Stop Sitting Around this Winter and Get Moving!

During these cold winter months, it can be so easy to succumb to cabin fever. Sitting on the couch and watching TV seems so much easier than braving the frigid weather outside. It’s no surprise that many Americans pack on an extra 5-7 pounds during this season. However, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can be a major risk factor for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancers, even premature death.

 

For senior home health care patients, staying active in the winter months can be especially challenging. However, home care patients of all ages are guilty of spending too much time sitting around most days of the week. In addition to being at an increased risk of many chronic conditions, seniors spending time sitting has been linked to an increase.

 

In addition to being at an increased risk for chronic conditions, sitting too much has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing a disability as well. This is especially true for those of the age of 60 receiving at-home care.

 

Daily physical activities should be a part of every home care plan. While the amount and intensity of these activities will depend on the home care patient, personal care assistants should make it a point to get those they care for up off the couch several times a day. Here are some ideas to help break the mold of sitting all day:

  • Stand While Eating: If able, stand at a counter or high table when eating meals. While this may feel awkward at first, this can be an easy way to burn calories as you consume them
  • Go for a Walk: Even in the winter, getting outside for a quick walk can do wonders. Be sure to pace yourself and don’t try to go too long. For senior home care patients, start by walking to the end of the block and back.
  • Join a Social Group: Being around people will naturally encourage movement. For seniors, this could be a book club, quilting group, or bingo.

 

When changing any aspect of a home care plan, it’s best to start small. Aim for replacing 30 minutes of sitting time each day and then slowly increase as able.

 

The professionals at Best Home Care are ready to help support personal care assistants with home care resources and encouragement. Reach out to our home care professionals to learn more ways to avoid sitting too much this winter.

Can Smartphones and Watches Replace Traditional Medical Alert Systems?

Senior Home Care, Medical Alert SystemsMedical alert systems are an incredibly important tool for senior home care patients and those living with paralysis. Not only do these easy-to-use systems allow individuals to maintain their independence, they provide family members with peace of mind knowing their loved one is able to contact help in the event of an emergency.

We here at Best Home Care have noticed an interesting trend occurring over the past few years as new technology slowly replaces the traditional medical alert system. Smartphones and smartwatches are increasingly being used in place of expensive medical alert systems and their pricey subscriptions. Recently, there have been a number of stories about the intelligent assistance system in these devices saving the lives of their owners. This innovative technology is being incorporated into home care plans; allowing those receiving at-home care to live much more independent lives.

“Hey Siri” and “Okay Google”

Voice command software in the iPhone, Nexus, and other Android phones allow an individual to contact help without ever touching their phone. In the event of an emergency, simply stating, “Hey Siri, call 9-1-1” or “Okay Google, dial emergency services” will connect the home care patient with a local dispatcher. Voice commands benefit the home health care for seniors in the event of a fall or for those living with paralysis if they are unable to reach their phone.

Over the past few years, smartwatches have exploded in popularity and so has their use in the home health care industry. As a smartphone extension for your wrist, seniors are increasingly using smartwatches as a medical alert system wherever they go. Doing so eliminates the need to carry their smartphone with them and allows them to move confidently within and outside of their home.

Note: Those interested in using a smartphone as a medical alert system should schedule a test-call with their local 911 dispatcher to ensure it works properly.

Apple iPhone’s Medical ID

A lesser-known feature of Apple’s iPhone is the Medical ID as part of the Health app. This tool makes basic medical information accessible from the smartphone’s lock screen. If the owner were to become unresponsive, an EMT can use this app to quickly find critical information and provide better care. Click here to learn how to set up your Medical ID and be better prepared for an emergency.

Technology touches every industry and home health care is no exception. As a leading Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care works to stay on the cutting edge of new trends in our field in order to provide the best service for all of our home care professionals. Contact us to learn more ways technology is impacting home care services and how you can start including it into your PCA services!

Home Care Winter Safety: Organizing a Winter Safety Kit

Minneapolis home health care, home care agency, PCA servicesThere’s an old joke about Minnesotans that goes: “Only crazy people would live in a place that requires a survival kit six months out of the year.” Any loyal Minnesotan could dispel this by sharing all the things that make this state great, but there is some truth to this statement. Minnesota winters are brutal and we are all one broken car away from being stranded in the middle of it.

In this third installment of our Home Care Winter Safety blog series, we will look at how to put together a winter survival kit for senior home care patients. Some of us might have a roadside survival kit in the trunk of our car in case of an emergency. The idea of a home care survival kit is to provide seniors with quick access to critical items in the event of a winter storm. While we always hope our senior home care patients will never have to use these, it is always best to be prepared.

As we age, our ability to sense temperature changes suffers and the likelihood of developing hypothermia increases. For this reason, many items in a senior home care survival kit help them stay warm. Here are all the necessary items every family caregiver or personal care assistant should include in their kit:

  • Bottled Water
  • Flashlight and Batteries
  • General First Aid Kit
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Blankets
  • Extra Medications
  • Home Care Network List

These items should all be kept in a box or container and placed where the patient can quickly and easily access it. Be sure to include the senior home care patient in this process and explain to them the importance of this survival kit.

Best Home Care is here to provide expert guidance for those providing in home supportive services or home health care services. Our home care professionals are ready to answer all your questions about providing home care during the winter months and how to be best prepared. Contact us today!

The Dos and Don’ts of Being a PCA: Do Communicate

Personal Care Assistant - home care resources

Communication is an essential part of our daily life. When done correctly, it can inspire millions of people to do incredible things. When done incorrectly, it can quickly become a confusing frustration. Though you likely don’t have an audience of millions, effective communication is vital for every profession and home health care is no exception.

At Best Home Care, we understand that being a personal care assistant comes with its challenges and that it can be difficult to communicate with your client. This disconnect is often the result of a physical or learning disability or simply a difference in generations. Communication struggles will only add to the stress that many home caregivers experience; however, it is important to work to be the best communicator possible, especially when someone’s life and well-being are affected.

Here are some tips for becoming a better communicator while working as a personal care assistant:

  1. Avoid Interrupting: Let your home care client say what they need to say before responding. If you don’t hear what they’re thinking, how will you know what they need?
  2. Ask Open Ended Questions: Give your client the opportunity to open up to you. This is a good way to build trust and better understand their needs.
  3. Be Honest: Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. In every situation, honesty is the best practice for home care professionals.
  4. Find Common Ground: Try to discover something that both you and your client enjoy. A shared passion or interest is the perfect way for a personal care assistant to open up communication with their client.

Effective communication is not only important for home caregivers but for home health care agencies as well. Everyday, Best Home Care strives to provide the best administrative services for those providing in home supportive services – this begins and ends with communication. Let’s have a conversation about our Minnesota home care agency and how you can provide the best home care possible. Contact us today!

Putting the “Best” in Best Home Care – Understanding and Flexible

Understanding & FlexibleIn order to be lasting and successful, any relationship must be built on compassion and understanding. Both parties must be flexible and willing to give-and-take if the relationship is to last. In marriages, friendships, and business dealings, the ability to empathize with one another is essential. This same concept holds true for personal care assistants seeking a home care agency and vice-versa.

Finding a certified home health agency to work with can be a stressful and time-consuming process. While it might be easy to go with the first home health care company that appears on Google, time should be taken to get to know the people who work there and their values. Developing a solid relationship with these individuals can make the difference between an excellent work experience and one you may end up regretting for years.

At Best Home Care, we believe wholeheartedly in this principle and treat all of our caregivers as family. We value these relationships and work to do our part to create a work environment in which the needs of every home caregiver is  understood and respected. As a PCA, you have a lot going on in your life. We get it. That’s why we’re happy to be flexible throughout the home health care administration process by:

  • Being flexible and paying employees who turn in time sheets late
  • Paying employees mid pay-period if they are having a personal emergency
  • Allowing caregivers to work overtime
  • And much more!

Personal care assistant and caregiver jobs should be enjoyable, professionally rewarding, and personally fulfilling. Best Home Care strives to be a great place to work by making the administration process easy and convenient for our employees. We’d love to hear from you! If you would like more information about transferring to Best Home Care, visit our contact page or call us at (651) 330-2550.

Putting the “Best” in Best Home Care – Gain Ease and Convenience

Home Health Care AgencyThere are hundreds of Minnesota home care agencies that all claim to provide the same services. As a personal care assistant, it can be difficult to know which agency is the right match for you. A simple search will return the names of many companies; however, the majority of the time, using this process to select a home care agency simply does not work.

Selecting a home care company to work with is not a decision that should be taken lightly. You should do thorough research and trust the company to support you in providing the best home care possible. Do not be afraid to call or visit an agency’s office and meet the people who work there in-person. Remember, you should want to work with them as much as they want to work with you.

At Best Home Care, it’s no secret that we believe we provide the BEST home care administration services in Minnesota. With a decade of experience in the home health care industry, we have learned what personal care assistants desire from a home care agency and that’s exactly what we do! Our current clients say that we are the easiest and most convenient agency they’ve ever worked with because we:

  • Accept all documents by fax, email, or electronically
  • Offer a home care timesheet app that’s easy for employees
  • Make the process of transferring to our agency quick and simple
  • Provide multiple PCA training resources
  • Send email and telephone reminders to submit timesheets each pay period
  • And much more!

Personal care assistant and caregiver jobs should be enjoyable, professionally rewarding, and personally fulfilling. Best Home Care strives to be a great place to work by making the administration process easy and convenient for our employees. We’d love to hear from you! If you would like more information about transferring to Best Home Care visit our contact page or call us at (651) 330-2550.

Springtime Activities Can Benefit Your Home Health

Springtime Home Care Activities Temperatures are rising, snow is melting, and people all over the Twin Cities are slowly coming back outside. After this winter, it’s hard to believe that springtime is finally upon us. This is our favorite time of year at Best Home Care – not only is it a sure sign that summer is just around the corner, but it also means everybody in our home health agency office can get back outside and back to the activities we’ve missed for months.

Warm weather is limited here in Minnesota, so it’s important to take advantage of it while we can! Capture all the benefits of being outdoors by adding time outside to your home health care regimen. Here are some fun outdoor activities that anyone can enjoy:

  • Install and maintain a birdfeeder
  • Start a small garden of vegetables or flowers
  • Take a walk or bike ride
  • Go fishing
  • Watch an outdoor sporting event

Being outdoors has many benefits for our health. Spending time in the sun generates Vitamin D in our bodies, which is essential for brain, bone, and muscle function and can also help improve cognitive function. Staying active outside also allows those taking advantage of at-home care to interact with others and stay involved with their friends, family, and community.

While these activities are enjoyable, they can present certain challenges and precautions should be taken to ensure safety. Before heading outside with a home care recipient, personal care assistants should:

  • Make hydration and comfort a priority
  • Know where the nearest restrooms are located
  • Understand different mobility restrictions and wheel chair accessibility

Now is the time of year for those providing and receiving home health care to get outside and enjoy the weather. Contact Best Home Care for more ideas on outdoor activities or information about in-home supportive services.

 

 

Capture Music Therapy’s Many Benefits for Senior Home Health

Benefits of Music TherapyAsk anyone you know what their favorite song is and you are sure to be in for a long-winded answer as they struggle to narrow it down to just one. From the songs you sang as a kid to that annoying radio hit you can’t get of your head, music has, and will continue to be, a constant part of all our lives. For thousands of years, music has played an integral role in human existence; however, it hasn’t been until recently that we’ve begun to understand its healing characteristics.

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” In simpler terms, it’s the process of using music to improve an individual socially, cognitively, physically, emotionally, or developmentally. Some of the benefits of music therapy for those receiving in-home supportive services include:

  • Increasing relaxation
  • Reducing loneliness
  • Providing emotional release
  • Enhancing spiritual connections

Listening to music can also provide a boost for an individual’s heart health. According to one study, 12 minutes of Mozart three times a week can help reduce high blood pressure!

For personal care attendants, listening to music with a senior home care client is an excellent way to spend time together while improving in-home health. If you’ve never tried it before, consider making music a part of your home health care routine by:

  • Having your client request songs to be played during other activities
  • Playing music they would have listened to as a young adult
  • Encouraging them to learn a new instrument or playing your own instrument for them
  • Taking them to a musical performance

 We here at Best Home Care are huge music lovers! Along with its home health benefits, music can add life to any workplace (or home healthcare agency). Contact Best Home Care to learn more about music therapy and how to make it a part of your at-home care routine.

Discover the Benefits of Starting a New Hobby for Home Care Patients

Senior Home HealthIf you could do anything for the rest of your life, what would it be? This is a common question to determine what we feel is most important and what activities we enjoy the most. These interests typically have nothing to do with our daily work, but instead are things we do out of a personal passion.

As we age, maintaining the hobbies we love becomes increasingly important. These interests are a great way to keep our minds sharp and our bodies active. No matter your age, there is a hobby out there for you! For seniors receiving home health services and looking for a hobby, consider trying out a new activity like:

  • Assembling jigsaw puzzles and playing card games: These are both great ways to keep your mind sharp and share the fun with others.
  • Completing crossword or Sudoku puzzles: Get a great mental workout with these problem-solving games.
  • Gardening: Stay active in an outdoor vegetable garden or keep it simple in a smaller indoor flower or herb garden.
  • Cooking: Try out different recipes and spend time in the kitchen with loved ones.

Along with regular exercise, these activities are enjoyable ways to stay healthy physically and active mentally. If you are a personal care assistant and provide at-home care for a senior, consider suggesting some of these activities. They are great opportunities for you to spend time with your client by partaking in things you both enjoy.

If there’s one tip we at Best Home Care can give to seniors to benefit their home health, it is to stay active! The easiest way to do this is to find hobbies that you enjoy. Contact Best Home Care for more fun hobby ideas to benefit senior home health and for assistance with any questions you may have about home health care.

Financial Scams in Home Health Care

Avoid Financial Scams in Home CareA sad trend that has developed over the last decade is the prevalence of financial fraud by home health care providers. Each year, hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars are paid out for home care services that were unnecessary or weren’t provided at all. In 2014, it is estimated that fraudulent home care charges totaled $60 million of taxpayer dollars in Minnesota alone.

How does this happen? In most situations the personal care assistant or home care agency responsible for providing care will exaggerate the amount of service provided or make it up entirely. With no effective way to monitor the validity of these billings, Medicaid or the insurance company pays out the money in good faith. All the while, the patient is unaware that he or she is being taken advantage of.

Why does this happen? In short, the reward often outweighs the risks for caregivers looking to make an extra buck. Last year, The Star Tribune reported that, “Of the 425 home caregivers and agencies notified of wrongful billing practices since 2008 in Minnesota, just one in four were ultimately convicted.” Over the last decade, Minnesota’s Medicaid program has exploded while fraud referrals have stayed stagnant or dropped. Without proper monitoring, legislation, investigation, and enforcement, these crimes will likely continue.

What is being done? Six states now require electronic verification whenever a caregiver visits a patient. This process helps deter fraud by eliminating easily falsified paper timesheets. Federal data mining tools are also helping state governments monitor Medicaid claims for fraud. Minnesota is not participating in any of these practices yet.

Andre Best, founder of Best Home Care, has been fighting against home care fraud for years. Best has spoken with legislators about the need for better monitoring of home care services and has even developed software to help address this problem. His smartphone application creates a digital record of all services billed to the state and documents the care that the patients receive. Best Home Care currently uses this app and Best hopes other home care agencies will join as well.

Learn more about our founder’s fight against fraud as well as options for proven care services by contacting our trusted home care agency today.