Future of Healthcare: Medical Home Model

With the advent of healthcare reform and the need to treat the aging population who have chronic medical conditions without bankrupting the payment system, new ideas to treat all Americans are coming to the forefront.

One such strategy which hopes to close the gap in the nation’s healthcare is called the medical home care model.

This is a patient centered approach which treats individuals from one central medical practice. The medical practice includes all health professionals a person would need to access to treat their health conditions.

If care is needed by providers outside of the medical home, it would be coordinated with other caregivers through the medical home. All treatment is tracked by the medical home so that this information would be self contained and accessible to the healthcare provider.

Electronic medical record data linked to various healthcare arenas, email communication with health professionals, open scheduling, and monitoring of health outcomes are advantages of this approach.

This idea could mean a higher level of care for you with great improvements in preventative care. Potentially, the risks of chronic complications can be reduced with closer contact to your team of healthcare providers who are informed about your specific medical needs and a team who is striving to help you prevent complications.

Ideally it would fit well within the healthcare reform plan with fee for service payments and coordination of fees when providers are needed outside the medical home.

The medical home would also gain monetary advantages for maintaining quality standards and positive outcomes.

The patient will be the center of attention in the medical home model.

This means that you must be an active participant in your care, your treatment plan and your lifestyle changes.  You will be engaged in your own health and medical outcomes.

What are your thoughts about this new approach to healthcare?

We would love to hear your ideas about how this model will meet your needs.

Blue Zones: How to Live 100 Years

People have searched for the fountain of youth for centuries.  We still look for a way to live not only for a long time, but to live healthfully.

Pills, potions and serums to beat “old age” are a million (perhaps even billion) dollar a year industry.

It seems that there are four places in the world where people have successfully aged up to 90-100 years.

These are known as blue zones. Dan Buettner, a writer for National Geographic, has documented common factors among the people who inhabit these blue zones.

In Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica people live longer and healthier without taking pills and supplements.

Their secrets include:

  • Stay physically active
  • Limit caloric intake to meet needs
  • Avoid meat and processed foods
  • Drink in moderation and choose red wine containing antioxidants
  • Surround yourself with family
  • Manage your stress
  • Be part of a community and stay engaged
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Interact with like minded people who help support your achieving the previous goals

You don’t have to move around the world to take advantage.

You can incorporate their “secrets” into your life and achieve the desired goal.

Our lifestyle choices are the primary determinant of how we will age not our genetics.

How will you age?

Elder & Driving: Still Safe to Get Behind the Wheel

A car means freedom and independence.  We all love the feeling of driving down the road on our way anyplace for an adventure.

Unfortunately, as we age several roadblocks can pop up to force us to examine if this freedom is worth the price for not only the driver but everyone else on the road as well.

There are many causes of impaired ability to drive safely which can affect judgment, decision making, reflexes, memory or focus on the task.

  1. Dementia-any form not just Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Poor vision-glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration
  3. Motor impairment-Parkinson’s disease, muscular or neurological degenerative diseases, arthritis, weakness
  4. Impaired mental function-illness, infection, seizures, uncontrolled blood sugar
  5. Polypharmacy-use of multiple medications
  6. Impaired mental function-dehydration, brain disorders, loss of memory, stroke

There is no one disorder or reason that should automatically result in taking the keys away but rather each person should be evaluated individually.

A new screening tool to help professionals assess whether an older person is fit to drive has recently been used in Canada.

The SIMARD test (Screen for the Identification of Cognitively Impaired Medically At-Risk Drivers) developed in Alberta is a paper and pen test consisting of four tasks which takes about 5 minutes and is then scored. Depending on the score one can be identified as safe, unsafe or in need of a road test to determine safety.

Doctors in Canada are mandated to report unsafe drivers and this tool will help give older adults a fair way to show their abilities.

Your family, friends and even you worry about driving a car without incident as aging sets in.

We have all heard the news reports when an unsafe driver causes an accident and pray it won’t happen to us.

We should all ask ourselves if our individual freedom is worth the risk of another person’s well being.

As long as you are able to drive safely, stay focused, and respond appropriately, keep on driving.

When that is not the case, recognize it and ask a professional for help to determine if you are still safe.

Do you have any tips or stories to share to help others?