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The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse

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You may have heard of rehabilitation nursing, but are you familiar with what rehabilitation nurses do and their essential role in health care? According to the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), there are four major domains within the new competency model for professional rehabilitation nursing (ARN, 2016) that can help us understand what rehabilitation nurses do.  In this blog, we will look at the ARN model from a layperson’s viewpoint to help explain the role of the rehabilitation nurse. Rehabilitation nurses:

Promote successful living

Rehabilitation nurses do not only care for people, but they promote health and prevent disability. This means that rehab nurses engage in activities that help patients, families and communities stay healthy. Proactively, you might see rehab nurses helping with bike safety (such as promoting the wearing of helmets), car seat fairs (to keep children safe from injury), or stroke prevention through community screenings and teaching about managing risk factors. As rehab nurses, we also help patients towards self-management of existing chronic illness or disability, teaching them how to be co-managers with their health providers so they can maintain independence and have a good quality of life. Another key activity is facilitating safe care transitions. This means that rehabilitation nurses have a special skill set to know which setting of care is best for the patient to move to next and how to make this happen smoothly. For example, if Mrs. Smith has had a stroke and finished her time in acute rehabilitation in the hospital, but she lives alone and is not quite ready to go home, what is the best care setting or services for her to receive the help she needs?  Many errors, such as those with medications, happen when patients go from one place to another in the health system. Rehabilitation nurses can help persons successfully navigate these complexities and be sure that clients get the continuity of care they need and deserve.

Give quality care

The interventions or care that rehabilitation nurses provide to patients and families is based on the best scientific evidence available. Part of being a rehab nurse is staying current on the latest technology, strategies for care, and best practices. This is to ensure that all patients receive the highest standard of care possible. We stay current in many ways, including reading journal articles, attending conferences, obtaining continuing education, and maintaining certification in rehabilitation. Research shows that having more certified rehabilitation nurses on a unit decreases length of stay in the hospital. In addition, all of rehab care focuses on the patient and family as the center of the interdisciplinary team. To this end, rehabilitation nurses teach patients and families about their chronic illness or disability across many different areas including: how to take medications; managing bowel and bladder issues; preventing skin breakdown; dealing with behavioral issues that might be present with problems such as brain injury or dementia; coping with changes from a disabling condition; sexuality; working with equipment at home; and ways to manage pain.

Collaborate with a team of experts

Rehabilitation nurses are part of an interprofessional team of physicians, therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, and many others who work together for the best patient outcomes. For persons who have experienced a catastrophic injury or illness, the work of this team of experts sharing common goals will provide the best care, and rehab nurses are the ones who are with the patient 24/7 to coordinate this process. Through effective collaboration, excellent assessment skills, and communication with the rest of the team members, rehab nurses ensure that patient and families are getting well-coordinated care throughout the rehabilitation process. Remember that rehabilitation takes place in many settings, whether on the acute rehab unit, in skilled care, long-term care, or the home. The nurse’s role is to be sure that the holistic plan of care is followed by all staff and that the physicians overseeing medical care are continually informed of patient progress for the best decision-making possible.

Act as leaders in rehabilitation

 Not only do rehabilitation nurses provide direct patient care, they are also leaders in the rehabilitation arena. You might be surprised to learn that rehabilitation nurses advocate at the highest level for legislation surrounding funding and policy for those with disabilities and chronic illness, talking with Senators and Congressmen about key issues. ARN has professional lobbyists that continually watch health policy movement in Washington and keep rehab nurses informed. Rehab nurses help patients to advocate for themselves in holding government and communities accountable for needed care services. Lastly, rehab nurses share their knowledge with others. This is done in a variety of ways through conducting and publishing research, presenting at conferences, serving on local and national committees, and serving in public office. All of the leadership activities done by nurses in rehabilitation are to promote the best quality of care for patients with chronic illness and disability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By |2019-08-29T14:36:23-05:00September 14th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse

Guest Blog: The 5 Most Important Vitamins for Seniors

No matter what your age may be, you’ll need to stay healthy by eating right and staying fit. However, as your body gets older, it’s more challenging to hit your target quotas for certain vitamins and minerals because of hormonal changes. Check out the 5 most important vitamins for seniors:

1. Vitamin A

While you may be familiar with vitamin A’s importance for your vision, reproduction, and immune system, you’re probably not aware that it also helps many of your organs to function properly. You can get preformed vitamin A from meat and poultry including salmon and dairy products. On the other hand, you can get provitamin A (such as beta-carotene) from fruits that include apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, squash, and carrots. You can also find vitamin A in your fortified breakfast cereals.

It’s important to note that Vitamin A supplements may interact with Orlistat, which is a weight-loss drug. Also, you shouldn’t take supplements at the time you’re taking prescription medicines that use synthetic forms of vitamin A in them.

2. Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 will further enhance your metabolism, brain processes, and your body’s creation of new red blood cells. Furthermore, it’s also important for repairing genetic material. The best sources for vitamin B-12 are fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

However, as your body ages, your stomach doesn’t make as much hydrochloric acid that helps break away this vitamin from animal foods. Without this stomach acid, unabsorbed vitamin B-12 just passes through your digestive tract. Therefore, seniors are advised to get vitamin B-12 from supplements rather than whole food sources.

3. Vitamin D

Although bone loss can’t be prevented as you get older, you can slow it down by taking more vitamin D. With regular intake of a vitamin D supplement, your body’s absorption of calcium will significantly improve. The result would be stronger bones with fewer chances of getting fractures. Good sources of vitamin D include whole eggs, cod liver oil, salmon, and fortified dairy foods, fortified orange juice, and fortified breakfast cereals.

When you were younger, some vitamin D was made as you exposed yourself in direct sunlight. However, this process isn’t as efficient as it used to be when you’re in your senior years. In fact, by the time you turn 50, your body will require 600 international units of vitamin D every day. This increases to 800 IUs per day when you hit 70.

4. Vitamin K

You’ll need vitamin K to make your blood clot. When you injure yourself or fall, this vitamin helps promote proper wound healing. Furthermore, it also prevents bone loss to seniors who suffer osteoporosis. Aside from your daily multivitamin with a huge portion of your vitamin K requirement, you’ll need to ear more spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Swiss chard, liver, fish, meat, eggs, and cereals. if you want to your vitamin K levels to be elevated even more.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that wards of the free radicals that destroy your body’s healthy cells. Aside from this, it also protects your eyes, reduces your chances of developing heart disease, and boosts your immune system. You can get your supply of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, oranges, broccoli, and red peppers. However, it’s best to take vitamin C supplements to meet your daily requirement of 90 milligrams (for women) and 75 milligrams (for men).

Stay on Top of Your Game

It would’ve been ideal if you could get all of the nutrients you need from fruits, vegetables, and other unprocessed whole foods. Unfortunately, science can’t perfectly recreate all that nature has to offer into whole foods. This means that if you want to stay on top of your game, you’ll need to supplement your diet with these 5 most important vitamins for seniors.

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By |2019-09-13T08:49:22-05:00September 13th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: The 5 Most Important Vitamins for Seniors

Guest Blog: 5 Frugal Retirement Living Tips for Seniors

White clock with words Time for Action on its face

A 2015 survey revealed that Americans fear to get broke during retirement. 55% of the 1000 respondents confessed they fear not having enough money for their needs. It is a fear many newly retired folks experience hence the need to adapt to a frugal lifestyle. Here are some tips how:

1. Do Away with Unnecessary Insurance Policies
While car and homeowner’s insurance policies remain vital for many retirees, other types may not be worth renewing after retirement. A life insurance policy is not as important, especially if you are debt-free.

2. Track Your Expenses
It is essential to keep track of all your expenses after retiring. A budget helps avoid dipping into your retirement savings more than you need to. You also get to control your spending habits in terms of choices. The more effort you put into tracking your spending, the easier it gets to determine areas you need to cut back on spending.

3. Identify Ways to Reduce Property Taxes
Retirees can keep their property taxes from increasing to grow their monthly disposable income. Some states offer property tax rebates for older residents. You should do your research so you can take advantage of these opportunities.

4. Shop Smart
Some hotels, drugstores and other services offer senior discounts. The qualifying age may vary from one company to another, but it’s worth a try.

5. Vacation Less
It’s natural to treat yourself to a vacation. Sadly, these costs add up pretty fast cutting into one’s retirement savings. Retirees receive discounts and special offers for travel and local outings, giving them more cash to spend without dipping into their savings excessively.

The tips discussed should help you formulate strategies for frugal living after retirement. According to Jane Byrne of FirstCare Kildare, always be realistic about whether your finances will allow you to maintain the same standard of living. Whether you have saved a reasonable amount, living on a fixed income requires you to reduce spending.

By |2019-09-11T13:21:34-05:00September 13th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Frugal Retirement Living Tips for Seniors