Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education announces exciting lineup for annual 50+ Festival, June 1 to 4
Toronto, May 25, 2016 – Presented by Programs for 50+ at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, the 50+ Festival, now in its ninth year, offers an impressive lineup of sessions—mostly free of charge— that encourage the discovery of new possibilities for those 50 years and older. Running from Wednesday, June 1 through Saturday, June 4, the annual festival engages older adults interested in personal growth and continued learning.

Featuring collaborations with the Toronto International Film Festival and the Royal Conservatory of Music, the 50+ Festival will engage, uplift, and inspire attendees with candid discussions about the challenges faced by the sandwich generation, as well as a host of stimulating lectures and workshops.
Highlights include:
At Programs for 50+, those 50 years and older can access academic tools and opportunities for personal enrichment, self-actualization, and engagement in society with their peers and as part of an intergenerational campus dynamic through The Chang School. For more Festival information and schedule, visit Most sessions are free of charge, but participants must register in advance.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bullying by Ontario hospital staff continues

I hear stories from my rural clients and their families. Many are complaining about hospital staff. What staff need to do is to have palliative assessments done and, in response, admit patients to a palliative care bed. They deserve this. This is Canada. This is 2016.

Treated rudely

dying patients deserve to be in hospital
their families have earned this right
There is a lack of understanding of a palliative treatment plan, not communicated to the family. The hospital avoids the topic, preferring to insist that clients aren't sick enough to be in hospital. When you are clearly dying, isn't that the best time for nursing care, comfort care?

Palliative patients need small amounts of food, if any, they need to wear an incontinent pad, have their catheter bags emptied, the colostomy bag needs careful cleaning. Some, in a coma, need to be turned regularly. Many palliative patients get this type of care. Others are abused by staff, and a system that fails to comprehend what a good death should look like.

One client: at end-of-life, with end-stage COPD, oxygen tube for comfort, catheter, colostomy bag from a 3-year previous cancer, is taken to hospital since there isn't enough support for a spouse to cope.

Palliative Care room

Spouse takes the patient, clearly waking and sleeping, drifting in and out of consciousness, into
Sandra Winspear, ED Hospice Muskoka
Dedicates a palliative care bed in hospital
hospital. She is placed in the palliative care room. It is comfortable, with a couch and fold-out recliner. Hubby sleeps in the chair, a son visits from another city. The room is comfy, large, and can easily accommodate extra family members. This is the purpose of a palliative care room. They are beds dedicated to those who are dying. Most hospitals have them.

Staff are rude to these families. They tell the spouse the patient has to be removed and sent to long-term care. There isn't a place. They tell the spouse the patient is turning the corner, improving, and moves her to a room down the hall. The oxygen tube falls off the patient's face and it's up to the spouse to replace it.

'Here she is dyin' on you, and they move her to another room.'

There should be a PPS test done on a regular basis by staff. This doesn't seem to happen. She's at 30% when I visited her last at home, no better (20%) when I visited two weeks later in hospital.
Developed by the Victoria Hospice Society
They moved her down the hall, checking on her at 4:30 a.m., 'she was fine', by 9:00 a.m. she was gone, leaving a bullied husband to cope with arrangements. In addition, they charge him $1700 for the room.

A good death

good death is one in which the four dimensions of good death are met: 
  1. Physical (pain control, breathing, fatigue, bedsores),
  2. Spiritual (accepting death, doing a life review, seeing meaning on one's life, finding peace), 
  3. Social (being conscious; communicating with family/friends, careworkers; communicating needs, wishes; sharing thoughts, feelings; having closure; saying farewell; a quiet, private atmosphere) and 
  4. Emotional/psychological needs (accepting help; not being a burden; being peaceful; having self-esteem; enjoying simple pleasure by releasing hope by gaining peace; making choices).Death is complicated and complex. We know how much it impacts a family when someone takes their own life, or dies in a sudden incident. It takes time to come to terms with impending death, and there is a reason for this.

Follow-up to eye surgery –through Manotick

Happily, the old guy's eye is healing. Each day it looks better. The biopsy isn't back, but we look at these things positively. It is unlikely and we put it out of our minds. He had surgery last week.

We had to be in Ottawa for 7:50 a.m., which meant we left the house at 6:00 a.m. It was just like a work day.

We ate in Manotick, where I used to live.

Manotick Mill, purportedly haunted!

The house we I'd lived post-separation and predivorce.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Eye surgery on papilloma tumour

9:45 a.m. We went into the city to have eye surgery by the same physician who worked on hubby's ingrown eyelash follicle. It was a 93-km trip to visit the surgeon.

This is a doctor who specializes in eye surgery in Ottawa. It is a luxurious office, with amazing decor.

Arrived 11:07 a.m. for an 11:30 appointment.
Booties to put on, forms to fill.
Did the paperwork.

He'd been fasting eight hours, which isn't so much the problem as having to miss morning coffee!
They have dippy videos running. This time it was Oprah narrating the sex life of clown fish, Gobi fish, and some other wee fish I do not recall. I managed to read a small book: Harriet Quimby. It's a busy spot, with quite a few patients coming and going. He's doing quite well for himself!
There are two waiting rooms on the outside, another two within the doors.

They escorted JB to the inner room around noon. An eyelid papilloma is any lesion on the eyelid that is papillomatous, that is, of smooth, rounded, or pedunculated elevation.
This small tumour is a result of Papilloma virus.
Usually a benign tumour,
 they sent it off for biopsy.

12:34 p.m. JB came out, he told me he was still in room waiting... He suggested I go have some lunch. I was feeling a bit queasy and thought I'd skip lunch for now. Back to my book. Patients and escorts came and went. There must have been about 10 patients during my time there. Some were there for follow-ups, others for surgery. Since a sedative is involved, one cannot drive oneself home!

day 1
1:38 p.m. He was finally out of surgery. I saw him move from the surgical room to the recovery room. They gave him juice and a warmed muffin. They sit in recovery for 20 minutes to ensure that all was well.

2:00 p.m.  We were out to the car. Recovery instructions and an antibiotic salve prescription.

3:35 p.m.  We arrived home. I threw him out of the car and went into town to have his prescription filled, and find myself some lunch. I should have stopped for some water and a pit stop. Duh.
Prescription filled, I fetched some wine and a roast chicken for my lunch, back to the drug store for the Rx. He had reheated himself some leftover chili and made himself a coffee. Still somewhat relaxed and sedated.

 5:14 p.m. I finally arrived home. There were a couple of scares on Ontario's highways and biways. Sheesh, it is unnerving!


shiny with the antibiotic creme

 Each day it gets better.
May 6th

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Bereaved Caregiver’s Path Through the Palliative Care Journey and Beyond

FREE Educational Online Event: 

Reinventing a Life After Loss: A Bereaved Caregiver’s Path Through the Palliative Care Journey and Beyond

Click here to register!
LEARNING objectives: 
  • Increased understanding of the caregiver’s experience,  including initial and longer term bereavement issues 
  • Observe the seeds of change at each stage of the journey
  • Explore the three stages of reclaiming oneself, reinventing a life, and re-enchanting that life
Presenter Biography: Sherrill Miller will share her experience of being the primary care giver for her husband, renowned photographer and author, Courtney Milne. Together they navigated the nuances of advanced multiple myeloma and the palliative care journey.  Sherrill will talk about how she called upon her creative skills to reinvent a life after caregiving that continues to weave the past and present into a new tapestry, creating a life full of texture, grace, and enchantment.  The presentation will be illustrated with Courtney’s mystical images of sacred places around the world.
Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 PM EDT (OTTAWA time)
Where: Accessed online via phone and web
Price: FREE

This webinar will be archived on the CHPCA website approximately one week after the event takes place.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Inspections in long-term care

Yes, it's important to have inspections.

Here is the latest...from The Soo

Snap inspections reveal issues at long-term care facilities

The province ramped up inspections in 2013, doubling the inspection staff and promising every long term care home in Ontario will receive a comprehensive inspection annually.  With 49 residents in care, a Complaint Inspection conducted in December found the facility was chronically understaffed, says a report posted by the ministry.
The inspection found at times only three Personal Support Workers (PSWs) were on staff over the evening shift, one of which was on modified duties and unable to lift — leaving two PSWs to transfer, toilet and put all residents to bed.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Beware travel health insurance

Buy travel health insurance, end up with less coverage: A Canadian couple's hard lesson

If you buy travel insurance, be aware of the 'first payer' clause

They looked at buying travel insurance through their group health insurance provider at home, Pacific Blue Cross (PBC), but decided to go with a policy from RBC Insurance because it was slightly cheaper. After a serious illness, the US bill came to more than $200,000 US. 
A "first payer" clause, standard insurance industry practice called "subrogation," means RBC sent the bill to PBC. RBC recovered $97,954.19 from the other insurer. 
Pacific Blue Cross, like many insurers, has a lifetime maximum coverage amount for its extended health plans, and they are dangerously near it, since they both have chronic illnesses (diabetes and MS).  Milaneys' Pacific Blue Cross coverage includes dental, vision, physiotherapy and medical devices.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New Program Could Improve Hearing Aid Use for Older Adults

This video is available for broadcast quality download and re-use. A closed captioned version is available upon request. For more information, contact Nathan Hurst:

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Hearing loss is the third most common chronic illness for older adults. It can impact everyday life and can significantly affect a person’s health and safety if gone untreated. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. However, in 2005 more than 325,000 hearing aids, less than four years old were unused according to a previous study in the Hearing Journal. Now, a new hearing aid adjustment program created by Kari Lane, assistant professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, may help increase hearing aid use for those who need them.
Kari Lane,
assistant professor
at the 
Sinclair School of Nursing

The Hearing Aid Reintroduction (HEAR) program is a systematically gradual method to support adjustment to hearing aids. With HEAR intervention, the duration of hearing aid use increases slowly from one hour on day one to ten hours on day 30. HEAR also takes into account the different environments that impact hearing and exposure to different sounds. Unlike total immersion or gradual self-paced strategies, HEAR incorporates pacing that does not overwhelm the patient, uses terminology consistent with the reading level of the patient, individualizes instruction and repeats critical information frequently. HEAR also is a program that nurses can facilitate in their regular interactions with hearing aid patients.

For the initial trial, Lane tested the sample on a population of 15 men and women age 70 to 85. All participants owned functioning hearing aids that were not being used but were willing to try and adjust again. Before the HEAR intervention, all participants indicated low satisfaction with their hearing aids. In contrast, 87.5 percent of those that were able to adjust to their hearing aids after completing HEAR reported being satisfied.

The study, “Assisting Older Persons with Adjusting to Hearing Aids,” was published in Clinical Nursing Research. It was funded by the National Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cards for those dealing with cancer

A cancer survivor designs the cards she wishes she’d received from friends and family: via @slate
Los Angeles–based designer Emily McDowell was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 24, enduring nine months of chemo and radiation…