I'm a consultant pharmacist who manages peoples medications in both Nursing Homes and in the community, especially when they move from hospital to home. My main goal to is to prevent hospitalization, prevent adverse drug events, and reduce medication use.
When the SARs CoV2 virus made its appearance and started to reak havoc on mankind, many asked why don’t we have a vaccine for this. Now that we have the vaccine, many are hesitant to receive it.
Let’s pause for a second. COVID-19, the disease , is real. It’s caused by the SARs CoV-2 virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2). Many have fallen victim to this deadly disease. At this point we all know someone who lost their battle to it. As of February 19th, 2021 we have 491,455 deaths out of the 27,737,875 cases in the US alone. If you think the percentage is low, speak to a family member who lost a loved one or two. If you pass these statistics as insignificant, then you have not seen a patient intubated and on life support. Check out a video or two on you tube and let me know what you think.
In navigating the truth through the conspiracy theories and political battles, one must keep an open mind in order to make an informed decision. Vaccines are not bad. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines have been around for a very long time and the concept of inoculation dates back to 100 AD. Allergic reactions have been around every longer. Anything that goes in your body (food, medication or vaccine) can cause a reaction. That’s just a fact of life. The good news is that many will not experience a reaction. Allergic reactions are adverse reactions. They range from mild to severe and there is no telling who will experience what. So to refuse a life saving vaccine because someone else had an adverse reaction to it is accepting the disease. If you accept the disease, you will inevitably accept its consequences. Unfortunately, the consequences don’t end with you. You see diseases that were once eradicated can return if we decrease or stop immunizations. So what can happen if you skip vaccination for polio? You can get the disease and risk to become paralyzed. If you skip varicella? You get chickenpox. Sure it’s temporarily uncomfortable, but shingles during your older years is not a temporary condition. Nor a comfortable one. Why would anyone choose that? The bottom line is vaccines are a major factor in disease management.
Let’s take a look at the prevention. Masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, and immunity boosting diet is only good if stringently followed by everyone. I personally thought that this behavior alone would stop the SARs CoV-2 from spreading. What I didn’t realize is that not everyone was vigilant. You see, human beings are social creatures. We need to be with other people. We need to talk to other people. We don’t follow directions very well. We don’t like to be inconvenienced. Unfortunately, this behavior comes with a price. A price which society as a whole needs to strategically combat.
Our best defense against disease at this point in time is vaccine and treatment. Both have progressed significantly well. The vaccines currently on the market are Pfizer and Moderna. Johnson & Johnson will be out very soon. Treatment in the form of monoclonal antibodies made its depute at the end of 2020. The use of convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies early in the disease state has become a life saver. We see infusion centers becoming increasingly available for the administration of Bamlanivimab. With more treatments being studied, I believe we will see this disease to an end soon. The major part of the fight is the vaccines. So far 59,585,043 doses have been administered (almost 60 million!!). Schedule your vaccination as soon as you become eligible. Don’t be discouraged with the scheduling process. Click here to learn more about the vaccines. Until it comes to a complete end we need to do our part in staying safe and stopping the spread. Click here to learn about the proper use of face masks. Don’t forget to wash your hands often.
The corona virus pandemic has turned our world upside down and inside out. What once was normal is not so anymore. It was yesterday’s normal that allowed the corona virus to spread and infect so many people. Today, still in the transitional phase, we are struggling to find a treatment. What we do not realize is nothing is the same.
The corona virus was the door we walked through to get to our new world. Here we need to be cognizant of our distance to others, sanitizing our hands regularly, cleaning our commonly used areas more frequently and not take anything for granted.
This include preventative healthcare. Taking your vitamins, exercising, making better food choices all work together to build a strong immune system. Taking vitamins and medication once you are sick is too late. Don’t depend on prescriptions to cure you. Prevention is the best medicine.
Change is now. The food service industry, public places, hospitals, medical offices, and schools, among many more industries are all settling into their new norm. Embrace it. Look at all the positives that come out of these terrible times. The improvements taking place in healthcare, the enhancements in the education system, the ramped up production of medications and protective equipment here in our country, the contactless technology making it way to retail stores. And just as important…..the awareness. Everyone is aware of infection control. Everyone is using hand sanitizers.
Take the lessons learned and run with them because tough times don’t last forever. Tough people do!
Not to worry. The American Heart Association has you covered. The association has launched a Best Friend Fridays campaign. They are encouraging employers to designate one or more fridays in June for employees to bring their dogs to work. At home dogs help you move around more. Dog owners take their dogs out for a walk daily. At work they can help you distress and be more productive.
The summer brings us a delicious array of food we can grow in our backyard, patios and planters. What are you growing/making for your summer meals?
My project for next weekend is to start harvesting Tumeric and ginger (hopefully to bring inside over the winter). I like to use these roots all year round. Ice tea in the summer and hot tea in the winter. These are excellent for treating inflammation and pain. Here’s a video on how to make Golden milk. There is also a version for man’s best friend Recipe here.
It’s normal to go through emotions. That’s how humans are wired. So why do we hold back from seeking help? Untreated depression hurts you and all of the people around you (family, friends, co-workers, and all of the daily acquaintance you interact with).
Knowing you are depressed is the first step towards therapy. Talking to a professional about it is the second step. Taking actions to change your perspective is the goal. Sounds simple? If it is so simple, then why do we see an increasing number of suicides?
The therapies we are using are failing. New treatments options are needed. Treatments that are not just in the form of medication, but treatments that take aim at the root causes. We need to think outside the box in order to treat depression and we need to be flexible with the options so that they may be customized and personalized to each individual. The human mind is a complex organ; therefore, we can not use a one size fits all approach.
Research is evolving, and although we are getting closer to understanding the human mind we are still years away from breakthrough treatments. So where does that leave us? I believe we need to work on our social perception of mental health. One that engages all socioeconomic levels of all ages. Ironically we need inspiring minds that will start this culture change.
I watched my dad and parent-in-laws grow old and it is now my turn to care for them. Well, in a modified way. They are still very independent. What I have noticed over the years is the ever increasing number of stories they tell. Many are repeats, but they have a sense of joy each time they tell their story. A joy as if it were the first time they recited it. But my thoughts go out to the many elderly parents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Some too frail to talk, others disengaged. For those who can vocalize their life stories, who is listening?
The real question is, are our parents given the opportunity to speak their life stories? What we have failed to notice, as a society, is the therapeutic effect of simple actions. Simple actions such as person centered social engagement can have a profound effect on a person. An effect that could be the difference between taking an antidepressant regimen or not. Non-pharmacological interventions have long been my favorite topic of discussion. Adding new interventions to my list is just as rewarding. Personal experience life stories ignite youth and happiness. Why not allow people to share them, verbally or written? A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words may be worth a lifetime. Let’s make a difference!
Nursing homes are preparing for Antimicrobial Stewardship to be incorporated to their infection prevention and control processes. The purpose is to ensure antibiotics are used appropriately and safely. Avoiding adverse reactions and preventing bug resistance is a positive outcome. Patients should know the facts when it comes to antibiotic use. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I came across this video on social media. What an interesting concept. I have never been on a cruise and I do not know what the cost would be to continuously live on a cruise ship in place of a nursing home. Of course this concept is interesting if you do not need continuous clinical care. But then again, why would you be in a nursing home at that point? Maybe the author meant to compare it to a Assisted Living??? In either case the concept of vacationing with clinical care is interesting. Maybe this could be the nursing home of the future? Hmmmmmmm……….
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week on why placebos really work. It indicated that new studies of placebo use found the brain, through neurobiological effects, releases neuromodulators that reduce the symptoms of the illness or disease state. It also found that placebos work along the same pathway as the pharmacological agents. The directors of the study are from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
If this is true then we may be able to significantly reduce the cost of healthcare with a sugar pill (as long as they’re not diabetic). Unfortunately, I don’t see physicians adopting this new way of treating any time soon. It will probably take more studies and many years to support a change in treatment guidelines. A change that academia will have to adopt but one the drug companies will try to block.