Longer looks: Caregivers effort to stay well; patients who turn to religion for cures; new views on postpartum depression

Every week KHN reporter Marissa Evans finds interesting reads from around the web. 

Minnesota Public Radio: How A Caregiver Learns To Care For Herself: Living With ALS
More than 65 million people, or 29 percent of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends during any given year, and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing that care. And more than three in 10 U.S. households, or 31.2 percent, report that at least one person has served as an unpaid family caregiver, according to AARP. That means that even if you aren't a caregiver now, it's likely that you will be someday. Ev Emerson, the wife of Bruce Kramer, teaches music at the Normandale Elementary French Immersion School in Edina, and is also looking after her husband after he was diagnosed with ALS. He was worried when he was first diagnosed about the effect his illness would have on his wife and their relationship, along with the rest of family (Cathy Wurzer, 6/15).

The Atlantic: When Patients Are Counting On Miracles
If the idea of a "miracle" feels out of place anywhere, it's in hospital waiting rooms. The sterile experience of getting an IV and wearing a scratchy paper gown and being surrounded by neutral landscape paintings can obscure the intense, emotional questions tangled up in sickness: Why do bodies break down the way they do? Why do some people get sick while others stay healthy? And if doctors can't save someone, can God? A lot of people do seem to think so. In a 2008 study published in the Archives of Surgery, 57 percent of non-medical workers said they thought divine intervention could save a sick family member, even if doctors said further treatment would be useless (Emma Green, 6/18). 

Esquire Magazine: I Lived Through The Most Nerve-Wracking Birth Story You May Ever Read
We'd come seven hundred miles in the gut of winter because my wife's perinatologist recommended we meet with prenatal specialists at Children's Hospital Colorado. He also told us that he had started his own practice twenty years earlier and delivered sets of quads, but he'd never encountered a pregnancy like ours: triplets, with a pair of monoamniotic and monochorionic twins residing together in a single sac. That sac had become a fetal rugby scrum of elbows and feet and umbilical cords twisted into a knot that would, in time, compress and cut off the twins' blood supply. They grew with a constant threat of sudden death. We had come to Colorado to decide if we should let them go (Tim Paluch, 6/13). 

The New York Times: An Alert When The Policy Lapses
Michael Pirron is feeling pretty good these days. In January, I reported the sad tale of his elderly parents, whose confusion allowed their long-term care insurance to lapse. Though Anne and David Pirron had faithfully paid John Hancock about $50,000 in premiums over 11 years, which would have entitled them to about $600,000 in benefits through their joint policy, the elder Mr. Pirron had gone to his bank and mistakenly stopped the auto-payment system his son had set up.When John Hancock sent notices that their coverage was about to end because they'd stopped making payments, the Pirrons didn't know what to do with them and stashed them in a drawer. Their son found the letters months later, when his mother needed more care and he wanted to tap their benefits (Paula Span, 6/12). 

The New York Times: 'Thinking Of Ways To Harm Her'
Postpartum depression isn't always postpartum. It isn't even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought. Scientists say new findings contradict the longstanding view that symptoms begin only within a few weeks after childbirth. In fact, depression often begins during pregnancy, researchers say, and can develop any time in the first year after a baby is born (Pam Belluck, 6/15).

Modern Healthcare: Obamacare Rule Has Hospitals Targeting Health Improvement
When 193-bed Advocate Trinity Hospital began five years ago to assess the health needs of residents in its service area on Chicago's South Side, it found the rate of stroke was among the highest in Illinois. Deaths from heart disease and cancer made up half of the more than 2,700 deaths that occurred in the hospital's service area in 2011. "We mapped out a plan of what those (health) gaps were," said Michelle Gaskill, president of Trinity. "Then we started identifying investments we were going to make over a period of time to start filling those gaps." ... All not-for-profit hospitals are now required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to conduct and publish similar community needs assessments once every three years. They also must draft a strategic plan on how they will address identified needs (Steven Ross Johnson, 6/14)..

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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