Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Can WV Caring Help

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, neurodegenerative life-limiting disease. ALS is a disease that weakens an individual’s muscles and impacts physical function such as walking, dressing, writing, speaking and breathing. 

According to the ALS Association, a little over 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year and it is estimated that there are at least 16,000 people who have the disease at a given time. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS. Half of the individuals who are diagnosed with ALS live three or more years after diagnosis; 20 percent live for five years or more; up to 10 percent live more than 10 years. 

During the ALS journey, especially during the end stage of ALS, there can be significant costs associated with ALS and the healthcare that is needed including medical care, equipment, medical staff visitation and more. Read on to learn more about how WV Caring, West Virginia’s leading hospice care provider, can help you talk through ALS, what we can do for you and to hear from an ALS patient’s family about hospice. 

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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): How Can WV Caring Help?

According to a 2017 America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation report, 7.4 percent of West Virginians have coronary heart disease, which is the highest percentage in the United States.  Heart disease can put an individual at risk for heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscles can no longer pump effectively, and fluid builds up around the heart, abdomen, lungs and other parts of the body.  Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped working, but that the cardiac muscles are not strong enough to maintain normal circulation. West Virginia holds the highest rate of heart disease in North America with 14 percent.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a progressive cardiovascular disease, affects people of all ages, from children to the elderly. There is no cure for CHF.

In the progression of CHF, fluid around the heart builds up and kidneys receive less blood. The pressure causes swelling or “congestion” in the legs, around the eyes, lungs, liver and other areas of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of the patients who contract heart failure pass away within five years of diagnosis. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments. And, as end-stage CHF approaches, WV Caring can manage the symptoms from the disease during this crucial time.

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Stroke Awareness: How Can WV Caring Help?

The highest mortality among stroke patients occurs within the first 30 days. The effects of a stroke can lead to damage that is irreversible and can impact a number of functions necessary for the body to function properly. With someone suffering from a stroke every four seconds, hospice can provide support care for a stroke by both helping to identify an impacted individual and adding in care after the incident. Unfortunately, hospice care services are typically underutilized following a stroke. Why is that?

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: How Can WV Caring Help?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Unfortunately, COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States, with West Virginia’s population leading the pack in adults diagnosed with COPD at 13.6 percent.

COPD causes long-term disability because of the symptoms it comes with, as well as an early death for many if not diagnosed early enough. Read on to learn more about COPD, symptoms of end-stage COPD, when hospice care is needed and the benefits of hospice.

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West Virginians Have the Right to Access End-of-Life Care

As we observe Older Americans Month, we want to address some of the issues that come with aging, specifically access to end-of-life care. Concerns over health care and how to pay for it are paramount for baby boomers entering their 60s and near retirement age. Many of these baby boomers are providing care for their aging parents just as they are facing their own health care issues.

In 2018, West Virginia ranked third in the United States with the highest population over 65 years of age.

  • 17.78% or 320,040 people are over the age of 65 in WV with another 31,760 people in the group 85 + years old, who are the ‘oldest of the old.’ 

This represents a lot of our friends and neighbors who will need advanced illness care as they near their end-of-life. Read on to learn more about access to end-of-life care, who pays for it and how we can help.

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American Heart Month: Heart Disease Risks

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, approximately 84 million people in America suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease like heart disease. Heart disease can put an individual at risk for heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.7 million adults have heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscles can no longer pump effectively, and fluid builds up around the heart, abdomen, lungs and other parts of the body. Learn more about the other associated risks with heart disease, what you should do if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart failure and what you could be doing to plan.
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When is it Time to Contact WV Caring for End-of-Life Care

At WV Caring, we believe contacting a hospice and palliative care provider for end-of-life services earlier rather than later is important. Starting care earlier can help patients provide the necessary medical care and manage the symptoms, emotional and spiritual needs throughout the life-limiting illness. Families and caregivers receive direct support by providing practical assistance, caregiver education, as well as provide essential understanding of their loved one’s wishes during what may be a stressful time. All of this to help the patient have the best quality of life for as long as possible.

Often, we are asked, “when is it time to contact WV Caring for end-of-life care services?” The simple answer is: any time someone is diagnosed with a serious illness or disease. It’s never too early to look at and understand hospice or palliative care options.

Learn more about the signs that a patient needs hospice or palliative care, what WV Caring can do to help and if you haven’t already–how to start the end-of-life care conversation.

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When is it Time to Consider Hospice Care?

As Medicare’s first proven coordinated care model, hospice is a program that works. For decades, WV Caring has helped its patients and family’s transition through life-limiting illness. The goal is to provide comprehensive pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support while allowing them to spend valuable time together for as long as possible.

To learn more about hospice care, its benefits and when is it time to consider end-of-life care, please continue reading.

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Driving Tips for Seniors

As we get older, driving becomes one of the challenges we have to face. At some point, seniors must turn in the key and retire from driving completely.

Before this stage, it’s important to drive as safely as possible and to be aware of your abilities to drive a car.

For instance, physical weakness from aging may affect checking blind spots, alertness and response times.

Learn more about safe driving tips for seniors and how to create a plan for driving safely.
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What is the Difference Between Hospice Care and Palliative Care?

When a loved one is seriously ill, you want them to be the most comfortable and content they can be. Finding the best care to provide for their needs and conditions is important.

When researching care options for your loved one, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the medical terminology regarding different services available. Whether you are focused on finding a cure for your loved one or simply providing the best comfort for them possible, it’s important to be educated on the differences of hospice and palliative care. Read more