Hospital-at-home: Lower costs, improved outcomes
Patients with certain conditions may have a new care option that allows them to bypass longer inpatient stays and receive higher levels of care at home. Hospital-at-home, or HaH, is growing in the U.S. as demand increases for inpatient beds and health systems look for ways to control costs, according to Healthcare Finance. While the concept has been studied and utilized to some degree since the 1970s, interest has increased dramatically over the past few years as more baby boomers age into Medicare and the cost of care continues to rise.
How it works: In order to be eligible for HaH care, patients must be medically stable with conditions that can be managed remotely and have stable housing with functioning HVAC and climate control, according to the American Hospital Association. HaH patients also need reliable social support with caregivers who can assist them during their at-home hospitalization. Patients receive daily visits from providers in their homes or through telehealth appointments. Care teams can remotely monitor patients around the clock using devices that collect data (such as blood pressure or oxygen saturation).
For patients, the benefits include a familiar environment with their preferred foods and uninterrupted sleep. According to Forbes, the routine nighttime wake-ups, beeping machines, and fluorescent lighting in hospitals can be disorienting. And according to the American Hospital Association, a more restful environment helps prevent the onset of delirium, reduces infection and fall risk, and promotes greater mobility. In addition, for caregivers who spend long hours looking after their loved ones, patient homes are usually more comfortable and spacious than a busy hospital room with a couch or chair at most.
The benefits are increasingly clear as more hospitals and health systems adopt HaH programs. According to a study published in 2021 in JAMA Network Open, patients in HaH programs had a similar mortality risk as patients in traditional inpatient settings, but their readmission risk decreased by 26 percent, along with a decreased risk for admission into a long-term care facility.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that HaH reduced the odds of unplanned hospitalization by 55 percent and healthcare costs by 47 percent over one month.
Low vision: what it is and what you can do about it
Low vision is an age-related eye condition that makes everyday tasks like driving and reading difficult. There’s no treatment or cure for low vision. However, there are things you can do to adapt and continue doing the things you love.
Symptoms of low vision
Low vision can’t be fixed with glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medicine. You may have low vision if you have difficulty:
• Recognizing people’s faces
• Telling colors apart
• Seeing your television or computer screen clearly
Besides blurry or hazy vision, you may have trouble seeing things in the center of your vision, out of the corners of your eyes, or at night and in low light.
Causes of low vision
Low vision is a symptom of one of several eye-related diseases, including:
• Age-related macular degeneration
• Diabetic retinopathy
Older adults are more susceptible to low vision because the diseases that cause it are more common in older people.
Living with low vision
If you have minor low vision, using bright lights at home or work may help you see better. Moreover, wearing polarized lenses when bright can help filter glare, improving your vision.
Talk to your doctor or optometrist if low vision prevents you from doing everyday tasks. They may advise using a magnifying glass for reading and other activities or rearranging your home so you can move about easily.
What’s dental fluorosis?
Dental fluorosis is a condition that changes the appearance of tooth enamel. It occurs when children consume too much fluoride while their teeth develop under the gums. The symptoms then appear in their adult teeth. Depending on the severity of the fluorosis, common signs include:
• White or brownish streaks
• White or black spots
• Discoloration or mottling
Mild fluorosis doesn’t require treatment because the small white spots often go unnoticed. However, if you have severe fluorosis, various cosmetic solutions, such as tooth whitening or veneers, can help improve the appearance of your smile.
To prevent fluorosis, talk to your dentist about the right amount of fluoride to give your child. Supplements may sometimes be recommended. It’s also a good idea to supervise your child while they brush their teeth to ensure they only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and don’t swallow the excess.
Fluoride in a nutshell
Fluoride can significantly improve your dental health. It’s a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens enamel, increases its resistance to acidity, and prevents cavities. It can be found in fluoridated drinking water, foods like salmon, spinach, and dates, and fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash.
Niacinamide: a gentle skin treatment
How much do you know about niacinamide? This gentle ingredient offers many benefits for your skin and your overall health. Also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3, an essential nutrient that supports the health of your skin, kidneys, and brain.
When you eat foods high in B3, like eggs, cereals, green vegetables, fish, and milk, niacinamide supports cell functioning and helps your body convert food into energy. As a topical treatment, niacinamide can benefit your skin in the following ways:
• It forms a protective barrier. Niacinamide helps your skin grow a lipid barrier, enabling it to retain more moisture. It can also safeguard your skin from oxidative stress caused by sunlight and pollution. In addition to supporting moisture retention, niacinamide can help regulate your sebaceous glands so they don’t produce too much oil.
• It evens out irregularities. If you have skin conditions like eczema or acne, niacinamide can help reduce inflammation that causes redness and lesions. Likewise, some studies have shown that niacinamide can help lighten dark spots.
• It reduces signs of aging. Niacinamide is instrumental in producing keratin, which helps keeps your skin healthy and firm. It can also help reduce signs of sun damage, like fine lines and wrinkles.
Experts recommend using a serum or moisturizer with two to 10 percent niacinamide. Apply it as a final step after your cleanser, toner, and anti-aging product. Talk to a skincare expert near you for guidance.
Vitamins and minerals for older adults
As you get older, your nutrition needs change. Your body needs more of certain vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list of some essential nutrients for older adults.
• Calcium is found in dairy, tofu, and dark-green leafy vegetables. Older people at risk of bone loss need calcium in their diets. Men between 51 and 70 need 1,000 milligrams daily, while women over 51 and men over 71 need 1,200 milligrams daily.
• Vitamin B6 helps your body form red blood cells and is found in foods like bananas and potatoes. Men over 51 need 1.7 milligrams, while women of the same age need 1.5 milligrams.
• Vitamin B12 is found in meat and keeps your red blood cells and nerves healthy. Older adults may have trouble absorbing this vitamin from food and require a supplement. Aim for 2.4 micrograms per day.
• Vitamin D helps your body retain and use calcium and phosphorus. Only a few foods, like fish, contain it. Your skin also produces Vitamin D in sunlight. Therefore, a supplement may help you get the recommended amount if you live and work indoors. People between 50 and 70 require 600 international units (IU), while people over 71 require 800 IUs.
• Sodium in high doses can lead to elevated blood pressure, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. Men and women over 51 should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.
Talk to your doctor before taking supplements, as some may have severe side effects.
Breathing break reduces stress
If your to-do list is running long and your stress levels are rising, you might want to start your day with a quick break. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true — just a few short minutes of breathing and mindfulness can help you set your stress aside and improve your focus and productivity when you attack your inbox.
Set a timer for five minutes. Start up some relaxing sounds or soft music if you like. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders, and take a few deep breaths from your belly, letting the air slowly rise up into your chest, all the way up to the top of your head. Inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, then hold for four counts before starting again. Focus on each count and how the air feels as it moves in and out of your body. Think about how your body feels through each breath, and if other thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and let them go.
While you do this exercise, don’t worry about how well you’re doing it — just try to stay in the moment. When your timer goes off after five minutes, you can return to your tasks feeling refreshed and ready to tackle each challenge as it comes.
If a DIY quick meditation isn’t for you or if you prefer a guided experience, a number of meditation apps are available for iOS or Android. Try Headspace, Calm, Healthy Minds, or The Mindfulness App.
Cryolipolysis: Get sculpted without surgery
Are you looking for a way to say goodbye to stubborn fat without liposuction? Cryolipolysis (Cool¬Sculpting®) is an ingenious controlled cooling system that provides long-lasting results.
What is it?
Cryolipolysis is a non-surgical, needle-free treatment that destroys fat cells below the skin to reshape your body without damaging the surrounding tissue.
How does it work?
Cryolipolysis freezes and crystallizes targeted fat cells and destroys them. The body naturally eliminates these dead fat cells in the weeks following the treatment. Untreated areas remain unchanged.
Unlike typical weight loss, where the size of the fat cells varies, cells treated with cryolipolysis disappear permanently, providing long-lasting results. This procedure also allows you, in most cases, to return to your daily activities immediately.
Which areas of the body can be treated?
You can use cryolipolysis to treat many areas of the body, such as a double chin, upper arms, love handles, abdomen, gluteal folds, and inner thighs.
Each person responds differently to treatments, and complications are possible but rare. To find out if cryolipolysis is right for you, visit a clinic in your area that offers this service.
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