January Imperatives

A few thoughts during this quiet Sunday in a temperate January come to mind that I hope all readers consider:

  • Yes everyone has their feelings about the flu shot. I’m not here to preach about the vaccination as it’s a personal decision you make with your medical professional. However, as a human, it’s not only flu season we are dealing with but also a very miserable virus. It’s scary the number of reported casualties this season. If you or a family member is under the weather, get checked out. Here are some helpful tips on choosing the right setting for your medical care.
  • The first State of the Union Address delivered by President Trump will be this coming Tuesday, January 30. Anticipated themes include tax reform, border security, immigration, and the stock market. Tune in at 9PM Eastern.
  • On the local front, while Q4 2017 data is not finalized, I am hoping that accidental drug-related overdose deaths are on the decrease for our tiny state. Every live saved is a blessing and a gift that has slipped through another family’s fingers. Continue educating yourself and promoting recovery options for all.

Looking forward to a prosperous and healthy 2018 for everyone.

New Year, What is Next?

…one of my favorite phrases that I picked up during Spiritual Exercises in college is so fitting for a new year.

It’s the first Saturday of  2018, truly one of the first days with some time to breathe after the planning and excitement of the last month.

There’s not much to love in the news lately but there are glimmers of hope if you can find them. Sarah Silverman has done an act of kindness instead of choosing escalation and inflammation. On the same platform there are bullies and moms and reporters and megalomaniacs, so it is nice when something so positive gets attention.

And then?

  • Spent the end of the year in a chilly city; kept warm with great people.
  • Reading a book that is totally outside my wheelhouse but my brain is thanking me for it.
  • Planning work travel and sharpening those time management skills.
  • Getting involved in community events and sharing the intel forward.

Be Antibiotics Aware

Far be it from me to provide medical advice. This place is about my personal perspective and experience, and this topic includes an important message for our community, especially now that the holiday season is coming. Families will be getting together, and oftentimes, someone at the dinner table feels under the weather.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) issued a press release today to remind Rhode Islanders to be “antibiotics aware”. It seems there is a special week for everything!  Last week was Corporate Compliance and Ethics week, but this week, apparently, is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week (November 13th -19th). These drugs are super helpful in the treatment of bacterial infections. However, according to the press release, the overuse of antibiotics and the use of these drugs when not appropriate have contributed to 2 million+ people falling ill with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Remember: antibiotics do not work on viruses. There is a distinction between viruses and bacteria that make us ill. Take it from an experienced patient: Let your physician properly diagnose your illness. Finish your prescription medication as directed. Alert your physician if you experience any significant side effects of antibiotics (as I have done; some of them pack quite a punch!) and safely discard any unused medication.

www.health.ri.gov/antibiotics

www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use

The End of Oklahoma’s In-Home Support Waiver

Buried in my newsfeed today is an article from earlier this month regarding the state of Oklahoma’s decision to cut funding for a significantly needy population.  Families who care for developmentally disabled adults often require additional support, otherwise, working a full-time job would be difficult.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority describes the In-Home Support Waiver as follows: In-Home Supports for Adults serves the needs of individuals 18 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities who would otherwise require placement in an ICF/IID [Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities].

According to the OHCA website,  services include: Respite, Nursing Services, Adaptive Equipment, Nutritional Services, Audiology, Occupational, Physical, & Speech Therapies, Habilitation Training Specialists (in-home care), Psychological Counseling, Medical Supplies and Services, Employment Services, and Transportation. Funding for these and more services will end December 1, forcing families to make some key decisions in the next few weeks.

I hope state lawmakers responsible for informing the budget can find something else to cut besides these valuable sevices. Parents and caretakers may need to choose between caring for these loved ones or keeping their jobs. From the article:

“We are still hopeful, still optimistic that the legislature will not allow these cuts to take place,” said DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell. “There’s still time to pass funding bills, to make sure that the funding is available for these services. But come December 1, these programs will end and there will be nothing DHS can do about it.”

Give Memorial Hospital New Life

This past month, it was announced that Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, RI will close. While it appears the low utilization and financial state of the facility support this clear choice, it is always disappointing to the local community that has depended on Memorial for generations.

Dr. Michael Fine notes in his article that we are healthier than we used to be, But he also provides a compelling alternative, which is to use the facility as a treatment center for those battling drug and alcohol addiction. There is such a great demand for these services, and having additional local access to high-quality treatment would be welcome in any community.

Now all we have to do is make it affordable and accessible. Who can come in and turn this Brewster St. facility into a place of treatment and recovery? Any takers?