Older woman sitting outside with a younger woman caring for her

5 Ways To Market A New Home Care Business

Running a home care business is an honourable pursuit, but it’s also not an easy one. Apart from caring for your patients, there are bills that need to be paid. There has to be that perfect balance of earning enough profit to keep your home care business running but not at the expense of providing nothing less than first-class care for your patients.

Just like any other business, it’s, therefore, important to come up with an actionable home care marketing plan. This is needed to promote your business’ existence, as well as to convince your potential clients and their respective families that your home care is the best choice.

With that said, here are the best ways to market your new home care business, especially when you’re still starting out:

 

1. Create A Strong Brand Identity

To give your home care business an edge against your competitors, creating a strong brand identity is very important. Given the digital age today, one of the best ways to achieve this is by marketing on social media. The goal here should be, when a family thinks about home care for their sick or elderly loved ones, your business consistently makes it on top of their list.

Along that line, here are workable tips on how you can create a strong brand identity for your new home care business:

  • Set aside a budget for digital marketing. Among all marketing forms, digital marketing continues to reign supreme.
  • Speak at local events. Many medical schools often hold seminars regarding home health care. When these are available, make it a point to speak during these seminars so you can establish your name and authority in-home health care.

 

2. Ask For Referrals From Current Clients

When it comes to a service-oriented business like your home care, there’s often nothing that beats word of mouth marketing. Amidst all other more advanced marketing forms, word of mouth marketing, which is one of the simplest, is still very effective.

Your current clients who are more than satisfied with the care they’re receiving from your home care business will do their part to get the word out about your business. This is also known as testimonial marketing. Since the testimonies are from their first-hand experience, other potential clients who can hear those positive comments will take your current clients’ word for it.

The best way to get those referrals and testimonials from your current clients and their respective families is to focus on developing a good relationship with them right from the start.

 

3. Update Your Social Media Account Frequently

It’s not just enough to focus on having a social media account and then not keeping it active. An inactive social media account can even be one of your pitfalls as this sends the wrong message to online users who’ll come across it. Since you haven’t updated your social media page, would-be clients might be under the impression you’re an illegitimate entity, you’ve closed down, or you aren’t providing superior quality. In that case, it’s better to have no social media account at all than to have an inactive one.

It’s important to keep it updated as frequently as possible. You can post about anything on your social media account. This can include real images of your clients, with their permission, of course. It can also comprise some of your daily activities, promotions you may have, or further certification and training your staff may be undergoing at the moment.

 

4. Create A Google My Business Profile

Apart from social media, another online tool you can use to improve your marketing efforts is an online business directory, specifically Google My Business.

When your business is listed on this platform, it can significantly widen your reach. Note that with the rise of smartphones, many individuals are making searches for companies they wish to do business with on the Internet.

If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, you may lose those would-be clients in favour of those other local home care businesses that have one.

 

5. Distribute Branded And Print Goods

Whenever you attend seminars or conferences, make it a point to prepare branded and printed goods. These can include anything from pens, tote bags, shirts, fans, and notebooks, among many others. You can also have these types of merchandise in your lobby so you can hand them to families who are making new inquiries.

Branded and print goods are other forms of effective marketing tactics simply because they serve as walking advertisements. Every time the recipients bring out and use those things, the word is out about your brand’s existence.

 

Conclusion

Home health care is a booming industry, given that no matter the circumstance, people will always age. As much as children will want to care for their ageing parents by themselves, this isn’t always doable. Adult children also have families of their own and other responsibilities. But this doesn’t mean they love their parents any less. Sending them to a home care is often one of the best ways to ensure the needs of the ageing population are attended to and they’re given the best love and support during the sunset years of their life.

Addiction

How Addiction Has Affected The Banking Industry

While addiction rarely has a single cause, stressful sectors certainly lean toward a heightened level of addiction. The banking and financial sector are notorious for being a high stress job and more than that, possessing a very sociable culture where alcohol and drugs are prevalent.

Back in the 70’s, cocaine and marijuana were hugely popular within the industry, whether that was day to day or when ‘entertaining clients’. In the 80’s and 90’s, the trend leant more toward Ecstasy and Ritalin. Fast forward to today and alcohol is front and centre. The question for many however, is quite simply, what causes such high levels of addiction and where are stress management policies and procedures?

 

The Causes Of Addiction In The Banking Industry

Addiction is usually caused through a culmination of things from physical and mental health to family history and of course, life experience. Evidence suggests that addiction is related to trauma and stress as well as the desire to solve a problem. Numerous addictions, such as alcohol and drug addiction within the banking industry are linked back to the high levels of stress however it’s worth noting, as we’ve previously mentioned that the banking industry has for many years had a culture that almost encourages the use of alcohol when ‘socialising’ with clients. 

Addiction itself develops when that particular person needs to use more and more of something in order to get the same good feelings and with so much ‘client entertaining’, it’s no surprise that alcohol intake rises over a period of time. Introduce recreational drugs into this setting and it’s clear to see how addiction has become a very real problem.

While it would be unfair to suggest that the banking industry as a whole has a far higher rate of addiction, it’s not unfair to suggest that the industry itself provides an environment in which it could become easy to fall into this position, especially those at a very high level where roles are high stress due to being performance and results driven.

 

What Effect Has This Had In Banking?

Due to the focus of higher roles being on results and performance, it’s not uncommon for those with substance abuse problems to be high functioning addicts. This however doesn’t eliminate the effect addiction has on this industry. In fact, there are numerous signs and symptoms that you may notice immediately around you…

  • Frequent absences from their desk or scheduled meetings
  • Memory problems
  • Attention problems
  • Tendency to blame others
  • Self care and hygiene issues
  • Changes in personality

 

Contact The Experts Today

While addiction may be prevalent within the banking industry, it doesn’t need to be an accepted part of the culture. In fact, many within the industry are now taking positive steps towards eliminating this culture by introducing policies that help those suffering with addiction, offering the support and guidance they need while also introducing the necessary training for both management and employees. Infinity Addiction Solutions are one such company that offers workplace training as well as substance abuse rehabilitation services throughout Essex and London. For more information on their services, contact them today on 0800 334 5541.

Medical Injury

7 Tips for Seeking Medical Treatment After a Workplace Injury

Injury can happen anytime at work, and you have the right to seek medical treatment once it happens. It’s essential to be aware of the necessary steps on how to get the care you need. Asking for compensation isn’t as simple as walking up to your employer because they must cover your injury from the start. To get the maximum benefits, follow these tips:  

 

1. Reach Out To The Company HR

When you get injured, it’s essential to let the human resource department know about your injury and ask about the workers’ compensation insurance. They must also be notified about your condition for transparency and accountability. You must obtain the information before you head to your healthcare providers’ office because you’ll be giving the name to them.  

 

2. Know When You Should Seek Treatment

The right time to seek medical attention is always what you think of when you only have a minor injury. You could never know if it’ll have a lasting effect on your body, which is why you should seek a medical opinion. Head over to your medical care provider when symptoms are related to your responsibilities in the workplace.  

Seeking medical treatment from Injured Call Today and others will help you recover. You can also find various experienced specialists who have treated people who were injured at work in the past. If you decide to do it later, an underlying injury may progress without you knowing.  

Another reason is it’ll likely prevent your employer from claiming you didn’t get injured at work. It’s essential to have your injury looked at by a doctor so you’ll be aware of how bad it is.

 

3. Fill Out An Injury Report

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates employers to allow the injured employee to file an injury report. It’s the right of the employee to file a report when you want compensation for your workplace injuries. Even if your employer insists it’s not necessary, they’re obligated to keep employee histories on file. Just ensure you get a copy of the report as well.

There might be cases when the employer will deny your report or claim, so you must also follow the proper reporting procedure on injuries related to your workplace. Filing a claim is similar to filing an insurance claim. Ensure your employer offers you a form to fill out because they won’t be obligated to acknowledge your claim unless you can complete the form.  

 

4. Be Honest With Your Doctor

Seeking medical attention means you need to be completely honest with what you feel. Suppose you have an underlying condition, exaggerating or downplaying your injury won’t get you the treatment you need. If the insurance company finds out, it’ll jeopardize your claim, and you won’t get the right amount of compensation.

Making guesses about your condition is also a wrong move because you need accurate details to inform the insurance company. Hence, be honest with the symptoms as well as the aftereffects you’re feeling so you can be treated properly.

 

5. Choose A Reputable Physician 

In some cases, your employer will recommend a doctor for you to see after an injury. You have the choice to seek the preferred healthcare professional, but know you also have the right to choose the physician you want.  

If you’re a federal employee, the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA) partially allows you to select your doctor. If you want to seek out a chiropractor, understand that FECA restricts seeing the specialist. State law applies to you if you’re not a federal employee.

You can also choose your preferred company as you seek medical attention. Your utmost right to refuse a company representative or even the company nurse to come along with you during your visit to the doctor is your right. The employer may want to protect their side, but they can’t retaliate against you for refusing their help.

 

6. Look For The Best Place To Have Treatment

If your injury requires immediate attention, head straight to the emergency room. Any injury you acquire from work must adhere to the state rules when you opt for treatment. Remember that the state still has a say as to whom you should see for your work-related injury. Some may even require you to follow your employer or insurer’s decision on who to see.  

In other cases, complex state rules may need you to seek medical help from the specific doctor you named before the accident. That means you need to have health insurance to name your preferred physician. In other states, you can only see the employer’s preferred doctor if the insurance company has that arrangement with your employer for the visit.  

 

7. Find Out The Truth

Suppose your employer is trying to stop you from going to the doctor or can’t even refer you to a preferred physician, chances are they don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers are required by the law to have this insurance, but there are reasons why your employer doesn’t carry it. Nevertheless, you need to find out if your employer can compensate you or not.  

Depending on the state you’re in, penalties can vary, and your employer could pay a hefty fine. Some states might not only demand an organization to pay an expensive penalty for not having this insurance type, but the company can also go to prison.

You can seek an experienced injury lawyer to help you get medical treatment and workers’ compensation if your employer doesn’t have the insurance. It’s the same when you’re loved one is the person who suffers from the injury.

 

Conclusion

As a taxpayer with a stable job, you have the right to seek medical treatment if you got injured at work. It can be a sudden slip or fall from an accident or a pain on your wrist that has been progressing when you’re overworked. It’d help you to be familiar with your state laws regarding workers’ compensation if you get into a work-related accident. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you seek your options after a workplace injury. 

Prostate Cancer

3 Symptoms to Not Ignore in Regards to Prostate Cancer

Whenever you feel unwell or experience strange symptoms it is wise to seek medical advice. Many of us feel as though we are being a burden or that things will get better on their own, but that isn’t always the case. In order to look after ourselves in the best possible way, it is always advisable to get any unusual or uncomfortable symptoms checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that prostate cancer is a disease where the symptoms don’t always show up most prominently – so if you do experience any discomfort or anything that doesn’t feel right then speak to your doctor. You are never a burden and places like the ALTA Clinic Germany can help with things like prostate cancer treatment, but only once you have been diagnosed and as such, going to your doctor is the first step you need to take to get on the road to recovery.

 

A Change in The Way You Wee

One of the things you may notice if you’re experiencing prostate issues is a change in the way that you wee. Of course, a change in the way you go to the toilet doesn’t mean that you do have prostate cancer but it is certainly an indication that you should seek advice from your doctor. It could be you need to wee more often or that it hurts to urinate.

 

Getting Up More During The Night

If you find you are waking up more during the night and often feel the need to go to the toilet during this time, then it is time to speak to a doctor. If this happens as a one-off then there isn’t any real cause for alarm however if it is something that starts to happen more frequently then it is time to seek advice and get checked out.

 

You Can’t Empty Your Bladder

If you feel like you need to go to the toilet but it is almost as though your bladder is never empty this could indicate an issue with your prostate too. This could be that you struggle to go to the toilet enough to feel as though your bladder is empty, or that once you have gone to the toilet it feels as though you need to go again really soon after.

Although a change in the way you urinate might seem like nothing more than a little inconvenient, it is most definitely something that you should pay attention to. There are different issues that can affect our toilet habits –for example, dark colour urine might mean that we are dehydrated and needing to wee more often could be an indication of diabetes.

It is worth noting that a change in your toilet habits doesn’t mean that there is definitely an issue and it certainly doesn’t mean that there is an issue with your prostate or that you have prostate cancer but it should be taken as a sign to see a doctor and get the once over by a medical professional.

Runner

How Do Runners Keep Cool in the Summer?

Running when it’s hot outside is a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s a great way to test your physical and mental limits, and nothing feels greater than a cold shower after a good, sweaty workout. 

With this in mind, a lot of people who are new to running don’t exactly know how to prep themselves for a run when temperatures reach the high 20’s fearing that they will run as hot as an engine. In this article, we’ll go over four ways runners keep themselves cool as the mercury expands.

 

It all starts with gear

What you wear when you’re running can be a gamechanger for your comfort and performance. And we’re not just talking about wearable tech here!  

A running hat protects your face from being scorched by the sun, while still allowing heat to escape from your head through the breathable, meshed fabric. If you have long hair, a hat with a ponytail hole allows you to keep your hair in order and allows your neck and shoulders to cool.

Running in cotton clothing is a bad idea, especially in the summer. Cotton absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry. Over time, the friction generated between your skin and the sticky material causes chafing and blisters. You want to look for sweat-wicking fabrics such as polyester or nylon that pull moisture away from your body into the outer layer. This moisture that evaporates helps you cool your body!

 

Get your clothes wet

Have you seen athletes splash themselves with water during or after a rigorous event when they could be drinking it instead? This allows for evaporative cooling- the scenario similar to what we prescribed to sweat-wicking fabric. Besides cooling your body, just splashing yourself with cold water gives your body a bit of a jolt and increases alertness. Some runners go to the extent of wetting their clothes before a run to take advantage of this cooling effect.

 

Hydration, hydration, hydration

When you’re feeling hot, fatigue sets in quicker. However, staying hydrated allows for a slower heart rate and helps you lower your core temperature. Cold water has been shown to be more effective in cooling your body down, but either way it’s important you remain properly hydrated.

This will differ for everyone, but as a general rule of thumb, you should be drinking 17-20oz  of water two hours before a run, and 5-10oz at intervals of 15-20 minutes if you are running longer than 45 minutes. Be sure to drink at least 15 oz of water for every lb. lost post-run!

Staying hydrated during a run can be tricky, as no one wants to hold a water bottle. If you are very familiar with your route, you can place water bottles across various checkpoints, or run laps around your neighbourhood. Hydration vests/belts are handy tools to have in your arsenal as they have capacities going up to 400oz.

 

Choose shadier/grassy areas

When it’s really hot outside, avoid the asphalt. Asphalt absorbs almost all of the sunlight it is exposed to during the day and emits it as heat. This is the same for concrete to an extent. Temperatures in cities are always warmer than in surrounding rural areas because of this, and is referred to as a scenario called the heat island effect.  If you are stranded in the city, your best bet would be to look for parks and/or trails with a lot of greenery. 

If there are large bodies of water such as lakes and rivers nearby, I would highly recommend running along that vicinity Not only as these locations tend to be windier, but you can take the well-deserved, refreshing plunge after your workout!

Orthotic

9 Types of Orthotic Devices and Their Best Uses

Orthotic devices, also known as orthoses, are the braces or devices that help support the weakened muscles while walking. They also help slow the progress of the tightened tendons or muscles that become shorter in the long run. Plus, these devices can also enhance comfort.

Orthotic devices are worn at any time of the night or day. However, the use of a certain orthotic device depends on the type of muscles and muscular dystrophy affected. Also, with today’s advancements in Orthoses technology, there are several types of orthotic devices you should know and these include the following:

 

1. Foot Orthoses (FOs)

Also referred to as arch supports, foot orthoses come in various sizes and shapes and can be helpful in treating posterior tibial tendon dysfunction and ligament laxity.

Depending on your diagnosis and its level of severity, an orthotist will use FOs which is either prefabricated foot orthosis or a custom-made one. There are several materials used to create FOs and these include ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), pelite, and plastic.

Clubfoot bars and boots are under the category of FOs, but they’re not considered regular FOs. Such boots are made from silicone, leather, and plastic with a bar of metal.

 

2. Elbow Wrist Hand Finger Orthoses (EWHFOs)

These orthotic devices serve to assist arm movement in serious conditions including cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal injury, brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. As its name suggests, aside from supporting elbow movement, this device may go over the whole forearm, fingers, and hand.

 

3. Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthoses (KAFOs)

These are quite similar to ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), but they also cover the knee joints. Often, KAFOs are used to help prevent an excessive joint motion to reduce joint pain and help with joint stability and alignment.

KAFOs are usually customized for every individual and are made of plastic or metal. New varieties of KAFOs are lightweight and made of carbon fiber while still providing the support required to complete the gait cycle.

Another thing to know about KAFOs is that they’re strenuous and it’s essential to give patients some time to adjust to an indoor environment. While using a KAFO, the knee’s movement is restricted, and walking may require a lot of energy. Luckily, electromagnetic or electronic controlled knee joints can be used in a KAFO to ease movement.

 

4. Knee Orthoses (KOs)

As its name implies, a knee orthosis is only used for knees. Usually, KOs are used after a surgery or operation to relieve and protect the knee joint. They’re also useful to ease knee pain.

Patients who suffer from meniscus injuries, cruciate ligament injuries, and capsular ligaments injuries are recommended to use a KO.

 

5. Wrist Hand Orthosis (WHO)

These are used for limitation or mobilization of the wrist’s motion. Even if the wrist is encompassed with this orthotic device, fingers can be used and moved.

There’s a variety of conditions that require the use of WHOs. But they’re commonly worn when a patient is recovering from a wrist injury.

 

6. Hip Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses (HKAFOs)

Such orthoses are quite the same with a KAFO except HKAFOs extend to the patient’s pelvis and over the hip joint. Depending on the patient’s condition, the hip joints can be locked, partially locked, or free. The ankle and knee joints can also be locked completely or partially or free. This may depend on the range of motion, weaknesses, or diagnosis of the patients.

 

7. Head Orthoses

Also called cranial orthoses, head orthoses are typically used for effective treatments of various conditions in newborn children. Such conditions include plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and scaphocephaly.

In case a child patient requires additional head protection, particularly after an injury, head orthoses are highly recommended. It’ll keep the patients secure and ensure that they’ll heal safely.

 

8. Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs)

These orthotic devices cover the foot, leg, and ankle. Typically, AFOs are custom-made depending on the patient’s requirements. AFOs also help reduce pain and increase mobility while walking.

AFOs are made by taking the cast of the patient’s leg. The process of creating an AFO from the cast may take several weeks. After that, patients will have a fitting appointment in which the device is tested for function and comfort.

While fitting AFOs, it’s recommended that patients wear clothing that can be rolled up or expose to the lower leg. Using knee-high socks that are wrinkle-free and fit well is also advised to lessen rubbing. Commonly used sneakers or shoes must also be taken to the appointment to adjust the orthotic devices to ensure user satisfaction.

 

9. Spine Orthoses

Spine orthoses are another type of orthotic device, which is used for a variety of spine conditions. Such devices are used in different scenarios, which may include scoliosis, surgical recovery, and disc herniation.

For instance, when it comes to scoliosis, there are several available spine orthoses to choose from. The same applies to some conditions in which a Harris or Jewett brace can be effective. Regardless of the case, this kind of orthotic device is a good way to lessen pressure and alleviate pain in your spine.

 

Conclusion

With the different types of orthotic devices available, there are various things to consider when you’re searching for the best one suited for you. The best guidance you’ll find is your doctor’s recommendation. So, if you prefer other options, make sure to consult your doctor first before you consider any type of orthotic device.

Funeral

At What Age Should You Plan Your Funeral?

In one sense, it doesn’t matter when you plan your funeral so long as you do so. This is because one of the very basic truths of life is that we do not know when we are going to die. True, people with certain conditions may have more of an idea of their life expectancy than others. However, no one is truly able to say when they will pass on and to make plans in accordance with that expectation. In other words, you need to plan your final arrangements while you can. In this sense, the best time to plan your funeral is today.

After all, why wait? If you do so, then you could end up leaving all the arrangements and decision-making to a loved one at a time when they’re going through a big sense of loss. By planning today, you can save them a great deal of heartache and worry that they are giving you what you would have wanted. Equally, it will help to ensure you get the sort of funeral that matches your beliefs and outlook. 

Perhaps you want a particular religious ceremony? Maybe you would like certain people to attend? There again, maybe you want an ecologically sound funeral or would prefer a cremation to a burial? All these questions get sorted when you plan your funeral including the all-important one of how you will pay for it.

Read on to find out more about the considerations you might like to factor into your funeral arrangements depending on your age bracket.

 

In Your Twenties and Thirties

Up until the age of 18, you are entitled to a free, if basic, funeral from your local council. After that, however, the costs need to be met. Although the majority of young people do not think about the costs of their funeral, making a financial plan to pay for one, if needed, is a good idea. This is especially the case if you move in with your partner or get married since either one of you will be responsible for the other in the event of an untimely death.

 

In Your Forties and Fifties

By the time people have reached middle age, they are likely to have more financial responsibilities, such as paying off personal loans, mortgages or meeting the expenses associated with their offspring. At such a time, it is important to know that your funeral arrangements won’t be an emotional or financial burden on your family. Funeral plans and insurance policies are a good idea since they take care of most aspects of what your family should do if you were to pass away.

 

When You Are Over the Age of Fifty

As people approach their later life, they will often think about what they want from their funeral more. Bear in mind, however, after you have passed fifty you are statistically more likely to die so funeral insurance isn’t always so cost-effective. In other words, you can expect a lower payout for what you pay in. As well as making practical arrangements for your funeral in later life, it is, therefore, often better to opt for an over-50s pre-payment funeral plan. These schemes tend to offer better value for money at any age but especially once you are in your 50s, 60s and over.

Hand hygiene

The Importance of Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings

Maintaining good hygiene levels is important for staying healthy and avoiding falling ill. Many illnesses can be contracted by touching certain surfaces, passing on bacteria or viruses that’s been left on it.

Here’s why hand hygiene is crucial to keep on top of, especially within health care where there could be an increased risk to patients and staff alike.

 

What is hand hygiene?

Hand hygiene, or hand washing, is the practice of regularly washing your hands to remove germs which could lead to health complications. You are meant to thoroughly wash your hands using warm water and soap for 20 seconds, ensuring you clean every part of your hands.

This is one of the key steps behind infection control and has played a key role in reducing infections within the coronavirus pandemic. An increased awareness of the need for thorough hand washing in order to keep people safe led to multiple songs being used to gauge how long to wash your hands for.

 

The stats behind hand hygiene

While hand washing is crucial in preventing infections, both global and UK-based stats show how many of us take this for granted.

Only three in five people have access to basic hand washing facilities worldwide, showing how many don’t have what they need to keep themselves safe.

Despite having the necessary facilities, many people in the UK still don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, which is one of the places where infections can easily spread. Only 61% of office workers in UK said they washed their hands after using the toilet – a disappointingly low number.

The pandemic has helped to raise this number, but it shouldn’t take a global health crisis in order for people to simply wash their hands.

 

When should you practice hand hygiene in a medical setting?

As there are many people who’s health is compromised within hospitals and other health care settings, hand washing should be done regularly and after certain interactions. These include:

– Before touching a patient

– Before clean/aseptic procedures

– After body fluid exposure risks

– After touching a patient

– After touching patient surroundings 

There are additional preventative measures which medical settings will employ to further reduce the risk of infection. Health care workers may use disposable gloves when carrying out certain tasks to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria.

Keeping surfaces clean is also a high priority, with multi-purpose cleaners helping to further prevent the spread of bacteria. Cleaning chairs between out-patient appointments and areas of high activity like doors also help keep health care settings sanitary.

Although these measures are helpful, nothing is better than simply washing your hands regularly to stop these issues at the source. Follow the advice on proper hand washing technique and keep those around your safe, especially in medical settings.

New mother and newborn

How Are New Mums Adapting to the New Normal?

For new parents, lockdown has been a surreal time. On one hand, many parents have been able to work from home or have been furloughed, allowing them more time than ever to focus on their precious new arrival. On the other hand, however, the pandemic has brought with it many uncertainties and unexpected worries for new parents.

As well as feeling concerned about the normal elements of parenthood and going through major changes in your body, such as postpartum bleeding, there is now a whole new set of worries occupying new parents’ minds. These worries vary from health concerns to social isolation and the fear that their baby’s development might have been affected by the lockdown.

With these concerns in mind, let’s find out exactly what new mums and dads are stressed about and how people have faced the countless challenges of becoming a new parent in lockdown, including returning to a sense of ‘normality’.   

 

Can my baby contract Covid-19?

For parents of babies and young children alike, there is a sense of uncertainty surrounding getting back to ‘normal’. While people rush to make the most of the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme and soak up the sun in beer gardens, new parents are likely to feel much more cautious.

Although the risks of a baby contracting Covid-19 are relatively low, it is natural that new parents will feel anxious about caring for their little one during this period. According to NHS advice, it is important that you keep your baby away from anyone with a cough, a fever, or other viral symptoms. In many cases, babies will not show signs of illness and are likely to recover fully, but if your baby has a cough, a fever, or feels unusually hot or cold, be sure to call the NHS on 111.

With this in mind, it’s advisable to avoid busy places and too much socialising. However, there’s no harm in reuniting with family members and friends if you follow government guidelines and do what is comfortable for you.

 

Will my baby’s development be affected?

Many parents are also concerned about their child’s development and whether the period of isolation will negatively affect their new-born. One new mum, Chloe from Richmond, expressed her concern that her baby boy Henry “might become super clingy and dependent on us” going on to say that,  “I always wanted him to be confident and happy to see other people.”

Thankfully, child development experts agree that the lack of contact that babies have had during lockdown is not likely to have a negative impact. One paediatrician, Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, said that new-born babies “gain a sense of security and resilience from their closest caregivers, so there is no need to worry about the absence of wider family and friends”

Because most children only tend to introduce other kids into their play around the age of three, there is little worry that babies and younger children will feel any major social absence during lockdown. Even those who are older than three will quickly adapt; Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani went on to explain that, “the wonderful thing about children’s brains is that they adapt easily to these challenging times, and will replace peers with parents of older siblings to train their social skills. Once lockdown is loosened, they will catch up quickly.”

 

What impact might the lockdown have had on my mental health?

Another serious matter to consider is that of parents’ mental health. Although having a baby is a blessing for most, it is an extraordinary challenge, and one that can often only be eased by supportive friends and family offering to lend a helping hand.

During lockdown, many parents have felt isolated and somewhat helpless. Writing in Wired Magazine, new mum Sophie Hines explains that, “Like many parents, I’ve had an occasional pang of wondering whether a lack of interesting new humans and stimulating environments will affect my daughter’s development. But to be honest, I’ve more often felt sorry for myself. My situation is privileged in many ways, but it’s hard being housebound with a baby.”

When there is often so much reliance on a family’s close-knit support bubble, isolation has harmed many new mums’ and dads’ mental health, and this issue won’t just disappear now that some socialising has returned. Deep-set issues such as postnatal depression and paternal postpartum depression need to be talked about and worked through with support as lockdown lifts. It is essential that you contact a health professional if you have experienced any depression-related symptoms.

What’s more, it’s also completely natural to feel a sense of loss as we progressively come out of lockdown. For many families, this time has been precious and a true blessing—coming out of your close family bubble and re-entering ‘normality’ is a difficult feat that should not be underestimated.

 

Am I entitled to additional maternity leave?

Finally, there has been much debate around the matter of maternity leave, which many mums have felt robbed of. Even though most new mums have been able to enjoy some quality time with their new-borns, parents across the country have expressed concern that the lockdown has halted many typical maternity leave activities (such as mother and baby classes) that they’re worried their baby will not get to benefit from.

Because of this, many new mums, such as Bethan Jones, have petitioned online for a three-month extension to maternity pay. Talking to Sky News, Bethan expressed her concerns: “I was completely isolated from any other new mums that could have helped me and build a bond with [and] lockdown took away social contact, not only for me but also for my son.”. For mums like Bethan, who consider mother and baby classes essential for both their child’s development and their own mental health, government action concerning additional maternity leave would come as an enormous relief.

 

It’s most certainly a challenging time for new parents, but as lockdown eases, there is a great amount of hope on the horizon. Being reconnected with friends and family who are most likely desperate to meet the new arrival is a happy reward for everything parents have accomplished over these past few months.

Healthcare website

5 Ways to Improve the Usability of Healthcare Websites

To have an effective healthcare website, you must ensure its usability. This means that its design should be user-centered. That way, when they visit your website, they can easily use it to find what they need and achieve their healthcare goals.  

Usability is essential because people visiting your website will find other similar sites if they find it difficult to use yours. If your website has good visuals but isn’t functional, then it wouldn’t be of much use for health-related concerns. Thus, usability encompasses good visuals and functionality. To achieve this, here are some ways to improve your healthcare website: 

 

1. Give Importance To UI Design

User Interface (UI) refers to the overall design of your website. That means that a UI developer must program how your website should look while facilitating user experience and usability. This includes the various features of your website, allowing your users to interact with it. 

For instance, if users fill up an online prescription form, components like the radio button, drop-down list, and text box are part of what makes up the user interface. These are the objects that users interact with or use to enter data into your healthcare website.  

In addition, a good UI makes your visitors quickly find what they’re looking for. Your site should entice your users to stay on your site and check out what your services or products are. And your site’s main goal should turn your visitors into paying customers. 

This means that a good UI design enhances your website’s usability so it directs users to achieve their goals, as well as yours. That’s why you must ensure that the following should be part of your UI design: 

  • Information Architecture: As its name suggests, information architecture refers to the way information is presented so that users can complete their purpose of visiting your site. In a sustainable and accessible manner, your healthcare web content must be organized, structured, and labeled. 
  • Interactive Design: This element refers to how your visitors interact with your website. You can continue using the data from these interactions to enhance your website’s UI based on your users’ interactions. Or you can use it to fix existing problems to cater to your visitors.
  • Visual Design: This is the most known aspect of UI: the visual aesthetic of your web design. It consists of images, colors, fonts, and other elements to make your website appealing. However, your visual design mustn’t compromise your website’s functionality. And it must also be designed according to who your users are because appealing visuals to millennials may not appeal to senior citizens.

 

2. Don’t Compromise Functionality

As mentioned, your UI should work hand in hand with your site’s functionality. Since your website is about healthcare, its features facilitate the accomplishment of your goal to promote the health and wellbeing of your site’s visitors. 

Whether it’s booking an appointment or buying a healthcare product, visitors should be able to find the necessary features needed to achieve their goals when they visited your site. For instance, an appointment setter must be one of your website’s features if you want to assist your visitors in booking a session with you. 

Another factor that can affect the functionality of your site is the resources you have. For instance, if you’re building a patient engagement platform, you need to identify the tools you’ll need to run a healthcare website that can support these services. You must be ready to explore other technologies to ensure your website’s functionality.

Most importantly, it would help if you carefully considered who your audience is. For example, if your target is pregnant mothers looking for healthcare services, they should expect your website to help them with their pregnancy.

You can better create a functional website if you have an audience persona. That way, you can understand your audience and plan for what features to include in your website.

 

3. Make Site Navigation Easy

While your focus may be the content of your website, you must ensure that your site is also easy to navigate. In addition, your site shouldn’t frustrate your audience’s experience because of random pop-ups, auto-scrolling, and unnecessary clicks. Hence, the existence of buttons in the right place will help users to navigate your site easily. 

Moreover, your website must have pages that they can quickly go to using bar menus. You may also add drop-down menus so they can easily pick services or products by category. Making them navigate your site without any hassle will help them fulfill their reason for visiting your site quickly. 

 

4. Make It Responsive To Various Devices

Another factor that can enhance your website’s usability is responsiveness, regardless if visitors are using their computers or mobile devices. Since most consumers nowadays use various devices like mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, your site must be adaptable to different screen sizes. 

When users access your site, it must fit perfectly in their screen sizes. Your pages should also load fast to make their visit a pleasant experience. An unresponsive website that takes too long to process the visitor’s interaction will only discourage them. 

Moreover, it helps to remember that mobile versions might make it hard for mobile users to type in long answers. Hence, consider using clickable options that visitors can easily tap. 

If you’re using images, ensure that they’ll fit accordingly to the screen borders on their devices. Texts also shouldn’t appear too small, making them zoom in too much. Instead, the text should be visible by adapting to the screen size your audience is using.

 

5. Increase Page Loading Times

Your page should load fast whenever a user clicks on your healthcare website. If not, they’re more likely to find another website offering similar healthcare products or services because they don’t find your site usable. Nowadays, consumers don’t want to wait five minutes for a page to load. The longer a site loads, the more frustrated your potential customers become. 

Ideally, your page must load in less than two seconds. That way, you have the chance to keep them on your site. There are many ways to increase your page loading speed, which includes optimizing your images. For example, scale images to the right size and reduce their file size before uploading them. That way, it won’t slow down your site and will increase your site’s usability instead. 

 

Conclusion 

A healthcare website’s usability relies on many factors. From UI design to page loading times, all of these must work together to improve your website visitors’ experience. That way, your website can help your visitors achieve what they need when visiting your site. In addition, since the website acts as your online clinic or virtual healthcare facility, you need to ensure that every patient leaves your website satisfied.

Period signs

Most Searched for Signs That You’re Due on Your Period

When you’re approaching your period, you’ll most likely be on the lookout for some giveaway signs that it’s coming. For some people, their period arrives like clockwork, and they can predict it with confidence. For others, however, it can sometimes come as a surprise. Because everyone’s body is different, some people find it hard to pinpoint the moment when their period is going to begin.

The regularity of your periods might vary, but from your first period onwards, you will probably start recognising some tell-tale signs but even after years of having periods they can catch you off-guard! It therefore makes sense that people across the UK are Googling the most frequent signs that your period is due.  

Let’s take a look at the most commonly searched terms and find out a little more about the signs that will help you to prep for your period and avoid being surprised!

 

Period cramps

The most commonly searched sign that your period is due and you’re experiencing pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is period cramps. In 2021, the Google search term ‘how to get rid of period cramps’ is searched on average 8,200 times a month. Cramps, or period pains, are one of the tell-tale signs that your period is on the way. However, they can affect different people at different points in their cycle. According to the NHS, cramps typically start when the bleeding begins. For some, however, the cramps come a few days before the bleeding, signalling that your period will begin soon. 

Although they can be annoying, cramps are a natural part of the menstrual cycle. They are caused by the tightening of the muscular wall of the womb – vigorous contractions of this wall occur during your period to help the womb shed its lining. Typically, these contractions cause painful muscular cramps which can be felt in your tummy, back, and thighs. If your period pains start to inhibit your life you should consult your GP.

 

Headaches

Another commonly searched for sign that your period is on its way is headaches. There are a few different ways people refer to this symptom, including ‘menstrual migraines’, ‘hormone headaches’ or straight up ‘period headaches’. The term ‘period headaches’ is searched on average 5,067 times per month in the UK, showing that period-related headaches are more common than you might have thought. In fact, more than half of all women who get migraines have noticed a link with their menstrual cycle. According to a former member of the National Migraine Centre, Dr Anne McGregor, menstrual migraines develop due to the natural drop in oestrogen levels that occurs leading up to a period or during the first couple of days of bleeding. Therefore, if you’re experiencing particularly intense headaches, there could be a link with your cycle, and it could be a sign to expect your period.

 

Bloating

Many people experience bloating during the lead-up to their period, and it’s another highly searched for sign that you’re experiencing PMS. It’s the third most commonly searched symptom in 2021, with a monthly average of 4,400 searches for ‘period bloating’ and 2,400 searches for ‘bloating before period’. Swelling and bloating usually occur during the days leading up to your period, and you can expect it to go away once the bleeding begins. Many people experience a bloated tummy, which can make it feel like you’ve gained weight. Your body is also likely to feel particularly tender during this time, particularly your breasts.

Drinking a lot of water and consuming less caffeine and alcohol have been found to reduce bloating during the lead-up to a period. However, there’s nothing to worry about if your body is feeling bloated, and it should pass within a few days. 

 

Mood swings

If you encounter emotional changes and heightened anxiousness in the lead-up to your period, you’re not alone! Mood swings are another commonly searched-for sign that your period is on its way. With an average of 720 searches per month for ‘period mood swings’, it’s clear that many people experience fluctuations in their mood on the run-up to, and during, their period. Although this emotional strain can be difficult to cope with, rest assured that it is a common and completely natural symptom. Typical types of mood change that you might encounter include tension, irritability, anger, anxiety, and tearfulness. These moods are likely to be felt more intensely by people with a tendency to feel depressed or anxious. The best thing you can do while experiencing mood swings is to be kind to yourself and if things are intense, speak to your GP. Also try to ensure that you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and try not to pile pressure on yourself while you wait for these mood fluctuations to pass. 

 

Cravings

You might have noticed that you develop a particular longing for a certain type of food once a month – this could be yet another giveaway that your period is about to begin. With a monthly average search volume of 677 for ‘period cravings’, it’s clear that you’re not alone if you experience changes in your appetite when your period is around the corner. It’s totally normal to be overcome by cravings for carbs or sugary snacks before your period. There’s even a biological reasoning behind why you want to reach for the chocolate. It has been found that fluctuating hormone levels increase your appetite for carbs and sweet foods before your period. What’s more, these cravings can also be linked to pre-period mood swings. When you eat starchy and sweet foods your body releases serotonin, which can boost your happiness levels. If you’re feeling particularly anxious on the run-up to your period, it makes sense to look for a mood boost in the form of a tasty snack!  

 

Acne

Finally, there’s period acne – a symptom that is searched for, on average, 590 times a month. There’s so much going on with your hormone levels before and during your period that your skin can also be affected. The drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels directly before your period begins can trigger your sebaceous glands. These glands (which are close to the surface of your skin) create sebum, an oily substance that can cause breakouts and skin inflammation. Although period-related acne typically begins in the lead-up to your period, it doesn’t always go away once it starts. An increase of testosterone towards the end of your period can also trigger your sebaceous glands, potentially causing a second round of period-related acne. 

It can certainly be a pain when your skin flares up during or before your period but know that you’re not alone! Reports state that around 65 per cent of people experience higher levels of acne during their period, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

 

Everyone’s body is totally unique, and your PMS symptoms might be completely different from those of your friends. All you can do is be sure to trust your body in what it needs, allow yourself enough rest and self-care during your period, and do what’s right for you. 

Care provider

8 Tips On Choosing An In-Home Care Provider

When it comes to receiving care, your loved ones would love to feel secure and at ease. These days, many families opt for home health care over institutional care to get a safer and more affordable option for their loved ones so they could remain in their own homes and hometowns. With in-home care, they often receive the comfort and expert, empathetic, and individualized care they deserve as human beings and, for the elderly, in the twilight years of their lives.

Availing of an in-home care service can be the key to a better quality of life. Some services offer perks compared to hospitals or retirement homes. Some families choose in-home care services for their loved ones to receive assistive care by skilled nursing professionals who have a passion for service. That said, in this article you’ll learn more about in-home care providers and how to select the best one.

 

What Are In-Home Care Services?

In-home care is provided for differently abled persons whose needs need to be attended to. Its primary focus is to pay attention to your loved one’s needs and health. Medical care providers render assistance to patients who need medical treatments, and it’s common that such providers are trained professionals—for instance, registered nurses. There are also nonmedical care providers that aim to assist in providing personal care and companionship to their clients.

Home health care services are provided to individuals in the comfort of their homes or wherever they prefer. Depending on the agency or service provider you pick to care for your loved one, their services might range from occasional as-needed visitation to 24/7 service.

A competent agency would work with you to evaluate the type and degree of care you or your loved may require, and in certain cases, they may refer you to another provider when what they offer couldn’t match your requirements.  Your family physician may also need to be engaged in the care plan because they can assist in identifying the care required.

In some instances, agencies may solely provide pediatric care, hospital treatment, or companionship care. Some services only serve a specific area, so they may suggest you to providers closest to your house. Expect to have an in-depth discussion about the type of care that will be delivered and your loved one’s expectations for their care provider.

 

How To Choose The Best In-Home Care Provider

When your loved ones, particularly the elderly members of your family, begin to seek support and assistance with their daily routines, that might be an opportunity to seek in-home care services to assist them in the comfort of home. Instead of having to uproot them for residential care, with in-home care providers, they could stay and be surrounded by the people whom they love and things they like while receiving care at the same time.

You have plenty of choices and control over which care and support provider you should hire. To give you a head-start, here are some tips for choosing an in-home care service provider for your loved ones:


1. Know Your Needs

Whomever the service is for, you’ll have to keep in mind what’s most important—the needs of the person who needs care and assistance. Before you start looking into the numerous care providers, you need to determine which services your loved one will require.

This step is vital since ‘in-home care services’ is a broad term. Your loved one may need assistance with self-hygiene and household maintenance or they may need extensive help and the skill sets of a healthcare professional. As a result, you should establish a list of what your loved ones need—maybe with the aid of a specialist.

 

2. Plan Ahead And Do Your Research

Finding a home care provider is often easier said than done. You have a great responsibility in making decisions, especially when your loved ones are concerned. Before you choose any in-home care plans, prepare ahead of time and do your research.

Take advantage of the internet to look for agencies that can match what you’re looking for. You may also ask social workers for a list of care providers near your area. Your family’s general practitioner and pharmacist can also help you by giving some advice regarding this matter. There are a lot of options for you to get information on where to look for care providers.


3. Involve Your Loved One

The importance of fully engaging your loved one who will be receiving assistance cannot be overstated. However, only a few do this despite having the best intentions. Put yourself in their shoes—would you prefer accepting assistance where you have no say in the matter? Aside from that, ask them and talk with them about the care they need. It might be best not to make decisions on your own.

 

4. Review The Company’s Credentials And Mission Statement

When researching for a home health care provider, read the agency’s mission statement to understand what the service provider believes in and what their objective are for each customer.  When selecting a service provider, consider asking them the following questions:

 

  • How long have they been in the service?
  • How do they evaluate the client’s health care needs?
  • How do they recruit and train their staff member?
  • Do they assign a supervisor to ensure they provide quality care to their clients?
  • What can you expect from their staff and care providers?
  • How do they handle emergencies? Do they have a plan in case of emergencies?

 

You should look for feedback and testimonials from their previous clients when you’re reviewing their websites. Other clients’ experiences may be elaborated in there, and you may also see how they’re perceived throughout the community.


5. Know Their Staff Recruitment And Training For Different Patient Conditions

Find out how your chosen agency checks and verifies their prospective employees’ backgrounds and what qualifications they require for candidates. Some companies seem to only function as an introduction agency rather than backing and taking any responsibility for their employees. 

Inquire about how employees are trained. Do they get specialized training in medication administration or first aid response in such cases as heart attacks, epileptic seizures, or strokes? Do they receive a good combination of theory and practice? How are they evaluated for their competence before beginning employment and in the future? Do they get frequent help and supervision?

There are plenty of reasons why it’s critical to think carefully about your options when hiring and selecting an in-home care provider. Their first impressions of the agency are formed by how they were employed and taught, and this will influence how they feel about it in the long run and how efficient they are at providing care to your loved one.


6. Speak With The Care Providers

After you’ve done your research on a certain agency, consider speaking with their staff. Through this, you can directly ask anything you want to know about their operations. Check to see whether they’re informed, attentive, competent, and genuinely engaged in learning about your loved one’s needs as you converse with them. Aside from that, inquire about how they evaluate a client’s situation and create plans. If you believe they’re capable and competent to care for your loved one, then that would be the time to acquire their services.

 

7. Know How They Can Be Contacted Any Time Of Day

A lot of things can happen any day. If you were to pick this particular agency, make sure they can be easily contacted at all times. Check to see if they have 24-hour on-call assistance or a well-established line in the event of an emergency.

Their health care professionals should be able to assist in your loved one’s needs, mainly since your their condition may change over time. An on-call expert should be accessible at all times, but an alternative would be to have their in-home care service living with your loved ones at home. 


8. Check If They Provide Quality Assurance Checks

When you think you’re settling for a particular care provider, make sure you don’t forget the following considerations:

  • Do they have strict systems in place to check the quality of the service given on a regular basis?
  • Do they contact the customer early on to ensure that the care is adequate? 
  • Are they willing to engage with and collaborate with your physician or other health care professionals? 
  • Do they keep track of significant events and occurrences and measure the results for the client? 
  • Do they check in with support employees on a frequent basis to ensure the client’s well-being? 
  • Do they do unscheduled and surprise inspections on their employees? 
  • How frequently do care plans get reviewed and updated? 

 

Final Thoughts

An in-home health care service might be the perfect solution to give your loved one their desired support, particularly if you’ve got the best people for it. Since there seems to be an upward trend for personal care providers, the tips mentioned in this article might help you find the right match. After all, the right amount of care and support can go a long way for you and your loved ones.