Ten years of case studies at a pediatric hospital and a thorough literature review have shown that it is not uncommon for children to ingest small "button" batteries, either through swallowing or inserting the batteries into their noses. In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, researchers revealed that a significant lack of knowledge about the dangers of button batteries exists in the lay population and in healthcare providers. Button batteries are miniature disc batteries that are typically used to power hearing aids, watches, calculators, and many commonly used items, including small toys and musical greeting cards. Each year, more than 3, 000 people of all ages in the U.S. unintentionally swallow these batteries, according to the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC. Sixty-two percent of battery ingestions involve children under the age of 5, with a peak incidence in 1- and 2-year-olds.
American Society Of Anesthesiologists Offers Tips To Help Seniors And Their Caregivers Prepare For Surgery
As a growing number of the estimated 78 million Baby Boomers transition into their senior years, an increased focus is placed on the health of this important group of Americans. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 12 percent of the total U.S. population is over age 65 and, of that segment, more than half will undergo at least one surgical procedure as senior citizens. Research indicates that seniors are at an increased risk for experiencing complications both during and after surgery. In an effort to ensure that senior patients have the best possible outcome, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has developed a set of tips to help prepare senior citizens and their caregivers for surgery. "Surgical procedures are understandably intimidating and it is a central role of the anesthesiologist to inform and care for the senior patient, before, during and after surgery, " said Terri Monk, M.D., M.S., Duke University Medical Center. "The driving force behind these tips and the additional information found on LifelinetoModernMedicine.
Seven out of 10 care home residents have been subjected to medication errors according to research to be published in Quality and Safety in Health Care. The study of 256 residents in 55 care homes found residents took on average eight medicines each and that an average of just under two mistakes were made for each resident. Errors included prescription, dosage, unwarranted drugs and dispensing. Contributory factors included inaccessible doctors, inadequate medicines training, poor team work between care homes, GP practices and the pharmacy and complicated administrative systems. 'It is very worrying to hear how prevalent errors in medication are in the care homes studied for this research. At least two thirds of people in care homes have dementia. Errors with medication could seriously impact on their quality of life, or worse put their lives at risk. 'Care homes should be recognised as part of the health community. Pharmacists, GPs and older people's mental health specialists must work closely with care home managers to make sure they provide people with dementia with the best possible quality of life.
Inadequate medical data, overworked staff, and poor teamwork are prompting the occurrence of drug errors in seven out of 10 care home residents, suggests research in Quality and Safety in Health Care. This is despite a government pledge in 2000 to cut the number of drug errors following the publication of a report on medical mistakes. The findings are based on a random sample of 256 residents in 55 care homes located in West Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, and central London. Each care home resident was taking an average of eight medicines each. One or more drug errors were made in seven out of 10 (69.5% or 178) cases, with the average number of mistakes just under two for each resident. The potential risks were calculated using a scoring system, where 0 is no harm and 10 is death. This ranged from 2.1 for the way in which the medicine had been given to 3.7 for the way in which the resident had subsequently been monitored. Almost a third of drugs (30%), which should have been monitored for potentially harmful side effects, were not.
Patients, discharged from hospitals on ventilator support and with cognitive impairments, fare poorly four months later. Researchers from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University report these findings in American Journal of Critical Care. "Survival alone is not the only important outcome for patients, " says Barbara Daly, the lead researcher on the National Institutes of Health-funded study, "Composite Outcomes of Chronically Critically Ill Patients 4 Months after Hospital Discharge." She adds that having a better quality of life by living at home, breathing free from the ventilator and having normal cognitive function are also important factors constituting a positive outcome in the aftermath of a hospital stay. The researchers studied chronically critically ill (CCI) patients, who are those who have survived a life-threatening illness but remain dependent on the high-technology services of a critical care unit. These patients had stays of longer than one week in the intensive care unit and spent more than three days on ventilator support.
U.S. News & World Report examines government data from more than 15, 500 nursing homes to determine which are the nation's best: "At the core of the rankings is the data and ratings found on Nursing Home Compare, a federal website created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The CMS collects and analyzes information on almost all nursing homes - all that accept Medicare or Medicaid residents - and rates the facilities on numerous measures, from safe food preparation to the amount of nursing care per resident" (Comarow, 10/5). 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.org. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has responded to today's study* on care homes' use of medicines. The study outlined that drug errors occurred in seven out of 10 care home residents. John Turk NPA Chief Executive said: "The safe management of medicines in care homes is vital as many residents will take complex regimes of medicines for a variety of long term conditions. These vulnerable patients deserve close attention from the NHS." "Health professionals, including pharmacists are working hard to provide good care, but they need a clear framework in which to operate. We would urge Government to ensure local care is better co-ordinated by the NHS and to involve pharmacy in local planning and implementation." "Pharmacists are the experts on medicines and can help patients and carers by providing clinical advice to patients as well as advice and training to care home staff on the way systems operate. We would recommend that local PCTs commission care home support services from local pharmacists to provide direct patient input and systems advice to care home staff, lamentably the commissioning of care home support from community pharmacy is currently very low.
The holidays are a time for families to gather and celebrate generations coming together to enjoy each other's company. Though for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia, this time of year can bring increased anxiety as they strive to create a calm holiday environment while keeping family traditions alive. For that reason, Emeritus Senior Living, a national provider of assisted living and Alzheimer's and related dementia care services to seniors, has put together helpful guidelines and suggestions to make this holiday season a memorable one for the whole family. "The holidays are an important time of year for families to come together, and keeping our loved ones who are suffering from Alzheimer's involved in family traditions continues to be critically important, " commented Crystal Scott, Director of Memory Care for Emeritus Senior Living. "By incorporating our loved ones in their favorite activities and by taking steps to prepare both the senior and other family members for celebratory events, families can create new memories while fostering a connection with seniors on a deeper level.
Patients continue to enter home healthcare ''sicker and quicker, " often with complex health problems that may require extensive nursing care. This increases the risk of needlestick injuries in home healthcare nurses. While very few studies have focused on the risks of home healthcare, it is the fastest growing healthcare sector in the U.S. In a recent study, led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the rate of needlestick-type injuries was 7.6 per 100 nurses. At this rate, the scientists estimate that there are nearly 10, 000 such injuries each year in home care nurses. The findings, reported in the paper, "The Prevalence and Risk Factors for Percutaneous Injuries in Registered Nurses in the Home Health Care Sector, " were published in the September 2009 issue of American Journal of Infection Control. According to lead author Robyn Gershon, DrPH, professor of clinical Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and principal investigator, "although professionally and personally rewarding for many, home care nursing can be both physically and emotionally demanding.
Retired Arizona Nurse Among 10 Americans Chosen To Receive National Award For Her Work To Address The Needs Of Elderly Native Americans
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced its selection of Frances Stout, a retired registered nurse and chairperson of the Tohono O'odham Nursing Care Authority (TONCA) in Sells, Ariz., to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who received the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Stout helped to establish the first skilled nursing facility for elderly Native Americans for the Tohono O'odham Nation, a federally recognized Indian tribe. Previously, the elderly had to leave the reservation for skilled nursing care. With the benefit of her 33-year nursing career, Stout contributed to the creation of the 60-bed skilled nursing facility, the first of its kind on the Tohono O'odham Nation reservation. She has also helped to create the elder care consortium, a coalition of entities within the Tohono O'odham Nation that are working to address the wide-ranging issues affecting elderly Native Americans, including transportation, housing and safety.