Ongoing Preventive Care Improves Quality of Later Life

Often, when thinking in terms of assisting those later in life, we do so to provide comfort, but there is another, important aspect of reducing medical problems and discomfort in the later stages of life: preventive healthcare.

Prevention reduces the chance that chronic conditions will overwhelm individuals and their loved ones as they age. Even if a person hasn’t practiced excellent habits throughout his or her lifetime, medical staff and health care providers can help that person develop a good regimen and manage illness. It’s never too late for a person to eat right, exercise properly and avoid toxins like tobacco and excessive alcohol, sugar and salt, which can contribute to organ damage and chronic conditions. Even adjusting sleep hours and increasing mental activity can substantially improve quality of life and reduce illness for patients.

Healthcare providers have a critical role in prevention through diagnosis, treatment of preliminary or underlying causes, and education. Given adequate attention, interaction and resources, patients and their family-based caregivers can often become active participants in maintaining wellness or stopping/slowing disease progression. Patients are well served by preventive action and an emphasis on getting and staying healthy. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners can play a big role in encouraging patients to tackle lifestyle changes that will result in disease prevention and management.  Tactics include:

  • Emphasize time and financial savings from being healthy.
  • Follow up with phone calls or cards that remind patients/caregivers of preventive behaviors.
  • Provide patients with online or paper checklists for at-home monitoring of blood pressure, weight, diet or other measurements and offer charts to help them track their progress.
  • Encourage use of appropriate information resources—online or in print.
  • LISTEN and DOCUMENT when a patient or caregiver details problems or concerns.

Healthcare providers are some of the most trusted advisors people have in the home care environment. They turn to in-home healthcare visitors as well as in-office medical staff for issues ranging from small nuisances to emotional problems and serious medical downturns. While staff members should not overstep their professional boundaries, all staff members can be good listeners and communicate information to the appropriate medical provider or direct patients to the right channel. Good practices in listening and offering advice or treatment will help patients receive quality care and reduce the potential for professional liability complaints.

Sometimes, those providing personal or companion care services are the first to notice early signs of disease or medical problems. This is true for employees recovering from a serious work-related injury, for victims of an automobile or other bad accident, and for patients recuperating from a stroke, heart attack or other sudden medical event. Early intervention as well as habitual adherence to preventive behaviors can drastically improve recovery times and reduce the chance of setbacks. Although companion care workers are non-medical aides, they can and should deliver appropriate quality preventive care and direction through their routine visits.

For example, by helping patients exercise, follow a healthy diet, take medications as prescribed or simply have some personal connection that uplifts the emotions, home and in-office healthcare and non-medical care providers play an important role in clients’ and patients’ quality of life. Even if full recovery isn’t possible, lifestyle quality will be vastly better if other diseases and setbacks are prevented. Talk to your patients and clients about the benefits of preventive care—vaccinations, checkups, healthy behaviors and home safety are all part of a comprehensive care program.

Our Insurance Program

At Manchester Specialty Programs, our comprehensive home health care industry insurance program includes an array of professional coverages, such as Professional Liability, Directors’ & Officers’ Liability (D&O), Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) and Regulatory Audit (RAC) Insurance Coverage. We have a long-term commitment to insuring the home health care industry, having begun to address the special insurance needs of this sector more than two decades ago. We can help hospice agencies, palliative care providers and insurance brokers navigate the coverage needs of a home health care business and find the best fit for insurance coverage. For more information about our programs and coverages, you or your local agent/broker may contact us at 855.972.9399.

Source: World Research Foundation