Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Australia will raise nursing home accreditation standards

Accreditation standards for the nation's nursing homes are to be toughened to improve infection control in the wake of the deaths of 10 residents of a NSW nursing home from gastroenteritis.The Rudd Government will also develop new national guidelines for dealing with norovirus -- a common cause of gastroenteritis in nursing homes -- and develop a gastro awareness and prevention kit.  Ageing Minister Justine Elliot approved the moves late yesterday in response to the deaths at the Endeavour Nursing Home in Springwood in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.  NSW Health confirmed last week that 83 residents were struck down with diarrhoea and other painful symptoms last month. Although there were fears contaminated food was the cause, the NSW Food Authority has inspected the facility and found no problems.  However, NSW Health confirmed on Friday test results from a number of ill residents revealed clostridium perfringens -- a bacterium known to cause food poisoning.

Ms Elliot told The Australian last night that there were 1825 gastro reported outbreaks last year, including 989 in nursing homes. So far this year, 671 gastro outbreaks had been reported, 383 in aged care homes.  "Australian nursing homes and staff provide world-class care, but there is always room for improvement," Ms Elliot said. "Infection control in nursing homes is a big task when one considers that residents are often frail, aged and vulnerable to infection.

Source/more:  The Australian,,25197,24021130-23289,00.html

July 16, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Not elder law: For 90 year old Olympian "Swimming is my life"

Swim Adolph Kiefer celebrated his 90th birthday last Friday as he celebrates every day -- with a 30-minute workout in the water.  "Swimming is my life," the Wadsworth resident said. What a life it has been.  Growing up in Chicago, he set a world record in the backstroke as a teenager at Roosevelt High School. At 18, he won the gold medal for the 100-meter backstroke at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, a contest where he met Adolf Hitler.  "I should've thrown him in the pool," Kiefer said. 

In the wake of his Olympic success, Kiefer was invited to Hollywood to audition to play Tarzan in the movies. The 1950s saw him starring in aquatic shows in which he performed diving and swimming stunts -- like racing against seals.  Over the years, he invented about a dozen swimming products, including the first nylon racing suit. A profile in Aquatics International magazine described him as "a combination of Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington."

Kiefer has spent much of his life trying to expose inner-city kids to swimming -- kids like he was growing up on Chicago's Northwest Side during the Depression.  Last month, Kiefer donated $20,000 in swimming equipment to the Chicago Park District, which is providing lessons to every child enrolled in its summer camp program this year.


July 2, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Irish study shows caregivers "under threat"

The tradition of relatives caring for sick, elderly or disabled loved ones at home is under severe threat, a new report warned yesterday.  Many of Ireland's 161,000  carers are struggling to cope and feel over-burdened, unappreciated and unable to have a life of their own.  The report -- based on widespread consultation with carers -- called for an overhaul of the current inadequate State supports for carers, which are based on a means test.   Edna Hogan, chief executive of the Carers' Association, which produced the report, said: "The clear message is that family carers are deeply dissatisfied with their current situation and ambitious action is urgently needed in the upcoming national carers strategy."

Source/more: The Independent,

July 2, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Korea is "least ready" for retirement as its boomers age

Koreans are the least prepared financially for retirement among countries worldwide. It is time to take this seriously and prepare by investing in a variety of assets, instead of relying solely on property, said Fidelity International, a global asset manager. Announcing the retirement readiness index Tuesday, Fidelity Korea noted that the country's retirement income replacement ratio stands at 41 percent of the average income before retirement, far below that of Taiwan, Japan, Britain and the United States. The ratio is a measure of the actual income after retirement to the income just before retirement.   Assuming that the annual income of a Korean household is 10 million won, the actual expected income after retirement would be 4.1 million won. However, the desirable ratio for post-retirement life should be 62 percent, or 6.2 million won under the assumption, said Fidelity.  The asset management firm and Seoul National University's retirement planning support center calculated the ratio, utilizing data from the statistical office and Koreans' indirect investment patterns. The measure of the index includes assessing expected pension, severance payment and savings.

Korea Times,

July 2, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IL governor launches "Break the Silence" elder abuse prevention campaign

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the fourth annual statewide “Break the Silence” campaign and proclaimed July as Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois.  The Governor and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) are encouraging those who are victims or suspect abuse to call the state’s 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 800-1409, where trained professionals are on call prepared to assist. More than 10,000 reports of elder abuse were made during FY 08, which reflects a 16 percent increase in reporting since the campaign was initiated.

“Our seniors have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and to feel safe and secure.  Unfortunately, many seniors find themselves victims of abuse and neglect which is unacceptable,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “The sooner we know about a case of abuse, the sooner we can put a stop to it.  But in order to keep up the fight against abuse and neglect, we need everyone to do their part.  If you suspect a case of elder abuse report it.  Elder Abuse prevention will help keep thousands of seniors safe each year.”

It is estimated as many as 80,000 older adults in Illinois are elder abuse victims.  Elder abuse is defined as neglect, physical injury, mental, sexual, or financial exploitation to an adult 60 years of age or older.  If you suspect someone is being abused, the following indicators may point to a problem:

· Untreated injuries, sprains or dislocations, scratches and cuts
· Sudden changes in behavior and/or withdrawal in social settings
· A caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors
· Dehydration, malnutrition, poor personal hygiene, untreated health problems, hazardous or unsafe living conditions; and
· Sudden changes in bank account or banking practices, the inclusion of additional names on a victim’s bank signature card, unauthorized withdrawal of the victim’s funds using the victim’s ATM or credit card and abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents.

“Elder abuse happens everyday and most often the cases go unreported,” said IDoA Director Charles D. Johnson.  “We’re working to raise awareness so victims know there is help.  I encourage anyone who is a victim of elder abuse or suspect abuse to call our 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline so that we can help.  No one has to go it alone.”

Since the start of the “Break the Silence” campaign the number of reports of elder abuse has continued to increase.  In FY 05, the year prior to starting the campaign, 8,584 reports of elder abuse were received.  In FY 06, during the first campaign year, the number of elder abuse reports increased to 9,191.  During the second year of the campaign in FY 07, the number of reports increased to 9,535.

If you are a victim of elder abuse or suspect an elder is being abused, call the Illinois Department on Aging’s 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 800-1409 or TTY at (888) 206-1327.  Trained professionals are on call and prepared to take reports of elder abuse and forward them promptly to local senior protective service agencies or law enforcement.  All calls and information related to elder abuse are strictly confidential. 

Source:  Office of the Governor of Illinois Press Release,

July 2, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Zealand nursing home under investigation

Healthcare New Zealand says it has launched its own inquiry into Belhaven Rest Home in Auckland.  It follows allegations an employee taped shut the mouth of an elderly resident, to keep her quiet. Police and the Ministry of Health are also investigating.  Healthcare New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor says one case of elder abuse is one too many and they are taking the incident very seriously.  He says if it finds Belhaven Rest Home has not followed the code of conduct, it will be removed as a member of Healthcare New Zealand.  Mr Taylor says it would be up to the Health Ministry to shut down the rest home, if it was warranted.

Source:  NZ City,,nrhl

July 2, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

EU drafts plan for cross-border health care access

The European Commission has unveiled a healthcare package designed to make it easier for patients to get medical treatment elsewhere in the EU.    Under the proposals, patients would not have to get their doctor's approval for non-hospital care abroad.  The European Parliament and EU governments must approve the rules for them to take effect.  Patients would be able to claim up to the amount their treatment would have cost in their home country.  The Commission's draft directive is part of a wider "renewed social agenda" package aimed at clarifying citizens' rights in line with European Court of Justice rulings. The package also includes measures to improve access to jobs and fight discrimination and poverty.  In recent years the court's judges have ruled that freedom to cross EU borders for the best and quickest treatment is a right for all.

Source/The Rest of the Story--BBC,

July 2, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)