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AARP recognizes family caregivers across US, presents Portrait of Care to Mukwonago woman

Mukwonago, Wisconsin – November marks National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the 40 million Americans – including an estimated 578,000 from Wisconsin – who help older parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be.

The unpaid care they provide, such as managing medications, cooking meals, driving to appointments, performing complex medical tasks and more, is valued at about $7 billion in Wisconsin alone.

Sherrie Palm of Mukwonago is one of these unsung heroes.

Sherrie is in the “sandwich generation,” providing support throughout much of her life for both parents and children, including step-children. Sherrie is the founder and Executive Director for the healthcare nonprofit Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support. Her caregiving work has been an add-on.

“I learned as I went. You make mistakes, but you only make them once. I’m an all-cards-on-the-table kind of person, so I learn by asking questions. We all want to keep the wheels turning. We all feel guilty – like we should do more. I am able to find balance by laughing and focusing on the funny,” she said.

AARP Wisconsin is recognizing Sherrie with a “Portrait of Care,” which is an artist’s painting of her with a loved one.

Selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative called “I Heart Caregivers”, Sherrie is among 53 family caregivers chosen nationwide, including one each from each state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive a hand-painted portrait.

Thousands of caregivers have shared their stories on the website www.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers

“We want to celebrate family caregivers, spotlight their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance, and elevate their stories – especially during National Family Caregivers Month,” said Sam Wilson of AARP Wisconsin, which serves about 820,000 Wisconsinites age 50 and older. “This is especially important as we work to support family caregivers through public policy, education, outreach and more.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Wisconsinites and other loved ones remain in their own homes and communities as long as possible,” Wilson said. “That’s why AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier.”

For nearly 15 years Sherrie has provided guidance for her parents and son, Erik – now age 27 – who has aggressive Lyme and additional underlying health concerns. Her father has degenerative spine issues while her mother suffers from genetic endocrine disorders and severe arthritis. “The backdrop of everything I do is to help out on either side as best I can,” she said.

Sherrie stays in daily contact with her son and visits her parents every chance she gets. She cooks dinner, shares funny stories, stays overnight and helps manage medical consultations and quality of life needs.

“I’ve come to recognize that on days when I feel like the mayo on all three layers of a triple-decker sandwich, nothing feeds my soul and recharges my battery like humor,” she says.

“Being a sandwich boomer is all day every day. At times do I feel like my life is absurd sideways? You bet. Would I trade a single aspect of it? Not on your life. If I can get the people I care about to laugh out loud, it fires my engines and I’m good to go.”

Earlier this year, AARP conducted a statewide survey of registered voters age 45 and older in Wisconsin to learn about their experiences, challenges and needs as family caregivers, and attitudes toward public policy that would support family caregivers.

The survey found that family caregivers in Wisconsin provide 538 million hours of care per year to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones. They help with daily activities such as bathing or dressing, preparing meals, administering medications, driving to doctor visits, and paying bills.

“This report demonstrates that we need to do more to assist the hundreds of thousands of caregivers in our state,” said Wilson said. “Some of the things that will help family caregivers include improved workplace flexibility, respite care, tax credits and home care services.”

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning. We advocate for consumers in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www. aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP VIVA, a bilingual news source.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org. 

AARP recognizes family caregivers across US, presents Portrait of Care to Mukwonago woman

Mukwonago, Wisconsin – November marks National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the 40 million Americans – including an estimated 578,000 from Wisconsin – who help older parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be.

The unpaid care they provide, such as managing medications, cooking meals, driving to appointments, performing complex medical tasks and more, is valued at about $7 billion in Wisconsin alone.

Sherrie Palm of Mukwonago is one of these unsung heroes.

Sherrie is in the “sandwich generation,” providing support throughout much of her life for both parents and children, including step-children. Sherrie is the founder and Executive Director for the healthcare nonprofit Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support. Her caregiving work has been an add-on.

“I learned as I went. You make mistakes, but you only make them once. I’m an all-cards-on-the-table kind of person, so I learn by asking questions. We all want to keep the wheels turning. We all feel guilty – like we should do more. I am able to find balance by laughing and focusing on the funny,” she said.

AARP Wisconsin is recognizing Sherrie with a “Portrait of Care,” which is an artist’s painting of her with a loved one.

Selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative called “I Heart Caregivers”, Sherrie is among 53 family caregivers chosen nationwide, including one each from each state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive a hand-painted portrait.

Thousands of caregivers have shared their stories on the website www.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers

“We want to celebrate family caregivers, spotlight their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance, and elevate their stories – especially during National Family Caregivers Month,” said Sam Wilson of AARP Wisconsin, which serves about 820,000 Wisconsinites age 50 and older. “This is especially important as we work to support family caregivers through public policy, education, outreach and more.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Wisconsinites and other loved ones remain in their own homes and communities as long as possible,” Wilson said. “That’s why AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier.”

For nearly 15 years Sherrie has provided guidance for her parents and son, Erik – now age 27 – who has aggressive Lyme and additional underlying health concerns. Her father has degenerative spine issues while her mother suffers from genetic endocrine disorders and severe arthritis. “The backdrop of everything I do is to help out on either side as best I can,” she said.

Sherrie stays in daily contact with her son and visits her parents every chance she gets. She cooks dinner, shares funny stories, stays overnight and helps manage medical consultations and quality of life needs.

“I’ve come to recognize that on days when I feel like the mayo on all three layers of a triple-decker sandwich, nothing feeds my soul and recharges my battery like humor,” she says.

“Being a sandwich boomer is all day every day. At times do I feel like my life is absurd sideways? You bet. Would I trade a single aspect of it? Not on your life. If I can get the people I care about to laugh out loud, it fires my engines and I’m good to go.”

Earlier this year, AARP conducted a statewide survey of registered voters age 45 and older in Wisconsin to learn about their experiences, challenges and needs as family caregivers, and attitudes toward public policy that would support family caregivers.

The survey found that family caregivers in Wisconsin provide 538 million hours of care per year to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones. They help with daily activities such as bathing or dressing, preparing meals, administering medications, driving to doctor visits, and paying bills.

“This report demonstrates that we need to do more to assist the hundreds of thousands of caregivers in our state,” said Wilson said. “Some of the things that will help family caregivers include improved workplace flexibility, respite care, tax credits and home care services.”

Sherrie Palm

Sherrie Palm

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning. We advocate for consumers in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www. aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP VIVA, a bilingual news source.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org. 

Feel like you’re coughing your guts out?

APOPS new logo jpgCredit to Sherrie Palm founder Associateion for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support

It’s flu season; you’re hacking and hacking until you feel like your bottom end is going to blow out. And it just might be. if you’re like me you start to ramp up the germ-phoebe aspect of your personality around this time of year. We all start paying more attention to washing our hands, get nervous about grabbing the door at stores we shop at, walk the other way when we hear someone  coughing. No one wants to get the flu. Yet despite the extra protective measures we take, we somehow manage to contract it. The majority of us are exposed to hundreds of germ infested surfaces every day; there’s just no way to get around it beyond wrapping ourselves in one of those protective bubbles. Not a very user friendly way to avoid getting sick.

I recently returned from a trip overseas and had concerns about being in airplanes and airports, knowing that the odds of my catching a bug were increased by being exposed to so many people in an enclosed environment. Every time someone coughed on the plane I thought to myself “keep your hands off your face, keep your hands off your face,” reciting it to myself like some kind of magical mantra that would protect me. Although I felt badly for the young child coughing non-stop a few rows up from me on the airbus, I equally worried that somehow the germs would float back to me in the recycled air of the plane.

Somehow I managed to make the long journey in both directions and come home with my body flu-free. Lucky me, I figured now I could relax. Then the inevitable happened-……read more (more…)

Pelvic Organ Prolapse awareness month for June

One womans journey and a whole lot of help for those who have pelvic organ prolapse

One womans journey and a whole lot of help for those who have pelvic organ prolapse

Helping raise the awareness of pelvic organ prolapse will help educate those who need to know what to do when they do find ‘bits falling outside of their bodies’.

Thousands of women are either too ashamed or simply don’t know what is happening to them. Pelvic organ prolapse happens for many reasons and over 50% of women experience this especially after giving birth.

One of the most common feelings is that you feel you are sitting on a tennis ball.

There are methods to help and prevent pelvic organ prolapse and with your help of passing this message along we can help those who need it.

Mothers, speak to your daughters (not always an easy subject) about it if you have experienced pelvic floor dysfunction. Chances are that if you have it so will your daughters.

Sherrie Palm, founder of APOPS (Association for pelvic organ pro. lapse support) has been fighting to bring this subject to the forefont of the medical staff who can help these women.

 

 

 

Press Release Pop Awareness Month 2014

Pessaries and pelvic organ prolapse – The history

Pessaries and pelvic organ prolapse – The history

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PES.SA.RY (/ˈpesərē/)

The word pessary comes from the Greek word pesos and the Latin word pessarium meaning oval stone.

Pessaries have been around hundreds of years to treat symptoms as a treatment for menstrual problems, dysmenorrhea, incompetent cervix, infertility, uterovaginal prolapse and displacement of the uterus and treatment of women who showed symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse has been around for thousands of years.

The earliest text found to be on obstetrics and gynaecology is that of Soranus of Ephesus a Greek physician (A.D. 98-138), which can be found in the ‘Bibliothèque Royale’ in Paris. Soranus had observed and reviewed a number of techniques used for management of uterovaginal prolapse during the Hippocratic era.

Soranus challenged and criticized treatments involving suspending the patient upside down by her feet from a moving frame which moved rapidly up and down for a few minutes, which was said to reduce the prolapse. The woman was then left to hang upside down for up to a day.

He also criticized the practise of his peers when they used ox meat inserted into the vagina and also those who used the method of a ‘hairy bag to the uterus, so that the sharp pains to the uterus caused from the hair caused the uterus to contract.

Pleasant aromas where used for patients to smell so as to disguise the unpleasant pungent odour of the ‘fumigation procedure to the uterus’ surgeons carried out. Their reasoning behind this method was that they believed the uterus would revoke the bad odours and move up in the direction towards the pleasant ones. Soranus condemned these treatments as harmful, painful and mostly ineffective.

Soranus had his own ideas about the treatment of a uterine prolapse, a method which was less painful and later on the pessary for pelvic organ prolapse and lubricant was to be innovated from this method.

He made the patient bathe the uterus in luke warm olive oil then corresponding to the shape and the diameter he would make a woollen tampon wrapped in very thin linen. He then dipped the tampon in diluted vinegar or the juice of acacia mixed with wine and applied this to the uterus whilst moving the uterus very gently upwards towards its natural anatomical state. To ensure the uterus stayed in position he wadded the whole vaginal cavity with wool. After this the woman’s legs were bandaged together where she remained on rest for 3 days. After 3 days the ‘pessary of wool and linen were removed.

Today’s methods have evolved still using pessaries as a non – surgical support mechanism for various types of pelvic organ prolapse conditions. There are many pessary shapes and sizes available, the most common used today are the ring and Gellhorn pessaries.

Pessaries are made from either PVC or silicone. Silicone being the favoured choice as it is flexible yet strong enough to support the prolapse and silicone is an inert material which reduces the chance of infection drastically.

There are various surgical procedures to correct pelvic organ prolapse conditions and the DaVinci Robot is one of the least invasive procedures for surgery to date.

Who knows, that maybe in another 100 years from now we will find the use of today’s pessaries and surgical procedures barbaric and unthinkable, but until we find the perfect solution to help women who suffer pelvic organ prolapse we just have to keep educating and raising the awareness that there are solutions out there for pelvic organ prolapses.

Written by Gaynor Morgan

 

For more information about types of pessaries and procedures visit www.incostress.com

Recommended reading available from all bookstores:

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Pelvic Organ Prolapse by Sherrie Palm

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Hold It Sister by Mary O’Dwyer

Hold It Mama by Mary O’Dwyer

Pelvic floor dysfunction in women before their first pregnancy

Credit: Lead women’s health physiotherapist Mary O’Dwyer newsletter

A high rate of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) in nulliparous women with clinically significant symptoms and associated bother has been reported in a cross sectional study (part of the SCOPE study) in Ireland.

A total of 1484 women completed the validated Australian Pelvic Floor Questionnaire at 15 weeks gestation. Urinary dysfunction was present in 61%, faecal dysfunction in 41%, prolapse in 5% and sexual dysfunction in 41%. The dysfunction was perceived as bothersome by 37%.

In the urinary section, 61% of participants reported at least one primary symptom and 35% showed clinically significant symptoms. In those who reported urinary incontinence (UI), stress urinary incontinence was present in 50%, urge urinary incontinence alone in 20% and mixed urinary incontinence in 30%. The overall prevalence of UI in this study was 24%.

In the faecal dysfunction (FD) section, 41% of all women were symptomatic for primary symptoms. Within this affected group, 5.3% reported faecal incontinence, 36.8% reported flatal incontinence and 5.5% reported obstructed defecation. The authors explain the high rates of FD could be partially explained by 11% of women having a medical history of irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms were reported by 4.8% of all women and 26% of symptomatic women commonly reported symptoms of vaginal pressure or heaviness. The authors state these results should be interpreted with caution as some bowel or bladder related symptoms might resemble prolapse.

Sexual dysfunction symptoms were reported by 41% of all women. Within this group 31% reported dyspareunia (painful intercourse), 25% reported vaginal tightness/vaginismus, 4.8% reported vaginal laxity and coital incontinence was reported by 1.2%. Regarding dyspareunia, the authors believe it is due to endometriosis, which is more prevalent in nulliparous women.

The study demonstrates that in the majority of nulliparous women with PFD, the disorder affects more than one pelvic floor compartment simultaneously. The authors stated the ‘high prevalence of PFD and multi-compartment involvement in nulliparous women could possibly suggest that congenital factors play an important role in PFD development. In order to understand the real role of childbearing in pelvic floor morbidity it is important to know the natural history of PFD by studying women before and after their first delivery.’

The authors believe the strength of this study is the large number of nulliparous women with extensive, detailed demographic characteristics and medical history of the participants. The study can be considered representative of an entire population from a statistical point of view. The main limitation of this study is that the women were not clinically examined to verify the questionnaires findings. As women completed the questionnaire in early pregnancy, they cannot rule out the potential for confusion or recall bias, as questions related only to pre-pregnancy status.

Due to the high prevalence of PDF in pregnant nulliparous women, the authors say that a comprehensive approach to investigating this group is needed to determine their history of PFD. Postpartum follow up will detect the role of pre-pregnancy PFD in the structure of postpartum pathology and determine the women who could be at a higher risk of severe postpartum PFD.

Reference:

Durnea CM, Khashan AS, Kenny LC, Tabirca SS, O’Reilly BA. An insight in pelvic floor status in nulliparous women. Int Urogyn Journal. Vol 25: 3, 337-345. March 2014.

ImageMary O’Dwyer has written many wonderful books in a language every lay person can relate to. Her books ‘speak to you’ Hold it sister and hold it mama are available at all bookstores and on line at www.incostress.com

Medical professionals contact info@incostress.com for reduced prices on books.

 

Pelvic floor stimulators

Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse can have a significant physical, social and psychological for many women. There are a number of solutions in the management of these problems.

The process of urination and its control depend on an intact neuromuscular system. The bladder is made up of smooth muscle – the detrusor muscle, while the urethra has smooth muscles with a band of striated muscle. Both the somatic and autonomic nervous systems provide innervation to these muscles. The bladder muscle must contract while the urethral sphincter relaxes during urination. It works best when the two are coordinated. The pelvic floor musculature consists of striated muscle fibres innervated by the pudendal nerve. By supporting the bladder and helping to lengthen the urethra, the pelvic floor muscles assist the passage of urine and its control.

Electrical stimulation is a modality that physiotherapists use to treat a variety of conditions. Electrical stimulation is used to restore normal physiological reflex mechanisms in abnormal nervous systems and muscles, as well as to strengthen striated muscles. Using Electro therapy, we try to stimulate the fibres of the pelvic (S2-S4), hypogastric (T10-L2), and pudendal nerves. It is believed that electrical stimulation can inhibit detrusor activity by activating inhibitory nerve fibres in the sympathetic hypogastric nerve, and inhibiting parasympathetic excitatory nerves in the pelvic nerve. It is also used to stimulate and strengthen the striated muscles of the pelvic floor via the pudendal nerve.

Routinely used machines are the interferential electrical stimulation machine and intra-vaginal stimulation machines. The Empi Intravaginal Stimulation Unit is a unit providing neuromuscular stimulation that can be used at home by the patient. The unit consists of a compact battery operated stimulator has two independent channels. One channel operates at 125 Hz to promote bladder inhibition; the other operates at 50 Hz to stimulate muscle contraction. Both channels can be used separately, or together. The electrode is a soft, silicone rubber cylinder about the size of a tampon. The electrode can be easily inserted and the patient learns how to take proper care of it. The therapist adjusts the settings on the stimulator and then the patient is taught how to control the intensity. The intensity should be high enough to cause a muscle contraction but within the patient’s comfort limits.

Many of the patients with incontinence have weakened musculature contributing to their urinary incontinence. Their symptoms often improve when they follow their prescribed exercise program and have adequate strength. Electrical stimulation is indicated when they have strength less than ‘fair’ as measured during a manual muscle test. It may also be indicated to provide sensory stimulation for patients with urge incontinence.

It is always advisable to seek medical help and undoubtedly a good session with your women’s health physiotherapist is the best way for you to learn correct techniques.

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