CareLink has been named a 2013 Best of Home Care Provider of Choice winner by Home Care Pulse, a national quality assurance company. Home Care Pulse contacts clients of CareLink monthly to perform customer satisfaction surveys. The results of those surveys earned CareLink this recognition in two categories- “timeliness of caregivers” and “will recommend agency to others.”
The Best of Home Care designation recognizes organizations which score at or above a benchmark established by the top in-home care agencies in the country. Agency Manager Cindy Paul says “It’s a real honor to be recognized for the excellent service we provide to our clients. We hear their feedback on monthly satisfaction surveys and make changes to our processes according to their suggestions. This recognition shows our efforts are successful and our clients are so satisfied that they will recommend us to others.”
CareLink's April 2013
Employee of the Month Award
Nancy Tryon has been named CareLink’s April 2013 Employee of the Month. Nancy has worked for CareLink since April 2012. She lives in Camp Point with her husband Glen. Nancy earned this recognition because she has 100% attendance and is always willing to help out with short notice assignments. Nancy’s clients report that she provides excellent care.
CareLink's March 2013
Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Jeri Cady, who has been named March employee of the month. Jeri has worked for CareLink since April of 2012. She lives in Quincy with her husband Gary, and has three children and eight grandchildren. Jeri has perfect attendance, checks in and out on time, and is always willing to help out with short notice assignments. We’ve received many compliments on the quality of care she provides. Upon hearing of her award, Jeri said “That’s so nice. Thanks very much.” Thanks for all you do, Jeri!
Chronic health conditions are those for which there is no cure. These include many forms of heart and lung disease, as well as diabetes, and arthritis. Chronic conditions account for most health care expenditures and are the cause of 70% of deaths in the United States. Many chronic health conditions can be effectively managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and appropriate treatments.
It is possible to manage these chronic health conditions in the home without having to relocate to a skilled nursing facility. For many conditions, effective self-management of the condition will keep the patient feeling well and able to do the things they normally do; treatments and management approaches can adapt very well to the home environment. Much of that management may involve lifestyle and behavior changes, so the patient can help control the course of their condition.
The first step in managing a chronic condition is education. The person diagnosed needs to be sure they understand what the condition is, what causes it, and what treatment options are available. They also need to understand that ongoing treatment is necessary since this is a chronic condition that will not be cured. The physician diagnosing the condition should be able to start the education, but sometimes just hearing the diagnosis makes it hard to think of any questions you may have. It’s a good idea to take notes of any questions the patient has and to make another appointment to have time with the physician to answer those questions. They should consider taking a family member or a friend to that appointment to make sure all questions are asked and answered. CareLink Nurse Care Coordinators attend appointments with clients when needed to make sure the communication between provider and patient is clear.
It may be difficult to know what to ask the doctor. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a list titled “Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor after a Diagnosis." This list provides an excellent basis for good communication with the healthcare provider.
- What is the technical name of my condition, and what does that mean in plain English?
- What is my prognosis (outlook for the future)?
- How soon do I need to make a decision about treatment?
- Will I need additional tests, and if so what kind and when?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the pros and cons of my treatment options?
- Is there a clinical trial (research study) that is right for me?
- Now that I have this diagnosis, what changes will I need to make in my daily life?
- What organizations do you recommend for support or information?
- What resources (booklets, websites, audiotapes, videos, DVDs, etc.) do you recommend for further information?
The provider may not be able to address all these questions immediately or at one time, but this is information the patient can gather over time to help make decisions and manage their situation.
The next step in chronic disease management is finding support. This can be found by contacting the physician or local hospital. There are many online support groups with message boards where questions can be posted and answered by medical professionals or others undergoing treatment for the same condition, or simply connect with someone in a similar position. It’s a good idea for the patient to check these out with their healthcare provider to weed out ideas that are not based on solid research.
Having a good management plan is the third step to living with a chronic disease. The steps in that plan will be the result of decisions made based on the information gathered and recommendations of the healthcare provider. The patient should be sure they’ve learned and discussed the pros and cons of treatment options, and should make sure their provider understands their preferences regarding:
- Medical versus surgical treatment approaches
- Staying within their local healthcare system or seeking care at a medical center
- End of life care
- Staying in their own home versus in-facility care
Then it’s time for the patient diagnosed with the chronic condition to make their plan, including what they will do as their condition changes and as treatment needs change.
Some things to include in that management plan are:
- The treatments decided upon with the provider including, as appropriate, any medications, surgery, and therapies.
- For most chronic conditions, another important component relates to the patient’s lifestyle, including their level and type of physical activity, nutrition, mental health, and stress management.
- Self-monitoring is another important factor. For most chronic conditions, regular weights, blood pressures, and noting changes will be the patient’s responsibility.
Depending on their health status and family situation, the patient may need help implementing the lifestyle and self-monitoring parts of their plan. For example, they may need to consider:
- Who will help me get the appropriate amount of physical activity or assist me with prescribed exercises?
- How will I handle my nutritional needs? Do I need assistance with a special diet?
- Can I adequately monitor my own condition? Do I need assistance with taking and recording vital statistics?
- What about my activities of daily living? Do I need help with my housekeeping, my personal care, or my errands?
For most people with chronic health conditions, remaining in their preferred living arrangement is a realistic option. As they organize their management plan, they will identify areas where they need assistance and use resources identified to find the help they need. A CareLink Nurse Care Coordinator can be a very helpful resource in pulling together the assistance those diagnosed with a chronic health condition need to live safely and as healthy as possible in their own home.
CareLink's December 2012
Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Dawn Evans, our December Employee of the Month. Dawn has worked for CareLink for a year. She lives in Quincy with her husband Mark and two children. In addition to working as a CareLink caregiver, Dawn is also attending classes to become a nurse. Dawn has had 100% attendance for the past three quarters, and accepts several short notice assignments. This dependability and willingness to help when needed has earned Dawn this recognition. Upon hearing of her award, Dawn said, “This is so nice. I really appreciate it!”.
CareLink's November 2012
Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Stephanie Newhouse, who has been named Employee of the Month for November. Stephanie has worked for CareLink since November of 2011. She lives in Springfield with her two children and is attending Lincoln Land College to complete her prerequisites for her RN program. Stephanie is being recognized for the excellent care she provides to every client she serves, and for dependability and willingness to help when needed. Upon hearing of her award, Stephanie said, “Wow, that’s great--what an honor.”
CareLink's October 2012
Employee of the Month Award
Our October Employee of the Month is Carolyn Click. Carolyn has worked from the Quincy office since April 2009. She is being recognized for her dependability
and for the excellent care she provides to
her clients. Congratulations, Carolyn!
According to the Illinois Department On Aging, 76,000 Illinoisans over the age of 60 have suffered some form of abuse. Sadly, only about 10,000 of those cases are reported annually. Overall as a nation, it is estimated that 450,000 to 500,000 elders are abused annually. To help raise awareness of this growing problem, CareLink recently sponsored a presentation by Lori Moshier of Novaetus. Lori presented “Broken Trust: Protecting Against Elder Abuse” to help educate area organizations that serve the elderly about identifying, reporting, and helping to prevent elder abuse. Here is a summary of her presentation.
Elder abuse takes several forms- physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, and financial. Elder financial abuse is the “unauthorized use or illegal taking of funds or property of people aged 60 and older”. Although it is under reported, it is estimated that the annual loss to the elderly victims is $2.6 billion. Several factors make the elderly a prime target for this type of abuse- large net worth, diminished cognitive abilities, social isolation, and predictable pattern in payments received (such as social security checks, pension checks, etc.).
The perpetrators of elder financial abuse are usually not strangers to their victims. They can be a family member who is caring for that person or a non-family member such as a housekeeper, privately hired caregiver, or trusted neighbor. Their closeness to their victim provides the opportunity to cultivate relationships and earn trust. From there, it’s easy to begin manipulating the victim into giving them money, or even taking it without their permission. Sometimes family members justify the abuse through a sense of entitlement to offset the extra care they provide, compared to their siblings or other family members.
There’s no way to tell who is at risk because elder financial abuse is not limited to any particular social class, income, race, sex, or income level. Lower income individuals are at risk, but their cases usually include lower amounts of money. Females tend to be financially abused more often than men because they may not have previously been in charge of finances before their husband passed away. But elderly men are more at risk for “sweetheart scams” where they are persuaded by a younger women who pays romantic attention. Men tend to be more financially aggressive in making investment choices also, which makes them susceptible to financial scams.
The warning signs of elder financial abuse include:
- fear when the caregiver is present
- withdrawn behavior and unkempt appearance
- increased anxiety about finances
- new close acquaintances
- missing belongings
- major changes in spending patterns
- sudden changes regarding financial management
- new signatories
- confusion over debit and credit charges
- missed appointments and uncharacteristic non-payment for services.
While physicians are the first to spot signs of physical abuse, bankers should be able to identify situations of elder financial abuse. The Illinois Elder Abuse Task Force has a B*SAFE program in place (Bankers and Seniors Against Financial Exploitation) that encourages and helps banks to train their personnel to identify, report, and stop situations involving senior exploitation.
Often financial abuse accompanies other forms of elder abuse. Neglect is common and makes up over half of all abuse cases. Some indications of neglect include untreated conditions (such as bedsores), weight loss, being left dirty or unbathed, and inappropriate clothing or coat for the weather. Coupled with financial abuse, neglect may include situations where money that should have been directed for care is not being used for that purpose.
The best defense against elder abuse of any form is proper oversight of the elder’s care. Having a reliable power of attorney (preferably an impartial family member who does not reside in the elder’s home) is the first step. Direct deposit of checks whenever possible is also encouraged so a checkbook isn’t accessible by a caregiver. Other measures include keeping belongings neat, listing significant valuables, reporting instances of theft, and avoiding hiring anyone privately to care for the elder. Privately hired caregivers have no licensure to govern their actions and can put them in a position to exploit the elder. CareLink is licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. We have two licenses- Home Nursing Agency and Home Services Agency. These licenses provide minimum regulations to help ensure appropriate care and oversight. In addition, we voluntarily maintain accreditation with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Medical personnel, including providers of adult care, nursing home workers, social workers, and emergency personnel are required to report any suspected case of abuse towards an older person who are unable to report for themselves. Bankers, law enforcement and peace officers, public officials, counselors, and clergy members are also required reporters. To report a case of suspected elder abuse, access the 24 hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 800-1409. The identity of the reporter is kept confidential and will be disclosed only to investigative and prosecutorial authorities. Failure to report can carry a penalty of $1,000 and six months in jail.
CareLink specializes in providing the services to help ensure smooth transitions to home and the ongoing in-home care system that can help reduce readmissions and provide patients and their families with peace of mind. By filling the care gaps and working along with these providers, our nurses ensure continuity of care can be established and followed. We foster good communication among all health care providers to help reduce medication errors, educate patients, and maintain compliance with all therapies and care plans.
CareLink's September 2012
Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Gwena Clark who has been named the September employee of the month. Gwena has been a caregiver at CareLink's Quincy office since April of 2010. She received this recognition for providing excellent care to every client she cares for and also for her willingness to help when needed.
CareLink's August 2012
Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Lisa Ribble, our August Employee of the Month! Lisa works from our Springfield office and was awarded this honor for the dedication and care she
provides to our clients.
CareLink's July 2012 Employee of the Month Award
Congratulations to Nathalie Messan who has been named July employee of the month. Nathalie has worked for CareLink since April 2009. She lives in Quincy, IL and works out of the Quincy office. Nathalie is being recognized for the excellent care she provides to every client she serves, and for dependability and willingness to help when needed. Nathalie is married to Justin and has 3 children, Georges, Glory, and Grace. Upon hearing of her award, Nathalie said “I didn’t ask for this honor but thank you very much.” Congratulations to Nathalie on this well deserved reward.
CareLink's First Employee of the Month Award
Sandy Schaffer is the very first employee to recieve the CareLink Employee of the Month award. Sandy, who works in our Quincy office, has shown the qualities that make a great caregiver. When you see Sandy, be sure to congratulate her.
September 7, 2012
By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, CareLink, Inc. employees helped raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an inspiring and community-driven event.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a united movement to reclaim the future for millions. This fall, walks will be held across the country to raise awareness for the 5.4 million people with Alzheimer’s nationwide. The Walks to End Alzheimer’s are the Association’s signature community involvement events that raise funds to fight Alzheimer’s.
CareLink provides skilled nursing, supportive services and care coordination to help elderly individuals, people with chronic illness, and disabled individuals live safely and as healthy as possible in their own homes or apartments. CareLink serves central Illinois and eastern Missouri from offices located in Quincy and Springfield, IL.