Stairs Plus Chair Lift Equals Stair Lifts – A Rose by Any Other Name is Still a Rose

You can call them chairlifts, stair chairs, stair lifts, stair glides, or stairway lifts. Whatever you refer to them as, they are all the same thing – a mobility device that attaches to a flight of stairs and allows the rider to sit on a chair and be lifted up the stairs. The Mobility and Medical Industry refers to them most often as stair lifts.

There are over 7 main stair lift manufacturers with over 32 different models available on the market today in the United States. Whether for inside or outside use, curved or straight stairs, or residential versus commercial use these lifts consistently meet the needs of the consumer by transporting between floors without the use of an elevator, escalator or vertical wheelchair lift system.

However, consumers often get bogged down by industry terminology as well as industry bias. With that many models available it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if the lift is an immediate necessity. The key thing to consider when researching and purchasing stair lifts is what is the intended outcome. Since a stair lift is such a large investment, you want to be as informed as possible.

Once you have established that a loved one has the ability to use the stair lift, it is key to consider the home and which model will best serve the needs and work within the structure. Homecare Suppliers, LLC has detailed some of these common questions and factors on their Daily Living Blog with “Understanding Stair Lifts”.

Cost should not be your primary factor. While it is important to understand the market and work within your budget, it is most important to get the lift that meets the users specifications.

Things to consider:

Can the user access the lift easily? Will they need a transfer board if they are in a wheelchair? If this is the case – the lift they use must have movable armrests.
Does the user have use of their right arm and hand? This is important as the controls to make the unit run are usually mounted on the right armrest. Some models allow you to put these controls on the left armrest.
Fear Factor – Does the unit swivel at the top of the steps, at the bottom, or both? Some riders are uncomfortable getting on a unit if it does not swivel at the top of the landing as they fear they will fall down the steps.
Is there a weight or height concern? Some units have a maximum lifting capacity of 300lbs. Additionally, the individuals over 6 ft sometimes need additional leg room space and thus the width of the staircase is important.

Understanding key features is also important as you make your decision.

Electric versus battery. There are a few manufacturers that sell an electric stair lift. However, most manufacturers sell battery run units. To clarify – battery units are not a battery back-up unit but a battery-run unit. Simply stated, a battery run unit is a unit that utilizes a battery to run and gets its recharge from an electrical outlet. These units are plugged into an outlet so that the unit is constantly receiving a trickle of electricity which keeps the battery charged. When the unit is in use, it is drawing its current from the battery, not the outlet. Should a power outage occur the unit can be used for duration of 24 – 78 hours depending upon the model purchased.
Worm-Drive versus Gear Driven versus Cable Driven. Each has their benefits. However one is not necessarily better than the other. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype about one over the other, which is mostly manufacturer-driven commentaries and has little to do with functionality or durability. They are all pretty comparable when technically compared for function, safety and durability.
Aesthetics – Bells and Whistles. Price is often defined by the bells and whistles of the unit. Beauty, leather and upgraded features affect the price of the unit. Understand your price parameter and work from there to ensure that you are getting the best product for your particular situation.
Warranty. Warranties are pretty consistent in the industry with slight variables. Most units have 5 year warranty on the motor and between 1-3 years on parts and components. This is pretty standard. However, something to note is that most manufacturers do not offer a labor warranty. As a result, most dealers do not offer a labor warranty for the stair lift. To equate this to an everyday situation – if the heating element were to go out in your oven – even if it is under warranty – you still have to pay for someone to come out and diagnose the problem and do the work. The manufacturer will provide the new part, but the labor to do the repair is paid by the homeowner.
Self-Installation. Some manufacturers will not sell their unit uninstalled while others have designed a unit that is less complicated and can be installed by a handy individual. These manufacturers typically provide technical support via telephone to assist with trouble-shooting. A consumer can request installation manuals prior to purchase in order to ensure that they are capable of completing the installation. It is very important to find out what support is available to the consumer regarding self-installation and trouble-shooting, prior to purchasing. Further, it is important to take into consideration that some of these calls are not toll-free or within the United States.
Installation – Local Dealers – To find a local dealer that can both provide installation as well as sales, it is best to look in your local yellow pages book under medical supply or stair lifts. Although, purchasing local may not be the most competitive price, you often get a free consultation prior to purchase as well as a 90 day installation warranty if they install the unit for you.
Installation – Internet Dealers – Many internet dealers can provide the unit as well as assist with installation, however, the installation is a separate cost and may be coordinated through another company.
Financial Assistance – Medicare and Medicaid as well as most private insurances do not reimburse for stair lifts. A stair lift is a non-reimbursable item and is not even coded by the insurance industry with a HCPCS (‘hix-pix’). Beware of dealers who state that they can get you reimbursed. Contact directly your insurance provider for written verification. Additionally, when you speak with your provider, make sure that they understand that you are inquiring about a Stair Lift not a LIFTCHAIR. Medicare and Medicaid do provide some reimbursement for the mechanical components that go into the reclining chair that also lifts an occupant – this is the stationary chair that you sit in. It is not a stair lift or chair lift.

While we know that a stair chair is a stair lift is a chair lift and a rose is a rose is a rose…it is still important that you get the exact one that best suits your needs. Every manufacturer and model is unique in their design, style and cost. We recommend comparing available models and then compiling a list of needs, financial capability and then expectations. At that point, you can then reach out to dealers and begin your comparison process and find the provider that meets your needs.

Do You Have Condensation On Your Windows? Read On

Most people find condensation on their windows at some point and for some it’s a real problem. Condensation in the home also leads to other associated problems, such as mold and mildew, so removing the condensation is the first step.

But have you been wondering why you’re getting condensation on your windows? It’s due to excess humidity in your home which manifests itself in the form of condensation on the coldest area of a wall, usually the windows. When the warm air (and the moister it retains) comes into contact with the colder glass in your windows it cools and releases moisture in the form of condensation.

There are various measures you can take to reducing condensation. One method is to control and reduce humidity and increase air flow. So increasing ventilation in your home is a must. Whenever you have a bath or shower make sure you ventilate the room. The easiest way is to open the window and close the door – many people simply open the bathroom door which means all that moisture is simply going into the rest of the house which isn’t what you want! The same applies to drying clothes. We all need to dry our clothes inside the house, especially in Winter for obvious reasons, but ideally drying clothes in a room such as your porch or any room you can shut off from the rest of the house is a good idea. Large amounts of moisture are generated in a house from these two activities, so taking such actions does help.

What else can you do? Well another effective solution is to use moisture absorbers which provide effective but simple solutions and there are a wide range available to suit different situations. For example a Slimline Moisture Trap has excellent absorption rates and helps to prevent damp & mildew damage to walls & fabrics by absorbing moisture & humidity. Both reusable & refillable, it works immediately. it is suitable for all rooms and no electricity or batteries are required! It has an easy fill top and no spill sides. With a refill indicator it’s easy to ensure you don’t forget when it needs refilling.

If you need to use something near pets or children they recommend you use a moisture absorber that is completely spill proof such as a Gel-Safe Moisture Trap… ideal because the trap turns moisture into a gel, not liquid.

Looking for something to remove condensation in a really small space? You should consider getting a Mini Moisture Trap – many are available with a lovely fragrance too such as Lavender, and they can measure only 95 x 45 x 80 mms! Although small it’s very effective at absorbing moisture & humidity, protecting against damp and because of its small container it is ideal for use in places such as Cars, Caravans, RVs and Boats etc.

Don’t forget to keep mold at bay too by wiping any moisture that has formed on the windows with an absorbent cloth. Simple solutions to these problems many of us are experiencing!

The American Indians I Have Known

I’m actually European in origin, and my background includes Scottish, English, German and Irish. These are the groups that I know of, though my grandmother was an orphan partially raised in a convent. One side of my family has been here since the Revolutionary War, so I’m sure we’ve had many contacts with the American Indian. The Scottish side of my family escaped persecution from the English around 1600 or so, so I’m very American and probably very mixed in genealogy.

When I was about twelve years old I met the most wonderful friend. She was very popular and I didn’t think she would talk to me. I was wrong and I met her entire family which consisted of Dad and Mom, and a sister. Her mother was Irish and Choctaw (branch of the Cherokee). Myself and my friend would stay together for days, and her sister was often included in our activities. We rode the horses they owned, we travelled the grass-covered hills, and we played games around the kitchen table. Her mom was so fun to be with, as she didn’t try to act young but she was very young at heart. She liked to go with us on all of our activities such as bowling, horse shows, and shopping.

My friend’s sister was a champion horse back rider. She rode in gymkhana contests, which are western contests, as opposed to English riders’ games such as hurdle jumping. In gymkhana, we saw games such as running around three barrels at top speed, and horsemanship with western saddles and bridles. We traveled many places to see these contests. Two of the most interesting places we visited were Pine Valley, in the mountains above San Diego, and Santa Barbara. At Pine Valley we slept outside in sleeping bags in the cold night, while my friend’s parents slept in a small trailer they brought with them. In Santa Barbara, my friend’s sister won awards for all of Southern California. She was a great horse woman.

My friend and I also rode all the time. Mostly we just roamed the hills. I rode “Snippo”, an old gelding, and my friend rode “Cindy”, an ex-rodeo horse. Cindy didn’t like to be touched anywhere around her flanks and she bucked me off many times. She liked Carol better but she crow-hopped with both of us, jumping up and down on all four legs. She was a beautiful palomino. My friend’s sister had a young, expensive quarter horse she used in horse shows. That horse was high-spirited and was only ridden by my friend’s sister.

One time we rode out to the hills, abouty 1/2 mile from my friend’s home and decided to take the bridles off of the horses. We were riding bareback, without a saddle so we just released the horses from their head gear. What an idea! We even gave them a little swat on the behind not imagining that they would take off for who knows where. We had to slowly find our way back home and face the awful task of telling my friend’s father. We told them they got away and he wasn’t very mad. But he knew we had taken the bridles off. He found them in the yards of the neighbors who lived above the hills where we often roamed. I’ve never been so relieved in all my life.

My friend and I attended junior high and high school together. She had a few boyfriends and spent much of her time with them. One was a local Indian boy and they would go dancing at Bostonia Ballroom, where all the cowboys would go. They were great dancers and to this day, my friend is a professional hula dancer. We performed together in choir, a talent show, marching corps and modern dance clnb. She is a natural dancer with light feet and a precise rhythm, while I mostly liked acting and performing. We often planned roller skating routines and skits to perform for friends. Her mother was also a great seamstress and made my clothes as well as my friend’s. I was made to feel a part of her family and she treated me like a daughter. This friend and I still communicate and we’re both in our late 60’s.

Fast forward now to my thirties when I was job searching. I had gone through a divorce and was using my teaching credential to obtain a position either in California or in a nearby state. I heard about jobs on the Indian Reservation, and I applied. After a short wait I was accepted and I hopped in my little volkswagen and took off for the Navajo Indian Reservation. I had to leave my two year old son behind with my ex-husband with hopes of visiting on a regular basis. The trip there was exciting and adventurous. I traveled through the California semi-arid landscape, and through the Arizona desert. I drove through Monument Valley where I saw the strange and haunting rock formations that permeated the landscape.

Living on the Navajo Reservation was culture shock and then some. I moved into a small, wooden frame house, a duplex, with no furniture in it. I did have a mattress and a phone, which I used on a regular basis. But about that phone: I had to learn how to dial it, and how to reach the reservation receptionist. I did learn. Furniture was to be bought by yours truly, so I had to go into Flagstaff to shop. It felt really good to have a regular salary. I liked the students: they had beautiful long black hair and stayed to themselves at first. They were very well-behaved. I think they lived in dormitories, but I didn’t visit their homes.

My friends were teachers, several at the elementary school. I made good friends with one and went to a carnival with her. She had a baby with her that might have been Navajo, I just can’t remember. This was in about 1977. The women wore long pleated skirts, with velour or silk over-blouses. Most of them wore long beads. They were always very sweet and kind to me. We all ate a good hearty meal at the high school at noon time. This was most helpful because I didn’t cook much. I acquired furniture, a bureau, two mattresses and a rocking chair. I brought my record player with me and played my folk songs pretty loudly, but no one complained.

I hiked around the desert and climbed a small hill which was totally sandy. My feet slipped and slipped, but I made it. One day I passed a ranch where about six dogs ran out from the porch as if they were going to attack me. I held my hands out, palms up, a gesture I had learned as a child to use if a dog looked as if it were going to attack. The dogs ran at me to a certain point, then stopped dead in their tracks, snarling and barking all the while. Probably someone from the house had called them, but I was in too much of a panic to hear anything. I was very scared but this didn’t keep me from hiking.

I had left a boyfriend, a man somewhat younger than myself, and my son back in San Diego. I decided to go home for Christmas, when it was snowing in the monument desert. I hopped in my little volkswagen, with no heater, and headed for Flagstaff which is about 30 miles (I think) away from the Indian Reservation. Flagstaff is located on the sacred mountain of the Navajo and it was interesting to read their childrens’ books about their folklore surrounding this place. My good friend and I also visited the Indian burial grounds which had been, unfortunately plundered for their relics. Even so, we saw the way the ground was dug and terraced, some as long ago as two thousand years, I’m sure.

I took the trip at Christmas and my teacher friends teased me that I probably would not last in my teaching position for more than a couple of months. They had concluded I was one of the short-timers because I was so lonely and wanted to go home when I had been on the reservation only two months. I missed my son terribly, he had stayed with my ex-husband. Driving through the snow with no heater was terrible and I tried to cover myself with blankets as best I could. When I arrived in Flagstaff, the mountain was covered in thick snow. It’s a beautiful resort town but It looked like the end of the earth to me. I’m from southern California where the terrain and climate qualify for semi-arrid status.

I flew on a small commuter plane to Phoenix where I continued the flight to San Diego. Christmas was wonderful, and it was a blessing to see my family and boyfriend. When I returned to Phoenix, I hopped the commuter plane again, and this time there was a snowstorm. The plane swayed from side to side probably about a foot in each direction. I couldn’t see anything out of the windows and I thought we would go down. No one else seemed concerned, and, sure enough, we arrived at the Holy Mountain, Flagstaff. Surely, God carried me there. I met my boyfriend there and we drove back to the reservation.

Actually, it was my decision to leave the reservation that brought my boyfriend to my assistance. I called in my resignation knowing an Indian lady would take my place, as she was next in line for the job. We piled all my belongings, mostly clothes, into the volkswagen and left the reservation. I left behind my few pieces of furniture, including my book collection, in the house, hoping the Indians could use them. I know they were probably grateful one of their tribe had the job, I hope, and that they had some interesting textbooks for their library or for whomever occupied the dwelling after I left.

Since that time, I had a friend in a teaching program who was training for a counseling position on a reservation near San Diego. She had the name of Wilda Spotted Eagle, and if she reads this, I hope she contacts me. She had beautiful long black hair and wore colorful beads. She was very intelligent and I’m sure she went on to become a counselor. We palled around and I met her children she was raising while attending higher education. She was not judgmental of me about anything and was a great friend.

Gerry also became my friend, as I got into homecare for the elderly and disabled. She was part Florida Indian, probably Seminole or one of the smaller tribes. You couldn’t find a better friend than she was. She insisted on cooking for me when I visited her after I had left the homecare job. She made complete meals with the best beans you ever ate. Though she was partially in a wheelchair, she also arranged to show me her best video’s. She was always there for me. We were friends for about fifteen years. I lost track of her but I hope she is okay. She was a very faithful and generous friend.

Finally, I met my current room mate in the oddest of circumstances. She was at a Social Services office arranging her mother’s healthcare when we started talking about literature, as we waited. She is a poet and quoted some of her poems. At that time I was writing articles, so we had much to share. Janet is part Cherokee and Blackfoot Indian. Her folks are from the backwoods of Indiana, where she often visited when she was a child. She has told me that her relatives survived by accepting and intermarrying with the Europeans.

We have been friends for about twenty years. She shares many stories about her homeland. The Blackfoot tribe were great traders and ruled the northern Mississippi rivers. If a boat wanted to pass, they had to trade with the Blackfoots, according to Janet. Janet looks much like the pictures of Blackfoots I have seen. Most of the Indians I meet here in San Diego are Cherokee as that tribe, a large and dominant one, was forced to march from the Appalachians to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Some Indians died along the way. The land they found was far inferior to their home territory. A friend whom I helped do homecare told me that her mother marched on that trail and met a rancher somewhere in the midwest. They married and had a family.

Janet does beautiful artwork to accompany her poems. She has a natural sense of color that probably comes from her Indian culture. She is able to mix contrasting colors in shapes that enhance her pictures. She is also an intensely practical person who doesn’t get anxious over the little things in everyday life. She is very spiritual and is the most generous friend I’ve ever had. When my neighbor had an estate sale, she picked up a number of antique pieces for me: a hutch, two chairs, a foot rest, linen and clothes. Now that we’ve become room mates, the hutch has been moved to her house: what goes around comes around. Maybe this is the life circle the Indians often drew in the ground.

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with my American Indian friends. And best of all, my grand children have some blackfoot Indian in them as my sister-in-law had a Blackfoot great-grandmother. My room mate and my grandson look just a little bit alike, with the same color and shape eyes. I tell her that he’s part of her tribe. We have many Cherokee-mixed people in San Diego, as we are located close to Oklahoma. And, of course, we have a majority of people in San Diego mixed with the more southern tribes of Azteca, Tolteca, and Mayan. These are the Mexicans in our population. It is always amazing to me how much they have in common with the American Indian. By the way, it is my understanding that a “mestizo” is a mix of Spanish and American Indian. I have met some of them too.

I’d better research my ancestry; my grandmother was from Phoenix when there was almost nothing there. But the Navajo and Apache Indians had already inhabited that territory before the white man came. Wouldn’t it be a surprise to find just a touch of American Indian in my background.

Talking about American Indians, in my case, becomes a discussion of friendship. Who, but the American Indian, knows more about the loyalty and devotion friends can have for each other, in male or female combinations. They say that “agape” meaning “friendship” in Greek, is the highest form of love and surely my Indian friends have taught me the truth in that tale. From meeting my friend’s mother when I was a child, who was Irish and Choctaw Indian and had left the reservation, to meeting my current room mate who descends from several tribes, I’ve had some heartfelt experiences. My love of nature results from my association with the American Indian, and I do see trees, skies, and landscapes as part of God’s divine spirit.

What to Look For When Purchasing DME Billing Software

The purchase of software can be a difficult task, especially because it is one of the most significant business decisions that you will make. The right software or technology solution can lower DSO, improve productivity, reduce costs and boost morale, playing a significant part in driving your business. The wrong decision can be a disaster.

Major considerations should revolve around the functionality of the application, the operating system and database software, the stability of the software vendor, support, the vendor’s long term plans, training and implementation services, the level of satisfaction of their clients and availability of technologies such as document imaging and bar coding. Whether or not all of the above is important today, as your business grows, they will all be significant.

The following are some of the issues that should be taken into consideration in evaluating the software and vendor to hopefully avoid making the wrong choice.

What is the difference between a “billing” system and a “Management” Solution?

Despite the marketing hype, most of the software packages being sold into HME and Infusion Pharmacy market are no more than glorified billing systems with some additional features the vendor treats as secondary in importance, like “inventory control”. In most cases the software vendor has determined that the core business of a HME or Infusion Provider is to bill. We all know that this is not just incorrect; it is insulting! Billing is the end result of what we all must do, and providing quality patient care by supplying products and services is the reason the business exists.

Despite the focus on billing, many of these vendors fail to truly understand the entire operational needs of a Provider, and this can result in a situation where whether or not you get paid the first time a claim is submitted can be hit or miss. A true management solution will have built in checks and balances to insure that all departments are completing required tasks so that only “valid” orders are shipped and the claims submitted will be paid. From patient intake, to order entry, to billing, nothing should fall between the cracks that is necessary to provide the patient with the required products and services, and ultimately allow you to get paid.

A management solution will go beyond billing and will impact virtually every aspect of your business including; manage the clinical record, provide access to management and marketing data for better decision making, inventory & purchasing, dispatching, customer service, accounts receivable & collections, equipment maintenance, pharmacy operations and your retail store, if applicable.

A true management solution incorporates the latest technology; document imaging, point of care, bar coding, electronic interfaces for connecting to third party products, etc., and is provided by a company committed to keeping abreast of and making the best use of technology changes.

Why is there usually a significant difference in pricing between systems?

Much of the price differences relate to the billing vs. management solution discussion outlined above. To develop a sophisticated system that encompasses all of the many aspects of the total operation of a Provider may require the vendor, to invest millions of dollars every year vs. thousands of dollars for a typical billing package. When it comes to pricing, most of the time you get what you pay for, not just in terms of functionality and benefits of the product, but also from the vendor in terms of support, training and other services. One of the concerns a user needs to understand is that low-end systems simply do not justify a high enough price to provide the vendor with the resources to hire the best employees. Throughout the software industry there is a trend in which companies with low end products are not surviving, as they cannot build up the revenue base to make it work. The failure rate among software vendors in this market over the years is significant because on top of all the other challenges, the number of potential HME or Infusion clients is limited, therefore the strategy of going after market share (volume) does not apply. Hence their clients are placed at a serious risk! This is evident by the number of software companies that have either gone out of business or are struggling to release their first true (we will explain this shortly) Windows based system, 10 years after Fastrack released the Fastrack HME for Windows® solution.

The difference in software for this market is similar to comparing a Hyundai to a Lexus. Both will get you to work every morning but there is a significant difference in the level of comfort, safety, and features. Since there is a significant cost difference to manufacture a Lexus, it is sold at a higher price. In regards to pricing, software is no different than the car, truck, copier, or the equipment you resell. The better products, for good reason, come with a higher price tag. Make sure you are really comparing apples with apples because the feature set in the management system will far out weigh the billing system in terms of overall benefits for the business.

Buying the right software solution can have a major positive or negative effect on your business. We cannot tell you how many prospects come to us that are on their 3rd, 4th, or even 5th system and have told us that they looked at Fastrack each time but went with the least expensive solution. The low cost solution did not meet their needs, especially as the business grew. Ironically, in the long run it turned out to be more expensive due to the cost of the software, training, and converting all the data over to the next new system.

Most people do not realize that the cost between the cheap solution and buying a true management solution, when leased, may not even be that significant. Just as when you lease a truck or copier, the real concern should be the monthly cash outlay. For example, the difference between a $25,000 and a $15,000 software purchase on a 60-month lease is only $200 per month! When you factor in the tax benefits that may be available to you this number can be reduced even further. When factoring the appropriate deductions, your out of pocket costs can be as little as 60% of the purchase price. Even still, is it not worth $200 a month more to have the same software and technology that some of the major Providers are using to their competitive advantage?

Is there a significant difference between different vendors’ software support, training & implementation staff?

Getting quick and accurate assistance from the vendor is key in making the implementation of a new software management solution a success and receiving the most benefit out of the software. A key issue is whether or not the staff has worked in the industry and truly understands your needs. You do not want to be training the software vendors’ staff on reimbursement in order to get your problems solved. You also want a vendor that will send out people with substantial industry knowledge to help you plan the implementation. Some vendors do not even offer this service!

Access to their help desk software over the Internet, Internet based training courses for new employees and product enhancements, advanced communication systems for routing calls to the most appropriate customer service representative, are just some examples of the things that make a difference and you should look for these services from your software vendor, before purchasing their software. Also, check to make sure the support fees you are being quoted are all inclusive. Some vendors charge extra when there is a major update.

If they advertise “Windows” does that mean Microsoft Windows?

NO! Unfortunately, there are quite a few vendors advertising and demonstrating Windows like features in their software but use a programming tool that mimics Microsoft Windows, however it is not the Microsoft Windows that we are all familiar with on our personal computers. There are some companies that are using Microsoft Windows but only as a front end to a legacy DOS or UNIX system. They do this primarily for marketing reasons, to try to compete with those of us that do have true Microsoft Windows systems. Besides that they are simply not being honest with you, there are some serious technical issues that this presents. Having a Windows front end such as order entry or patient intake talking to a UNIX based billing module means two operating systems contending for the same resources. This will tend to slow the system down, even to the point of freezing the program, and is much more difficult to support.

Should I wait for my present vendor to release their next generation of software products?

You have probably been hearing for years from your present vendor of their impending plans to release a Windows or .NET system. Even if they finally do release a product, there are several very important issues to consider. Will the new product have all of the features you presently have now? This is highly unlikely! In the May edition of HME News, the editor quotes Terry Watson, Vice President of Sales for CareCentric (Dezine & Mestamed) saying, “But to say we have come up with a replacement is not the case.” If you are a Dezine or Mestamed user, from a practical standpoint, can you take a chance to walk away from functionality that you may really need? And what happens if they decide to stop support on your existing system or version? They are heavily advertising their new product (which is not yet available for HME and Infusion). When was the last time you saw an ad for the Mestamed or Dezine product? How many have they actually sold over the last few years? This same concern should hold true for many of the other vendors as well.

Lack of functionality in their new products should be one concern; the other is how well they can support this new product? Moving from a DOS or UNIX environment to supporting Windows or .NET products requires a major change and tremendous practical experience and knowledge. Will they have the expertise and experience that it takes to properly assist you in this new environment, that to date have not had to support?

Finally, look at the direction some of these vendors are taking. CareCentric, for example, has announced plans to move towards a long term care solution and a billing service. Both will take up a lot of resources and is clearly a change in their approach to the market.

Does it matter where the product is developed?

Absolutely! In an effort to bring products to market quickly, a number of vendors are outsourcing their product development efforts to countries like India, Russia, and China. While they have some very talented people, they will not have the exposure to HME, Infusion Pharmacy, or Home Healthcare Agency Operations. As a result they tend to copy the vendors existing DOS or UNIX product with the intent of just giving it a new Windows look and feel but fail to add new functionality and technology. However, support is handled by the US staff that does not have the intricate knowledge of how the product was written, making it difficult to support.

In conclusion, understanding the flow of the software and its’ functionality to see that it meets your needs should carry significant weight in your decision. The purpose of this article is to raise issues for you that may be less obvious to hopefully aid in your decision.

Home Care – Tips to Select Home Care Agencies for Your Elderly in Ireland

When your parents become older, you will face incalculable challenges in your daily life that is the reason people choose a caregiver support to give their elderly best care at the home as they become older.

When you are searching for full-time home caregiver so that he/she can be a part of your family, recruit a reliable and faithful and qualified caregiver for your elderly from well established care agencies. It is very essential that caregivers must be well qualified, experienced and passed the process by the standards of caregiver agencies.

If you are looking for the home care service provider in Dublin, you will found that you are not biased with any caregiver agency. Whenever you are in process to hire a caregiver, see the below aspects which you have to consider:-

Primarily, it’s crucial to affirm that your selected agency is excellently substantiated and has a good acclaim. Ascertain whether the agency is acclaimed by industry professionals of HSE – Health Service Executive or IPHCA – Irish Private Home Care Association and have a look into the recruitment process of the home help service providers; how they recruit and train the caregivers. More the transparent of the recruitment and training procedure, less you will need to take care of your elderly.

Secondly, observe for home care service provider that offers a broad range of services which includes home care, elderly care, home help, Dementia care, Alzheimer’s care, palliative care, respite care. A good agency always advises you and discusses the issues with your elderly so that caregiver can support and understand your loved ones. Service providers always provide you the right care giver who is most suitable according to your needs.

Last but not the least, Main objective of top elder care agencies is to search for best caregivers across Ireland or in any particular county and recruit and train them to the industry standards.

It is very important to find a suitable person for your elderly and selecting an industry recognized care agency can help you to feel, you have chosen the best care for your loved once. So make sure that you have done homework before opting for a home care service agency.

Author is an online marketer in the Ireland based company. He loves to write on different topics. Now he is sharing information on Home Care. Please visit bluebirdcare.ie for more information about home care and elderly care services.

Housesitting in Mexico – Living in Luxury – Rent FREE

Now that retirement has come and our house finally sold, Abby and I were pondering how we were going to realize our dream of moving to Mexico on just our monthly Social Security checks. A few years ago we decided that getting out of the cold weather and moving to a more benign climate was a top priority for us. The southern states were discounted after we did the math and could see that our fixed income would not be enough to maintain a comfortable life style.

During one of our many vacations to Mexico it became obvious that, with a much lower cost of living and higher quality of life, we needed to find a town to settle in. We had narrowed the list to 2 areas where there was a significant ex-pat community: Puerto Vallarta and Lake Chapala. There were other places worth considering, Manzanillo and San Miguel de Allende.

Our friends, who had already retired to Mexico, advised us not to buy a house anywhere until we had lived in the area for a while. They suggested that we rent a furnished house in each town to see how we would enjoy living there. Vacationing in a town and living in it are different experiences.

We agreed that it was the right way to go. After investigation on the internet we discovered that renting a furnished house for a short term(less than 6 months) put the rents in the vacation rental category: very expensive!

Disappointment set in. How could we live in a place for a while and get to know it with out breaking the bank? Once again Peter and Julie, who had been living in Puerto Vallarta for 3 years had the answer to our dilemma. It seems that many of the “snowbirds”, ex-pat homeowners who spent only part of the year in their vacation home, were turning to housesitters to care for their properties while up north. They suggested that we find housesitting assignments in the different places we wanted to research. That would solve our problem.

So off we went to our favorite internet search engine looking for “housesitting in Mexico”. We were surprised to learn what a big industry housesitting is after seeing all the webpages that came up. There were a number of agencies advertising housesitting opportunities all over the world. We found one that specialized in Mexico only and there we found what we were looking for, a treasure trove of housesitting opportunities all over Mexico. We signed up so that we could contact some of the places we had seen on their website.

The site was easy to use and we put up our profile and a photo. After seeing photos and descriptions of the homes available it was obvious that these were luxury homes belonging to Americans and Canadians. There were 2 houses in San Miguel seeking a housesitter during the dates that we would be available. We contacted both and after numerous email exchanges we were made an offer to housesit. This homeowner was returning to Canada for the summer so we would have only 2 months to stay. Other than paying for the electric bill and leaving a small security deposit we would have no other expenses. Wow, what a deal! A fully equipped luxury home rent free for 2 months. Oh yes, we were responsible for watering the garden and feeding their outdoor cat. We love cats.

During those 2 wonderful months exploring the area and enjoying a taste of living in Mexico, our friends from PV came to visit and stay in the guest house. They noticed that we were falling in love with San Miguel and urged us to try PV before making a decision to buy.

We went back to our website and although there were many other housesit opportunities throughout the Republic that were available at the end of this assignment non were in PV. The next one available in PV was in 5 months. Should we go back to our home up north or take another housesit?

This world of housesitting, which had been completely unknown to us, is an exciting adventure. We were liking it a lot. Complete freedom to travel without the financial burden.

We applied for the job in PV and after a few phone calls with the owners we were offered the position. The house is on the southside of town with a view of the ocean. We were excited!

These last few months have been incredible. We took 3 short term assignments and got to know Todo Santos, Lake Chapala and La Manzanilla. We have become friends with all of the homeowners, ex-pats like ourselves.

Tomorrow we will arrive in PV. Now we get to live in Puerto Vallarta near our close friends. Pretty good for our first year of retirement thanks to housesitting….

Home Healthcare Careers

One of the fastest growing sectors of the medical industry is that of home health. There are many reasons for this growth, but most important are:

The number of aging and infirm citizens in the country.

The lower cost of care in relation to hospitals and long term care facilities.

The fact health providers consider home care to be the most humane and compassionate form of care.

Because of the rapid growth in this category of healthcare, a variety of employment opportunities have become available. Many hospitals are turning to home health as a method to recapture revenue that would be otherwise lost. Despite the efforts of hospitals to enter the home care market, private companies dominate home health. Since these are primarily businesses that have not been in existence for long, they need to hire not only for in home providers, but also for support and administrative positions.

The future demand for home care will be staggering. In 1997, over 22.4 million households provided home care to a loved one over 50. Over time, this drain on physical and emotional resources will result in a desire for outside help in the home. Additionally, Medicare funding of short term home health care is projected to more than double by 2010. Meanwhile, workers employed in the home health field actually dropped by 29,000 in 2000. The projected employment outlook for just home health aides leads all medical job categories at a whopping 66.8%!

One may think the vast majority of home health related jobs are lower paying aide jobs. Fortunately, this is not the case. As previously mentioned, private home health companies will need to increase their administrative and support positions like medical coders, accounting and billing, medical secretaries, nurse managers, shift schedulers, information technology and marketing. Working for a home health company doesn’t necessarily dictate providing direct patient care.

Even among the patient care positions, there is a lot of variety. Though patient care is primarily provided by lower paid home health aides; as demand increases, wages are expected to rise. There are also a lot of opportunities for CNAs, LPNs and registered nurses (RNs). Some patients only require short term care – a few hours a day, or for a fixed period of time. Others require long term care – 24/7 for the rest of their lives.

The bottom line is, there are a lot of employment opportunities in the field of home healthcare. The best paying jobs will be those that require some post secondary training. There is also a lot of variety of work needed, not all employment will provide patient care. If you want a solid future, in one of the most stable industries in the country, studying to be part of the home healthcare market is a wise choice.

Home Healthcare Job Fields

Certified Nurses Aid – CNA

LPN

Registered Nurse

Physician’s Assistant

Nurse Manager

Medical Coder

Medical Secretary

Medical Administration

Information Technology

Sales and Marketing

Operations Manager

The Importance of Caregiver Screening and Testing

One of the most important things to learn about any home care company is about their caregivers. This is what clients really invest in and is often the biggest cost of service. You need to be informed on how they screen, train and supervise their caregivers. While the person at the agency who answers the phone is polite and helpful, it will be the caregiver that ultimately shows up at your door. The best agencies have a proven screening process that includes a multi-tiered approach.

1st Interview- Personality screening- Skills evaluation
Check work references
Verify identity
National criminal background check
2nd Interview
Orientation

Though many caregivers have experience in the home, high-quality home care agencies have a progressive approach to both training and continuing education for their entire staff. Oftentimes the needs of the client may be unfamiliar to the caregiver. By providing caregivers with condition specific training, the client can receive safe and effective customer service. Here at Caring our caregivers have access to over 60 courses on conditions, skills and other information that allows them to deliver unparalleled service.

Once someone is placed with a client many home care companies go into a “wait and hope” mode. This is a poor practice of waiting and hoping that nothing goes wrong. Top agencies have a supervision schedule that includes both phone calls and on-site visits to the home. This provides an opportunity for the client to express any concerns and often accolades for a job well done. It also requires that a manager actually manage their staff. Why else should a client pay for a service if not to receive great service?

While many consumers focus on their needs, and ask questions about services and cost, it’s probably more important to ask questions about the companies caregivers.

How Home Care Can Help the Elderly to Be More Independent – Mary’s Story

For many people ageing means the loss of health and independence. People who choose to remain in their own homes are often faced with still needing to rely on others to do the things they once did for themselves. Losing this independence is very hard, but there are ways in which people living at home can be assisted to regain their independence. This approach to eldercare is based on an Enabling philosophy.

This means that the aim is to ‘do with’ rather then ‘do for’. You are never “too old” to do things for yourself.

Sometimes people can lose confidence in their own abilities after having a fall or a serious illness. The enabling approach allows for a gradual re-introduction of tasks with support to ensure you are safe while you build your skills up again.

Mary’s story highlights this process: *names changed

Mary was 78 when she slipped on her front step on a rainy afternoon in Sydney. She fractured her hip and spent several months in hospital recovering. Whilst in hospital, Mary had nurses to help her shower and did not have to cook or clean. She was worried about how she would do these things when she returned home as she lives alone. Mary’s children all lived far away and she did not want to burden her friends. Mary was frightened that she would fall again and have to move into a nursing home. Mary was introduced to a home care service when she decided that she wanted to return home to live rather then move into a nursing home.

Mary then met with a care manager- David, and together they arranged services to help her with her daily activities and build her confidence. Mary’s goal was to be fully independent again. She was introduced to her community worker, Joan. Joan would pop around every morning to help Mary have a shower, do some housework and any shopping that Mary needed. Initially Mary wanted Joan to help quite a bit- she told David that she was especially worried she would fall over in the shower. David then organized a chair for her in the shower and Mary was able to shower herself with Joan standing by in case she needed her.

Joan encouraged Mary to participate in the housework tasks- Mary would wipe the bench tops while Joan used the vacuum. Over the next few months Mary gradually started doing more of the housework tasks herself with Joan standing by for support. David would check in every few weeks to see how Mary was progressing with her goal and adjust the services if necessary. Soon Mary built her confidence up and Joan was no longer needed at all: Mary regained her independence.

Mary’s story highlights how a bit of help can go along way. If applied with an enabling focus, in-home elder care can assist a person to become more independent. It doesn’t have to mean the end of independence.

If you or someone you care about is facing a dilemma like Mary’s check out the local elder care providers and see if their services are apply an enabling philosophy of care.

Top 7 Things to Consider When Considering a Home Care Bed

Choosing a home care bed for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting experience, especially when time is short and money is scarce. Here are the top seven factors you should consider before making a home care bed purchase.

1. Your Medical Condition – Are you bed bound? How functional and mobile are you? Are you obese? Do you have, or are you at risk for, bed sores?

2. Your Needs – Do you need a basic home care bed or a fully featured hospital bed? Will your current bed suffice with a medical-grade mattress?

3. Delivery and Set-Up – How wide are your doors and hallways? Is your room on the bottom floor? How big is your room? Who will set up your bed and teach you how to use it?

4. Use – Will a caregiver operate the bed controls, or will you? Will you need assistance getting in and out of bed? Are you at risk for falling or getting trapped in bed rails?

5. Cost – What’s your budget? Will Medicare or your insurance company help you pay? Can you afford both a bed and a mattress? New or used?

6. Timeliness – How soon do you need a bed? Can you wait to have one built, or will you take what you can find in stock?

7. Options and Accessories – Do you want the bed to match your décor? Do you want manual controls, or will you pay extra for electric? Do you need bed rails? What about a lift system?

Ready to discuss your needs and options with an experienced consultant? Call (800) 330-3591 to speak with a knowledgeable sales representative at Aria Medical.

To learn about more medical equipment and supplies, visit MedEquipWiki at www.medequipwiki.com [http://www.medequipwiki.com].
To find a homecare bed that’s right for you go to AriaMedical.com [http://www.ariamedical.com/home-care-beds.html]

Aria Medical (formerly known as Medical Resource USA) has been providing affordable quality medical equipment to healthcare professionals for 15 years. Today, Aria Medical has clients from government, military, large hospitals, industry, labs, schools and medical relief organizations.