Category Archives: Education

Private Duty Care

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This type of care is when you require the assistance of someone for many hours a day. This may be either a nurse or an aide. Typically this type of care is required by someone who would not be safe at home by himself. You may require a nurse 8 hours a day to care for your child with a trach while you go to work or an aide around the clock for a parent with Alzheimer's whom you can't leave alone safely. This type of care is not paid for under the Medicare program, but there may be some other programs or community resources available in some instances. All skilled care provided by American Home Health will be under the supervision of your physician while non-medical care can be provided without the direction of your physician.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact American Home Health at 630-236-3501.

Home Health Care Visits

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This is traditional home health where a nurse, therapist or aide will make a visit to your home to provide a specific treatment(s). These visits typically last approximately ½ – 1 hour in length and may occur as infrequently as once a month or as frequently as several times a week. The frequency and treatments will depend on what your physician’s orders and what your insurance company or payor may approve.

The objective of this type of care is to provide you with training, information or skills in order to make you or your caregiver independent at home so you will be able to provide your own health care needs. The average client utilizing this type of care will require visits for about 45-60 days. Typical visits may include such things as teaching you how to do a dressing change, administration of a drug (see Infusion Therapy ), a lab test or to train you or your caregiver to provide diabetic care for you.

The major types of payment for this service come from the following sources: Medicare and Medicaid. Health insurance, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Workers’ Compensation and liability insurers may also cover home health care.

For more information, please contact American Home Health at 630-236-3501.

HEMOPHILIA: “A ROYAL DISEASE”

HEMOPHILIA is a rare blood disorder in which the patient’s blood does not clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting factors. An inherited disease, it is usually passed from mother to son. Because it was prevalent in European royal families, it is also known as “a royal disease.”

According to https://hemophilianewstoday.com/2017/05/24, it is believed that Victoria, Queen of England, was a carrier of hemophilia and that she passed the disease onto three of her children. Prince Leopold died at age 30 from a post-accident hemorrhage. Princess Alice and Princess Beatrice married royalty in other European countries.

Princess Alice, a hemophilia carrier, had a son who died from the disease in early childhood. One of her daughters, Irene, married Prince Henry of Prussia. She passed the gene to the German royal family. Alice had two sons, one of whom died at age 4. The other son died at age 56.

Alice’s second daughter, Alix, married Tsar Nikolas II of the Russian royal family. Tragically, all of their children were killed during the Russian revolution. The mutant gene ended there.

Princess Beatrice’s daughter, Victoria Eugenie, married King Alfonso XII of Spain. They had five children—one daughter and four sons. The daughter was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, but her children did not inherit the disease. Two of the four sons had hemophilia, but they died without having children.

It is interesting to note how the mutant gene, hemophilia, affected history. Today, hemophilia has affected people from all walks of life including actors, sports legends, and ordinary people. Richard Burton, the British actor and husband of Elizbeth Taylor, had hemophilia. In 1964, he and Elizabeth Taylor set up the Richard Burton Hemophilia Fund. He died in 1984 from a stroke at the age of 58.

Cyclist Barry Haarde is a hemophilia advocate who has cycled across the United States twice to raise awareness for the disease. He was infected with HIV and hepatitis C during a blood transfusion more than thirty years ago. He is the only man with HIV, hepatitis C, and hemophilia to have cycled across the country.

Ryan White was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A at three days old following extensive bleeding after his circumcision. During the 1980’s he contracted AIDS from unscreened blood transfusions, and he inadvertently became the poster boy for AIDS.

If you have a family member who suffers from hemophilia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

STIFF-PERSON SYNDROME

When Laura was thirty years old, she began having episodes of muscle stiffness in the trunk of her body and in her limbs. During these episodes, she would also have severe and prolonged muscle spasms in her legs. As a result, she fell several times. She also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Laura made an appointment with her primary care physician. After ordering some initial testing, the doctor referred Laura to a neurologist. Laura also saw physicians in several other fields including allergy and immunology, rheumatology, and orthopedic surgery. Three years later, she was diagnosed with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

Stiff-Person Syndrome, originally called Stiff-Man Syndrome, is a rare disease which affects only one in a million people. The syndrome affects twice as many women as men. According to the Cleveland Clinic article “Stiff-Person Syndrome/Cleveland Clinic” at https://my.cleveland clinic.org/health articles, it is characterized by “muscle stiffness in the trunk and limbs and heightened sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.” Patients may have abnormal posture, such as being hunched over. Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity may cause patients to fall.

Individuals usually start experiencing symptoms between ages thirty and sixty. Because the disease is so rare, getting a diagnosis can take years. According to the Cleveland Clinic article, “One commonly used tool is a blood test to detect the presence of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies. About 60-80% of affected people have antibodies against GAD that can be detected on a blood test. Therefore, the absence of GAD antibodies does not rule out SPS, but the presence of high levels of GAD antibodies in people with symptoms of SPS strongly supports the diagnosis.”

Treatment of Stiff-Person Syndrome focuses on the specific symptoms present in each person. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines, diazepam, or baclofen to treat muscle stiffness and spasms. Pain medications and anti-seizure medications may also be effective for some patients. In addition, doctors may prescribe antidepressants to relieve the anxiety and depression associated with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

If you have a family member who suffers from Stiff-Person Syndrome and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

EISENHOWER’S BATTLE WITH CROHN’S DISEASE

Born October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas, Dwight David Eisenhower was raised in Kansas.  He graduated from West Point in 1915 and began his military career.

During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.  According to Wikipedia, he was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942-1943 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-1945 from the Western Front.

In 1953 at the age of sixty-two, Eisenhower was elected the 34th President of the United States.  On May 10, 1956, six months before being re-elected for a second term, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

What is Crohn’s disease?  According to the Mayo Clinic article “Crohn’s Disease—Symptoms and Causes” at https://www.mayoclinic.orgdiseases-conditions/crohns-disease. It is an inflammatory bowel disease which causes inflammation of the digestive tract.  It can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown.  According to the Mayo Clinic article, risk factors for Crohn’s disease may include the following:

  • Age.  Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, but most people are diagnosed before they are thirty years old.
  • Ethnicity. Crohn’s disease can affect any ethnic group, but whites and people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent have the highest risk.
  • Family history. If you have a close relative with the disease, such as a parent, sibling, or child, you are at higher risk to develop the disease.
  • Cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn’s disease.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), diclofenac sodium (Voltaren) and others.

Eisenhower served two terms in office from January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961.  He died March 28, 1969.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501.  The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).  Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee.  American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.  For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

DIAGNOSIS: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Sandra was forty years old when she first noticed that the joints in her hands and toes were tender, warm, and swollen. In the mornings, the joints were stiff, and her body ached. She said she felt like she had been run over by a Mack Truck. She knew something was wrong so she made an appointment with her doctor.

The following week she met with her doctor. Sandra described her current symptoms (pain, stiffness, tenderness, warm and swollen joints). The doctor examined each joint, looking for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and painful or limited motion. He noted that the joints on both sides of her body were affected. (Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect joints on both sides of the body.)

Next, the doctor ordered blood tests to measure inflammation levels. The blood tests also look for biomarkers such as antibodies (blood proteins) linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, he ordered a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) to look for joint damage, such as loss of bone within the joint and narrowing of joint space. Note that the lack of joint damage does not rule out rheumatoid arthritis. It may mean that the disease is in an early stage and hasn’t yet damaged the joints.

While she waited for the results of the tests, Sandra researched osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis on her computer. She discovered that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. According to https://www.everday health.com/rheumatoid-arthritis, it affects over 30 million adults in the United States. It is also known as degenerative arthritis, and it is also called wear-and-tear arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs in older adults.

By contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune, inflammatory, systemic disease. The immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake. This results in inflammation, pain, and swelling in affected body parts. Rheumatoid arthritis typically attacks several joints symmetrically. It may also affect organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes.

The test results showed that Sandra did indeed have rheumatoid arthritis. What caused this? Doctors don’t know what causes rheumatoid arthritis. However, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org, the following risk factors have been identified:

  • Being female.
  • Your age. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly begins between the ages of 40 to 60.
  • Family history. If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of getting the disease.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Environmental exposure. Exposure to asbestos or silica may increase your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight or obese appear to be at somewhat higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, especially women diagnosed with the disease when they were 55 or younger.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski