Long Term Care Jargon- Knowing the “Lingo”


Selecting a long term care provider is one of the most important and difficult decisions that you may be asked to make for a loved one.  To make the best possible decision, you have understand some of the senior care industry speak.

Commonly used terms may be new or confusing.  For example, Assisted Living offers housing, personal assistance, support services, and health care while focusing on autonomy, individual functioning, and maintaining personal dignity.  However, this care/service can also be known as Residential Care, Board & Care, or Personal Care.  In addition, it is also confused with Nursing Home Care.

Listed below are other terms  you may come across when in the process of researching and choosing senior care.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s):  Elements of an individual’s daily routine, including bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and continence.  There are also Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s). These include housekeeping, laundry, shopping, and preparation of meals.

Adult Daycare: Daytime rehabilitative services and social activities for someone living at home.  Typically services are focused on the physically and/or mentally impaired elderly.

Ambulatory: Capable of demonstrating the mental competence and physical ability to leave a building (unassisted) in an emergency.  For those not capable the term is Non-Ambulatory.

Care Management: The assessing, arranging, and overseeing an individual’s healthcare routine by a trained professional.

Discharge Planner: A staff member of a hospital or nursing home (often a licensed social worker) who develops a plan for the future care of a patient prior to the patient’s discharge.

Nursing Home:  Medical facility for individuals who require skilled nursing care due to physical impairment, injuries, or chronic illness.

Respite Care: Long term care services provided on a temporary basis, usually to give a much needed break to the primary caregivers.

If you are told a term you do not understand then ask the person to explain what it means.  The more you understand the better off you will be when it is time to make a decision.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call CarePatrol of Seattle at 206-799-5618.


Home Assistance Items to Help Make Daily Tasks Easier

There are hundreds of assistance items for seniors that can help them accomplish their day to day task with more ease.  Home health care products and resources can deliver reassurance and help to provide safety and independence to seniors and ease the burden of care for family members  There are dozens, even hundreds, of different items for senior citizens. You probably won’t need them all, but you almost certainly need a few.. Here are some senior care products, broken down by category:

Bathroom:  Elevated toilet seat, shower bench, walk-in bathtub, grab bars, easy-to-reach counters and cabinets.

Kitchen/Dining: Jar openers, easy grip utensils, eating trays, easy-to-reach counters and cabinets.

Other Rooms:  Rocker lightswitches, sleep aides, security alarms, modified telephones, reading machines, no-slip floor coverings.

Mobility:  Crutches, wheelchairs, ramps, transfer boards, transfer lifts, chair lifts, residential elevators.

Medical Supplies: Heart monitors, pill organizer, incontinence supplies, oxygen machine.

Tips to Help Avoid a Preventable Hospital Return

I read this article in the February 10th, 2012, Sunday edition of The Seattle Times and felt that it had some great tips for when either ourselves or a loved one is hospitalized.

All to often when hospitalized there is an immense amount of paperwork and instructions for care after discharge and it is given in a short amount of time.  This causes not only a sense of being overwhelmed but key information can be missed or forgotten thus causing avoidable readmission to the hospital.  Below are some tips to remember when hospitalized and preparing to discharge out of the hospital.

Originally published Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 5:29 AM

Patients too often leave the hospital without knowing how to care for themselves, leading to a preventable return. Here are tips to improve your chances of a successful recovery at home:

By The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Patients too often leave the hospital without knowing how to care for themselves, leading to a preventable return. Here are tips to improve your chances of a successful recovery at home:

-Be sure you understand your illness and the care you received in the hospital.

-Ask if you will require help at home. Can you bathe yourself? Climb stairs? Will you need bandages changed or shots? If so, do you have a caregiver to help, or will you need to arrange a visiting nurse?

-Repeat back your care instructions, to be sure you understand them.

-Ask for a written discharge plan that lists your medical conditions, your treatments, and the plan for your ongoing care.

-Get a list of all medications, how to use them, and what to do if you experience side effects. Be sure to ask whether to continue medications you were taking before this hospitalization.

-Ask what symptoms suggest you’re getting worse and what to do if that happens, especially at night or during the weekend.

-What follow-up appointments will you need and when? Ask if your hospital will make the appointments for you, and send your records.

-Do you have transportation home, to follow-up appointments, and to the drugstore?

-If you have a regular physician, make sure the hospital sends a report of your hospital stay.

-If you are uninsured or will have difficulty affording prescriptions, a hospital discharge planner or social worker may be able to link you to community resources that can help.

-Get a name and number to call if questions about your hospitalization or discharge arise.

Sources: Dr. Eric Coleman, University of Colorado in Denver; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Journal of the American Medical Association.

Click here to link to original article.

10 Signs That your Elderly Parent May Need Assistance

elderly person needing help

As one visits their aging loved ones, one may find signs of medical and mobility issues, questions relating to their physical safety, medical attention and  social and psychological well-being .
There are certain indicators which signify that intervention is necessary:
1.  Mail and bills are accumulating.  Mail can become overwhelming from the timeliness of payments to managing bank accounts.
2.  The house is no longer tidy and clean.  Parents that kept the house neat and clean may not be interested or care about its appearance any longer.
3.  Food is left uneaten or rotting in the refrigerator.  Shopping, cooking, and cleaning become a chore.  Appetites might diminish, resulting in a nutritional diet which can lead to weight loss.
4.  Burnt pots and pans.  This is often an indicator of short-term memory loss.  Not only is it a danger to your loved one but to the neighbors as well.
5.  Poor personal hygiene.  Signs may include body odor, unkempt clothing, lack of oral hygiene, unshaven or un-manicured nails.  This may stem from a fear of falling while entering or exiting a bath tub or shower or the location of the washing machine.
6.  Missing appointments.
7. Navigation away from the home or on stairs is difficult. Falls and dizziness may have occurred that make navigation intimidating and difficult.
8. Forgetting to take medication. This indicates potential short-term memory loss or depression.
9. Inappropriate speech, behavior and clothing. Inappropriate attire, speech and behavior may indicate confusion. 10. Not scheduling household repairs and maintenance. This may include such things as garbage disposal and lawn maintenance.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 206-799-5618.  Care Patrol of Seattle helps families find safe assisted living, independent living, memory care, adult family home,  and in home care services free of charge.