Nysha Recent News

Senior Care

August 11, 2015

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Vitamins only help with severe B12 deficiency—not moderate or better

Popping Vitamin B12 pills?  They may not be doing anything for you—especially if you’re a senior with whose B12 deficiency is at worst moderate.

A recent British study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that seniors with severe B12 deficiency did indeed benefit from the vitamins.

However, the study found “no evidence of benefit for nervous system or cognitive function from 12 months of supplementation among older people with moderate vitamin B12 deficiency,” said researcher Dr. Alan Dangour of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in fish, meat, chicken and dairy products.

Seniors severe B12 deficiency are at higher risk for muscle weakness, fatigue, depression, memory and movement impairment, and general thinking difficulties.

Sharper seniors, less heart attack/stroke

A Dutch study published Aug. 5 in the journal Neurology found that seniors with the highest levels of mental function also had the lowest levels of heart attack and stroke.

While the findings indicate a correlation, they do not indicate cause-and-effect.

Researchers say that one explanation may be that seniors who score highest in thinking-skills tests, such as those measuring reasoning, planning and problem-solving skills, are most likely to be able to follow doctors’ health instructions that would help prevent heart attacks, strokes or other diagnoses.

High blood pressure patients better with pharmacists’ care

Pharmacist: The niche medical professional who fills your prescription at your local dispensary, and not a whole lot else.  But if a new study’s conclusions are implemented, your pharmacist may just be playing a far more active and front-line role in your care.

A study of 625 patients across 32 doctors’ offices in 15 states found that patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure did better when their medical care teams included clinical pharmacists who worked in the doctors’ offices.

Specifically, the study found that, nine months after starting treatment, patients of such offices had a 6.1 mm Hg greater decline in systolic blood pressure—the top number in a blood pressure reading—than those who saw doctors only.  That difference would reduce the risk of death from stroke by 23 percent, the researchers reported.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension.

HamaspikCare staff parties hail growth

Two staff appreciation luncheons, one in late July and the other on August 12, had HamaspikCare staff from all three counties served—Kings, Orange and Rockland—joining to celebrate their agency’s ongoing growth and expanding client base.  The parties were also a way for staffers to socialize and welcome employees newly hired by the agency’s offices.

Liver drug may block Parkinson’s progress

Parkinson’s disease is often caused by a mutation in a specific gene called LRRK2.  The mutation causes the mitochondria of each cell—the cells’ “battery pack”—to churn out less power to cells, resulting in weakening function of the nervous system.

But in experiments on fruit flies, a University of Sheffield (England) study has now found that ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a drug in use for decades to treat liver problems, seems to keep the power levels of mitochondria at normal.

Researchers gave some of the flies the LRKK2 mutation; the bugs progressively lost their vision.  A control group of flies given the mutation and UDCA, however, maintained normal vision—apparently as a result of continued normal mitochondrial function.

The findings were detailed in the journal Neurology.


Top Accreditor’s Effort Reduces Hospital Injuries, Costs

It’s no secret that falls happen in hospitals.  Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals every year.  And, fact is, 30 to 35 percent of patients who fall will sustain an injury.

Each of these injuries, on average, add 6.3 days to the hospital stay and cost about $14,056.

What’s more, falls have been identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as an event that is preventable and should never occur.  The CMS has also placed “falls and trauma” on its list of Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) for which reimbursement is limited, specifically for falls that result in fractures, dislocations and intracranial injuries.

That, according to publicity from The Joint Commission, is the grim reality.

The Commission is a non-profit widely recognized as the medical industry’s gold standard of accreditation, safety and quality for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare organizations.  Among the thousands of entities boasting the superlative Joint Commission stamp of approval is HamaspikCare, Hamaspik’s home-care services agency.

Most recently, The Joint Commission is not only reviewing entities seeking its approval, but providing them with tools to better earn that approval, too.

The Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare is an in-house project “committed to transforming health care into a high-reliability industry by developing highly-effective solutions to health care’s most critical safety and quality problems,” according to the organization.

The Center’s newest innovation, its seventh such industry offering, is the Preventing Falls Project—specifically, its technology-driven Targeted Solutions Tool® (TST®) that grants participating hospitals far greater control over patient-fall prevention.

The system benefits users in a four-step process: Measuring a baseline state of patient falls; analyzing and discovering causes; implementing targeted solutions; and sustaining and spreading improvements.

According to the Commission, organizations using the Preventing Falls TST have reduced the rate of patient falls by 35 percent and the rate of patients injured in falls by 62 percent.

The system is currently used in seven hospitals.