Why I Love Geriatric Care Managers!!

May 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Why I love Geriatric Care Managers

Recently, a friend of ours told us that she couldn’t keep her cat, “Ms. Go,” anymore. Ms. Go loves to be held and to give love. So, I thought about who should get this wonderful cat and I realized that this sweet kitty would be great for a senior. Right then, I knew who to ask for help — My friend, geriatric care manager, Sylvia Thompson from LivHome.com.

I asked her if she could help me find a great person who would appreciate this cat. Sylvia found a dementia care community that was thrilled to have a community cat and she delivered the cat personally. Ms. Go is fitting in beautifully and is bring joy and comfort to both the staff and residents. Nobody paid her to help this kitty, she just did it because this is the kind of person she is.

This is why I love geriatric care managers. They are wonderful problem solvers and have the biggest hearts. Sylvia took the time and knew who to contact. She went the extra mile to make sure that the solution was a good fit for everyone involved. If you would like to hire a geriatric care manager in your town to help you find the right solutions for your loved one, go to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at www.caremanagers.org

If you are in the Southern California area, you can call Sylvia at 323-933-5880 or go to http://www.livhome.com/losangeles_seniorcare/c310/About_LivHOME/Regional_Locations/Los_Angeles_Senior_Care_.html..

Have a kind and respectful day.

5 Stars!!! – National Book Critic Review Just In

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Publisher: Greanleaf Book Group LLC Paperback July 1, 2010 Price: $14.95 USA

“From the front cover which shows two hands in the shape of a heart holding a rock which is also in the shape of a heart, THE CAREGIVER’S PATH to COMPASSIONATE DECISION MAKING: Making Choices for Those Who Can’t no doubt is a rock size lump in the throat to all who deny they will eventually need this book.

THE CAREGIVER’S PATH to COMPASSIONATE DECISION MAKING is a great book and a KIND tearjerker too! Where no tomorrow is guaranteed, our loved ones might get to where they are without full faculties and can?t answer the questions or direct others to who they want to answer questions in their best interests or have documentation which represents such and their convictions. Author Viki Kind?s mastery is in getting the reader through the battling of keeping one?s composure to making the tough choices when a loved one whose outlook is tainted from dying needs support. The fourteen chapters could stand alone, each as a teaching tool, for care givers.

The first part of the book concerns medical decisions and the second part concerns death. “Did I matter?” is a heartfelt question no one wants to be unable to answer at the destination life holds. Anyone with a heart will see through watery eyes reading Author Viki Kind’s The Journey Through The Early Days of Dying and The Final Days of Dying. Kind?s step-by-step process for caregivers to use is simple: 1) a decision making framework of 2) Shared Decision Making Model 3) Sliding Scale for Decision Making 4) The Assent Tool Author Viki Kind provides an authentic knowing voice on the necessities of a compassionate outlook on the growing problem. It is a problem now affecting the whole mass of baby boomers seeking and searching for these very same tough questions and one day will too be faced with the bittersweet answers because they get one to fess up to mortality?s limits, timeliness of determining a loved one’s competency and capacity, and the need to at least have an understanding enough to lead one to valid choices.

Baby Boomers of late are that aging escapes no one. In regencies of “60 is the new 50,? that only goes so far in winning but a mind game not the war of health and longevity. Sooner or later there is no candy-coating that 100 is not the new 90 because that is a mute point; most don?t make it to that age. Likewise, in the best interest of loved ones is this “tell it like it is,? pull no punches, optimal reference guide as a companion to those readers during the tough times they will eventually face; when a test of courage and on what basis the most difficult medical decisions are made. Unequivocally, then the answer to “Did I matter?? is answered by actions of the caregiver and is brought into the present tense. Meaning that, that is when author Viki Kind’s book, and its bittersweet bread and butter and not a lot of fluff, go a long way into making that very last release of a loved one’s grip from your hand be one in which you knew you did the best you could (do) until the end. THE CAREGIVER’S PATH to COMPASSIONATE DECISION MAKING: Making Choices for Those Who Can’t is a rare find with great merit worth (and worthy of) holding onto the rest of one’s life.”

Salvador SeBasco Literary Director and host of THE INSIDE VIEW SHOW (TM) BROADCAST book critic, on staff with a CNN affiliate station.
April 10, 2011

April 13 – An Evening with Viki Kind – Austin, Texas, 6:30 PM Presentation sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association of Texas and Austin Groups for the Elderly

April 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

April 13 – An Evening with Viki Kind – Austin, Texas, 6:30 PM
Presentation sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association of Texas and Austin Groups for the Elderly.

The Alzheimer’s Association-Capital of Texas Chapter is a non-profit organization that provides family support, community education, public awareness and supports research for the prevention, cure and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Their mission is to provide leadership to enhance care and support services for individuals and their families while supporting the advancement of research to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease. Their vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease.
Austin Groups for the Elderly is a non-profit organization empowering caregivers, the elderly and their families through education, advocacy, resources and support.

RSVP to 512.241.0420 or email

Have a kind and respectful day.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month – A Concussion is a Brain Injury

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Brain Injury Awareness Month March 2011
A concussion is a brain injury. Get the facts. http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-awareness-month.htm

In recognition of March as Brain Injury Awareness Month and the Brain Injury Association’s ongoing commitment to sports and concussions, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and its nationwide network of more than 40 chartered state affiliates is continuing its nationwide education and advocacy campaign: “A concussion is a brain injury. Get the facts.” This year’s campaign launches in March with radio and print public service announcements, awareness proclamations and special events. A state advocacy effort to introduce legislation to train coaches and protect youth athletes will continue throughout the year along with ongoing nationwide education.

A concussion is a brain injury, period. BIAA believes coaches of every school athletic team and every extracurricular athletic activity should be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of brain injury, including concussions and second impact syndrome. BIAA also believes young athletes who appear to have sustained a concussion should have written authorization by a health care professional before returning to play.

A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a lack of proper diagnosis and management of concussion may result in a serious long-term consequences, or risk of coma or death. Signs and symptoms may be noticeable immediately, or it may take days or weeks before they are present.

United State each year. Of that number, U.S. emergency departments treat approximately 135,000 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions, among children ages 5 to 18.

To learn more about these initiatives or to learn more about awareness and advocacy events taking place in your state during the month of March and throughout the year and how you can get involved, contact your chartered state affiliate today. For more information on media materials contact the Director of Affiliate Services by e-mail or phone at 703-761-0750, ext. 622.

Have a kind and respectful day.

The Ethical Use of Medical Restraints – The Goal is Restraint Free Care

January 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

In 1990, about 30-40% of nursing home residents in the US were restrained. In 2001, less than 9% of nursing home residents were currently restrained. We are slowly getting better at keeping our patients out of restraints in both nursing homes and in hospitals. But we still have room for improvement. In Europe, the rate is less than 5%. The difference between the countries is not what kind of patient is in restraints but what the standard of care of is in that particular country. The good news is that with the reduction of medical restraint use, there has been a significant decrease in patient injuries and deaths.

Ultimately our goal needs to be restraint-free care. As a loved one of the patient, you should be an active participant in helping the staff keep your loved one free of restraints. How do you do this? Here are a few suggestions. The first thing to realize is that there is no one-size fits all solution. No two patients are exactly alike regardless of the diagnosis or the problem. You will want to personalize the solution for your loved one, not the generic patient.

The next thing you want to do is to ask, “Why are they acting like this? What is going on?” Too often we rush to thinking the person has dementia or some other mental deficit, when really the issue might be a reaction to a new medication, untreated pain or some other disease showing up. The sooner you can identify why the bad behavior is showing up, the sooner you will be able to brainstorm to find an appropriate solution. The solution should match the personality of the patient. Are they a patient who has always loved music, done crafts, liked having pictures of their family around, liked to listen to the radio etc. Then choose distractions and solutions that will fit their lifestyle.

You may have to try multiple interventions before you will find one that works. Don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work. Please make the effort to find other solutions rather than tying up your love ones. You wouldn’t want to be tied up against your will and neither do they.

For a great handbook on reducing the use of restraints go to http://www.theconsumervoice.org/node/477.

Have a kind and respectful day.

A plea to Elder Law attorneys and others who are writing people’s Advance Directives

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

For the record, I am a fan of lawyers and am incredibly grateful for all the ways they take care of us and protect us.

When someone wants to document their wishes in an advance directive, living will or durable power of attorney, the person who will be signing the form must have the ability to think for themselves. This is called decisional capacity or competency. Although a person doesn’t need to use a lawyer for these forms many people do. When someone brings in a form, which was completed by a lawyer, healthcare professionals assume that the lawyer made sure that the person had the capacity to think before allowing them to sign the form.

I don’t know if other people are aware of this issue but it has been recently brought to my attention that there is an industry practice within elder law community where lawyers are writing advance directives for people without capacity. They work with the family to determine what the person would have said, then proceed to have the person, who has limited or no capacity, sign the advance directive. (Not every attorney does this, but many do. There are many fine lawyers out there who are protecting the public.)

Their justification is that it is actually protecting the family from having to go to court to establish conservatorship later on. Their intentions are good, but their practice is illegal. When I brought this to some elder law lawyer’s attention, they had no defense. And when I explained that it now brought doubt to the validity of all legally prepared advance directives, I only got blank stares.

I have asked around and this is not an isolated incident. It makes me now question if I can even believe a lawyer prepared document that the family brings in. As an ethicist and healthcare professional, I am asking those of you who work in the industry to make sure you are only having those who understand what they are signing, sign their documents. The skilled nursing home community has a legal protection in place by mandating that an outside ombudsman witness the signing of legal documents to make sure those with disabilities aren’t being taken advantage of. I would hate to see the legal community need to have a similar watchdog in place. I need all of you to do the right thing so I can then use these documents to advocate appropriately when these individuals are in my hospitals.

Have a kind and respectful day.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2010: October 3-9, 2010 – NAMI is there for you

September 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2010: October 3-9, 2010

You don’t have to be alone on this journey. Learn more about the full spectrum of programs and services that NAMI provides across the country for people whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. Go to http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?section=Find_Support
to find the support you need:

• Center for Excellence
The NAMI Center for Excellence team works to provide NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates with the the technical assistance, resources and tools they need to build organizational capacity and achieve the goals of the NAMI Standards of Excellence.
• State and Local NAMIs
NAMI’s 1,200 affiliate organizations provide local services, support and other opportunities for consumers and their families.

• Education, Training and Peer Support Center
NAMI offers an array of education and training programs and services for consumers, family members, providers and the general public. These include Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Support Group, In Our Own Voice and more.

• Consumer Support
NAMI empowers and educates mental health consumers to address their issues around care, treatment, services, mutual support and consumer rights.

• Child and Adolescent Action Center
Families know all too well that the system is failing children and adolescents with mental illnesses. NAMI created the Child & Adolescent Action Center in response to this crisis, to focus attention on systems reform and to help and support families.

• NAMI on Campus
NAMI on Campus is a network of student-led mental health awareness, education, and advocacy groups tailored to the needs of individual college communities.

• Multicultural Action Center
The Multicultural Action Center focuses attention on system reform to eliminate disparities in mental health care for diverse communities and cultural competence in treatment and support for all who are affected by serious mental illness.

• NAMI Legal Center
The NAMI Legal Center provides lawyer referrals as a service to our members and the general public.

• Veterans Resource Center
NAMI is proud to provide the following resources for veterans and active duty military members, as well as their families, friends, and advocates.

• Missing Persons Support
Resources and support for locating missing persons with mental illness.

• For Providers
To help mental health professionals assist consumers and families further, NAMI has created this section of the NAMI Web site especially for you.

• Information Helpline
Trained volunteers provide information, referrals, and support to all who have questions about or are affected by serious mental illness. Call 1-800-950-NAMI.

Have a kind and respectful day.

Resident’s Rights Week – October 3-9

September 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Defining Dining…It’s About Me
2010 National Residents’ Rights Week: October 3-9, 2010
For more information and resources: http://www.theconsumervoice.org/resident/nursinghome/residents-rights

By Sarah Wells, Executive Director
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (formerly NCCNHR)

Dining is such an integral, systemic function of our lives that, oftentimes, we may forget how lucky we are to enjoy or share a delicious meal. Many of us are accustomed to eating at any time of the day we desire, with the flexibility of choosing to drive to a five-star restaurant or simply to the grocery store to cook our own meals at home. Often we take these simple everyday pleasures for granted. American culture is based largely on socializing with others during meals, and we expect these meals to look and taste good! For me, dining with family and friends is a favorite activity. While I am not a great cook myself, I am the beneficiary of my husband’s and mother’s kitchen magic!

Residents’ Rights Week 2010 reminds us that long-term care residents deserve the same high-quality dining experience to which the rest of us have access. Individual residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and board and care facilities should have the ability to voice their opinions and be heard when choosing what they eat, when they eat, and the atmosphere in which they dine. The dining experience should be a fun celebration of food, friends, culture and life without invoking a sense of dining in an unfriendly, detached institution.

Residents should be given choices about the kinds of food they eat. This can include having a variety of nutritious and culturally diverse meals prepared throughout the week, as well as meals catered towards vegetarians. It is important to prepare food that residents actually want to eat. Not only should food be tasty and well prepared, but it should be visually appealing as well. Tasty and nutritious foods that appeal to a resident’s sense of sight as well as taste take into account the full dining needs of our long-term care residents.

If residents are forced to eat only at certain times of the day, they may consume food even when they are not hungry – or worse, they will skip meals and not have food available when hunger does set in. Flexible meal times – including an expanded time frame for each meal – are necessary to allow residents to eat when they want. It is imperative that food is available to residents throughout the day, and an option to do this is to offer a canteen within the facility. Another option is to offer room service to residents. Long-term care residents, especially those who sleep during the day and are awake in the evenings and at night, can enjoy the convenience of requesting food to be sent to their room when they feel hungry.

Another area that can benefit from improvement is the way in which food is being served. While many facilities utilize buffet-style and restaurant-style dining for their main meals, more facilities can introduce open access to food in addition to these more established serving styles. Residents may crave snacks when meals are not being served, and this option should be made available to them.

Allowing residents to eat together in a common dining room also enhances the dining experience, and fosters a home-like, friendly atmosphere. This environment should ideally be a well-lit, open area where residents are encouraged to interact with each other. Facilities should also aim to create self-contained living areas for their residents, with each area equipped with a kitchen and dining room. The goal is to permit residents to feel welcome, invited, and safe while enjoying good food and company.

This year’s Residents’ Rights Week theme Defining Dining…It’s About Me challenges us to think of creative ways to implement an exceptional dining experience for our long-term care residents during the week of October 3 – 9, 2010 and throughout the year. If mealtimes are the only event during the day that residents look forward to, which is often the case, then we should strive to give them the best dining experience possible.

As we enter Residents’ Rights Week in October and start thinking about the holiday season – of which an entire day is dedicated to eating deliciously prepared Thanksgiving foods with our loved ones – let’s work together to make 2010 the year to provide our long-term care residents with the tastiest food, comfortable dining environments, and flexible options for mealtimes.

Have a kind and respectful day.

September 23rd is Fall Prevention Day – But Fall Prevention Should Be Everyday When Working With Seniors

September 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans 65 and older. More than 18,000 older Americans die every year because of a fall, and the rate has risen dramatically over the last 10 years.

“When older adults fall, it often leads to a loss of independence, reduced mobility, and earlier admission to a nursing home,” said Lynn Beattie, Vice President of Injury Prevention with the National Council on Aging, and national director of the Falls Free™ Coalition. “But the good news is, through appropriate risk management – falls are preventable.”

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically, getting eyes checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

At senior centers across the United States, programs like A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi, and Stepping On help older adults gain the strength, improved balance, and confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence.

For more information:



Have a kind and respectful day.

WGNtv.com interviews Viki on the Midday News 9/14/10

September 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Viki will be appearing on the Midday News show on Chicago’s WGN TV on September 14, 2010.

WGN Television, whose call letters are derived from the Chicago Tribune’s first slogan, “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, hit the airwaves on April 5, 1948 on Channel 9 in Chicago from its studios at Tribune Tower.

WGN-TV ushered in a new millennium in 2000 with a new 29,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art newsroom facility and upgraded digital equipment. In 2004, all Chicago Cubs, White Sox and Bulls home game telecasts on WGN aired in the high definition format on WGN’s Chicago area digital multicast signal, WGN-DT 9.1, making WGN one of the leading HD sports programmers in the country.

2009 marked the completion of full-power U.S. television stations’ transition from analog to digital signals, while “WGN Midday News” and “WGN Evening News” were expanded on WGN-DT 9.1 Chicago, and WGN News merged with CLTV (Tribune Company’s Chicago cable TV news channel). In 2010, WGN-TV became the first Chicago TV station to offer iPhone users the ability to watch live streams of WGN-TV newscasts and “WGN Morning News” expanded to a four-and-a-half-hour newscast. WGN News programs more than 154 hours of news each week (over 44 hours on WGN-DT 9.1 Chicago and 110 hours on CLTV).

WGN-TV has received numerous awards for programming excellence and community service. The station is proud of the many contributions it has made to television, and is recognized as a leader for creativity, innovation, quality programming and integrity in operation.

Have a kind and respectful day.

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