Friday, September 4, 2015

 Care That Treats the Whole Person, 

Rather than an Ailment

NeuroVitalityCenter Programs to Expand by Yearend

Neuro Vitality – Brain Fitness – Neurological Health –

Many of the disorders involving the brain are idiopathic meaning that we do not know their exact cause but, on the other hand, we do know that many will respond positively to therapies - drug therapies, physical therapies and behavioral/emotional therapies.  Chronic problems come with their own set of issues and encompass one’s whole life affecting not only physical but the emotional and behavioral parts of one’s life. Learning more can help both the sufferer and the loved one who is helping to understand the challenges that are being faced, the methodologies that can help in day to day living and regain some control over their lives. 

At NVC we have seen that treatment of the whole person is key to hope and encouragement in dealing with disability and disorders. Different people respond better to different types of programs and activities. Therapies should be based on the individual as opposed to so many treatments that are based only on the disease or disorder.  And more, in many cases it is excellent to have a loved one participate along side. A good example of this is speech therapies for those who are having volume problems due to Parkinson’s. Understanding and working together, the patient and the loved one can make both of their lives better.

As we move toward our expansion, we will offer a full spectrum of programs and classes to assist those who seek help to better their lives. We will combine the physical and the behavioral programs with education and support to help each of you maintain the maximal wellness you can. In the next months we will be issuing our programs announcements – keep checking back with the web site to find the perfect membership fit for you.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Big Picture Progress: Solid and Gradual

Summer Fare:  Benefit extensions for stroke, Telemedicine rehabilitation, and NVC widens the tent 

Reporting in from the western regional task force meeting of the American Stroke Association there are a couple of lights at the end of the tunnel that are worth keeping our eyes on. As we well know after 36 years of providing long term rehabilitation, you can and will show improvement if you keep working at it no matter how long it has been since your last stroke. Practice, repetition and the will to keep trying along with the support that helps you to greet every new day as an opportunity makes all the difference. The group brought a revised time line from the investigating stroke physicians not stating that improvement can be documented for the first five months following a stroke. This extends the time from the earlier three months time frame. While we still do not agree with this, it may pave the way for some extension of benefits which will help all survivors and their families get more and better treatment.

The second item of interest was the report of the trials for telemedicine rehabilitation that are taking place at University of California Irvine. This is a computer based system that can be placed in the home and the patient can use it to encourage use of the limbs. This program could impact numbers of those unable to travel or without access to programs like what exist here in Palm Springs. We will be watching this very carefully to see if it is something that we can build on to help those who fall outside the easily driveable radius to partake in person at our facility.

Keep your eye on the web site for the new programs for Multiple Sclerosis and for Parkinson’s. We have a support group meeting here for Parkinson's and for caregiver’s of people with Parkinson's every Tuesday. We hope to continue that into the fall and will be introducing a menu of programs and services to help those who need extra rehabilitation.

Enjoy the summer – keep cool and remember to hydrate. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Summer Heating Up at NVC!

June is the start of the summer season here in the desert – we replant our flowers, we overseed our lawns, we put away our long pants, and crank up the air conditioning. Summer is also a time that we do our planning of our programs and our events for the coming season and this year we have so many new things to do, our summer is going to be very busy.

Starting June 1st we will be hosting group programs for Parkinson’s Disease sufferers and their families every Tuesday at 3:00PM. There will be educational sessions along with counseling and caregiver support programs throughout the summer. We feel this is an important component to care and are pleased to be able to offer this for the summer months.

Additionally, we hope to be able to offer a special speaker and luncheon during the summer months for those who are seeking help for Multiple Sclerosis. We will be working with the National MS Society on this program and promote this to MS sufferers and their families.
The Neuro Vitality Center is an active and busy place in the summer months and this year, as we welcome those who suffer from associated neurological disorders, we open our doors to each of you who may benefit from our services.

Watch the web site for new programs, for new events, for changes that will only make the Center a better place to be………..remember what Margaret Mead said:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Truth About Stroke

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Most of you who are reading this blog don’t need a month to be aware of strokes – you likely are living with it every month of the year.

However, here are some stroke facts that you may not know or have forgotten and some of myths that should be forgotten:


MYTH: Stroke cannot be prevented.
FACT: Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
MYTH: There is no treatment for stroke.
FACT: At any sign of stroke call 9-1-1- immediately. Treatment may be available.
MYTH: Stroke only affects the elderly.
FACT: Stroke can happen to anyone at any time.
MYTH: Stroke happens in the heart.
FACT: Stroke is a "brain attack".
MYTH: Stroke recovery only happens for the first few months after a stroke.
FACT: Stroke recovery is a lifelong process.
MYTH: Strokes are rare.
FACT: There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.
MYTH: Strokes are not hereditary.
FACT: Family history of stroke increases your chance for stroke.
MYTH: If stroke symptoms go away, you don’t have to see a doctor.
FACT: Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They are warning signs prior to actual stroke and need to be taken seriously.

Treatment and rehabilitation for stroke are getting better each year but always remember speed is critical. At the first symptoms of a stroke or recurring stroke CALL 9-1-1 immediately and get to an emergency room. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Penny of Prevention.....

As we move forward at the Neuro Vitality Center with expansion of health services to enwrap other neurological disorders into the chronic care model that we have found to be effective for Stroke and TBI survivors, we continue to see the same long term rehabilitation issues confronting those who suffer similar problems (Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease) that we have seen for so many years with our Stroke and TBI patients. At the heart of the problem is a healthcare system that focuses on episodic care to the detriment of long term or longitudinal care for chronic conditions – care that takes place over the entire life of the disease or the disorder as opposed to treating each disease as an episode of care.

In a recent Wonkblog article, “The two most important numbers in American healthcare” by Ezra Klein, The Washington Post quantified the financial burden the problem puts on the nation as a whole. From the starting point that 5% of people account for 50% of healthcare spending, he extrapolates that, since healthcare accounts for 20% of our economy, 15 million Americans are consuming 1/10th of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – almost $1.5 trillion. The conclusion, he states is simple – we have to help that 5%. However, not only is that 5% a difficult population to serve, the assumption made in the United States is that we need more costly or better medical care to best serve episodic and chronic conditions   instead of social services that are more prevalent in other developed countries.

A study by Yale School of Public Health, professor Elizabeth H. Bradley, PhD, looked at health outcomes internationally ( OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development –countries) only to show the United States is far behind in social service spending while total health expenditures exceed most of the 18 other OECD countries. This spending pattern does not translate to better outcomes in the United States.

We see the benefit of social service therapeutic programs every day at our community-based Neuro Vitality Center, not only in positive outcomes but in the saving of dollars spent on expensive clinical services in expensive clinical settings, and yet we struggle to find the dollars to keep the Center going. Please take these thoughts to the ballot box – together we can make change happen. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

HealthCare: Right or Privilege?

There is much discussion these days about Healthcare as a right as opposed to a privilege for those able to afford the increasingly expensive treatments and diagnostics. The debate focuses on the difference between rights and privilege but seldom goes to the deeper question of what does Healthcare actually mean.  Does it just mean you have a right to see a doctor if you think you need medical attention -75% or more of physician visits have no pathologies – or does it mean you don’t have to pay for being in a hospital (or at least not enough to break the bank), or does it mean you have a safety net to avoid catastrophic debt when catastrophic illness find you, or does it mean none of that?

The preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization states “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Building upon that definition, at the Neuro Vitality Center we define Healthcare as the support necessary to allow you to lead a full and vital life no matter the illness, affliction or station in life you occupy.  We want to ensure that even though you or a family member suffers from a disability or a long term disorder, that there is a place where you can go to be with others who can help you to regain confidence and help you to regain the pleasure your life can bring.  We believe it is your right to be as well as you can possibly be and we will continue to fight for that.

This center will continue its commitment to providing services for long term care to those who suffer from chronic neurological problems. Statistics indicate 75% of seniors suffer from one or more chronic diseases. As the population ages, this creates a tsunami of need for help that is currently unfunded and unavailable.  While fighting for change and for help for this at risk population, we will continue to provide a model of care that is proven effective and will welcome people for all walks of life. Healthcare does not end as the Doctor’s door closes nor does it end upon a hospital discharge. Healthcare must encompass a total life time of care and continued attention. Join us with your support and your advocacy.