Health

Looking for a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A skilled nursing facility offers care and residence for individuals who have problems controlling their daily lives. Residents include senior citizens and young adults with mental or physical deficiencies. Also, residents who suffer from illnesses or accidents are able to receive various therapies. There are numerous factors that people should look for when trying to choose a skilled nursing facility.

Services

First, people who are interested in these facilities should ask about the services. They should request to look at the menus to check the nutrition of the meals and dine there a few times. They should also know how the laundry is taken care of and look into the available rooms. Many facilities have private rooms available for individuals who cannot deal with certain roommates. The activity schedule is another factor to review. It is important to know when certain events are scheduled like movie nights and outings. People should visit the facility throughout the day and on weekends to become familiar with the routines and the atmosphere.

Types of Care

Task-oriented and resident-oriented care is provided for nursing home residents. Task-oriented care involves assigning nurses to specific duties in a ward. Residents deal with a number of nurses at once. Resident-oriented care involves assigning nurses to certain patients so that relationships can be developed. Patients are treated more like family members instead of clients. Nurses can become familiar with every patient and pay attention to crucial needs that could be medical, emotional or personal. Knowing about the nurse-patient interaction is another part of choosing a facility.

Medicare

Skilled nursing home costs are usually very high. Medicare coverage typically includes meals, rooms, various therapies, medications, equipment and certain services. Also, the home should be Medicare certified. Private insurance is typically available for costs that are not paid by Medicare. Either service should pay for provisions like meals, rooms, doctor visits, medications and therapies.

Accreditation

When choosing a facility, a recommendation is to review their accreditation verification in addition to annual inspection reports. The report lists the areas within the facility that must be improved. Accreditation is important to make sure that the quality of care is upheld.

Many people are getting older and approaching the retirement years. All types of federal programs and nursing facilities are designed to provide the best quality general and medical care. Choosing a reliable facility is a significant issue that must be addressed by aging individuals and their families alike.

Health

Benefits of Vitamin D: A Nursing Home Perspective

Vitamin D has many benefits to health. Musculoskeletal problems are more common in those with vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency. This includes osteoporosis, an increased risk of fractures, an increase risk of falls and reduced muscle function.

Osteoporosis affects a large percentage of nursing home residents. Osteoporosis is a bone disease associated with low bone mass and an increased risk of fracture. Ten million Americans are afflicted with osteoporosis while 34 million are afflicted with osteopenia. It is estimated that 70 to 85 percent of individuals who live in a nursing home have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is associated with inadequate calcium intake, but vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. Long-term vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis2. Vitamin D may prevent osteoporosis in older adults who are non-ambulatory, those on chronic steroids and for post-menopausal women.

Vitamin D supplementation has the potential to increase bone density. In one study there was an increase in the density of lumbar spine and the femoral neck bone with vitamin D supplementation of 50,000 international units twice a week for five weeks in those who were vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D and calcium together reduce fractures in institutionalized older adults, but vitamin D alone is not effective in reducing the risk of falls or fractures. Those over the age of 65 with low vitamin D levels are at increased risk for hip fractures and reduced muscle mass and strength.

Vitamin D has the potential to reduce the risk of falls. It potentially does this through the improvement of muscle function. Low levels of vitamin D in the blood are linked to the poorest muscle function and higher levels are linked to better muscle function. Those with a low baseline level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration (between 10-20 ng/ml) are likely to benefit the most in regards to muscle strength when supplemented with vitamin D.

When vitamin D supplementation is consumed in doses of 700 to 1000 international units per day the risk of falls are reduced. When 500,000 units of cholecalciferol were given once annually the risk of falls was actually increased.

Cancer

A link between vitamin D and cancer has been established. Vitamin D may help in the prevention of colon, breast and prostate cancer. Precancerous lesions of the intestine and breast are linked to a deficiency of the vitamin D receptor in animals.

Many cancers have been linked to poor vitamin D status. Colorectal cancer risk is increased in those with poor vitamin D status. One analysis showed that those who consume 1000 international units per day of vitamin D have a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Another analysis showed that vitamin D intake is inversely related to the risk of colorectal cancer. Despite the positive data on vitamin D, the research is inconsistent and the National Cancer Institute does not advise for or against the use of vitamin D supplements to lower the risk of colorectal or any other type of cancer.

Some studies show serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer but findings do not reach statistical significance. More research is needed to determine the role of vitamin D on breast cancer risk.

There is some evidence that vitamin D may be harmful. One large prospective study suggested that vitamin D does not decrease the risk of prostate cancer and higher circulating vitamin D levels may be associated with an elevated risk of aggressive disease. Other research suggests that those with the highest level of vitamin D may be at an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

Despite some research suggesting that vitamin D reduces the risk of some cancers, current evidence does not recommend large doses of vitamin D in the prevention of cancer. A large analysis of over 16,000 people suggested that total cancer mortality is not related to baseline vitamin D status. Overall research does not support role of vitamin D in the prevention of cancer. More research is needed to determine the exact link between cancer and vitamin D.

Immune system

Vitamin D has effects on the immune system. Vitamin D may reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases in animals. Diseases that may be affected by vitamin D status include: diabetes mellitus type 1, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Vitamin D supplementation in early infancy reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes. One study suggested that those with a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration below 20 ng/mL had about a twofold increased rate for the future development of multiple sclerosis. Currently only animal, in vitro and epidemiological studies suggest a link between diabetes/multiple sclerosis and vitamin D. Before a firm conclusion can be reached, randomized controlled trails need to occur.

Higher levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of Crohn’s disease. The impaired regulation of vitamin D is related to the development of autoimmune processes (including inflammatory bowel disease) in animals. The administration of vitamin D may improve these symptoms.

Vitamin D may help fight both bacterial and viral infections. Vitamin D levels are linked to tuberculosis. Vitamin D deficiency may be more common in those with tuberculosis. Vitamin D may have a role in the treatment of tuberculosis, but more research is needed before this link is definitely established.

Vitamin D levels may have a beneficial effect on respiratory tract viral infections, but this relationship is not strongly established. Multiple studies have not found a link between vitamin D status and the prevention of viral respiratory infections. A more recent analysis suggested that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of viral upper respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis.

Vitamin D and the Heart

Many genes in the cardiovascular system are regulated by vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and heart failure. There is a paucity of studies that look at vitamin D and cardiovascular disease. Observational research suggests that there is a link between cardiovascular disease and vitamin D status. More research is needed to determine the role of vitamin D supplementation in cardiovascular disease.

The renin-angiotensin system is regulated in part with the help of vitamin D. There is an inverse relationship between incident hypertension and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration. More research is needed to confirm a causative relationship between vitamin D levels and blood pressure.

In a review study, five out of seven studies showed an inverse relationship between the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of coronary heart disease is higher in those with a low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration than those with higher levels. Supplementation with vitamin D did not result in any beneficial effect on risk factors for cardiovascular disease and no benefit was appreciated after increasing the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration from 23 ng/mL to over 40 ng/mL.

Vitamin D and Other Diseases

Diabetes is linked to vitamin D. The link between vitamin D and diabetes mellitus type 1 was discussed above. Low vitamin D levels are associated with type 2 diabetes. Higher levels of vitamin D intake are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Despite these correlations, interventional studies with vitamin D have not demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of diabetes.

Vitamin D is important for brain development, so it may be linked to psychopathology. Low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D have been shown to be present in those with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. These studies do not demonstrate that low levels of vitamin D are the cause of these conditions.

Low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of death. Even though there is an association between vitamin D and all cause mortality, it is unclear if this increased risk of death is strictly related to the vitamin D deficiency or simply overall poor health status. Some studies suggest that cancer patients have a reduced risk of mortality with a higher vitamin D level, but other studies showed no association between cancer death rates and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration.

A recent analysis showed that higher vitamin D levels. are associated with reduced all-cause mortality, but no association between vitamin D levels and stroke or ischemic heart disease was established. Those with severe chronic renal failure are at increased risk for death with low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and treatment with vitamin D improves survival.

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Health

How Do I Choose an Acupuncturist?

If you’re thinking of getting acupuncture for the first time, you’re probably wondering, “How do I choose an acupuncturist?” The fact that fine needles are going to be inserted in your skin is enough to make anyone cautious. There are many safe and reliable practitioners in this field. It is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that has long been used for alleviating pain and treating diseases. By applying fine needles to pressure points in the body, acupuncturists are able to drain excess, release stagnation and tone the body where needed. You must find the right practitioner to suit your needs, though.

There may be many different acupuncturists in your area at any given time. For the best acupuncturist in Dublin you can find them online, in the yellow pages, in local holistic health listings and many other sources. It’s always good to find someone by word of mouth, though, so if you know anyone who’s gotten acupuncture and been happy with the service, find out where they go for treatment. If you have a massage therapist or other type of alternative medicine / holistic healing practitioner that you trust, they may also know someone good to recommend.

A few simple questions should help you determine whether an acupuncturist is right for you once you are actually speaking to them. You should make sure they are licensed to work in your state, for starters. That is a deal breaker. It’s also a good idea to ask about their qualifications and their years of experience. You will want to know whether they provide any other types of therapeutic services in addition to acupuncture. You may have a specialization or some additional therapies you’re looking for, so it’s worth the time to find out whether they provide exactly what you’re looking for from the beginning. Any acupuncture practitioner who is not willing to answer these questions or seems annoyed at them may also not be right for you.

There is one more thing to look for when in search of a good acupuncturist – they should definitely use nothing but professional, hygienic practices during any treatment, and they must wipe everything down between sessions. Now your sessions can begin.