Saunders: First Nurse to Receive Ags Clinician Award
Certified gerontological nurse practitioner Valisa Saunders has made history by being the first nurse to receive the American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS) Clinician of the Year award. Saunders, lauded for her dedication and contributions in the advancement and quality of geriatric care, received the award in May at the AGS’ annual Scientific Meeting.
Photo Courtesy of the American Geriatrics Society
Working in Kaiser Permanente Hawaii for 22 years, Saunders introduced the rounding concept in 1988 in a single nursing home. In 1991, the standard setting nursing home rounding program was officially launched (with nurse practitioners and physicians from various organizations doing rounds to approximately 20 nursing homes caring for approximately 1,000 older adults), thus resulting in the decline of emergency department visits and hospitalizations of nursing home residents.
Saunders also helped Kaiser Permanente Hawaii launch the Medicare Risk contract clinical program in 1986, which included: screening for high-risk older adults, a case management program, hospital discharge planning using nurses for the first time, interdisciplinary geriatric assessment, a home health service, and nurse-managed foot clinics. In addition, Saunders has contributed to the development of geriatric primary care in the clinic, for home-bound and home hospice patients, and those in alternate community long-term care placements.
Saunders’ other accomplishments include her roles as the Hawaii principal investigator for a Kaiser-6 Region “post-diagnosis, Dementia” research program and manager for an outside contract to provide neighbor island elderly geriatric assessment clinics for native Hawaiians with geriatric nurse practitioners.
Source.“The American Geriatrics Society Awards Valisa Saunders of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii the ‘Clinician of the Year’ Award.” (2008, May 20). Retrieved July 10, 2008, from http://nursingpathways.kp.org/national/news/featured/archive/2008/2008valisa.html.
Veto Struck Down, Medicare Legislation Passed
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, which survived a White House veto and was passed recently by Congress, will improve Medicare’s low-income programs, boost health care quality with a system of national e-prescribing, and help ensure patients’ access to their doctors. The legislation is applauded by AARP, which has been advocating for several months to ensure lawmakers keep Medicare fair for consumers when Congress addressed physician payment cuts. The organization has also been advocating for the bill’s improvements to Medicare, particularly the low-income programs and electronic prescribing.
Since launching the “Keep Medicare Fair” initiative in April, AARP’s grassroots volunteers and activists have sent more than 1.2 million messages to Congress and the White House. As part of this effort, an AARP survey released in May found that of adults age 50 and older, 81% oppose additional increases to Medicare premiums and 66% are less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports those increases. AARP notified the 110th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its 39 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members.
Source.“AARP Thanks Congress for Keeping Medicare Fair, Overriding White House Veto.” (2008, July 15). Retrieved August 5, 2008, from http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS21834+16-Jul-2008+PRN20080716.
Web Site Connects Care Seekers & Caregivers
Families seeking caregiving assistance and health services in their homes now have easier access to their options. The online community TheCaringSpace.com allows care seekers to search for and review the profiles of local caregivers, and care seekers have the option of posting a profile about their care needs for caregivers to respond. Search tools, resources, and tips guide care seekers through the search and hire process.
TheCaringSpace.com was launched in May by home care agency owner David Kennedy, who acknowledges that families who prefer the autonomy of choosing their own private caregivers rather than going through an agency now have an effective means of locating their ideal caregiver.
Source.“The CaringSpace Responds to the Caregiving Crisis.” (2008, June 12). Retrieved August 5, 2008, from http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS131275+12-Jun-2008+PRN20080612.
Nursing Homes Need More Flu Pandemic Preparedness
Acute care hospitals depending on nursing homes to accept over-flow patients in the case of an influenza pandemic may have to look elsewhere. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted among more than 400 state health department or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid-registered nursing homes in Nebraska and Michigan, only 23% of homes had a specific influenza pandemic plan. Another 25% had a pandemic response incorporated into an overall disaster plan, and more than half (52%) did not have any pandemic plan.
Half of the nursing homes in the study had stockpiled some commonly used supplies, such as gloves and hand hygiene products. Less than half had provided pandemic education to staff members, and only 6% had conducted influenza pandemic outbreak exercises. According to the researchers, areas for improvement include communicating with nearby health departments and hospitals at the planning stage, exercising formulated plans, and planning for staff shortages.
In more optimistic findings, 77% of all Michigan and Nebraska nursing homes had a person or staff position designated as being responsible for pandemic preparedness. Access to laboratory facilities for the detection of influenza was available at 84% of these nursing homes.
Source.“Pandemic Flu: Most Nursing Homes Don’t Have Plan.” (2008, July 22). Retrieved July 25, 2008, from http://www.newswise.com/p/articles/view/542804/.
Older Adults Using CAM, not Always Addressed
In response to a national consumer survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and AARP, the NCCAM, part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched “Time to Talk,” an educational campaign to encourage patients—particularly those age 50 and older—and their health care providers to openly discuss the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The telephone survey, administered to a nationally representative group of 1,559 people age 50 and older, found that approximately two thirds of people in this population are using some form of CAM, yet less than one third of these CAM consumers talk about it with their providers. More than one half of respondents who had talked about CAM with their physician said they—not their provider—initiated the CAM discussion.
The “Time to Talk” campaign is aimed at addressing the need for this dialogue to help ensure safe, coordinated care among all conventional and CAM therapies. Tools and resources, such as wallet cards, posters, and tip sheets, for both providers and patients are available for free at http://nccam.nih.gov/timetotalk/.
Source.“Time to Talk About CAM: Health Care Providers and Patients Need to Ask and Tell.” (2008, June 6). Retrieved July 31, 2008, from http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2008/nccam-06.htm.