Jet’s Law – medical condition reporting

Driving a car is a privilege not a right. Sometimes it becomes necessary to surrender your licence or perhaps just suspend your right until you are absolutely alight to drive again.older lady driving

On 28 February 2004, 22-month-old Jet Rowland was killed when a driver with unstable epilepsy travelling in the opposite direction suffered a seizure, crossed the median strip on the Logan Motorway, south of Brisbane, and collided with the car Jet was travelling in with his mother Anita and his brother Bailey, 7. Anita Rowland, a police officer with the Queensland Police Service, sustained life-threatening injuries after the 200 km per hour impact. Bailey’s spinal cord was severed, rendering him a paraplegic while Jet died at Brisbane’s Mater Children’s Hospital on the night of 28 February from massive internal injuries after life support had to be withdrawn.

The case highlighted and demonstrated the importance of managing any potentially unstable medical condition and the Coroner’s Inquest, held on 25–26 August 2005, revealed that the driver who collided with the Rowland’s vehicle had been experiencing ‘frequent seizures’ and therefore should not have been driving. ‘The most telling question and answer in the inquest was when the driver was asked; ‘You would not want to be driving while you had a simple partial seizure at one hundred kilometres per hour, would you?’ The driver responded ‘No’. Thus it is now the reason that medical condition reporting legislation was introduced after his tragic death, now known as ‘Jet’s Law’.

Driving a motor vehicle is an essential part of most our our lives.  However, the privilege of driving also comes with some responsibilities.  Driving can be a complex task that requires perception, good judgement, adequate responses and a reasonable physical capability (sight and sound). So for the safety of others and yourself, you must only drive when you are medically fit to do so.

A range of medical conditions (mental and/or physical) may adversely affect your ability to drive in a safe manner and could result in a crash causing death or injury.

What medical conditions will affect my driving?

You should discuss this matter with your doctor if your have any of the following:

  • blackouts or fainting
  • diabetes (early or late onset)
  • epilepsy
  • eye problems like cataracts
  • hearing problems
  • heart disease
  • psychiatric disorders
  • sleep disorders
  • stroke
  • alcohol or drug dependency

It is a serious matter and hefty penalties or imprisonment could apply if not adhered to. Sometimes these conditions are only temporary or after appropriate treatment, they may heal and you could continue to drive, with your doctor’s approval. If you know somebody that is in a danger zone to be continuing to drive yet they don’t wish to surrender their right, you are able to write to Transport Department with supporting evidence to substantiate your claims.

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Creating A New Kind Of Normal Without Depression

DarkTunnelHas feeling normal gone from our world today? Depression and anxiety are crippling our communities and being ‘normal’ seems so ‘un-normal’ – or is it?

Most of us, at some point in time, feel like we are in a dark place in our lives. Some of us want to self harm ourselves because we hate our lives, we hate our appearance and feel unloved. We think (or over think) that everybody is against us and we just want to hide under the doona cover all day. And that is perfectly OK ….. sometimes.

But we can change our version of ‘normal’ and create a happy version of normal within our lives with just a few changes. Through some education, a few checks and balances, prevention strategies, we can learn to love ourselves and our lives again to a new kind of normal.

It’s great to love yourself and see the joy in those around us when we share that joy. That is not being egotistic but being kind to yourself. The first step to feeling loved by someone else, is to first love yourself. We’re not talking about outrageous hugs and kisses in every mirror, but rather holding your head high and smiling because you are a beautiful person and that love within will then shine outwardly.

It’s also normal to be surrounding yourself with friends (and just a couple is fine). Start sharing your life with friends, listen to them, help them and enjoy their company. Through the strength of friendship, you will grow too.

Dark places are often created by sadness and a lack of goals, ploughing through stressful situations and other depressed people. The best tool for handling the stressful situation is to remove yourself from the people or places that create that environment. Create the goal to be happier by setting a date with yourself i.e. by the end of the month, I will be living elsewhere.

Sometimes we resort to eating ourselves in and out of depression. Maybe we create an eating disorder in which we purge ourselves or self harm and find comfort in hurting ourselves further. What is the trigger that creates this action? Sometimes the true trigger is not so clear and may need some professional assistance.

Our inability to cope with these issues can lead to over the counter addictions from prescription medication where often the doctors from several practices are supplying drugs which not only affect the vital organs but addict the person. Some have side effects that are far worse than the medication i.e. xanax which can lead to suicidal thoughts and yet is still widely prescribed for depression.  Sometimes, the person may be lead towards other illegal drugs, whether it is crystal meth which is now rampant, smoking grass to escape the hell of the dark places, heroin or a mixture of many.

With depression and anxiety being a national emergency and finally it is getting some acknowledgement that it exists but also it can be treated without stigma.

Depression is devastating, not just to the sufferer but usually to those around them, family, friends or work colleagues. When someone is suffering from depression, their entire life is blown apart. It can be a massive struggle just to make it through each day. But they aren’t the only ones who struggle. The people who are often forgotten are the loved ones of a person with depression. No-one tells them how to cope.  Knowing somebody you love is struggling with depression leaves you feeling incredibly helpless. You probably feel if you could say the right thing, or do something special, that maybe you will be able to help them to get better. But you don’t know what to say or what to do. You try a gentle approach, you try a firm approach. You give them space, you try to get them to talk. You suggest things that can help. You say encouraging things, you get frustrated and argue. Yet nothing you do seems to make any difference and nothing seems to be helping despite the best intentions.

What you must remember is that depression isn’t a mood or a phase they are going through but it’s a very debilitating illness that needs specialist treatment combined with some love and understanding. If you have never been in that dark place, not only are you very lucky but just show a little empathy and be patient for your special friend whilst they need you now.

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Managing Dementia

Dementia is a term used to describe the loss of memory, reduced language skills, impaired reasoning and loss of daily living skills that arises because of irreversible and progressiveDementia-types-piechart deterioration of brain function. Changes to behaviour and emotions are also common. There are more than 100 different types of dementia. The most common types are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy body disease.

In Australia, dementia affects approximately 10% of persons aged over 65 years, and almost 50% of people over 80 years. By 2030 it is predicted to rise to approximately 591,500 people which is almost double from current statistics.

A Finnish study has found that people who harbour a cynical distrust of others are more than twice as likely to develop dementia later in life.  Believing that others are motivated by selfish concerns has previously been linked to heart disease, but this study is the first o draw a link between cynicism and dementia.

The diagnosis may be a shock when first delivered and you will need a great deal of reassurance and support. However, there is much that you can do in the early stages that can help to make life easier and more enjoyable to manage now and in the future.

Our experience indicates that most people are happiest to manage the disease within their own home environment. To achieve this, it may be necessary to make some changes to their home or to use new equipment and/or technology that has been designed to enable people with dementia to remain independent for longer or make it easier for others to give support.

It is also a great idea to organise the person’s financial and legal responsibilities whilst they still are capable early in the diagnosis as dementia is a degenerative condition.

When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining (or often it is those closest to them that find this), they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them (including their carers, friends and family) need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.

It is absolutely vital to maintain healthy lifestyle through eating properly and some exercise for any sufferers. The better they feel, the more they can enjoy life, making life more pleasurable for all. Our carers are always sensitive to keeping the dignity of the person with dementia when handling the daily tasks of bathing and dressing them. Often a sufferer will not realise that they have forgotten those simple tasks of being fully dressed in their usual manner and style.

There are so many changes that occur along the way when caring for someone with dementia that it can be difficult for carers to deal with their feelings. It is a prime reason for many relationship breakdowns and strain on the children to see the decline of their beloved parents.

Sometimes a person with dementia is prone to wandering off and then forgetting where they came from.  As the disease deepens, then there may be a need to consider other accommodation options to keep them safe. It is important to remember that it is not their fault and be gentle with them.

Often their behaviour can be unexplained, radical and embarrassing so due care and patience is often required. When you understand the meaning behind the behaviour, then it is easier to remain calm and manage the person better. Those with dementia can also suffer from depression, anxiety or agitated states, aggression, hallucinations and false ideas, and loss of inhibition.  It is quiet common for sleep patterns to be interrupted due to changes in their brain’s biological clock and some medications.

Communicating with some who has dementia can cause some difficulties especially if their hearing or eyesight is not fully functioning. You will need to exercise some patience, remain calm and allow them time to respond. They still have feelings and emotions even though they may not always display them. It is advisable to use short, simple sentences and help orientate them without arguing or being condescending. We have found the best results come from being in a quiet environment.

Dementia also loves routine and familiarity which is why keeping the person in their own home environment and maintaining some independence for as long as possible is the best outcome. By introducing a carer along with a specialist doctor to assist in the management, will make the whole disease much easier for everybody affected too.

 

 

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Testimonial_ RW

Since Your Home Care has come into my life they have brightened my days.  They have helped me in so many ways like driving me to doctor’s appointments, and personal care like showering me and dressing me, something I could not do for myself.  Their staff are friendly and outgoing and always find time to do whatever it is I need done.  They have made my life so much better and happier.

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Living With Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder in which the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar Diabetesresulting in blood sugar levels that climb too high and over time, causes damage to various body tissues.  There are more than 1 million Australians currently living with diabetes and that figure continues to rise.

Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the body’s organs. Possible complications include damage to large (macrovascular) and small (microvascular) blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and problems with the kidneys, eyes, teeth, feet and nerves.  Other parts of the body can also be affected by diabetes, including the digestive system, the skin, sexual organs, teeth and gums, and the immune system. Chronic sufferers may experience debilitating consequences.

In all cases of diabetes, the underlying issue is the body’s level of and/or reaction to the hormone insulin. It is the insulin’s job to keep our blood sugar levels down and our pancreas should naturally release some in response to increased blood sugar like after eating. When the body does not produce enough (or any) insulin or the cells of the body do not respond properly, then we have diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes known as gestational, Type 1 and Type 2.

Generally, gestational diabetes is a disorder that some women experience during pregnancy affecting up to 4% and may lead to further complications for mother and baby.

Type 1 diabetes usually starts very early in life and will create a reliance on injectable insulin for survival and must maintain a proper injection schedule in order to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

Type 2 diabetes is the main form and accounts for around 90% of all cases. It generally develops in adults. This is either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body not responding properly to the insulin because cells have lost their sensitivity to it.

High blood glucose levels slow down your immune system which needs to prevent and fight infection. This makes it more difficult for the immune system to function correctly.

Keeping blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels and your weight within recommended ranges will help reduce your risk. Being a non-smoker is also very beneficial. It is therefore vital that those diagnosed with diabetes ensure they have regular check-ups to detect complications early and better manage the disease.

Through adopting healthy eating habits, reducing alcohol intake, being a healthy weight, and exercising, it is possible to lead a relatively normal, happy life. However, in some circumstances, the person may need further assistance. Regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels gives you information about how food, exercise medication, illness and stress affect your diabetes.

Complications

Diabetic coma – uncontrolled diabetes may lead to coma or unconsciousness therefore close monitoring and management is essential.  Common causes of diabetes coma include a missed dose of insulin or an acute infection in a person with type 1 diabetes. Often this is the first sign that a person has developed type 1 diabetes. If this does occur, you are recommended to seek immediate medical assistance. Without urgent attention, the person may suffer from brain damage or worse case scenario, may die.

Cardiovascular – high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease and stroke often accompany diabetes. Up to 80% of deaths in diabetics are due to a heart attack or stroke.

Nervous system – chronically elevated blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage that may present as numbness often in the feet. Simple, minor foot infections can often lead to serious infections, which if left too long may result in the need to amputate part of the foot and leg. Up to 85 diabetics undergo lower limb amputations in Australia each week.

Kidney disease – About one third of people who have had diabetes for more than 15 years will eventually suffer from kidney disease.

Eye disease – as a result of diabetes, often the retina of the eye is attacked known as diabetic retinopathy leading to blindness.

Depression – about twice as common among diabetics as it is in the general population. The full cause is not clear but possibly from the stress of living with a chronic illness and the direct impact of metabolic changes on the brain.

Sexual function – at lease 50% of men with diabetes will experience erectile dysfunction as a result of nerve, circulatory or other complications. Women with diabetes can experience inconsistent menstrual cycles and earlier onset of menopause.

Overweight – almost all children with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. For adults, being overweight substantially increases your risk of developing diabetes. Obesity decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, exercise plays a very important role in maintaining weight and healthy blood sugar levels.

Our carers are often assisting people with the management of their diabetes from doctor’s appointments to daily tasks that they are now inhibited due to the complications with their diabetes.

More information from Diabetes Australia

 

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In-home Care – how you like it.

Research shows that we are most comfortable in our own homes, whether we are sick, and recovery at homeinfirm or just needing a little assistance throughout our daily lives; it is proven that our recovery, our mental well being and our quality of life is at its best when we are able to remain in our own comfort zone of our homes.

It can happen to any of us at any time in our lives and most often it is when we least expect to need assistance. Accidents do happen and we understand that. Getting old is a fact of life and we understand that as well.

Our carers can provide the non-medical services you may need, whether it’s companionship for an elderly parent while you are at work, help with groceries and errands, a helping hand with household chores or a simple reminder to take the medication there is a vast array of services our carers can offer.  We even have a client that suffers from MS and requires our carer to assist her in loading her target shooting gun for her practice!

For instance, a beautiful lady that just had twins that required endless attention and a massive drain on the mother’s energy and sleep. With a carer coming into the house to attend to some of the household chores (like endless washing) and ensuring there is a hot meal prepared for the evening can allow the new mother to focus on attending to her babies during the settling in period. And her husband was surely thrilled with the difference it made having a little extra support around their time of need in the home.

For some people, hiring a home carer for post-operative recovery can be an expensive luxury they thought they couldn’t afford. But there are many benefits that it can give for your loved ones at home who are in need of professional care after surgery, and you may be surprised just what value for money this support offers.  Post-operative recovery is rarely an easy process. In fact, it can be a delicate phase in any surgical procedures especially where you have to undergo special recovery steps or physical rehabilitation, things can even become more difficult and a helping carer to call in and offer the assistance can make all the difference. The patient will also recover more rapidly in their own environment.

Can you image the difficulty of being sent home with nobody else there when you are stuck in a wheelchair after surgery or an accident? But with a carer for just a few hours each day to help you get ready for the day, take care of the household matters and take you for a walk around the block or a nearby park can turn the experience into a whole new joy. The family can be rest assured also that you are receiving care and attention that they may not be able to offer since we all live so far away in our modern busy lives. The good thing is that the entire family can help you towards recovery in their own special ways as well.

Since the carers are in your own home, you can get a sole attention from them with tailored planning for the time just for you. Moreover, home caregivers can offer a different kind of companionship. They are not just going to help physically but will work on your patient’s emotional health too. And there are some tasks that are just better handled by someone that is not related since we are sometimes very private people and don’t want our family to have to wash us or change us to keep our dignity. But a carer that is solely there for your assistance is a professional that will overcome any of those issues.

At Your Home Care we believe in offering you the same carer each and every time.  Wouldn’t you rather recover or have support at home in your time of need?

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Even The Carer Needs A Break

If you are caring for a person with dementia, you may at times feel totally exhausted and need a little caring yourself; just a bit of ‘time out’ to regain your energy, to visit the hairdresser or catch up with an old friend. Taking a break from being the carer is important for anyone providing day to day care for someone with dementia.take a break

Taking a break is important for all those involved as caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally tiring, demanding and stressful. Families and carers can easily become isolated from social contacts, particularly if they are unable to leave the person you are caring for.

Taking a break is important also for those with dementia since they too need a holiday or some time out and create happy memories. It gives the person an opportunity to socialise and meet other people, and to get used to other people providing support and caring for them.

All too often the carer puts their own needs last on the list of priorities to the detriment of themselves and sometimes creating their own health breakdown. Sometimes it is not knowing that help is available or where or how to organise that break. Or sometimes they just don’t feel they could never leave their loved ones and need to stay and provide the care constantly by themselves. 

But there are lots of ways to take a break depending on what suits you and your family. The person with dementia can also get to enjoy themselves with new or familiar experiences which can feel either exciting or create anxiety if they haven’t even broken those ties. We usually find it is a very positive enhancement to their quality of life.

Other family members and friends may be happy to help out by giving you a break from caring. Often it’s just a matter of asking.

You may be eligible to also have your break funded by the Federal or State Government, therefore taking the burden of having the break away from you. Sometimes the break may be offered in a specialised centre for people with dementia.

The break may range from a few hours to several days a week depending on needs. Another way to take a break is to have a care worker come to the house to enable you to do things outside the house. They may also accompany the person with dementia to an activity that they enjoy. This is often called in-home respite as it begins and finishes at home. We often find this is the most positive break for both carer and the person with dementia.

It is common for people with dementia to find new environments and new people unsettling. Because of this it is important to plan ahead for a positive respite experience. Many families and carers have found it useful to start using regular respite as early as possible so that everyone can get used to sharing dementia care. It is often best to start with small breaks and build up to longer ones.

You will know best how far in advance to tell the person with dementia about the break. Reassure them if they are anxious and make sure that they know that you are positive about the break, even if you’re feeling a little anxious yourself. Talking with other families and carers about ways they’ve managed to make respite a positive experience may give you some practical ideas for managing.

Our experience has been that having the same carer each and every time the carer wants to have that break then reassures the person with dementia that there is some routine and a familiar face that they have formed a bond with.  That is a win/win for both sides.

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Testimonial_ R from Deception Bay

As a customer of Your Home Care for nearly 3 years I have always found Linda and her team to be helpful, professional and prompt. The staff she employs who come into my home to look after our 4 year old’s high care needs are very caring and trustworthy. They are a part of our family, we refer to them as our angels! If we have a problem I know I can contact Linda and the problem will be dealt with promptly and professionally, and I have always found that Linda and her staff are willing to go the extra mile to assist us.

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Testimonial_ Ms m

“Our family was impressed by the quality of your workers and how the care provided was adapted to our individual needs. We needed a young and efficient carer that our high-needs young adult could relate to, but with enough authority to support our two autistic pre-teens and a child. We were delighted to have Your Home Care with us!”

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Home Nursing taking the stress off carers

This story in the Daily newspaper highlights the difference that Your Home Care is making by relieving the stress on families, whatever their circumstances or age.

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