Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Friday.... any plans for the weekend?

Friday is often a happy day - it's the end of the week for Monday to Friday workers, the beginning of a weekend and time is yours.

Do you bring work home with you to do on the weekends? If so, is that because you want to or you have to? I have to admit, I do a lot of work on the weekend but that's because my job (freelancing) allows me to do other stuff during the week. So, to make up time, I end up working on the weekend. It's probably not the healthiest way to do things though, so it's probably time to start rethinking my work habits. But not this weekend... I have too much to do. :-)

Today on Help My Hurt:
Friday Fun
Older people with IBD may develop more frequent infections
Jerry Seinfeld’s car accident could have been a lot worse
5 great reasons to visit your dentist regularly

News for Today:
Your Neighborhood Can Affect Your Health
Beta blockers show promise in treating asthma
Mumps vaccination schedule may need tweak: study
More suspect deaths linked to heparin: FDA
Washing produce doesn't remove bacteria: report
Climate change brings health risks
Does the internet really influence suicidal behavior?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

10 great sites, health-related and, well, not health related

It's list day. Here are 10 sites that I like to visit for health information or fun. If you haven't visited them, it's worth your while.

1 - Cranky Fitness is a fun look at health issues. Crabby McSlacker, the lunatic genius behind this blog pokes fun but also provides some interesting information. (sshhhh, I don't think Crabby is really her name....)

2 - Emergiblog is for nurses, but I think it puts a good face on the human-ness (is that a word?) on nurses and can be fun for others to read too.

3- Healthbolt is a sister/cousin/relative from the b5Media network. Not quite as irreverent as Crabby's blog, there is a lot of fun stuff. And don't forget the Sexbolt Saturday stuff (or is it Sunday?).

4- When I'm doing my daily news searches for this blog, Sprigley, and Help My Hurt, I go to this site to see what's new: Medworm.

5- Another good place for the most recent press releases is EurekAlert.

6 -Another b5Media blog I like (I like most of them but I can't list them all) is Lively Women. Great information for all.

7 - MedlinePlus can be a good source, but it is sometimes a day or two behind. Still, it's worth a look to see if I've missed anything.

8 - For non-health stuff, I visit Giveaway of the Day every day. They give away, for 24 hours, free software (legally) and it's worth a quick peek. I'd say about 99% of the time, they don't have anything I need or want, but every once in a while, there's a great little program that is very helpful and appreciated.

9 - Again on the fun front, I like to visit because of my love for greyhounds. Great place to learn about them if you're thinking of adopting one of these beautiful dogs.

10 - And finally, number 10 - one of my favourite places on the web: a fun site called Regret the Error - Mistakes Happen. It's edited by a Canadian writer who finds the funniest and oddest errors in journalism today.

Call for interviewees: Company's Calling at Help My Hurt is looking for people who live with chronic pain or who love someone with chronic pain. If you are interested, please email me at mareyeka (at) gmail (dot) com.

News for Today:
Cancer numbers highlight need for screening program
Aerobics can delay aging by 12 years: study
Association between low birth weight, excessive weight gain and heart problems in later life
Two Drugs Better Than One for High Blood Pressure
20 minutes of activity a week boosts mental health
Exercise During Pregnancy Leads To A Healthier Heart In Moms- And Babies-to-be

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hospice for chilldren to be built in Alberta

This is wonderful news to me: Alberta's 1st children's hospice breaks ground.
Hospice care and palliative care are starting to really come into their own right as medical specialties. Yet, as society accepts the elderly and adults dying from fatal or chronic illness, there's still a tendency to deny that this also happens to our children.

When children die, the support network has to be large because the child's death affects the families and friends in so many ways. While doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals do their best in a hospital environment, it's not the same as receiving care in a place that is dedicated to understanding the reality of a child's death.

No, it's not a pleasant thing to think about, but by denying families access to specialized places, we aren't going to make their children live any longer.

News for Today:
Most Back Pain Could Be Cured Without Surgery Or Drugs If Doctors Treated Muscles
Continuous Oral Contraceptives Improve Menstrual Symptoms
Adults who eat apples, drink apple juice have lower risk for metabolic syndrome
Omega-3's no help for Crohn's sufferers
FDA Approves Abatacept for the Treatment of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A self-indulgent post today

I've been doing this blog for almost a year now and one of the things I find most fun about it is checking to see who visits the blog. Don't worry, you're still anonymous, but my stats program tells me from what country people visit and the search words or phrases that are most commonly used.

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see people visiting from countries I can only dream of visiting and I have to admit that there are times when I check my map to make sure I know where the country actually is. I'm proud to say, I usually am pretty close.

Interestingly, the two most popular search strings are "broken hips in the elderly" and "spelling tricks". I can almost guarantee that at least one of those two, particularly the broken hip one, will show up once a day.

I will try to find more information on that because it is such a popular topic. I'll also address it on Help my Hurt, as it is a common source of pain and debilitation for the older people in our population.

I'm happy that people are finding this blog to be a good resource because many are return visitors - I figure if it's not a good resource, people wouldn't come back, right?

As always, I love comments and suggestions, so please don't be shy.

News for Today:
Rare skin cancer deadlier than melanoma, yet studied little
Blood test for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's may soon be available in U.S.
Drug warning linked to less help, more suicides
Medical errors cost US $8.8B, result in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths: HealthGrades study
Birth control choices expanding for women over 40
Child sleep problems linked to later behavioral difficulties
Sleep problems common in children with ADHD
Depression increases risk of Alzheimer's disease
Cavities in Children Reduced Over 60 Percent by New Experimental Chewable Mints

Monday, April 7, 2008

Intensive care units - not relaxing places

Post number 250!

This story was interesting for me: ICUs begin to adopt patient safety checklists . I worked in an ICU for a while near the beginning of my nursing career and I was a patient in an ICU a few years ago, for a couple of days. I have to say, being a patient there is a unique experience - a time when unique does not mean something good.

Intensive care units are a vital part of a healthcare system, particularly now as patients are even sicker than they were when I worked in one. The specialized one-on-one care can't be replaced by anything else. But being a patient in an ICU can be traumatic for many reasons.

There are the obvious reasons such as fear and uncertainty, but there are also the insidious problems. I remember that we would have patients who became quite aggressive and upset while in our unit and their family members would be mortified at the behaviour, saying "he/she never acts like that," or "he's the sweetest man you could know."

We had an explanation for some of that behaviour and it was often the lack of true rest. It's hard enough to get a good night's sleep in any part of the hospital. The saying is "don't go to the hospital if you need to rest." This is particularly true for patients in a specialized unit like an ICU. As much as staff try to make it "night like" at night, it's not possible to turn off the lights completely or eliminate the noise.

How many people have experienced just dozing off, only to be woken up because a nurse has to do something? While we try hard to avoid unnecessary tasks while our patients are sleeping, it's not always possible in an ICU because of why the patient is there. Add to all this the noise from adjoining rooms/beds, the whoosh of respirators, the beeps of machines, and so on - this all adds to making it very difficult to fall into a restful and restorative sleep.

And now, many patients and families feel the added stress of fear of infection. With the so-called super bugs taking up residence just about anywhere, patients and their loved ones are frightened; they're scared of getting sicker just because they were in the hospital. Worrying about if their doctors or nurses have washed their hands is something that they shouldn't have to think about. So, will checklists like the one mentioned in the article help? I don't know. I like to think that we're all adults and we know that we're supposed to wash our hands before moving to another patient. But if a checklist helps for those who don't, I guess it can't hurt.

Today at Help My Hurt:
Company’s calling - living with ulcerative colitis.

News for Today:
Health Canada warns against bogus STD medications
British pharmacists allowed to prescribe drugs, provide medical care
ICUs begin to adopt patient safety checklists
Early neglect predicts aggressive behavior in children
Occupational therapists use Wii for Parkinson's study
Parents follow pediatrician advice on administering MMR vaccinations