How Nursing Homes Avoid Ugly Stereotypes

When people think of nursing homes, they rarely have positive feelings. On some level, this is unavoidable. After all, what nursing homes must represent, at least partially, is a place where the infirm go when they cannot take care of themselves, and once there, they likely will not leave until they die.

The subconscious connection someone places on a nursing home is almost certainly a fear that they too might end up there. The connection to the inevitable future of weakening health and the desire not to confront mortality inevitably will make people shy away from nursing homes to a certain extent.

Though that negative image cannot be helped, it is worth considering other sides of negative opinion and reaction that might be dealt with. After all, hospitals are also places for the sick where many people die, and yet, while most people don’t enjoy hospitals, they do not immediately feel repulsed by them.

What can nursing homes do?

First, they should work on building up positive associations for their work. Nursing homes, after all, do a great deal for their communities. They take care of those who need care most. They make sure that life near the end is as pleasant and painless as possible. They take the burden of care off families that cannot handle it. They provide a home for those who lack one. Many people who do not have much left in life can find some final comfort and perhaps renewed purpose in a nursing home. Just because they are unable to take care of themselves, it doesn’t mean the infirm should not enjoy life as much as possible, right?

If more people associated nursing homes with these positive qualities, there would be far less negativity surrounding the profession.

A second and perhaps more important issue would be to increase transparency for those who have relatives in nursing homes. Everyone has heard of stories of nursing home abuse. While these cases are rarer than people assume, the transgression is so egregious, many hold those rare events against the whole enterprise. To keep such negative associations away from nursing homes, each place should do its best to prove that they are not a location where such things can happen.

While nursing homes already have strict background checks, sharing the rigorousness of this might help relieve the concerns of those who are considering putting family members into that home’s care. Further, giving detailed notes (even to the point of being excessively detailed) about each patient’s daily activities would perhaps be a hassle for the nursing home but would go a long way towards reassuring families.

Should these two suggestions be taken up, nursing homes could recover much of their reputation and become associated with other respectable and admirable pillars of the medical community, as they should be.

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Emerald Ash Borer Makes Its Way to Chicago

As the world we live in grows smaller, and as air travel becomes more abundant, we must take more care to curtail the spread of invasive species, especially those that affect our native trees. Having trees next to your home can provide energy saving shade, positively affect your mental health, attract local wildlife like songbirds, and even raise the property value of your home. However, proper attention must be given to the types and numbers of trees that are spread out in a neighborhood in order to prevent the devastating effects of invasive effects. A suburb of Chicago afflicted with the Emerald Ash Borer insect is only just starting to recover.

According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect native to Southeast Asia, was first confirmed to have entered the suburb of Southland in 2008. Since then, thousands of ash trees have either died or been removed, but even a decade later the new trees are nowhere near as impressive and will take years more to come close to their former glory. Some communities in Southland responded to the pest better than others, and before the pest was confirmed the village of Homewood already had a plan in place to remove nearly every Ash tree. The trees were replaced from selections of 89 other species of native trees so that if such a pest or disease were to ever hit again, not every tree would be taken out. Mokena had a similar tree replacement program that started in 2013 and went through 2016, after which the focus shifted to education and the public was encouraged to take action on their own. The villages in Southland that did not take any action and left the trees to die do look much worse, but for the most part, there was not enough money in their budgets to implement a replacement program.

What this article tells us is that regardless of where you live, it is important to vary the species of trees that you choose to grow in your yard. Of course, native trees are also generally a better fit and matching the landscape of your neighborhood so that the entire community can benefit is also a consideration. Whether you suspect one of your trees is being attacked by an insect, or if you are looking for ways to diversify your plant life, landscaping companies like Ware Landscaping in the Chicago area can help identify what trees should go where and what action should be taken against any pests.

Communities as a whole should make sure education materials are available to the general public so that widespread devastation of this sort never happens again. Blight and hungry pests will continue to be an issue, but having a diverse landscape will ensure that community members retain the value of their homes and that they will not lose any shade trees. Funneling money into programs meant to protect our trees should be on the agenda for every community development organization.

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The Various Threats of Depakote

Depakote is the brand name of the drug Divalproex Sodium in the U.S. This anti-convulsant prescription drug was developed to treat migraines, seizures due to depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and other problems relating to mental health, but most especially, manic-depression or bipolar disorder. Though Depakote served as an effective treatment for some ailments and disorders, it was also linked to serious side-effects that can cause lasting health problems.

Depakote can cause a variety of unintended health problems beyond the typically mild side-effects. Most notably, women who took Depakote during pregnancy have given birth to babies with severe birth defects. The FDA has released warnings regarding the link between Depakote and birth injuries, including:

  • Spina bifida and other spinal defects
  • Malformation of face or skull
  • Malformation of cardiovascular system
  • Brain defects
  • Fetal valproate syndrome, a condition that causes the development of facial deformities in children
  • Infantile Scoliosis, which is case when this disease develops during infancy or early childhood

Due to the threats to health Depakote is linked to, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety alert on May 6, 2013, where it advised health care professionals and women that the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium and related products, valproic acid and divalproex sodium, are contraindicated and should not be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches. The FDA will also be issuing stronger warnings about use of Depakote during pregnancy: from category “D” (the potential benefit of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable despite its potential risks) warnings will be changed to “X” (the risk of use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit of the drug).

Fetal valproate syndrome, which is characterized by distinct facial dysmorphism, can result to cleft palate, cleft lip, deformed ears, facial asymmetries, developmental delay, eyes spaced too far apart or too near each other, mismatched eye colors and others. These deformities definitely have an impact in the life of a child, affecting his or her level of confidence, happiness and health.

Medical treatment to correct the deformity may be available, but such treatment is long and costly. Thus, as parents or guardians of children suffering from facial dysmorphism you need to know that you do not need to suffer from the costly medical treatment required; you can also possibly get compensation for the financial losses you have already suffered due to the harm done. By filing a Depakote birth defects lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories Inc., this drug’s manufacturer, you may be able to avail of the financial compensation that you deserve.

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No Drunk Drivers: Safer Roads for Everybody

Drunk driving is dangerous for obvious reasons. First, alcohol has negative effects to the driver’s body, influencing his or her ability to drive efficiently. Second, it puts not just the drunk driver in danger, but also the other drivers around him or her. Third, drunk driving accidents often involve high speeds and high impacts, resulting into more severe injuries and property damages.

Enforcing DUI Laws

Drunk driving is illegal, and what qualifies for drunk driving may depend on a jurisdiction basis. On most jurisdictions, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08%, and 0.04% for those who are under twenty-one years old. According to the website of Truslow and Truslow, drunk driving charges can be defended. Therefore, it is safe to assume that these laws are not ridiculously limiting.

Setting up Check Points

If there is a greater risk of getting arrested, less people will drive while under the influence of alcohol. A good technique to achieve this is by setting up a sobriety check point, wherein authorities will stop vehicles and check their occupants for signs of intoxications.

Implementing Severe Penalties

DUI convictions can result into fines, license suspensions, license revocations, and jail times. The severity of these penalties may vary on a jurisdiction basis, but most jurisdictions consider the blood alcohol content level and how high it exceeds to the legal limit. If jurisdictions impose damaging consequences, they are reducing the number of people who even think of driving while drunk.

Installing Ignition Interlocks

The installation of ignition interlocks is one of the severe penalties of drunk driving. Ignition interlocks are devices that monitor whether the driver is drunk or not. If the driver is determined to be under the influence, the vehicle’s ignition will not start. This can be very inconvenient, and it is a good way to make drivers think twice before hitting the road while drunk.

Utilizing Drunk Driving Programs

One of the best ways to avoid drunk driving on the streets is by letting its dangers known to the public and letting authorities be stricter in enforcing the laws. This can be achieved through public education, prioritization of drunk driving cases, and police motivation to make arrests. If the overall attempt to deter drunk driving is convincing, it may significantly reduce the drunk drivers and drunk driving accidents on the road.

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Fit for Duty Testing for Current Employees

Fitness for duty examinations are there to determine whether a newly hired applicant or a current employee is medically fit enough to effectively perform the tasks of his job position or not. In the case of newly hired applicants, fit duty testing may seem logical because the employer is still gauging the capabilities of his new employee. But in the case of current employees, fit duty testing may be unjustifiable. So it is important to know whether a fitness for duty examination is warranted or not.

Disclosed Medical Issues

If an employee has admitted having some sort of medical condition, he may be required to undergo a fitness for duty examination, to determine whether his medical condition is preventing him from successfully doing his job. It is also important to know whether the physical, emotional, and psychological toll of the job is affecting his medical condition or not.

Excessive Absence Due to Injury or Illness

Not going to work because of an injury or an illness may make an employee subject to a fitness for duty examination. This is to determine if there is a direct or indirect relation between the employee, his job tasks, and his injury or illness.

Performance Issues

If an employee fails to perform the tasks he is supposed to do or accomplishes the task in an unsatisfactory manner, he may be subject to a fitness for duty examination, to know whether his physical, emotional, and psychological condition is affecting the way he does his job.

Return to Work

An employee who has missed work because of injury or illness may be required to take a fitness for duty examination, to make sure that he is not just medically healthy to perform the job, but also recovered enough to prevent further injury or illness.

Unsafe Behavior and Conduct

Unsafe behavior and conduct puts not just the guilty employee at risk, but also the others around him. He may be subject to fitness for duty examination to know whether there are direct correlations between his unsafe behavior and his health.

Fit for duty testing is an essential part of safety in the workplace. If you become subject to one, do not be angry in the hassles that it may bring, especially if it is justifiable. Remember that it is also not just about you, but also about the others around you. A safe workplace is a productive workplace.

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