Bring It with You

March 6, 2012

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: , — Alexis @ 12:15 PM

Do you have a Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Statement, and advanced directive (in my office that would be the workbook called Your Way)? If you are in a hospital or rehab and are being transferred to another medical institution, bring copies with you. Do not assume these will be transferred to the new institution!!

We are living in the beginning of the age of electronic medical records, so you would think it would be a no-brainer that your Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Statement, and advanced directive would go with you to your new medical institution. But even the best computer systems are run by humans, and we all know that medical institutions are understaffed.

Be on the safe side and bring these documents with you. When you get to the new institution, make sure these are placed in your chart. And then tell every nurse and doctor who comes to see you that they can find these documents in your chart.

Have an Advanced Directive? Put it into Language that Doctors Understand

February 21, 2012

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: , — Alexis @ 12:14 PM

If you have an advance directive (in my office, that’s the Your Way workbook), and if you have a terminal or very serious illness, take your advance directive one step further and have your doctor convert it into “doctor’s orders.” If you have been in a hospital, then you know that all care is administered pursuant to doctor’s orders. Frequencies and dosages of medications? Check the doctor’s orders. Which therapies and when? Check the doctor’s orders. Type of diet? Check the doctor’s orders.

Ask your doctor to take your advance directive and convert it into doctor’s orders. That way, in an emergency, hospital staff will look in the chart and immediately see your directives, written in a format that they are used to.

Get Input from Your Doctor to Develop Your Advance Directive

February 10, 2012

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: , — Alexis @ 12:13 PM

I give the “Your Way” workbook to every client who signs a Health Care Proxy. This workbook allows you to spell out to your family what your end-of-life wishes are.

If you have a serious or terminal illness, complete the Your Way workbook in pencil, and then go over it with your doctor or nurse practitioner. They should be able to help you outline wishes based on what they know may lie in your future as your illness progresses.

Have a hard time getting an appointment with your doctor? Or don’t think he gives you the time you need? There’s an alternative. I work with a wonderful geriatric nurse who can sit down with you, discuss what to expect down the road from your illness and what the medical choices will be at various turns in the road. If you would like to meet with her for a private session, so that she can help you articulate educated, thoughtful end-of-life wishes, please call me.

Acupuncture for Seniors – Ever Tried It?

January 22, 2010

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: — Alexis @ 4:42 PM

Ever tried acupuncture? It took me years to work up the nerve to leave the comforts of the doctor’s office experience I have always known and to explore this new territory – and am I glad I did! If you’ve never tried it, now is a great time.

Bob Thomson, Lic. Ac., practices in Hingham. I know several people who swear by his skills. He is a great listener, and he really takes the time to think up the most appropriate treatment for each client. Lucky for us, he is conducting group sessions at our local senior centers. He has the group sit in comfortable chairs, and he applies treatments to the calfs and forearms – and from those locations, the acupuncture works its way to the rest of your body, to find the places that need the healing.

Afraid of needles? They don’t hurt. They shouldn’t call them needles, that word scares too many people. Although I admit that I close my eyes and don’t look at them for my entire session.

Here is where you can find Bob and begin your path towards feeling better:

Hanover Council on Aging: Friday 1/29 & Friday 2/5, both from 8:00 – 10:30 a.m. (Ongoing)

Hingham Department of Elder Services: Thursday  1/28 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. (Fourth Thursday of every month)

And if you aren’t quite ready for a treatment but would like to meet Bob and learn more about acupuncture, he will be presenting an introductory seminar at the Braintree Council on Aging on Thursday 2/18 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

The fee is $25 per treatment, and the fifth session is free.

Spice up your winter and try something new!

In Case of Emergency – Let Your Cell Phone Help You

November 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Alexis @ 3:06 PM

It’s scary to think about having a medical emergency and not being able to speak to tell the EMT’s who to call. Well, if you carry a cell phone, one solution is to put the names and numbers of your emergency contacts in there. EMT’s, firefighters, and other first responders know to look there.  Just add those names to your address book as “ICE” – In Case of Emergency.

In my phone, I have a few people listed – I have ICE1, ICE2, and ICE3.

Do You Have a Defibrillator or a Pacemaker?

February 25, 2009

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: , , , — Alexis @ 11:27 AM

If you have, or if your loved one has, an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) or Pacemaker, you know what amazing devices these can be for saving lives.  But if you are in and end of life situation and have made the decision to cease treatments and to focus instead on palliative and comfort care, please remember to have these devices turned off.  

With some frequency, patients sign a Do Not Resuscitate form and maybe even enter hospice treatment, but no one thinks about the ICD or Pacemaker.  Leaving them on can make the dying process very painful for the patient and emotionally wrenching for the family.  Apparently, the patient’s body lurches over and over again and it feels to the person as if horses are kicking in her chest.  Far from the peaceful goodbye that we all hope for.  

So please, if you have one of these devices and have chosen to execute a DNR or to enter hospice care, talk to your medical team about turning it off.