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All entries for March 2016

MONITORING YOUR PT/INR IN YOUR HOME?

 COUGACHEK

When a person is prescribed warfarin or Coumadin®, regular blood tests are key to ensuring that their blood is clotting within a target range. This is called PT/INR monitoring, which means:

PT = prothrombin time = the time it takes for blood to clot
INR = international normalized ratio = a standard for making results consistent no matter what type of test was used.

You may see this referred to as PT monitoring, INR monitoring, or PT/INR, but it’s all the same.

Everyone reacts differently to anticoagulation treatment, due to differences in diet, stress, medications and other factors. That’s why it’s important to measure your PT/INR regularly. When you start treatment, when your dose changes or when you’re sick and taking other medications, your doctor may test your blood frequently to ensure that your dosage is correct. After you become stabilized, testing is needed just often enough to ensure that your PT/INR results remain in a safe range determined by your doctor.

There are 3 ways to monitor your PT/INR:

Lab testing 
If you are on warfarin, you may visit a lab that draws your blood, or have your blood drawn at your physician’s office and sent to the lab for testing. Generally, this will require having blood drawn from a vein, and your doctor will have the results in a few days.

In-office testing
A member of your physician’s staff can perform a fingertip test in the office and have the results in a few moments. This immediate feedback can allow your physician to make timely adjustments to your dosage, and increase the time you spend within the target range.

At home self-testing
With your doctor’s approval, you or a caregiver can perform your own PT/INR tests. This can be as simple as pricking a fingertip, much like people with diabetes do to check their blood sugar. You report your results online or over the phone, so your doctor can respond quickly to adjust your therapy if needed.

CAREmasters private duty Nursing offers these testing services in your home using appropriate testing equipment and supplies. The tests are performed by a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). Targeted range values and test results of your in-home tests are compared. Deviations are communicated with your doctor who determines necessary adjustments of your therapy.

Please call us. CAREmasters nurses look forward to provide more information on keeping you safe and comfortable in your home.


MEDICAL FOOT CARE AT HOME - the right step to keep on moving!

feet2.jpg

When we fall in love, we say I was "swept off my feet." When we were not sure about an important decision we say, I have "cold feet." If someone is sensible we say he has "both feet on the ground" and everyone agrees it's important to put "your best foot forward."

See how important feet are? So please be kind to your feet. Years of wear and tear can be hard on them. So can disease, bad circulation, poorly trimmed toenails, and wearing shoes that don't fit. Foot problems are sometimes the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve or circulatory disorders. Both diabetes and peripheral artery disease can cause poor blood flow to the feet, which can cause scrapes or bruises to become infected more easily. This makes good foot care very important. Make sure to check with your doctor if you develop a sore on your foot that does not heal.

You're more prone to foot problems like corns, blisters and foot infections in later life as the skin becomes thinner and less elastic.  But painful or uncomfortable feet are not a natural part of aging, and can be alleviated.

If you’re having trouble looking after your feet, you're not alone. An age analysis reports that nearly one in three older people can’t cut their own toenails. Foot care problems tend to happen if you're less mobile than you used to be, particularly if you have difficulty bending down. Poor eye sight, can also make it harder for you to look after your feet.

Your feet will remain in better condition if you have a regular foot routine. This includes:

  • cutting and filing toenails and keeping them at a comfortable length
  • smoothing and moisturizing dry and rough skin
  • checking for cracks and breaks in the skin and inflammation such as blisters
  • looking for signs of infection like nail fungus or other obvious early problems, and seeking professional advice
  • wearing suitable socks and footwear
  • keeping your feet clean, dry, mobile, comfortable and warm.

If it's difficult for you to follow this routine yourself, see a professional for help.

CAREmasters privat duty Nursing offers professional foot care services performed by a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in your home. Please call us for details and set up your appointment. We want you to stay with both feet on the ground for many more years to come.