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Together Patient Advocates Blog

Heart Failure Basics

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 5, 2018 12:02:10 PM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA

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If you've just been diagnosed with heart failure, or need a review of the basics, here are a few things to be aware of.
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Avoiding Medicare Fraud

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 11, 2018 10:48:21 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in Medicare

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I received a friendly call the other day from" Medicare" offering me a FREE back brace. Never mind that I don't need a back brace; it's FREE through Medicare! I politely told the caller that this was Medicare fraud and requested that my number be removed from the list. For some reason, he hung up on me! 

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What is hospice?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 2, 2018 10:07:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in Hospice

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What is Palliative Care?

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 3, 2018 2:48:29 PM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in elderly illness, Hospice, Palliative Care

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When they hear "palliative care," most people think "hospice"--but this isn't quite correct. While hospice does include palliative care, palliative care is not limited to patients qualified for hospice. Palliative care focuses on relief from the symptoms of illness and addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Many hospital systems now employ palliative care specialists and some outpatient centers do as well. Some hospice organizations are offering palliative care services in the home to patients not qualified for hospice.

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National Hospice Palliative Care Month

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 5, 2017 12:53:39 PM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in Hospice, Palliative Care

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Advocating for yourself at the ER

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 29, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in ER

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I recently assisted a client at the ER and was thinking about how important it is to have everything you need when you arrive to ensure safe care. Today, I'd like to focus on how you can best advocate for yourself at the ER as well as how to be most comfortable while there.

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Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 16, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in UTI, Urinary tract infection in elderly, elderly illness, confusion

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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are an infection anywhere in the urinary tract system, though we commonly think of them as bladder infections. For most younger adults, they are a simple infection that causes pain in the low pelvis, burning with urination and frequency. However, as we age, typical symptoms are different and the infections can be more serious. UTIs are a common source of infection in the elderly, ranked #2 after upper respiratory infections. If untreated, they can lead to infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis), sepsis (overwhelming infection in the blood stream), and even death.

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Is No News Good News?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 2, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in self-advocacy

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I can't count the number of times I've heard a patient say: "I didn't receive my lab results, and 'no news' is 'good news' so they must have been normal." Wrong. There are so many steps between ordering the labs and getting the results to you that results can go missing and important health information can be lost.

I became aware of this initially at my first job out of residency: I was covering for a colleague while he was out of town. I reviewed his patient's chart before seeing him and noticed that a skin cancer had been removed 6 months before. I walked in to see the patient for an unrelated problem, and, when examining him, I asked to see where his skin cancer was. He said, "I have skin cancer?" He had no idea since my colleague, for whatever reason, hadn't notified him. Because of this, I started a new process of notifying all of my patients of their results by mail. It was time intensive to print out all of these letters (usually every weekend), but I wanted to ensure that patients always received their lab results. I instructed them when ordering their labs (or procedure) that no news was NOT good news, and that they should call me for results if they hadn't heard anything in two weeks.  

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Researching Quality Medical Information on the Web

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 2, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in Online medical research, New Diagnosis

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Questionable medical information abounds on the internet--numerous sites touting weight loss "miracles" and cures from cancer to diabetes. How do you know what sites are trustworthy when you're researching a medical condition on the web? Here are some basic guidelines to follow when researching:

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What Do You Need to Know About Your Prescriptions?

[fa icon="calendar'] May 2, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Kim Mcilnay, BCPA posted in self-advocacy, prescriptions

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