New York May Require Registered Nurses to Earn Bachelor's Degree

Registered Nurses in New York state may be required to earn a Bachelor's Degree within 10 years of becoming a Registered Nurse (R.N.) as part of a new bill introduced to the state legislature to help raise educational standards for nurses.

The initiative is called the "BSN in 10" and is backed by nursing associations to address the need for trained nurses even as a staffing shortage exists in some parts of the U.S.A.  It is also estimated that as nurses retire, the increase in education requirements could add to a continued shortage of qualified nurses for the aging population.

Senior care will continue to be one of the top employers as the large baby boomer population ages, while needing some care assistance as they live longer with the benefits of medical advancements.

Companion caregivers are needed to assist seniors who experience memory loss or just need some assistance with their daily activities.  Anyone with a caring personality can begin a career as a professional caregiver.  Caregiverlist provides a certified caregiver training program providing 10-hours of online training meeting state training requirements for licensed senior home care agencies.  Caregivers may then advance to become Certified Nursing Aides and continue on to become a Registered Nurse.

Anyone interested in becoming a senior caregiver can first apply for a caregiving job as a companion caregiver and review admission requirements for Certified Nursing Aide schools.  Caregivers may take a sample C.N.A. test to learn about the skills they will learn as a C.N.A.

 

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Caregiver Training for Caregivers of Veterans

Caregiver training for caregivers of veterans has been formally created in a format that mirrors training for professional senior caregivers.  The training is seprated into six different modules to make the skills easy to study and learn.

Operation Enduring Freedom which began the war in Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11, 2011, attacks in New York City and the Pentagon, has resulted in nearly 5,000 deaths but left more soldiers surviving with severe injuries.  This is the benefit of better medical technology in the field but also leaves these survivors with serious long-term injuries and post traumautic stress disorders. The injuries are in the thousands for the soldiers who survived.  Many will need ongoing caregiving services. 

The Veteran's Administration now provides a training guide for caregivers of veterans, called the National Veteran Caregiver Training Program.
The Veteran Caregiver Training Program includes these 6 modules:
  1. Caregiver Self-care
  2. Home Safety
  3. Caregiver Skills
  4. Personal Care
  5. Managing Challenging Behaviors
  6. Resources

Each module can be downloaded individually or the entire guide can be downloaded.

Veteran's who are seniors and served in certain wars do qualify for the Veteran's Home Health Aid benefit, which provides an hourly caregiver in the home.  Spouses of these veteran's also qualify for the benefit, called "Aid and Attendance".  Find out which veterans qualify for the Veteran's Aid and Attendance benefit and how to apply.

A few states have required training for professional caregivers, including Illinois which requires a 8 hours of training.  Caregiverlist's Certified Caregiver Training is an online 10-hour training course which meets the Illinois training requirements and caregivers may review this caregiver training course and learn each module at their own pace.

Senior caregiving continues to be a growing industry as more seniors age-in-place and live longer while needing part-time caregiving servicers.  Explore the caregiver career opportunities and apply for a senior caregiving job near you.

Doctor Visit Notes: Will Patients Benefit From Access?

Medical doctors have the technology in place (in most cases) to easily share medical records with their patients, which would include their notes made while examining patients.  However, because of the confusion patients have with reading the notes and understanding medical terminology, most doctors prefer to not share this information.  One doctor told me that they just tell patients they are unable to email the records, even though they could easily do this, because patients can become alarmed at the wording they might use. 
Seniors especially, often need to make sure that all of their different doctors are aware of the medications they have been prescribed and the suggested diet and exercises.  Sharing of the medical notes with the patient could be beneficial.
The Annals of Medicine published the results of a poll taken by OpenNotes, a yearlong study which researched the benefits and problems when doctors let patients read their notes.  While patients thought that open visit notes were a great idea in this study, many doctors felt that the note sharing caused more problems than it solved.
More than 37,000 patients participated in OpenNotes and nearly 97% endorsed access.  About one-third of the doctors polled chose not to participate in the OpenNotes project. 
As technology advances, it will follow that there will be more ways to share information securely.  Seniors can now review nursing home ratings and costs and quality standards for senior home care and sharing more medical information will be on the horizon.

Geriatric Care Managers: When Do You Need One?

Geriatric Care Managers are certified professionals who understand how to navigate senior care and interact with a senior in order to understand their preferences and needs when it comes to senior care.  They are trained to understand all the care options and costs in a local area and know how to create a professional care plan.  Geriatric Care Managers charge an hourly fee, similar to the way an attorney might bill a client.  There is usually an initial consultation and the hourly fee can be between $60 and $150 per hour.  Geriatric Care Managers are called "GCM's" within the senior care industry.

When can a senior benefit from hiring a professional Geriatric Care Manager?

  • Adult children do not live nearby
  • No living heirs
  • Multiple medical conditions requiring monitoring and coordination of care
  • Financial fraud by family member or loved one requires third-party management of care needs
  • Unsure about senior care options and preferences
  • Long-term care planning for spouses
  • Memory loss requires third-party to make sure all senior care services are coordinated effectively
  • Full-time care needs require management by someone other than senior
  • Prefers professional to manage senior care
  • Unique medical conditions require traveling to a specialist

Geriatric care managers can find the best care services to meet the preferences of a senior and explain the costs of care and coordinate all of the care providers along with making sure all the possible Medicare or Medicaid benefits are in place.  As Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care, it may be necessary to allocate financial resources to allow for a senior or their spouse to "spend-down" their assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits.  Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does pay for nursing home care ongoing and a healthy spouse may keep the home and some assets.  This is just one example of how planning for senior care can be a bit complicated and a professional geriatric care manager can be very valuable.

Caregiverlist's guest columnist, Charlotte Bishop, has provided geriatric care management services for more than 20 years and shares her experiences about the benefits of hiring a geriatric care manager.

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Wage and Overtime Protection Proposed for Home Care Workers

As the U.S. population ages, and the senior demographic expected to double in the next 20 years, home caregivers are going to be an increasingly invaluable resource to help the elderly age at home.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama, along with a, Department of Labor and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, announced plans to update the laws to extend minimum wage and overtime coverage for home health-care service providers. Currently, home care workers are exempt from the 1974 minimum wage law and are classified as “companions” even though the field has evolved to include other types of duties such as providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). These duties can include tube feeding, physical therapy, taking the correct medication and getting cleaned and dressed.

“The care provided by in-home workers is crucial to the quality of life for many families,” Solis said. And President Obama stated that, “Today’s action will ensure that these men and women get paid fairly for a service that a growing number of older Americans couldn’t live without.”

Industry figures show that while the majority of home care aides employed by Senior Home Care Agencies are paid above federal minimum wage, many do not get paid overtime for a longer than 40-hour work week.

States’ regulations vary in their minimum wage and overtime provisions. Only 22 states extend minimum wage to at least some in-home care workers, and 12 states have a minimum wage that is higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. According to the administration, this initiative would “level the playing field” and ensure that home care that exceeds “companionship” would have the same legislative protection as other healthcare professions.

In my Labor Day blog post, I outlined the protective legislation challenges faced by home care workers. And while no one doubts the need for these professional in-home services, many question whether this proposed legislation will benefit the home health aide or the elderly client.

So tell us what you think. Is this a good move by the Obama administration to improve the quality of life for many home health care workers, even if it means higher costs for the aged and infirm? Or do you believe that this will be a detriment to in-home workers, forcing agencies to schedule maximum 8-hour shifts, eliminating full day-rates in order to prevent any overtime charges? And if you are an agency owner, are you afraid this regulation has the potential to drive an underground unskilled and unvetted workforce that a family would be forced to hire in order to save costs? Do you now pay overtime in order to keep a better-skilled workforce?

There will be a 60-day public comment period and the new rules may take effect early next year, so now is the time to make your voices heard.


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Alzheimer's Progression Slowed in Mice with New Vaccine

Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed in more than 1,200 people each day.  Currently there is no cure of the disease although a few medications do slow the progression.  The University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) has announced they have developed a vaccine that is proving to slow progression of memory loss for mice with Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia. The Australian university is already working with pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.A. to develop this new vaccine for humans.

This vaccine targets a protein known as tau and prevents the ongoing formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain of a mouse with Alzheimer's disease.  It is the first study to show that the vaccine targeting the tau protein can be effective once the disease has already set in.

Be sure to ask your medical doctor about any clinical trials for medications that you or a senior you are caring for may qualify for, as every medication on the market was first part of a clinical trial study.  Clinical trials also give you access to doctors who are experienced in caring for seniors with diseases in their medical practice's area of specialty.  You may also obtain caregiver training for seniors with memory loss to understand how to best communicate with them as Alzheimer's disease progresses.  You may also enjoy our story about meeting former President Ronald Reagan after he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Senior's with memory loss may need senior care services for ten years or more and by planning ahead to learn about the senior care options in your area, you can better prepare for the financial and care needs.

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Caregiver Overtime Pay Exemption Proposed

Senior caregivers working as companion caregivers were exempt from over-time pay in a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.  Now, new legislation proposed by the O'bama Administration would kill this exemption.  This would mean companion caregivers could receive over-time pay, including those who do daily live-in care and receive a daily stipend instead of hourly pay.

Workers exceeding a 40-hour work week qualify for overtime pay at time-and-a-half to meet the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Companion caregivers have been exempt from this.  It is true that companion caregivers may not be working non-stop when sitting with a senior who may have memory loss.  At the same time, caregiving can be challenging both emotionally and physically.

Senior care companies can rotate caregivers if a senior needs around-the-clock caregiving, to make sure that none of the caregivers exceeds a 40-hour work week.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice says the change in the overtime exemption will not benefit the caregiver workers, but instead would lead to hospices and senior home care agencies staffing more caregivers to take care of a cilent.  You can read more about the proposed change to caregiver overtime in our news section and post a comment to the story.

It is important to note that senior caregivers may work for a private duty senior home care agency, hospice agency or home health agency or for a state agency which receives payments through Medicare or Medicaid.

Home care costs Medicaid and Medicare about $56 billion annually.  The proposed change is projected to cost about $100 million a year, mostly in overtime costs.  Twenty-one states provide minimum-wage protection for more than half the nation's hoome care workers and 15 also provide overtime pay protection.  Most private-duty caregivers are paid above minimum wage and from $10 to $15 per hour, depending on if they live in a metropolitan or rural area.

In 1974, President Bill Clinton sought to change the the exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act's wage and overtime rules, but President George W. Bush reversed that effort.

Some caregivers working for agencies reimbursed by state programs receive pay that is below minimum wage but some of these caregivers are family members and do not have strict caregiver schedules.  As a shortage of caregivers is predicted, as the population ages, most likely pay increases will follow.

As providing senior care services has become competitive, many senior home care agencies, including the agency I owned for 7 years, do pay overtime to caregivers as an added benefit to maintain quality caregivers.

 

 

Caregiver Training for Professional and Family Caregivers

Caregiving requires many skills and proper training protects both the caregiver and senior.  By learning basic caregiving skills, a caregiver can more efficiently and safely deliver care services.

Learn caregiving skills in our 10-hour caregiver training course, meeting certification standards for professional caregivers.

You may also learn about working as a senior caregiver and apply for professional jobs near you within our caregiver career center.

 

Caring for the Caregiver: Holiday Gift Ideas for the Family Caregiver

Holidays afford you the ability to show your family caregiver how thankful you are for the service they provide. They perform the tireless job so that you don’t have to. Here are some gift ideas to show you appreciate them and all they do.

Spa treatment. Give the gift of a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial—some or all of the above. Family caregivers are, by definition, always caring for others. The holidays are a perfect time to pamper them.

Dinner and a Movie (for two). No doubt the family caregiver deserves some time off, and nothing beats dinner and a movie—it brings to mind the best of date nights. A big complaint among family caregivers is the isolation they sometimes feel. Give gift certificates for two so the caregiver can do the asking.

Goodie Basket. When you’re working with a fixed income, as many family caregivers do, chocolate truffles, a nice bottle of wine or the occasional pomegranate are luxury indulgences. Put together a nice basket full of items the caregiver wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. Build the basket around a theme like An Afternoon in Provence, Escape to Tuscany or a Chocolate-Lover’s Basket.

Medical Alert System. Sometimes a family caregiver is afraid to step away from their charge for even a few hours. The fear is that something awful could happen the moment the caregiver closes the door. A Medical Alert System affords the caregiver peace of mind that the elder loved one could get outside help during an emergency if they themselves are not present.

Cash or Gift Cards. Let’s face it, family caregiving is not a lucrative profession. Many family caregivers take unpaid leave or cut down on their work hours to help care for a senior loved-one. Gift cards and cash are well earned, always welcome and are always the right size.

Gift Certificates for Classes. Family caregivers often give up the outside activities that once gave them joy. What do they love (and miss) doing? Tennis? Yoga? A gift of a class will not only give them some much-needed time away from the routine of caregiving, but also give them a new social outlet.

Time. Give your family caregiver a few hours to themselves. If you can’t provide the respite care yourself, turn to a trusted Home Care Agency to provide a few hours of relief for the family caregiver. Family caregiver burnout is a real problem, no matter what time of year. You can give your family caregiver some downtime and breathing space with the gift of a reprieve.

And remember, these gifts are not only for the holidays...your family caregiver can use these thoughtful offerings all year long.




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Senior Caregiver Pay: San Francisco Minimum Wage to Top $10.00

Senior caregivers provide emotional support and care along with assisting with a senior's physical care needs.  Because of this, caregiving can take a toll.  Some seniors experience memory loss and personality changes and can be difficult to care for while other seniors are just plain grumpy and unhappy with all that comes with the aging process.  For these seniors, there is really no amount of money that will adequately pay someone to care for them and senior home care agencies can tell you about clients who they must constantly restaff a new caregiver because of the difficulty of the senior's care needs and emotional state.

San Francisco caregivers will now enjoy a higher pay rate, as the city has passed an increase in minimum wage, which will be $10.24 beginning January 1, 2012, a 32 cent increase, from $9.92.

Beyond the pay rate for senior caregivers, working as a caregiver brings the fulfillment of helping a senior and their family, which gives senior caregivers a sense of purpose.  And guess what?  Having a sense of purpose delivers happiness.  According to research on the science of happiness, individuals with a sense of purpose in their lives are happier than anyone else.  This includes rock stars and celebrities who enjoy their "high" moments but sometimes are unable to sustain the glory of the highs into an ongoing sense of fulfillment........which leads to drug abuse and alcholism as ways to find the high, again and again.  Senior caregivers experience the happiness of being appreciated for their work on a daily basis when they are working for a professional care company and fully trained and supported in their work.

Professional senior caregivers usually are attracted to the profession because they have experienced the benefits of providing care personally and are looking for a fulfilling career which also pays the bills.

Learn more about working as a senior caregiver and find training programs and apply for a job in your area to find happiness daily, while paying the bills!

Senior caregiving positions usually pay more than minimum wage and you can learn about the minimum wage in each state along with other senior care information in Caregiverlist's "By State" section.

 

 

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