Alzheimer's Clinical Trial Studies Benefit both Caregivers and Seniors

By participating in a clinical drug trial, you will receive valuable medical information at no charge, along with access to medical care which may improve your medical condition.  Remember that all medications we currently take first had to be tested in a clinical trial study - and many of these medications work very well.  The U.S. government's Food and Drug Administration requires medications to show positive performance in clinical trials before being approved.

How can you learn about clinical trials in your area?
  • Ask your doctor
  • Ask your pharmacist
  • Check with the local association for your disease (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.) 
You may receive a monetary stipend for your participation along with travel and telephone expense reimbursement.  Be sure to first learn about the requirements for participants, as these are usually very specific.  Sometimes caregivers are also provided with reimbursement as their feedback is considered valuable.

This Alzheimer's Disease research study requires participation in 14 meetings and 3 telephone calls and will span 14 months.  The medical evaluations alone can be worth participating in a study, as you will be working with a leading team of doctors and researchers.

You may also contact the department of aging in your area to find out about age-related programs which may be helpful, and sometimes they also know about clinical trials. , ,

Hospital Care - Protecting Your Loved Ones

Yesterday we blogged about the increase in health care associated infections (HAI's) which are infections patients develop while staying at a healthcare facility such as a hospital or nursing home.  Those of us in the senior care industry are very familiar with the new friends - HAI"S - seniors gain when they go into the hospital for a hip-replacement or another surgery - MRSA being one of the most common infections senior's take home with them.

A new book provides information on how to naviagate the healthcare system and make it home alive:

Critical Conditions:  The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive

The book interviews more than 150 doctors, nurses, hosptial staff and family members and provides advice on how to avoid the medication mistakes, infectious diseases and prevent medical errors.  The book also helps with ways to develop positive relationships with medical staff.

Senior home care agencies provide Geriatric Care Managers to assist families with making sure seniors are receiving quality care and that communication flows between all care providers and Caregiverlist provides information on quality standards for senior home care agencies.
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Caregiver Protection from Health-care Infections

Recent statistics have shown that more people die from health care facility infections than from cancer in certain areas of the country.  These numbers are heavily argued but anyone in senior care knows that many times a senior will be hospitalized and come home with an infection that causes even more problems.  My own uncle survived cancer surgery but took home an infection he picked up at the hospital which killed him.  When I owned a senior home care agency, one new client who had worked as a pharmacist made every person that entered his hospital room wash their hands before they came near him - he even made the doctors and nurses do this.

These healthcare-related infections are known in the industry as HAI's and they have rapidly grown in the last decade.  It is important for seniors and their caregivers to protect themselves properly from these infections.

What is a healthcare-associated infection (HAI)?
An infection developed at a hospital or nursing home that the patient did not have prior to treatment at the facility.  These infections impact both senior patients and their caregivers who sometimes become infected when caring for the senior after they have returned home from the hospital or care facility.

How frequent do HAI's occur?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from HAI's at any one time.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of U.S. deaths from HAI's are rapidly increasing at 100,000 per year. 

What can you do to prevent HAI's?
Monitor cleanliness:  as a caregiver be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands before and after meals and before touching a patient.  As a patient, be sure to wash your hands frequently and ask all care providers to wash their hands or to wear fresh gloves before providing hands-on care. 

"Not on my Watch" provides educational tools for healthcare professionals and families in an effort to help eliminate these preventable illnesses:

Learn about care techniques and find about more about certified nursing aide skills which assist in protecting both patients and caregivers.  Explore professional senior home care options which eliminate the exposure to hospital and nursing home infections.

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$150 Research Opportunity for Nursing Assistants Funded by NIH

Caregiverlist was just informed the Oregon Center for Applied Science is conducting a research opportunity for working Nursing Assistants (you must be currently employed).  Participants will complete 3 surveys and view two computer training sessions and will receive up to $150 for their time.

Name of the Research Project:  Caring Skills Project

Research Study Participant Requirements:

  • Working as a Nursing Assistant
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Working at least 16 hours per week
  • Read and speak English
  • Access to a computer with high-speed internet connection
  • Active e-mail address

How do you apply to participate?

This research project is funded by The National Institute of Aging.  All information is kept completely confidential. Research applicants will be accepted through September, 2010, for this ongoing project but to be accepted, you are encouraged to apply immediately.  You may learn more about working as a Certified Nursing Aide and submit an application on our career center.

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Caregiver Job Benefits

Caregivers working for senior care companies, including senior home care agencies, assisted living communities, hospices, nursing homes and hospitals qualify for certain benefits, by law, as employees.

What benefits do professional senior caregivers receive?

  • Worker's Compensation Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Social Security Benefits Upon Retirement (Due to Payroll Contributions)
  • Health Insurance Usually for Full-time Employees
  • Training
  • Bonuses

Learn about ongoing training opportunities as the senior care industry will be a top employer in the coming decade as the baby boomer generation ages (anyone born between 1946 and 1964).  About 78 million people are considered baby boomers.

Learn about training for senior caregivers, certified nursing aide programs and part-time and full-time job opportunities to grow your caregiving skills or to consider caregiving as a career.

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Caregiver Training Includes Emotional Care

Senior caregivers provide assistance with what is typically called "activities of daily living", or ADL's. 

What are ADL's?  Anything you need to do to get through the day, such as eating, bathing, toileting and maintaining your household.  Depending on your health conditions, you may need to adjust your daily activities to comply with medications and prescribed physical exercises.  Caregivers help keep the day on track.

Along with assistance with physical care needs, senior caregivers provide emotional support.  Aging presents many challenges and because of this, many times depression comes along with the territory.  When someone does not feel well, has to adjust their daily activities because of changing health conditions and is regularly experiencing the death of loved ones and friends, it is expected that sometimes they will not have a positive attitude or be in a good mood.

Senior caregivers working for professional senior care companies receive training on how to interact with seniors who are experiencing emotional ups and downs.  Certified Nursing Aides receive training as part of the certification program in how to interact with both seniors and their families appropriately in order to successfully assist with care needs.

Seniors who are terminal and decide to receive the assistance of hospice care also receive counseling in dealing with the acceptance of their terminal situation.  Hospice also will provide counseling to family members.

Caregiving can take a toll on caregivers emotionally, as well as physically, and it is important for caregivers to talk with their managers about any issues and find away to share their story and manage the stress of caregiving.

The New York Times reported this week that a recent study published by a cancer journal indicates that medical doctors also prefer to avoid end-of-life talks - - - so the good news is that even doctors are challenged by the emotional aspects of caregiving. 

Remember, talking about things always help, whatever your line of work.  Professional senior home care agencies are valuable to caregivers as they provide an outlet for the caregivers to vent and provide support in addressing the issues that arise.  Successful professional caregivers keep learning about the senior's medical conditions to better understand what the senior is feeling and keep taking time to "care for the caregiver".

C.N.A. (Certified Nursing Aide) Jobs

Now is a great time to explore becoming a Certified Nursing Aide if you are thinking of continuing your caregiving career or looking to enter a new industry with ongoing employment opportunities.

Why will nursing aides continue to be in demand?
The baby boomer generation, Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are now beginning to turn 60 (Both former president's Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were born the first year of the baby boom generation).  This generation will live longer than any previous generation and as advancements in medicine are allowing people to live longer while battling health issues, many of these seniors will need caregiving assistance.

Who hires certified nursing aides?
Nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living communities who provide care services are required by law to maintain a minimum number of certified nursing aides (C.N.A.'s) on staff.  In addition, hospices, senior day cares and senior home care agencies hire C.N.A.'s to provide the hands-on care services.

How do you become a certified nursing aide?
You may become certified as a nursing aide by completing a training course that usually requires 120 hours of training, in a combination of classroom instruction and field work.  Community colleges, non-profits and some nursing homes and hospitals provide certification courses.  Contact nursing aide programs in your area to find out about admission requirements and available scholarships and grants - usually tuition assistance is available.  You may also take a sample nursing aide test or practice nursing aide test to learn more about the skills taught in a training program.

Ongoing Employment in Senior Care

As America's largest generation, the baby boomers, are enjoying longer lives because of medical advancements and universal healthcare (all seniors receive Medicare or Medicaid health insurance), there is an ongoing need for senior caregivers, certified nursing aides and home health aides to work in the growing senior care industry.

Just as any business expands when their customer base increases, the senior care industry continues to hire senior caregivers and nursing aides and to offer training programs to recruit more employees.

What type of training is required?
No formal training is required for companion caregiver positions, as orientation and on-the-job training is provided.  Certification is required for nursing aides and home health aides in some states.  Health department regulations require nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living communities to maintain a certain percentage of certified nursing aides on staff at all times.

What type of companies hire senior caregivers?
Senior home care agencies, hospices, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living communities and senior day care companies.

You may learn about training programs in your area, take a sample or practice nursing aide test and read caregiving stories from other caregivers to find out if working in senior care may be the right fit for you.  You may also apply for senior caregiving jobs in your area.  Part-time and full-time positions for weekdays, weekends and evenings are available to keep up with senior caregiving staffing needs as senior's can be quickly discharged from the hospital or nursing home and need additional care services.
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