Tag Archives: prevention



When you hear the words “traumatic brain injury,” what do you think of first? Serious head injuries on the battlefield? Head injuries in motor vehicle crashes? Concussions occurring in contact sports such as football? You might even think of Muhammad Ali, a famous boxer who endured repeated blows to his head and developed Parkinson’s disease at the age of forty-two.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in 2013. In fact, falls accounted for 47% of all traumatic brain injury related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. According to the CDC report at https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury, “Falls disproportionally affected the youngest and oldest age groups. More than half (54%) of the TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls. Nearly 4 in 5 (79%) TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in adults aged 65 and older were caused by falls.”

What is a traumatic brain injury? According to the article called “TBI: Get the Facts” at https://www.cdc.gov//traumaticbraininjury, “A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.”

You need to be especially careful to prevent your family members from falling. Make some small changes to make the home a safer place. Below are some tips from a Mayo Clinic article called “Fall Prevention: Simple Tips to Prevent Falls” at https://www.mayoclinic.org:

  • Remove loose rugs (throw rugs) from the home.
  • Immediately clean up spilled liquids, grease, or food.
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
  • Place nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

If you have a family member who has suffered a traumatic brain injury 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


One of the hazards of providing home healthcare is the daily challenge of driving to and from the client’s home. In Winter, the streets may be snow-packed or icy. In Spring, roads may be flooded. Even under ideal conditions, driving can be challenging.

OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has published an overview of hazards in home healthcare at https://www.osha.gov. The article states that home healthcare workers “have little control over their work environment which may contain a number of safety hazards. These hazards include bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, latex sensitivity, ergonomic hazards from patient lifting, violence, hostile animals and unhygienic and dangerous conditions. In addition, if their daily work schedule requires them to provide care for multiple patients, they face hazards on the road as they drive from home to home.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has published six Fact Sheets to assist in reducing home healthcare workers’ risk for injury and illness. Publication Number 2012-122 focuses on preventing or reducing driving related injuries. The Fact Sheet addresses behaviors and conditions which contribute to car accidents. These include distracted driving, aggressive driving, failure to use a seatbelt, driving while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, poor weather conditions, and poorly maintained vehicles.

What can you do to protect yourself? The OSHA Fact Sheet lists the following things employees should do to prevent driving-related injuries:

  • Use seatbelts.
  • Stop the vehicle before using a cell phone.
  • Avoid distracting activities such as eating, drinking, and adjusting radio and other controls while driving.
  • Avoid driving when over-tired.
  • Use detailed maps to determine your route before you leave, or use a GPS.
  • Have the vehicle checked and serviced regularly.
  • Keep the gas tank at least a quarter full.
  • Carry an emergency kit containing a flashlight, extra batteries, flares, a blanket, and bottled water.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video about distracted driving, go to Distracted Driving Presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfknB9CZiA8.

LifeSaver Program – My First Program WorkOut


Hello LifeSavers,

Hope that everything is going well with you.

I had my first workout yesterday (yes, bad me). I walked 4.57 miles and burned 502 calories. That should remind me (and you, if you want), that the mentality of burning it later does not sit very well. Just to keep it in perspective:

  • 1 slice of cheese pizza  = 272 calories (who eats just one?)
  • 1 bagel (plain) = 245 calories
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream = 289 calories

Well, so much for that, we get the picture. I need to be mindful of what I put in, that way my workouts will be more effective.

Remember that next Friday is weigh-in day (4/7/17). You must send your info by 1000 on Friday.

See you on the other side!


Your fellow LifeSaver,

Edward Lara
HR Director
American Home Health
1660 N. Farnsworth Ave., Suite 3
Aurora, IL 60505


Nursing Talk

Dear Cassandra,

Last Tuesday I was driving fast because I was trying to get to work on time. A cop stopped me and gave me a ticket for speeding. He said I was driving twenty miles an hour over the speed limit. When I got to the client’s house, I couldn’t find a place to park so I parked in a restricted area. I came out of the house at the end of the day, and I discovered a $50 parking ticket on my windshield. How can I get reimbursed for these work related expenses?

—Having a Bad Day in Chicago
Dear Having a Bad Day,

Driving fast is nothing new. The Romans had chariot races over two thousand years ago in the Circus Maximus in Rome. Teams of drivers, dressed in colored tunics covered by corsets of leather bands, drove their chariots around the track.

Americans have always had this fascination with vehicles and speed. Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was thirty-six when in 1774 he took delivery of a sporty, two-seater, horse drawn carriage called a phaeton. The term “phaeton” is derived from Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios in Greek mythology. Phaethon drove the sun chariot so recklessly across the sky that Zeus brought him down with a thunderbolt. Nelson’s phaeton was quite a contrast with the ox carts, sturdy wagons, and stately carriages of the day. It gave the appearance of being fast and dangerous.

Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line produced Model T brought gasoline powered cars to the masses. These cars replaced horses and ushered in a series of vehicles which captivated the public. Speed and power were the common themes of the muscle cars, race cars, drag racing, Indianapolis 500, and NASCAR.

Sometimes the appearance of the vehicle is more important than its speed. The current trend of “pimping the ride” is an example. Young men buy old cars, do extensive body work on them, give them new paint jobs, add expensive low-profile tires, chrome rims, and ear-shattering sound systems.

What excuse did you give the police officer when he stopped you? Maybe you said, “I was going downhill, and my car picked up speed.” I hope you didn’t say, “No way I was going any faster than 80.” Maybe you blamed your vehicle by saying, “My speedometer wasn’t working.” Maybe you blamed the highway by saying, “I wasn’t familiar with the road.” Maybe you actually told the truth and admitted you were speeding because you were going to be late for work.

The police officer who stopped you for speeding was obviously not impressed by your excuse. He gave you a ticket.

The company is not responsible for your having a lead foot. The company will not pay for your speeding ticket. Likewise, the company will not pay for your parking ticket. It is your responsibility to find a legal parking space.

Try leaving the house twenty minutes early to allow for unexpected delays. You will arrive on time feeling fresh, not frazzled. Leave the speed to the professional race car drivers.


Note: First published on American Home Health's news, February2012

The Single Most Important Reason to Practice Good Hand Hygiene

Hand Hygiene

What is the single most important reason for healthcare workers to practice good hand hygiene?

  1. To remove visible soiling from hands
  2. To prevent transfer of bacteria from the home to the hospital
  3. To prevent transfer of bacteria from the hospital to the home.
  4. To prevent infections that patients acquire in a health care setting.

While all answers are good reasons to practice good hand hygiene. Improved adherence to hand hygiene has been shown to terminate outbreaks in facilities, reduce the transmission of antimicrobial resistant organisms and reduce the overall infection rate.


Drugs Influencing the Respiratory System

Medications and Respiratory System

  1. Corticosteroids

    These drugs produce an anti-inflammatory effect. Used to reduce mucous secretions, swelling and inflammation. Used in conjunction with bronchodilators to open airways in conditions such as asthma and COPD.

    Examples: Flovent, Solumedrol, Azmacort, Decadron

    Side Effects: Masks infections, hyperglycemia, slow wound healing.

  2. Beta Agonists

    These are drugs having an affinity for the Beta 2 receptors sites. These sites are found primarily in bronchial and vascular smooth muscles producing bronchial relaxation and arterial dilation to skeletal muscles.

    Used to relieve bronchoconstriction, for short term treatment of acute exacerbations, and long term treatment to control symptoms. Used for nocturnal symptoms.

    Examples: Alupent, Serevent, Proventil

    Side Effects: Tachycardia, headache, angina, muscle tremors

A PIG IN A POKE – Nursing Talk

Nursing Talk

Dear Cassandra:

Why did the company switch to using Clockworks instead of timesheets? Why do we have to call in from the parent’s phone rather than using our cell phone? Why do we have to submit copies of our nursing license and both sides of the CPR card?

Just Asking in Aurora 


Dear Just Asking:

Say you have lived in your house thirty-four years. A few years after you moved in, you had a new roof installed. You chose asphalt shingles with a twenty-five year warranty. Now the shingles are curling, and you are noticing extra granules in the gutters. You need a new roof. You find a flyer in your door from an out of town roofing company. The flyer says they are doing work in your area and would like to give you a free estimate. You ask for the same high quality asphalt shingles with a twenty-five year warranty. The price is agreeable, and you have the work done. You pay the bill. A year later you discover that cheap, poor quality shingles were installed. When you try to contact the company, you discover that the company is out of business. You learn that the Better Business Bureau has received numerous complaints about this company. You are a victim of fraud. You are devastated.

Fraud is a deliberate misrepresentation which causes another person to suffer damages. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud. It is a crime. In the Middle Ages, meat was scarce, but feral cats were abundant. A confidence game or trick was to sell a cat in a sack instead of a pig in a sack. This confidence game was called a pig in a poke.

Fraud is a huge problem in business today. The typical organization loses 5% of its annual revenue to fraud, with a median loss of $160,000. Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion a year.

Businesses try to prevent fraud by various methods. For example, timecard fraud occurs when an employee has a co-worker or another person punch in/ punch out. Businesses try to prevent timecard fraud or “buddy punching” by using fingerprint based punch in/punch out machines or systems like Clockworks.

The Clockworks system uses a unique ID and password to record the number of hours worked. The employee must call from the parent’s phone, the phone in the house of the client. That guarantees that the employee is actually in the home, not calling from another location. Clockworks helps ensure that employees are paid for legitimate hours worked.

Clinical notes must be written every two hours and must match the time in/ time out recorded in Clockworks. Making up clinical notes for care not given is fraudulent. Cases of fraud are reported to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The State of Illinois can revoke a nursing license if the person is found guilty of fraud.

The advent of computer technology has made it possible for individuals to create fake nursing licenses and CPR cards. These counterfeit documents are presented to potential or current employers. To combat this type of fraud, the employer must verify the licenses on the Web site of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The State also requires that the personnel files contain both the front and back sides of CPR cards. The employer can verify the CPR card by contacting the school or organization sponsoring the CPR class. Verifying the licenses and CPR cards helps ensure that qualified nurses are caring for the clients.

Employers need to expect good behavior from their employees and monitor their activities. As Ronald Reagan said regarding the Soviet Union and nuclear arms, “Trust but verify.” If employees are committing fraud, employers must hold employees accountable for their actions.


Note: First published on American Home Health's news, March 2011.