If you haven’t heard of the Conversation Project, it’s time to learn about it. Its founder said that she talked with her mother about everything….except end-of-life decisions. So the organization has created free starter kits for families to use together to discuss personal values and end-of-life care as well as a starter kit for how to talk with your doctor. There are kits specific for families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s and a pediatric kit for those dealing with a seriously ill child. The organization provides guidance on how to choose a health care proxy and forms to ensure that it is a legal document in your geographic location. If you want a trained Conversation Project coach to help facilitate a family meeting, they are available to assist during this process. Check out the starter kit below. Don’t wait. Fill it out today.
If you or someone you care about has been newly diagnosed with cancer, there is a non-profit corporation in Arizona that wants to provide you with organizational tools for managing your care plan and up-to-date treatment options. Bag It was founded in 2003 by survivors for survivors. The bag costs $35.00 and it includes a comprehensive patient navigation binder with numerous publications on coping, treatment options and care plan, current research and a calendar for appointments. Also included in the bag is a Fight the Fear USB wristband that is pre-loaded with 4 GB of storage capacity that contains helpful publications along with the ability for you to store your medical records and communications with medical providers. The company encourages donations and volunteers to help with their efforts. This is a very supportive and encouraging gift for someone recently diagnosed. For more information, check out their web site at https://bagit4u.org/our-story/
As of March 1, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is now open for enrollment. The new TRU PACE adult day health center is located at 2593 Park Lane in Lafayette. For eligibility, you must be 55 or older, live in the zip code that they service, need a nursing home-level of care, and be able to live safely in the community with assistance from the PACE program. You can currently have Medicaid or Medicare to qualify. If you have Medicaid, you will not pay a monthly premium for long term care under PACE. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid and you have Medicare, you will be charged a monthly premium as well as a premium for Medicare Part D. You also have the option for private pay.
The PACE program focuses on customized, coordinated care for each participant. The program has contracts with many local healthcare providers and long term care facilities. If you participate in the program you must utilize their providers, specialists and the PACE adult day health center.
To determine if you are eligible, contact a PACE Enrollment Specialist at 303-665-0115.
Effective February 16, 2017 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a Corrective Statement to the 2014 Jimmo Settlement Agreement. It reads as follows: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reminds the Medicare community of the Jimmo Settlement Agreement (January 2014), which clarified that the Medicare program covers skilled nursing care and skilled therapy services under Medicare’s skilled nursing facility, home health, and outpatient therapy benefits when a beneficiary needs skilled care in order to maintain function or to prevent or slow decline or deterioration (provided all other coverage criteria are met). Specifically, the Jimmo Settlement required manual revisions to restate a “maintenance coverage standard” for both skilled nursing and therapy services under these benefits.
Many Medicare patients have been told that their skilled nursing and therapy services are based on an Improvement Coverage Standard when in fact that is no longer the case. They have been told that they plateaued in their improvement from the skilled services or didn’t improve fast enough so further coverage is denied. Maintenance Coverage Standard has replaced Improvement Coverage Standard which means Medicare will cover services that are necessary to maintain a patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration.
Remember to always question a denial for coverage. There may be new regulation or past regulation that has not been communicated or effectively enforced that will be applicable to your specific situation.
CURE Magazine is a quarterly magazine available online and printed format for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It provides up-to-date information on cancer research, education, treatments, and inspirational stories of hope. Their annual Cancer Guide magazine is included with their subscription. A free subscription is available at http://www.curetoday.com/subscription. This issue focuses on Newly Diagnosed. It will provide information for you 1) once a diagnosis has been given, 2) prior to your treatment, 3) during treatment, 4) after treatment, 5) caregiving. An additional special issue magazine is also included that covers organizations that provide financial support specifically for cancer patients. To get started, you can call the Cancer Support Community for a free session either over the phone or in person to discuss all of the available financial resources specific to your needs. 1-888-793-9355.
Starting January 1, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will cover care planning services and cognitive assessments for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. This new benefit will be available through an individual’s Medicare benefit coverage. The Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act will enable physicians to monitor the disease progression and its symptoms while creating a care plan to improve the quality of life for their patients and care partners. For more information contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter or Medicare at 800-633-4227.
Monday, October 31 is the annual Alzheimer’s Association Education Symposium which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. This is an all day event that should not be missed if you or a loved one are dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Local and national panelists and keynote speakers will be participating. Break out sessions will include topics like Understanding and Managing Behavioral Changes in Dementia; Planning for Long Term Care; Research Update from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; Considerations in Moving a Relative with Memory Loss; Day to Day Tips on Caregiving. Local exhibitors that provide beneficial resources for families will be present. One of the keynote speakers will be the daughter and granddaughter of Coach Frank Boyles, University of Arkansas Razorbacks. The event is from 7:30am-4:00pm. To register and to obtain more information, please call the Colorado Chapter Alzheimer’s Association at 303-813-1669. The link below is the event agenda with bios on all speakers.
October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although it seems that everyone is aware of breast cancer, many are not aware of the current options available for diagnosing and the subsequent treatment options based on a specific type of breast cancer detected. For example, molecular breast imaging (MBI) has been found to detect cancer 4x better in dense breast tissue than mammograms. Dense breast tissue does not affect just a small number of women. 50% of women have dense breast tissue whether you have been told by your medical provider or not.
There are many organizations dedicated to providing up-to-date breast cancer information, education, financial assistance, and emotional support. Inspiring survivor stories can be found in bookstores and online. One non-profit organization, BreastCancer.org, has an online member community that shares encouraging stories from diagnosis to complete remission. See below the current list of categories for topics. If you have a story to tell, share it with others – whether it be online or in a face-to-face conversation. Knowledge shared will help others to make informed decisions about improved diagnostic testing and more treatment options.
Good article that provides recommendations on how to improve your experience and outcome as an educated healthcare consumer. Lifelong Wellness Advocates is featured as a local resource for individuals when needing to hire assistance.
The 2nd annual Boulder Walk to End Alzheimer’s event will be held August 13 at the University of Colorado Business Field. You can sign up to walk the 2 miles through campus and/or volunteer to help during the event. Registration starts at 7:30am. Ceremony at 9:00am. The walk kicks off at 9:30am. Call the Denver office of the Colorado Alzheimer’s chapter for more information at 303-813-1669.
The SPARK program which is offered by the Alzheimer’s Association provides FREE cultural programming for people with memory loss. They have fabulous monthly programs for individuals living with dementia. Family members and friends are welcome to attend. There will be a sensory trail hike at the top of Flagstaff Road to Realization Point on August 9th led by the Education and Outreach Coordinator of the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. Call 303-813-1669 for more information and to register.