Hope for the Holidays

Holidays are intended to be a time of family togetherness, thankfulness and great joy. However, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness and loneliness. That’s why Oxford HealthCare is offering a free workshop called “Hope for the Holidays” to help bring comfort and support for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or close friend. In this relaxing workshop, you will gain useful and practical suggestions that can help prepare you for the upcoming holiday season.

Hope for the Holidays” will be held on November 10th from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. at the Library Center at 4653 South Campbell Avenue. If you are interested, or know someone who might want to come, please contact Renee Jenkins at (417) 883-7500 ext. 3235 to reserve a spot.

Oxford HealthCare’s 40th Anniversary

Oxford HealthCare: 40 Years of Bringing Health Care HomeSpringfield, MO—It’s an event 40 years in the making! 2014 marks Oxford HealthCare’s 40th anniversary of bringing health care home to families across southwest Missouri. To commemorate this anniversary, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce will hold a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 6th at 11 a.m. at our office at 1550 East Sunshine. After the ribbon-cutting, we will continue the celebration with an open house until 2 p.m.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Springfield Councilman Jerry Compton will present Oxford with a proclamation. A proclamation prepared by Sen. Jay Wasson will also be read, along with a Letter of Record prepared by Congressman Billy Long. Oxford has a long and successful history of working with local and state leaders in providing quality services to help people live independently and safely at home.

“Celebrating 40 years of keeping families together is both an exciting and humbling accomplishment,” said Karen Thomas, president of Oxford HealthCare. “Since 1974, it’s been our privilege to serve our clients in their home, and we look forward to continuing that tradition of excellence for years to come.”

Oxford HealthCare, an affiliate of CoxHealth, has been bringing health care home since 1974. With offices in Springfield, Joplin, West Plains and Columbia, we strive to set the standard of excellence for home care with innovative services, cutting-edge technology and compassionate care.

Colorectal Cancer: Are You At Risk?

By Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America. The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 97,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40,000 with rectal cancer this year alone. The Institute also estimates that over 50,000 people will die from colon and rectal cancer this year as well.

To help you calculate your risk for Colorectal Cancer, the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health has developed a Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool for people over the age of 50.  All you have to do is answer 15 questions about your health history. It only takes between five and eight minutes to complete. It is important to discuss your results with your primary health care provider so you and your doctor can determine what screening tests you should take to detect signs of cancer before symptoms appear.

Everyone should be screened for Colorectal Cancer by the age of 50 unless you have risk factors that indicate screenings at a younger age. Screenings can detect Colorectal Cancer early when treatments are most effective. Waiting for symptoms to occur is NOT a screening option. Maybe you are squeamish about the screening tests or perhaps a little “grossed” out and that has kept you from getting screened. Click here to hear from real people who had various screening tests done and to learn more about Colorectal Cancer from the National Cancer Institute.


Oxford Caregivers Recognized at Statewide Conference

Springfield, MO—Two outstanding Oxford HealthCare employees were recognized for their hard work and dedication at the annual conference of the Missouri Council for In-Home Services on September 16, 2014 at Tan-Tar-A.

Janet Dean, an In-Home Aide in Springfield, was given the “Above and Beyond Caregiver” award, and Regina Bass, an In-Home LPN in Joplin, was recognized with the Professional Caregiver Award.

The Missouri Council for In-Home Services advocates for community and in-home services for individuals who need help to remain at home. Nominations for the annual awards are submitted from in-home providers throughout the state, and a committee selects the winners.

Kim Sisk, Executive Director of In-Home Services for Oxford HealthCare, said, “These two were recognized formally and are excellent representatives of all of our employees who show this type of dedication every day.  Those who provide in-home care are assisting with the most intimate of tasks [bathing, dressing, laundry, meal preparation, etc] and have such a heart for it.”

Oxford not only congratulates these two outstanding employees, but also is fortunate to have many other employees who go above and beyond what is expected, so our clients can remain safe and independent at home.

The Stages of Alzheimer’s

By: Carol Combs, MSW, Oxford’s Memory Care Program Coordinator

Don'sBackyard_Faded_pathAlzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease causing a slow decline in memory, language, reasoning, judgment, and daily functioning. It typically develops gradually and worsens over the course of several years. This progression is often referred to as stages, but not everyone will experience the same symptoms at the same rate. There are common patterns of symptom progression and a person’s abilities will change through the course of the disease.

Stages are typically referred to as early, middle and late or mild, moderate and severe. It is important to recognize these stages are a rough guide based on averages; each stage could be as brief as a year or as long as ten years. The stages can help patients and families understand what they might expect and plan accordingly.

Early stage symptoms

  • Increased forgetfulness, memory loss for recent events
  • Poor concentration
  • Repetitiveness: telling the same story over and over
  • Difficulty with word finding, expressing thoughts
  • Difficulty with decision making, problem solving or complex tasks
  • Misplacing objects or getting lost in familiar places
  • Mood or personality changes, less tolerance
  • Slower to react or learn something new
  • Needs support/supervision to continue living alone

In the early stage, most people can still live alone and carry out daily tasks, but may need assistance with finances, appointments, meal planning or cooking. This is a good time to organize and simplify daily routines and assess the home for safety. Depression and withdrawal from social activities is not uncommon in this stage and the person may try to hide the memory losses he/she is experiencing.

Middle stage symptoms

  • Increased memory loss, may not recognize family
  • Communication difficulties
  • Problems with reading, writing and numbers
  • Loss of impulse control, poor judgment
  • Difficulty with dressing, bathing, toileting
  • Aggression as a response to frustration
  • Inappropriate behaviors including resisting care, agitation, wandering
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Abnormal sleep/wake cycles
  • Needs full time supervision

In the middle stage, the patient may be more unpredictable and daily activities will be more challenging. Inability to perform tasks such as cooking and driving may lead to unsafe situations. At this stage, many will need full time supervision to remain in their home. Behaviors such as suspicion, wandering, resisting care, agitation and sleep disturbance may be displayed. Frustration is common because the person cannot make sense of the world around them. The behaviors are not intentional and are best dealt with by staying calm, using redirection or distraction, reminiscence and reassurance.

Late stage symptoms

  • Needs to be bathed, dressed, fed, turned
  • Loses ability to verbalize; may yell, groan or grunt
  • Loss of bodily functions, incontinent
  • Flat affect; where their faces show very little emotion
  • Unable to recognize others or themselves
  • Immobility
  • Appears apathetic, lethargic
  • Requires total care, may be appropriate for nursing home placement

With the increased cognitive losses, the patient will become calmer; less distressed by the changes happening to them and appear more apathetic.  Physical losses increase with incontinence, immobility, diminished speech and inability to perform any daily functions.  Physical wellbeing and comfort care become the primary concern. When the patient reaches this final stage additional in-home care including Hospice care may be needed to assist the caregiver.

In all stages, family and caregivers need to obtain available in-home care, seek support, utilize community resources and ensure that legal and financial affairs are in order.

If an individual has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but is displaying any of these symptoms, he or she should seek a medical assessment promptly. If you have questions or concerns our Memory Care Program Coordinator would be glad to assist you.  Additional information is also available through the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.