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News & Events
3/2021 Volunteer Newsletter
Posted: Mon, 03/15/2021 - 8:55am
Know Your Options & Let Your Options Be Known - 3/24/2021
Posted: Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:54am
Increasing and Protecting Your Emotional Well-Being
Posted: Fri, 11/06/2020 - 9:18am
Increasing and Protecting Your Emotional Well-Being
by Amanda Peters, LMSW
Brr! The cold weather is finally upon us. As an introvert, I love this weather – it helps me engage in all things “cozy” – fires, hot drinks, warm sweatshirts, heavy blankets, comfort foods. The Danish call it hygge, and considering their climate, I would consider them experts on all things hygge. But even someone like me can feel cooped up after several days of cold, cloudy, and dark. I guess there is such thing as too much of a good thing?
Many of us can do small things for our mental and physical health when the weather (or the pandemic) doesn’t allow us to engage in our normal activities. First, we need to adjust our expectations. If you are relying on a gym that had to shut down in the spring due to the pandemic, come up with an alternate plan in case it happens again. If you plan to walk your neighborhood every afternoon for fresh air, come up with a plan for days when it is too rainy or windy to spend time outside.
Here are a few small things you can do for your own physical or mental health:
Stock up on your favorite drinks, whether hot or cold: teas, coffee, seltzers, cider, hot chocolate, flavored water. Drinks without caffeine will keep you hydrated and be more interesting if you struggle otherwise to stay hydrated. There is a large selection of flavored teas at the grocery store – try a new one out!
Make books accessible: I can reread my favorite books, but I know people who couldn’t imagine rereading a book. If you don’t have stack available to you at home, make sure to get a card at your local public library. My 10 year old is a voracious reader and even though we stocked up on books at the library before the spring shutdown, she still was able to use her library account online in the following weeks to access ebooks. Public libraries give patrons access to online books through large eLibraries and oftentimes those libraries include magazines and audiobooks as well!
If you need something other than books: If you don’t like to read or want to do rest your eyes, try podcasts. Podcasts come in a variety of genres and can vary in length. Audiobooks, puzzles, movies, and television shows are good alternatives as well. Proceed with caution when watching television or movies – it is easy to watch endlessly if you don’t have other plans. Set a time limit or a show/movie limit when sitting down in front of the TV.
Get a light therapy lamp: if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (technically called Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Trends) or just really struggle with darkness setting in each day around 5:00, you may already be familiar with light therapy lamps. These lights are available as cheap as about $25 on Amazon and give you an extra dose of sunlight. It can also help you get your days and nights on track if your sleep pattern is off track.
Get a pedometer or activity tracker and set a goal: Smartwatches and apps on phones are made for this very purpose. Sometimes you just need it for the reminder to get up and move!
Do something with your hands: I am not a person of many talents, but sometimes I get the urge to make something with my hands. Usually for me that means knitting. I have two projects that I’ve been working on for over a year and I don’t know if I will ever get them done, but I’m doing it! So I’ll sit there and knit two rows and dream of the big, beautiful projects I will have time to complete when I don’t have kids in my home anymore. You can also bake, crochet, paint, diamond paint (look it up!), color, clean, organize, write, or build.
Become a savvy communicator: Are you a little apprehensive about using Zoom or FaceTime? Online tutorials can be extremely helpful. Have a confident friend or family member show you the steps. Set up regularly scheduled group chats or online get-togethers with friends or family. If you want to go offline, stock up on cards, stationery, and stamps so that you can stay in touch with family and friends even if you abhor technology.
Soothe all your senses: If you find yourself becoming anxious, pay attention to all your senses and find a way to meet the needs of each one. Sight (dim the lights, open the curtains), smell (light a candle, start cooking a pleasantly aromatic food), touch (put on comfortable clothes, take a shower), hearing (turn on some soothing music, reduce noise pollution), taste (put a piece of chocolate in your mouth, cleanse your palette with some ice water).
These are just a few ideas to reduce stress and increase your emotional well-being. What have you used to increase your well-being?
Surviving Holiday Stress During a Pandemic - CEUs
Posted: Thu, 11/05/2020 - 2:41pm
Join us for a free CEU for
Social Workers, Nurses, Adult Care Home Administrators and Operators.
This CEU will be presented via Zoom on Tuesday, November 17th 5:30-6:30pm
The holidays can be stressful even during the best of times, particularly for those in the health care profession. During our current situation, stress is magnified. Join us for a fun and interactive presentation on reducing and managing stress, so you can enjoy your holiday season.
Presenter, Belinda Vierthaler, LMSW, LACHA, started her career working with older adults in an in-patient psychiatric setting. Her passion for maintaining the highest quality of life for older adults has spanned her entire career, over the last 20 years. She is an advocate for individualized care, putting the person first, and empowering people.
Mark your calendars for the 3rd Tuesday of each month (no December CEU). We will be presenting a new, free CEU same time, same place.
Participants must be able to access Zoom. Video and audio are highly suggested because there will be opportunity for discussion.
Floral Delivery at ECOJC
Posted: Fri, 09/11/2020 - 11:54am
Evergreen has a flower arrangement delivery service. Large arrangements in vase (first pic) are $30 and small arrangements in a Mason jar are now $22.
Flower choices are subject to availability. Email [email protected] to place an order and add a personal message for the card. Flowers will be delivered within 3 business days. We will try to make accommodations for special events, such as birthdays. Credit card payment via PayPal or check mailed to ECOJC prior to delivery.
What to Expect with Hospice
Posted: Thu, 08/27/2020 - 11:25am
Someone Has Recommended Hospice – Now What?
You may have been subconsciously preparing yourself for weeks or more, but the doctor’s words still stun you: “I think it’s time to bring in hospice.” She continues talking, but you can’t concentrate because you bombard yourself with a litany of questions. Does this mean we are giving up? How long does he have left? Will he have to move from his nursing home or will he have to change rooms? What services does hospice provide? How much does it cost? Who will support me? Where do I even start?
What is hospice? Hospice is not a place; rather it is an approach to care at end of life that focuses on comfort. Choosing hospice doesn’t mean giving up; instead, it means your goal of care is to seek comfort instead of aggressive, curative treatment. A physician (or other professional) may recommend hospice when your loved one has a terminal illness. This referral to hospice does not always mean that your loved one has only a few days to live. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires a prognosis of “six months or less.” Hospice will not speed up the dying process.
What does hospice provide?
What does hospice not provide? While hospice personnel are always available for emergencies, hospice does not supply around-the-clock care. Many hospice agencies do strive to be present in the hours immediately preceding a death. Hospice neither provides nor pays for any aggressive or curative treatment. Your RNCM or the hospice’s Clinical Director can answer your specific questions about what hospice will cover.
What is the cost? The cost of hospice services is covered 100% for Medicare/Medicaid recipients. Most private insurance policies will pay for all or part of hospice care. Talk to your hospice representative to get answers to specific billing questions (e.g., copays and deductibles).
Will my loved one go to a hospice house? The vast majority of hospice patients choose to stay in their home (i.e., a private home, the home of a friend or family member, assisted living, nursing home) and care is provided there. A handful of hospice houses are available in the Kansas City area for the last few days of life only if pain symptoms cannot be controlled at home. This is an option for a small number of patients, but most prefer to stay in familiar surroundings with caregivers they know and avoid the distress of a move in the last days or hours of life.
What does this process typically look like?
*A physician, nurse, social worker, family member, or even your loved one may suggest hospice care.
*If you haven’t already, you should discuss goals of care with your loved one. If your loved one cannot make their own decisions, you should consult with their Power of Attorney for Health Care and/or their advance directives for guidance. Talk to other family members if these are not available.
*You will need a physician’s order to “evaluate and treat for hospice.” You may ask the doctor directly, but the nursing home staff or the hospice provider you have selected can request this for you.
*Once you choose a hospice provider (see Selecting a hospice provider below), someone from that agency will make an appointment to meet with you and your loved one. At this meeting, you will sign forms granting consent for the hospice provider to begin care. You will also receive a copy of everything you sign. These forms are necessary for record-keeping and for notifying CMS (or your private insurance carrier) of your decision to begin hospice care with this particular agency.
*Signing these documents allows the hospice provider access to review your loved one’s medical records, as well as for an RN to complete an assessment. The agency will determine whether or not your loved one meets the requirements to be admitted to hospice care. Please note that it is possible, despite having a physician’s order, for your loved one not to qualify for hospice at this time. Hospices must comply with strict CMS regulations. If your loved one does not qualify, you have two options: 1.) you may seek the opinion of another hospice (essentially repeating this step) or 2.) you may stay in touch with that hospice and notify them as your loved one’s condition changes. Your loved one’s nursing home staff, if applicable, will also help you if you choose this second option.
*Services will be immediately available if the admitting nurse determines that your loved one qualifies for hospice care. The admitting nurse will order all necessary medications and medical equipment. In most cases the RN Case Manager will visit your loved one the next day. The hospice aide, social worker, and chaplain will also visit within five days unless declined by you or your loved one.
*You may stop hospice services (i.e., “revoke”) at any time for any reason should the goals of care change. You are under no obligation to continue hospice care.
1. Keep a notebook handy to jot down questions that arise.
2. Know how to contact your hospice team, as well as how to reach the hospice after hours or in case of an emergency.
3. Make time to take care of you. Good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, and support (social, emotional, and spiritual) are all critical to your well-being, and ultimately to your loved one.
4. Take advantage of all the support your hospice team offers both before and after your loved one’s passing.
Selecting a hospice provider
Where do I begin? Patients and their families often have time to explore their options before deciding on which hospice agency to trust with the care of their loved one. Ask for recommendations from your physician, family, and friends. If your loved one lives in a nursing home, ask some of the staff (especially nurses and social workers) for their opinion. They are not allowed to push you toward or away from particular agencies, but they can tell you which hospice providers have a reputation for quality care. Your situation and needs are unique, so don’t worry if you choose a different hospice provider from what friends or family have suggested. You need to do all you can find the best care for your loved one.
Investigate. Each hospice agency’s website will provide some basic information, such as ownership (are they part of a larger “chain” or are they locally owned?), for-profit or not-for-profit, and accreditation status (all agencies must adhere to CMS requirements, but some providers choose to follow higher quality standards that come with being nationally accredited).
Interview. If time allows, meet with two or three hospice providers (for about 30 minutes each) to learn what sets them apart from others. You might ask questions such as:
Finally, note how much the hospice provider’s representative pays attention to you and your loved one. Do you feel as if they are selling a product or that they genuinely seem to care about you, your loved one, and your needs?
Remember. Despite how you may feel at times, you aren’t alone. The nursing home staff, your friends, extended family, and your hospice team are eager to help you navigate through these challenges.