Osteoarthritis and Aging

Osteoarthritis and aging

Ben White for Unsplash

Arthritis is a common ailment of older people. Although ostearthritis can affect people of any age, osteoarthritis is often a symptom related to the regular process of aging. 

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition where the cartilage that lines the joints wears away. This can cause a lot of pain, as the bones don’t have a good cushion to keep them moving smoothly. In progressive cases, the cartilage completely degenerates, and the bones scrape against each other. In any case, arthritis can cause swelling and bone breakage. Those suffering from arthritis may feel sore and stiff and may have trouble moving.

Types of arthritis

There are about a hundred different types of arthritis, some of which directly affect the elderly population and some of which are not related to age. There are the more common ones:

  1. Osteoarthritis – this wear and tear arthritis is the type that affects people as they age. It afflicts around thirty-one million Americans.
  2. Inflammatory arthritis – this is an umbrella term for various types of the disease. The most well-known is rheumatoid, an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body. In this case, the linings of the joints.
  3. Gout – this is a disease also known as metabolic arthritis, where there is an accumulation of uric acid in the joints and the spaces around them. These deposits form solid crystals around the joints.
  4. Infectious arthritis – in this case, an infection enters the joint area and causes swelling. This type of arthritis does not wear down the cartilage, but rather causes other joint problems.

Osteoarthritis can also affect younger people if they overstress their joints, but most people only have to worry about it as they age.

Prevention and cure

While cartilage can regrow, it’s a slow process that’s inhibited by the continual workings of the joints. That’s why rest is an important part of dealing with arthritis. Allowing the bones to rest gives the body a chance to recover.

The best prevention is having a balanced lifestyle that includes proper diet, exercise and rest times. Diet is very important, as weight can strongly affect your joints. If there is excessive weight, if strains certain joints, as they have to work harder to support the extra pounds. Keeping yourself fit can give you an amazing edge against the onset of osteoarthritis.

Exercise helps with keeping your weight down, and it has the added benefit of keeping your limbs supple. While too much exercise can overstress, the right amount helps your joints stay firm and flexible.

This is all important to keep in mind before it’s too late. That means you need to take care of this before arthritis sets in – while you’re still young. In this case, an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure. While it takes work to keep fit, it’s very difficult to reverse the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Treatment of osteoarthritis

There are two routes to deal with osteoarthritis – therapy and medication. Therapy helps someone keep their joints active and aims to alleviate pain. Medication also tries to alleviate the pain involved.

If these two modalities don’t achieve their goals, a patient may opt for elective joint surgery. The two most common joint replacements are the hip and knee. Many people have successful hip or knee replacements and go on to enjoy pain-free living.

At Sinai Post Acute Care, we offer top-rated service to help people suffering from osteoarthritis. We also provide post surgery rehab for people who undergo joint replacement surgery. Our staff, including doctors, nurses and therapists, combine experience, professionalism and caring into a full-service rehab center for anyone who needs inpatient rehab care.

Joint Replacement and Electrical Stimulation

Innovations in joint replacement surgery

Hush Naidoo for Unsplash

Joint replacement is a hugely successful procedure for most people, allowing them to live a normal life. After what was for many people a painful existence, joint replacement provides pain-free access to physical activity.

In a low minority of cases, though, problems could develop post-surgery. the biggest culprit in these cases is infection. in fact, this possibility is so strong that it scares some candidates away from going through with the surgery. This, of course, is a mistake, as surgery is hugely beneficial most of the time. Innovative healthcare companies are always trying to address problems in the system, and this is no exception.

What’s the problem?

Any time someone has surgery, there’s always the risk that he can develop an infection at the site of the incision. When there’s an open wound, bacteria can enter into the bloodstream and create infection. Not only does this slow recovery, it becomes painful for the patient and often requires further surgery to clean up the mess. This complicates matters, and in some cases the patient ends up worse than when he started.

What’s the solution?

Hospitals work hard to maintain sterile and hygienically sound environments. Masks, gloves and cleaning equipment all go toward that goal. this is why in most cases the surgery proceeds as planned, and the patient goes home spic and span and all put back together. But no matter the precautions, hospitals right now cannot achieve 100% perfection in eliminating the risk of bacteria and infection in surgery. It’s certain that bacteria will develop, and in some cases turn into infection.

With this in mind, companies are now working on life-saving innovations that aim to wipe out the bacteria and ward off infection and surgery. Garwood Medical Devices, based in Buffalo, New York, is a biotechnology company that is working together with Buffalo University’s Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics. Together, they are developing a product that provides electrical stimulation at the site of incision. This stimulation kills bacteria in the area, keeping it clean and healthy.

How does it work?

The device is made up of a small electrical box, two attached skin patches, and a long needle. The needle gets inserted into the site of the incision, and the electrical box provides a steady electrical pulse. The electricity wipes out around ninety-eight percent of bacteria in the region. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better that what exists right now. The company envisions fewer infection-related surgeries and millions of dollars in savings for hospitals.

Joint replacement can be better

With this new technology, candidates can go into surgery with more confidence about the outcome. With thousands of joint replacement surgeries each year, that means more patient with successful surgeries and increased healthy living.

Post-surgery, patients generally need time in a rehabilitation facility to recover. While there, they receive excellent physical and occupational therapy to learn how to function with their new joints. They get the help they need to feel better about their new lifestyle, so they can go home to regular daily living.

At Sinai Post Acute Care, we offer excellent post joint replacement rehabilitation so you can recover quickly. Our doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff provide caring and expert treatment.

Knee Replacement Surgery and Visual Aids

A recently published study about decision making for knee replacement surgery had some interesting findings. The study was based on research from the Creaky Joints community, an online base for thousands of Americans dealing with arthritis and joint problems. It was published in “Arthritis Care and Research,” a medical journal put out by The Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals and The American College of Rheumatology.

Patient decision-making and numbers

When a patient must decide whether to undergo a total knee replacement, doctors show them the numbers. Of recovering patients, outcomes and satisfaction vary. Out of fifty people, forty-two have positive results and would do the surgery again. Their surgery went well, their knees feel greatly improved, and they are highly satisfied. Out of the same fifty, seven didn’t do as well as they’d hoped. They still experience some pain, their situation was not greatly enhanced, and they don’t think they would do it again. Of those fifty, only one regrets the surgery. She had some kind of complication, often an infection in the new knee, and she would definitely not have it again if she needed it in her other knee.

Dr. Liana Fraenkel, a Yale-trained physician who led the study, weighed in on the benefits of visual aids. “The vast majority of people who undergo total knee replacement surgery have high satisfaction following the procedure; however, the decision to undergo major surgery is complicated when a patient either underestimates the potential benefits or overestimates their risk for complications.”

When presented with the numbers, she explained, the information make it appear more negative than it is in actuality. The initiators of the study wanted to see if they could present the information with visuals. The expectation was that the visuals might help the patients envision the outcomes, which are highly positive, in a more objective light.

How the study worked

The study recruited people living in the US over age fifty who had rheumatic or osteoarthiritc knee problems. They’d also never had knee surgery.

All of the participants saw these numbers at the outset, with the three potential outcomes. They were then randomly distributed into four groups. The first only saw these numbers. The second saw the options with colors indicating each of the probabilities. The third saw the numbers interspersed with fifty images of variously happy or discontent people. And the last group had the numbers and clicked on a graphical spinner.

The results were in line with expectations. They showed that the people in the second two groups, which both had visual aids to show the possible outcomes from knee replacement surgery, had a higher preference for it. This was true even after taking into account insurance, knee pain, age and other variables.

Total knee replacement

There are several options when it comes to knee replacement. First, doctors will recommend various therapies and medications. If those don’t work to relieve pain, they may consider replacing part of the knee. If there is ongoing pain and the knee has deteriorated, doctors will recommend a total knee replacement. In this procedure, the knee bones are replaced by metal and plastic parts.

For most patients, a total knee replacement relieves the pain completely and the patient returns to a healthy life. In a minority of cases, as mentioned above, the patient may experience further pain or complications. The authors of the study are hopeful that visual aids will help patients in their decision-making.

At Sinai Post Acute Care, our staff is trained to cater to patients post knee replacement surgery. We offer premium services to help them have a positive experience, including physical and occupational therapy. We take patients straight from the hospitals, such as University Hospital, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and East Orange Hospital.

Stroke Rehab: What to Expect

Stroke Rehab New Jersey

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Stroke affects a large part of the aging population, with over seven million survivors in the US. Each year, close to 800,000 people will have a stroke. Stroke rehab is crucial for patients so they have as good outcomes as possible.

What is stroke rehab?

Stroke victims may lose partial control over their bodies, and many of their functions may become impaired. The goal of stroke rehab is to help the victim recover skills. A stroke may have weakened or damaged their functions.

When a stroke occurs, the immediate task of the physicians and hospital staff is to stabilize the patient and prevent damage. Once the patient is stabilized, the hospital may begin to administer rehab. Because they want to get the patient immediately on the road to recovery, they may start as soon as twenty-four hours later. This helps prevent further impairment. However, as soon as the patient is strong enough and is out of danger, they may move him to a rehab facility.

Rehab facilities are equipped to help stroke victims regain skills. Even patients who have minimal damage generally need to spend some time in a rehab setting after leaving the hospital to make sure that their functioning is normal. In this case, the duration of the stay may be short. In cases where damage is more profound, the patient may need several months in a facility. After that, he may be transferred to a home setting and continue receiving care on an outpatient basis.

How is it done?

A multi-disciplinary effort is necessary to help the patient achieve the greatest success. Each patient has different needs, and the rehab center will customize an individual plan to meet them. These are some of the activities that the plan will comprise:

  • Forced-use therapy – stroke victims often lose capabilities on one side of their bodies and need to re-learn skills on that side. In this type of therapy, they retain the “good” side so that the patient is forced to use the damaged side.
  • Motor skills exercises – a therapist works with the patient to enhance motor skills and increase coordination.
  • Electrical stimulation – a trained therapist will apply electricity to impaired muscles to stimulate them.
  • Mobility instruction – the patient often needs to use devices to assist with walking or other daily functions. These may be long or short term. He may need to learn how to use a can or a walker, or he might need to wear an ankle brace, which supports his legs as he learns how to walk again.

A team of doctors, therapists and rehab staff will work together to determine the right mix for the patient. To make this happen, any or all of these therapists might be enlisted to take part in the recovery process:

  • Speech therapist – The patient may have language and communications issues. The speech therapists addresses these, as well as potentially the ability to swallow.
  • Physical therapist – She can aid in re-training to walk and keep your balance.
  • Occupational therapist – He can help you learn daily activities, and learning arm and hand movements to get them done properly.

What else can I expect?

  • A social worker might can counsel the patient and his family as to how to set up the home for new arrangements. He can also help out with new financial planning.
  • A psychologist can help with the emotional aspects of losing functions and planning for a new reality.
  • A vocational counselor can offer guidance as to how to get back into the workforce with impaired skills or a disability.

This is in addition to the doctors and rehab nurses on staff who are trained to offer the best care for stroke victims.

At Sinai Post acute Center, we provide premium services and stroke rehab for stroke victims. Our physicians, nurses, therapists, and staff members are experienced in stroke rehab. We make sure that each patient gets the care he needs to recuperate and recover his functioning.

Hear Kenneth’s Success Story

Meet Kenneth Johnson

Following hospitalization at UMDNJ, Mr. Johnson was admitted to Sinai Post-Acute Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for Orthopedic care. Upon his arrival to Sinai Center he had complaints of right knee pain, right shoulder and lower back pain, muscle weakness, loss of strength and could not walk.  Mr. Johnson was assigned to rehab therapy where they helped him to improve his muscle tone, along with his blood flow and circulation, our team of therapists were able to help him improve his strength, muscle mass and ability to walk. 

Click here to continue reading

Making the Best of Short Term Rehab

short term rehab at sinai post acute care

short term rehab at sinai post acute care

Patients generally check into a rehab facility after an intensive hospital stay. They’ve often undergone major surgery. Short term rehab is indicated when the patient has recovered from an illness or injury and can leave the hospital. But sometimes he needs extra support before he can return to his regular living environment.

Patients in this situation are usually eager to move past whatever affected their health initially and make their way back to a normal home situation. They want to be with family or at a stable work setting. There’s no sense in rushing the rehab – that could backfire and set the patient back in his recovery. He doesn’t want to land back in a facility just because he left too soon. Following the rules and doing what’s necessary to ensure a smooth and efficient recuperation is the best recipe for getting back to his regularly scheduled life as soon as possible. What does this mean?

 

Follow your doctor’s short term rehab advice

Being in a short term rehab facility often comes with a rigorous regimen to regain optimal health. Patients may require any mix of occupational therapy, physical therapy, proper diet and medication. There are various doctor visits and a slew of tests and procedures to monitor progress. They aim to maintain a schedule that moves the patient closer to complete rehabilitation and eventual exit. Even the loveliest rehab facility is not meant to be a home forever. Most patients have have the ability to spring back. The purpose of rehab is to become fit for return to their homes.

Following this regimen is crucial for anyone who wants to make a quicker exit. That means that the patient must push himself to work hard at regaining functions that may have been impaired over an extended hospital stay. This can include many basic functions, even walking. The basic formula is for the patient to stay in touch with doctors and adhere* to their directives. The more he cooperates with the facility’s staff, the easier it will be to move toward physical improvement.

 

Show support

The best outcomes for patients in short term rehab happen when there is a solid support system in place. A patient who comes to short term rehab has already been outside of his home for an extended period of time. While the transition to a new facility is the bridge toward moving back home, it’s still a foreign setup. Patients stay over at night, away from familiar settings. They make the biggest strides when loving family members visit often and give encouragement. This keeps the patient positive and moves him in the right direction. Many studies indicate that visits from family and friends decrease stay time and increase better outcomes overall.

 

Complete the picture

If there’s a family member who’s able to liaise between the patient and the facility staff, that can smooth the process for everyone involved. You want to ensure that the patient gets the proper formula for success. A more objective party, such as a spouse, child, or other relative, can be a conduit for information from both sides. This helps the patient and the doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists to create a proper rehabilitation plan. Sometimes the staff needs to deal sensitively with the patient; working with a family member can help that go well.  

At Sinai Post Acute care Rehabilitation Center, we encourage family members to be involved in patient care. We work with the patient through a cross-team effort to create the most efficient and productive care plan so he can heal faster and go home sooner.

We offer higher standards of care and many amenities to provide a superior rehab experience.

INTRODUCING MICHELLE CURNOW | Our New Marketing Director

marketing directorIntroducing Michelle Curnow, our new Marketing Director! With a background in healthcare for close to two decades, Michelle brings a wealth of talent and breadth of professional resources to her new position at Sinai Center. She is deeply familiar with area hospitals from her long-time position at NJ Sharing Network when she worked to promote organ and tissue donation throughout the state and has experience in both skilled nursing and hospice settings.

“My goal is to let people know that Sinai is the top post-acute facility in the area. I look forward to expanding Sinai’s opportunities for community outreach and sharing all the positive things happening here at Sinai”, says Michelle.

Help Us Spread The Warmth!
Coat & Shoe Drive At Sinai Center

We are collecting new or gently used coats and shoes now through November 15 to be distributed to needy area residents. Items can be dropped off at our Front Desk.

“We see an increase during the Holiday season in the number of people falling ill with pneumonia, experiencing frostbite, and forced to undergo amputations, says Dr. Nelson Aluya, a Medical Director at Sinai Center. “We are first-hand witnesses of the harm that inclement weather can cause – and have decided to be proactive about it by tapping in the resources and kind heart of our own community.”

Help us help our community. We are counting on your participation!