Health and Fitness

HSE Warns Carers As BUPA Lands Fine For Training Failures, UK

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning carers and care home operators to ensure they follow the correct training and procedures for moving and handling elderly, frail or disabled patients. It follows the successful prosecution of BUPA Care Homes (CFH Care) Limited, which was fined 15, 000 and ordered to pay 10, 500 costs by Wakefield magistrates after an 80-year quadriplegic fell from bed whilst being dressed by a lone, inexperienced care assistant. Muriel Lindley suffered fractures to both legs in the fall at West Ridings Nursing Home, on Lingwell Gate Lane, Lofthouse, on 13 July last year. She was admitted to Pinderfields Hospital where she died nine days later. BUPA, which owns the Lofthouse home, pleaded guilty to a Section 3(1) breach of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the incident. Magistrates heard that Mrs Lindley, a resident on the Swaledale Unit, was able to fall from her bed after protective guard rails were lowered to get her undressed, washed and redressed for the day ahead.

'Back-Breaking' Work Beliefs Contribute To Health Workers' Pain

Whether from heaving, twisting, bending or bad lifting postures, it's well known that caring for the sick or elderly can lead to back pain. This often results in time off work or dropping out of caring professions altogether. Now Danish research published in the online open access journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders suggests that the fear of getting back pain from care work is predictive of actually developing it. Among healthcare workers, studies have found LBP rates during a 12-month period of 45-63 percent compared with 40-50 percent in the general population. Rather than avoiding physical activity, medical guidelines based on LBP research recommend staying active and continuing normal daily life, including going to work. Jette Nygaard Jensen and colleagues from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark set out to investigate the association between physical work load and lower back pain (LBP), and whether fear-avoidance beliefs had a predictive effect on developing LBP.

Why 'Caring' Isn't Enough For Britain's 60,000 Untouched Children

As Chief Executive of Barnardo's Martin Narey calls for society to rethink its efforts at "fixing families that can't be fixed", an important new book from SAGE, Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children in Care, explains how interventions for looked-after children could be reshaped to provide children with the support they need to rebuild their lives. As things stand, the government itself is a failing corporate parent. A House of Commons report in April warned that 'Far from compensating for their often extremely difficult pre-care experiences, certain features of the care system itself in fact make it harder for young people to succeed: they are moved frequently and often suddenly, miss too much schooling, and are left to fend for themselves at too early an age.' It doesn't have to be this way. Other countries, notably Denmark, have developed models that provide far better outcomes. Carers qualify as social pedagogues via a three and a half year degree course. They are taught to deal with traumatised children and to give children the warmth and caring they need to develop.

Dementia Care: Communication Problems Cause Physical Strain

Excessive physical strain in dementia care is not so much related to equipment or the resident's body weight as it is due to communication problems and misunderstandings. This is shown in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Dementia not only affects the memory and other cognitive functions, but also motor skills such as the ability to walk. 'The symptoms of dementia are very individual and can vary from one day to the next, and sometimes even from one moment to the next. This makes person transfers in dementia care very demanding for the personnel', says physiotherapist Cristina W ngblad, one of the researchers behind the study recently published in the scientific journal Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences. The study investigates how nurses' aides at three dementia care facilities in western Sweden feel about person transfers in the workplace and what they do to reduce the physical strain. While the residents' body weight seems to be less relevant for how straining the personnel perceive their work to be, W ngblad found misunderstandings and communication problems to be much more important.

Quality Of Early Child Care Plays Role In Later Reading, Math Achievement

As children head back to school and attention turns to strategies for boosting reading and math achievement for low-income youth, a new study says the quality of early child care may play a role. The study, by researchers at Boston College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Samford University, is published in the September/October 2009 issue of Child Development. The researchers looked at reading and math achievement of more than 1, 300 children in middle childhood from economic backgrounds ranging from poor to affluent. They used information from the longitudinal Study of Early Care and Youth Development, which was carried out under the auspices of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Children who spent more time in high-quality (that is, above-average) child care in the first five years of their lives had better reading and math scores, the researchers found. This was especially true for low-income children; in fact, their scores were similar to those of affluent children, even after taking into account a variety of family factors, including parents' education and intelligence.

Long-Term Care Proposal Triggers Cost, Sustainability Concerns

"Embedded in sweeping health legislation passed by the House and being debated on the Senate floor is a major new federal insurance program, " called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or Class Act, The New York Times reports. The program, which is to be financed with premiums paid through voluntary payroll deductions, would provide cash benefits to people with cognitive impairments or those who could not perform two or three of the "activities of daily living, " such as eating, bathing or dressing. "Advocates for older Americans and people with disabilities see the program as a long-overdue effort to address needs that will explode as baby boomers age. It is meant for people with severe disabilities who want to live in the community, though the benefits could also be used to help pay for nursing home care or assisted living. But critics say that the program is unsustainable and that it could ultimately create serious fiscal problems for the government" (Pear, 12/13).

How-To Guides: Help An Elderly Parent, Find Your Own Insurance

News organizations offer advice on how to care for an elderly parent without going broke and how to find health insurance before becoming eligible for Medicare. CBS Money Watch : "The process is quite complicated, and the options are few. To help you wade through the rules, and to make sure you fully investigate what options you have, consider seeking the help of a geriatric care manager or other expert to help you, and your parents, through the process" (Bedway, 9/15). The Baltimore Sun : "It's bad enough that your retirement savings are evaporating. But if you lost your job, retired early, or are turning to self-employment, you'll need to budget for health coverage. And the tab could be hefty." But "[y]ou do have options if you need to find insurance on your own" (Garland, 9/15). This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.

For The Good Of The Service Home-Help Staff Stretch The Rules

A new thesis from the University of Gothenburg reveals that out of loyalty to the people for whom they provide care, groups of home-help staff sometimes break the rules dictating how their work should be performed. "Sometimes they do more work, or they do it differently, and as it delivers good quality care and keeps things moving the management turn a blind eye to it, " says Marie Hjalmarsson. Marie Hjalmarsson, lecturer in education at University West in Trollh ttan, has conducted a case study of a group of employees within the home-help service in a municipality in West Sweden. The study was implemented in connection with hand-held computers being introduced, primarily so that that the home-helps could register the tasks they performed. This was initiated by the employer. Control through checking-up "The way that home-help staff utilize their working hours is called into question by management and politicians, and even though it is dressed up in different words, the main aim of the project was to control the staff's work performance by checking-up on them, " says Marie Hjalmarsson.

Health and Safety Executive Warns Of Importance Of Risk Assessments When Caring For Vulnerable People, UK

Organisations responsible for the care of vulnerable people must ensure that an effective risk assessment regime is in place and that any risks are properly addressed and managed, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) The warning follows the death of an inpatient, Sylvan Money, who was found hanging in her room at the Bronllys Adult Mental Illness Unit in Brecon in January 2004. Powys Local Health Board was prosecuted by HSE under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It pleaded guilty to the charge during an earlier hearing at Brecon Magistrates Court, and was fined 30, 000 with 46, 849.50 costs at a sentencing hearing in Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on Friday (18 Sep). The inquest into Ms Money's death ruled that she took her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed. An investigation by HSE revealed that the Trust or the Local Health Board failed to act on a risk assessment - carried out by the Trust's predecessor - that identified potential ligature points in the unit i.

Total Medical Solutions Discharges Home Health Care Comp Patients Earlier Than Doctor Orders

Thirty percent of the home health care workers' compensation cases managed by Total Medical Solutions (TMS) were discharged prior to the "order-end date, " the last date the physician had anticipated that services would be required. The figure comes from an internal review of 250 cases with an intake date between March 1 and July 15, 2009. Of the early discharges, 27 involving RN or LPN services were discharged an average of nine days early. Twenty four of the cases involved physical therapy and were discharged an average of 10 days early and 10 cases involved home health care aides and nine involved intravenous or infusion services. "With home health care adding hundreds of dollars a day to a claim, earlier discharge represents significant savings for our clients, " said Cara Barde, president of TMS. TMS has a policy of having staff in patients' homes within 24 hours of the receipt of doctors' orders. "We start treatment early and provide the level of professional expertise these complex cases require, " she added.

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