Monday, January 30, 2017

Medical Marijuana: Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s (Research, Video 2:33)

Dementia qualifies as a condition for using medical marijuana in American states where medical marijuana is legal. Usage is primarily for agitation of Alzheimer’s disease. A review of legislation and qualified medical marijuana program websites reveals the following:

1)  Of the 24 states and localities where medical marijuana is legal, dementia is a qualifying condition in 10.

2)  In the five states where information was available regarding qualifying conditions for certification, dementia was the indication for  medical marijuana certifications.

Apparently, few applicants for medical marijuana list dementia as the reason for seeking certification.

The following video features the effects of medical marijuana on Larry, a man who suffers with Parkinson’s disease. This is Larry’s first time using medical marijuana. With just a few drops of the cannabis oil under his tongue, several of his symptoms are relieved, including tremors. The results are compelling.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, January 23, 2017

Frances Shani Parker’s 10th Blog Birthday Party (Video .50)

Happy Birthday to Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog! Welcome to a cyberspace, blog birthday party hosted by me, Frances Shani Parker. For 10 years, my blog and I have been advocates for person-centered eldercare, hospice-palliative care, excellent nursing homes, and quality in older adults’ lives. There’s an African proverb that says, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito.” Committed to the belief that a writer and a blog can make positive changes, our goal is to open eyes of hearts and minds with inspirational words that rise from places inside.

The first post of Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog was published on Sunday, January 28, 2007. Titled “State of New Orleans and the Elderly after Hurricane Katrina," it addressed the tragedy that began in August 2005 when broken levees submerged the city in catastrophic floodwaters. Supporting suffering families and rebuilding the city continued to be major problems. Most of the hundreds of people who died as a result of this historical disaster were over 60 years old.

Posts from this blog present universal information enhanced with stories, poems, research, images, and videos. Included are the often-missing voices of people of color and other marginalized populations. Through the years, blog progress has been increased by various revisions and by "village” support. Comments from other healthcare advocates, patients, caregivers, volunteers, policy makers, and the general public are welcome. They add enlightening layers by bringing diverse readers’ views to the discussions.

The vast majority of readers comment through social media discussion groups where we explore our common interests in particular subjects. Topics cover eldercare, hospice, nursing homes, caregiving, dementia, death, bereavement, aging, and older adult life. Sometimes lively exchanges go on for days with most of us not knowing one another, but still sewn together with invisible Internet threads. Comments at this blog site add bonus reader insights that hold hands with immediate blog information.

Occasionally, remarks come in the form of heartwarming compliments. Examples mention, “That’s an intellectual inspiration,” "Thank you for speaking for us,” and one that just appeared this morning from a distressed caregiver stating, “God is using you in mighty ways!” These appreciated word bouquets make my blog blush.

The years keep ending and beginning, and now it's 2017. I can hardly believe my blog is 10 years old. (They grow up so fast!) Thank you for dropping by to celebrate today. Most of all, thank you for all the times you have visited this blog, tasted its life and death spices, and savored its bitter sweetness as we affirm oneness with others, make sense of nonsense, and evolve.

Wow, it's time for the birthday song! Join me in commemorating this milestone with a song sponsored by the American Cancer Society and sung by singer, actress, and spokesperson Jennifer Hudson. After the song, we'll continue to eat, drink, and let the good times roll! As always, I wish you happy endings!

Let's party!
Frances Shani Parker
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Gay Grandfathers, Gay Grandsons (LGBT Research, Video 5:05)

Intergenerational family experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community are often not represented during family discussions within the larger heterosexual community. These relationships are important in order to understand better how LGBT individuals function within family systems.

This research focused on the experiences of 79 gay grandfathers with their adult children and grandchildren. Like earlier research on heterosexual grandparents, gay grandfathers reported the following:

1)  Close relationships with grandchildren who lived near them and with whom they had frequent contact

2)  Close relationships with grandchildren whom they had informed of their sexual orientation

3)  Social support associated with better mental health

Although there are factors known to affect intergenerational relationships and mental health among older people, the three variables above specific to gay grandfathers are important predictors of the quality of their relationships with their grandchildren and of their mental health.

What about relationships between gay grandsons and heterosexual grandfathers? The following video is a revealing discussion in which a gay grandson starts off interviewing his grandfather. Eventually, the grandson ends up being interviewed and explaining his sexual orientation for the first time to his conservative grandfather.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, January 2, 2017

Palliative Care Patient Intimacy (Research, Cancer Video 1:37)

Palliative care is a medical approach for people facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses. Focused on improving lives of patients and their families, this care prevents and relieves suffering from symptoms and stress of medical conditions. While palliative care and hospice care both provide comfort, palliative care can begin at diagnosis and at the same time as treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease is stopped and when the patient has been medically predicted to have up to six months to live, although some do live longer.

Intimacy, which is often impacted by serious illnesses, should be an important part of a palliative care assessment. Unfortunately, intimacy concerns are rarely assessed for hospital patients receiving palliative care. Why is that? Is it because most patients don’t want to discuss intimacy about their lives? Or is it because most healthcare providers rarely ask about it?

Research on palliative care intimacy was done that provides evidence of the correct answer. Performed at two hospitals, patient screenings included two questions to help identify intimacy issues and palliative care team communication to the referring medical team. These were the results:

1) The vast majority (96%) of patients reported that they had not been asked about intimacy concerns before the palliative care consultation.
2)  A slight majority (56.2%) reported that illness had either significantly or moderately impacted intimacy.
3)  Most (96%) found the intimacy discussion helpful and wanted to discuss these issues with medical providers.
4)  A majority (70.5%) of patients at the end of life indicated their illness significantly or moderately impacted their intimacy.

The need for intimacy discussions between palliative care patients and healthcare providers is important, and patients do want to have them. These discussions should be included as a regular part of routine assessment. 

The Sexuality, Intimacy, and Menopause clinic (SIMS) is one of the first programs in the country to focus on rebuilding the lives of women after they have survived cancer. Many cancer survivors have issues with sexuality. The clinic was started by gynecological oncologist Dr. Elena Ratner and Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a specialist in menopause, in cooperation with Dr. Dwain Fehon, the chief of psychiatric services at Yale-New Haven Hospital. 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.