Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know

Male carer with beautiful senior female patient

Those recovering from traumatic brain injury may experience these feelings.

Caring for a patient who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be challenging, especially as the patient’s needs can fluctuate dramatically from one day to the next. While each person’s circumstances are unique, there are some common effects that are important to understand. Keep these ten tips in mind:

  1. Rest is crucial. Fatigue can be compounded from both the physical and mental strain required in recovery. Ensure plenty of opportunities for downtime and rest.
  2. Outward appearance can be deceiving. While the person may look perfectly normal on the outside, there are often underlying cognitive limitations. Never push the individual to complete tasks if he/she seems resistant.
  3. Recovery takes time. Expect a slow recovery process – often years.
  4. Socialization can be hard. Understand that loud noises, multiple conversations, and crowds of people can overwhelm those recovering from brain injury.
  5. Look beyond behaviors. Try to determine the trigger behind a challenging behavior and address that, rather than the behavior itself. The person may be hungry, tired, or uncomfortable.
  6. Use patience. Patience is key, both for empowering the person to complete tasks independently to the best of his/her ability, and in conversations, to allow the person to rebuild language skills.
  7. Never condescend. The brain injury survivor should always be treated as an adult, with respect and dignity, and never spoken to as a child.
  8. Repetitions help with memory. If the person is engaging in repetitive behavior, it can actually be helping with memory restoration. If the behavior becomes agitating for the person, however, suggest a period of rest.
  9. Emotions may run high. Frustration is understandable with the struggles inherent with brain injury recovery. High emotions may also result from the particular part of the brain that was injured. Maintaining a calm, patient demeanor can be helpful.
  10. Remain encouraging. It’s important to focus on the positives as much as possible, cheering on each new achievement, regardless of how small. Refrain from negativity or criticism.

Most importantly, trying to view life through the eyes of the person recovering from brain injury can go a long way towards providing effective care that balances the need for helping the person with empowering him/her to regain independence.

Looking to learn more about caregiving or Hillendale’s CNA and HHA training school? Find information about our CNA program here and our HHA program here. Or contact us for more information online or at 925-933-8181.

How to Help a Client With Kidney Disease Management Through Proper Food Choices

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Help clients make better dietary choices for kidney disease management with these tips.

As the saying goes, we are what we eat, and for those with kidney disease, it is crucial that a proper dietary plan is followed to reduce symptoms like an upset stomach, pain, swelling and more. Plus, adhering to a kidney-healthy diet might even slow down the progression of the disease. As a professional caregiver, it’s important to know the best and worst dietary choices for someone with kidney disease:

Sodium

High levels of sodium in the diet can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, and can cause the heart to work harder. Sodium should be restricted to no more than 2 grams per day for those with kidney disease. One way to help is to avoid serving foods that contain large concentrations of salt, such as:

  • Canned foods
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Chips, pretzels, and crackers
  • Nuts
  • Pickled foods
  • Condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce

NOTE: Pay close attention to salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, many of which are high in potassium.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral, and is found in almost all types of food. Our bodies need potassium in order for our muscles to work, but when someone is undergoing dialysis, potassium levels must be monitored very closely. Getting too much or too little potassium can lead to muscle cramps, erratic heartbeat and weakness of the muscles. The physician or dietitian can identify how much potassium is ideal for the specific person.

Protein

Although protein is a vital nutrient, when the kidneys are not performing correctly, excess protein can build up in the blood. Those with kidney disease should consume no more protein than what is needed by the body. When treatment begins early, a diet low in protein along with essential amino acids at appropriate amounts during each meal has been found to prevent the need for, or at least push back the need for dialysis and in fact could even reverse some kidney problems.

Vitamins and Minerals

People with kidney disease may require additional supplements of vitamins to reduce some of the typical side effects of kidney failure, including bone disease or anemia, but they should only be taken if directed by the doctor.

For more resources on caring for someone with kidney disease, or to inquire about joining Hillendale Home Care’s professional care team[D2] , contact our CNA and HHA School by completing our online contact form.

Try These Breathing Exercises to Reduce COPD Symptoms

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Read step-by-step instructions on exercise to reduce COPD symptoms in this article.

COPD can turn everyday life into a struggle. The good news is there are breathing exercises that can help ease the symptoms and improve quality of life. These exercises help make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger, so people with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.

Practice these techniques for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Learn these simple exercises so you’ll be ready to use them any time you have a client who feels short of breath:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or firm bed with your knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows.
  2. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of three. Use your hands to check that your belly rises while your chest stays still.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to a count of six. Check that your chest remains still.
  5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes as tolerated.

Controlled Coughing

This technique can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Get a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Lean your head slightly forward. Place your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Put one hand on your belly under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward your diaphragm while you cough once. This should help move the mucus up into your throat. Cough again to clear the mucus from your throat.
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue.
  5. Rest for a moment or two and repeat as needed. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you’re finished.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this method so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity such as climbing stairs or lifting groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with your mouth closed.
  3. Purse your lips as if you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds is too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable.

Interested in becoming a trained in-home caregiver with Hillendale Home Care? Call 925-933-8181 to learn more about our experienced Concord home care team and review our Service Area to see the full list of cities that we service.

Top Tips for Reducing the Risk of Pressure Sores for Seniors

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Reduce the risk of pressure sores in seniors with these tips.

Reduced ability to move or walk, chronic conditions such as diabetes, and thinner, more delicate skin are all issues that leave older adults at risk for a very serious issue – pressure sores. Also referred to as bedsores, pressure sores aren’t merely painful; they can also lead to infections that can be life-threatening.
For seniors who have limited movement or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, staving off pressure sores can seem like a never-ending battle for their caregivers. Pressure sores arise from a lack of blood flow that occurs when someone is in one position for too long. It is vital for caregivers to learn how to prevent pressure sores, and at Hillendale, providers of dedicated home care Pleasant Hill seniors need, we provide the training and education caregivers need to aid in preventative care.

Follow these tips to help protect the seniors in your care from these dangerous sores:

Repositioning

  • Hourly if wheelchair-bound, every two hours if bedbound
  • Make use of lifting instruments whenever possible to prevent friction during repositioning

Support

  • Use supportive cushions and pads:
    • Between knees and ankles
    • Under calves to protect heels
    • To lie at an angle, protecting hips

Skin Care

  • Use mild bath soap and warm – never hot – water and apply lotion
  • For those who have very moist skin, use talcum powder
  • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to promote circulation

Promote Healthy Nutrition and Activity

  • Consult the senior’s health care provider for dietary and supplement guidelines for optimum skin health
  • Ensure adequate hydration
  • Encourage the senior to refrain from smoking
  • Assist with daily exercise (as appropriate and per doctor’s recommendations)

If the senior does develop a pressure sore, it could progress through the following four stages:

  • Stage 1:A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch appears on the skin which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and feel itchy or create a burning sensation.
  • Stage 2:An open sore develops on the bruise, resembling a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and soreness are often also present during this stage.
  • Stage 3:As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin becomes darker and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4:During this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a serious infection of the bone) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can occur.

Pressure sores are serious and must be treated by the senior’s physician early in order to promote healing. When caring for a senior, if a pressure sore is noticed, contact the senior’s health care provider for proper treatment. At Hillendale Home Care, we provide the high quality home care Pleasant Hill families need to ensure their loved ones are safe and healthy. For more information on how you can become a CNA with Hillendale, contact our CNA and HHA School today!

Fact or Fiction: Uncovering the Truth Behind Flu Vaccine Myths

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Uncover the truth behind flu vaccine myths from Hillendale, the demntia care experts.

For most healthy people, the flu is just another illness that might use up a few sick days at work. For older adults and those with compromised immune systems, though, the flu can be deadly. That’s why it is vital to encourage seniors and those who are in close contact with seniors to get a flu vaccine each year. However, with all the false information flying around about the flu vaccine, many people choose not to get vaccinated even when they should.

Help seniors and their families uncover the truth for better health with the following flu vaccine myth busters:

Myth: The flu shot will give me the flu.
Truth: The flu shot is made from a dead virus that is not capable of causing the disease. It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot. The nasal spray version of the vaccine, however, is a live but weakened virus and is not recommended for adults over 50.

Myth: Flu shots don’t work. I once got the flu after taking the shot.
Truth: While the flu vaccine is your best shot at preventing the virus, it is not 100% effective in preventing flu. However, people usually get a milder case of the flu than they otherwise would get if they have taken the vaccine. The risk of hospitalization and death from complications of influenza is also greatly reduced.

Myth: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
Truth: The flu virus changes each year, which means last year’s shot may not protect against this year’s virus. Getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.

Myth: Healthy people don’t need to get the flu vaccine.
Truth: While it’s especially important for seniors and those who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, healthy people should also get the vaccine to help prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Understanding how the flu vaccine works can often ease fears that many people have about taking it. Helping seniors maintain optimum health is one of our highest goals. To learn more about how we can help keep seniors safe and well at home, or to learn how to become an in home caregiver through our CNA and HHA programcontact us today.

Providing Top Tier Care Throughout the 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's DiseaseAccording to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and more than 10 million people worldwide are living with the disease. Although each individual’s experience with Parkinson’s disease is unique, there are typically five stages of progression that most people go through. As a home health aide or CNA caring for individuals with Parkinson’s, understanding these five stages can help you provide more informed and better overall care.

Stage 1: Also known as early-stage Parkinson’s, a person in stage 1 typically exhibits only mild signs or symptoms that may present as follows:

  • Tremor and other movement symptomsoccur on one side of the body only
  • Symptoms are concerning, but not disabling
  • Changes in posture, walking and facial expressions occur

Stage 2: In stage 2 of Parkinson’s, it may become more apparent that the individual is struggling to complete everyday tasks:

  • Symptoms now may be apparent on both sides of the body
  • The person is slightly disabled, and may be experiencing ambulatory or balance problems
  • Posture is impacted and daily tasks are more difficult

Stage 3: The third stage is known as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a greater level of disability is often noted, including:

  • A marked slowing of body movements
  • Falls become more common as balance and mobility are further impacted
  • Activities such as dressing and eating may become more significantly impaired

Stage 4: Parkinson’s disease is more advanced in stage 4, and is accompanied by more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Bradykinesia and rigidity, or lethargic movements
  • Loss of ability to complete daily tasks
  • Inability to walk without the use of a walker

Stage 5: This final stage of Parkinson’s is the most advanced and debilitating:

  • The person will experience an overall decrease in vitality and strength of both mind and body
  • He or she may require a wheelchair or be bedridden
  • Hallucinations or delusions may be experienced
  • One-on-one care is required

While symptoms and disease progression are unique to each person, knowing the typical stages of Parkinson’s allows home health aides to provide better care. Caring for a person who has Parkinson’s disease requires empathy, patience, and well-rounded care training. For additional tips on caring for a client with Parkinson’s disease, or for information on CNA training or HHA classes, contact Hillendale Home Care.