Q&A Series: You Ask, We Answer

We’re excited to launch a new monthly blog series to answer your questions related to the care of your loved one.

For our inaugural blog, we’ve compiled a list of questions we’re often asked in conversations with our clients and their families – in inquiries from those interested in learning more about our services and home health care, as well as through social media. We hope you enjoy this kickoff post, and please feel free to share with us any questions you might have using the hashtag #AskPremierHHC on Twitter, or share a question with us in the comments section of our posts on Facebook.

Q: My dad is too ill to get to the doctor’s office. How do I get him the medical help he needs?

A: House calls have never been as popular as they were in the 1930s (when visits to the home accounted for 40% of doctors’ appointments). But for patients who are homebound and cannot get to a doctor’s office (and without the benefit of house calls), the alternative becomes a visit to the emergency room at the hospital. Data shows that house calls can reduce hospitalizations as much as 60% and the VA reports that house calls reduce overall costs by 24% as well.

This compelling data has spurred a regrowth in the number of doctors and services that offer house calls. How then, can you find a doctor who will make house calls? Speak with your existing physician to see if she/he will (or can) refer you to a doctor or service that offers house calls. Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. can help as well. Our care management team can help you to coordinate this type of care.

Q: How do I start cleaning out my mother’s medications? Several are expired or haven’t been taken on schedule. Help!

A: To address the issue of medications that have not expired, but have not been taken properly, call your mother’s physician to ask for recommended next steps in how to handle this. Going forward, Premier Home Health Care works with our clients to ensure that medications are taken as prescribed.

It is important for expired medications (or ones that are left over because of a prescription change, for example) to be disposed of properly. Your local pharmacy may have a drug drop box for customers to dispose of expired or leftover medications. The US DOJ also offers a searchable list of drop-off locations.

If there is no drop-off location near you, the FDA recommends removing the pills from their original bottles, dumping them in with something like used kitty litter, and then placing this in a sealed bag in the garbage. For the bottles, remove the label that indicates what the medication was and contains your name before disposing of them.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare my mother’s home for her return from the hospital?

A: There are simple steps you can take to make the home environment safe and welcoming for someone who is returning from the hospital. Make sure any area rugs are secured. Check that loose wires aren’t a tripping hazard. Organize sleeping arrangements on the ground floor so the patient doesn’t have to walk up and down stairs. Steps like these can make moving around the home easier. For more information, see our Checklist: Returning Home from a Hospital Stay.

Q: It’s been three years since my mother passed away. How do I encourage my dad to be more social again so he’s not so lonely?

A: Grief has no timetable, and for some there may be no interest in new romantic relationships. But it is important to socialize and maintain friendships to make life more enjoyable and improve overall health.

Premier Home Health Care can manage transportation to social events at senior centers or to adult day care, where classes such as art and yoga may be offered, giving people the opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy games, dancing and more. Our care management team can help source local programs for seniors in your area. Even getting out of the house for a haircut, walk around the park, or a trip to the local coffee shop can help your loved one to feel more social. Distractions that break up the normal monotony of home life can help get the mind off of a lost loved one.

Q: How can I help my mom combat depression?

A: Depression impacts millions of Americans and is a serious condition. It also can be the result of other conditions, such as Parkinson’s . Depression may also be a part of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), for example.

Premier Home Health Care can help clients manage medications a doctor may prescribe for depression, as well as factors that may contribute to it. Encouraging clients to exercise and socialize can also help. Our home health aides can be a welcome social visit for our clients.

Q: How do I get my elderly parents to spend their hard-earned money on themselves?

A: Discussions about finances can be very uncomfortable – even among loved ones. Parents often place more value on spending money on their families or for saving for their children and grandchildren’s future than they will on their own enjoyment and overall well-being. It’s an old-school mentality that can be very hard to shake.

Shifting the conversation to how to invest in their health care can be difficult. Check out our guide to starting the home health care conversation which provides tips and ways to frame the dialogue.

To encourage spending on entertainment, outings and anything fun, it can help if you offer to join them so it’s something you’re doing together. Getting out and enjoying each other’s company, doing something you like to do together, can open the door to suggesting more activities with friends and extended family.

To learn more about Premier Home Health Care, please call 1-866-648-5119.