Tag Archives: nursing talk


Say you’re flying into O’Hare Airport and want to get to downtown Chicago. What are your options? Currently, you have five options. You could take a CTA train for $5.00 or less and get downtown in forty-five minutes. You could take a taxi for around $40.00 and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could use the shuttle van services for over $25.00 and arrive downtown in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could hail a rideshare such as Lyft or Uber for $35.00-$50.00 (surges to $140 or more) and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes.

As early as the 1990’s, Richard J. Daley had envisioned a high-speed rail line between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. In fact, according to a Chicago Tribune article published June 14. 2018, the city and CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) spent more than $250 million on the Block 37 “superstation,” a shopping center atop a station for the high-speed rail. However, “Daley ordered the work stopped in 2008, saying the technology was outdated and more than $100 million more was still needed for completion.”

In 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel resurrected the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare and in 2016 hired outside engineers to help explore the possibility for the high-speed rail line.

On February 9, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference to provide an update on the state of Chicago’s infrastructure. He also endorsed the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. The rail line was expected to cost billions of dollars and would require major support from private investors. Emanuel announced that Bob Rivkin, who had previously served as general counsel for the CTA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Delta Air Lines, had been hired “to drum up support and find partners to make the new O’Hare express line a reality.”

Enter Elon Musk, the billionaire tech entrepreneur. On June 14, 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Elon Musk’s Boring Company had been selected from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. Musk’s Boring Company would dig a fourteen-feet in diameter tunnel from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. Lined with interlocking concrete pieces, the tunnel would contain self-driving electric vehicles called “skates.” Each “skate” could transport sixteen passengers at speeds from 100-150 m.p.h. Under Musk’s proposal, it would take just twelve minutes for passengers to get from O’Hare to downtown Chicago at an estimated cost of $25.00.

The estimated cost of the project is almost $1 billion. Who is going to pay for this? Elon Musk says his company will pay for the entire project. “In exchange for paying to build the new transit system, Boring would keep the revenue from the system’s transit fees and any money generated by advertisements, branding, and in-vehicle sales,” Rivkin said.

Will Musk’s high-speed transit system ever get built? Critics point to numerous challenges such as environmental impacts, regulatory approvals, financing costs, and unforeseen complications. According to a Chicago Sun Times article “Mayoral challengers, academics raise caution flags about Musk’s O’Hare Express,” Joe Schwieterman, director of DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute, “gave the mayor and Musk high marks for dreaming big and aiming high. But he gave the project only a one-in-three chance of ever being built. And even if it does, he’s afraid Chicago taxpayers could get stuck with at least part of the tab.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video Elon Musk’s Boring Company To Build Express To O’Hare, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24yqz0jZVaw.


In 2005-2006, a study was done to assess the status of home health care in New York City. According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK43619/, “A convenience sample of 1,561 home health aides, attendants, and personal care workers completed a risk assessment survey. Items addressed personal, patient, and home characteristics and health hazards. All activities had prior Institutional Review Board approval.”

The findings were presented in a report called “Home Health Care Patients and Safety Hazards in the Home.” The home health care workers reported the following:

  • Peeling paint (15 percent), irritating chemicals (17 percent)
  • Poor indoor air quality, cigarette smoke (30 percent)
  • Unsanitary conditions (12 percent) and unsafe conditions (6 percent) within the home
  • Vermin (23 percent), cockroaches (33 percent)
  • Aggressive pets (6 percent)
  • Clutter (17 percent)
  • Neighborhood violence/crime (11 percent)
  • Presence of guns in house (2 percent)
  • Signs of abuse of the client (12 percent)

If you are an American Home Health nurse, you may have encountered one or more of these in the home of a client. Be sure to report these issues to your supervisor.

If your client lives in an apartment complex or a multi-family house, eradicating cockroaches becomes a job for the professionals. American Home Health will contact the building management who will hire a pest control company to do the work. If one apartment has cockroaches, the adjoining apartment probably has cockroaches, too. Several units may need to be treated in order to eliminate the problem.

Bedbugs, small non-flying insects, may also be a problem. They feed by sucking blood from human and animals. They can live anywhere in the home, but they are most commonly found on beds, mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. They commonly bite the face, neck, hands, and arms of individuals while they are sleeping. Bedbugs can also live in carpets and bite the individual’s legs. Symptoms of bedbug bites are redness, itching, and swelling. A professional pest control company may be required to remove bedbugs from a home.

Remember that state law requires that most professionals in education, health care, law enforcement, and social work report suspected neglect or abuse. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are mandated reporters.

As an American Home Health nurse, you become an advocate for your clients. You help ensure that the clients receive not only professional nursing care but also live in safe home environments.

—By Karen Centowski


If you are a typical consumer, you have a house or apartment filled with electronics. You are using some of these on a daily basis. Others are broken or out of date. You know you’re not supposed to just throw them into the garbage can or put them at the curb. You know it is illegal to dump them at the side of a road or in a farm field. What can you do with them?

Because of the constant improvements in technology, electronics are the largest growing segment of the waste stream. Some of these devices contain rare materials which can be reused in manufacturing. Therefore, it makes sense to recycle.

Below is a list of electronics that can be recycled:

    • Laptops
    • Televisions and monitors
    • Cell phones
    • Camcorders
    • Cameras and camcorders
    • Gaming consoles
    • MP3 Players
    • PDAs
    • Peripherals (printers, keyboards, etc.)
    • Phones and answering machines
    • Stereos
    • VCRs and DVD players

Some cities, such as the City of Aurora, hold regular drop-off events for residents to dispose of their electronics. A recent drop-off event had two new features: (1) There was no charge for up to two screens (computers or televisions) instead of $25 or $35 per screen regular price. Three other items could be added at no cost. (2) Residents were required to make appointments to drop-off their items. Appointments were scheduled in blocks of an hour (e.g., 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.). This spread out the traffic and prevented long lines from forming.

Counties, including Kane County and DuPage County, often have electronics recycling programs. For example, Kane County has both weekday drop-offs and a monthly event. Staff will help you unload your items, take your fees, and give you a tax deduction receipt. In Kane County, televisions and monitors cost $25 (under 21” measured diagonally) or $35 (21” or over). Check with your own county for drop-off dates, locations, and fees.

Many electronics stores offer recycling for free (with the purchase of a new item) or for a fee. Check online for the store’s policy.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video How Computers and Electronics Are Recycled (SIMS Recycling Solutions), go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw4g6H7alvo 


mini skirt

If you went to Catholic school in the 1950’s, you might remember a nun asking you to kneel down on the floor of the classroom. Your skirt or dress had to touch the floor as you were kneeling. If not, your skirt or dress was deemed “too short.” You could not wear such an outfit to school.

Things have really changed. In 2016. a student in a local high school was told to hold her arm down at her side while she was standing. Her skirt or dress had to be at least as long as her arm with fingers extended. That means the hemline of the garment could be mid-thigh!

What causes hemlines to vary from short-short to floor length? One theory was proposed in 1926 by Professor George Taylor from the University of Pennsylvania. It is called the hemline index. The theory is that women’s dresses rise and fall with the stock market. The stronger the economy, the shorter the skirts. The weaker the economy, the longer the skirts.

Other factors can influence the length of dresses. For example, during World War II, the government needed fabric for the war effort. According to “Vintage Fashion—The History of Hemlines” at http://glamordaze.com,, “In 1942. Clothing rationing brought about actual regulations on women’s clothing! The UK had their “Utility Clothes” regulations, and the USA introduced Regulation L85 which set skirt lengths to 17 inches above the floor.”

Internationally known clothing designers also play an important role in determining the length of dresses. For example, in 1947 Christian Dior, a French fashion designer, introduced his first collection. It featured designs using large amounts of fabric to create a feminine silhouette.

During the 1950’s, the popular style was a dress with a full, billowy skirt that hit below the knee. A blouse and full, billowy skirt was also the preferred attire for teenage girls. The blouse was often sleeveless or short sleeve.

In 1962, a controversial item of clothing, the miniskirt, came upon the scene. The hemline was eight inches above the knee. A Huffington Post article describes the reaction: “Major designers like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior were initially against the trend. Chanel even deemed them “just awful.” The Netherlands banned the skirts for a limited period of time.” Inspired by the fashions she saw on the streets, British designer Mary Quant raised her hemlines to several inches above the knee in 1964.

In 1968, designer Oscar de la Renta created a maxi-dress for Elizabeth Arden Salon. Other designers soon followed, and the maxi-dress craze began. The dresses were made from soft fabric and flowed down to the floor. The Maxi has had a resurgence and is one of the top styles today.

—By Karen Centowski



A new drug epidemic is threating older Americans. It is not one of the usual suspects: heroin, cocaine, or meth. It is a legal drug which your doctor can prescribe as a painkiller. Maybe you even have some pills in your medicine cabinet now.

According to “The Opioid Menace,” an article in the June 2017 issue of AARP Bulletin, “Almost one-third of all Medicare patients–nearly 12 million people—were prescribed opioid painkillers by their physicians in 2015. That same year, 2.7 million Americans over age 50 abused painkillers, meaning they took them for reasons or in amounts beyond what the doctor prescribed.”

How did this happen? “We overestimated the benefits of opioids and underestimated the risks,” says Deborah Dowell, senior medical adviser at the CDC. “We assumed without adequate evidence that they would work as well long term as they did in the short term.” Pharmaceutical companies marketed aggressively to physicians, and by the late 1990s, doctors innocently wrote prescriptions for OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and other opioid painkillers. Long term use led to higher levels of addiction and an increased number of drug overdoses.

In August of 2016, then Surgeon General Murthy wrote a letter to every doctor in America. The letter read as follows: “Nearly two decades ago, we were encouraged to be more aggressive about treating pain, often without enough training and support to do so safely.”

“This coincided with heavy marketing of opioids to doctors. Many of us were even taught—incorrectly—that opioids are not addictive when used as pain relief. The results have been devastating.”

Last year the CDC issued guidelines recommending that doctors drug-test their patients before and during opioid therapy, to ensure that the medications are taken properly.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family? You have the right to question your doctor about a new drug he is prescribing for you. You even have a right to refuse the drug. Do some research on reputable sites on the internet. For example, did you know that Tramadol, an opioid pain medication for moderate to moderately severe pain, should not be used if a drug addict or alcoholic is living in the home?

Be aware of the connection between legal opioids and the illegal opioid heroin. Over time, opioid users tend to build up a tolerance for their legal drug. In addition, the prescription drug may be harder to obtain. This may lead to use of heroin, a highly addictive illegal drug.



I’d like to congratulate our weekly winner Cynthia M. Cynthia lost 0.80% of weight. Keep up the good work Cynthia.

I personally had a great week, and lost a total of 1.42% of body weight.

Looking forward to next week’s results.

See you on the other side.


Edward Lara, HR Director
American Home Health