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Independent Living Vs. Assisted Living: Which is Right for You?

Independent Living Vs. Assisted Living: Which is Right for You?

Deciding where you, your parents or other family members will live out their lives when they are in need of healthcare services, is a momentous decision, often made in haste during a health crisis.

During these times, it is important to be armed with the information you need to make the best decision possible.

Below are seven key criteria for determining which assisted living or skilled nursing facility is right for you or a loved one.

1.  Check the Star Rating

The federal government’s Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services created a Five-Star Quality Rating System to help families compare health care providers. Facilities are rated based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures. Look for a facility that has a four-star or five-star rating. NursingHomeRating.org also employs a five-star rating system, as you can see here.

2. Seek Recommendations 

An objective review is important, but you also need to think about whether a healthcare provider is right for your particular circumstances. In that case, it can be helpful to seek opinions from both experts and everyday consumers like you. Talk to your friends who may have experienced similar circumstances. Then examine the online reviews of facilities from individual consumers and organizations that specialize in senior living communities. For example,  here is the review from Senior Advice  of Gateway Vista, a continuum of care community in  Lincoln, Nebraska.

3. Research the Company Online

Online recommendations and reviews can be eye-opening, and while they only tell part of the story, they can help you understand the real-life experiences of other families, patients and residents. Research the organization on Google, their website and other online review sites, such as SeniorAdvice.com. Consider both the good and bad information – they will provide ideas of things to look for and questions to ask if and when you visit.

4. Review the Organizational Values and History 

Is the organization you’re looking into family-owned or does it report to a corporate board elsewhere? Is its mission to maximize the health and well-being of its residents or to generate profits for shareholders? Is it a place where employees love to work and remain for years or is there constant turnover of staff? Are the people in charge innovators in the field going back decades or are they fairly new to it? Answers to questions like these will go a long way towards determining whether this is the healthcare provider for you.

5.  Check Their Credentials

It’s easy to determine whether a provider is recognized for excellence by the American Health Care Association and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

6.  Get a Sense of How It Feels There

You want to walk onto the campus and feel like you’re home. You want to see staff and residents smiling and celebrating life. You may feel down when you need assistance with daily activities or rehab for an injury, but you want the people around you to pick you up with their spirit.

7.  Make Sure There is Easy Access to Healthcare Partners

Most continuum of care communities have a wide range of healthcare providers on site, but how about the physicians, therapists and specialists you may need while living there? Determine in advance whether those providers are right down the road or two towns over where they might be difficult to access. That can make a world of difference for you or your loved one.

Nye Health Services  offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and one in Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call  402.753.1400to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit  NyeHealthServices.com  for more information.

8 Pain Management Techniques That Help You Stay Active

8 Pain Management Techniques That Help You Stay Active

Although pain is the body’s early warning system, increasingly, health care professionals are recognizing that pain also limits a person’s ability to function. It can interfere with mood and sleep, and the ability to move, concentrate and heal. Longer hospital stays and recovery times have been linked to unmanaged pain.

In short, chronic pain is neither a normal part of life that anyone should have to tolerate, nor a normal part of aging that should just be accepted.

Health professionals are also learning that how we experience pain affects our ability to tolerate it. Individuals who are fearful, anxious or depressed have a lower tolerance for pain and are more debilitated by it. Consequently, pain management techniques must also address the emotional component.

Below are the eight most common methods for treating chronic pain.

1. Physical Therapy

Research shows that moderate exercise can reduce pain and vice versa – less pain allows for more exercise. Physical therapists teach patients how to engage in this virtuous cycle by moving safely and functionally, and building strength through therapeutic exercise.

2. Heat and Cold

Cold therapy reduces painful swelling and numbs the affected area of the body. It is usually used early after the onset of pain. Heat is generally applied after that because it helps muscles relax, promotes blood circulation and eliminate lactic acid buildup. Blood flow and lactic acid removal speed healing and reduce pain.

3. Relaxation Techniques

Meditation, deep breathing, relaxation imagery, bio-feedback, self-hypnosis and other related techniques calm the mind and reduce stress, both of which have been found to alleviate the experience of pain. Additionally, relaxation slows body functions, including the transmission of pain.

4. Massage

Clinical studies like this one have found massage therapy provides significant relief from pain. Massage relaxes painful muscles and related structures and diverts the body’s attention away from pain in a process called “gate control.”

5. Ultrasound and TENS

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to stimulate blood flow to muscles while relaxing them. TENS – transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – innervates offending nerves until they are exhausted, reducing their ability to transmit pain.

6. Acupuncture

The ancient Eastern art of acupuncture has long been recognized as beneficial to those suffering from chronic pain. It’s still a mystery why acupuncture is an effective pain reliever but it is thought to stimulate the body’s own pain fighting mechanisms. It is also generally performed in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere that has some of the same effects as other relaxation techniques.

7. Mental Health Support

Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other mental health practitioners can provide counseling to individuals feeling stressed and depressed in connection with their pain. Among the techniques they may use are keeping a pain diary, envisioning a pain-free existence, and addressing other issues that weigh on patients’ mental health.

8. Drugs

Useful for short-term relief but a last resort for chronic pain, analgesics like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) and aspirin can help calm pain. Steroids may be prescribed by a doctor to alleviate inflammation that causes pain and antidepressants can improve mood and aid sleep.

These eight strategies generally work best in combination, because pain has many causes and pathways. Freeing a body from debilitating pain promotes physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Nye Health Services offers six campus locations in Eastern Nebraska and one in Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit NyeHealthServices.com for more information. 

6 Advantages of Short-Stay Rehabilitation

6 Advantages of Short-Stay Rehabilitation

6 ADVANTAGES OF SHORT-STAY REHABILITATION

Going directly home is not always the best option for people leaving the hospital after a surgery, illness or accident. Instead, short-stay rehabilitation programs provide the physical, occupational and speech therapy services necessary to help patients return to their house or to an assisted living facility in the shortest time possible. 

In most cases, therapists are part of a team of medical professionals who collaborate with patients and their family members to develop an individualized plan aimed at completing the recovery process. 

A few days or even a few months at a short-term rehab facility offers several advantages over outpatient physical therapy. For example: 

1. Access to Care 

The patient has access to professional medical care 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. This takes the burden off of your loved ones and allows you access to more advanced care and assistance while you recover. 

2. On-Site Therapy 

Some facilities employ physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as social workers, physicians, nurses and nutritionists. Having all of the specialized care you need speeds up the recovery process, and ensures the smoothest, quickest path to healing. 

3. Organized Activities 

Recovering at home can be an isolating experience, especially when those in your life carry on with the fun, daily activities you enjoy. Many short-term rehab facilities provide private rooms and a variety of social and recreational activities, which means you won’t be stuck at home watching TV all day. 

4. An Opportunity to Take a Break 

Being at home isn’t easy, especially when you look around and see everything that requires your attention. At a short-stay rehabilitation facility, you can forget about the leaf-filled yard and pile of laundry while your recover. Patients won’t feel like they have to return to their normal household responsibilities sooner than they are ready to do so, which means they’ll be healed sooner, too. 

5. The Best Fit 

You have the opportunity to choose a short-stay rehabilitation facility that is the best fit for you. Here are some questions to ask if you are looking for a short-stay rehab facility for yourself or a loved one: 

  • What percentage of patients go home or to as assisted living facility after short-stay rehab, and how many patients must return to a hospital? 

  • How does the Medicare program rate the facility? 

  • What is the ratio of staff to patients? 

  • What is the average length of recovery time? 

  • Are private rooms available? 

  • Is the facility close enough for friends and relatives to visit on a regular basis? 

6. Recovery in Less Than Two Months 

How long will you have to remain in short-stay rehab? That depends on why you’re there and your goals for recovery, though generally speaking, four to six weeks is normal. If you have Medicare coverage, the federal insurance program will usually pay for your stay, as long as you’ve spent at least three nights as a hospital inpatient within the past 30 days. And, of course, the facility you choose must be certified by Medicare. 

If you are covered by health insurance other than Medicare, you should check to make sure a specific facility is in your network and find out exactly what services are covered. 

Are you interested in learning more about how short-stay rehabilitation can help you transition from the hospital to your home or to an assisted living facility? Check with Nye Health Services, which offers short stay rehabilitation services In Fremont, South Sioux City and Lincoln, Nebraska. For more information, visit NyeHealthServices.com or call 402-753-1400.

When You Should Bring Parents on an Assisted Living Visit

When You Should Bring Parents on an Assisted Living Visit

WHEN YOU SHOULD BRING PARENTS ON AN ASSISTED LIVING VISIT

For more than one reason, moving one or both of your parents into an assisted living facility is never easy. On the one hand, you might very well have to convince Mom or Dad that they no longer can live in their home – that they are unable to handle day-to-day tasks such as fixing meals, bathing, cleaning the house, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn and doing home repairs.  

Leaving home is an emotional journey for your parent and to overcome some of the fears or apprehensions they have, it is critical to find the right place for your parent to call home. You’ll have to consider a wide array of issues, from the quality of medical care that’s offered to meals, safety, and recreational activities. And, of course, the cost will also be a major factor. 

You can find out a lot about most of these issues by visiting a variety of assisted living facilities. Should you do so by yourself or with your spouse, or should Mom and Dad go with you? The answer to that question will depend in large part on whether your parents are willing and eager to move to a place where those day-to-day tasks are taken care of for them – or if they are adamant about staying in the house that has been their home for years or even decades. 

Here are the two key considerations. 

1. You Don’t Need Them for Fact-Finding 
An initial visit to an assisted living facility to find out about subjects such as medical care, meals and safety can be done without your parents coming along. But remember – assisted living is a patient-driven experience, and the ultimate decision often lies with Mom and Dad. Their needs must be taken into consideration, even after they move in. For example, if your parents don’t feel safe in their new home, you might have to call staff members and remind them to make sure the door to Mom or Dad’s room is locked every night. Or, if Mom or Dad isn’t eating right, you might have to ask about adjusting the menu in the dining hall. 

2. You Do Need Them When Preferences are Involved 
However, especially if your parents are reluctant to move to an assisted living facility, you should take them with you when you visit a senior living community so they can see what types of fun and interesting recreational activities are available. Many facilities plan activities year-round, and family members are always encouraged to attend. If your parents aren’t sure about whether they are ready to leave their home and move to an assisted living facility, a visit to a senior living community is a great way to ease their fears and clear up any misconceptions they might have about moving. 

If you are looking to learn more about how assisted living can benefit your loved one, or if you would like to know more about how to choose an assisted-living community that’s right for you, visit www.nyehealthservices.com to learn more and find an assisted-living community near you. Nye Health Services offers independent living and assisted living options in five locations in Nebraska and Wyoming.

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The Most Important Questions to Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Facility

The Most Important Questions to Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Facility

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN TOURING AN ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITY

If you or a loved one are no longer able to live alone, you might want to consider an assisted-living facility, where you’ll have access to a wide range of services, including meals, transportation, medical care and social activities. But keep in mind that since all assisted-living facilities aren’t the same, it’s a good idea to take a tour of several of them before you make a decision. While you are visiting, here are some topics you should ask about. 

1. Quality of Care

How you or your loved one will be treated is the top priority, so find out if the facility is licensed and certified by the state, and also how it ensures the quality of care it offers its residents. It’s important to know how process for filing a complaint in the event of an issue, as well as how complaints are dealt with. Does each patient have a primary point of contact that the family works with? Perhaps most importantly, find out how health emergencies are handled and the emergency hospital they use.  

2. The Monthly Charges

Assisted living costs vary widely. In addition to the monthly rent amount, find out if and when that charge be increased and by how much. Does the rent go up if the resident’s level of care changes? What are the charges if both you and your spouse live there and the two of you require different levels of care? And, if costs do increase, does the facility offer financial help for those who might no longer be able to pay? It’s important to know if apartments are available immediately, what kinds of apartments are available and, if not, how long the wait list currently is for the exact type you want. 

3. What’s Included  

The little things add up, so inquire about if you have to pay extra for services such as special diets; utilities; cable and internet; laundry; housekeeping; and transportation to doctor’s appointments, church services or shopping. Are services offered as a bundled price per month or a la carte? If they are bundled, what do the bundles include? Be aware that not all facilities provide the same options for the same price. 

4. Medical Care  

Again, medical care and options vary widely. Make sure to ask if you are permitted to choose your own doctor, therapist or pharmacy. Who would be responsible for giving you your medications? Are dental care and eye care included in your monthly fee, and are they provided on-site? Who decides if a resident needs a higher level of care or must be transferred to a different facility? Make sure to check into the professional qualifications of the staff, and ask if staff members are qualified to handle medical emergencies. 

5. Meals  

Find out if they offer flexible meal options or if everyone eats the same food. Does the facility have an experienced chef and staff that will be able to serve residents three healthy meals a day? Do the residents eat together in a dining hall, or can they eat in their room? Does it cost extra to have meals delivered to their room? Ask for a copy of the meal schedule and perhaps come back during a meal time to see firsthand how it’s handled. 

6. Safety  

Does the building have a security system? Are residents permitted to leave the building on their own, and how do staff members keep up with their whereabouts? Is there an emergency plan in case of fire? Is there a plan to evacuate residents if the building is in the path of a hurricane or other natural disaster?  

7. Recreational Activities  

Ask if the facility has a recreation director whose job is to provide activities for the residents. Are excursions planned so residents can go shopping, to church or to the movies? Review the facility’s current activity schedule to get an idea of what’s offered and whether or not it fits your needs.  

Make sure all these questions are answered to your satisfaction. Otherwise, it will increase the stress and uncertainty surrounding moving yourself or your loved one into an assisted-living facility.  

Do you need more information about how to choose the assisted-living facility that’s right for you? Check with Nye Health Services, which offers independent living and assisted living at 5 locations in Fremont, Lincoln, Norfolk, S Sioux City, Nebraska and Jackson, Wyoming. Live an independent and active life with the comfort of knowing support is available. The assistance you need, when you need it, is here with 24-hour access to a top-notch nursing team. For more information, visit Nye Health Services online or call (402) 753-1400.  

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5 Things You Should Know About Short Stay Rehabilitation

5 Things You Should Know About Short Stay Rehabilitation

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHORT STAY REHABILITATION

Short stay rehabilitation serves as a vital link between a stay in the hospital and a patient’s return to his or her place of residence. Services customized for each individual and provided by a team of skilled and compassionate health care professionals help people recover as quickly as possible from surgery, illness or accident. 

Whether patients require physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritional counseling, post-surgical care, specialized wound care or other services, short stay rehabilitation will help them transition from the hospital to home. It serves as an important stop on the road to recovery, regardless of why hospital care was required to begin with. 

Here are five factors to consider before you decide if short stay rehabilitation is a viable option for you or your loved one:  

1. Don’t Be Stuck Without a Plan

Most people don’t expect to have to spend time in the hospital, and they have no idea that they might require an interim stop between the hospital and their home. It’s a good idea to do some research, plan ahead and choose a reliable and reputable rehab facility just in case you or a loved one needs short stay rehabilitation.  

2. Make an Informed Decision

Find out about which facilities near your home specialize in specific rehabilitation services. You can do your research on the internet, or you can even visit one or more local rehab centers. Among other things, find out if skilled nursing care is available 24/7 and whether licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists are part of the health care team. 

3. An Individualized Plan  

No two situations are alike. Make sure the rehabilitation facility you choose offers a plan customized for you or your loved one. A person recovering from hip, knee or shoulder replacement has different needs than someone who spent time in the hospital following a heart attack or stroke. By the same token, if you were in the hospital suffering from pneumonia, your rehabilitation requirements are different than those of someone who had gastrointestinal surgery. 

4. Some Factors to Consider  

Rehabilitation centers aren’t all the same. Check to make sure facilities you are considering are licensed by the state and certified by the Medicare program and whether they accept your private insurance. Does the center provide Wi-Fi, televisions and top-of-the-line food service? Is there a full-time medical director? Are the members of the medical team trained and credentialed to provide the services you or your loved one requires? And, finally, is the center clean and modern, with the most up-to-date equipment? When you walk through the front door, does it look like a place you wouldn’t mind calling home for a few days, or even a couple of weeks?  

5. Medicare Coverage

Many patients that require short stay rehabilitation are over the age of 65 and are insured by the federal Medicare program. Generally speaking, Part A – which covers hospital care – also will reimburse you for at least part of your stay in a rehabilitation facility. Make sure to choose a facility that offers Medicare-certified services that also has a dedicated staff member who is able to clearly explain the costs that will and won’t be covered by your insurance.  

If you or a loved one is interested or in need of short stay rehabilitation services, consider a Nye Health Services campus. Campuses are conveniently located in Fremont, Lincoln and South Sioux City, Nebraska. Get better, stronger and back home faster through state-of-the-art rehabilitation and Medicare-certified services that fit your needs. Nye Health Services campuses offers various levels of care and service, specializing in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. For more information, please contact Nye Health Services at 402-753-1400. 

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