Categories: long-term, caregiving
Not surprisingly, more than half of American adults (61%) have never talked with Mom and Dad about the potential need for long-term care.
So reveals a recent survey, “Getting Our Parents Ready for Long-Term Care,” that explores attitudes among American adults toward the prospect of long-term care for their mothers and fathers.
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also discloses that of the adults who have this talk in the first place, only 40% ever bring up the options available for long-term care, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and health care at home.
The survey yielded other telling results as well:
- Nearly two-thirds of adults (63%) prefer their parents be cared for at home, either their own home or that of a family member, with 27% opting for an assisted-living facility and 6% a nursing home.
- Adult parents are more likely to feel prepared emotionally to care for their parents (56%) than physically (45%), spiritually (42%) and financially (27%).
- More than one third of adult children (37%) are unsure whether their parents have advance directives and 17% say they have none.
- Families in the South and the West are more inclined (36% and 33% respectively) to take elderly parents into their homes than those in the Northeast and Midwest (23% and 26% respectively).
We take heart in all the kind words we hear from patients and families who benefit from the services our hospices deliver. We’ve received more letters than we can count over the decades from caregivers grateful for the attention a loved one received in our centers. Our healthcare professionals, invariably the inspiration for such tributes, are in turn inspired to perform ever better.
So imagine our reaction to the news that 11 Amedisys hospice care centers are 2014 Hospice Honors recipients and three Amedisys hospice care centers are 2014 Hospice Honors Elite recipients. In a word, we are honored.
We are honored that Deyta, an industry leader in data driven management, identified our award recipients by evaluating our hospices’ performance on a set of eighteen satisfaction indicator measures against 1,700 other partnering hospices contained in Deyta’s FEHC database.
We are honored that an analysis of our efforts showed 11 Amedisys care centers scoring above average on at least 16 of the 18 satisfaction indicators measured – and three Amedisys care centers scoring above average on 100 percent, or all 18 of the evaluated questions.
We are honored that patients and families have selected us as their hospice provider, and we are proud that in these care centers we have been able to exceed their expectations.
So kudos to our 11 Amedisys Hospice Honors recipients, located in Greenville, TN; Athens, TN; Tuscaloosa, AL; Sumter, SC; Spartanburg, SC; Charleston, SC; Masontown, PA; Butler, PA; Jeffersonville, IN; Riverton, WY and Cartersville, GA. Special kudos to our three Amedisys Hospice Honors Elite recipients located in Scottdale, PA; Kingsport, TN; and Sweetwater, TN. And to all the staff – office support, nurses, therapists, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers alike – who perform miracles small and large every day.
Categories: hospice, long-term, home health
All too often, physicians decide against initiating a conversation with elderly patients about long-term care without an urgent need to do so.
But talking the talk literally comes down to a matter of life and death.
What to do?
For starters, medical education should be improved. Universities should adopt training in long-term care, including how to talk with patients about it. As it happens, Amedisys conducts two Continuing Medical Education programs for physicians about long-term care, one focused on healthcare at home, the other on hospice.
Second, conduct peer-reviewed research into physician and patient attitudes toward long-term care. Explore outcomes, too, to foster a better understanding of the issues at hand and develop potential solutions.
Third, advocate for the creation of guidelines, policies and protocols about physician-patient conversations about long-term care. Right now a recommendation of long-term care is seen as a negative metric. But we’ve got it exactly backwards. It’s actually a step in the right direction.
Fourth, pass the torch. Encourage other medical professionals – nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, therapists and social workers – to likewise talk the talk.
So think long-term. Only then will every patient you see get his or her due.
Michael Fleming, MD, FAAFP is the Chief Medical Officer for Amedisys, and Past President of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Fleming has served as Speaker of the Congress of Delegates of the AAFP and as Board Chair of the AAFP Board of Directors. He serves as an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center and in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Tulane University Medical School.
Categories: PECOS, CMS
As planned, on January 6th CMS began denying claims for Medicare home health services or supplies from physicians not registered in PECOS. PECOS stands for "Provider, Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System". It is a database for physicians who have registered with CMS.
Access to home health care services is vital for many Medicare patients, so physicians should enroll in PECOS soon so their patients can continue to receive the care they need.
Amedisys has developed a one-page guide, 5 Steps to PECOS Enrollment, to help physicians complete PECOS registration quickly and easily. It contains:
- the steps to enrolling
- information to gather before enrolling
- where to contact for help with PECOS or Medicare enrollment
What if I don’t bill for Medicare? Do I still need to enroll in PECOS?
In some circumstances, a physician may order and refer home health services, but not bill for Medicare. These physicians are still required to be enrolled in PECOS. CMS has identified several unique enrollment issues for certain physicians and has abbreviated their enrollment process. These categories of physicians include:
- Physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Physicians employed by the Public Health Service (including Indian Health Services)
- Physicians employed by the Department of Defense Tricare program
- Physicians employed by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) or Critical Access Hospitals(CAHs)
- Physicians in a Fellowship
- Dentists, including oral surgeons
What if I don’t want to be enrolled in Medicare?
In PECOS, you have the option to opt out of Medicare. This way, you will be able to continue ordering home health services for your Medicare patients.
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Categories: physical therapy, speech-language pathology, rehab, occupational therapy
If there is one thing that I know firsthand as a physical therapist for 17 years, it’s that life is never easy.
Reading this week’s op-ed by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in The New York Times which describes some of her battles to recover after a gunshot wound three long years ago, I could not help but return to that truth - life is never easy.
The op-ed juxtapositions her fight for political reforms to the rigorous work she has done with therapy to recover from her injury. She describes the years of tedious physical work she has needed to do to continue to recover and reclaim her life:
“…I’ve spent the past three years learning how to talk again, how to walk again. I had to learn to sign my name with my left hand. It’s gritty, painful, frustrating work, every day. Rehab is endlessly repetitive. And it’s never easy, because once you’ve mastered some movement or action or word, no matter how small, you move on to the next. You never rest.”
Gabrielle Giffords is an amazing example of how hard work, dedication, and the correct resources provided at the right time, can return a person to a life that is meaningful and productive.
Her rehab process likely started in the hospital just working on basic skills like moving herself in bed, balancing in a sitting position and even starting to try to learn to communicate again. After her initial hospital stay she probably had the support of a rehabilitation hospital team where she would spend several hours a day working to regain her balance, ability to walk, ability to start speaking and writing again as well as relearning how to care for herself.
She continues to improve due to her dedication, and the dedication and skill of the therapists with whom she continues to work, including physical therapists who helped improve her physical movement and helped her manager her pain; speech-language pathologists who helped her regain her communication and swallowing abilities; and occupational therapists who helped her get back to the functions of daily life such as dressing, bathing and preparing her meals.
Her recovery journey continues and will likely be a lifelong process.
It is hard to describe the pride I felt reading Gifford’s op-ed piece. I feel honored to work in a profession where we help people walk again, talk again and live their lives to the fullest.
It is difficult, emotionally challenging and often tedious work to gain the day by day improvements in function that patients need to get back to the life they want to live and are capable of achieving. Our therapists at Amedisys and therapists everywhere dedicate themselves to providing this critical care, and it is never easy. Whether working with someone recovering from a stroke or someone’s grandmother who has needed a hip replacement, it is never easy, but it is always worth it.
Therapists work behind the scenes. Our time with the patient is focused on the weeks and months of recovery.
Our reward is seeing our patient’s excitement when their arm now moves when it wouldn’t before, or when they are able to speak the right words to a family member when before they couldn’t. Sometimes, even the simple act of moving from their chair to their bed on their own is a milestone act of independence that is cause for celebration.
It is an honor to work in the therapy profession, to work with so many dedicated and selfless people.
Looking back at the op-ed so beautifully written by Gabrielle Giffords, and thinking about the therapists everywhere dedicated to their patients’ recovery, I realize that it has never been about whether or not it is easy. It continues to be about how much life is worth it.
Dan Miller, MSPT, MBA is vice president of Therapy Services for Amedisys, a leading healthcare at home company. He is a dedicated physical therapist for 17 years and has been a part of the Amedisys team for five years. He leads the Therapy Services team of more than 6,000 rehab professionals that care for hundreds of thousands of people across the country each year.