Category: chronic illness

Ten Wound Care Techniques For Home Caregivers

Back when I was a home health nurse I loved the challenge of caring for wounds. Once I helped a Korean War veteran heal an open sore on his ankle bone he said had been there since he was frost-bitten in 1954! Another challenging wound was a man with a pressure ulcer (bedsore) whose white knobby tailbone could be clearly seen after I removed the dressing.

wound care
Proper wound care at home is a cornerstone of recovery.

Remember Christopher Reeve who portrayed Superman until his neck was broken in a horse riding accident? He died because of a bed sore. The cause of death was an adverse reaction to an antibiotic he was taking for sepsis caused by his pressure ulcer. This can simplistically be thought of as a blood infection. However, sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

Although I love wounds, caring for open sores, whether caused by surgery, accident or sensation loss, is a major stressor for families and most (normal) people. Good wound care is a vital part of post-surgical recovery as well as keeping healthy and even alive. Proper wound care is necessary to prevent infection and to promote healing. 

What Causes Wounds?

Wounds occur when the skin is damaged because of injury. This may be the result of mechanical, chemical, electrical, thermal, or even nuclear sources.

skin tear classification
Skin tears are common in elderly people, as is the bruising caused by blood thinners.

Skin is damaged in different ways depending upon the mechanism of injury. In all cases, inflammation (redness) is one of the first signs of injury.

Wounds are classified into types:

Superficial wounds (on the top surface layer of skin) are caused by friction rubbing against a rough surface, even something seemingly smooth like a bed sheet. They are known as abrasions or skin tears.  

Additionally, many seniors take blood thinners like Coumadin® and/or low dose aspirin with resulting “bruises” where blood vessels leak into the tissue just under the skin. These obviously need protection from opening up and require prompt attention when they do.

Deep wounds, such as those following surgery, go through the skin into the underlying tissue, like muscle and fat layers. 

Puncture wounds, usually caused by a sharp object entering the skin, could be as minor as a needlestick to give an injection or draw blood, or deep as a stab wound from a knife or similar sharp object.

Bites, whether human or animal, are classified as superficial or puncture wounds, depending on depth and size.

Pressure ulcers (bed sores) develop due to lack of blood supply to the skin. This is the result of chronic pressure on an area, especially over bones. This tissue compression causes a loss of blood supply to the area which increases skin breakdown. First inflammation and then sores develop when a person who is bedridden, sits for long hours in a wheelchair or has a cast pressing on the skin does not remove pressure from the area. Pressure ulcer prevention guidelines specify moving every 20 minutes to relieve compression.

Hospitals Discharge Patients ASAP

Hospitals are under tremendous insurance pressure to discharge patients as soon as possible after surgery. It’s a very confusing time for family caregivers with a discharge planner, a social worker and maybe even a wound care nurse all giving directions on the day of discharge. No wonder the many details involved in wound care are often forgotten or misremembered!

In most cases, if the wound is not considered complex, teaching is done at the time of discharge. A home health nurse will usually be assigned if the wound is complicated, such as performing wet-to-dry dressings several times each day. However, while a home care nurse keeps the patient as their primary concern, they are required to teach a family member–or a paid caregiver–how to change the dressing. Private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid will not pay for a nurse to stay in the home beyond a specified number of days after discharge.

skin layer graphic
A person who has lost sensation on the soles of the feet can easily develop an ulcer that is often difficult to heal.

In addition to surgical wounds, several other populations almost routinely (unfortunately) develop open sores that are specific to who they are. People who are unable to move in bed or in a chair easily often develop bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers. (Waaay back when I was just a nursing assistant, they were also known as decubitus ulcers.)  

Diabetics and other people with neuropathy can develop open sores in the areas with poor sensation, like feet and lower legs, due to not feeling an offending pebble in a shoe or a bump on the shin. Preventing more open sores is a vital part of home wound care.

Proper Wound Care Procedure

  1. If there is any pain or discomfort with dressing changes give the patient (I’m using patient as a stand-in for the wordier but politically correct terminology of “person with a wound”) pain medication about half an hour before starting. Medications can range all the way from acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to morphine. The nurse will be able to help you decide how much pain medication to give. If the wound is particularly worrisome for the patient, ask them to practice deep breathing relaxation exercises as you do the dressing change.
  2. Gather all the equipment you will need. This includes the tape and dressings needed, gauze squares, saline, ointments, wound packing material, clean or sterile gloves, and any other item(s) as instructed by the nurse. graphic of woundLay the materials on a clean surface in the order they will be used. Do not put dressing materials on the bed. This area is considered “dirty” from a wound care point of view–even if the sheets were just changed.
  3. WASH YOUR HANDS. Even when wearing gloves, it’s still important to cleanse your hands before and after touching a wound. Bacteria easily travel between your hands and the wound. You can use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Scrubbing hands to the tune of the Alphabet Song (♪A, B, C, D, E, F, G♫) ensures you spend enough time to do it correctly.
  4. Follow the wound care written instructions given at the time of discharge.
  5. Additionally, remove the old dressing only after you have all supplies ready to go and the patient is medicated for pain or discomfort. Wounds need a warm and moist environment to heal. Healing is postponed if the wound is left open to the air for even a minute longer than necessary. 
  6. Slowly lift the corners or edges of the dressing or tape. If it sticks to the skin, dab the edges with an adhesive remover, a moistened gauze pad, or a moistened paper towel.
  7. Hold down the skin surrounding the bandaged area. Gently and slowly remove the tape or dressing. Lift the tape across the skin rather pulling away from the skin.
  8. Lift the edges of the dressing toward the center of the wound, then gently lift it from the wound. If the dressing sticks to the wound, soak it with saline solution to help loosen it.
  9. Carefully place the old dressing into a plastic trash bag (or grocery bag) and tie it closed. Put that bag into a second plastic bag and throw it away. You can put all the packaging from the new dressing in the bag, too.
  10. Remove the gloves and wash your hands again.

Challenges With Chronic Wounds

Any wound that doesn’t heal easily and remains open for weeks after most similar wounds heal is considered chronic. These are among the most difficult to successfully treat. Chronic wounds can occur when:

  • surgical wounds reopen or don’t heal completely
  • when the skin breaks down because there is too much pressure over a bony area, called a pressure ulcer or bedsore
  • there’s injury over a vein or artery in an area with poor circulation, called a venous or arterial ulcer
  • there is a loss of circulation and sensation due to diabetes, called a diabetic ulcer

Many hospitals have specialized wound care clinics staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians. These health care providers are certified in wound care and work solely with these types of chronic wounds and ulcers. They have access to up-to-date research and technology, such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers and the latest wound care dressings. 

Remember, don’t forget to ask questions when the nurse is instructing you! Discharge planning has become an increasingly more important part of the hospitalization. Fines are levied for hospitals who have too many readmissions. And if the wound in question doesn’t require hospitalization, STILL don’t let the nurse get away until you have ALL your questions answered and concerns met.

I’d love to know what my readers thought of this. Was it too medical? Was it helpful? What else would you like to see me write about?

Benepod Makes Short Work Of Tight Muscles And Nerve Pain

BenepodAbout a month ago I received, gratis in exchange for an honest review, a new handheld device called Benepod®. My first reaction was, “How cute!”

The Benepod fits snugly in my hand which is a good thing because there is nothing else to hold it in place. My initial use was on a tight trapezius muscle. That’s the muscle on each side of the neck that people reach behind their head to massage. It should not look like you are Gul Dukat, a Cardassian from Deep Space 9, but I frequently resemble him when I spend time on the computer. Here’s a quick video clip to illustrate. 

As expected, the trapezius loosened as I held the device over it. By the time its charge was spent, there was no more tight trap. In fact, the muscle remained loose for several days after treatment. As I’d had a chronically tight trapezius since severe whiplash caused by an accident in 1995, I was frankly astounded.

Thermal Grill Pain Control

Benepod simultaneously uses hot and cold to fight pain.  By applying contrasting sensations at the same time to a particular point on the body, the Benepod engages natural healing abilities. This occurs is through a theory of pain control known as the thermal grill illusion.

Although identified in 1896 by Swedish physician Torsten Thunberg, researchers didn’t begin to really study it until about 10 years ago.  The thermal grill illusion occurs when nerves just under the skin can’t distinguish between the hot and cold stimuli. Consequently, this triggers a short-term intense–but not painful–sensation.  This nerve overload is proven to effectively mask or even completely eliminate pain for a period of time.  It appears to be an especially effective non-drug treatment for pain remaining after a stroke.

According to the material that came with it, the patented technology used in the Benepod effectively treats neck pain, knee pain, arthritis of the hands, headaches, and various other forms of musculoskeletal pain. The Benepod uses a standard wall charger and USB-C cable.  It is compatible with most USB accessories, such as portable batteries used to charge cell phones and other portable electronics. It arrives with a long cord, making it easy to recharge without having to leave my bed.

With the promotional literature in mind, I used the Benepod to reduce a chronic knot in my left masseter (jaw) muscle, also a symptom remaining after the 1995 accident.  In addition to whiplash, being T-boned also gave me temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). I wore a mouthpiece for months and was unable to eat solid food for weeks. After more than 20 years, the muscle swelling was still apparent. After just one Benepod treatment almost a month ago now, I still have not had the tightness return.

Real Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

With two solid wins on chronically tight, inflamed muscles, I wondered how it would work for fibro pain. I often get hit in my left arm extending from the deltoid, where the arm meets the shoulder and where nurses give injections, through the triceps, biceps, and forearm flexor muscles and into the wrist and hand. Even when I consider the pain manageable, I still cannot put pressure on that side. It is a frequent cause of painsomnia.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when this fibromyalgia pain was significantly reduced after one treatment to the deltoid–before I took any muscle relaxants or pain medication. However, to achieve a complete cessation of all pain I had to recharge several times and hold the pod on different areas of my arm and wrist. 

After coming in from working in the garden, and a lot of bending and straightening, my lower back was in spasm. I charged up the Benepod and slipped it into my underpants to hold against my spine at around S1. I’d had disc bulging at L4-L6 since moving a bedridden patient by myself more than 20 years ago.

As the device discharged, I no longer felt lower back pain.  Then the soreness in my thoracic (chest area) spine became evident. The upper back didn’t hurt earlier probably because the lower back was more painful. After a short period spent recharging, I slipped the Benepod into the back of my bra along the spine. No more soreness.

I can’t get over how well this works!

This morning I woke with neuropathic pain in my right first through third toes. Instead of getting up and taking my morning dose of gabapentin, I fired up the Benepod.

Benepod in use
Holding the Benepod against my painful toes.

This was a little trickier to hold in place since I didn’t want to remain hunched over with my hand on the toes. I ended up sitting in a modified Lotus yoga posture with my painful toes and Benepod curved inside and held against my left calf.  The pain was significantly reduced after one application.  It disappeared following two applications.

The only downside I could find after more than a month of use was that you have to either hold the Benepod on a painful spot with other hand or a body part or secure it with clothing. For example, I would pull a long sleeve up over my elbow and hold the pod on the underside of the elbow with my cuff. In other areas, I used a scarf, gauze or another long, soft material to bind it in place.

Saringer Life Science Technologies, the maker of the Benepod, produces other devices for the medical marketplace. For example, they have a unit that prevents or treats deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and other circulatory issues. Interesting to anyone who had a total knee replacement, the company’s founder was the inventor of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine that flexed and extended the new knee joint following surgery.

Here’s a link to Salinger’s web page. https://www.saringer.com/.

And for your convenience, here’s one for the Benepod on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2rm5klV. 

Please remember that I receive a small commission if you purchase through this link.

Comments? Questions?

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

 

 

 

 

Learn Home Medicine Today

monday
Just click https://bit.ly/2HIbzuF to go directly to the site!

 

You’re coming, right?  To watch the FREE Home Medicine Summit… that just went LIVE to the world at 9 a.m. CT this morning?

That’s right, it just started TODAY!

And this 100% online, 7-day event is going to be running 24/7, until Sunday, May 20th with an incredible lineup of 42+ world-renowned speakers on topics related to:

  • The Big Organic Rip Off: why it’s not as healthy as you think!
  • Making your own probiotics–CHEAP + EASY!
  • 100% NATURAL remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression. (Safe alternatives to prescription medications.)
  • How to save $1000s in funeral costs.
  • How to make your own miraculous CBD “hemp oil” … and use it as medicine, without getting high!
  • Foods that are BETTER than anti-inflammatory drugs!
  • Is Turmeric actually DANGEROUS to consume? What nobody is telling you…
  • Why perimeter shopping at the grocery store isn’t a good strategy any more.
  • The power of saying “no” … and how to do it!

And that’s just the beginning!

You’ll hear from best-selling authors and thought-leaders, like:

Mike Adams, Ronnie Cummins, Sally Fallon, Sayer Ji, Nick Polizzi, Melinda Meyer, Joel Salatin, Eric Zielinski, Howard Garrett, Justin Rhodes, Paul Wheaton…

Just to name a few!

So that’s why I’d like to confirm. You signed up to watch for FREE? Right? 

You’ll still have access to Monday’s speaker presentations, but remember they take down each daily presentation at 8:59 am CST and replace them with new ones. Be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss your favorites.

 

You can still register here.

 

Hope you can make it! 

Join Me At Marjory’s Home Medicine Summit

Remember my gardening and lifestyle mentor, Marjory Wildcraft? Growing my own organic food was a huge step to take when I was still pretty sick.  But the advice and encouragement I got from her helped get me to where I am today.Marjory at mailbox

That’s why I’m excited to finally be able to tell you. Registration is open and free tickets are available now for her Home Medicine Summit 2018. Piggyback this information on top of all the experts from the Food Revolution. You are well on your way to a healthier life!

I received a sneak preview of this year’s speaker lineup earlier and I can tell you that Marjory has really outdone herself. She’s pulled together an incredible lineup of 42+ experts who promise to show you how to be naturally healthy for pennies on the dollar.

Covering a wide range of topics, this year’s event includes:

  • Why organic is not always as healthy as you think
  • Making your own probiotics cheaply and easily 
  • 100% natural and safe remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression
  • How to save $1000s in funeral costs
  • How to make your own CBD “hemp oil” and use it as medicine, without getting high (or arrested if you are in a nonlegal state)
  • Foods that are better than anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Why perimeter shopping at the grocery store isn’t always a good strategy 
  • The power of saying “no” 

Marjory has once again recruited world-class thought leaders, best-selling authors, and research institutes to participate. These are big names in natural gardening, food, and wellness like Mike Adams, Ronnie Cummins, Sally Fallon, Sayer Ji, Nick Polizzi, Melinda Meyer, Joel Salatin, Eric Zielinski, Howard Garrett, Justin Rhodes, and Paul Wheaton.

But what I love even more is that because Marjory’s connections are so deep and wide in the natural health, permaculture, and sustainable living communities you’re also going to have the chance to meet some unsung heroes. You will meet and learn from people you’ve likely never heard of because they’ve been off in their corner of the world “living it.”

This is a 100% online event, free for you to attend from anywhere with an internet connection. It kicks off Monday, May 14th and will run 24 hours a day for seven full days with two encore days. But please note. Only those people who sign up at the link below will get the schedule + instructions for watching! (This is how they contain the costs of hosting an event like this on a global scale.)

So don’t wait and then kick yourself for missing it! Get your ticket to watch and the presentation schedule right here. And be sure to add this to your calendar ASAP.

I should also mention that when you claim your free ticket Marjory will send you a nice bundle of six gifts to welcome you to the Summit. 

 In exchange for signing up, I receive a percentage of the price for talks if you purchase them for a reference. But purchasing is NOT required. Do what many others do, and watch each presentation when it is live and free. Or if you are having painsomnia, watch it at two in the morning!

We Can’t Start The Food Revolution Without You!

The 7th Food Revolution Summit starts today!

If you want to know the latest research and time-tested secrets to increased focus, vitality, and longevity through healthy eating, even with a chronic illness, it’s not too late to sign up for free. Unlock the door to the Food Revolution Summit right now.

GMO foods In the 2018 Food Revolution Summit (broadcasting online as you read this) you’ll get a front row seat to 24 exclusive interviews with the world’s leading experts on food and nutrition.

Over the next nine days, you’ll learn:

  • The shocking truth about GMOs and pesticides, as well as what common foods might contain them.
  • Which foods can prevent (and even help you fight off) cancer, dementia, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
  • The real truth about food and how you can make more informed choices for you and your family–not pseudo-science and industry scare tactics.
  • The connection between industrial agriculture and climate change, and what you can do now to make a difference.
  • And much, much more!

Each of these interviews, conducted by bestselling author (Diet For A New America) and food activist John Robbins, will be stimulating, mind-blowing, and inspiring — you can count on it!

Join me and more than almost half a million people attending the summit from the comfort of their homes. I look forward to sharing this life-changing experience with you!

In exchange for signing up, I receive a percentage of the price for talks if you purchase them for a reference. But purchasing is NOT required. Do what many others do, and watch each presentation when it is live and free.

Food Revolution Summit starts tomorrow—will you be there?

As you know, I passionately believe there’s nothing more important to your health than the kind of food you eat. But are you sure your food is safe? Are you confused about what might be the most nutritious diet for you and your family?

Tomorrow, one of the most important health events in the world is taking place–the 2018 Food Revolution Summit. Have you signed up yet? (It doesn’t cost a cent!)

It’s crazy to me how so many diseases that were rare one hundred years ago are almost considered normal today. In the U.S., more than two-thirds of the population is now overweight or obese.

insulin injecting into stomach fat
If we don’t pay more attention to what we eat, half the country will be injecting insulin in a few years.

Heart disease and stroke kill more than 700,000 people every year. The National Institutes of Health reports that in the 1960s less than 2% of America’s kids had a chronic health condition. Today, it’s over 25%. And one in three American children is expected to get type 2 diabetes.

Watch this video for a message about cancer and food.

We have a food industry that acts like health doesn’t matter, and we have a medical industry that often acts as if food doesn’t matter.

Do you want the truth about food from some of the top medical, health, and environmental experts in the world? Attend the Food Revolution Summit from the comfort of your bed or recliner! You’ll get cutting-edge insights on health, energy, and disease prevention, and find out exactly what to eat—and what not to eat—if you want to add years to your life.

Two-million copy bestselling author John Robbins will interview 24 of the top food experts on the planet, including Joel Fuhrman, MD; Kris Carr; Michael Greger, MD; Vani Hari; Neal Barnard, MD; Dale Bredesen, MD; Mark Hyman, MD; and many more. And you can join, right now — it’s free! Check out the speakers and schedules right here.

I’m looking forward to this Summit because it will give me more information to use while keeping myself as healthy as I can be–even with a debilitating chronic illness like ME/CFS. 

Get the answers you need from experts you can trust. Secure your spot and free gifts now.

In exchange for signing up, I receive a percentage of the price for talks if you purchase them for a reference. But purchasing is NOT required. Do what many others do, and watch each presentation when it is live and free.