• Using occupational therapy to age in place

    Occupational therapy plays an important role in health and recovery for people of all ages, but for seniors it could be the key to staying at home rather than moving to an assisted living facility. With the help of an occupational therapist, seniors can age in place safely, even when they are facing health issues. Here is what you need to know about occupational therapy and how it can be used to help seniors stay in familiar surroundings.

    What is occupational therapy?
    Occupational therapy helps people learn new ways of doing everyday activities. It is particularly useful for people who have a physical impairment that affects strength or mobility, as through therapy, people can perfect different ways of accomplishing tasks that work for their needs.

    Occupational therapists work with people in a number of different capacities. Some of the things they do include:

    • Helping people learn how to do basic tasks again after a stroke
    • Helping children with autism adapt to classroom settings
    • Helping people who have experienced a disability do tasks in a different way

    How can occupational therapists help seniors?
    For many seniors and their families, the question of remaining at home versus living in an assisted living facility looms large. For seniors who want to age in place, occupational therapy can play a major part. There are many ways occupational therapists can help seniors and their families, such as:

    • Evaluating the home to look for safety risks
    • Evaluating the movement, balance, and mobility of seniors to determine if aging in place is safe
    • Making recommendations for modifications that can make the home safer, such as additional lighting or grab rails

    Occupational therapists can also help seniors learn how to navigate the home and do everyday activities safely.

    Good Samaritan Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center in San Jose provides comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation options for patients of all ages. Learn more about our occupational therapy program or request a referral for rehabilitation services by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • How do blood tests work and what can they reveal?

    Blood tests are extremely common diagnostic tools used by physicians. Through blood tests, doctors can determine if you have or are at risk for certain medical conditions, and track how well a treatment is working. Blood tests are usually quick and easy, and they can be performed in a medical office, lab, or hospital setting .

    What happens during a blood test?
    During a blood test , a doctor, nurse, or specially trained healthcare provider called a phlebotomist will draw blood via needle stick into a vein or a finger stick. For blood drawn from a vein, the needle stick is usually done on the inside of the elbow. Most people find that the process is painless or only causes discomfort for a short amount of time.

    The blood is typically stored in test tubes. It is then sent to a lab, where it will either tested as it is or put through a process to separate the blood cells from the plasma that holds them.

    What can doctors learn from blood tests?
    Your physician can use blood tests to screen for a number of different conditions. Some of the things that can be revealed through a blood test are:

    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose
    • Electrolytes
    • Hormone levels
    • Blood enzymes
    • Blood cell counts
    • Clotting agents

    This information can help your provider diagnose everything from diabetes to heart disease and kidney disease. Blood tests can also be used to diagnose thyroid problems, some forms of cancer, and some autoimmune diseases. In emergency care, blood tests can be used to determine if someone is having a heart attack.

    How do I prepare for a blood test?
    In many cases, there is no preparation necessary for a blood test. For some tests, you may need to fast before having a sample drawn. Your provider will give you instructions to follow, if necessary.

    Throughout Good Samaritan Hospital, we rely on blood tests and other advanced diagnostic tools to ensure every patient gets the care he or she needs. You can find out more about our hospital services in San Jose by dialing (888) 724-2362.

  • Why is stress so prominent in young adults?

    Stress is challenging at any stage of life, but young adults are more prone to report experiencing extreme levels of stress than other age groups. Young adults who are dealing with chronic stress can benefit from seeking help from their physicians or a behavioral health specialist , so they can learn techniques for managing it and get medications that can help if needed. There are several reasons that young adults are prone to experiencing stress. Here is what you need to know.

    Change
    Young adults are usually in a transition phase of their lives in which they begin to live as fully independent people. This shift from familial support to a full range of adult responsibilities can be troubling and challenging for many people.

    At the same time as young adults are feeling the weight of more responsibility, they often feel as though they have fewer people who are backing them. They may be living remotely from their family, and their peers who are going through similar transitions may be less available. This contrast can significantly raise stress levels.

    Financial Concerns
    Young adults rank money concerns as their top stressors. For some young adults, stress about money is tied to the transition of managing it on their own and facing the prospect of paying all of their own living expenses, often for the first time ever.

    Other young adults face difficulties with earning a sufficient income to meet their living costs. Those who are working in the gig economy, without job protection or benefits, as well as those who are struggling to find adequate employment, face stress over making ends meet.

    Fatigue
    Many young adults have not yet developed skills that allow them to obtain a healthy work-life balance, nor do they know how to manage their physical and emotional health. This can lead to overscheduling and the fatigue that comes with not allowing sufficient time for rest and recovery.

    Stress can exacerbate this cycle of demands and exhaustion. Often, people dealing with chronic stress have disrupted sleep, which adds to fatigue symptoms.

    Don’t let stress control your happiness and well-being. Contact Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose to find a physician who can help you learn healthy ways to manage stress. Call (888) 724-2362 to request a referral to a physician or behavioral health specialist.

  • How to de-stress for anxiety prevention

    Anxiety can be debilitating. It can affect every aspect of your life, from personal relationships to professional opportunities. If you suffer from anxiety, managing stress is a significant part of controlling your symptoms. Your behavioral health specialist can recommend some strategies you can use to control your stress and reduce your anxiety. These tips will also help.

    Rely on a support system
    Everyone needs a support system to deal with the ups and downs of life. If you’re coping with stress and anxiety, this kind of support system can be even more important. As explained in the video, having people with whom you can talk about how you’re feeling can provide you with relief.

    It doesn’t matter if your support system is your family, friends, or a group of other people who are suffering from anxiety. What’s important is that you have some way of expressing how you feel and that you feel supported by people who understand what you’re going through.

    Make healthy lifestyle choices
    Keeping your body health can help to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety on your mind. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep will all help you feel stronger and balanced.

    Stay away from things people sometimes reach for to cope with stress and anxiety, such as cigarettes and alcohol. Although you may experience a short-term release, they can actually perpetuate the cycle of feeling uneasy.

    Choose work and relationships that make you happy
    The decisions you make about your career and your relationships can dramatically affect your levels of stress and anxiety. Make choices that make you feel happy and fulfilled instead of overworked and neglected.

    Strive to find a balance that gives you the chance to work in a career you enjoy while having time to rest and take care of your own needs.

    The behavioral health specialists in San Jose at Good Samaritan Hospital offer inpatient and outpatient care for patients who need help facing a range of issues, from anxiety and depression to chemical dependency . To learn more, please call (888) 724-2362.

  • The most common allergens children encounter

    Allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system incorrectly identifies a harmless substance as a threat. The allergen is the substance that triggers this abnormal response. Some allergic reactions are serious enough to warrant emergency medical care at Good Samaritan Hospital. Our pediatricians offer family-centered, compassionate care with a focus on promoting health literacy to empower parents in our San Jose community.

    Food allergens
    Food allergies are among the most common types diagnosed in children. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , up to six million American children are allergic to at least one food. Because food allergies can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis, children with these allergies are often prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors to use at the first sign of an allergic reaction.

    The most common food allergens for kids are peanuts and milk. Other allergens can include:

    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Shellfish
    • Soy
    • Wheat
    • Tree nuts

    Allergies to milk, wheat, eggs and soy may not last a lifetime when diagnosed in childhood. However, allergies to fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts are different, and they often produce the most serious reactions.

    Outdoor allergens
    Lots of allergens can be found in the great outdoors, including stings and bites from insects. Tree and plant pollen allergies will produce symptoms at around the same times each year. These symptoms can include:

    • Itchy, watery eyes
    • Runny nose
    • Sneezing
    • Congestion
    • Postnasal drip

    Household allergens
    Some of the most common indoor allergens are dust mites, mold and animal dander. Allergies to animals can be troublesome for children who love pets. Consider talking to your child’s pediatrician about the types of hypoallergenic pets that won’t cause your child discomfort.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is a trusted provider of superior pediatric care and emergency care for families throughout the greater San Jose area. Our board-certified doctors are uniquely qualified to care for the specialized needs of the youngest of patients. Call 911 if your child needs emergency care for a severe allergic reaction, or, for non-emergent inquiries only, call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.

  • What does brain time mean?

    Neurologists often say that “time is brain.” It refers to the rapid die-off rate of neurons when the blood supply to the brain is obstructed. In other words, the longer a stroke is left untreated, the worse the outcome is going to be. As soon as you or someone else displays possible signs of stroke, call 911 without delay and request an ambulance. The emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital coordinates closely with emergency responders, so that possible stroke patients can be evaluated and treated immediately upon arrival.

    Here’s what happens during a stroke
    There are different types of stroke, and these types can happen in different ways. The majority of strokes are ischemic. These occur when the blood supply to the brain is cut off by an obstruction in a blood vessel.

    A blood clot can form within that blood vessel, or it may form elsewhere and then travel toward the brain. As it travels, the blood vessels narrow. Eventually, the blood clot will lodge in place, obstructing blood flow.

    Once blood flow is cut off, the brain begins to sustain damage. According to the medical journal Stroke , a forebrain of a typical human contains about 22 billion neurons. For every minute that the brain is deprived of blood, it can lose:

    • 1.9 million neurons
    • 14 billion synapses
    • 7.5 miles of myelinated fibers

    For every hour that the brain is deprived of blood, it can lose:

    • 120 million neurons
    • 830 billion synapses
    • 447 miles of myelinated fibers

    These statistics underscore the importance of rushing stroke patients to emergency care as quickly as possible.

    Here’s how emergency care doctors treat ischemic stroke
    When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear a neurologist explain how stroke specialists can treat ischemic stroke patients. If the patient arrives at the hospital within 4.5 hours of the onset of the stroke, he or she can be given a potent clot-busting drug that rapidly clears the obstruction and restores blood flow to the brain.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center —a designation that reflects our stroke specialists’ enduring commitment to healthcare excellence. Our Stroke Team in San Jose has extensive experience working together to give our patients the best possible outcome. For non-emergent, general healthcare questions only, you can reach a friendly member of our nursing staff at (888) 724-2362.

  • Know these poisoning first aid steps that could save a life

    Household poisonings can affect a person of any age, although young children are a high-risk group. These medical emergencies involve toxic levels of exposure to a harmful substance that may be inhaled, swallowed or touched. Time is of the essence when a loved one is suffering from a poisoning. The emergency care doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital encourage our neighbors to learn how to respond, just in case it happens in their homes.

    Remove the person from immediate danger
    If you suspect that an individual is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, you should move him or her outdoors quickly. If you’re unable to move the individual, open up all of the windows and exterior doors, and turn off the source of the carbon monoxide leak.

    Someone who has ingested a toxic substance might still have some of that substance in his or her mouth. If so, try to gently remove it.

    Call 911
    You can call the regional poison control center if the individual is conscious and isn’t displaying symptoms, but may have come into contact with a toxic substance.

    Call 911 without delay if your loved one appears to be in medical distress. After giving your location and the nature of the emergency, stay on the phone with the emergency dispatcher. You’ll be asked some more questions about the suspected poison, and you’ll be given first aid instructions.

    Perform first aid
    If the individual isn’t breathing, the emergency dispatcher can guide you through the steps of CPR and rescue breathing.

    Some poisons cause toxicity through contact with the skin. Remove contaminated clothing and pour water on the skin to flush away the poison.

    A poisoning may result in vomiting. You’ll need to keep the airway clear. Wrap some cloth around your fingers, and use the covered fingers to clear the mouth and throat of vomit.

    Never attempt to induce vomiting, unless the emergency dispatcher instructs you to do so. Don’t give an unconscious person anything by mouth, and avoid administering any antidotes or home remedies unless instructed to do so.

    Call 911 immediately if someone needs emergency care in the San Jose area. For general questions about our healthcare services, you can contact a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362. Good Samaritan Hospital has emergency care providers at our hospital around the clock, every day of the year.

  • Tips for sleeping well during pregnancy

    Pregnancy is a special time in life, but it’s certainly not without its share of discomforts. Sleep, for example, can prove elusive. This is due to a number of factors, including the growing size of the abdomen, shortness of breath, heartburn and back pain. Hormonal changes can also disrupt your sleep. For compassionate guidance on all sorts of health issues during pregnancy, you can turn to the maternity specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Plan your meals and fluid intake
    Your growing baby exerts pressure against your bladder, which is why you may experience frequent urges to urinate at night. It’s important to drink lots of water during the day, but do reduce your intake in the evening. Restrict your intake of caffeine.

    Heartburn is a common problem for expecting mothers. Your maternity specialist can give you a list of foods that may trigger your symptoms. Try to avoid these, and try not to go to bed right after eating.

    Avoid certain sleep positions
    Women who are typically back sleepers or stomach sleepers often have the most trouble adjusting to sleep-related changes during pregnancy. For instance, once you’re starting to show, it will be uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach.

    As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll need to avoid sleeping on your back . It can contribute to low blood pressure and reduced blood circulation to your baby. Back sleeping can also increase the risk of:

    • Digestive system discomfort
    • Backaches
    • Trouble breathing
    • Hemorrhoids

    Sleep on your side
    Maternity experts strongly recommend that expecting moms sleep on their left side. The left side is preferable to the right because it encourages a stronger flow of blood and nutrients to your baby. Plus, you’ll find that side sleeping is more comfortable with a growing belly.

    Pregnancy is a good time to pamper yourself, so invest in some excellent pillows. Use a small pillow between your legs to keep your back aligned. You can also place a small pillow under the side of your abdomen for better support as you sleep.

    Bay Area Parent magazine has voted Good Samaritan Hospital as one of the “Best Places to Have a Baby” in the San Jose area. It’s all thanks to our talented, genuinely caring providers, comfortable suites, midwifery program and exceptional parent support services. You can request a referral to an obstetrics specialist by calling our maternity hospital at (888) 724-2362.

  • Taking a look at Duchenne muscular dystrophy

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy —also called DMD—is one of the nine forms of muscular dystrophy. It typically is diagnosed in early childhood, between the ages of three and five, and is much more common in boys than girls. Advances in the treatment of DMD have led to an increase in life expectancy for people diagnosed with this serious genetic condition. Here are the facts you need to know.

    What causes DMD?
    People with DMD do not have a protein called dystrophin in their bodies. This protein is responsible for keeping muscle cells together. It is a genetic condition that occurs as the result of a mutated gene on the X chromosome.

    The gene mutation that causes DMD is passed on by mothers. Women are typically carriers of the mutation but seldom experience signs of DMD themselves. In women who are DMD carriers, there is one normal X chromosome and one with the mutated gene.

    What are the symptoms?
    Muscle weakness is usually the first sign of DMD. It usually appears in the hips, thighs, pelvic region, and shoulders first, before progressing to other parts of the body. People with DMD often have larger-than-normal calves as well. These symptoms can appear as soon as age three.

    Involuntary muscles, including the heart and lungs, are usually affected by the early teen years. Some children with DMD also exhibit the signs of learning disabilities.

    What treatments are available?
    DMD is a progressive condition that is not curable, but many symptoms can be managed. The treatment plan depends on which symptoms are most problematic and may include:

    • Braces and wheelchairs
    • Cardiac care
    • Respiratory care
    • Medications

    Life expectancy for people with DMD has increased significantly in recent years. It is now common for people to live into their 30s, and some people live well beyond that time.

    Good Samaritan Hospital provides comprehensive pediatric care to young patients with a wide range of medical conditions. If you are concerned about your child’s health or need a referral to a pediatric specialist , we’re here to help. Contact our hospital in San Jose today by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Does taking the birth control pill increase your stroke risk?

    Although a stroke can happen to anyone, some people have a higher risk than others. Understanding your personal risk factors will help you know what steps you can take to cut your chances of having a stroke and may also make you more aware of the symptoms so you act quickly to get to a hospital if you experience them. One risk factor that many people overlook is taking birth control pills. Here’s what you need to know about the link between birth control pills and stroke risk.

    How much do birth control pills impact stroke risk?
    The risk of having a stroke can be twice as great in women who take birth control pills than in those who do not. This statistic applies even to women who take low-estrogen forms of birth control.

    This increased risk is also present in women who do not have any other risk factors for stroke. In women who have additional stroke risk factors who also take birth control pills, the risk may be even higher.

    What is the link between birth control pills and stroke risk?
    Birth control pills can increase the amount clotting factors in the blood, which in turn makes blood clots more likely to form. Blood clots may travel to the brain and block a blood vessel, which in turn causes an ischemic stroke to occur. Birth control pills are specifically associated with this kind of stroke and do not seem to increase the chances of hemorrhagic strokes.

    As the video explains, birth control pills can also cause blood vessels to thicken. This makes them become narrower, which can also contribute to blockages.

    Who should stop taking birth control pills?
    The only way to decide if birth control pills are safe for you is to discuss your options with your physician. Generally, some physicians recommend that women with a number of additional stroke risk factors consider other forms of birth control. For instance, women who smoke may not be good candidates for birth control pills.

    The Women’s Services team at Good Samaritan Hospital can help you weigh all of your options for birth control and make a decision that is right for your specific needs. Request a referral to a physician or learn more about our hospital services in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.