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depressed young schoolgirl with stop bullying text on notebook helpless and scared as victim of bullying

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Bullying is defined as abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. Unfortunately, bullying is nothing new. However, with each new technological advancement we see, bullies find a new outlet to use to prey on their targets. In honor of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Abode Hospice and Home Health is taking a stand and raising awareness for the immense need to stop bullying.

Bullying Can Occur at Any Age

Typically, we think of bullying as being something that occurs among adolescents. However, bullying can occur among any age group, race, or gender. Any instance of mistreatment or seeking to hurt someone or make them feel badly is considered bullying. It can happen at school, at work, or even among friends and family.

Bullying Doesn’t Always Stop When You Go Home

Although they can be wonderful means of keeping in touch with old friends, social media and other online communication platforms can negatively contribute to bullying. The days of going home to escape a bully are long gone. Now days, bullies can just log on to their computer or grab their phone and pick up right where they left off. In some instances, bullying can be more extreme online because the bully feels more confident when hiding behind a screen. Some even create a fake social media profile to target those who are more vulnerable.

The Impact of Bullying

Bullying can impact a child in many ways. It can weigh on them emotionally and physically and can have a negative impact on their relationships with friends and family.

Emotional and Social Impact of Bullying

Kids who are bullied often have a difficult time making friends and maintaining healthy relationships. If no intervention occurs, they can develop something called “learned helplessness,” which means they feel as though there is nothing they can do to change the situation. As a result, they give up. This can ultimately lead to severe depression.

As a bullied child grows into an adult, they may continue to struggle with issues with their self esteem and may have a difficult time developing and maintaining relationships. Understandably, they may also have a hard time trusting people, which can have a major impact on relationships.

Physical Impact of Bullying

The physical impact of bullying goes beyond the bruises of physical bullying. Children who are bullied often experience anxiety which can result in health issues due to the stress on their body. This can include things like ulcers, headaches, stomach aches, or simply getting sick more often.

Impact of Bullying on the Family

Bullying does not only cause harm to the child who is bullied. It can also affect their parents and siblings. Parents may feel helpless. They may also feel as though they failed to protect their child and, in turn, start to question their parenting abilities. However, it is important to remember, no one can predict who a bully will target. Parents should never feel responsible for the choices a bully makes and should instead focus on helping their child heal from the bullying. The bully is the only person to blame.

Bullying Can Have a Lasting Impact

Bullying is not only painful in the moment- it can also have a lasting impact on those targeted. Studies show the effects of bullying last well into adulthood and may have a greater impact on mental health than originally thought. Our experiences growing up – both positive and negative – shape how we view things and ultimately who we become as adults.

Stop Bullying

According to stopbullying.gov, quick and consistent response from adults can help stop bullying over time. It is important to send a clear message that bullying is not acceptable. We can all do our part to help stop bullying. If you see someone being bullied, don’t be a bystander. Use these tips to become an upstander!

Close up of hands administering CPR on a chest that is glowing in the heart area, indicating cardiac arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: What It Is and What To Do

A leading cause of death in the United States, sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of more than 356,000 people each year. This includes 23,000 youth under the age of 18. It is a life-threatening health emergency in which the heart suddenly stops beating, and it can occur in people of any age, including those who appear to be otherwise in good health.

When a person goes into cardiac arrest, they collapse and do not respond or breathe normally. They may also gasp or shake, similarly to a seizure. It is critical that the person gets help immediately, as it can lead to death within minutes. With October being Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, we want to help raise awareness and explain what it is and what you can do when someone experiences this medical emergency.

What is sudden cardiac arrest?

As previously mentioned, sudden cardiac arrest is a health emergency in which the heart suddenly stops beating. It is life-threatening, and survival depends on people nearby calling 911, as well as starting CPR and using an AED (if available) as soon as possible. An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a portable, electronic device that is used to help someone who is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It analyzes the heart’s rhythm and can deliver an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Is it the same as a heart attack?

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack is a blockage in coronary arteries that interrupts blood flow to the heart. The website stopcardiacarrest.org does a great job of explaining the differences between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. It describes sudden cardiac arrest as being electrical and a heart attack as being plumbing.

To summarize the differences between the two, someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest is unresponsive and not breathing, and they may gasp or shake. It can happen to anyone of any age, and people nearby must start CPR immediately to increase the likelihood of survival.

In contrast, someone experiencing a heart attack may experience pain in their chest, neck, or left arm. They may also experience shortness of breath, sweating, or nausea. A heart attack most often occurs in people over the age of 65, and responsive victims do not need CPR.

However, you should call 911 for someone experiencing either.

What should I do?

Cardiac arrest happens suddenly so it’s important that you know what to do so you can act quickly if you are nearby when it occurs. So what do you do when someone is suddenly unresponsive and breathing abnormally or gasping for air? According to the American Heart Association, here is what you should do:

Graphic of multi-racial women wearing pink breast cancer awareness women

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States, second only to skin cancer. It’s a disease in which the cells in the breast grow out of control. There are several types of breast cancer, but there are two that are most common. Invasive ductal carcinoma is when the cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside them into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive lobular carcinoma is when the cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from there to the breast tissues that are close by. It is possible for both of these invasive cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer can vary from patient to patient, and some may not experience any at all. However, some common symptoms one may experience are:

If you have concerns about any symptoms you are experiencing, see your doctor right away.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

There are several factors that can put a person at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Some are beyond our control, while others we can change. One of the main factors that puts a person at risk for breast cancer is being a woman. Although men can get breast cancer, women are at higher risk.

Risk Factors Beyond Our Control

How to Lower Your Risk for Breast Cancer

Hospice Care for Breast Cancer Patients

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and curative treatment is no longer an option, hospice may be right for you. Please contact us to learn more about how the Abode Hospice team can help.

Woman’s hand using pointer finger and thumb to hold a teal ribbon in honor of ovarian cancer awareness

Hospice Care for Ovarian Cancer Patients

By: Laura Mantine, MD

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer that grows in a woman’s ovaries. Damaged or deformed cells start to grow out of control. Although treatment has a high rate of success if the cancer is found at an early stage, in many cases it isn’t discovered until advanced stages when the cancer is harder to treat. A biopsy, or small surgery, is often performed when ovarian cancer is suspected. This is done to confirm the disease by taking tissue and fluid samples for analysis. Some ovarian tumors are benign, which means they don’t grow into cancer. Treatments for ovarian cancer vary based on the stage of the disease, but often include surgery and aggressive chemotherapy. These treatments may come with distressing side effects like pain, sleep problems, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, anxiety, or depression.

Supportive services for ovarian cancer patients

Facing ovarian cancer is difficult. It can have a big impact on your physical and emotional health, all of which may cause enormous stress for both you and your family. But you don’t have to face this alone. Treating the pain, symptoms, and stress of cancer is just as important as treating the cancer itself. Palliative care and hospice care are forms of supportive services available to people with cancer. Supportive care focuses on providing comfort, relieving pain or other symptoms, and improving quality of life. Supportive care doesn’t cure disease. The main difference between these two types of care is that you can receive palliative care at the same time you are receiving treatment, whereas hospice care begins after stopping standard cancer treatments for end-of-life management.

Ovarian cancer and hospice

Once you decide to no longer receive chemotherapy or other standard cancer treatments, transitioning to hospice may be beneficial for both you and your family. When you choose hospice care, it means that the goals of treatment have changed with a shift from curative to comfort-based care. Hospice care is usually offered at the end of life, when you’re expected to live less than six months. The aim of hospice is to care for you rather than attempt to cure the disease.

Hospice care is very personalized. Your hospice care team will focus on making you as comfortable as possible. They will work with you and your family to create a care plan that best suits your goals and needs for end-of-life care. A hospice team member is generally on call 24 hours a day to provide support. You may receive hospice care in your home, a special hospice facility, a nursing home, or a hospital. A hospice team usually includes doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy members or counselors, and trained volunteers. Services may include medical services, supplies and equipment, medications to manage pain and other cancer-related symptoms, spiritual support and counseling, and short-term relief for caregivers.

Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans will cover hospice care. Most U.S. insurance plans require a statement from your doctor that you have a life expectancy of six months or less. You may also be asked to sign a statement that you accept hospice care. Hospice care can continue for longer than six months, but your doctor may be asked to give an update on your condition.

Understanding your care options

Getting supportive care, whether palliative care or hospice care, can be beneficial to your mental and physical well-being. Talk to your doctor, family, and friends about your supportive care options.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the hospice services Abode Hospice provides.

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September is Sepsis Awareness Month

According to the CDC, in a typical year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis and nearly 270,000 Americans die as a result of it. So, what exactly is sepsis and who is at risk? In honor of Sepsis Awareness Month, we want to answer these important questions.  

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection and can be life-threatening. Your immune system works to protect you from infections and fight off any that occur, but it’s possible for it to have an overreactive response to infection.

Symptoms of sepsis

Although a medical assessment by a healthcare professional is needed for a diagnosis, a patient who has sepsis may have one or more of the following symptoms:

Three stages of sepsis

There are three different stages of sepsis. Each has its own variation of symptoms a patient may experience. A patient can develop sepsis while they are still in the hospital recovering from a procedure, but that is not the only time/place it can develop. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Seeking treatment early on can be lifesaving.

Sepsis

The first stage is simply called sepsis. Symptoms a patient may experience in this stage are:

Severe sepsis

The second stage is severe sepsis which occurs when there is organ failure. The following are common symptoms of this stage:

Septic shock

The third and final stage is septic shock. In this stage, a patient will experience the symptoms of severe sepsis plus a very low blood pressure.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get sepsis, but some people have a higher risk of infection. Those at higher risk include:

How sepsis impacts seniors

Adults who are aged 65 or older are reportedly 13 times more likely to be hospitalized with sepsis than those who are younger. Researchers believe our immune system becomes less effective at fighting off infection as we age, which means older people tend to contract more infections that become more severe. Since each infection we get presents a risk of getting sepsis, this puts older adults at a higher risk of developing sepsis.

Any type of infection can cause sepsis but the most common among older people are respiratory such as pneumonia. COVID-19 has also become a strong risk factor for sepsis among older adults. Sometimes it is difficult to spot an infection right away in people who are aging. If an older person becomes confused or starts to behave in an unusual manner, it could be a sign of infection.

How to treat sepsis

Sepsis can quickly progress through the three stages and result in death if left untreated. Treatment includes:

Preventing sepsis

The best way to prevent sepsis is to prevent an infection. You can do this by:

What to do if you think you have sepsis

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or someone you love has an infection that is not getting better (or is getting worse), it is important to act fast. Get medical care immediately and ask your healthcare professional if the infection could lead to sepsis.

Recovery from sepsis

Recovery typically starts with rehabilitation in the hospital. This includes building your strength back up and receiving help with things like bathing, sitting up, standing, and walking. Upon returning home, it is normal to feel weak and fatigued and have difficulty sleeping. Some people also experience a loss of appetite which results in weight loss. To help keep the recovery process moving, you can rest and rebuild your strength, eat a balanced diet, and exercise if you are feeling up to it.

Some patients experience long-term effects of sepsis. These can include:

How Abode Hospice can help prevent and care for sepsis

Abode Hospice has a sepsis program designed to promote quality of care and improve outcomes for those at risk for developing sepsis, as well as those recovering from sepsis. We have the resources and expertise to provide our patients with state-of-the-art care for dangerous conditions, such as sepsis.

Our sepsis program is designed to effectively:

Please contact us to learn more.

Calm middle-aged woman sitting in padmasana with eyes closed. Mature female holding hands pressed together in namaste and doing breathing exercises. Meditation and yoga idea

Benefits of Yoga for Hospice Patients

We’ve all heard how good yoga is for you, but have you ever thought about the benefits of yoga for hospice patients? Yoga is defined as a spiritual discipline that is widely practiced for health and relaxation that includes breath control, simple meditation, and specific bodily postures. All of these things can be used to help hospice patients and their families navigate through an emotionally stressful time.

A brief history of yoga

Yoga is a combination of spiritual, mental, and physical practices that originated in ancient India approximately 5,000 years ago. It was originally practiced primarily to cultivate spiritual harmony and enlightenment.

It started to become more popular in the late 1800s as it spread west. New practitioners viewed it as a path to inner peace and better health. Then, we saw what is called the ‘Modern Yoga Renaissance’ in the 1920s where the physical practice of yoga dramatically changed. Prior to this point, it really only consisted of a few standing poses. Today, yoga has become a key component of holistic health.

Learn more about the history of yoga here.

What yoga looks like for hospice patients

When we think of yoga, we often think of poses like downward dog or child’s pose or even the more complex poses that turn a person into a pretzel. However, before you can learn to twist and turn and pose like that, you must focus on something you already know how to do. In fact, you do it all day, every day: breathe.

In yoga, breath control is referred to as pranayama [pränəˈyämə], and it is essential. There are several forms of pranayama that can be done from the seated position. One example of this is Adham Pranayama. It can be performed either sitting or lying down, whatever is most comfortable. The focus of Adham Pranayama is ‘belly breathing,’ or breathing deeply into your stomach.  

So how do you do it, you ask. First, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in and out. Focus on moving only your abdomen, instead of inflating your chest. It’s as simple as that. Practicing Adham Pranayama has several benefits, including reducing insomnia, providing oxygen to the body, and relieving stress.

There are many other forms of pranayama that can be done anywhere and in comfortable, seated positions. You can learn more about them here.

Why hospice patients should consider yoga

Yoga can easily be adapted to fit the needs and ability of the person doing it. Plus, it can be done anywhere- from a yoga studio to the comfort of your own home, even from your bed! Not to mention the benefits of mindful breathing. This can be an incredibly difficult time for patients and their loved ones. Taking time to truly focus on your breathing can provide a break in the stress and anxiety you may be feeling. Plus, it can be done together, helping to reduce everyone’s stress while also creating peaceful memories you’ll have forever.

National Wellness Month

Did you know August is National Wellness Month? Although we all know we should always try to make wellness a priority, at times we drop the ball. Unfortunately, sometimes focusing on wellness takes a back seat to everything else in our busy lives. This is what makes August the perfect opportunity to re-focus on our wellness and kick start a healthy lifestyle. Don’t know where to start? No worries, we’ve put together a list of five simple habits to incorporate into your routine each day!

Drink more water

Health experts often recommend we follow the 8×8 rule: eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions. It provides a boost in energy and physical performance; curbs cravings, which aids in weight loss; and it also results in smoother, healthier skin. How can you be sure you are getting enough water each day? There are a ton of fun water bottles out there that help you keep track of your water intake. Some, like this one, even have time stamps on them so you can be sure to stay on track throughout the day.

Get outside and exercise

It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you ever think about how the location of where you choose to work out can benefit you? Exercising outside has plenty of benefits! It gives you the chance to be physically active in a constantly changing environment. Walking on a treadmill or using another machine indoors can get redundant and boring. But when you get outside, you can go to different trails or parks for a change of scenery. Not to mention, the wind’s resistance can help you burn more calories. In addition to the physical benefits, outdoor exercise can also have a positive impact on your mental health. There is quantifiable research that suggests that outdoor exercise can actually provide greater benefits than indoor exercise. This study found that exercising outdoors was associated with increased energy and decreased tension and depression. Not to mention the fact that you can make it a family affair by heading to a nearby park or bike trail! Since there is an app for everything these days, it’s no surprise that there is an app you can use to find walking, hiking, and biking trails nearby. All Trails is a great way to find your next work out spot. It even allows you to filter by difficulty level and features like pet friendliness!

Eat healthy snacks

There is often the misconception that snacking will lead to weight gain. However, the right types of snacks can actually contribute to weight loss. The secret is to choose snacks with about 100 calories and a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. So what are the benefits of adding a healthy snack to your day? Appetite control, increased energy, and better concentration can all be results of a healthy snack. Here, you will find 30+ healthy snack ideas! Bon appétit!

Destress by practicing deep breathing

Every day, you already take thousands of breaths without even giving it a second thought. So why not take a few minutes to really focus on your breath? Deep breathing has numerous health benefits, including stress reduction and reduced blood pressure. It can even promote core muscle stability to help you tolerate intense exercise. Struggling to calm your racing mind for bedtime? Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique! It forces your mind and body to focus on regulating your breath rather than all the worries of the day. The steps for this technique are:
  1. Let your lips part and make a make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth
  2. Close your lips and inhale silently through your nose as you count to 4 in your head
  3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  4. Exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds, making another whooshing sound like in the first step
It is recommended that you start out by doing four cycles of these steps then eventually work your way up to eight full cycles. This technique, and several others, are also available in the free Oak Meditation and Breathing app (available in the Apple app store).

Slow down and enjoy the little things

“Enjoy the little things.” It has become a bit of a cliché that we hear all the time. However, there is scientific evidence that enjoying the little things actually has health benefits. A 2012 study found that greater appreciation led to increased life satisfaction. Taking time to appreciate even the smallest pleasures of life can promote satisfaction even when things do not go as planned. We often focus on the big events that we are looking forward to and rush through the small day to day things but stopping to focus on the joy in the little things can have a positive impact on our mental well-being. So how exactly do we do it? This healthline article discusses eight ways to truly enjoy the little things, starting with waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. While you may feel groggy at first, it will allow you to take your time in the morning rather than feeling rushed. This might even mean actually sitting down at home to enjoy your morning coffee rather than sipping (and probably spilling) it in your car on the way to work.

Join us

So join us in celebrating National Wellness Month and take this opportunity to focus on your well-being. It’s time to make taking care of YOU a priority!

World Hepatitis Day 2021: Hepatitis Can’t Wait

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28th each year to raise awareness for the global problem of viral hepatitis.

What is hepatitis?

Most often caused by a viral infection, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis E

For more information on the different types of hepatitis, visit the website for the World Hepatitis Alliance.

Hospice for Hepatitis Patients

Hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver. When the liver becomes damaged by a virus, it will begin to scar. Once the damage becomes serious enough that the liver can no longer heal itself, it is called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a degenerative disease that can ultimately lead to liver failure when the liver is losing or has lost all function. Although there are treatment options to help manage the condition, there is currently no known cure. So how do you know it could be time to consider hospice care for an end-stage liver disease patient? Keeping in mind that only a doctor can make a clinical determination, the signs below may indicate the patient may benefit from hospice services: If you would like more information on how Abode Hospice can help patients with end-stage liver disease, please contact us.

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