Monday, October 23, 2017

Have Questions? Just ask Edie!


Check out our blog to learn more about how Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility can provide the therapy, nursing care and assistance you need for you or your loved one.



October 2017

Top Ten questions to ask when choosing a Rehab Facility 

If your elderly loved one needs transitional rehabilitative care, here are some questions you should ask before choosing a facility.

1. Does the facility specialize in rehabilitation? 
The rehabilitation facility you choose should have specialists including physicians, nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists; recreational therapists, and case managers. All of these specialists work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for your loved one.

2. What percentage of patients are sent home after receiving care?
Try to determine if the rehabilitation facility will be able to return your elderly parent or loved one to the highest level of function possible. 

3. How many transition to longterm care or nursing home care? Is that available at the same rehab facility? 

One indicator of effective rehabilitation is how successful a center is in returning patients to their home. Of course, this isn’t always possible, depending on your parent’s condition or health problem.

4. What are the staff’s qualifications? 
The facility you choose should be accredited by The Joint Commission (formerly the JCAHO) or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Ask about the qualifications of the nurse aids who will be doing the day-to-day care of patients. Has the facility had any issues with patient abuse or neglect? Does the facility do background screening of their employees? What is the turnover rate of their nursing staff?

5. Is there a “continuum of care?” 
The rehabilitation process does not end with his or her stay in a rehab facility. Patients require varying levels of care before and after their inpatient stay. Some therapies your parent may need include outpatient therapy at a rehab facility, in-home physical therapy, or long-term inpatient care.

6. Is the facility experienced in treating your parent’s condition? 
Did your loved one have a hip replacement, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke or orthopedic procedure? Make sure the staff is experienced in the condition your loved one has. Specialists are more sensitive to the patient’s needs, have the right experience and will provide more creative treatments—all of which lead to a stronger recovery.

7. What is the average length of stay? 
Based on your parent’s condition, how long, on average, have other patients stayed in the rehab facility? What about people with the same condition as your parent?

8. How many hours of therapy a day will there be? 
Your loved one is in rehab, to be rehabilitated. Lying in bed for hours at a time will not help them recover. Research how many hours of therapy are needed per day, based on your parent’s condition. Then, make sure this number matches the amount of therapy the facility provides.

9. What should your parent bring? 
What items—such as toiletries, hearing aids, clothing, and money—are allowed at the facility? Are personal items such as personal furniture, favorite photographs, memorabilia allowed?

10. How can family members get involved? 
Are family conferences offered to keep family members informed of the patient’s progress? What are visiting hours, and how long can family members stay? Can they eat with their loved ones?

If you'd like to talk about your particular situation, please call Edie Belue at 256-232-3461 and she'll be happy to answer your questions or concerns. 





August 2017

Does My Elderly Parent Need In-patient Rehabilitation?

When a family member suffers a serious fall, injury or medical trauma, they may need to live at a rehabilitation center for a period of time to fully recover.

Inpatient rehabilitation in a residential setting, like Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility, may be the perfect solution to a quicker and fuller recovery. Centers like Senior Rehab provide around-the-clock treatment and supervision which is critical to avoiding falls and further injuries that can impede recovery. The patient's progress is continuously monitored, and in many cases, inpatient treatment programs offer a better chance of successful rehabilitation. The goal is to help the patient return to his/her maximum functional potential after suffering a life-altering event.

The types of conditions that are best treated in an in-patient setting like Senior Rehab include:


             • Fracture or broken hip
             • Joint injury or replacement
             • Aneurysm
             • Parkinson’s Disease
             • Neurological conditions
             • Stroke
             • Arthritis of the spine and other joints
             • Brain injury
             • Tumor/Cancer
             • Multiple Sclerosis
             • Nerve impingement
             • Amputation
             • Recovery after surgery

Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility's staff of skilled professionals includes a rehab physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, rehab nurses and a social worker. Together they design individualized treatment plans for patients ranging from re-gaining communication skills, improving mobility, strength and muscle function (for using wheelchairs and walkers), to carrying out daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Nutritional concerns are addressed as well, so that when a patient leaves Senior Rehab, they are on track to better care for themselves and their diet at home. Trained staff are available to provide educational and emotional support too, which helps patients cope with the sudden changes that illness or injury can bring.

Treatments are broken down into three main categories:
Physical Therapy (PT) can help enhance mobility and quality of life by improving strength, balance, endurance, flexibility and posture. Physical therapy can maximize one’s ability to get around at home and community, as well as participate in favorite recreational activities.

• Occupational Therapy (OT) can focuses on your ability to fulfill our "occupations." So for your parent, the roles could include mother, spouse, homemaker, grandparent, caregiver, or bridge player. Generally, OT assists with the ability to perform Activities of Daily Living, (ADLs) such as getting dressed, toileting and bathing as well as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, (IADLs) such as driving, shopping, cooking and recreational activities.


• Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) - can boost a person's ability to communicate and swallow. In our society, it's a common comfort to sit down and have a great conversation with family and friends over a great meal. That requires two essential skills: the ability to eat and swallow safely, and the ability to communicate. Both are absolutely critical to a good overall quality of life. Nearly all activities of daily life require us to communicate, interact, and process information. Communication skills are necessary not only to convey wants and needs, but to socialize and connect with others. 

A Typical Day in Rehab at Limestone Rehab Center
At the Senior Rehab Center, patients typically have a very structured day. Part of the day is devoted to follow-up medical care which is designed to address ongoing physical issues, and part of the day involves physical and occupational therapy to help the patient build up strength and skills. But rehabilitation isn't all work, it's play too. Senior Rehab patients are encouraged to participate in stimulating activity through a busy calendar. Scheduled social programs are geared toward duplicating the strengths and skills patients need to develop for quality of life in an independent setting. Morning coffees, afternoon teas and ice cream socials bring patients and their guests together for refreshing interaction. Family members and others involved in their support system are welcome to join in social programs and daily living activities at the center.

If you or your loved one needs rehabilitation after surgery or illness, call Edie Belue, Admissions Director, and Edie can answer any questions you may have and assist with all the arrangements. Our goal is get patients back to living healthy, independently, and safely as soon as possible. Call us today at 256-232-3461.


July 2017                                                                                

Choosing the Right Short-Term Rehab Facility for Seniors 






 When researching short-term rehabilitation and senior care facilities, whether for yourself or an elderly loved one, it is important to know what to look for to minimize your concerns about the healing and rehabilitative process.  Understanding the difference between short-term rehab and long term care is an important first step. Short-term rehab facilities are typically the place aging adults go to recover from health issues in a professional, caring environment. They can receive a variety of therapy and nursing services during their stay as they heal and make progress with the peace-of-mind of having nursing staff available to meet their needs 24-hours a day.

Short Term versus Long Term Rehab

The first step to finding an appropriate rehab facility is to determine the approximate length of stay that is required. For example, a minor health issue, such as an uncomplicated surgery, may only require a short term rehabilitation stay of anywhere from a couple of days to a month or so. In other cases, the patient may need to stay at the facility for several months following more advanced medical matters, like cardiac issues. Some facilities offer both types of care, while others specialize in one or the other.

Evaluating the Lifestyle Quality

Before making a decision, take the time to visit one or more rehab centers for seniors. Ask to see patient rooms and common living spaces to evaluate the levels of cleanliness, comfort, and privacy that residents have. Some people feel uncomfortable sharing a room when they are ill or recovering, while others enjoy the companionship of a shared room during this time so ask if both private and shared rooms are available. Check out the dining options and menus to get a feel for the types of meals that residents eat each day. Are the options varied and healthy, or nondescript and unappetizing? Visit the community areas too; find out about social events and activities designed to keep residents engaged and entertained. Ideally, the facility should offer a variety of group activities and programs including access to religious services, as well ways to support individual interests.

What to Ask the Staff

Although some people are hesitant to ask staff challenging questions, by all means go ahead and talk to them to make sure all your concerns are addressed. In particular, ask about the availability of specialized staff, with regard to you or your loved one’s specific needs. For example, a person with a physical injury might need staff who are trained and qualified in physical therapy and nursing. Inquire about a personalized care plan and get actual details about it in advance. The staff should be able to provide information about the recovery process as well as therapy and rehabilitation. Apart from simply talking to the staff, it is also a good idea to talk to current residents or past clients if possible, to learn about their experiences and whether they recommend the facility. Ask to see their most recent “Satisfaction Survey” results and statistics on benchmarked outcomes.  This information will help you make your decision.

Key Takeaways 

  • Find a rehab center that can properly provide short or long term rehabilitation for seniors, as needed.
  • Tour the senior care facility in advance and examine the rooms, dining area, therapy facilities, and community rooms. 
  • Talk to several staff members. Ask about qualifications, personalized care plans, and types of therapy provided.
  • Talk to past or current residents for a more insightful view into the rehab center for seniors.

Need Help?

Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility provides comprehensive short term rehab as well as long term care for residents. Call our Admissions Director, Edie Belue at 256-232-3461 for more information or to schedule a visit to our facility. 

June 2017 

atrial fibrillation: understanding symptoms, risks, and treatment

By Luigi Di Biase, M.D. | Contributor | US News
Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is the most common supraventricular arrhythmia in Western countries – affecting at least 2.7 million people in the U.S. 

There are at least 2.7 million people in the U.S. with AFib. The most common symptom of AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is the most common supraventricular arrhythmia in Western countries – affecting at least 2.7 million people in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. 

HERE’S SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT AFIB:

TYPICAL PATIENT

AFib predominantly affects, but is not limited to, older people. This element is increasingly important because as our life expectancy continues to improve and the average age of the population increases, AFib is expected to grow and affect an estimated 50 million patients by 2060 across the U.S. and Europe. It’s important to learn the facts of this condition as early as possible.

COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The most common symptom of AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (also known as an arrhythmia), though patients may experience palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat, or a flip-flopping in your chest; lightheadedness and/or dizziness; confusion; shortness of breath and anxiety; weakness; fatigue; reduced ability to exercise; and/or chest pain or pressure. Please note, if you’re experiencing chest pain or pressure, call 911 immediately.
Now that we’ve outlined the most commons signs and symptoms of AFib, there’s one very important fact to note: Nearly one-third of AFib patients are asymptomatic. In other words, some people with AFib have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until it’s discovered during a physical examination. Because of this fact, it’s crucial to schedule an annual physical exam with your doctor and understand your risks.

HOW TO TREAT IT

There are a growing number of ways we can treat AFib and achieve great results. However, if left untreated, AFib can evolve from a momentary episode into a chronic, longstanding and potentially even permanent issue, causing subsequent concerns such as blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart conditions. In fact, patients with AFib are nearly five times more likely to experience a stroke those without AFib, are at an increased risk of developing dementia and have a nearly doubled risk of experiencing a heart-related death. 
Studies also show that individuals with AFib have an increased risk of renal disease.
It’s important to discuss your risk of heart failure with your doctor, as AFib and heart failure frequently coexist and are often associated with several common predisposing risk factors. These include hypertension, coronary artery disease, structural heart disease, diabetes, obesity and obstructive sleep apnea.

The Good News

There are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of developing AFib:


  • Increase your physical activity. Obesity is a significant risk factor for AFib. Consult your doctor to learn more about ways to safely increase your levels of physical activity.
  • Improve your diet. Undergo a weight-loss program and incorporate more fruits, vegetables and lean meats into your daily diet. Limit caffeine, alcohol, fats and excess salt. If necessary, consult your doctor about bariatric surgery.
  • Treat your blood pressure. Have a diet with low salt, and take your medications routinely, as hypertension increases your risk of developing AFib.
  • Treat your sleep apnea. If prescribed, remember to use your continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, mask every night. Doing so will improve your AFib.
  • Control your diabetes. If diet and exercise alone don’t control your diabetes, please consult your doctor for more support and/or resources, as gaining control of your diabetes will reduce your risk of developing AFib.




April / May 2017
Stroke Survivors: Why Rehabilitation Makes Life Easier 

BY MIMI JACOBS

Due to advances in modern medicine, a stroke may not always be a life-threatening episode. The large majority of people who suffer from a stroke continue to live for 10 years or more.

However, stroke does often result in significant mental and physical limitations that produce a loss of function and significant reduction in the person’s quality of life. These changes may also adversely affect the quality of life for caregivers and other family members.

In many cases, the results of a stroke are chronic conditions that may change over time. Rehabilitation providers, including physical, occupational and speech therapists, can teach the patient how to improve flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. These therapists can also improve patients’ ability to walk, communicate and manage day-to-day life as their needs change over time. Rehab is not only beneficial for the acute phase of recovery immediately following the stroke, but it also helps as the patient and family adjust to any long-term effects a stroke may have.

Physical therapy for stroke survivors

Physical therapists can provide a balance evaluation and training to reduce the risk of falls, a gait evaluation and training to improve a patient’s ability to walk safely both indoors and outdoors. They can also put together a customized physical activity program to maximize a patient’s strength and general ability to function.

Occupational therapy for stroke patients

Occupational therapists focus on a person’s ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as getting dressed, bathing, toileting and making a light meal, as well as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) that include driving, shopping, managing finances and other regular activities. Immediately after a stroke, both the patient and caregiver may need education and training on the best way for the patient to manage these common daily tasks, and throughout the following years, a person’s status may change, requiring additional training and conditioning.

Speech therapy for stroke victims

Speech-language pathologists (also known as speech therapists) specialize in improving a patient’s ability to communicate, which can include the ability to express oneself, improving the volume and quality of one’s voice, as well as comprehension of communication. Speech-language pathology services also include therapy to improve a patient’s ability to swallow without choking and prevent them from developing pneumonia.
Immediately following a stroke, rehabilitation services are available in the hospital and at inpatient rehabilitation centers. However, these services are also available in long-term care and nursing home settings, assisted living facilities, and patients’ homes. In the years after stroke survival, the ability to manage day-to-day tasks and leisure activities may change. If a fall or a change in medical status occurs, or if there is any decline in your loved one’s ability to function, rehabilitation services are able to provide appropriate, customized treatment to improve your family member’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks, participate in community activities, and improve overall quality of life.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) are all good resources to use in finding a therapist that specializes in geriatrics or stroke in your area. Also check with Medicare or your private insurance provider to confirm your rehabilitation coverage benefits.

Limestone Health Facility offers comprehensive care and rehabilitation for stroke victims. Their skilled PT, OT and Speech Pathologists provide individualized therapy for stroke patients both in the long-term care facility or through the Senior Rehab and Recovery program at LHF. Call Edie Beleu, Social Services and Admissions Director at 256-232-3461 for more information.

February / March 2017

Healthy Aging: Oral Health for Older Adults

By Lisa Esposito | Staff Writer I US News

In the past, losing teeth and getting dentures was considered an almost-inevitable part of aging. Those days are over. Intact teeth, healthy gums and pain-free smiles are what older adults should expect as they maintain good oral hygiene and get regular dental care.

Some seniors may find it harder to brush thoroughly and take care of their teeth than they used to. But with age, good oral health is key to avoiding gum disease, preserving function and allowing people to eat well. Below, dental experts describe potential issues, nifty devices and affordable resources for seniors and caregivers to keep teeth healthy.

Mouth of a 45-Year-Old

Among most baby boomers, dental self-care comes naturally. “For this this group, losing their teeth is not a consideration,” says geriatric dentist Dr. Elisa Ghezzi, a past chair of the Coalition for Oral Health for the Aging. “They’re not going to. And they’re people who’ve grown up pretty recently educated that you should go regularly to get your teeth cleaned, that you should use a fluoridated toothpaste.”
Baby boomers have a preventive advantage, says Ghezzi, the owner of Voiage Dental, a mobile private practice offering dental care to residents in long-term care facilities in eastern Michigan. “Unlike kids these days, [baby boomers] drank out of drinking fountains that had fluoride in them.” You can’t gauge somebody’s age by looking at their teeth, she says, adding that she’s told 85-year-old patients that if she showed their X-rays to another dentist, the dentist would think the images belonged to someone who was 45.
“When was the last time you had your teeth cleaned?” is a key question Ghezzi asks new patients or their family members. “That tells me the last time you were in for regular preventive care,” she says. “That’s what matters so much.”



Debunking Senior Dental Myths


Common misconceptions about aging teeth can act as barriers to the best dental self-care. Keep the following recommendations in mind: 
Cavities aren’t just for kids. Evidence is clear that loss of teeth, or edentulism, is decreasing among older Americans, says Dr. RenĂ©e Joskow, the chief dental officer with the Health Resources and Services Administration. “People are retaining their teeth and keeping them longer,” she says. Therefore, they could be at risk for cavities, she adds. “It doesn’t mean that’s automatic,” she says.  “If you’re taking care of your teeth, we can prevent cavities.”

Don’t wait for pain. Waiting for patients to start complaining of pain before doing root-surface procedures isn’t a good approach for older adults in their 70s and beyond, says Ghezzi, who is also an adjunct clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Pain perception changes with age, she says, and a problem that would send a 40-year-old screaming to their dentist might not register with someone who’s 75. Similarly, older patients might put off needed care, not realizing that pain is a sign of an underlying problem. But waiting until it really hurts could lead to tooth loss and costly reconstructive work, she says.

Teeth shouldn’t soften. It’s not true that teeth naturally become softer with age. “If you have bone loss, you have periodontal disease or your teeth are breaking up because there’s decay,” Ghezzi says. Gum bleeding? Don’t stop brushing. Bleeding gums are a sign of infection and an indication that oral hygiene isn’t ideal, Ghezzi says. Caregivers may be reluctant to brush people’s teeth when bleeding occurs, she notes. However, she says, “It’s going to bleed when you start – keep cleaning until it stops and gets healthy again.”

Nutrition suffers with dental problems. It’s a myth that missing teeth or faulty dentures make people eat less, Ghezzi says. Instead, they choose softer foods like doughnuts and avoid healthier choices like salads, raw carrots and apples. When loose lower dentures impair function, she says, implants help clasp them in place. Strategically located implants to replace missing teeth can allow better chewing, she says, so people eat in a more nutritious way.

Body-Mouth Connection

“You can’t have good overall health without dental health,” Joskow says. Just as an infected cut on your finger can introduce bacteria into the blood stream, infection from gum disease also can spread. “The mouth is the entrance to your gut and other parts of the body,” she says. “And we have been learning more from the science and research [about] the connection between chronic conditions like diabetes and the oral health of that individual.” People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease, Ghezzi says: “They definitely need to be seen more frequently for cleanings and monitoring.

Dental exams can uncover certain medical conditions, Joskow says. Diagnostic tools like X-rays    and a methodical screening process, including a head and neck exam, may locate cancerous and noncancerous growths. A dental exam can also catch systemic problems like a blood disorder. According to the American Cancer Society, 62 is the average age for most people diagnosed with mouth, throat and tongue cancer.

Older adults may see prescriptions pile up, and some medications lead to dry mouth. “If you notice a couple months after you start a new medication your mouth getting drier, do not do anything except drink water to fix it,” Ghezzi says. “Do not suck on candies. Do not drink more coffees and teas with sugar in them. When you are constantly exposed to sugar throughout a day, then you’re going to increase your [cavity] risk.” Talk to your doctor about adjusting medications.

When brushing and flossing get harder for patients, Ghezzi says, she sees plaque build along their gum lines and food get caught in their teeth. Easy-to-use dental devices can make up for reduced manual dexterity and improve patients’ ability to keep teeth clean.

Interdental brushes, which look like small tube brushes, provide a good alternative to flossing. (They are also helpful for people with braces). Water flossers are another option, as well as sonic electric toothbrushes, which vibrate the plaque from your teeth.

Medicare does not cover most dental care, including dental procedures, cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates or other dental devices. Seniors concerned about seeking dental care because they can’t afford it “have other means to get the care they need,” Joskow says. “HRSA community health centers provide care to anyone in need regardless of their ability to pay.” Click on the Human Resources and Services Administration locator to find the HRSA-funded program nearest you. For dental-care information, the Wisdom Tooth Project focuses on the needs of older adults.



January/February 2017

Skilled Nursing Facility Rights
As a resident of a skilled nursing facility (SNF), you have certain rights and protections under federal and state law that help ensure you get the care and services you need. They can vary by state.

The SNF must provide you with a written description of your legal rights. Keep the information you get about your rights, admission and transfer policies, and any other information you get from the SNF in case you need to look at them later.

As a person with Medicare, you have certain guaranteed rights and protections. In addition, federal law specifies that SNF residents also have these rights:

Freedom from discrimination
SNFs don’t have to accept all applicants, but they must comply with Civil Rights laws that don’t allow discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or religion under certain conditions. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, contact the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights.

Respect
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. As long as it fits your care plan, you have the right to make your own schedule, including when you go to bed, rise in the morning, and eat your meals. You have the right to choose the activities you want to go to.

Freedom from abuse & neglect
You have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and misappropriation of your property by anyone. This includes, but isn’t limited to, SNF staff, other residents, consultants, volunteers, staff from other agencies, family members, legal guardians, friends, or other individuals. If you feel you’ve been abused or neglected (your needs aren’t met), report this to the SNF, your family, your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or your State Survey Agency. 

It may be appropriate to report the incident of abuse to local law enforcement or the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (their phone number should be posted in the SNF).

Freedom from restraints
Physical restraints are any manual method or physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment attached to or near your body so that you can’t remove the restraint easily. Physical restraints prevent freedom of movement or normal access to one’s own body. A chemical restraint is a drug that’s used for discipline or convenience and isn’t needed to treat your medical symptoms.

It’s against the law for a SNF to use physical or chemical restraints, unless it’s necessary to treat your medical symptoms. Restraints may not be used to punish or for the convenience of the SNF staff. You have the right to refuse restraint use except if you’re at risk of harming yourself or others.

Information on services & fees
You must be informed in writing about services and fees before you move into the SNF. The SNF can’t require a minimum entrance fee as a condition of residence.

Money
You have the right to manage your own money or choose someone you trust to do this for you. If you ask the SNF to manage your personal funds, you must sign a written statement that allows the SNF to do this for you. However, the SNF must allow you access to your bank accounts, cash, and other financial records. The SNF must place your money (over $50) in an account that provides interest, and they must give you quarterly statements. The SNF must protect your funds from any loss by buying a bond or providing other similar protections.

Privacy, property, & living arrangements
You have the right to privacy, and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as long as they don’t interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. SNF staff should never open your mail unless you allow it. You have the right to use a phone and talk privately. The SNF must protect your property from theft. This may include a safe in the facility or cabinets with locked doors in resident rooms. If you and your spouse live in the same SNF, you’re entitled to share a room (if you both agree to do so).

Medical care
You have the right to be informed about your medical condition, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments (but this could be harmful to your health). You have the right to take part in developing your care plan. You have the right to look at your medical records and reports when you ask.

Visitors
You have the right to spend private time with visitors at any reasonable hour. The SNF must permit your family to visit you at any time, as long as you want to see them. You don’t have to see any visitor you don’t want to see. Any person who gives you help with your health or legal services may see you at any reasonable time. This includes your doctor, representative from the health department, and your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, among others.

Social services
The SNF must provide you with any needed medically-related social services, including counseling, help solving problems with other residents, help in contacting legal and financial professionals, and discharge planning.

Complaints
You have the right to make a complaint to the staff of the SNF, or any other person, without fear of punishment. The SNF must resolve the issue promptly.

Protection against unfair transfer or discharge
You can’t be sent to another SNF or made to leave the SNF, except in these situations:
It’s necessary for the welfare, health, or safety of you or others
Your health has declined to the point that the SNF can’t meet your care needs
Your health has improved to the point that SNF care is no longer necessary
You don’t pay for the services you’re responsible for
The SNF closes
  A SNF can’t make you leave if you’re waiting to get Medicaid. The SNF should work with other state agencies to get payment if a family member or other individual is holding your money.

Your family & friends
Family members and legal guardians may meet with the families of other residents and may participate in family councils. Family and friends can help make sure you get good quality care. They can visit and get to know the staff and the SNF’s rules.

By law, SNFs must develop a plan of care (care plan) for each resident. You have the right to take part in this process and family members can help with your care plan with your permission. If your relative is your legal guardian, he or she has the right to look at all medical records about you and has the right to make important decisions on your behalf.


December 1, 2016

Rehabilitation Centers for Elderly Stroke Victims 

Stroke is all-too-common in elderly people and the population in general. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Stroke Association. 

For stroke survivors and their families, a good rehabilitation program is key to recovery. When an elderly person has a stroke, the amount of rehabilitation and the success of that rehabilitation depends on:
• Amount of damage to the brain
• Skill on the part of the rehabilitation team
• Cooperation of caregivers, family and friends.
• Timing of rehabilitation – the earlier it begins the more likely survivors are to regain lost abilities and skills

Depending on the severity of the stroke, elderly survivors’ lives and their ability to perform daily function can vary greatly. Because stroke survivors often have complex rehabilitation needs, progress and recovery are unique for each person. 


Types of rehabilitation programs

There are several different types of programs and facilities that treat elderly stroke patients:
   • Hospital programs in an acute care facility or a rehabilitation hospital
   • Long-term care facility with therapy and skilled nursing care
   • Outpatient programs
   • Home-based programs
   • Rehabilitation Specialists

What Rehabilitation Specialists Treat Elders Who’ve Had Strokes?

The types of specialists who treat elderly stroke patients include:

Physicians: physiatrists (specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation), neurologists, internists, geriatricians (specialists in the elderly), family practice

Rehabilitation nurses: specialize in nursing care for people with disabilities

Physical therapists: help to restore physical functioning by evaluating and treating problems with movement, balance, and coordination

Occupational therapists: provide exercises and practice to help patient perform activities of daily living.

Speech-language pathologists: to help improve language skills

Social workers: assist with financial decisions and plan the return to the home or a new living place

Psychologists: concerned with the mental and emotional health of patients

Therapeutic recreation specialists: help patients return to activities they enjoyed before the stroke.

The treatment that the elderly stroke patient receives depends on the effects of the stroke on the elder. Effects of a stroke include:

• Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body that may affect the whole side or just the arm or leg. 
• The weakness or paralysis is on the side of the body opposite the side of the brain affected by the stroke.
• Spasticity, stiffness in muscles, painful muscle spasms
• Problems with balance and coordination
• Problems using language, including having difficulty understanding speech or writing and knowing the right words but having trouble saying them clearly
• Being unaware of or ignoring sensations on one side of the body (bodily neglect or inattention)
• Pain, numbness or odd sensations
• Problems with memory, thinking, attention or learning
• Being unaware of the effects of a stroke
• Trouble swallowing
• Problems with bowel or bladder control
• Fatigue
• Difficulty controlling emotions
• Depression
• Difficulties with daily tasks

Although a majority of functional abilities may be restored soon after a stroke, recovery is an ongoing process. The goal of rehabilitation is to enable a senior who has experienced a stroke to reach the highest possible level of independence and be as productive as possible. Limestone Health Facility specializes in helping stroke victims recover and has individualized treatment programs available  specifically for stroke patients. Call Edie Belue to set up an appointment today at 256-232-3461. 



November 1, 2016
The Difference Between Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy

By understanding the rehabilitation services we have to offer, you can make well-informed choices.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy (sometimes called PT) can help enhance mobility and quality of life by improving strength, balance, endurance, flexibility and posture. Physical therapy can maximize your loved one’s ability to get around at home and community, as well as participate in favorite recreational activities. 

Where can I get physical therapy, and what happens during the sessions?

Physical therapy services are available in multiple settings including the hospital, rehabilitation center, nursing home, outpatient clinic, adult medical day care, and at home. The goal of physical therapy in these settings is typically to improve function so that the patient is safe to return home with assistance. Your loved one may perform exercises lying down in bed or on a padded mat table to improve ability to get in and out of bed. Doing exercises with weights while sitting increases one’s strength and ability to get out of a chair, while exercises with weights while standing improve strength, balance and ability to walk. Very often “parallel bars” are available to provide support for both hands as the patient practices walking.

Physical therapy often includes a variety of exercise equipment and machines to improve strength and balance. You may see stationary bicycles, treadmills, arm bikes as well as machines like the leg press. Don’t worry – the physical therapist will explain exactly how to use the machines properly and safely at the appropriate amount of weight and resistance for your relative.


What is Speech Language Pathology?

Speech-language pathology services (SLP) boost a person’s ability to communicate and to swallow.

In our society, it’s a common comfort to sit down and have a great conversation with family and friends over a great meal. That requires two essential skills: the ability to eat and swallow safely, and the ability to communicate. Both are absolutely critical to a good overall quality of life. Nearly all activities of daily life require us to communicate, interact, and process information. Communication skills are necessary not only to convey wants and needs, but to socialize and connect with others.

What conditions can benefit from Speech-language pathology?

SLP addresses the declines associated with the aging process, such as neurological difficulties, age-related illness, and deterioration of the swallowing mechanism.

SLP may be able to help your loved one with declines due to brain injury, stroke, cancer, infection, or physical abnormality. It’s used to treat breathing problems due to lung diseases or tracheotomy.
Speech therapists also provide treatment of cognitive-linguistic impairments. This treatment focuses on restoring memory, sequencing, problem solving, safety awareness, attention, and their effects on the function of ADLs. Exercises may include breaking down a complicated task, like making a grocery list, to small simple steps. In this case, the steps include identifying what items you need (problem solving), finding a pen and paper, remembering the words for the items you want (memory), and writing the list (communication).

Does your loved one have trouble speaking, articulating words, or using expressive language? SLP can help in these instances, too, for conditions such as dysarthria or apraxia (motor speech disorders); hoarse or harsh vocal quality; complete or partial loss of voice; or aphasia (a language disorder).
Your parent may be taught specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the face, mouth and throat such as blowing out, sipping in through a straw and making specific sounds like “pa” and “ma”.

Finally, speech-language pathology plays a critical role in the treatment of dysphagia, or swallowing disorder. The treatment of dysphagia is essential in maintaining healthy lungs and avoiding pneumonia. Beyond that, a therapist may be able to help your loved one enjoy a less restrictive diet with a wider variety of foods.

PT, OT, and SLP are typically available to patients via a referral from their physicians. At Senior Rehab and Recovery Center, we have seen all three of these therapies restore and rehabilitate the lives of thousands of seniors. If you believe your loved one might benefit from PT, OT or SLP, I encourage you to research practitioners in your area and talk with your family doctor. In a few months, you may see your loved one recover abilities once believed to be gone, and rejuvenate in a way you might never have thought possible.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (also known as OT) focuses on your ability to fulfill your “occupations.” So for your parent, the roles could include mother, spouse, homemaker, grandparent, caregiver, or bridge player. Generally, OT assists with the ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as getting dressed, toileting and bathing as well as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) such as driving, shopping, cooking and recreational activities.

What happens during occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy services are available in many of the same settings as physical therapy. The goal of OT in a hospital, rehab hospital or long-term care facility is often to improve function so that your loved one is safe to return home with assistance.

Treatment sessions, either in the hospital room or therapy gym, may focus on your parent’s posture and use of her arms to improve her ability to eat, dress, bathe and perform other ADLs. Exercises may include stretching and strengthening to make sure she has enough flexibility and strength to perform ADLs. A large part of OT is practicing, developing new strategies and using adaptive equipment to perform activities such as eating, dressing and bathing.

OT in an outpatient facility is usually for injuries to the hand or arm to maximize function in ADLs, IADLs and recreational activities. Patients may use the arm bike, arm exercises with weights, or special “silly putty” to improve hand strength and dexterity.

OT in the home offers the same benefits as PT at home. The goal is to maximize your parent’s function in his home and community to improve his quality of life. OT at home can include training in doing laundry, light meal preparation, grocery shopping or driving.


October 1, 2016
Does My Elderly Parent Need In-Patient Rehabilitation?

When a family member suffers a serious fall, injury or medical trauma, they may need to live at a rehabilitation center for a period of time to fully recover.

Inpatient rehabilitation in a residential setting, like Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility, may be the perfect solution to a quicker and fuller recovery. Centers like Senior Rehab provide around-the-clock treatment and supervision which is critical to avoiding falls and further injuries that can impede recovery. The patient's progress is continuously monitored, and in many cases, inpatient treatment programs offer a better chance of successful rehabilitation. The goal is to help the patient return to his/her maximum functional potential after suffering a life-altering event.




The types of conditions that are best treated in an in-patient setting like Senior Rehab include:


             • Fracture or broken hip
             • Joint injury or replacement
             • Aneurysm
             • Parkinson’s Disease
             • Neurological conditions
             • Stroke
             • Arthritis of the spine and other joints
             • Brain injury
             • Tumor/Cancer
             • Multiple Sclerosis
             • Nerve impingement
             • Amputation
             • Recovery after surgery

Senior Rehab at Limestone Health Facility's staff of skilled professionals includes a rehab physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, rehab nurses and a social worker. Together they design individualized treatment plans for patients ranging from re-gaining communication skills, improving mobility, strength and muscle function (for using wheelchairs and walkers), to carrying out daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Nutritional concerns are addressed as well, so that when a patient leaves Senior Rehab, they are on track to better care for themselves and their diet at home. Trained staff are available to provide educational and emotional support too, which helps patients cope with the sudden changes that illness or injury can bring.

Treatments are broken down into three main categories:

• Physical Therapy (PT)
• Occupational Therapy (OT)
• Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)

At the Senior Rehab Center, patients typically have a very structured day. Part of the day is devoted to follow-up medical care which is designed to address ongoing physical issues, and part of the day involves physical and occupational therapy to help the patient build up strength and skills. But rehabilitation isn't all work, it's play too. Senior Rehab patients are encouraged to participate in stimulating activity through a busy calendar. Scheduled social programs are geared toward duplicating the strengths and skills seniors need to develop for quality of life in an independent setting.



Morning coffees, afternoon teas and ice cream socials bring patients and their guests together for refreshing interaction. Family members and others involved in their support system are welcome to join in social programs and daily living activities at the center.

September 1, 2016
Choosing a Transitional Rehab Facility 
If your elderly loved one needs transitional rehabilitative care, here are some questions you should ask before choosing a facility.

Does the facility specialize in rehabilitation? 
The rehabilitation facility you choose should have specialists including physicians, nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists; recreational therapists, and case managers. All of these specialists work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for your loved one.

What percentage of patients are sent home after receiving care? 
How many transition to longterm care or nursing home care? Is that available at the same rehab facility? 

Try to determine if the rehabilitation facility will be able to return your elderly parent or loved one to the highest level of function possible. One indicator of effective rehabilitation is how successful a center is in returning patients to their home. Of course, this isn’t always possible, depending on your parent’s condition or health problem.

What are the staff’s qualifications? 
The facility you choose should be accredited by The Joint Commission (formerly the JCAHO) or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Ask about the qualifications of the nurse aids who will be doing the day-to-day care of patients. Has the facility had any issues with patient abuse or neglect? Does the facility do background screening of their employees? What is the turnover rate of their nursing staff?

Is there a “continuum of care?” 
The rehabilitation process does not end with his or her stay in a rehab facility. Patients require varying levels of care before and after their inpatient stay. Some therapies your parent may need include outpatient therapy at a rehab facility, in-home physical therapy, or long-term inpatient care.

Is the facility experienced in treating your parent’s condition? 
Did your loved one have a hip replacement, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke or orthopedic procedure? Make sure the staff is experienced in the condition your loved one has. Specialists are more sensitive to the patient’s needs, have the right experience and will provide more creative treatments—all of which lead to a stronger recovery.

What is the average length of stay? 
Based on your parent’s condition, how long, on average, have other patients stayed in the rehab facility? What about people with the same condition as your parent?

How many hours of therapy a day will there be? 
Your loved one is in rehab, to be rehabilitated. Lying in bed for hours at a time will not help them recover. Research how many hours of therapy are needed per day, based on your parent’s condition. Then, make sure this number matches the amount of therapy the facility provides.

What should your parent bring? 
What items—such as toiletries, hearing aids, clothing, and money—are allowed at the facility? Are personal items such as personal furniture, favorite photographs, memorabilia allowed?

How can family members get involved? 
Are family conferences offered to keep family members informed of the patient’s progress? What are visiting hours, and how long can family members stay? Can they eat with their loved ones?

If you'd like to talk about your particular situation, please call Edie Belue at 256-232-3461 and she'll be happy to answer your questions or concerns. 





AUGUST 1, 2016


DO YOU WANT TO STAY CLOSE TO HOME FOR REHAB OR LONG-TERM CARE? 



Our professional staff has been highly trained to provide compassionate care for the unique needs of our long term residents or short-term rehab patients right here in Athens. We provide emotional and therapeutic activities to maintain or improve the abilities of each resident in a loving, home-like environment.

OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:


• 24-hour skilled Nursing Care        • Respiratory/Pulmonary care


• Coord. of Physician Services        • Cardiac Rehabilitation


• Post-hospital/ Post-Surgical Care  • Diabetic care/education


• PT, OT and Speech Therapy          • Pain Management


• Post Stroke Care                            • Wound Care


• Social Services                              • Dietary Services


• Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and private pay accepted


Call me today 256-232-3461 to find out how we can help you or your loved one. 

                                                     Regards,
                                                            Edie


JUNE 1, 2016



Dear Edie,
My father is scheduled to have a hip replacement in a few weeks.  His doctor tells us that he will definitely need some inpatient rehabilitation before he can return home.  While we want to follow his doctor’s orders, we have to know if this is something that Dad can afford.  He has Medicare and maybe some kind of insurance supplement but I don’t know if that helps or what!  Is there any way we can find out about this so we can help Dad decide what he wants to do? He is really getting stressed out about the money matters….which does nothing to help him physically, of course.  Any advice?
                                                                           Stressed Out Dad and Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Don’t stress out!  We will be glad to discuss the financial planning with you prior to your father’s surgery.  Senior Health and Rehab at Limestone Health Facility accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurances and private payment. Our financial planner will be happy to talk to you about your father’s particular insurances and financial responsibility so that you can make a fully-informed decision about his care.  We understand that this can be a point of great concern. Just give me a call at 256-232-3461 or drop me an e-mail @ edie@limestonehf.com and let us put your worries aside.
                                                                                                 Sincerely, Edie

MAY 1, 2016


Dear Edie,
I am having back surgery soon.  My doctor wants me to rehabilitate for a while before going home especially since I live alone.  I know that you all have all sorts of specialized equipment like hospital beds, walkers, etc. that I can use there… but what about when I go back home?  Will your staff be able to make recommendations about things that will be necessary or helpful to me after my rehab? If so, then how do I go about getting those items since I will be there? I know I may be thinking too far ahead but I am an independent person and am hoping to stay that way!

                                                        Independent Man

Dear Independent,
Always a good idea to be thinking ahead!  You are right in the fact that we do provide for your equipment needs while you are at Senior Health and Rehab at Limestone Health Facility.  We also help you plan for those specific needs that you might have once you are ready to leave our facility.  We will meet with you once you have been here for a couple of weeks to discuss your progress at that time.  We will also start planning prior to your impending discharge for any needs and services that will be helpful to you at home.  If you need certain equipment we can get that ordered, delivered and set up so it will be there when you need it!  We will also take care of setting up services for any continued health care or therapy that you may qualify for at your home or at an outpatient facility after your stay with us.
                                                                                                 Sincerely, Edie

APRIL 1, 2016

Dear Edie,

My parents have always worked hard and saved for their retirement years.  But now Dad is having his knee replaced, and his doctor said that he really needs to plan on going somewhere for in-patient therapy.  I am concerned that the cost of this therapy will leave them without enough money to live on.  How can they afford to pay for the care he needs?

                                                                                 
                                                                                          Concerned Daughter


Dear Daughter,

Put your concerns aside!  Senior Rehab and Recovery at Limestone Health Facility accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and private payment.  If your dad has Medicare, as most seniors do, this may help cover the cost of up to 100 days of in-patient rehab at our facility.  Days 1 through 20 are covered at 100% while there is a co-pay for days 21 through 100.  Medicare criteria must be met in order for the stay to be covered.  The initial requirement being that your dad starts his therapy within 30 days of an in-patient hospital stay of at least 72 hours.  We understand that all of this may sound a bit complicated but that’s what we are here for.  Why don’t you give me a call so we can discuss the specifics of your dad’s situation?  My number is 256-232-3461 or if you prefer, you can e-mail me at edie@limestonehf.com .  I look forward to hearing from you!  Edie





Dear Edie, 

My Dad is facing some upcoming surgery.  We really don’t feel like he is in need of long term placement in a nursing home but we know he will need some extra care following the surgery.  We are also interested in a therapy program that might help him return to independent living.  Does Limestone Health Facility offer any of these options for him?                                                                         Searching for the Proper Place


Dear Searching,

Your search is over!!! Long-term nursing care is not the only option for older adults anymore.  Here at Limestone Health Facility, we have the Senior Rehab and Recovery Center that specializes in short-term care.  Senior Rehab is dedicated to helping people, like your Dad, return to an active and independent lifestyle.


Senior Rehab patients participate in a focused course of inpatient therapy for a few weeks or longer, according to their doctor’s recommendations. Every day in Senior Rehab, therapists, nursing, dietary, social service and activities staff work with our patients to develop the strength and skills required for the demands of daily living. In addition to therapy sessions, we have lots of social activities to help our patients practice their skills and regain their strength. Our rehab patients share the desire to return to their homes and communities as soon as possible……OUR goal is to help them along the way!  Please feel free to call me at 256-232-3461 if I can assist you in the care of your dad.   Edie




MARCH 15, 2016

Dear Edie,

My husband was recently at Senior Rehab and Recovery at Limestone Health Facility following a stroke.  He received physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for 20 days.  He did so well there that we decided to take him home last week.  Now that he is home we realize that he needs more care than we can provide right now.  As a family, we believe that he might possibly benefit from some further treatment with your therapy department.  Is there any way that he could readmit to the facility for additional therapy?  How will we pay for this?

                                                                                               Caring Wife

Dear Caring,

We will be glad for him to return for continued therapy!  If it has been less than 30 days since his discharge from our facility then he can return and resume therapy using the remainder of his Medicare days.  Medicare pays for a maximum of 100 days of rehab if he meets the Medicare criteria.  Days 1 through 20 are covered at 100%; there is a co-pay required for days 21 through100.  We will be happy to discuss the possibility of readmitting your husband to our facility.  Just give me a call @ 256-232-3461.    Edie



Dear Edie,

My grandmother is in the hospital in another state!  She has a fractured hip and her doctor has told me there is no way she can return to her home alone.  She has no family there to assist with her care. I know nothing about rehab facilities there.  I have to work and really need for Grandmother to be here so that I can be more involved with her care!  Is there any way that she might be transferred to Senior Rehab and Recovery at Limestone Health Facility for her therapy?

                                                                                  Out-of-State Grandson

Dear Grandson,


We will certainly be glad to work with you and your grandmother’s physician and hospital to have her transferred to our facility when she is ready to discharge from the hospital.  The hospital discharge planner is welcome to fax referral information directly to me at (256) 232-3061.  They can also call me to discuss your Mom’s needs at (256) 232-3461.      Edie

FEBRUARY 15, 2016


Dear Edie,

I recently had surgery on my shoulder. When I was in the hospital, my doctor encouraged me to admit to a rehab facility directly from the hospital but I thought I could manage at home. I have quickly realized, after being home for a few days that I need more help than I thought. I am just not springing back like I used to.  Is it too late for me to admit to the Senior Rehab and Recovery Center at Limestone Health Facility for some therapy? 

                                                                                                         Wishing I Had Listened!

Dear Wishing,

Good News!!!  It is likely NOT too late for you to be admitted to the Senior Rehab and Recovery Center at Limestone Health Facility.  If you were in the hospital for at least 72 continuous hours within the past 30 days then you may still qualify for a Medicare-covered stay at our facility even though you have been out of the hospital for a few days!!!  Please feel free to give me a call at (256) 232-3461 to discuss the specifics! I look forward to hearing from you!             Edie




Dear Edie, 

I had knee replacement surgery on my left knee a while back.  I came to the Senior Rehab and Recovery Center at Limestone Health Facility for short term care following my discharge from the hospital.  I received excellent therapy and nursing care while there. It was such a positive experience that I visited my physician today to discuss having my right knee replaced!  Will Medicare cover more than one stay for therapy in your facility?

                                                                                                        Ready for Round Two

Dear Ready,


It sure will!  There are some requirements that are involved which include that you must have been discharged from the facility for at least 60 days and have not had any admissions to any other hospital or rehab facility during those 60 days to qualify for another Medicare-covered rehab stay.  I am so happy to hear that your previous experience with us was so positive and you have done so well after returning to your home.  Please call me to set up an appointment to discuss your next stay with us.  We look forward to serving you again.        Edie