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From Medicaid to price transparency, here are the 5 biggest health policy controversies in 2019 Print E-mail
Written by Robert King | Fierce Healthcare   
Saturday, 04 January 2020 15:56
 washington-dc-image Washington provided a lot of drama for the payer and provider industries in 2019 with unexpected transparency requirements, payment cuts and major uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There was also no shortage of Medicaid news or tough talk on surprise medical billing. Here are five of the biggest healthcare policy controversies to erupt this year...
Last Updated on Monday, 09 March 2020 18:09
BDO & PitchBook: Healthcare's Consolidation Funnel Told Through Private Equity Print E-mail
Written by BDO   
Friday, 20 December 2019 17:36

New technologies and entrants, the shift from hospital-focused care to more outpatient and home-based services, and the move towards value-based care continue to create new financial pressures for healthcare organizations. In response, healthcare leaders must reimagine their services and transform their operations. Finding sources of capital to do that is imperative. Though other forms of capital infusion like specialty financing are on the rise, for many organizations, PE financing has become an attractive option. As PE interest in healthcare continues its upwards trajectory, the changing reimbursement environment in healthcare-and the winners and losers created-will point the way toward future consolidation, our latest healthcare report with PitchBook shows. 

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2020 17:41
Designing the Home of a Loved One with Memory Loss Print E-mail
Written by AHHCnews   
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 10:44

Home is where the heart is. An aging loved one who experiences memory loss, either due to dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease, or nutritional deficiencies, medication side effects or a stroke, will struggle to adjust to her living environment—even if she’s lived there for years. It becomes increasingly important for family members to design the senior’s home in such a way that eases the frustrations felt by the onset of memory loss.

As seniors age, certain changes in the brain can lead to challenges with memory. A senior afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, or another serious illness that affects memory, interprets everyday objects differently. Depth perception is lost in those with memory issues. Experts give the example of a black rug that may be seen as a gaping hole in the floor by a senior whose depth perception is affected. In a home with poor lighting, the senior in need of memory care is overwhelmed by disconcerting shadows and glaring lights from the windows. Visual cues, like shapes, fail to offer concrete guidance to seniors with memory problems.

Color Contrast
An aging brain fails to differentiate colors easily. Distorted colors are the result. The senior will not notice a black television remote control positioned on a darkly colored coffee table, for example. Similarly, a room with white curtains and cream-colored carpeting will be a visual challenge for seniors to navigate. Help the loved one in your life safely maneuver around the home by adding contrasting colors. Hang dark, solid drapes in the family room if the carpets are light colored. The colors of towels hanging in the bathroom should contrast with the walls. Plus, the toilet should ideally feature a color that stands out against the other fixtures and the floor in the bathroom. Add color variance to the sofa or sofa cover so that it stands out from the color of the carpeting. Such an improvement aids the senior and prevents confusion when she aims to take a seat. Contrasting colors between flooring and the walls also encourage proper balance in seniors with poor vision. Similarly, brightly colored dinnerware helps seniors discern between the food and the plate. Experts recommend yellow plates, since most foods contrast with this hue. Seeing the food clearly on the plate encourages the senior to see and, resultingly, consume more food. When adjusting the hues inside the home, recognize that older individuals are presented with a visual challenge when attempting to differentiate certain colors, like blues from greens.

Bright Lights
The onset of memory loss prompts a need for brighter lighting. Adjusting the lighting in the senior’s home alleviates much of the disorientation that results from a poorly lit environment. Screw in lightbulbs that feature significantly higher watts. Any nightlights should be low level. Install motion-controlled lighting so the senior does not fumble with the light switches in darkened rooms and hallways.

Labeled Environment
A senior living with memory issues struggles with everyday routines, as they no longer remember how to use household fixtures. As their disease progresses, time and place become difficult to recall, leaving the elder struggling to find once-familiar rooms in the home. Provide a sense of ease by labeling the fixtures and rooms in the home. For instance, label the bathroom and kitchen sinks’ faucets “cold” and “hot”. Place a picture of the toilet on the front of the bathroom door. On the kitchen cupboards, hang a list of their contents, like the plates, cups, etc. Colors, too, can serve as “labels” and help seniors navigate their home. For instance, seniors may recognize where they are based on the color of the room’s blue carpeting, yellow walls or red furniture.

Simplistic Surroundings
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from a limited field of vision. The loss of peripheral vision allows aging individuals to only see objects immediately before them and at eye level. Considering the development of tunnel vision, a home with too many objects only confuses seniors experiencing memory loss. Keep clutter to a minimum, as elders are likely to become inactive when the home is riddled with excessive furniture and an abundance of décor. Rich patterns and swirls along rugs, carpets or furniture provoke confusion in the senior with memory issues. The elder’s capacity to function (including their cognition and activity level) decreases with the prevalence of visual racket. Provide a simple home environment with solid colored furniture or sofa covers. In addition, experts recommend positioning the furniture to encourage social engagement. This means facing the sofas toward each other rather than directly toward the television screen.

Assistive Technology
Advancements in assistive technology are a boon for families with loved ones experiencing memory loss. High-tech devices beneficial to seniors with memory issues include medical alert buttons or motion sensors that alert caregivers when a senior who is prone to wandering opens certain doors. Recently developed sensors also have the functionality to recognize when an aging individual has fallen. Medication reminders come in the form of user-friendly electronic gadgets families can purchase online.

Memory loss is far from easy to endure, provoking frustration and, in some cases, shut down. Adapting the home to a loved one’s condition offers a welcoming sense of security and familiarity. Plus, adjusting the home environment allows the senior with memory problems the opportunity to remain at home longer.
A caregiver is instrumental in helping the senior live at home for as long as possible. Families who opt for a professional caregiver can turn to the reliable elder care services through Assisting Hands Home Care. As a senior care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care provides exceptionally qualified and trained caregivers who help seniors with activities of daily living (ADLs), including transportation, bathing, grooming, meal preparation and medication reminders. The home care agency’s non-medical services are comprehensive and dependably address seniors’ memory care needs. Assisting Hands Home Care offers a wealth of home care options, such as 24-hour care, respite care and Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Turn to the compassionate caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care when the need for senior home care becomes a necessity. Assisting Hands Home Care reliably serves the families and senior populations in Miami, FL.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2019 10:59
More people in the U.S. are dying at home than at the hospital Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 00:00

Jen Christensen reports for CNN on Dec. 11:
For the first time since the early 20th century, more people in United States are dying at home than at the hospital, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. The researchers looked at the number of natural deaths in the United States based on data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics. They define natural deaths as when a medical condition leads directly to death, meaning people died from heart problems or cancer, among other diseases, rather than dying in a car accident, for example. The authors looked at data from 2003 to 2017. They found that hospital deaths are still common, but that number is declining. There were 905,874 hospital deaths in 2003 -- 39.7% of deaths -- and by 2017 there were 764,424 hospital deaths, 29.8% of deaths. The number of deaths at home, though, increased from 543,874 (23.8%) in 2003 to 788,757 (30.7%) in 2017. There was also an increase in the number of people dying in hospice facilities.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 18:33
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Study Shows Increased Transplant Organ Availability Largely Due to Opioid Deaths Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Friday, 06 December 2019 07:49

Researchers at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine have found that the increased availability of transplant organs over the past decade was mostly caused by the opioid crisis. The study was published in the journal Clinical Transplant.

“The data suggests the increase in organ availability is not due to large scale systematic improvements in the procurement system,” said associate professor David Goldberg, MD, a transplant hepatologist at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and co-author on the paper. “On the national level, it is almost exclusively a byproduct of this ongoing tragedy. These are families and donors who saved lives in a final act of generosity. These transplants are lifesaving and we should honor -never diminish or mislabel - the circumstances of any donor’s gift.”

While previous research probed the link between drug-related deaths and organ availability, these studies took cause of death codes at face value. In some cases, intravenous drug users were coded as having died from drug intoxication. Others were coded for asphyxiation or heart attack, despite their drug use. Goldberg and co-author Raymond Lynch, assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, thought it was important to probe beyond the codes and understand underlying causes.

“We felt that just looking at the mechanism was undercounting the role of the drug epidemic,” said Goldberg. “When we looked at those donors who died from another mechanism, they looked very similar to those coded for drug intoxication. We saw 20, 30, 40-year-olds who had a cardiovascular death and also happened to be using drugs.”

The study found there were 2,700 more deceased donors nationwide in 2018 than 2009. Using the same years for comparison, the number of drug-related deaths increased by 2,752. By contrast, the number of non-drug-related donations decreased, with a notable decline in deaths from stroke.

Drug-related donation increases were most pronounced in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest, reflecting the crisis acuity in those regions. For some organ procurement organizations (OPOs), volume increased by more than a 100%. Still, those increases did not always mirror regional drug-related death rates, pointing to potential faults in local organ procurement systems.

The researchers were particularly concerned that undercounting drug deaths would create the false sense that donation increases were generated by increased OPO effectiveness. In some cases, that was true. The OPO in Nevada saw a 202.3% increase in donors, with only 41.4% coming from drug-related deaths.

Goldberg and Lynch feel the OPO community needs to better understand why Nevada and others are doing so well. They hope these results will inspire an honest review and ongoing conversation among OPOs to identify the most effective ways to increase transplant organ availability.

“Everyone should share best practices and help other organizations that have not seen the same increases, despite being in an area that has seen a similar impact from the opioid epidemic,” said Goldberg. “We can’t let the increase from opioid deaths be a detriment because it prevents broader scale improvements in the OPO community.”

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2019 09:52
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