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.
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.
The cost of medications keeps rising at astronomical rates. Drug companies are raising their prices up to 2000% plus. Insurance companies are then forced to raise their rates and you get stuck with the bill. And if that isn’t enough we now have clinical trials that support combination medication regimens as more effective. The latest coming from the Wall Street Journal article on combination drug therapies for cancer. Drug manufacturers are co-marketing these combinations. Many regimens run in the six digit range.
Healthcare has become a business and the government is not doing a lot to curtail it, so isn’t it about time that we focus on prevention? Lets take a good look at a few countries and their cultures. What is it about their lifestyle that leads to good health? Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica are a few that have the oldest and healthiest people.
What habits do we need to change? How do we change them?
Answering these questions will lead us down the path to good health. It may take more effort and time but it would cost a lot less. It is up to each and every one of us to change the business of healthcare.