“Don’t forget to wash your hands!” ~ Handwashing Awareness Week ~ Dec. 7

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At the St. Anne’s reception desk, we have a little plastic duck which has reminded many an inquisitive child or adult visitor not to forget to wash their hands. Along with offering a couple of quacks and a giggle, this darling duckling dispenser squirts out hand sanitizer when his pump is pushed down.

This coming week, December 7-13, is National Handwashing Awareness Week. Our little hand-sanitizing duck brings to mind a practical question: is hand-sanitizer really an effective alternative to hand-washing?

According to CDC, “alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.” Users are advised to use products containing at least 60 percent alcohol. CDC research has also found that “hand sanitizer doesn’t reduce the spread of some viruses such as the norovirus.” Also, the FDA does not advise hand sanitizers as a substitute, but only as an addition, to hand-washing when doing food-prep. Hand sanitizers strip the outer layer of oil on one’s skin, according to biology.about.com. Although hand-sanitizers may say they kill up to 99.9% of germs, that doesn’t mean they do in practical circumstances; products were tested on inanimate surfaces rather than on skin.

It seems, whenever possible, that good hand-washing technique is the best way to germs from spreading. And what is good technique? Sources recommend at least fifteen, and better yet, up to thirty seconds with soap and water. A helpful way of ensuring you’ve spent enough time “playing in the water” is to hum the tune “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice. Good technique also includes scrubbing “the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails,” according to homesafety.org.

Along with good hand-washing, disinfecting common surfaces, like doorknobs, telephones, computers, etc. is also a good preventative measure. Coughing into your elbow, rather than into your hand or the air also can help stop the spread of germs.

Here at St. Anne’s, although we offer hand-sanitizer to our residents, we strongly encourage hand-washing; this is especially important during cold and flu season.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/hand-washing/art-20046253

http://biology.about.com/od/microbiology/a/handsanitizers.htm

http://info.debgroup.com/blog/bid/270757/Hand-Washing-or-Hand-Sanitizer-Which-is-Better-and-Why

What’s in a Name?: differences in long-term care terminology

The terminology used in the world of long-term care can be rather confusing to the average person. In this week’s blog, I would like to help clarify what different terms, such as basic care, assisted living, and independent living actually mean.

According to LongTermCare.gov’s glossary, assisted living is an “arrangement that provides individualized personal care, assistance with Activities of Daily Living*, help with medications, and services such as laundry and housekeeping.” Assisted living “provides or coordinates individualized support services to accommodate the individual’s needs and abilities to maintain as much independence as possible,” according to the North Dakota Long Term Care Association (NDLTCA). Assisted living facilities may also provide healthcare that is not as intensive as that offered in a skilled nursing facility. Also, according to the above-mentioned glossary, “assisted living facilities allow people to remain relatively independent.”

*Activities of Daily Living (ADL) include: Bathing, Dressing, Transferring (to/from a bed or chair), Eating, Caring for incontinence

Another classification is independent living, which, according to UMH’s Assisted Independent Living Blog, benefits people “who can still live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed.” An independent living facility would provide its residents “with convenient access to dining, medical care, entertainment and more [as well as] a safe living environment, but with minimal assistance. Hospitality services, such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry may or may not be included in the monthly rental, but are typically available,” according to UMH.

A basic care facility, on the other hand, According to the NDLTCA, “provides room and board…to individuals…who, because of impaired capacity for independent living, require health, social, or personal care services, but do not require regular twenty-four-hour medical or nursing services.” (We refer to that as “skilled nursing.”)

Nonetheless, in basic care, staff are available 24/7 to meet the basic needs of the residents. North Dakota is actually the only state that offers this classification. Other states use the terms “assisted” or “independent” living. According to Karly Kruckenberg of NDLTCA, “the payments are one of their biggest differences” between basic care and assisted living. What services are included and which are offered at additional cost varies. Also, according to Kruckenberg, “basic care can be seen/advertised ‘as an Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special memory care facility.’ ” This does not necessarily have to be the case, however, as with of St. Anne’s.

At St. Anne’s, we offer basic care as well as low-rent housing efficiency apartments (through the federal government’s HUD program). In basic care, most all services (nursing, meals, etc.) are covered under the residents’ routine care payments. Apartment residents are encouraged to take part in activities with basic care residents (at no additional charge). They are also able to select other services (meals, laundry, housekeeping, etc.) for which they make additional payment.

Pumpkin, Anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2014 ~ Pumpkin, anyone?

So what do you do with four gallons of frozen pumpkin? Well, if you work at St. Anne’s, there are many residents to bake for who love homemade goodies. One great way I found of using some of it was: Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Our residents enjoyed them yesterday at our “Turkey Trot” Dance after listening to accordion music by Chuck Gust and Friends.

What I used is actually a modified pumpkin bread recipe.

pumpkin recipe

For a printable version of the original recipe, visit http://www.cooks.com/recipe/4m3kb0kd/easy-no-eggs-pumpkin-bread.html.

86,400 seconds

When helping our activity director with a Thanksgiving-themed display, I came across the following quote which seemed quite apropos for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and, for that matter, the entire year: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” (William Arthur Ward)

We have this quote hanging in our activity room display case now, along with “hand”-made turkeys by our residents. During our Bible Study, they were asked to trace their hand; from this, they made a picture of a turkey by connecting the fingers for feathers and adding extremities such as a comb and beak. Before coloring their bird, residents were to write one thing they were thankful for on each feather. We do this activity every year, but it is a good exercise in remembering to be grateful. Some things our residents were thankful for included: food, a home, family, friends, and knowledge.

It seems to me that we so easily take God’s many gifts for granted. This Thanksgiving season, my hope for myself, and for everyone, is to devote more of the seconds of my day (86,400) to lifting my heart in gratitude! ~Sr. Christina Neumann, OSF