Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Springhill Home Care Group: Three Care Home Workers at Hillcroft nursing home Guilty over Abuse

Three care workers at Lancashire home care have been found guilty of abusing elderly residents.

The female staff members at Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest near Lancaster mocked, bullied and assaulted residents, Preston Crown Court heard.

A fourth male staff member earlier pleaded guilty to ill-treating the elderly residents.

The defendants told other staff they were bored and were doing it for entertainment, prosecutors said.

Carol Moore, 54, was the team leader of Ripon Avenue, Beaumont, Lancaster, she abused six residents including slapping one.

Tipped out of wheelchair, the abuse went this far, Gemma Pearson, 28, of Hill Street, Carnforth, tipped a resident out of a wheelchair.

Four residents were abused by Katie Cairns, 27, of Riverview Court, Westgate, Morecambe.  She stamps on the foot of one, mocks others by throwing bean bags at them and touching them.

Darren Smith, 34, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, had previously pleaded guilty to ill-treating eight residents and the court heard he was seen in bed with a distressed resident.

Det Insp Andy Hulme said the staff members "showed a total disregard for their wellbeing, displaying contemptible behaviour that should never be tolerated".

Their actions "caused considerable distress to the victims, and it has been very distressing for their families to hear about it", the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Every one was charged under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with ill-treatment and willful neglect of a person with lack of capacity.

The court heard that they had previously been suspended from the home following abuse allegations made by a receptionist and a cleaner in September 2011.

Whistleblowers praised

However they went back to work subsequent to being handed warnings as an effect of an internal investigation and the matter was not referred to the police or social services.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was sent anonymous emails about the standard of care inside the home, the court heard that in December 2011.
In May 2012, the CQC forwarded the matter to the local authority’s protection team who informed police.

In a statement, relatives of the victims criticized "failings" of managers at Hillcroft, Lancashire County Council, NHS North Lancashire and the CQC.

They also praised the courage of whistleblowers.

They said: "To work in a challenging behaviour unit must be incredibly difficult, requiring patience and understanding, not to mention training and professionalism, but the difficulty of the job does not excuse mistreatment on any level."

The home's owner said all those involved have now left and it is under new management.

The former staffs are due to be sentenced in January.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Springhill Home Care Group Honoring Special Diets during the Holidays

Springhill Home Care Group Honoring Special Diets during the Holidays

We are used to a tradition of flooding of food during holidays, eggnog on Christmas, stuffing on Thanksgiving, or latkes on Hanukkah.  A get together without food, that won’t do.  The holidays are traditionally a time for big meals with predictable main courses and side dishes, but for those with dietary restrictions, each meal brings a challenge. 

Sofie McConnaughay owner of a skin care studio that caters to people with allergies and sensitivities ( in Boise, Idaho said, “There is an old family dinner roll recipe that is completely out of the question for me.”  And she added, “It's sad, because they're my favorite part of the holiday meal experience!”

Many people are on strict diet and among these is Ms. McConnaughay who must stick with a gltuen-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and more—even during this festive time of year.  “Special diets can really effect people over the holidays,” said Christie Korth, a holistic nutritionist and Founder and CEO of Happy and Healthy Wellness, Inc. She is also the author of “The IBD (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Healing Plan and Recipe Book” (IBD is an acronym for).
Mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, or steamed vegetables with butter, these food may sound safe but Ms. Korth pointed out that these can be no-no’s for many special diets.  “The way around it is to make sure you bring yummy dishes to your family celebration and enjoy your own food,” she said. “What I have found is in many families while there may be some resistance to a special diet in the beginning, over time there are family members that are very accommodating to dietary restrictions.”

Ms. McConnaughay’s solution so that the family wouldn’t miss out on something they love to eat yearly, she has been to keep making the dinner rolls she loves for everyone to eat and enjoy.  “I also bring fresh, homemade butter and other delicious toppings so I can slather my gluten-free bread just like they're doing,” she said. “It helps me feel included, and gives us something to talk about besides the rolls.”

For Ms. Korth’s family holiday meals, she uses new gluten and dairy free recipes and it has been a life saver for them.  “For stuffing I use gluten-free bread and a buttery spread that does not contain dairy,” she said. “I love taking a favorite recipe and making it healthier and safe for my sensitive tummy. I have even made my grandmother’s beloved Linzer tarts both dairy and gluten free!”

Regarding communication and mutual respect between family and friends, they share a meal and time together.  “My family, friends, and I are quite open about what I can and cannot eat,” said Ms. Connaughay. “They don't always understand, but they're supportive. If I'm attending a meal, they know there is no expectation that the entire meal be gluten-free.”

Compromise is the key for a harmonious holiday feast: Ms. McConnaughay’s family and friends will include rice crackers to an appetizer tray, as alternative gluten-free pasta, and providing more vegetable dishes, have been creative ways to make sure everyone gets enough to eat.  “These are all ways hosts can feel like they're making a meal everyone can enjoy, without putting the attendees who do not have restrictions in the uncomfortable position of not liking the offerings,” she said.

“Some people, whose identity is closely tied to the meal's success, may associate an inability to eat something with dislike of certain dishes,” said Ms. Connaughay. “Such associations are particularly difficult for a person who's trying to adjust to a new diet. They don't want to offend anyone, so may eat something they know will make them sick just to keep the peace.”

“As time goes on and one gets used to a special diet, it becomes easier,” said Ms. McConnaughay. “You learn what you can and cannot have, and your palette changes to accommodate the difference in tastes. Those first couple holidays are rough though. Not just because you can't eat as many of the items you have in the past, but because family members and friends ask a lot of questions as to why you can't eat them. Dinner turns into an education instead of a celebration.”

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Springhill Home Care Group: Mid-life stress 'precedes dementia'

Springhill Home Care Group: Mid-life stress 'precedes dementia'

Current evidence suggest the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia are to eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, not smoke, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check” - Dr Simon Ridley Alzheimer's Research UK

According to the latest research, women who suffer from a lot of stress in middle age may increase their risk of developing dementia in later life.  Furthermore the study says that mid-life stress may increase a woman's risk of developing dementia.

Eight hundred women were subjected to study and they have found out that those who had to cope with events such as divorce or bereavement were more likely to get Alzheimer's decades later.

BMJ Open reports says, the more stressful events there were, the higher the dementia risk became.

According to the study authors, stress hormones may be to blame, triggering harmful alterations in the brain.

Many changes in the body is caused by stressed hormones, it can also affect many things like blood pressure and blood sugar control.

And they can remain at high levels many years after experiencing a traumatic event, Dr Lena Johansson and colleagues explain.

However they also claim that they need more work to verify their findings and determine whether the same stress and dementia link might also occur in men.

The study went like this, the women underwent a battery of tests and examinations when they were in either their late 30s, mid-40s or 50s, and then again at regular intervals over the next four decades.

One in four women said at some part in the start of the study that they had experienced at least one stressful event, such as widowhood or unemployment.

A comparable proportion had suffered at least two stressful events, whereas one in five had experienced at least three.  The remaining women had either experienced more than this or none.

Four hundred twenty five of the women died and 153 developed dementia during follow-up.

When the researchers looked back at the women's history of mid-life stress, they found the link between stress and dementia risk.
Dr Johansson says future studies should look at whether stress management and behavioural therapy might help offset dementia.

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer's Research UK, said that from this study, it was hard to know whether stress contributed directly to the development of dementia, whether it was purely an indicator of another underlying risk factor in this population of women, or whether the link was due to an entirely different factor.

"We know that the risk factors for dementia are complex and our age, genetics and environment may all play a role. Current evidence suggests the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia are to eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, not smoke, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.

"If you are feeling stressed or concerned about your health in general, we would recommend you talk this through with your GP."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Springhill Care Group | South Korean hospital won’t transfer American home until $40K bill is paid

Sean Jones family ask for donations for the young English teacher who has the rare brain disease anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, can continue treatment in the United States.

According to the reports, the American teacher Sean Jones was treated for a rare brain disease in South Korea is unable to return home until his nearly-$40,000 hospital bill is paid

The family of an American man stuck in a South Korean hospital is requesting for donations to bring him home.

Since May, the young teacher Sean Jones from Oklahoma City, has been hospitalized with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes swelling in the brain.

Reports says that Yonsei University Severance Hospital in Seoul refuses to release him after his bill of nearly $40,000 is paid while Jones' family wants him transferred to an American hospital for continued treatment

Friends and family have set up a Facebook page and a account to raise money for medical costs. So far they have raised about three-quarters of the goal, Sean's mother, LaTanya Dodd, told The Korea Herald.

“I really don’t know if they can legally hold him here. If they can’t legally do so, he will be going,” said Dodd, who came to South Korea in July to care for her son, to the paper. “They won’t care for him anymore, and that’s what I’m worried about. Is that going to affect the whole outcome — just sitting here waiting?”

Family members said Jones was moved to a group room and suffers from bedsores due to a lack of care.

The fresh college grad, portrayed as outgoing and passionate about education, had been teaching English in Hwajung for almost a year when he started experiencing headaches and hallucinations.

He was prescribed by the doctor, antidepressants and was advised to rest but his conditioned worsened.  He was admitted to the hospital two days later with a fever of 108 degrees.

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis was identified in 2007, and only a few hundred cases have been documented worldwide.  It can cause personality changes and psychotic symptoms.

“I was told before I got here the reason was that they were scared because he was violent," Dodd said. "He was having violent outbursts (because of the disease). He was very difficult for me, too, when I got here, but they expect me to do it alone.”

A GiveForward page is collecting donations to bring Sean home.

Sean appears to be recovering without brain damage although the disease is often fatal.  But he has suffered a dramatic weight loss.

According to The Korea Herald, the U.S. embassy arranged for a doctor to fly with Jones to a hospital in Indianapolis on Sept. 4, but the Korean hospital refuses to transfer him.

A State Department official issued the following statement to The News on Wednesday:
“We are aware that a U.S. citizen, Sean Terrell Jones, was hospitalized in Seoul with a rare form of encephalitis. Consular personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul are providing assistance in this case, and are in touch with the family.  Generally, when a U.S. citizen is injured or becomes seriously ill while abroad, the embassy or consulate will do all it can to assist the individual to obtain appropriate medical care.  In this case, the embassy has assisted Sean and his family by providing temporary financial assistance to cover the cost of return home.” 

Hospital representatives have not returned a request for comment.

Sean's older brother Brandon Jones spoke with Oklahoma City's News9 over the weekend.

A "The goal is really just to help with his medical bills, and hopefully with no speed bumps, we can actually get him back in the United States," Brandon Jones told the station.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Labor Group fights for better pay for Home Care Workers

Americans live longer base from the statistics, thus making the population age and as it ages the need for home care workers will grow significantly.  According to the Bureau of Labor Standards, the Home Care Workforce will grow from 1.7 Million to 2.6 million in 2018, but the people caring for seniors in their homes earn on average less than 10 dollars an hour and many do not get benefits.  A number of those workers assembled at the Food and Medicine Headquarters in Brewer Thursday to encourage their Senators to make it a priority to improve pay, benefits and training for this growing workforce.  
Helen Hanson stood at a podium from her huddling under the tent and shared her financial struggles during her work as a home care worker. 
"My bills are paid but when the oil tank is down do I pay the mortgage or do I spend 350 dollars to put 100 gallons in the oil tank," she said. 
Although Hanson loves going into peoples’ homes to care for them she couldn’t make the ends meet.  So instead, she went to work at a rehab facility as a certified nurse and she got better pay and benefits.  This kind of problem is one example of a nationwide concern.
"We have 3 million direct care health workers in the country right now and we're projecting 27 million seniors by 2050," Pointed out Reverend Mark Doty, one of those gathered at the Food and Medicine Rally.   The pro workers group had a stage demonstration where they showed how hard their work is.  The demonstration is even complete with a juggler to show how complicated it is for home care workers to juggle their responsibilities.  Everything is happening while caring for a growing number of seniors and finding an easy solution may be a juggling act too.  The issue becomes how to pay for a better wage for them after all agree that home care workers should be paid well.
Vickie Purgavie, executive director of the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine, which advocate for home care businesses, says  home care companies couldn't afford to pay workers more because they depend on federal funding for most of their revenue, and their reimbursement rates are fixed. Simply put if the businesses give their workers a raise, they can't charge the government more money to provide those raises
"So any additional requirements if you will around wages or benefits which this group of workers is so deserving of would put the home care agency at a significant deficit," Purgavie said.
Organizers with Food and Medicine say because many home caregivers are mothers, they submitted Mothers Day cards to Senators King and Collins today, urging them to support a resolution in the Senate urging congress to address the issue of better wages and benefits for Home Care workers.  A spokesperson for Senator King said he is still reviewing the legislation.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Springhill Care Group: Don’t Let Nursing Homes Keep Elderly Married Couples Apart

According to a new study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, seniors work hard to keep their marriages alive and well, even after one spouse falls ill and goes into a long-term care facility.
Community-dwelling spouses were greatly drawn in the lives of their partners who are inside the institution, and that a lot of the couples remained active together may it be inside or outside the nursing home Researcher Robin Stadnyk was surprised to discover about this. 
Stadnyk is a post-doctoral researcher in the University of Alberta's Department of Human Ecology.  She reviewed data from a qualitative study of 52 community-dwelling spouses in three Canadian provinces: Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, for her PhD research.  According to her research, the participants were heavily involved in their spouses' lives, not only through caretaking duties like doing laundry and helping with personal hygiene, but also through nurturing activities that brought them closer together. 
"Most participants described close relationships with their spouses before the placement in a long-term care home. They simply found ways they could continue that closeness within the institutional walls," Stadnyk noted. Marriage-sustaining activities included watching TV together, studying travel brochures and reviewing diaries to relive old memories, even taking painting lessons together. 
For regular weekly and even daily visits, some spouses do is they bring their partners home.  A loving story of an 82-year-old man in the study took weight-training just so he could lift his wife in and out of the car for the weekly trip home.  
"The findings defy the common assumption that the partnership of marriage effectively ends when one spouse enters a care facility," Stadnyk said. 
Changing roles as give-and take-partners to compassionate caretakers, husbands and wives of partners with dementia carry on with nurturing their marriages.  One of the things they do is they are making sure treats were available for their spouses and another was they make to it to attend special events.  "Many related these activities to their wedding vows, 'In sickness and in health, for better or for worse'," Stadnyk said. 

Other halves with partners who are institutionalized moreover created methods to deal with their new loneliness.  This is described by one participant as 'limbo'.  It is finding 'safe' activities such as family or church outings and limiting their interactions to same-sex social groups. 
Stadnyk suggests that rehabilitation workers help couples continue to find ways to connect when one spouse is in a nursing home. Quiet, private spaces are needed so couples can share quality time. Improvements to policies to respect the private lives of residents are also needed, Stadnyk said. Private accommodations, rather than shared rooms, are often desired by couples and are increasingly being offered in newer facilities. But even simple changes such as knocking on a resident's door before entering are appreciated by spouses, Stadnyk said. A secure place for personal items like diaries would also allow couples to keep special possessions private. "One nursing home even allowed a couple to keep a refrigerator in the resident's room, which made it easy for the couple to share snacks." 
It is important that practitioners help couples find things to do together.  He/she should also encourage the well spouses to discover activities on their own to sustain their identities.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Patient Outcomes Improve Under Single Home Health Aides

According to a recent study by SAGE Publications, individuals receiving home health services stand to experience better outcomes if cared for by the same aide day in and day out.

According to the study Continuity in the Provider of Home Health Aide Services and the Likelihood of Patient Improvement in Activities of Daily Living, patients who see the same home health aide across a series of visits have a higher likelihood of improving in various activities of daily living (ADLs) compared to patients whose care is provided by multiple aides.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) is a large, urban, non-profit Medicare certified home health agency.  Base from their studies, they found that individuals who were cared for continuously by the same aide had a 93% chance of improving their ADLs.

Those who experienced low-continuity of care were roughly 14%-15% hardly to recover their ADLs involving home health admission and discharge than persons who were constantly visited by the similar aide.  Those who experienced low-continuity of care is implying to care was spread out among a variety of aides over the course of a home health service period.

Furthermore of note in the report, cases where patients had moderate-continuity did not considerably fluctuate from higher permanence cases in their likelihood of ADL development.

Researchers note that the odds of improvement among cases with high continuity are greater than those for low continuity even if a greater part of cases in the study’s populace enhanced in the figure and severity of ADLs between admission and discharge.

“Ideally, patients should receive services from a single aide over the entire period of home care,” writes the study’s lead author David Russell, Ph.D, Center for Home Care Policy & Research at VNSNY. “However, a number of staffing constraints and operational obstacles often present a challenge to achieving this goal.”

Russell added, home health agencies often provide around-the-clock care and have several staff to cover different shifts, but sometimes these staff members carry multiple case loads and have limited time for care planning, monitoring and review.

According to the report, one strategy to combat this could be to use primary provider teams in conjunction with backup provider teams to limit the number of aides who visit a patient.

A succeeding strategy the study suggests is to center on lowering the quantity of cases with low levels of continuity, and work to develop this group to a more modest level.

The results constructed upon wide research that suggests permanence in the relationship between a patient and his or her caregiver amplifies the chances of optimistic patient conclusions even though the study was supported on one non-profit Medicare-certified home health agency.