Category Archives: Home Care & Nursing

How To Care For Someone With Kidney Failure

How To Care For Someone With Kidney Failure

Guest Post By: Tena L. Scallan

What is Kidney Failure?

Kidney Failure DialysisKidney failure, also known as renal failure or renal insufficiency it is when the kidneys fail to filter metabolic wastes from the blood. Long-term kidney problems are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, renal failure, diabetes, decreased cognitive performance, coma and death.

When your loved one is diagnosed with kidney failure

You have to understand that when your loved ones kidneys have lost the capacity to eliminate wastes from the body. This condition can either creep in slowly or can be a sudden development. In either of the cases, you have to realize that your aging loved one is in for serious trouble, as kidney failure is not a normal occurrence.

Caring for aging loved one with kidney failure become necessary, as there are many things that need to be taken care of. From dietary changes to fluid intake, medications and doctor appointments, there are a lot of things that caregivers should take note of. However, knowing about kidney failure becomes important if we wish to take good care to our aging parents.

Understanding kidney failure

Kidney failure is a serious problem; over 48% of 500,000 Americans aged 60 years and above suffer from it. If kidney failure is left untreated, it can have serious consequences. Therefore, understanding the disease and its treatment methods becomes very important. Quick initiation of treatment can help in the better prognosis of the disease.

Kidney Disease

There are 3 types of treatment options available for treating kidney failure.

  1. Hemodialysis: A type of dialysis, which is done twice a week either at home or the medical center.
  2. Peritoneal dialysis: This type of dialysis can be done anywhere, wherever the clean place is available for exchanging the bags. The two types of peritoneal dialysis include automated peritoneal dialysis, which involves the use of the machine and continuous peritoneal dialysis, which does not require any machine.
  3. Kidney transplant: Kidney transplant is usually the last option when no other treatment methods are effective enough to bring about the desired outcome.

The above-mentioned treatment options for kidney failure do not cure the disease. These are only ways of effectively managing the kidney function. In other words, these treatment options, help carry out the function of kidneys externally. The type of treatment option can be decided by the doctor depending upon the degree of the problem and the kind of lifestyle your senior parents are habituated to.

Signs and symptoms of kidney disease

Many times our aging loved ones are not aware of the fact that they are suffering from the chronic renal disease. So, here is a checklist of symptoms to help them understand the warning signs our body throws when something is wrong with our kidneys.

Symptoms of kidney illness:

  • High blood pressure
  • There is a sudden change in the frequency of urination
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Change in the ability to concentrate
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the kidney area
  • Blood in urine
  • The mouth develops a metallic taste along with bad breath
  • Vomiting accompanied by nausea

Ways to care for senior parents with kidney failure

Caring for an aging loved one with kidney failure is a pretty tricky task, as there are many things that caregivers should take note of. Of the many things that require attention, caregivers should mainly focus on the diet and fluid intake of their loved one. Since the kidneys are affected the elimination of waste is reduced to hardly any. As a result, there is water retention, due to which the water intake is restricted. Furthermore, there is also a restriction of the diet of the individuals, as the sodium and potassium levels have to be strictly controlled. Therefore, caregivers are advised to carefully monitor these two aspects.

Dialysis

The various ways to help with kidney failure:

  • Ask your loved one to quit smoking. This is because poorly managed hypertension and diabetes are some of the major culprits of kidney failure and smoking contributing to both. Therefore, senior parents are advised against smoking.
  • Stop alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption is also considered to be the major reason behind kidney failure. Consuming more than 2 glasses of alcohol each day can disrupt the kidney functioning. Furthermore, if our loved one continues to consume alcohol even after kidney failure, then it can also significantly lessen the effect of dialysis and medications. Also, it would induce serious consequences.
  • Diet changes need to be made. Significant changes in the diet need to be made. For example – the sodium, potassium and protein intake need to be limited since the electrolyte balance is hampered due to kidney dysfunction. A salt-free diet is difficult to maintain, therefore, encourage the use of fresh herbs and other spices to make their diet interesting. Processed foods should be strictly avoided, as they contain large amounts of sodium and phosphorus, which may further aggravate the condition.
  • Start an exercise regimen: Encourage your loved one to exercise. Relaxation exercises are a great way to deal with the pain and anxiety that accompany kidney failure. Staying relaxed and stress-free is very essential to ensure the treatments have the desired effect.Caregivers are expected to carry out the above-mentioned guidelines, to help their aging loved ones gracefully deal with the condition of kidney failure.

Kidney Disease Signs and Symptoms


About the Author

My name is Tena L. Scallan and I am now offering consulting services on my blog http://www.theultimatecaregivingexpert.com through an Ask A Question button to answer any caregiving question. I am working out of Miramar Beach, Florida to serve everyone in the United States. Caregiving can be very stressful and sudden. The more you know, the more you can help. Please let me help you give your loved one tender loving care.

I am here to serve children of senior parents, and caregivers themselves. I would like to create a plan of action with advice and a strategy focused on how to best meet the challenges of your loved one’s needs on anything and everything caregiving related.

I am a passionate healthcare professional, business owner and best selling published author with over 25 years of experience in caregiving. I have dedicated my life’s work to caregiving. I firmly believe that both home and lifestyle can be preserved in-home with compassionate caregiving in the face of aging or illness.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Health or Hospice Provider

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Health or Hospice Provider

Every patient by law has a right to choose his or her care provider when in need of home health care or hospice services. Below is a list of questions to which every patient (or family member responsible for decision-making for the patient) should know the answer before choosing a provider.

Not all home health care and hospice agencies are created equally. Some provide better care than others. Some are more available than others. Be sure you don’t get stuck with a sub-par company by asking the following questions before choosing your home health or hospice provider.

Questions to ask home health or hospice provider

  1. How long has the agency served your community?
    EGAN has proudly taken care of over 150,000 patients throughout Southeast Louisiana since 1988.
  2. Does the agency have a brochure or literature describing the services provided and associated costs?
    Most services EGAN provides are covered by insurance and/or Medicare. We will gladly provide information related to costs associated with services you may require that are not covered by Medicare or insurance. Here is a complete list of the insurers EGAN is contracted to work with, including Medicare, Medicaid, Worker’s Comp and VA benefits.
  3. Is the agency a Medicare approved provider?
    EGAN Home Health and Hospice is a approved Medicare provider and we accept most private insurances. Call us (or click the above link in question #2) and we can confirm your insurance provider is one of our approved companies. However, if it isn’t we’ll work with you and your insurance company to get the services you require approved.
  4. Does a national accrediting body, such as the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, certify the quality of care offered?
    EGAN is proudly Joint Commission accredited and has been for decades (this is a bigger deal than one might think).
  5. Does the agency have a current license to practice?
    EGAN Home Health and Hospice is licensed in the State of Louisiana by the Department of Health & Hospitals to serve the residents of Southeast Louisiana.
  6. Does the agency offer a “Bill of Rights” that described the rights and responsibilities of both the agency and you, the person receiving care?
    EGAN Home Health and Hospice offers a “Patients’ Bill of Rights.” Every patient receives a copy of our patient “Bill of Rights” upon admittance to our care. However, if you would like to review a copy we would be happy to provide one to you.
    EGAN Logo and Phone Number
  7. Does the agency prepare a plan of care for you, the patient (with input from the patient, patient’s physician and patient’s family)? Will the agency update the plan if necessary?
    Every patient has a personal plan of care which is a complete collaboration between the patient, patient’s physician, patient’s family and EGAN Home Health and Hospice. Plans are adjusted as directed by physician and staff.
  8. Are agency staff members available around the clock, 24/7, 365 days a week, if necessary?
    EGAN maintains a full staff during normal business hours and an on-call staff to assist patients, physicians, and the patient’s family during non-business hours and on holidays.
  9. Does the agency have a nursing supervisor available for on-call assistance at all times?
    EGAN has a nursing supervisor available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or resolve any issues.
  10. Does the agency utilize up-to-date, real-time, electronic records for the patient which can be viewed by the patient’s physician at all times?
    EGAN utilizes a state of the art tablet system which allows all of our field staff to update the patient’s care in the patient’s home. Additionally, all lab results, medication records, chart notes, physician orders, etc. are available 24 hours a day, and can be viewed by the patient’s physician and EGAN staff at any time.
  11. How are agency caregivers hired and trained?
    All of our EGAN skilled staff are licensed to provide care to our patients. In addition, we require that they shadow current EGAN staff, and are trained to strictly follow our protocols and specifications, complete any continuing education and certification requirements, and our Directors of Nursing conduct supervisory visits with staff to insure compliance and excellent care is being given to our patients.
  12. How does the agency screen prospective employees?
    EGAN requires all employees to pass a criminal background check and drug testing prior to employment.
  13. What is the procedure for resolving problems if they occur? Who can the patient call with questions or concerns?
    EGAN works very hard to ensure we are providing the highest quality of care to each and every patient. However, we maintain a completely open door policy should a patient, patient’s family or physician feel they have an issue, problem or concern they need addressed. A simple telephone call to our office [toll-free (888) 835-4474] will be directed immediately to the staff member best suited to assist and resolve the matter.

EGAN Home Health and Hospice - At a Glance

EGAN Home Health Northshore Wins “Northshore’s Best” Award for 2016

EGAN Home Health Northshore Wins “Northshore’s Best” Award for 2016

Congratulations to EGAN Home Health Northshore and Pamela Egan, NP for winning the 2016 “Northshore’s Best” award!

EGAN Home Health Northshore won the award for being the Northshore’s Best Home Health agency. Nurse Practitioner Egan won the award for Northshore’s Best Nurse Practitioner.

EGAN Home Health Care and Hospice strives to provide the absolute best quality-of-care possible, and doing whatever is necessary to ensure that each and every one of our patients meet and exceed their specific health and medical goals. To be recognized as the best home care agency on the Northshore is very humbling and quite an honor.

EGAN has regularly outperformed both state and national averages for a vast majority of categories measuring quality-of-care in Medicare’s “Home Health Compare” database, and we are grateful to have been recognized by the public for the quality care we provide.

EGAN Home Health and EGAN Hospice would like to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to vote for EGAN Home Health and Nurse Practitioner Pamela Egan of the EGAN Wellness & Anti-Aging Clinic, Skin Care and Med Spa as being the best on the Northshore in their respective categories.

(Story continued below)

Northshore's Best Home Health


Northshore’s Best is an award voted on by the public and coordinated by Sophisticated Woman Magazine, one of the Northshore’s leading print and online publications. Voting is not limited to readers, however. Anyone can vote, and thousands of votes are tallied up over the course of several weeks of voting before the winners are announced.

The term “Northshore” refers to the geographical area north of Lake Pontchartrain. It includes Saint Tammany, Washington and Tangipahoa Parishes, and includes such cities as Covington, Mandeville, Slidell, Abita Springs, Madisonville, Lacombe, Ponchatoula, Franklinton, Hammond and Bogalusa.

EGAN Home Health and Hospice has four offices on the Northshore, including in Covington, Ponchatoula, Franklinton and Bogalusa.

EGAN Home Health Quality-of-Care Beats State, National Averages by Wide Margin – Part 1 of 2

EGAN Home Health Quality Far Exceeds Louisiana, National Average Scores – Part 1 of 2

According to a comparative review of all U.S. home health agencies that accept medicare as a form of compensation by the United States federal government called Medicare “Home Health Compare,” EGAN Home Health Care outperforms the overwhelming majority of companies both in Louisiana and nationwide – in many cases by a very wide margin – in terms of the quality of the care being provided. In virtually every single quality metric analyzed by Medicare, EGAN outperformed both the statewide and nationwide averages with very few exceptions. Where there were exceptions, the difference was negligible, as in a few tenths of a percentage point.

However that was not the case with the overwhelming majority of the categories covered, with EGAN leading both state and nationwide averages in nearly every category, often by clear and decisive margins. In some cases, the excellence of quality in-home provided by the caregivers at EGAN Home Health and Hospice was so far ahead of that provided by their their peers throughout the state and country…. Well, the numbers speak for themselves, and suffice it to say a picture is worth a thousand words.

* Click on the images to enlarge them to full-size *

The first slide is a cumulative star-rating representing an organization’s standing relative to its competitors in terms of quality-of-care. As is clearly seen, the average agency both in Louisiana and the entire United States draws approximately three stars out of a possible five. To contrast that, EGAN Home Health comes in at just a hair under five, denoting a substantial difference in the overall quality or care a patient would receive from EGAN as compared with the average company in the state or country.

Quality of Care Ratings

This next graph details how often patients got better at walking or moving around. As you can see, EGAN (in blue) is well ahead of both the average company in both Louisiana and the United States.

Home Health Compare 2

According to Medicare.gov, this is important because: 

“Some patients may need help from a person or equipment (like a cane) to walk safely. If they use a wheelchair, they may have difficulty moving around safely. Getting better at walking or moving around in a wheelchair may be a sign that they’re making progress and meeting the goals of the plan of care. In order to be as independent as possible, patients should be encouraged to walk, move around, and do as much as they can themselves, even if it takes more time. Both the home health team and family caregivers should encourage patients to be as active as they can safely. The home health team will evaluate patients’ needs for, and teach patients how to use, any special devices or equipment that will help increase their ability to perform some activities without help.”

The next slide shows how often patients got better at getting into and out of bed. Once again, EGAN Healthcare has significantly better numbers than the average agency.

Superior Senior Care from EGAN

Most adults are aware of the risks associated with elderly people bathing. Taking a bath or shower is often times the most dangerous activity an elderly individual will engage in throughout the course of a day. EGAN Home Health patients were more than eleven percent more likely to improve at bathing as a result of the care provided than were patients of the average senior home care company.

Best Senior Home Care Company
Our next slide compares five categories, including how often the home health team checked the patients for pain and how often the home care team treated patients’ pain in instances when they were in fact in pain. Pretty much everyone did a good job in these two categories, although EGAN still managed to score above both the state and national average.

The third row of this table compares the frequency with which patients experienced less pan while moving around and about. The difference here is rather significant, as EGAN’s patients are nearly 13% more likely to be in less pain as a result of the care provided by EGAN’s physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and anyone else treating the patient. EGAN’s patients were more than eleven percent more likely to see a decrease in pain while moving around than patients of the average American home health care company.

While everyone seemed to score fairly well in terms of treating heart failure/weakening among patients, EGAN once again wound up with a higher score than either statewide or nationwide competitors.

That said, the fifth and final row of the table below is where things really get interesting. This is the point at which any lingering thought that the fact that EGAN has been objectively rated higher than state and nationwide competitors by a neutral third-party in literally every category outlined thus far must be a mere coincidence goes right out the window. 91.4% of EGAN’s patients saw their breathing improve while under EGAN’s care. That is in stark contrast to just 64.2% of Louisiana patients treated by other companies and just 70.1% of patients treated by other companies across the entire United States. The differences here are simply too stark to be ignored or written off as anything other than EGAN Home Health being a superior agency in terms of the quality of care our patients receive relative to just about any other agency out there.

Best Home Care Company in Louisiana

That concludes this installation of how an objective, neutral third-party determined that EGAN Home Health Care’s patients achieve better results in almost every objective way of measuring quality of in-home care. There is plenty more information on the Medicare.gov website (nearly all of which fits the same patters outlines thus far), and we will be posting the remaining criteria from the Home Health Compare comparative analysis of quality-of-care right here on this blog at some point in the very near future, so please be sure to check back soon for Part 2 of “EGAN Home Health provides the very best care you could possibly give your family.” 

Source of information: medicare.gov

EGAN Pediatrics Day at the Zoo

EGAN Pediatrics Makes Special Trip to Audubon Zoo

The care team at EGAN Pediatrics recently made a very special trip to the Audubon Zoo with a group of special needs children. By all accounts, it was an enjoyable day for staff, the children and their respective families alike.

For many making the trip, this was their very first-ever visit to the zoo.

For others such as assistant administrator Peter Egan Jr., it was his first visit in nearly 20 years. “It’s even more amazing than I remember it being,” an enthusiastic Egan stated.

The group arrived around 10 am. They split up into groups before meeting back up for lunch in the early afternoon. Some stayed until well into the late afternoon, with the Sea Lion exhibit being among the most popular attractions among the group.

Throughout the day, the specially-made blue EGAN Pediatrics t-shirts made for the event and worn by staff, patients and their families/caregivers could be spotted throughout the zoo. Approximately 60 people attended in total, including the children, their families and caregivers, as well as EGAN Pediatrics employees.

A wonderful time was had by all, and the event was so successful EGAN Pediatrics is considering making it an annual affair.

Scroll down to view some of the photos from the EGAN Pediatrics Day at the Zoo.

EGAN Pediatrics Zoo

Peter Egan Jr. poses for a photo with an EGAN Pediatrics patient and the patient’s caregiver.

 

EGAN Pediatrics Zoo Trip

An EGAN Pediatrics patient and her family pose for a photo during a recent trip to the Audubon Zoo.

 

EGAN Pediatrics Family at Zoo

A family enjoying themselves during a recent trip with EGAN Pediatrics to the Audubon zoo.

 

EGAN Pediatrics (Girl at Zoo)

A little girl having fun during the EGAN Pediatrics recent field trip to the Audubon Zoo.

 

EGAN Pediatrics (Family at Zoo)

A family enjoying themselves at the Audubon Zoo during a recent event hosted by EGAN Pediatrics.

 

EGAN Pediatrics (Group Photo)

A group of people including both EGAN Pediatrics employees, patients and patients’ family members pose for a group photo at the Audubon Zoo.

 

EGAN Pediatrics Zoo Field Trip

Family having fun at the zoo during the EGAN Pediatrics “Day at the Zoo” event.


More photos to come…

Home Care Providers & Caregivers Must Have Empathy

Home Health Care Providers, Caregivers Must Have Empathy for Patients

If there is one qualifying characteristic necessary in order for a person to become and/or to serve as a good home health care provider or in-home caregiver to an elderly patient, parent, grandparent or other relative, it is without a doubt lots and lots of empathy. There are so many moments that can be so difficult in so many ways, especially when the person on the receiving end of the care fights what you know is in his or her best interests.

Caregiving: Home Health CareI’ve worked with hundreds of families in such situations, and those who handle that phase of life with the most grace are those who are able to view each situation that arises with empathy as if seeing it through the eyes of the elderly relative for whom the care is being administered.

If I could say one thing to a person or family new to elder care (being a caregiver to an elderly parent or relative) in order to help them succeed in being effective, it would be to constantly remind oneself that no matter how difficult the situation becomes for the person or people administering the care, it’s at least as difficult if not more so for the person on the receiving end.

The patient — the only person receiving the care, be it performed by a relative, nurse, home health aide or EZ Shampoo Inflatable Hair Wash Basinsitter — is the only person involved in the equation who knows definitively that his or her days are not only numbered but that that number is rapidly dwindling as the end-of-life draws near. It is no more pleasant to have to be the person who has to have his or her own privates washed wipes by someone else than it is to be the person doing the washing.

While the existence of such products as ReadyBath wipes and the EZ Shampoo Inflatable Hair Wash Basin do make life infinitely easier on both the caregiver and the recipient of the in-home health care, the most important thing to remember is that these are still debilitating to the morale of any person accustomed to living independently, and that losing one’s own facilities can be a tremendous psychological and emotional burden that far exceeds that experienced by the caregiver, regardless of whether he or she is a professional or an amateur (i.e. family).

Gretna, LA Based EGAN Home Health Nurse Goes Above and Beyond

Patient’s Caregiver Makes Special Trip to Commend EGAN Gretna Nurse

Today we had a patient’s caregiver to walk into the Gretna home health care and nursing office because she simply wanted to tell us how exemplary her son’s nurse was. She stated that this nurse is very caring, attentive, detail-oriented, and truly genuine.

Gretna NurseShe went on to say that she only sees her son twice a week, but that she calls everyday just to check in on him to make sure he’s okay. She absolutely raved about this nurse and Egan Healthcare Services / EGAN Nursing as a whole. She explained that she’s had experiences before in the past with another home health agency in Gretna charged with caring for other family members, and although those nurses and agencies were good, they were nothing like this nurse and this company.

SO, thank you Leslie P, RN for exceeding the expectations. Great job on providing exceptional care to the patient and his family.