Monday, March 23, 2015

Medical Equipment to Loan for free at Perth Civitan Club

Ongoing projects
There are lots of places where you can rent equipment, but also places where you can borrow them!

Perth Civitan Club has medical equipment to loan for free.  They also take donations of equipment from the community.  The medical bank has expanded significantly and has a greater variety of equipment available.  Often there are electric hospital beds.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ottawa Hospital is monitoring noise levels

Ear decibel reading data Ottawa Hospital noise March 19 2015
Thanks to data obtained from a set of decibel-measuring 'ears,' the Ottawa Hospital has learned that its General campus can be as loud as a highway, during the day and at night.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Scotland: Elderly care standards 'not being met'

Even the Scots are having trouble with senior care.

BBC News
Royal College of Nursing says Scottish elderly care standards 'not being met'
Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) began inspecting hospitals in 2012. It was part of a new programme of inspections designed to encourage ...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Retirement homes vs. long-term care: luxury retirement or nursing care?

"Vibrant Seniors Living"
Rockcliffe Retirement
This story shocked me. There are disparities across the various healthcare systems in our province, let alone across Canada. This woman, age 97, wants to have two home care visits per day, rather than two per week to give her a bath. She lives in a luxury for-profit retirement home, Rockcliffe Retirement.
They offer many services

Apparently, they don't provide enough services for the senior, whose family chose to go to the press.

The Rockcliffe should be totally embarrassed, as they offer assistive living, just not for this 97-year-old!

When I look at my clients, struggling valiantly to provide end-of-life care at home for loved ones, or those trying to maintain independence in subsidized housing, this story makes me angry.

 There are 586,000 clients receiving home care across the province, according to CBC radio's Ontario Today. People with chronic diseases, people recovering from surgery, all needing some home care.

CBC radio's Ontario Today
There are 1000 home care contracts with various institutions between regional CCAC offices and transfer payment agencies (TPA).
The TPAs can be for-profit or non-profits. For example, Bayshore Home Health recorded profits one year of over $400 million dollars across Canada. They send dividends back to shareholders, from money earned from our taxes.

Eve Eagar-Anderson turns 97 next month, is legally blind and prefers to have meals brought to her apartment at the Rockcliffe Retirement Residence because she’s conscious of her struggles to get to food on her plate. 

Though she says there is a waiting list for [publicly paid, CCAC] services, she says spending to provide home care continues to rise. The 2014-15 forecast is $79.9 million compared to $68.4 million spent in 2011-12. The program is universal and is not dependent on a client’s income.

More Rockcliffe ads:

Ontario's Home Care System –what is really wrong with it?

Yet another report.
My experiences, volunteering in two different LHINs, in two different CCAC
regions, with over two dozen clients, as well as family members, have given me some insight. Families expect much, but the government cannot meet their wishes. It all boils down to a finite pot of budget money.
The other issues is that people are confounding healthcare with home care.
Do we, as citizens, condone paying people to go into someone's home to do laundry and housecleaning and bathing, while people in hospital require beds and extreme nursing care 24/7?
The two budgets must be separate.
While it is laudable to keep someone independent in their own home, how much are taxpayers prepared to subsidize a 90-year-old who has the funds to maintain her own home, but is not prepared to pay someone to do her vacuuming, or help her have a bath?
There is a difference between Healthcare: changing bandages, emptying catheter bags, and Home Care: helping some one have a bath, or vacuuming in a private retirement home.

What is the reality about home care?

  1. Seniors and those with debilitating illnesses, insist on living at home, with a wide range of abilities.
  2. Many prefer to die at home, which is a whole different set of needs. 
  3. Family members are urged by CCAC Charge Nurses to provide care.
  4. Hospitals discharge patients, suggesting that family recruit family members and friends to provide care.
  5. There is a limited pot of money, with specific budget lines for home care services.
  6. We are short Home Care nurses and personal support workers (PSWs).
  7. Since home care working conditions and pay scales are different than working in a large, unionized institution, for example, hard-working home care staff are often called to the 12-hour, regular shifts in hospitals and long-term care.
  8. Even if we had a large pot of money, which we don't (Ontario is in debt big time), we couldn't find enough people to deliver the services that families demand and expect form Home Care. 
  9. Robbing hospital budgets, to deliver services at home, isn't the right thing to do, either.
  10. Charge Nurses, who determine the levels of care a family receives have different mandates, depending upon the region and the LHIN from which they draw money. Perhaps we need a provincial standard, with money to back up a certain number of hours per client.
  11. CCACs, who control the purse in their region, outsource to for-profits, who have their own set of rules, regulations, bottoms lines. They are agencies, such as Bayshore Home Health (huge profits across Canada), Red Cross (issues with working conditions for PSWs: mileage, working hours), VON, and other profits and non-profits, bid on a RFP for each CCAC. There is no continuity across regions and LHINS. 

Until taxpayers are prepared to pay more in healthcare through their taxes, we will not see changes. There simply isn't enough money for all those who want home care 24/7, despite what they need. It is less expensive to put clients into an institution, but none want to be there.  The provincial governments are in the red, and all politicians run on a 'no tax increase' plank, their platforms are intended to gain votes, not ensure that needs are met.

A much-anticipated report suggests ways to make the system more accountable,...

Ontario’s home and community care system is failing patients and their families and needs “urgent attention,” says an expert panel tasked by the province to take a hard look at services and suggest fixes. The report says clients and families are confused about the availability of publicly covered services, including support from visiting nurses and personal support workers, rehabilitation, transportation, home help and meals.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How many languages do you speak?

I have a new respite client. He is prone to falls and for the peace of mind of his wife, I sit with him while she goes out.

He is deaf, from birth, and uses sign language. I've had to brush up on mine. I spent a lovely few hours with him, communicating, telling him about my critters, showing him photos, and laughing.
I bought a book I'd used with my students. I had a teaching assistant who knew sign language, and we'd secretly communicate with one another, over the heads of students!

In my classroom, we used to do Signed English for our morning recitation, World Prayer, by Lillian Mellen Genser:

I pledge allegiance to the world
To care for earth and sea and air
To cherish every living thing
With peace and justice everywhere.

My daughter used signs with her babies: milk, cookie, etc., before they were speaking. It's all communication and I loved it!
This is an amazing ad produced by Samsung, but well worth the watch. How easy it is to learn a few signs for someone in your neighbourhood!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Queensway Carleton Hospital receives $1M gift for elder care

What an amazing gift!
“This unit is designed to take our frail, elderly patients, and treat them in a very holistic manner with the intention of getting them recovered … and back to the living environment from which they came,” said Melanie Adams, president and CEO of the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation.
A total of 30 of the 34 rooms in the future unit will be private, and contain floor-to-ceiling windows. A communal dining room will also be contained within the unit – a way of encouraging mobility and socialization amongst patients for better outcomes.
Queensway Carleton Hospital receives $1M gift for elder care
Created to serve the growing population of seniors in the hospital's ... “We're living longer and our health care needs are becoming more complex, so it's a ... $8.6 million being provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Breakthrough in understanding how cancer cells metastasize

This study is based on mice. It might be a breakthrough.

Date: February 27, 2015


A protein commonly found in human cells could be an important switch that activates cancer cell metastasis, according to a new study. The finding focuses attention on a biological mechanism that until now was largely overlooked. The discovery of the protein's effect significantly expands our understanding of epithelial cancers such as breast and lung cancer.


 M. S. Ioannou, E. S. Bell, M. Girard, M. Chaineau, J. N. R. Hamlin, M. Daubaras, A. Monast, M. Park, L. Hodgson, P. S. McPherson. DENND2B activates Rab13 at the leading edge of migrating cells and promotes metastatic behavior. The Journal of Cell Biology, 2015; 208 (5): 629 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201407068