According to experts, falls are the leading cause of death from an injury for older Americans. For women, it’s even worse. In fact, three quarters of those with hip fractures are women. For some, the broken hip starts a chain reaction since many older people also tend to suffer from other underlying conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension or dementia. After a fall, when one is bedridden or hospitalized, chances of developing everything from bed scores to pneumonia also significantly increases. Additionally, studies have shown that delaying surgery after a fracture for just 24 hours increases the chances of complications and even death. Approximately 1 out of 10 people over the age of 50 will die within a month of surgery for a broken hip; this figure increases to 1 in 5 if the patient already has an acute medical problem. However, researchers say falls can be prevented. Tips include removing rugs, installing better lighting, getting an updated prescription for glasses, improving balance, and exercising.
Flublok is the only licensed recombinant flu vaccine and the only flu vaccine that is 100% egg-free and purified. The Flublok vaccine also contains three times more antigen than traditional flu vaccines.
The CDC has issued more robust standards to better protect healthcare workers who come into contact with Ebola and other deadly infectious diseases. The previous recommendations, which were first issued in 2008 and last updated this past August, did not work in the case of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where two nurses were infected while treating an infected patient. The updated protocols recommend workers to wear personal protective equipment that covers the entire body and leaves no skin exposed. Other recommendations include wearing two sets of gloves and wearing boot covers that are waterproof and go to at least mid-calf or cover the legs.
Yesterday, CDC Director Tom Frieden and other top officials were questioned by members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the response to Ebola infections in the country. Most of the questions focused on why the U.S. had not issued a travel ban from Ebola-stricken countries. Frieden stated that restricting travel would mean that the CDC could not screen and track passengers as they entered the U.S., especially if they decided to enter the country under false pretenses via another country.
The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is replacing the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The goal of the GHS is to harmonize differing workplace hazard classification and labeling systems across the world.
The CDC recommends a protocol for hospitals and healthcare workers to follow when they deal with a known or suspected case of Ebola. Here are some key points from the federal recommendations:
How to handle personal equipment. Everyone entering the room must wear personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE must consist of gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, goggles and a face mask. Additional safety measures include doubling up on gloves and wearing disposable shoes and leg coverings. The PPE should be carefully removed and thrown away.
Isolation. The patient must be placed in a single room with its own bathroom and door that closes. Hospitals must keep a log of everyone who goes into the room and use plastic covering on mattresses and pillows.
Needles must be kept at a minimum. When needles are used, they should be handled with extreme caution.
How to monitor for possible infection. Anyone who develops the symptoms of Ebola, including fever, muscle weakness or pain, vomiting or diarrhea should stop working and seek a medical evaluation.
How to prepare the dead body of an infected individual. The body of an infected person should be wrapped in plastic shroud and any intravenous lines or tubes in the body should be left in place. The body must also be wrapped and placed in two leak-proof plastic bags.
Click here to view all the recommendations from the CDC.
On Tuesday, a man exposed to Ebola while traveling in Africa has been hospitalized in a Dallas hospital, CDC officials confirmed. According to the CDC, the symptoms developed 4 days after his flight here from Liberia. The man was not feverish when he boarded the plane. Ebola is spread by direct contact and not by air and only while patients are sick and not beforehand while carrying the virus. This is the first ever diagnosed case in the U.S.
Healthcare providers around the country are starting to change their strategy for dealing with rising costs. Some are deciding to invest money in care coordination, saying it will save money in the long run and improve the quality of care. These same providers also want to teach patients to care for themselves, believing that management of medical conditions outside the hospital will prevent crises from happening. One of the reasons behind this shift is that Medicare is penalizing hospitals with lower reimbursements when patients have been admitted repeatedly for specific conditions. Focusing on prevention will help avoid some of these repeat visits. Speaking with patients has lead to patients taking their medication and making other lifestyle changes that positively affect their health. Only time will tell but maybe lots of little improvements will add up to big savings to the health system while simultaneously improving the health of patients.
CMS is urging nursing homes to reduce their use of antipsychotic medications by 25% by the end of 2015. Experts want nursing homes to rethink their apporach to dementia and believe many diagnoses in nursing home residents do not merit antiphsychotics. Of 2.1 million elderly nursing home residents, approximately 14% had at least one Medicare claim for an atypical antipsyhotic drug between January 1, 2007 and June 30, 2007, according to a 2011 analysis by the OIG. The OIG also found that claims for elderly nursing home residents accounted for 20% of the total 8.5 million claims for antipsychotic drugs for all Medicare beneficiaries. CMS estimates that 39.4% of nursing home residents who had no diagnosis of psychosis received antipsychotic medications between July 2010 and September 2010.
Last season, long term care workers had low rates of flu vaccination despite there being 92% vaccination coverage overall among physicians and nurses, according to the CDC. Long term care professionals had a 63% rate from 2013-2014. The CDC said the lower rate could be due to stricter vaccine requirements in hospitals (which had around a 90% rate), but also added that it may be due to the high percentage of assistants or aides working in long term care. The CDC has also published new guidelines for seniors that recommend adding the pneumoccal conjugate vaccine. Pneumococcal bacteria causes a severe type of pneumonia and can potentially lead to meningitis, blood poisoning and other infections. The CDC says that those over 65 years of age should receive one dose of the of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and a dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, six to 12 months later.