Author Archive

Your Flu IQ!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Christine Stone, RN, BSN

Just like clockwork, the influenza virus starts showing up every October. And it makes millions of people miserable until sometime in May.   Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle aches, headache and fatigue.   These are all annoying in and of themselves. But did you know that flu can be deadly?   Each year the flu and related symptoms send 200,000 plus people to the hospital. And if left untreated some people can die!   It’s estimated that 400,000+ deaths have been prevented thanks to the flu vaccine (between 2005 – 2014).

So What Can You Do?

It’s easy – get the flu shot!   It’s the single best way to protect yourself.   Even if you do get the flu (yes it is possible!) your symptoms will be much less severe and serious.

How Does The Flu Shot Work?

The vaccine triggers your system to produce flu-fighting antibodies.   This year (2016) there is high-dose vaccine which is 24 percent more effective. The high dose vaccine is recommended for those over age 65.

If you are one of the many people who fear needles, ask your doctor about an option for a “jet injector” which delivers the vaccine via a narrow stream of liquid.   Call your doctor’s office ahead of time to see if they provide this option.

“I Got The Flu AFTER Receiving the Flu Shot”

Is this possible? Unfortunately yes it’s possible, but NOT a good enough reason to NOT get a flu shot. Why?

  1. You may have already been exposed to the flu virus BEFORE receiving the flu shot.
  2. You may have become ill from other (non-flu) viruses or bacteria which cause cold-like symptoms or GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms.
  3. The protection from the flu shot can vary widely depending in your general health and age.

Who Should NOT Get the Flu Shot?

Any person with a severe egg allergy should not receive the flu shot.

What Else Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry your hands – frequently. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a good quality hand sanitizer.  Look for hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Keep a bottles of hand sanitizer in your car, in your purse, and around your house.
  2. Use the sanitizing wipes provided in supermarkets to cleanse the handle of the shopping cart.   Keep a package of sanitizing wipes at your desk or work station.   Wipe down your phone and keyboard first thing before beginning your work day.
  3. Stay away from sick people.   People with the flu are contagious for 5 – 7 days after getting sick. Sick people should NOT go out in public until they are fever-free for 24 hours.
  4. Stop touching your face!   Studies have shown that the average person touches their face (mouth and nose) 3 – 4 times per hour.   When you touching a contaminated surface (doors, handles, doorknobs) then touch your face, you’re hanging out a “welcome sign” for flu viruses and other bacteria.
  5. If you think a friend or co-worker is sick, express your concern and suggest they go home and take care of themselves.

Finally, always check with your primary health care provider to make sure you should receive the flu shot.

If you’re worried about the cost, more than likely it will be covered by your medical insurance.

Just about every hospital, pharmacy and supermarket will be providing FREE flu shots through the fall months. Check your local newspaper for listings of locations, dates and times of free immunizations.   And if by some chance you didn’t get your shot in the fall, January is not too late to protect yourself against the flu for the new year!

Animal Assisted Therapy

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Animal assisted therapy draws on the bond between animals and humans in order to help improve and maintain an individual’s function and is being used to assist in the process of enhancing the individual’s quality of life in nursing homes. Once the patients become settled into their new environment, they may lose their sense of self-efficacy and independence. Simple, everyday tasks are taken away from them and the patients may become lethargic, depressed, or anti-social if they do not have regular visitors.

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that incorporates animals in the treatment of a person; especially elderly people in nursing homes or long term care facilities. therapy dog 3The goal of using animals as a treatment option is to improve the person’s social, emotional, and cognitive functioning and reduce passivity. Supporters of AAT say that animals can be helpful in motivating the patients to be active mentally and physically, keeping their minds sharp and bodies healthy.

There are numerous techniques used in AAT, depending on the needs and condition of the patient. For elderly dementia patients, hands on interactions with the animal are the most important aspect. Animal assisted therapy provides these patients with opportunities to have close physical contact with the animals warm bodies, feeling heartbeats, caress soft skins and coats, notice breathing, and giving hugs. Animal assisted therapy counselors also plan activities for patients that need physical movement. These planned tasks include petting the animal, walking the animal, and grooming the animal. These experiences seem so common and simple, but elderly dementia patients do not typically have these interactions with people because their loved ones have passed or no one comes to visit them. Their mind needs to be stimulated in the ways it once was. Animals provide a sense of meaning and belonging to these patients and offer something to look forward to during their long days.

The AAT program encourages expressions of emotions and cognitive stimulation through discussions and reminiscing of memories while the patient bonds with the animal. Many of the troubling symptoms in elderly dementia patients include decreased physical functioning, apathy, depression, loneliness, and disturbing behaviors and are all positively therapy-dog4affected by AAT interventions. Animal assisted therapy is very useful in helping these negative behaviors decrease by focusing their attention on something positive (the animal) rather than their physical illness, motivating them to be physically active and encouraging communication skills for those with memory loss. Numerous researchers found that communication with animals have a positive effect on older adults by increasing their social behavior and verbal interaction, while also decreasing tense behavior and loneliness.

We believe in Animal Assisted Therapy here at LifeQuest. We have numerous furry friends that come to visit on a regular basis and we encourage families and friends to bring in their pets (documentation from a veterinarian is required). Seeing the smile on the patients face is rewarding to everyone involved.

A Special Moment at LifeQuest Nursing Center

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
blog - Lillian 2-15

Sam and Lillian

Lillian Yurgosky has kept a cherished family heirloom in her residence at LifeQuest Nursing Center.  The sculpture belonged to Lillian’s great grandmother and was passed down to her from her mother.  Recently, this bronze sculpture of a whistling boy fell off of her shelf and broke.  Lillian was heartbroken and called many local shops to try and have it repaired to no avail. Lillian then asked the Administrator, Sam Smith if he could possibly have it repaired for her.

Everyone in the facility knew how much this sculpture meant to Lillian, but Sam was at a loss on how to fix it.  He was told by several staff members that his Assistant, Elise Adler ‘s significant other, was a local sculptor/artist and may be able to help.  Ken Herzog, who is employed by Independent Casting in Philadelphia PA was more than happy to take on this special project for Sam and Lillian. The only payment that Mr. Herzog asked for was to see a picture of Lillian when she received the reconstructed sculpture.

Mr. Herzog very quickly completed this project and everyone was amazed at how wonderful the sculpture looked. Several staff members got together to give Lillian the sculpture to see her reaction. The sculpture was handed to her and as you can see by the pictures and the look on her face she was overwhelmed and surprised.  With tears

in her eyes, Lillian thanked everyone.  Everyone who witnessed this special eventphoto 2 photo 1was touched by her gratitude.

These are the moments that we will always remember, making a Resident smile in any way we can, is who we are at LifeQuest Nursing Center, this was truly a team effort.


LifeQuest Nursing Center Receives Award

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

LifeQuest Nursing Center Receives National Embracing Quality Award for Achievement in SURVEY PERFORMANCE

Diane Orzechowski, Administrator

LifeQuest Nursing Center was recently awarded the Providigm Embracing Quality Award for 2013 for exceptional achievement in Survey Performance. With only 295 facilities receiving awards in 2013, this puts LifeQuest in an elite group of skilled nursing facilities.

“The Providigm Embracing Quality Award program recognizes the highest performers in three categories,” states Barbara Baylis, Accreditation Program Director at Providigm. “Skilled nursing facilities are recognized for outstanding survey performance, preventing readmissions to hospitals, and for superior levels of customer satisfaction. The 2013 Providigm Embracing Quality Award winners are truly the cream of the crop nursing centers.”

Skilled nursing facilities were only eligible to win a 2013 Embracing Quality Award if they achieved standards for Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) as required by Providigm’s National Accreditation for QAPI. These standards ensure that facilities are assessing quality against the full federal regulation at an ongoing rate, encompassing a substantial proportion of their residents, and correcting identified issues.

“It is an honor to win the Embracing Quality Award for Survey Performance,” said Rebecca Burak, Director of Nursing. “This prestigious recognition is a tribute to the hard work of our employees and their dedication to providing excellent care to our residents.”

If you have any questions regarding this award or our Quality Assurance Program, please contact me directly at (267) 371-1601 or via email at [email protected].

About Providigm, LLC
Providigm creates quality improvement solutions for health care. Through Providigm’s web-based systems and comprehensive training, providers are able to improve the quality of care and life of their residents. Providigm’s patented abaqis® Quality Management System is the nation’s leading assessment and reporting system based on CMS’s Quality Indicator Survey. With its recent expansion in QAPI, Hospital Readmissions and Customer Satisfaction, abaqis goes far beyond survey readiness. Providigm’s accomplished Research Group provides the scientific foundation and cutting-edge methodology behind its quality systems. For more information, visit

Partner with Your Physician to Manage Your Medications

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Should seniors that are taking multiple medications actively manage those medications or depend on their health care provider(s) to keep track of the medications and possible interactions when adding new ones? A reader recently asked Dr. K. on that question and we’ve included the full post for your reference below.

Dear Doctor K: I’m in my 70s. Like many women my age, I’m on several medications. Should I be actively managing them? Or can I leave that to my doctor?

Dear Reader:
Many older adults are on a number of medications, prescribed to treat different health conditions. Yet each medication you take has the potential to interact — sometimes dangerously — with another. And if you see specialists for various health conditions, your medications may be prescribed by several different doctors.

If that’s the case, work with your primary care physician (PCP) to manage your medications. That means reviewing all of them with your PCP at every visit. Make sure to tell him or her about pills prescribed by specialists as well as over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Your doctor can make sure each drug is appropriate for you, and check that your medications don’t interact with one another.

At any medical visit, your doctor may suggest starting a new medication or changing the dose of one you already take. But time constraints may prevent your doctor from providing a detailed explanation of why, and what to expect. So you need to take the initiative.

My colleague Dr. Anne Fabiny is chief of geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance and editor in chief of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She recommends asking lots of questions.

First, make sure you understand why the doctor is suggesting the medication, and what it is going to do. Ask what adverse effects the drug might have, and which ones warrant a call to your doctor. Find out how long you’ll be on the medicine. And check back in with your doctor after a few weeks to let him or her know how you’re doing.

Here is a list of 10 questions to ask your doctor every time you get a new prescription:

  • Why are you prescribing this drug?
  • How is it supposed to treat my condition?
  • Has it been tested and found to be safe and effective for people my age?
  • What side effects might it have, and what should I do if I have any of them?
  • At what dose are you starting me, and why?
  • Will you eventually increase or lower the dose?
  • Is there a lower-cost generic alternative to this drug available?
  • Can you put me on a drug regimen that will be easier for me to take (for example, once a day instead of several times a day)?
  • For how long do you want me to take this medicine?
  • What should I do when the medicine runs out? Will I need to refill the prescription, and if so, how can I get the new prescription from you?

If you’re thinking of stopping one of your medications, perhaps because of unpleasant side effects, let your doctor know first. You and your doctor can explore other options, such as lowering the dose or switching to a different drug.

When I was early in my training in internal medicine, I got my first lesson in how difficult it could be to make sure a patient was taking the right medicines. A patient of mine was getting medicines prescribed by several specialists — thirteen medications in all. At every visit I went over what I thought was the total list of her medicines, and she said I had it exactly right.

She was crippled by arthritis, so one day I made a home visit. She offered me some tea, and as we sat down at the dining room table I noticed a beautiful glass vase — full of pills. Her daughter told me that each morning she put her hand in the vase, grabbed a bunch of pills and swallowed them. She knew that she should take each pill as it was prescribed, but she felt “it would all work out OK in the end” the way she was doing it.

After she had gone into heart failure three times in three months, I (and her daughter) finally convinced her to take the medicines as prescribed. Her health improved.

Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School.

Music Can Promote Healing and Ease Stress

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Not only can music be entertaining, but it can also promote healing and ease stress for people of all ages. A recent post (January 18, 2014) on, shows just how music can affect our health. Here’s what Dr. K. had to say about the benefits…

Dear Doctor K: I believe music helped my mother recover after her stroke. Is there a connection between music and health?

Dear Reader:
The ancient Greeks certainly thought so: They put one god, Apollo, in charge of both healing and music. Recent medical studies seem to confirm what the Greeks thought. Music seems to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce levels of stress hormones. It can also provide some relief to heart attack and stroke victims and patients undergoing surgery.

How does music exert these benefits? Some research suggests that music may promote the brain’s ability to make new connections between nerve cells.

Another idea is that it works its magic through its rhythms. Humans are rhythmic beings: Our heartbeat, breathing and brain waves are all rhythmic. The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes.

Not long ago I had a vivid example of that. I was late to attend a concert because of a noisy traffic jam with lots of honking. I parked the car and entered the theater. The concert had already started, and the music was louder by far than the sound of the traffic I had just left behind. But despite its volume, the sound of the music made me feel instantly at peace. I had left a world of disordered noise, and entered a world of ordered sound.

As you suspect may be true of your mother, there is some evidence that music can help with stroke recovery. One study enrolled 60 patients hospitalized for major strokes. All received standard stroke care. In addition, one-third of the patients listened to recorded music for at least one hour a day, another third listened to audiobooks, and the final group did not receive auditory stimulation.

After three months, verbal memory improved 60 percent in the music listeners, compared with 20-30 percent in the audiobook group and to the patients who did not receive auditory stimulation. In addition, the music listeners’ ability to perform and control certain mental operations improved by 17 percent. The patients in the other two groups did not improve at all.

Music therapy also is used to help patients with balance and coordination. A program designed to train older adults to walk and perform various movements in time to music helped improve their gait and balance when compared to their peers.

I introduced a friend with severe Parkinson’s disease to a friend who was a singing teacher. I thought singing might help him cope with his disease. When my friend with Parkinson’s disease would find himself “locked” and unable to walk or use his arms much, he would burst out singing a few notes of an aria — which unlocked his legs.

Finally, music can relieve stress. It can improve mood, even in people with depression. And it can lower heart rates, breathing rates and oxygen demands in patients who have recently suffered a heart attack.

Music not only “has charms to soothe the savage breast.” It also helps us to heal.

Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School.

What is a Living Will?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

A living will is a declaration of your preferences regarding end-of-life decisions should you be involved in a serious accident or illness. The living will tells your loved one(s) how you would like them to pursue medical treatment should you not be able to make those decisions on your own.

The medical terminology can be confusing, which was addressed in a post dated December 14, 2013, on Here’s the full text of that post for your reference.

Dear Dr. K.: I’m drawing up a living will, but I don’t understand many of the medical terms I’m encountering. Can you help?

Dear Reader:
Many people, certainly including me, have asked themselves how they would want to be cared for if they became very sick and unable to speak for themselves. The two most common ways of doing that are to designate one trusted person, such as your spouse, who knows your wishes to make decisions for you — a health care proxy. Another is for you to write a living will.

In a living will, you specify how you want to be cared for. Living wills can be the sole way you make your wishes clear to the doctors who someday may be in charge of your care. It also can be a guideline for someone who is your health care proxy.

A living will is used to determine how aggressive you would like your medical treatments to be as the end of life nears. I’ll explain several terms that you probably are seeing in a draft living will. As you read, think about whether you would, or would not, want certain procedures or care.

  • Artificial nutrition. When you are unable to swallow anything by mouth, nutrients and fluids can be supplied through a tube inserted through your nose into your stomach. Such a tube can’t be left in long-term (beyond a few weeks). For longer-term use, a tube can be inserted directly into your stomach. That requires a minor surgical procedure. Also for longer-term use, a tube called a catheter can be placed into one of your veins if your gut isn’t working properly.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced cardiac life support. If your heart or breathing stops, CPR can be used to try to resuscitate you. CPR is a combination of chest compressions, artificial respiration and defibrillation. In artificial respiration, air is squeezed through a mask placed over your mouth and nose to move air in and out of your lungs. Defibrillation delivers an electric shock to your body. This can restart your heart if it has stopped beating. The next step is advanced cardiac life support, including mechanical ventilation.
  • Mechanical ventilation. A ventilator or respirator pushes air into your lungs if you cannot breathe on your own. A tube attached to the machine is inserted into your nose, mouth or neck (through a small surgical procedure). However the tube enters your body, it is passed down into the trachea (windpipe). Mechanical ventilation can be used short-term as a bridge to recovery, or long-term.
  • Organ-sustaining treatment. This is a set of drugs, medical procedures and machines that can keep you alive for an indefinite period of time. Mechanical ventilation is one common example. Another is kidney dialysis, a machine that cleans toxins out of your blood when your kidneys cannot do the job. Such treatments cannot cure a terminal condition.

I’m like most people: I didn’t exactly look forward to drawing up a will or a living will. But I saw the burden that not having done so caused the families of my friends and patients. That convinced me to do it.

Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School.

Food First: Encouraging Residents to Eat More Calories and Avoid Nutritional Supplements

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Unintentional weight loss is common among seniors. As many as one in four aging adults may experience unintentional weight loss without any underlying cause. While losing weight is common, it can have some adverse effects on your health and sometimes lead to malnutrition and/or dehydration. That’s why together with your food service partner, Culinary Services Group, LLC, we created the Enriched for Life Program.

In order to help residents maintain a healthy weight, CSG developed a fortified foods program called Enriched for Life. Enriched for Life has changed the way senior living communities like LifeQuest approach nutrition intervention. Your Registered Dietitians and Certified Dietary Managers will work together evaluating residents’ nutritional needs and preferences. When residents aren’t eating and require intervention, our philosophy is “food first,” before prescribing supplements.

Enriched for Life uses natural, rich, nutritionally dense foods to improve resident health. Our Culinary Team has selected comfort foods and simple menu items which are then fortified to taste great while giving residents the calorie and protein boosts they need. Enriched for Life program menu items include:

  • hot cereals
  • soups
  • shakes
  • smoothies
  • entrées
  • desserts

We use all natural ingredients to fortify these foods. Ingredients like whole milk, sugar and butter make traditional foods taste great while encouraging residents to eat more and stay healthy. Enriched for Life uses recipes which have been developed in Culinary Services Group’s own test kitchen and taste-tested by residents. CSG’s goal is to keep everyone eating their best.

Jocelyn Spreitzer, Director of Marketing
Culinary Services Group, LLC

Preventing Norovirus Infection

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Preventing the Norovirus Infection is a challenge in nursing facilities, day care centers, schools and other environments where people live, work, or spend their days in close proximity to others.

The best way for everyone to prevent getting the Norovirus Infection is to follow the following guidelines recommended by the CDC.

Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water especially after using the toilet, changing diapers and always before eating, preparing or handling food.

Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better. So, it is important to continue washing your hands often during this time.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.

Wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

Be aware that noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish.

Food that might be contaminated with norovirus should be thrown out.

Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared.

When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others who are sick
You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover. This also applies to sick workers in settings such as schools and daycares where they may expose people to norovirus.

Many local and state health departments require that food handlers and preparers with norovirus illness not work until at least 2 to 3 days after they recover. If you were recently sick, you can be given different duties in the restaurant, such as working at a cash register or hosting.

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1,000 – 5,000 ppm (5 – 25 tablespoons of household bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces).

You should handle soiled items carefully without agitating them, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after, and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length, then machine dry them.

For additional information, you can go to the CDC at

Milford Village Receives Final Approval for First Phase of Building Project

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

On Tuesday night, December 17, 2013, Milford Township’s board of supervisors unanimously granted final approval to the first phase of Milford Village’s building project. The plans for a complex including senior housing, offices, stores and restaurants on our campus have been in the works for more than five years.

This spring, a 5,000 square foot kitchen will be added to the back of our skilled nursing facility, which will have the capacity to serve a much larger campus.

Overall, the plan on our 206 acre site calls for 576 congregate care units – apartments with shared dining and other common areas, 140 assisted living units, a memory care unit, 208 apartments, 41 townhouses and 33 cottages.

In the first phase of the project, only 73 assisted living units will be completed.

As part of the overall project, a traffic light and additional turning lanes will be added in front of the main entrance of LifeQuest on Route 663. The plan also calls for the realignment of Mill Hill Road.

The estimated timeline for the entire project is 12 years.