caregivers

Humana associate Dana Drzayich Antol, MS, a research consultant with Comprehensive Health Insights, recently won first place in the Psychosocial Support category for her team’s poster presentation at the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in Las Vegas.

The team’s presentation — which was a combined effort between employees of Humana and Genentech Inc. — showed social support to be a moderator in the relationship between comorbidity medication adherence and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients with metastatic cancer. Co-authors of this presentation included: Adrianne W. Casebeer, PhD, MPP, MS; Sari Hopson, PhD, MSPH; Raya Khoury, MPH; Aparna Parikh, MD; Alisha Stein, RN-NC, MSN, OCN; Todd Michael, PharmD, RPH; Stephen Stemkowski, PhD, MHA; and Mikele Bunce, PhD, MPH.

The study assessed HRQOL by having participants complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Days survey. On its own, low comorbidity medication adherence adversely impacted the patients’ number of healthy days. The association between comorbidity medication adherence and the reduction in the number of healthy days was further amplified in the presence of patient-perceived fair or poor social support. These findings have important implications for improving or preserving the quality of life for patients with cancer.

The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 5,000 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process.

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Sometimes you need a little help when it comes to taking charge of your own health, making healthy choices and simply getting things done.

Humana offers a service called Humana At Home that is provided by Care Managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, home health aides, and other professionals to help people live safely at home, even when faced with medical, functional and behavioral health challenges.

The Humana At Home service includes in-home visits, telephonic advice, clinical care and in-home technologies that offer remote monitoring and other solutions. There’s even an Online Points of Care portal that helps members learn about and manage their health conditions, share updates with family caregivers and professionals, and access a national directory of vetted community resources for elder care and caregiving. Humana At Home professionals specialize in caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions and functional, behavioral and/or cognitive limitations.

People who receive Humana At Home services live longer and go to the hospital less.

Eighty-nine percent of Americans over 65 want to live out their lives in their own homes. But a majority of members cite health problems as the No. 1 threat to their independence.

Many people are vulnerable not just because they are sick, but because they struggle with their daily activities. They might have trouble reaching for things in the pantry or bending to pick up a newspaper. The might have trouble preparing a meal, shopping or doing housework. Many suffer from short-term memory loss and have difficulty managing money or their medications. They might have trouble standing, walking or bathing.

These are real risks that make people more vulnerable to falls, accidents and hospitalizations. These seniors are more prone to malnutrition, infection and abuse. There’s a high degree of stress and anxiety about how to navigate the healthcare system.

In a fragmented health system, Humana care professionals offer a unique, holistic approach to wellness. Humana nurses and care managers can offer:

Medication management
Nutritional counseling
Home safety and falls prevention
Mental health support
Care coordination

A Care Manger might, for example, identify a community resource to help someone pay unpaid utility bills that otherwise could lead to a nonfunctioning refrigerator, spoiling insulin and limiting the person’s access to fresh food.

Field care managers visit Humana’s most vulnerable members to understand and address any factors that impact their ability to remain independent at home and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.

Our services are tailored to meet individual needs and circumstances:

Short-term after a hospital stay (Transitions)
Ongoing care (Telephonic and/or face-to-face)
Technology-enabled (Remote monitoring)
Preventive (Stay Healthy)
Community outreach (finding people who do not have phones)
Skilled care (Home health and nurse practitioner home visits)
Non-Humana members (Private pay)

It’s all designed to help us provide the right intervention, at the right time, in the right way, in the right place.

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Caregivers are trusted allies, so it’s no surprise that many people reach out to them for advice and guidance when it’s time to choose a Medicare plan.

There’s a large and growing number of people who are serving as caregivers to their parents, relatives and friends, many of whom don’t have the resources to conduct their own research. According to the National Caregiver Alliance, “approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the prior 12 months.”

Caregivers are also clearly stretched for time, since many of them are working full-time jobs in addition to caring for a loved one.

So, if you’re a caregiver, help is on the way. Here are five simple tips to help evaluate Medicare plan options and aid in the enrollment process for 2017:

1. Allow yourself plenty of time

The Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage began last month and runs through December 7. As the caregiver, make sure you and your loved one start early so you can make the right decision. Great sites, such as www.Medicare.gov and www.humana.com/Medicare, are excellent online resources for finding the right plans for the loved one you care for.

2. Confirm the prescriptions your loved one needs

Managing prescriptions drugs is not easy. When researching Medicare options, be sure to conduct an inventory of the prescriptions your loved one is taking. Write down the names, the dosages, when and how they are taken, and, where they’re being filled. Make copies of this list so loved ones and friends are in the loop, too.

3. Discuss preferences for doctor visits

If the person you’re helping to enroll in a Medicare plan is comfortable with a primary care physician coordinating their care within a network of Medicare-approved doctors, a Medicare Advantage HMO plan may be a good fit. HMO plans often have a low or even zero monthly plan premium, although the person you’re caring for will typically need to continue to pay his or her Part B premium. If the person you are caring for wants more flexibility in choosing a doctor, a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan may be a good plan option. There are also Medicare Supplement insurance plans, which allow more options for selecting a doctor. These plans don’t provide prescription coverage but a standalone prescription drug plan can be purchased as well.

4. Balance the budget with health care needs

Many people with Medicare are living on fixed incomes. This makes it critical to review any current Medicare health plan and take a close look at how much has been spent on health care during the past year. Be sure to include hospital expenses, pharmacy costs and doctor bills. This will help to determine—to the best of your ability—the health care expenses expected in 2017 and whether his or her current Medicare health plan still fits within the budget and household finances.

5. Communicate clearly with the care team

Involve everyone who needs to take part in making these decisions – children, siblings, friends, and other caregivers. By working together as a team–like you do in caregiving—you’ll be able to gather the best information. Others may have done this before, so share knowledge as you go.

Make sure you look at all plan options, including Medicare Advantage plans, the private alternative to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans often offer zero or low monthly plan premiums (although, Part B premiums typically must continue to be paid), set cost-share, and lower or no deductibles compared to Original Medicare. These plans also offer maximum out of pocket cost protection.

Caregiving is a difficult task, but choosing a Medicare plan doesn’t have to add to the stress if you follow these simple tips.

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Humana has been named one of the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads by Fatherly, an online resource that aims to be “the most robust source of practical parenting advice on the Internet.”

The publication cited Humana’s four weeks of paid paternity leave, our Health Savings Account, our PTO policy and “some of the most competitive salaries in the industry made even better with recognition pay for good performance.”

The article also mentioned our tuition-reimbursement and 401k policies, which helped make Humana “the top-ranked insurance company on this year’s list.”

Read more about Humana here.

See the full list here.

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Insider Louisville profiled Crystal Rodgers, whose health has improved dramatically with Humana services, such as weekly visits by Humana at Home nurse Brenda Ludwig.

Health problems – including obesity, emphysema, congestive heart failure and depression – had left Rodgers out of breath and unable to walk very far. But now, three years later, she’s lost more than 100 pounds and is better off physically, emotionally and financially.

“She helps me with everything,” Rodgers said of Ludwig. “She’s like a little angel that flies in the house every week.”

Read the profile here.

Humana customer Crystal Rodgers, right, chats with Brenda Ludwig, a field care manager who visits Rodgers once a week to help keep her healthy. | Photo by Boris Ladwig.; courtesy of Insider Louisville
Humana customer Crystal Rodgers, right, chats with Brenda Ludwig, a field care manager who visits Rodgers once a week to help keep her healthy. | Photo by Boris Ladwig; courtesy of Insider Louisville.
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