With warmer weather temperatures coming, it’s time to be reminded of heat related injuries and illnesses.

Although staying hydrated is important all year long, it can become a medical emergency with hot, humid weather. Infants, the elderly, athletes and outdoor workers are at the greatest risk for heat stroke often referred to as Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body temperature is elevated dramatically with body temperatures of 104 degrees F (40C or higher). Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. Signs include: high body temperature, absence of sweating with hot, red or flushed skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behaviors, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation, seizure or coma.

Sometimes a person experiences heat exhaustion before progressing to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps, aches and dizziness.

Some people develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly without warning. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. It is important to notify emergency services immediately. Someone who may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved to a cool place. If they are conscious, offer sips of water while waiting for emergency medical personnel.

    Tips to reduce sun or heat exposure:

* Wear wide brimmed hats to keep head and face cool. This also protects from damaging sun exposure and protects the face, ears and neck.
* Wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeved tops – except when working around machinery.
* Have plenty of water available. Take drinks frequently (every 15 minutes).
* Take breaks in the shade or a cool environment during the hottest part of the day.
* Adjust gradually to working in the heat. It may take 10-20 days to acclimate.
* Wearing a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.

Medicare Part A Tip

Medicare Part A was designed to cover an individual's need for short-term rehabilitation, medical care and treatment.  It does not cover long-term custodial care.

Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for Medicare Part A benefit.  One important factor is a three-day qualifying hospital admission.  When all criteria have been met, the benefit may be provided for up to 100 days.  The first 20 days of the Medicare A stay are fully covered.  The following 80 days are considered coinsurance days and the resident, or supplemental insurance is responsible for $148 per day.  Medicare will pay the remaining balance.

To maintain Medicare coverage for rehab or skilled nursing services, the resident must show continued improvement.  Once their goals have been reached, the benefit will cease.  Therefore, it is possible that the full 100 days may not be used.

Ancillary charges like transportation and beautician services are not covered by Medicare.

Please contact the Social Services or Business Office for more information on Medicare and insurance coverage at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, located in Sauk City, WI.

Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers.  No appointment is necessary so you can stop in to ask advice, even if you are not picking up medication.  They are also the "Drug Experts" and can intervene to prevent medication errors if they know all of the prescription and over the counter medications that you are taking. 

There are a lot of benefits in choosing one pharmacy that fits your unique needs and preferences.  On a personal level, developing a relationship with your pharmacist is a good idea.  The better a pharmacist knows you, the more able he is to tailor treatment to help improve your health and possibly save you money.  The consistency of using the same pharmacist allows educated recommendations on not only prescription medications, but over-the-counter medications as well.

Using one pharmacy impacts society because it saves tax payers money.  Each year, over 770,000 people are injured or die in hospitals due to an adverse drug event.  The national hospital expenses associated with treating patients with an adverse drug event is estimated to be between $1.56 and $5.6 billion annually.  A pharmacist can review a patient's medication profile to optimize drug therapy outcomes.  Record of all of allergies, medical conditions and medication history can easily be accessed at one pharmacy.  Pharmacists are able to view the Electronic Health Record, EHR, to help make drug decisions and promote safety which in turn may reduce hospitalizations.

Safety is significantly improved with the use of one pharmacist by reducing medication errors and drug side effects.  Computer programs at a pharmacy include medication histories.  This can help catch prescription errors, particularly with incorrect dosage or duplicate therapy.  The program can also track when medications are picked up.  This helps the pharmacists to see if you are using your medication correctly and if you are picking it up too frequently or infrequently.  If the pharmacist knows all of the medications you are taking, the side effects and potential drug interactions for over-the-counter medications, herbals and dietary supplements are identified.  They are also aware of the medications that need to be gradually decreased in dose in order to stop taking it and can monitor that they are being decreased correctly.  (There are some drugs that if you suddenly stop taking it, you could have a serious adverse drug events.)

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, located in Sauk City, WI, an in-house pharmacist can help with all of the resident's pharmaceutical needs. 100% of care is provided on location, including dispensing of medicine.  It is done on a daily basis, thereby eliminating the waste associated when there is a change in medication.  Friendly pharmacists are available to review drug interactions for each resident.  And an in-house pharmacy is convenient because you don't have to leave the facility in order to fill a prescription. 

Nate and Tonya Yngsdal are known to brighten the world for many people.  They understand the value in making a person feel special.

The Yngsdals recently assisted the Madison Coummunity Youth Group with their mission to help the homeless.  Armed with a box of items to keep a person warm, a nutritious meal and over-the-counter medical supplies donated by their employer, Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, they were able to make a difference with the forgotten few who do not have a house to call home.

At Cement Park, located on State Street, a table was set up and a spaghetti meal was served from Nescos.  Those in need were able to get a warm meal and take a "snack bag" that was filled with a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, string cheese, grapes and a cookie.  Other items to ward off the cold were offered such as blankets, hats, gloves and coats.

They found out the importance of ibuprofen – to ease muscles aches after sleeping on a cement bench, Chapstick – to protect lips from cracks caused by the coled and back packs – to allow a person to blend in.  With a back pack to hold wordly posssessions, one can simply be a person riding the bus to get somewhere, rather than someone needing to stay warm.

After working with the homeless, Nate said it was a reality check and he appreciates everything a lot more.  He has seen how an illness or loss of a job can change a person's life.  He knows he is among the fortunate who has a warm home, food in the refrigerator and many othe modern conveniences to go home to.

There is something fundamentally important about reconnecting at the dinner table, "explains Karen Volker, Maplewood Village Manager.  "Today the pace in which we live our lives does not always include having the whole family present for a meal.  It is diabolically different from the child rearing days of our tenants."

The Maplewood Village family recently shared a day of reconnecting in a style the tenants would have done in their youth… with a Valentine's brunch – around the dinner table.  These once masters of the kitchen, creatively decorated homemade cookies and planned a brunch that was shared with those they love.

October starts preparation for Maplewood's annual Bazaar which is held the first weekend in December.  Early preparations in crafting include making bath salts, seeded-peanut butter pine cones for the birds and hand made decorations.  As December draws nearer, homemade candies, cookies and breads are stirred up to be sold at the Bazaar.  The monies collected from this event are used according to the resident's wishes.

To the residents, an important use of the money is the ability to give back to the community.  This year a significant donation was given to "The Children's Wish Foundation" which is an organization that grants a wish to a child with a life threatening medical condition.  The wish could be a special toy, to visit a faraway location or a hug to a beloved celebrity.

"Being able to help another person out, especially a child, hits a soft spot with me," states resident, Robert Slotty.  "I can only imagine the smile on the little girl's face as she experiences on of their dreams.  That memory alone can make the tough times she's going through bearable.  I'm thankful the money made from the Bazaar allows me to "pay it forward" to someone else.  It's a good Feeling."

The impact for recovery and future quality of life is defined by the Skilled Nursing Facility you select for post hospital rehabilitation.  The right rehabilitation team is a critical component to your transition back home.

For those with orthopedic injuries, joint replacement, stroke and neurological conditions, cardiac-related challenges, wound care, oncology care, pulmonary impairment and diabetes management, choosing the right rehabilitation team is the best way home after a hospital stay.

The role of a Skilled Nursing Home, SNH, has significantly changed.  In the past, care was primarily provided for chronically ill or disabled seniors.  Today, the role of a SNH has expanded to include a rehabilitation center – which once was the hospital's responsibility.

Maximizing recovery and having a chance of returning home to a meaningful lifestyle boils down to the rehab team.  Just as a parent would interview candidates to find the best daycare for their child, it is important to tour rehab facilities to find the right fit.  Undoubtedly, cleanliness and safety are relevant criteria; however, rehabilitation goes beyond aesthetics. 

When selecting a skilled nursing facility with rehabilitation services, ask the Administrator, Director of Nursing or Social Services Liaison specifics about rehabilitation outcomes.  Find a SNH that has:

1.  Strong track record for rehabilitation success using quantifiable data.  From admission to discharge, therapists will be able to show the amount of progress patients make through rehabilitation and how many patients have been treated for a specific condition.

2.  An array of different equipment.  To properly train the brain and body, it is beneficial to have a variety of approaches.  Utilizing different equipment each day helps a person strengthen different parts of the body for overall improvement.

3.  Consistency & longevity of staff.  Low turnover means that the staff is not starting over each day, trying to learn what the patient needs.  It is a seamless transition that builds on the patient's progress toward being able to care for his/herself.  Experienced therapists are a deep resource of skills and knowledge.

4.  Nursing and therapy staff that work together.  It's a natural flow of care when therapists and care-takers work together.  Everyone is on the same page, which allows the nursing staff to encourage patients to practice skills they've learned tin therapy during routine activities such as bathing, dressing, eating and personal hygiene.

5.  Has an actual kitchen to practice skills.  For those with higher independent skills, they can simulate cooking and laundry tasks.  For instance, when preparing a meal, they can practice placement of a walker when reaching into a cupboard or an oven.

6.  Offer home assessments.  Therapists help patients and families prepare to manage care at home.

During rehabilitation, there are 3 different therapies available for a patient:  physical, occupational and speech.  Through speech therapy, cognition and swallowing are areas of focus.  The ability to communicate allows a person to say what a person needs, even if they can't physically do it.  Most people appreciate the importance of mobility, such as the ability to walk; which is part of physical therapy.  However, what prevents most people from going home with the assistance of a caregiver is the patient's ability to complete his/her own toilet hygiene.  Occupational therapy focuses on getting someone to return to the previous level of function in daily living such as: bathing, dressing and grooming.  An advanced level of therapy includes restoring the ability to shop, cook and clean.

Maplewood in Sauk City, WI, is a proven leader in rehabilitation.  All three therapies are available to  help restore a patient's previous level of independence.