Resources

Resources 2018-05-18T09:03:15+00:00

The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse

 
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:
kris2

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 | May 5th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse

Four Most Effective Ways to Treat Bone Spurs

Group of older mature people lifting weights in the gym

Bone spurs, which are small projections that develop on the edges of bones, are a highly common ailment that affects about 2 percent of the U.S. population.

People of any age can develop bone spurs, but they’re especially common in senior citizens since they are often associated with osteoarthritis-related joint damage.

Bone spurs don’t always require medical treatment, but, depending on their location, they can contribute to joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness that limit mobility. Bone spurs along the spine are particularly problematic, as are ones that develop in the knee or ankle joints.

For seniors who are struggling with bone spurs, there are lots of different treatment options available, including the four listed below.

 

1. Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the most effective treatments for managing bone spurs, especially spinal bone spurs.

Changing your diet will is, generally speaking, the most effective weight loss tool. Focus on limiting your caloric intake and cutting out greasy fast food and highly processed snacks. Replace them with high-quality protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados and olive oil.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help lubricate the joints and relieve inflammation.

2. Lifestyle Aids
There are lots of tools out there as well that can help relieve pain caused by bone spurs. Some good options to invest in include:

Supportive shoes that cushion the feet and avoid putting extra strain on the joints
Orthotic inserts to provide extra support
A shoe horn to help you avoid bending over and aggravating your back while getting dressed

3. Regular Exercise
Exercise releases natural painkillers in the form of endorphins. It also strengthens the muscles to help support the joints and relieve pressure placed on them.

Resistance training, walking, and swimming are all good exercise options for people struggling with bone spurs. Work with a trainer or physical therapist to make sure you’re practicing proper form and not doing anything to aggravate your condition.

4. Minimally Invasive Surgery
Finally, some people require minimally invasive surgery to get rid of their bone spurs. When you undergo surgery, a doctor will use state-of-the-art equipment to identify the spur and extract it.

This is typically an outpatient procedure, and the recovery time only lasts a few hours — you’ll be up and walking shortly after and won’t have to deal with an extended hospital stay.

By | April 30th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Four Most Effective Ways to Treat Bone Spurs

Tips for Nursing Students: The Successful Interview

 

 

Job Interview Word Cloud Concept

The National League for Nursing and the National Students Nurses’ Association (NSNA)(2012) stated that “although there is a shortage of registered nurses, the economic recession has flooded the RN market with experienced nurses who were retired, planning to retire, or went from part-time to full-time employment. The need for RNs has declined due to low hospital census”. Nursing students graduating today face a competitive employment market. Much of your success at getting the position you want will depend on how well you interview for the job. Follow these steps to be better prepared and increase your chances for a successful interview.

Be prepared

Submit your resume and application in advance, but do not assume that the person interviewing you has read them carefully. Before the interview, think about how you can highlight important aspects of your experience or education.  Do some background research on the organization or place to which you are applying.

Familiarize yourself with the key people in authority, especially focusing on the person who will interview you. During the interview you can use this information to establish some common ground. Consider some key areas such as: How large is the organization and/or the unit where you are applying? What population and geographic area do they serve? What expertise do you have to offer that might be valuable to them? For example, if you are applying for a job on an inpatient rehabilitation unit, did you have a course in rehabilitation or do clinical rotations in rehab? If so, be sure to mention this during the interview.

Look professional

Paul Walden, writing on the NSNA website, stated, “appearance and attitude are everything. Dress in professional attire and smile. Make sure you arrive promptly”. Although professional attire may be more casual than it has been in years past, employers still expect an interviewee to look his/her best.  This means no blue jeans, shorts, cut-offs, flip-flops, low-cut blouses, miniskirts, overbearing jewelry, or other extremes in attire.  Business casual is usually acceptable, but when in doubt, err on the side of dressing more formally in business attire than casual.

Start with a good beginning

Introduce yourself and offer to shake hands with the interviewer while making direct eye contact. Do not sit down until directed to do so. The interviewer controls the interview. Express enthusiasm for the interviewer taking time to speak with you and make a positive comment about the surroundings or reputation of the facility. Smile and convey friendliness, approachability, and confidence. Most nurse managers are looking for a “good fit” in a new employee with their existing staff and unit milieu. Your personality may be as important to the manager as your skill set. Listen for comments made by the interviewer that suggest he/she is seeking someone who will be a team player and then be sure to share ways in which you have successfully blended with similar groups in the past.

Ask thoughtful questions

Have a few thoughtful questions ready to ask. For example: How does the open position fit within the organizational chart? Is there opportunity for gaining additional education? What type of orientation or mentoring do they provide for new nurses? Are there opportunities for advancement? These types of questions show that you are interested in a long-term relationship with the organization and are willing to learn and increase your professional skills. Asking deliberate questions can also help you assess whether or not this job is the right one for you.

Be memorable

You want the person conducting the interview to remember you in a positive light. What sets you apart from others who might be applying for this job? Answering that question in advance will point you in the direction where you need to shine. This might be your engaging personality, strong evaluations from clinical professors, your flexibility or willingness to learn, your experience in another country with service-learning projects, or your good academic performance.

End the interview well

If you were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the unit or facility, be sure to take advantage of any opportunities to greet or interact with staff or patients. The interviewer may be watching to see if you display positive interpersonal skills. Before you leave the interview, be sure that you know how you will be notified if they wish to hire you. Thank the interviewer and shake hands again (if appropriate), expressing your enthusiasm for this wonderful opportunity. If possible, send a follow-up email or thank you note to the interviewer for his/her time and attention. Be sure to continue to display warmth and cordiality as you leave the facility. You never know who may be watching.

See this article at StuNurse.com. Click on the link below:

http://www.digitaleditionsonline.com/publication/?i=157690&p=15

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By | April 27th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Tips for Nursing Students: The Successful Interview

Guest Blog: Five Jobs For Seniors That Will Combat Loneliness

lonly man

 

While many seniors enjoy leaving the workforce and retiring after years of hard work, some find the transition a difficult and lonely experience, especially those who live alone or far away from family members. It can be hard to get used to filling up the days without work — and co-workers — to help pass the time, and at times it’s equally difficult to create new friendships.

While it can be daunting at first, taking on a new job is a great way to form new bonds and friendships, stay active, and keep living a fulfilling life after a big change. Here are five great jobs for seniors who want to fill their days with people and activity.

Dog-walking

Chances are there are dozens of pet owners nearby who are in dire need of a responsible caretaker for their pets. Rover.com can help you find jobs in your area and will set you up with pet owners for a meet-and-greet. Once you find the job that’s right for you, the site will even handle the financial end of things. And for extra cuddle time with a sweet creature, you can also sign up to be a pet sitter.

Greeter/Hospitality

Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores are just three businesses that require greeters and hospitality, and while the duties vary, this can be a wonderful job for active seniors. It allows you to work with people while maintaining flexible hours, and many stores offer an employee discount on some of their items.

Tour Guide

Museums, hotels, and historical buildings are a few of the businesses that require tour guides, and these will likely offer flexible hours while still giving you the chance to socialize.

Tutor/Music Teacher

If you have experience in education, art, or music, you might consider tutoring or teaching lessons. Check Craigslist.org for job posts and consider advertising your services on social media, or even on a flier at your local supermarket.

Going through such a huge life change can be difficult at first, but there are plenty of jobs available for seniors who need flexible schedules and want to keep loneliness at bay.

Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home mom and home educator. She and her husband decided to homeschool when their oldest was four years old. During their journey, they’ve expanded their family and have faced many challenges. But they’re happy to have overcome each one. Jenny writes about her family’s experiences and homeschool, in general, on her new blog, SpecialHomeEducator.com.

 

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By | April 25th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Five Jobs For Seniors That Will Combat Loneliness

Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is a serious issue for older adults. Between three and fourteen percent of seniors experience symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosable disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Even though they don’t have a diagnosable disorder, another 27 percent also experience symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis that have a significant impact on their day-to-day functioning.

If you have a parent or loved who may be struggling with anxiety, keep these four tips in mind to help them manage symptoms in a healthy way.

1. Recognize the Signs
The first step to helping a loved one manage anxiety is being able to identify their symptoms. Common signs of anxiety disorders include:

• Excessive fear or worry
• Refusing to do activities they used to enjoy
• Being obsessed with a routine
• Avoiding social interactions
• Sleep troubles
• Muscle aches and tension
• Shakiness or weakness
• Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs

2. Let Them Know You’re There for Them
Many seniors are hesitant to talk about their struggles because they don’t want to be a burden. If you think your parent or a loved one is dealing with anxiety, it’s important for them to know that you’re there for them and aren’t judging them.

3. Prevent Falls
As they age, seniors typically struggle with impaired balance, which can cause a lot of anxiety and make them worry about falling and getting hurt.

One way to show the senior in your life that you support them is to take steps to prevent falls and help them feel safe in their homes. Some ways you can do this include:

• Installing grab bars in the bathroom
• Removing loose rugs and other slip hazards
• Rearranging cupboards and cabinets so items are within easy reach
• Investing in a medical alert system

4. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help
You should also encourage your parent or loved one to work with a professional.

Make an appointment with their doctor and let them know what you’ve noticed. You may also want to schedule an appointment with a therapist or hire a home care aide to come in and check on them a few times a week.

There are lots of things you can do to help a parent or loved one manage their anxiety in a healthy way. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with these four tips.

By | April 24th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Medicine Cabinet Spring Cleaning Reminders for Seniors

Are you tending to your ever-growing spring cleaning checklist? If you don’t have “clean out the medicine cabinet” as one of your ToDos, add it today and don’t forget these important reminders:

Dispose of Old Medicine
Unused prescriptions, expired over-the-counter drugs, empty boxes, and bottles . . . it’s easy for a medicine cabinet to become cluttered over the year with superfluous items. Take some time this spring to clear it out and safely dispose of the medicine you no longer use.

  • Check expiration dates and recycle old medicine boxes and bottles (remove prescription labels before you toss them or mark out private information)Follow instructions for disposing of medicine or check with your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency about upcoming drug take-back events
    Simplify your daily medicine schedule by sorting pills into color-coded pill organizers with day of the week and time of day compartments

Upgrade Home Health Items
As you get older, is your doctor recommending you check health metrics at home more regularly like blood pressure, temperature, or blood sugar? Having handy, reliable home health tools to gather and record important health data could play a significant role in helping you manage a chronic illness, prevent infection, and be alerted when something seems off. Don’t forget to check that these tools are in working order:

  • An accurate thermometer to check one’s temperature regularly
    A reliable blood pressure monitor with memory for recording readings
    A blood sugar monitor with strips (especially if you are one of the 25% of adults over 65 with diabetes)
    A pulse oximeter (if you have frequent respiratory infections or heart disease)

Update Medical ID
Did you know that most smartphones offer you the ability to store important medical ID information in the event of an emergency? Simply find the Health app or Medical ID feature in the settings on your phone and input important information like birth date, known medical conditions, allergies, blood type, and emergency contact numbers.

If first responders are unable to get this information from you at the scene of an accident, they are now trained to check your smartphone. Medical ID information can be accessed from the lock screen of most smartphones without having to enter a passcode.

Don’t forget to check the stock on your first aid kit – refilling items like band-aids, wound solution, NSAIDs, cold compresses, antibiotic cream, sterile gauze, and elastic bandages could come in handy during your summer adventures.

By | April 23rd, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Medicine Cabinet Spring Cleaning Reminders for Seniors