I have always been an advocate for new technology where it makes sense to adopt it. The adoption is never without its headaches though! Nothing ever works as advertised the first go round and of course there is a tremendous learning curve for all concerned.
A few years back we successfully converted our medication management from a paper system to an electronic system. The process became much safer and much more efficient. If you can make the process safer for the residents and more efficient for the staff it is a win-win for all! As painful as that transition was, we’ve not had a medication error in three and a half years – a considerable achievement!
Even more significantly is that the increased efficiency means that the staff have to spend 50% less time dispensing medication. The time saved goes towards providing more quality care for our residents, something they truly appreciate and our staff love doing. Everybody wins!
So the "pain and suffering" I and my staff had to endure during the new technology implementation was well worth it! Both the residents’ quality of life and staff morale was lifted up a notch as a result.
So being the glutton for punishment that I am, I have been working with our pharmacy to pilot a new process which takes our medication administration to an even greater level of safety and efficiency. Beginning May 16th, we are piloting this new process on four of our residents.
DISPILL is an innovative, cold-sealed multi-dose packaging system that makes it easy to manage and take medications. Each blister pack contains multiple medications that are grouped together based on the time of the day you are directed to take them. Each medication bubble is detachable from the rest of the card and contains the following information:
Dispill packs come prepackaged from the pharmacy so the staff simply need to peel off the pack that contains all the medications for that particular time of day and give to the resident. It saves staff time from having to take a pill from several separate packs; in some cases, more than 10 separate packs per resident. The timesaving will be enormous when you consider we administer ~600 medications each day!
We are looking forward to a successful test run over the next 30 days. Soon we will have all residents on the new system and on our way to yet more staff hours per resident ratio! That’s worth a few headaches in the beginning in anyone’s book!
I would like to thank our pharmacy, Rx Innovations, for introducing the new process and for teaming up with us on the pilot trial. I would also like to thank my wonderful staff for their willingness to go along with my new technology mania!
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”
It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”
I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
Can it think?”
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”
What’s it for?”
It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
You are a genius, ” said the angel.
Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
~ Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers
Happy Mother’s Day each and every one of you!
We recently lost a wonderful resident. It was an emotionally draining experience and yet another reminder about the terrific care our staff provide under very challenging circumstances. Dealing with dementia afflicted individuals can be very difficult but even tougher is the hospice care we provide through to the final end.
So a little about hospice…
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care website (2016), the term "hospice" (from the same linguistic root as "hospitality") can be traced back to medieval times when it referred to a place of shelter and rest for weary or ill travelers on a long journey. The name was first applied to specialized care for dying patients by physician Dame Cicely Saunders, who began her work with the terminally ill in 1948 and eventually went on to create the first modern hospice—St. Christopher’s Hospice—in a residential suburb of London.
Saunders introduced the idea of specialized care for the dying to the United States during a 1963 visit with Yale University. Her lecture, given to medical students, nurses, social workers, and chaplains about the concept of holistic hospice care, included photos of terminally ill cancer patients and their families, showing the dramatic differences before and after the symptom control care. This lecture launched the following chain of events, which resulted in the development of hospice care as we know it today.
In 1986 the Medicare Hospice Benefit was made permanent by the U.S. Congress.
The focus in on caring, not curing. Hospice utilizes an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and trained volunteers that address symptom control, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. In America, hospice care is provided to 1.65 million patients and their families, each year (and growing).
All Americans deserve quality care at the end of life – it’s a fundamental part of living.
While caring for those on hospice is not for everyone, especially during the last weeks and days, those who do it are very special individuals. At A Love For Life™, the staff are compassionate and dedicated. The care during the last phase of life can be very intense. The goal of all hospice providers is comfort. Comfort care can encompass the smallest of things such as lubricating ones lips frequently, to providing sips of water when drinking and eating are no longer possible. Great skin care means keeping individuals clean and dry. Pain management is one of the most important measures we take during this phase. Providing emotional support for families is also a part of the process.
Imagine the emotional toll it takes on caregivers. For example when we sit and hold hands of a dying person because family were unable to arrive in time. Or the times when we tearfully try to ease the pain of someone, or when we play the dying persons favorite music. Particularly difficult is putting our own emotions aside to support family members because we have cared for these folks for many years. They are our "family" too.
Our most recent passing was the epitome of staff devotion to our hospice residents during the last days.
She was alone because family did not arrive in time. I sat with her and held her hand. Sor talked to her and told her it was time to "let go and go to the light". It’s OK, Sor said. "It’s time. The angels are waiting. It’s going to be beautiful." Sor began to sing the most beautiful song in her most beautiful voice…in 10 minutes, our sweetheart was gone.
Yes, it takes very special individuals to ease the passage of the dying on their final journey and I am extremely blessed to have them working with me at A Love For Life™
I hope you all had a terrific Easter holiday and didn’t indulge in too many chocolate bunnies!
A Big Thank You to Peoples Banking Unusual employees, Trish and Sarah!
We were thrilled that Peoples Banking Unusual staff, as part of their Community Service efforts, came to ALFL-Alcazar to lead Easter activities with our residents.
Trish and Sarah came with an abundance of Peep Easter Bunnies and other creative decor to make Easter baskets and bouquets. The residents loved the activity! It was creative, colorful, festive, and fun!
… it was such a delight to have a community bank offer to come to little ‘ole us to do activities. I often hear the “biggies” (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, etc.) advertise about their community efforts. It doesn’t seem like the small fish like us ever get much in terms of volunteer services from giants like them.
So Peoples Banking Unusual, Trish and Sarah, a great BIG thank you from “little ‘ol us and keep on living up to the “Unusual” in your name!” Our residents enjoyed all the activity and attention!