Kidney 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.
There are 3 types of treatment options available for treating kidney failure.
Hemodialysis: A type of dialysis, which is done twice a week either at home or the medical center.
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.
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
Change in the ability to concentrate
Lack of appetite
Shortness of breath
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.
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
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.
How long has the agency served your community? EGAN has proudly taken care of over 150,000 patients throughout Southeast Louisiana since 1988.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How does the agency screen prospective employees? EGAN requires all employees to pass a criminal background check and drug testing prior to employment.
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.
So when is the right time to have the conversation about switching an individual’s plan-of-care from curative treatment (intended to cure the illness or disease at hand) to hospice, which focuses on keeping the patient happy and comfortable during their final days, weeks and in some cases, months, and helping prepare both the patient and family – both mentally and emotionally – for the inevitable loss they will soon endure?
Many times, individuals struggling with chronic and terminal illness and their families and loved ones have strong misconceptions about their or their loved one’s prognosis, leading to decisions to pursue any and all curative measures, even when the disease long ago progressed beyond the point wherein curing the individual was still a possibility.
As anyone who has undergone chemotherapy or radiation can attest, these procedures are painful, and come with many significant adverse side effects. When a disease such as cancer progresses so far that no amount of chemotherapy, radiation or any other treatment is going to send the cancer into remission, that is to say, when the patient’s prognosis becomes imminently terminal, transitioning from curative treatment to hospice, which uses a variety of palliative care measures as well as grief counseling and other services, is not only appropriate but is also the right thing to do for the dying individual.
Palliative care is not curative in nature. Rather than attempt to cure one’s illness, hospices instead focus on ensuring the patient is as comfortable as is possible given the circumstances, and helping make sure they receive maximum enjoyment of what time they have left on earth.
This allows the terminally ill to spend quality time with family, friends and loved ones right at home (or an assisted living facility). The alternative is to going back-to-back, to-and-from the hospital to receive intense treatments that harm quality of life, rob the patient of time that could be spent pursuing favorite activities or bonding with family when these treatments are administered to terminal patients who are either unaware that their prognosis is terminal or are in denial and hoping for a miracle.
In many cases it’s best for everyone involved for someone (usually a doctor, nurse or family member) to be honest and direct with the patient and his or her family, leaving no doubt that the individual is going to die from their illness or condition, likely within six months of the disease runs its usual course, and that no amount of curative treatment is going to change that.
This way, instead of families holding on to false hope until the very end, then being surprised and distraught when the inevitable occurs, the patient can be made optimally comfortable, while both the patient and family receive both psychological and spiritual counseling beginning weeks or months, helping prepare all involved parties emotionally and spiritually for when the inevitable death occurs.
Palliative Care is defined by the World Health Organization as follows:
“Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”
Palliative Care is certainly a major component of hospice, however the terms are not necessarily simultaneous. For one thing, palliative care can be applied at any point during the course of treatment from a surgery, injury, disease or illness. Whereas Hospice Care is reserved exclusively for individuals who are terminally ill (meaning the are going to die, and that no form of curative medicine is going to change that), and includes palliative care among a plethora of other services.
Wikipedia defines Hospice as follows:
“Hospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs.”
Also from Wikipedia’s Hospice definition:
“In hospice care the main guardians are the family care giver and a hospice nurse who makes periodic stops. Hospice can be administered in a nursing home, hospice building, or sometimes a hospital; however, it is most commonly practiced in the home. In order to be considered for hospice care, one has to be terminally ill or expected to die in six months.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
EGAN Home Health & Hospice to create location-specific pages for each of our nine Locations.
EGAN Hone Health Care and Hospice has nine office locations across Louisiana in order to ensure that our nurses, therapists, home health aids, sitters and hospice personnel (hospice requires an entire team of people including nurses, therapists, physicians, social workers, therapists and spiritual counselors) are always just a phone call away from any and every one of our patients no matter where they are in Louisiana. We strive to ensure that we have the right personnel available 24/7/365, so that when our patients need us – whenever that moment may arise, our highly trained staff is never more than a few minutes away.
As a result of this, we are announcing that we will be creating a separate page for each office location in order to make it easier for our patients to contact us and ensure they are able to contact the right person right away.
We will be unveiling our office pages over the next several days, and they’ll be debuting one-by-one, so if your closest office hasn’t yet been posted, please be patient, we’re working diligently and it will be posted as soon as possible.
EGAN Has nine office locations across Southeast Louisiana, including each of the following:
– Metairie (serving the New Orleans, Kenner & Jefferson Parish)
– Gretna (Serving Marrero, Belle Chasse, Chalmette. St. Bernard, Terrytown & the entire West Bank or Jefferson and Orleans Parish)
– Baton Rouge (serving Gonzales, Prairieville and all of East Baton Rouge )
– Ponchatoula / Hammond (all of Tangipahoa Parish)
– LaPlace (St. Charles Parish)
– Franklinton (Folsom and Washington Parish)
– Bogalusa (Pine, Bush and Washington Parish
– Port Sulphur (serving all of Plaquemines Parish and south Jefferson)
– Covington (serving all of the North Shore, including Mandeville, Slidell, Goodbee and Abita Springs)
Each page will contain a brief description of the office, the office staff, local contact information specific to that office location (like phone numbers and addresses), maps and individual photographs of each office on its corresponding page.
We also hope to link to the corresponding Google+ and Google local pages for each office location, as well as our other social accounts.
At EGAN Home Health and Hospice we are constantly striving to ensure the best customer/patient experience possible, and this is the next step in in our company distinguishing itself as the premiere home health and hospice agency in the state.
We look forward to your feedback, and we welcome any suggestions or ideas on how we can improve our user experience to further separate us as the best agency in Louisiana.
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.
Peter Egan Jr. poses for a photo with an EGAN Pediatrics patient and the patient’s caregiver.
An EGAN Pediatrics patient and her family pose for a photo during a recent trip to the Audubon Zoo.
A family enjoying themselves during a recent trip with EGAN Pediatrics to the Audubon zoo.
A little girl having fun during the EGAN Pediatrics recent field trip to the Audubon Zoo.
A family enjoying themselves at the Audubon Zoo during a recent event hosted by EGAN Pediatrics.
A group of people including both EGAN Pediatrics employees, patients and patients’ family members pose for a group photo at the Audubon Zoo.
Family having fun at the zoo during the EGAN Pediatrics “Day at the Zoo” event.