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Over 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. This has overwhelmed Medicare, putting your loved one at risk of not getting the care they need at hospitals and assisted-living facilities.

What will you do when you’re forced to care for your family members in their home because t Medicare doesn’t cover the rising costs of a facility?

In this episode, I talk to experienced critical care nurse and business owner Lesley Hauck. We discuss how to provide your loved one with the best possible care at home while making sure they stay healthy and safe.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • 90% of seniors prefer to stay in their homes. Here’s what you need to make that happen for your loved one (3:26)
  • Why medicare can’t care for the overwhelming number of Baby Boomers in society and how to protect your family members from medical tragedies (4:58)
  • Essential equipment you need to ensure the safety of loved ones you can’t visit due to quarantine (6:29)
  • A revolutionary app that helps you provide hospital-level care at home (7:04)
  • How healthy foods can cause serious illness with certain medications and how to prevent it (9:26)
  • Why the current state of medical education is putting your older family members at risk and how you can help (14:29)

For daily 5-minute mind exercises, head over and like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hcafortworth/

You can also find additional support and resources by calling Home Care Assistance at 817-349-7599 or visit our websites https://www.homecareassistancefortworth.com/ and https://itsmyturntocare.com/.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “It’s My Turn To Care.” We know the challenges you face caring for someone with dementia. That's why each week we bring you tips, strategies, and most of all, support, as you navigate your role as caregiver. Let's get started. [00:15.6]

Dave: Hello. This is Dave Parks and I'm the host of It’s My Turn To Care: Secrets for the Dementia Caregiver. I'm also a certified senior advisor and owner of Home Care Assistance.

Today we have a special guest. Of course, all my guests are special. On the podcast today, her name is Lesley Hauck. She's a Colorado native. I think she's our first Colorado native on the program. She recently relocated to Texas and she's also spent the last 30 years moving around the United States as a spouse of a career military officer. [00:58.0]

She's held many positions as a senior spouse advisor on nonprofit boards that supported children, veterans, and our wounded soldiers. She understands both the financial struggles and needs of our seniors and veterans, fellow nurses and students.
Lesley is a 10-year-plus cardiovascular critical care nurse. She's also been a nursing supervisor and preceptor. I actually know what preceptor means because my daughter just went through nursing school. She's earned her master of science and nursing degree and an emphasis on clinical systems leadership from the University of Arizona, and she's co-owner of a company called United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network.
Lesley, welcome to the program.

Lesley: Dave, thank you for having me. I want to say how honored I am to be in this room with you, and the work that you do for our dementia patients and their caregivers takes a very special person to take on that field. Like I said, I feel honored being here with you. [02:08.9]

Dave: Great. Thanks for coming. And we have a lot of great caregivers. They do all the real work. I just do the podcast.

Lesley: Yeah.

Dave: All right. Tell us a little bit about United Medical Equipment and how it got started, and kind of what the basis or the foundation of your organization is.

Lesley: Okay. United medical equipment was started a year and a half ago. I am a veteran nurse and wanted to do something else besides bedside care, and so I was given the name of a business developer and he and I got to talking. His name is Jason Pratt and we agreed on our ideas and our philosophies, and decided to come together to create United Medical.
The basis of our company is basically, in two words, patient safety. There are many concerns that we both agree upon, especially with the treatment and the placement of our seniors and our veterans. [03:06.4]

Dave: You probably provide a lot of the equipment necessary for people to stay in their homes, which is we've done some studies that show that 90 percent of people want to stay in their own home as they age. Now, it's not for everyone and there are a lot of great communities in our area.
Tell us a little bit about [yourself]. You married into the military, so to speak. Tell us about that experience.

Lesley: Being a military spouse and a nurse, I’ve had many opportunities to work with our veterans, discuss side by side with them their needs, their concerns, and also working with my patients who are seniors and veterans, having the discussion with them sitting at the bedside as to whether or not they can afford rent or groceries versus a new medication that they need to be on. [04:00.8]

Many of their other concerns were “I have to go into an assisted living facility” or “I have to go into a nursing home. Do you have any recommendations? How can you help us decide, as a family, what we need to do?”

Dave: I see.

Lesley: With United Medical, with our concept of patient safety, we help with the referral process for family members who are, all of a sudden, needing to find a place for their loved ones to go.

We vet our assisted living facilities, whether it's memory care, rehab, assisted, skilled, hospice, palliative care, things like that. We make it easier for them to find the right location. With so many baby boomers, over 10,000 baby boomers a day turning over 65, and so Medicare has really put the hammer down on placement because what they're wanting to do is cut back on readmissions. Many seniors are readmitted to the hospital in less than 30 days, either from injury, from they're not being placed in a safe place, they're not following up on their medications and doctor's appointments. [05:10.8]

What we try to do is take that burden off the caregivers or the seniors a little bit by making sure that they are in the right location where they need to be. You don't want a patient with dementia being placed in an independent living facility or just your standard rehab, just for those safety reasons as well.

Dave: Okay. In your business model, are you providing equipment for people that they can put it in their rooms at a community like an AL or an IL, that kind of thing, and I guess also in their home, of course, that kind of thing?

Lesley: Yes. We've partnered with larger durable medical equipment companies and medical supply companies, so we can offer the assistance in finding the exact equipment that they need, whether it's the bedside commode walker. [06:00.0]

We also offer lifeline and fall alert systems as well, because especially right now that's a bigger concern because with the isolation and the quarantine. Nobody's wanting to go around Grandma and Grandpa. Nobody's really checking on them doing an eyes-on check on them. With the lifeline that we offer them, it's the fall alert, the medical alert system, and it just makes it easier to keep tabs on how they're doing.

Dave: Sure, and a lot of times they're not allowed to put eyes on Grandma and Grandpa.

Lesley: That's right. That's right.

Dave: But that's getting better I understand.

Lesley: Yes.

Dave: Hopefully, that'll continue to go in that way. Tell me how you've kind of taken what you've used to start this company and how are you going to share that with other healthcare providers and that kind of thing.

Lesley: All right. What we've done is we've also developed a medication-management app, and with this app, it's currently got 12 functionalities on it, 12 different things that it does. [07:02.8]

The app is designed pretty much for anybody taking care of anybody, whether it's a nurse at bedside, whether it's Mom with her children, husbands, spouses, friends, and the functionalities on the app allow for easy, safe medication conversions, whether it's from English to metric, whether it's height, weight, volume, or even temperature, because as a bedside nurse, I even had a little cheat sheet on the back of my bedroom temperatures.
It also allows a mom or whomever to identify a pill that is found whether under the bed or who knows that doesn't come with a bottle, and right now, too, in this day with the opioid crisis and the concerns of children, and that kind of thing that you want to know as a parent what this pill is.

Another addition to that is also just a medication dictionary, knowing what you're taking or knowing the medications that you're giving your loved one, knowing the side effects, the indications. [08:02.3]

Dave: One of the things we started doing is partnering with a nurse that will kind of look at the… She'd been on the show, Deidre Kindred.

Lesley: I know Deidre.

Dave: Do you know, Deidre? Okay. She'll come in with our clients and she'll kind of look at the medications and give the family some things to ask the doctor about, whether it be about their care or be about their medications, or even say this medication in a lot of cases doesn't interact well with this one, so you may want to bring that up to your doctor and see what they say.

But, anyway, it sounds like would it be or is technology smart enough to know, and I guess it depends on the person, whether medications interact well with each other.

Lesley: Right. That's why looking up the contraindications, whether or not the medication is going to react with another medication, either increasing or decreasing the effectiveness of the medication, or whether or not the medication has a contraindication with food-– [09:06.0]

Dave: Ah, sure, yeah.

Lesley: - because, for instance, a lot of Coumadin patients can't eat vitamin K, your dark green leafy vegetables, because what that does is the vitamin K basically makes the Coumadin worthless.

Dave: Interesting.

Lesley: Yeah, so there's a lot of things like that.

Dave: There's probably hundreds, thousands of those kinds of things that people don't [think about.]

Lesley: Yeah, don’t think about.

Dave: Probably the pharmacist told them in that 30-second thing they do when you get the medication and no one listens. They just want to get it and go home.

Lesley: Or they hand them that leaflet that the print is too small and it has all the formularies. I used to go, I don't know what this says. Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. I'm curious about the app. Does the app interact with a pill box of some sort? How does that come into play? Because a lot of seniors have pill boxes where they'll have morning, afternoon, night.

Lesley: Right. Currently, right now, the app is compatible for iOS and Android, and we are in the process of developing a medication-management dispenser. [10:00.6]

Dave: Got it, okay.

Lesley: That's probably a couple months down the road. We're keeping our fingers crossed, but right now it just works with itself.

We’re are also applying a companion app to that and that companion app is going to offer a HIPAA-compliant video platform, and that's very important in this day and age, because with HIPAA, you've got to maintain your patient privacy, and just to talk on any video platform, you can't do that. You can't use patient identifiers, such as name, social, disease, date of birth. So, right now, our management app is companioned with this video capability, but, currently, like I said, we are working on developing a medication dispenser itself to correlate with the app.

Dave: Okay, so if I'm taking care of my mother or father, let's say, and they may have dementia, they may not, but how can this app help them, the actual caregiver? [11:00.3]

Lesley: One of the functionalities that we're going to be adding to the app once we launch is a medication log. It will allow you to keep a record of what medications your loved one is taking, and part of this safety, being a bedside nurse—sidebar: I would have patients come in and they would hand me a Ziploc bag full of pills, “I take this blue one in the morning, yellow…”—it makes it difficult to know exactly what they're taking, but having this log in there will make it easier to read off what medications they're taking and going from doctor to doctor, not making sure they're being double-dosed on this or not getting the right one, so just being able to keep a log of your medications as well.

Dave: Sure. I guess it's real simple. You just press it and then, boom, that means you took it kind of thing? It's not hard to log it in, I wouldn't think.

Lesley: No. Like I said, we've got these 12 functionalities, and once we launch, we're going to be adding the medication log. [12:03.4]

Dave: Okay. Talk a little bit more about some of the other [equipment]. What are some of the most popular safety equipment that y'all tend to sell for someone that’s staying at home? I'll make up a scenario. Maybe they have some mobility challenges and maybe they have a caregiver come 20, 30 hours a week. They're concerned about falling. What are some of the top things that y'all sell that can help somebody in that position?

Lesley: Some of the top items that are purchased out there by seniors are the walkers and they love the tennis balls, the glide balls that go with them. Another thing are the reach grippers because a lot of seniors, and I classify myself as one right now, trying--

Dave: Yeah. No, I know what you're saying for my own self.

Lesley: Yeah. You've got that jar or whatever that top shelf, you just can't reach it and you're tempted to put a knee on the counter, pull a chair over, things like that, and that increases fall risk immensely. [13:05.3]

Dave: Sure. Yeah.

Lesley: So, easy activities of daily living devices that help.

Dave: Sure. My wife gets nervous when she goes, Hey, we need to…can you get that for me? And I'm looking around and I see some wobbly chair. I say, Oh, yeah, I’ll just grab this.

Lesley: Yeah, I usually pull a drawer out.

Dave: She goes, No, no, no, I think you need a ladder or something a little bit more stable. Talk a little bit about United Medical Equipment’s education role, academia role.

Lesley: Okay. This is going to be taking this back to the app, with the video capability of the platform, which is HIPAA-compliant, especially at this time with the COVID, the quarantine and the isolation, things like that, instructors in nursing schools, medical schools, things like that who need to watch their students do an assessment, they just can't do it right now because of the traveling. [13:58.1]

Right now, a lot of schools are having their students miss out on being able to do hands on a patient. They're doing a lot of the simulated assessments and it makes it difficult, for one for the students, because they're not getting what they need to out of their education, out of their clinicals, but with this app, we're going to be directing it to the educational process where an instructor, nurse-practitioning instructor in Tucson, Arizona, can actually watch their student in Fort worth, Texas, do a complete assessment live with this video platform.

Dave: Yeah, there's nothing like a real life experience. I was telling my daughter new in our agency, I mean, she's been a nurse, but she hasn't had that much… She's getting it as she's working with my wife, but just sitting down with a family, the whole family dynamics of sons and daughters, and all the people that have a care for their loved one, so a lot of it is family dynamics and just having that experience. It's one thing to ask the questions and get the answers. It's the other to kind of understand, read between the lines kind of thing. [15:12.7]

Lesley: Yeah. I mean, with this day and age, with technology, we're losing the human touch.

Dave: Oh, yeah.

Lesley: And that makes it hard. I used to also instruct nursing students and new nurses coming onto the unit, and I would tell them, Don't look at the monitors. Look at your patient. Look at their eyes. Look at their skin color. Look if they're paying attention. Know your patient. And that's getting lost, especially now with COVID and it makes it hard, and we need a lot of good new nurses and doctors that know how to communicate on a human level.

Dave: Yeah, there's a big amen to that one.

Lesley: And with dementia patients, it makes it even harder because they can't focus on a phone or on a laptop and become more aggravated when you're trying to do a video platform with them, and so trying to make things easier on the caregiver as well is a goal. [16:16.8]

Dave: I can imagine how frustrating it is because even, I mean, I'm no techno expert or anything, but things just don't… I mean, even your basic cell phone, you have to speak and then you have to wait till the other person's completely done before you can speak, because if you don't, you're going to cut them off, and that just seems like some real basic things that could be better. So, I can imagine what it's like for a senior or someone with dementia to have to maneuver through that.
Tell me a little bit more about what else y'all do at United Medical. Y’all have PPE.

Lesley: Yes, we do. We have my business partner. When the COVID thing started, Jason was looking at the TV going, How else can we help? Because, like I said, the basis of our company is patient safety, whether it be the right placement or medication management. [17:10.4]

But now we've got the patient safety with contact, contact isolation, and needing the mask, needing the gloves, the gowns, the hand sanitizer. So, we have just recently partnered up with a USA-made-only from masks and gloves, and that will be available within the next 60 to 90 days.

Dave: Okay, very good.

Lesley: We're very, very excited about that, because with COVID coming over from China, not a lot of people want things from China, whether it be gloves or something else.

Dave: Great. I have several referral partners that listen to the program, so maybe they'll find you when they next order PPE and PPE comes up.

Lesley: Yeah.

Dave: Okay. Believe it or not, we're out of time and I want to give you a chance to let folks know how to get in touch with you if they have some questions. [18:04.9]

Lesley: Okay, so we are United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network. We actually have two websites. Our main company website is www.UnitedMedSolutions.com. We also have a separate website for our medication management app. And that is www.MedicationManagement.app.

Dave: Great. Lesley, thanks so much for being on the program.

Lesley: Thank you.

Dave: And this is Dave Parks with It's My Turn To Care and I'm also the owner of Home Care Assistance, and we always encourage you to visit our website, HomeCareAssistanceFortWorth.com. We look forward to another great show next week. Y'all have a great week. [18:52.1]

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