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ELON MUSK HAS TUNNEL VISION

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 However, “Daley ordered the work stopped in 2008, saying the technology was outdated and more than $100 million more was still needed for completion.”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.

AT HOME WITH MOM

 

Mom always had a huge garden on the farm. She grew potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, onions, green beans, sweet corn, pickles, cucumbers, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and blackberries. There was a bed of asparagus along the fence, and rhubarb plants in another area. A peach tree and an apricot tree grew along the path to the chicken house. We used to say that if we couldn’t grow it, we didn’t eat it.

When Dad retired from farming in 1968, he and Mom moved to a house in Decatur. The house was on a quiet street, not far from a small shopping center. The property backed up to the baseball fields of a high school. The backyard was perfect for a garden. Dad trucked in a load of good, black dirt.

Mom and Dad lived in that house for many years. Then Mom’s mind began to fail. It was as if a computer in her brain had a short in it. Once she tried defrosting a frozen chicken by putting it in the bedroom closet instead of in the refrigerator. She was storing the object in an inappropriate place, an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another time, Dad had driven Mom to the beauty shop just a few blocks away. He told her to call him when she was finished at the beauty shop, and he would pick her up. He was sitting in his big Lazy Boy chair next to the front window when he saw Mom walking past on the sidewalk. By the time he got up to go outside to get her, she had disappeared. Vanished. Dad called the police, and they came to help search for Mom. They found her around the corner about half a block. She was sitting in a Burger King! Getting lost in familiar places is another early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sometimes when they left the house to visit relatives, she would become frantic at dusk. She thought they needed to get home to put the screen in the door of the chicken house so the foxes would not eat the chickens. That was the routine we had when we lived on the farm, but that was years ago. This was another sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mom could still dress herself. She could still cook. Since Dad was in good health and living in the house with her, Mom was able to continue living in their house. Without Dad, she would have needed in-home care or an assisted living facility. She died suddenly at age eighty-one.

If you have a family member who needs in-home services, 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

CHOOSING A HOME HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

In an article called “Top 5 Reasons Why Clients Choose A Home Care Provider,” Home Care Pulse described the results of a 2016 Home Care Benchmarking Study. According to an article at https://www.homecarepulse.com/, each month the company conducted thousands of interviews with home care clients across the country. During these interviews, Home Care Pulse associates asked clients why they selected their provider over others. Their answers to the questions were recorded and analyzed and published as the 2016 Home Care Benchmarking Study.

Below are the results of the survey:

  1. Recommended by family and friends (34.3%)
  2. Reputation of company (25.4%)
  3. Recommended by referral source (22%)
  4. Consumer marketing of company (14.5%)
  5. Selected by case manager (government programs, hospital, etc.) (3.9%)

A report published on http://www.nielsen.com/ confirms that recommendations from family and friends remain the most important form of advertising. The report, RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRIENDS REMAIN THE MOST CREDIBLE FORM OF ADVERTISING; BRANDED WEBSITES ARE THE SECOND-HIGHEST-RATED FORM, states that “eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family.”

Twenty-five per cent of respondents said the reputation of the company was important. How can a person find out about the reputation of a company? Do some checking. Is the agency licensed by the State of Illinois? Is it approved for Medicare patients? Does it have contracts with the State of Illinois? Is it accredited by the Joint Commission? How long has it been in business?

Twenty-two percent of respondents said a referral source had recommended a home health provider. Referral sources include hospital discharge planners, doctors, nurses, and case managers. These individuals determine the level of care the patient will need after discharge and recommend agencies which provide these services.

Fourteen and one-half percent of the respondents said that they had selected a company because of consumer marketing. This includes ads in magazines, newspaper ads, TV ads, billboards, and the company’s website. Some consumers become aware of a company because of its participation at health fairs. Some respondents had heard a representative of a company speak at a senior citizen center,

Almost four percent of the respondents said that a case manager (government programs, hospital, etc.) had selected the home health provider.

If you or a friend or relative in the Chicago area is needing home health services, consider American Home Health. The agency is over twenty-five years old and has hundreds of employees. It is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For more information about American Home Health, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski

SAFETY HAZARDS IN THE HOME

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

ACCREDITED BY JOINT COMMISSION

When you are searching for private duty nursing care for a child or an adult, look for an agency that is accredited by the Joint Commission. What is the Joint Commission? Why is that important to your child or adult family member?

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization which accredits nearly 21,000 health care programs and organizations in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification of an organization is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality. In addition, according to www.en.wikipedia, “A majority of U.S. state governments recognize Joint Commission accreditation as a condition of licensure for the receipt of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.”

To be accredited by Joint Commission, a healthcare agency must undergo a rigorous examination of its operation. This includes a review of written policies and procedures, job descriptions for all positions, safety protocols, and much more. The agency’s staff spend a significant amount of time preparing for this initial examination, and the agency incurs considerable expense.

The surveyors, who are salaried employees of the Joint Commission, spend several days at the physical location of the healthcare agency. They determine if the agency meets the healthcare standards of the Joint Commission. If the agency is deficient, it must correct the situations before it can be accredited by the Joint Commission.

After the initial certification is awarded, the agency is put on a three-year accreditation cycle. Surveyors from the Joint Commission visit the agency, review staff personnel files, examine client charts, read nursing notes, and meet with staff. They also make site visits to the homes of clients selected by the surveyors. If the agency fails to meet the standards of the Joint Commission, it must remedy the deficiencies or lose its accreditation.

Beginning on January 1, 2006, the Joint Commission began making unannounced surveys. “Unannounced” means the organization does not receive advance notice of its survey date. This concept of the “unannounced visit” forces JC organizations to maintain a standard of excellence in their operations every day. It requires JC organizations to update their policies and procedures on a regular basis.

American Home Health is accredited by the Joint Commission. Our focus upon patient safety and quality of care aligns with the goals of the Joint Commission. When you are seeking private duty nursing care for a child or adult, look for an agency accredited by the Joint Commission. It is the gold standard in the healthcare field.

—By Karen Centowski

THE RISE AND FALL OF HEMLINES

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

In Illinois… A health care “surrogate” may be chosen for you if…

End of Life

A health care “surrogate” may be chosen for you if you cannot make health-care decisions for yourself and do not have an advance directive.

  • True
  • False

Under Illinois law, a health care “surrogate” may be chosen for you if you cannot make health-care decisions for yourself and do not have an advance directive.