Category: Health

Keeping Your Medical Facility Safe From Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

rwOutside of the daily struggle to heal patients, medical facilities are facing one of their hardest struggles yet: keeping their facilities safe from the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria. With patients now coming in contact with these so-called “super bugs” in their daily lives and bringing them into hospitals and care facilities with them, medical facilities like yours are losing the battle. However, there are advances in understanding and available technology that can help you and your staff to keep fighting back against antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Soft Surfaces Are the Real Transmitters

One of the most important realizations in the battle against super bugs is that your patients are being exposed to them through contact with soft surfaces. As much as 90% of a patient’s care environment can be made of soft surfaces, and these will often come in contact with contaminants without receiving any kind of sanitation. Your new sanitation efforts and protocols need to take this knowledge into account: soft surfaces (especially those which are mobile) need to be sanitized with the same care as hands and hard surfaces.

Dirty Scrubs

Your staff is already highly trained to avoid spreading contaminants through their hands. They wash and sanitize them regularly. However, they do not use the same precautions with the garments they wear, and it’s a huge part of the problem. Your staff, and more specifically their scrubs, will come in contact with antibiotic resistant bacteria throughout the day, and they will inevitably touch their clothing as the day progresses. Their scrubs quickly become contaminated as their shift passes, and by the end of the day, their scrubs can be as contaminated as an unwashed lab coat. This is unacceptable in any facility that is devoted to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Solutions

Fortunately, the healthcare linen industry is developing more viable solutions than having staff change their uniforms frequently throughout the day. For now, your best and most viable option for ensuring the sanitation of your soft surfaces is to hire a professional healthcare linen laundry service to sanitize and replace linens throughout your facility. In the future, you may be able to partner with a medical laundry service to use new fabrics that have been imbedded with antimicrobial agents and fluid repellency, which keeps bacteria from being able to adhere to fabric. Each of these technologies still has quite a way to go before it will be viable within a healthcare setting, but the results have been promising.

 

Urgent Care Clinics Booming in Difficult Healthcare Market

yThe economic downturn, looming entitlement reforms and potential budget cuts in the United States at the federal and state level are allowing the growth of urgent care clinics, otherwise known as immediate care clinics, to substantially increase. This is considered to be a remedy to fill in the growing doctor shortage.

According to industry reports and spending by large healthcare operators, the number of urgent care clinics is projected to soar within the next decade. It is estimated that more than 8,000 urgent care clinics have been established – other numbers show 9,000 – and the Urgent Care Association of America reports eight to 10 percent annual growth.

Urgent care facilities are different than traditional hospitals and are rather similar to the health clinics found in places like Walmart and Walgreen because they are usually open on evenings and weekends and treat common health issues – some immediate care clinics do offer additional services like X-rays for broken bones.

Some medical professionals like to consider their urgent care clinics as after-hours doctors’ offices. Most of those who work in such an office do note, however, patients may not get to see a board-certified doctor or another kind of specialist.

A large percentage of walk-in clinics and urgent care offices are managed and operated by non-profit health systems, which receive donations and contributions in order to pay for construction and renovation costs, patient care program support, general operations costs and equipment purchases, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) annual Report on Giving study.

With so many of these operations setting up in malls, main streets and in major metropolitan cities, can the non-profit sector even pay for them? Well, Reuters is reporting that private equity firms have been investing money into urgent care clinics over the past few years. Although there is a tremendous risk in investing in these clinics because of the possibility of oversaturation and low insurance reimbursements, these firms work one-on-one with clinics to provide quality and to make profit.

Rand Health found that retailers are entering the healthcare marketplace too. Big box stores, such as Target and Walmart, only had a few of these clinics in the year 2000, but today there are more than 1,200.

“Retail clinics emphasize convenience, with extended weekend and evening hours, no appointments, and short wait times,” the organization states in its report. “More than 44 percent of retail clinic visits take place when physician offices are typically closed. Price transparency and low costs may also be particularly attractive for people without insurance.”

This is surely part of the profit-motive for these corporations.

Regardless of the concerns one may have over the private sector getting involved in such an industry, urgent care clinics are part of the nation’s future healthcare market, especially since President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is now law of the land and will add a burden to the system.

“Many factors could influence the future of retail clinics in the U.S. First, the growing body of evidence casting doubt on quality-of-care concerns could lead to greater acceptance and use of retail clinics,” Rand added.

“Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could also lead to continued retail clinic growth. With more people insured and an increased demand for primary care under the ACA, access to primary care physicians could decrease. This may lead to increased demand for retail clinics. Similarly, if wait times for physician appointments increase-as has been the case in Massachusetts following its health reform-this could also increase retail clinic demand.”

Despite the concerns that some may have about private investment possibly cutting costs to increase its bottom line, urgent care clinics must offer remedies to health issues otherwise the consumer will go elsewhere to receive proper medical attention.

 

Save A Life

scI suggest that everyone learn how to a save a life just in case, one day, it becomes necessary. Yesterday morning, I woke up and followed my morning routine. The first thing I do when I get to the kitchen is get my 24 ounces of water and then go over to take my supplements. I was swallowing down my Vitamin C pills and my Multivitamin and, suddenly, I felt them lodge in my throat and I couldn’t breathe.

I paused and thought they would shift. They did not shift. I was gasping for air. I stayed calm and walked to my son’s room where he was sleeping. He heard me gasping and flew out of bed. I had my hand in a fist and was pushing it against my diaphragm area. He knew I needed the Heimlich and he grabbed me started applying it. It took about four attempts before I could breathe again. I stood there sucking in air and taking in what just had happened. He stood there looking at me with wide eyes. Can you imagine waking up that way?

I had to kind of chuckle thinking of how things come back around. Many years ago, my son had taken his vitamin and all of sudden he was clutching at his throat and his eyes got real big. I told him to stay calm, went over to him and performed the Heimlich. Yesterday, he got to return the favor.

Later in the day, I wondered what would have happened if he had not been here. I could have tried to Heimlich myself on my kitchen chairs. They are rounded. It may have worked. I was just grateful that he was here to save a life which just happened to be mine! I also thought about how many people do not know how to apply life saving techniques like the Heimlich or CPR.

There are courses offered everywhere to teach these simple life saving techniques. It’s so important that we learn how to use these tools at our disposal. The best case scenario is that we never have to use them. Well, on second thought, maybe the best case scenario is that we are the one in the room that knows how to use them and gets to save a life as a result of the knowledge we have gained by learning.

I suggest that everyone who does not already have the skills find out how to learn them. Start with your local hospital. See what they offer or where they refer you. You may just save a life one day! Who doesn’t want to be a hero?

 

Surgery Jobs Are Yours for the Taking

swYou’ve gone through school. You’ve done all your clinicals. You’ve finished your internships. You’ve gotten your certifications in the state. Now you’re ready to hunt down surgery jobs and show that you have what it takes to work in the healthcare industry. It may be harder to find a surgeon job in a hospital than you think – which is why you need someone giving you the extra little push.

A medical recruiter may be the best way to look for surgery jobs. You need to find someone who already has an in with the hospital and will listen to the recommendations. Some hospitals will ignore your resume because of one or more reasons, like:

• You don’t have a lot of experience
• Your resume didn’t come from a recruiter
• You haven’t worked for a particular hospital
• You don’t have a recommendation from a name they recognize

Hospitals will find a variety of reasons why they skip over resumes – and most of the time it’s not personal. It’s simply that they get so many resumes for surgery jobs that they need to find a way to sort through them all. And unfortunately, your resume may be sliding through each time.

A recruiting company is being used by hospitals more and more. This is because hospitals are learning that they don’t have the time to recruit surgeons. Their time is better spent working on other aspects of HR – like training. This means that they hand over a list of open positions to the recruiter and then step in when it’s time to conduct final interviews and make a hiring decision.

Looking for surgery jobs is much simpler when you work with a resume. You will only have to turn your resume in once and they will submit it to the hospitals that you qualify for – along with their stamp of approval.

You may not be looking in all of the areas that you could be. You may be looking at the big picture and trying to apply to the two or three big hospitals in the area. You forget that there are a lot of little doctor offices that hire surgeons as well. They then “borrow” space at the hospital in order to perform the surgeries. Cosmetic surgeons, cardiac surgeons, Orthopedics and others are known for doing this – and a recruiter is aware of these things.

You don’t want to be looking for jobs forever and the recruiter doesn’t want you to. They are going to do all they can to help you find surgery jobs. They will likely be able to find you more than one that you qualify for, allowing you to take your pick. This makes it easy for you to find the surgeon position that you want so that you are happier inside of your chosen career.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Advanced Care Planning

scToo often, people do not give adequate thought to advanced care planning until it is too late. While it may seem like a touchy subject, or something you do not want to think about, planning your care in advance of emergencies is paramount to making sure you get the level of care that you want and deserve. If you have never thought much about advanced planning of your healthcare, here are five things you should know.

1. What is An Advanced Care Plan?

An advanced care plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a plan you make in advance of ever getting sick or suffering an emergency, and details the steps your doctors and health care team can take in providing health care, in the event that you are unable to explain or make decisions about your own health care. For instance, if you have a care plan in place, and then were to slip into a coma, your family and doctors would have a document explaining exactly how you would like to be treated.

2. Considerations for Advanced Care Planning

Although thinking about how you hope to face your own death or disability may be uncomfortable, talking about the issues that could arise will go a long way to making sure you get the care you need. Start by making a list of your healthcare concerns, life values, spiritual beliefs, and anything else you think may be important to your long-term health or funeral arrangements.

One thing that is particularly important to your plan is to decide on a friend or family member that can make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It is important that you choose someone who thoroughly understands your values and desires.

3. Consulting an Attorney

Planning your financial and medical future can be difficult to do on your own. For this reason, many people opt to consult an elder care attorney who has experience working in these issues. Your attorney can help you create a legal framework that ensures your wishes are seen to. One such document you and your attorney may work together to produce is called a ‘living will’ this document clearly states the type of medical treatments that are acceptable to you, as well as those that are not.

4. Medical Well-Being

While your living will provides detailed instructions about the type of care you want or do not want, you may also want to work with your attorney to file a medical power of attorney or to officially appoint a health care surrogate. This is a legally binding document that names someone who will make your health care decisions on your behalf.

5. Financial Well-Being

Beyond just protecting your physical health, advanced care planning also involves protecting your financial health. Far too often, when a person is beset with an accident or illness that claims their health, they have failed to make a plan for their own healthcare or the dispersion of their personal effects in the event that they pass away. Filing a living trust is a good way to protect your assets in the event that you fall ill or pass away from your illness.

Tips To Assemble Care Kits With Affordable Medical Supplies

saEmergencies can strike at anytime and anywhere, and it seems as if they strike especially when you are not prepared. Hundreds of thousands of persons do not, or are not prepared for emergencies, or do they have insurance that can cover the costs of affordable medical supplies that may be needed during emergencies or after being involved with accidents or surgeries.

It is very easy to assemble emergency care kits with a few discount medical supplies. Affordable medical supplies are useful, not only for medical care facilities such as clinics, hospitals, or doctors’ offices, but every home should have emergency care kits, that can be very handy when they are needed.

It is also highly recommended that you assemble an emergency care kit with some discount medical supplies, and keep them in your automobile in case of an accident. You it is also advised that kits be kept in your office since it is recommended that multiple kits be maintained, some savings can be realized if the supplies are purchased in bulk.

There is practically no place where emergency care kits can be useful, as emergencies will appear anywhere, including schools, and libraries, and if there are no health care professionals available, there will still be some method to provide some treatment. There are a few basics components that should be included in all emergency care kits, but before purchasing any discount medical supplies, an assessment of the needs may be necessary there are members of the household that suffer from any medical conditions, the needs should be first addressed to ensure that the supplies are available in case of emergencies

All kits should contain cotton gauze and bandages for treating wounds Rubbing alcohol is another necessary component for cleaning and sterilizing. Be sure to include a pair of scissors, and tweezers. A Swiss army knife and a scalpel may also come in handy in case of emergencies.

Other integral parts of your emergency kit will include topical medication and some over the counter medical supplies, such as Aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen that can be used as painkillers. Include lotions such as calamine lotions and antibacterial ointments. Among the affordable medical supplies than should be included in the care kits and soap and sanitizers along with an adequate supply of water.

Many of these supplies are readily available at online discount medical supplies stores, and although they are not regulated, in many cases, consumers are able to realize great savings as regulation may not actually be required.

Depending on the state or the region in which you live, many of the purchases may be covered by insurance, especial if there are pre-existing medical conditions, but it may be necessary to consult the medical authorities in your district. Prevention is said to be worth more than cur, and although you may not know exactly when emergencies will strike, and you may never be able to actually prevent it from happening, you can never be too prepared to deal with it.

Brain Injuries and Lasting Disabilities

sqTBI, or a traumatic brain injury, can leave the whole family feeling confused, angry and overwhelmed. Oftentimes the diagnoses of a brain trauma is devastating to all involved, not just the victim of the injury. Many brain traumas occur as a result of an everyday accident. Such simple things such as tripping and falling off a curb can lead to a serious brain injury. Perhaps it’s the result of a car accident or a sports injury that has caused the injury to the brain. In many cases, the victim may act and feel normal at first. Someone close to them begins to notice some abnormal behavior, extreme fatigue, or perhaps irritation, confusion and feelings of being disoriented. This can be due to the brain swelling, and is not always obvious right away. This is one reason why emergency medical care should happen as soon after the trauma as is possible.

Once the diagnosis of a cranial injury has been given, you will generally need to hire a brain injury attorney who will help you to establish who is legally responsible for the injury. To establish just who is the responsible party can be a long and complex ordeal. Many factors may enter into that process of assigning blame. The responsibility for poorly maintained sidewalks which caused a fall may lie with a governmental agency, such as a city or a county. Perhaps the driver of the car which crashed into yours acted with negligence, and caused the accident which resulted in a brain trauma injury. A qualified brain injury lawyer will assist you in determining who is responsible and how you will be properly compensated for your injuries.

Many TBI victims are left with a severe, permanent loss of function. This can include symptoms such as partial memory loss, speech difficulties, coma, behavioral issues and ongoing medical needs. The person who has suffered from a brain injury may not be able to care for themselves any longer, and may have a lifelong need for daily care. If you or someone in your family has suffered a head injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you will need representation by an experienced personal injury attorney. Your brain injury lawyer will be instrumental in assisting you through the difficult and challenging situation you now find yourself and your loved one in. Just coping with a serious brain injury is difficult enough, be sure to have the best help for your brain injury lawsuit.

 

Find a Hospitalist in No Time at All

dsWithin your hospital, you are going to need at least one hospitalist. This is the person that is going to be caring for people while they are hospitalized. If you are short on this position, your patients who are staying overnight may not be getting the level of care that they need or that they expect. This means that your hospital is going to drop dramatically in terms of quality.

The job search for a hospitalist can take two weeks or longer. This is because you have to advertise the job opening and wait for resumes to come in. You cannot begin reading the resumes right away because you want to get plenty in and give everyone the opportunity to apply. Not only will you have external resumes but you will also have internal resumes for people who are looking to move up within the hospital.

Since the healthcare industry is growing, more and more people are studying in school to become a hospitalist. As a result, you will have more and more people seeking jobs within the hospital. You could end up with 1000 resumes or more for a single job opening. This could take you days in order to reach the bottom of the pile. Even if you have advanced technologies such as an applicant tracking software program, it is going to take you a while to dig through all of the resumes and find qualified individuals.

Once you have the qualified individuals, you will need to conduct a preliminary interview to find out more about each person. You will need to find out what kind of experience they have as a hospitalist and what their personality is like. By sitting across from the applicant, you can get a good idea as to what their bedside manner is – and this is critical for the type of position that you are hiring for.

All said and done, the job search could take a minimum of two weeks – and this is if you have the time to dedicate solely to the job search. You probably cannot wait this long to fill a hospitalist position. The solution is to work with a job recruiter. Finding a job recruiter that specializes in healthcare will simplify the process so that you do not have to do the search on your own. All you have to do is supply the recruiter with the job description, tell them how much you want to pay for the position and then let them do their job.

Within a few days, the recruiter is going to supply you with several names and phone numbers. You will be able to call these individuals and schedule a final interview. You will also be able to see the resume and all of the details the recruiter has supplied for you – and each and every one will be qualified for the hospitalist position.

By allowing a recruiter to work within your hospital for recruiting purposes, you are able to fill the positions faster.

Who Can Take Part In Clinical Trials?

dClinical trials have become very popular in the modern world because people have realized its importance and how they can help to eradicate illness. This is the reason why millions of people take part in clinical trials today.

Some people might take part because they have no other choice. The medicines that are already available to them might not be working, so they opt to take a medicine on a trial. In the clinical trials, they are tested with new medicines, which nobody has used or seen. These medicines are different from the ones they have used in the past. Though the main ingredient might be the same, there might have been some new added ingredients that they have developed for the trial. This new medicine might be just want is needed to save a patient’s life.

People take part in the clinical trials in a hope that these trials would help them be a better person health wise. The trials are carried out by the experienced researchers who constantly find new ways to make the medicines more effective.

Many times, they have had a breakthrough in the field of medicinal science and surgical procedures, and that has helped millions of patients. The main purpose of carrying out the clinical research is to see if the advancement in the field will work. It enables us to find new ways to detect, prevent and treat a number of diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, tumors and more.

The advancement can be in the form of anything from new drugs, to surgical procedures or even using both to treat a disease. If you belong to a clinical research company and are looking to find volunteers who can participate in the clinical trials, then you should go and ask in hospitals. Just make sure that you have permission to ask patients, don’t just turn up and start asking questions because this will put people off.

A hospital is a place where you will see a lot of patients who suffer from certain diseases or conditions and they have tried everything to be cured. These clinical trials are the last hope for them and they are just hoping that you get the results that might save their lives. So, you have to be sensitive.

Things can go in the opposite direction as well, so the patients must be aware of the risk factor that is involved with the clinical trials. The biggest advantage for the patients is that they get to try the medicines, which if passed would be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they will be trying it for free. Moreover, patients suffering from HIV/AIDS and cancer are the ones who can really benefit from the medication because if the trial is successful, then the danger of the disease would go down significantly, leading to a better life expectancy rate.

Clinical trials are not for everybody. Some patients can withstand new medicines, while others get certain reactions, such as spots on the skin, headaches, anxiety or any other symptom. Therefore, you must have guidelines in place so the patients know what to expect. You will also need to know if the patient is sensitive to certain ingredients or has any allergies. You could do that by giving prospective patients a questionnaire to complete before they start the trial.

If the patients check all the desired boxes, then they can advance to the next round where they will meet the researchers to determine if they are eligible or not. Then, the patients have to go through a medical examination where they will be asked as many questions as possible to make sure that they are the right candidates. Patients can ask questions as well, just to clear up any doubts that they might have about the clinical trials. You must tell patients to consult their family before taking part in the trial.

Joint Replacement Risks to Be Aware of

eJoint replacement is a surgical option when the joint is damaged to such an extent that it hampers free movement and causes extreme pain. The decision to undergo such a surgery is difficult. There is a lot of apprehension around how it is done, what materials are used for the artificial joints, do many people undergo such a surgery and what are the after effects?

Well, to answer all these questions in short, joints that are irreversibly damaged require replacement. Replacing a damaged joint can help you move around and feel better. Damage to the joint could be due to arthritis, accidents, sports injuries and other such diseases that cause swelling and stiffness of the joints. The replaced joint is generally made up of plastic or metal or a combination of both. The new joints last nearly 10 – 15 years.

Now, looking at the risks, joint replacement surgery like any other surgery has its own risks. Here are the after effects that you need to be aware of. Remember that most of the after effects are treatable so, make sure that you contact your doctor immediately if you see the following symptoms.

Infection

The foremost risk of a joint replacement surgery is infection. This infection can occur around the wound or in the wound. The infection may be seen during your hospital stay, or a few days after you leave. Well, sometimes infections occur years after the surgery. Minor infections can be treated with drugs but if the infection is deep, a re-surgery may be required.

Blood Clots

Blood clots may be seen and lumps of blood can form in and around the wound. After a period of time, these clots cause pain and swelling in those areas. Doctors generally suggest drugs that can make your blood thin. Special stockings, exercises or boots can also help your blood move faster.

Loosening

The new joint may loosen. This causes pain and a lot of discomfort. Contact your doctor immediately as this requires a re-operation to relocate the joint.

Dislocation

Sometimes the ball of the prosthesis may come out of its socket. Many a times this can be treated without surgery. Operation may be required depending on the severity.

Wear

Some wear is bound to happen in a joint over time. If it is too serious, contact your doctor. This wear causes loosening of the joint and cause additional discomfort.

Nerve and Blood Vessel Injury

It is possible that the nerves near the replaced joint are damaged during surgery. This is not very common, but if there is a minor damage, it heals itself over time.

It’s always a good idea to inform your doctor about any of the above symptoms as early as possible.