What are the costs of caring? A new project in the School of Psychology explores nurses' experience of distress and aims to determine if empathy with patients is associated with traumatic experience in nurses. Researcher Jenny Watts said nurses can develop symptoms such as flashbacks, sleeping difficulty and emotional detachment which can have serious consequences for both their personal and professional lives. She will be presenting her research at the Festival of Postgraduate Research which is taking place on Thursday 25th June in the Belvoir Suite, Charles Wilson Building at the University of Leicester between 11.30am and 1pm. Miss Watts said: "What is apparent is that nurses who identify with the patient and experience empathy appear to be most vulnerable to distress.
Caring for an elderly family member can be stressful and can pose health threats to caregivers. Steven Zarit, professor and head, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State, received a $3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the effects of caregiving on familial caregivers. He will look at people who care for family members with dementia and how adult day care impacts the stress levels of all individuals involved. People with dementia experience progressive memory loss, which can lead them to act out in ways that are not always easy to handle. They may try to leave the house, struggle with dressing, reject help and become agitated.
In Los Angeles County, being disabled can cost a year's income. That's because the annual cost of in-home care services for seniors living alone is now $319 more than this group's median income of $17, 029. Combine long-term care expenses with other basic expenses, such as food and rent, and a Los Angeles senior living alone will need twice the median income to survive, according to new data released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. In all 58 California counties, long-term health care is far out of reach for the state's most vulnerable citizens: seniors living alone who are disabled.
The recession has increased the number of uninsured Americans and made it more difficult to access health care programs while also placing special burdens on caregivers. The Roanoke Times reports on concerns that "aid available to the newly unemployed to help lower the cost of health insurance isn't reaching everyone, leaving many without affordable access to medical care." As part of President Obama's economic stimulus package, the government set up a system to absorb some of the COBRA costs for recently laid off workers seeking to continue the health insurance they had when employed. The paper notes that "the federal stimulus bill lowered the amount a newly unemployed worker must pay to keep his or her former group health plan through COBRA from 102 percent to 35 percent of the premium.
Lawmakers want federal rules to cover home health care workers while Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., plans to introduce legislation in Congress today to better educate the public on end-of-life care. The Associated Press reports that "a group of Democratic senators on Thursday urged the Labor Department to reverse a Bush administration policy by extending federal wage and hour laws to home health care workers. Most domestic workers are covered by laws governing minimum wage and overtime pay, but home workers that care for the elderly and disabled have long been considered exempt. The 15 lawmakers - led by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin - say the growing number of full-time home care workers serving an aging population deserve the same workplace rights as other employees.
Utopia Home Care, Inc. has announced that Michelle Harris will be its 2009 Caregiver of the Year. At the company's annual corporate breakfast meeting this morning, Utopia Home Care, Inc. President and CEO Manuel F. Martinez and Executive Vice President Manuel G. Martinez presented Ms. Harris with a commemorative plaque and a check for $1, 000. The presentation was made before approximately 125 staff members representing Utopia offices in New York, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Ms. Harris currently works with hospice patients in the palliative care unit at a nursing home in Brooklyn. "It takes a special person to work with terminally ill patients.