, attempting suicide.

Physical: sleep difficulties (too much/too little, problems staying asleep), weight loss/weight gain, aches and pains, heart palpitations, burning or tingling.

Some people experience only behavioral symptoms or a mix between the different classes of symptoms. Clinically, symptoms have to be present for at least 2 weeks. Symptoms can vary depending on the person and the severity of their illness and are not the same for everyone. There is a stigma that people who have depression should just ‘get over it’ or are just ‘being lazy’. Nothing could be further from the truth – there are very real physiological changes that happen in the brain that can create these symptoms.

Depression modifies our brain structure by releasing excessive amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol changes our brain structure, leading to some of the symptoms we’re familiar with in depression. Excessive cortisol ‘shrinks’ our prefrontal cortex (the structure that allows us to critically think and focus). It also causes our memory center (the hippocampus) to shrink. People who are diagnosed with depression also have a larger amygdala (the part of the brain that controls our emotions such as fear or pleasure). That results in disturbances in sleep and emotion.

Depression in the elderly looks a little different than it does for younger people. Elderly patients often experience tiredness, trouble sleeping, and irritability when they suffer through depression. It also is more dangerous. There is a very real link between our physical health and our mental health. Depression is associated with an increased risk of cardiac disease and increased risk of death from illness. Studies show that some people become depressed after experiencing a heart attack or developing heart failure. And those with depression develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population. Furthermore, people with depression often have a harder time rehabilitating and therefore have a higher risk of dying.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, please talk to your primary care physician – they can refer you to get the help you need. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Andreea Socoloschi, MSW LCSW

Wound Care Program – Deer Meadows Home Health

Shawn Hanshew from the Deer Meadows Home Health marketing team has been promoting our wound care program to the medical community of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks. Our clinical specialist team members are board-certified in Wound Care WCC, Diabetic Wound Care DWC, and are Ostomy Management Specialists OMS. We practice evidence-based and current standards of care, and work with physicians to customize an individual plan of care for the patient. We will achieve increased healing rates and decrease readmission’s for patients.

Shawn has been partnering with a number of podiatrists to offer home wound care for their diabetic foot wound patients. Approximately 15 percent of all patients with diabetes can be expected to develop ulceration in their lifetime, thus putting them at risk for lower extremity amputation. Treatments for infected diabetic foot wounds account for one quarter of all diabetic hospital admissions in the United States. Patient education, proper footgear and regular foot examination can decrease the frequency and severity of ulceration. However when ulceration does occur, the Deer Meadows home wound care specialists can be a cost-effective intervention that can avoid hospital admissions in appropriate cases.

We are utilizing the most advanced technology and treatments in the industry, including Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (Wound Vac), Compression Therapy, Unna Boot Application, Lymphedema Treatment, and Tissue Analytics. In specific, Tissue Analytics is bringing wound care into the 21st century by turning the common smartphone into a sophisticated image analysis platform. Our wound care nurses objectively and automatically measure wounds with HIPPA Compliant IOS and Android Apps.They can also stream photographs directly to a physician’s desktop where the physician can evaluate, track, and manage patients on our secure web portal.

In addition, Shawn has been working closely with several colorectal surgeons to promote the Deer Meadows home wound care and ostomy referral program.He plans to work directly with surgeons, their teams, and their pre/post-surgical ostomy patients through a home care referral process. This will give ostomy patients access to our highly-trained and certified wound care nurses and ostomy specialists while recovering at home. Shawn has been sharing his personal story as a former ostomy patient himself and walking the patients through the process of their ostomy through its reversal. Our ostomy specialists are helping patients with distal irrigation of their stomas, educating the patient and their family, and closely monitoring patient progress at home. Once the patient’s reversal surgery is complete and the patient is discharged to home, our wound care and ostomy specialists will continue to monitor the patient at home and treat any open wounds that may have been caused by the surgery. The colorectal community is very excited to partner with Deer Meadows Home Health to make this program available to their patients.

If you have a wound care referral or would like more details of this program, please contact Shawn Hanshew at (267) 648-0361 and shanshew@deermeadowshomehealth.org.

Deer Meadows Home Health Offering Clinical Services to Philadelphia Residents

This week starts a busy time over the next few weeks for the staff of Deer Meadows Home Health and Support Services(DMHHSS). Kate Liggins, Private Duty Manager has worked closely with Carla Fleming, the Manager of Special Programs for many PHA sites in the Philadelphia area to schedule events at 6 PHA housing sites in the Philadelphia area. Of the selected sites, 5 of these locations has never been visited by DMHHSS staff previously. This will be the selected locations first chance to receive 5-star care from one of Philadelphia’s premier home care agencies. At these events participants will be able to have their blood pressure screened by a licensed nurse as well as speak with a licensed clinical social worker in regards to depression. The participants will also have the opportunity to learn about the services that DMHHSS has to offer and also to sit down and enjoy a refreshing drink and snack. DMHHSS is no newcomer to providing these types of services to the Philadelphia residents. In the past DMHHSS has not only offered blood pressure screenings but has also offered diabetic foot clinics to educate the residents of the communities of which it serves. This is the beginning of DMHHSS working closely with PHA sites and DMHHSS staff hopes to be able to keep Philadelphia healthy one screening at a time.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.

The good news? If everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to encourage people to get screened.

How can Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and take action toward prevention. Communities, organizations, families, and individuals can get involved and spread the word.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to get active together – exercise may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Talk to family, friends, and people in your community about the importance of getting screened for colorectal cancer starting at age 50.
  • Encourage people over 50 to use this interactive tool to decide which colorectal cancer screening test they prefer.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to talk to patients age 50 and older about the importance of getting screened.

How can I help spread the word?

We’ve made it easier for you to make a difference. This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:

Source: https://healthfinder.gov/nho/marchtoolkit.aspx

February is American Heart Month

 Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.

How can American Heart Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.

How can I help spread the word?

We’ve made it easier for you to make a difference. This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:

Source: https://healthfinder.gov/nho/FebruaryToolkit.aspx

A Deadly Distraction: Texting and Driving

In today’s fast pace environment, where most us find ourselves shuffling multiple tasks per day like an old riddle book, it is no secret that distractions have become so abundant that many of them are dangerous. As we struggle to keep up with the never-ending loads of tasks and things to be done, all bombarding us at light speed, we tend to lose focus on some of the more important things; like our safety.

Texting and driving has become an enormous problem on the road today, claiming countless motor accidents, from minor to major. In 2014, The National Traffic Safety Administration brought forth some troubling statistics. Within that year alone, 16% of all motor accidents had been a result of texting and driving. Sadly, 18% of injury causing accidents were the cause of texting and driving. To elaborate with some numbers, in 2014, NTSA recorded approximately 431,000 injuries and a tragic 3,179 deaths that came about from texting and driving—520 deaths were took those who were not texting and driving; they were just unfortunate enough to cross paths with someone who was texting while driving. This distraction is becoming more deadly by the year!

In Australia, studies were conducted with drivers who were texting, and research concluded with the drivers displaying lower reaction times. In other words, when we are texting while driving, our reaction time significantly plummets; the latter being a recipe for a disaster on the road. Next time your phone dings with an important text message while you are driving, just remember this: You are, in fact, reducing the likability that you will be able to respond, as you will be significantly inducing your chances of an accident.

Spread the word, and lead by example. Although it may be simple for you to not text and drive, statistics have shown that 10% of drivers who are between the age of 15 and 19 are involved in fatal accidents. Share the knowledge with the younger generation, and teach them how devastating this daily distraction can be.

If responding to a text is THAT important, take a deep breath, and safely pull to a rest stop to handle the text message. However, what text message could be more important than your life? Let us work towards discarding of this deadly distraction for good. Let us help put an end to texting and driving, because we all deserve a better road to drive, and a longer road to live. 

Occupational Therapy Month: Let Us Recognize #OccupationalTherapyMonth!

Every year since 1980, the medical community sets aside an entire month to recognize a very special group of physicians. The month of April is a time for us to rightfully express our thanks to this group of medical professionals; a group of professionals who dedicate their own lives in aiding people back to a healthy life. Without these dedicated professionals, the medical world would truly be at a loss. So, for this annual Occupational Therapy Month, we would like to join the celebration, and share our gratitude with this outstanding group of health care providers.

Occupational therapists have always been there to flash a light at the end of the tunnel, to revive patients who were stripped of their hope, and to help them get their life back again. Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for our occupational therapists!

When our bodies are torn, and standing seems unbearable, occupational therapists are there to pick us up, and when our spirits are low, and hope flickers dim, occupational therapist are there to brighten us up. With their patience, dedication, and caring, occupational therapist have, and continue, to touch the lives of millions. It is no wonder we dedicate a whole month to them!

If you know an occupational therapist, show them some appreciation; give them a hug, shake their hand, or just shoot them a smile and show them that you care. This month is the month to send all our love and appreciation to this truly special group of healthcare providers.

If you don’t know anyone who is an occupational therapist, jump on social media and salute a #OccupationalTherapyMonth anywhere on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Let occupational therapists know that you care, and join us as we celebrate these magnificent individuals! 

Philadelphia: Working Together Networking Breakfast

Keynote Speaker: Michael J. Stack III, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania

Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce brought together Philadelphia’s International Chambers of Commerce and business organizations as we welcome Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. The Lt. Governor will speak about what is in store for 2017. After the event, Deer Meadows Home Health and Support Services, LLC’s (DMHHSS) Administrator Stanley Rynkiewicz spoke with Lieutenant Governor Michael J Stack III discussing home health care, changes in managed Long Term Support Services, (MLTSS), and the future of home health care in the State of PA.  During this time, Lieutenant Governor Michael J Stack III congratulated DMHHSS on our 5 Star CMS Home Health Compare rating.

Lieutenant Governor Michael J Stack III bio from https://www.governor.pa.gov/lt-gov-mike-stack/

On January 20, 2015, Mike Stack was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 33rd lieutenant governor, and in that role serves as presiding officer of the Pennsylvania Senate. He also chairs the Board of Pardons and was appointed by Governor Wolf to chair the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council.

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack is a former Captain in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and a graduate of the U.S. Armed Forces Officers Basic Course. He also served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the 28th Infantry Division. Before being elected as lieutenant governor, he served as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the 5th District, which includes Northeast Philadelphia, Bridesburg, and portions of Port Richmond and Juanita Park, from 2001 to 2015. As a senator, Lt. Gov. Stack was the Democratic chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee and a member of the Aging and Youth, Communications and Technology, Judiciary, Local Government, and Policy committees.

Lt. Gov. Stack earned his law degree from Villanova University Law School in 1992. He is a graduate of LaSalle College High School and of LaSalle University. During the administration of Governor Robert P. Casey, Lt. Gov. Stack was executive deputy director of the Pennsylvania Medical Professional Liability Catastrophic Loss Fund.

Lt. Gov. Stack is a member of the Philadelphia Board of City Trusts, co-chair of the Philadelphia Veterans’ Court Advisory Committee, and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania Leadership Academy of the Fels Institute of Government. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple University. He is also a member of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Officer Daniel Boyle Division 88 Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Shaare Shamayim Men’s Club.

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