Choosing a health care facility

Choosing a health care facility

Home away from home

It’s a major concern of caregivers that our loved ones be given proper care. But there are times we ourselves do not have expertise or resources to administer this level of care, and there is need for a third party to get involved. Trust becomes paramount as we are plagued with questions about how our loved ones would fare in the hands of this third party. The often negative reports we receive concerning the third party, which in this case are health facilities, does nothing to lessen our fears. But still we are in need of these facilities, so we must be smart in making a decision. Here are lists of online resources that helps caregivers in their decision making about the right health facility to choose for a loved one.

US News

This online resource ranks nursing homes by states, let’s you browse the best nursing homes near you, and provides guides on how to choose a nursing home, how to cover the cost, and how to guarantee good care. With quick to read tips such as 7 Red Flags to Watch for When Choosing a Nursing Home and 9 Warning Signs of Bad Care, US News is a good place to start your search for a trustworthy healthcare facility. Its reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers, also makes it a very reliable source. In addition to ranking nursing homes, it also ranks hospitals, healthcare plans, and diets. Helping you find doctors by name, specialty, state, city and or zip code are also included in the service it provides. With answers to FAQs about how health facilities are rated, US news helps one make an informed decision about choosing a healthcare facility.

Health Grove

This is a good place to start your search, whether you need lots of information or just quick information. For mental health facilities, you can begin your search with  information on how to find mental  health facilities, and type of care, such as inpatient, outpatient, residential and administrative only. Other information provided includes the types of disorder treated in these mental health facilities,  and what to watch for in choosing a mental health facility. You can also compare mental health facilities and get information on age and payment accepted, special programs, and payment assistance.  Other resources includes a list of facilities and clinics  for specific cares such as cancer, eating disorder, dialysis, substance abuse, elder care etc. With plenty of relevant information that helps one choose the right health facility, Health Grove truly stays true to it’s tagline “Research with confidence”.

Health Grades

With the stated goal of making information on physicians and hospitals more accessible and transparent, Health Grades is all about finding the right doctor, hospital and care for people. It let’s you search for specialist by condition, procedure and specialty. Based on the particular health condition, resources on how to prepare for a doctor visits, what to expect and more are provided,  it also provides treatments and coping tips. Additionally you can take an online health test on behalf of your loved one based on the condition and symptom they have.

With lots of information to guide your decision making, you can breathe easy when choosing a health facility and or doctor for your loved one. Any of these three online resources is a good place to start your research.

My 5 favorite YA books about caregiving

My 5 favorite YA books about caregiving

Sometimes books are the only way to escape. Even if it’s for a few minutes, the pleasure of reading relaxes one. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, books reminds us of something we sometimes need to know, we are not alone.

A Time for Dancing

By Davida Wills Hurwin

Love is one of the few comforts in life. Being special to someone and having that someone special we absolutely adore. It doesn’t always have to be romantic; it could be a friendship that just touches the heart. A Time for Dancing is a dear book because it’s a fiction that speaks of an experience that is very real to humans. Sam and Jules are inseparable best friends ready to face life after high school together, but they never saw illness coming until Jules’s suddenly fell sick. Then they discovered it was cancer. Every friendship will be tested and tried but only true friendship will stand.  This is a story of friendship, love, loss and life. But like all things eventually comes to an end, the story ends.  Its memories however never leave the minds of readers that simply fall in love with it. Read this heartbreaking yet heartwarming story to find out how these two friends managed to navigate the trauma of life and even find a cause to celebrate till the very end.

The Love Story That Shouldn’t Have Been

By Melissa Grijalva

What happens when the thing you hate begins to happen to you? She hates love but got exactly that, love. Our heroine in this book (if we choose to call her that) can be summed up in one word, angry. Dellia is angry to the point of violence, she’s suicidal. Why author Melissa Grijalva would choose to make this girl the main character of her book did not make sense until it began to. The shocker of this story is that readers fall in love with this very flawed teenage girl as they continue to read her story, a story she has no qualms about sharing, up to the very last embarrassing detail. The book as it unfolds begins to take meaningful shape and readers begin to empathize with Dellia, her insecurities, pain and venerability are very familiar. This is a book that would make one cry and laugh as well. The best part, it’s a love story.

My Only

By N.K. Smith

As twin brothers, these two could not be further apart. Adam is shy, introverted, and awkward, while his twin brother Aaron has the celebrity personality. Adam was not the popular one of the two brothers, but he was a talented drummer. Only he never lets other see how talented he is because he himself does not see just how talented he is. Then emerges Olivia on the scene, and everything changes like it does when a guy meets a girl. They became friends, she likes him and he likes her, but so does Aaron. Will Adam stay in his shell and back down for his “celebrity” brother or will he fight to discover the possibility of life outside his cocoon? Read this wonderful book to find out.

The Wrong Side of Right

By Jenn Marie Thorne’s

When speaking of a complicated love story, this book is full of it. But the love story is not the only thing that makes this book great, it’s everything. Kate never knew she had a father until her mother died and her father shows up. What more? He’s not just any man. He’s a powerful politician running for U.S. President. Before Kate knew what was happening, she finds herself joining a new family she didn’t know exist, campaigning for the father she barely knows and falling for a guy who may be wrong. And on top of that, there’s the spotlight of being a politician’s love child. How does Kate deal with all of these? Read this new book to find out, it doesn’t matter whether or not you love politics, this is a book readers will fall in love with. For a contemporary novel, it deserves a five star. It’s heartwarming, funny, and it’s a very good read.

The Afterlife

By Gary Soto

Do ghost really exist? This is a book that would make you think about that question again. This story is centered on a ghost who falls in love with a ghost. After 17 years old Chuy was killed, he finds himself looking down at his own body, and then it dawned on him, he’s a ghost. Imagine life being more interesting for a ghost that a living human, this is exactly what happens to Chuy when he finds himself falling in love with a fellow ghost. This story is funny, touching, meaningful and certainly interesting.

Nip fear in the bud

Nip fear in the bud

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration… ― Frank Herbert Dune

Fear an anxiety is widely common among caregivers. To understand fear and anxiety, we must first understand how the human mind works. The mind is the part of a human that thinks, reasons, feels and remembers, also known as the faculty of consciousness and thought, also known as the brain. According to studies in the psychology department of Pennsylvania State University, the average person speaks at a rate of 125 to 169 words per minute while thinking four times more rapidly. In other words, we think four times faster than we speak in a minute. An additional fun fact, Scientist discovered that it takes 13 milliseconds for the brain to see an image. In a nut shell, the brain/mind is super fast. How does this relate to fear and anxiety? Well, anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. The cause of anxiety is intrinsic in its definition. Anxiety is caused by the anticipation of something that’s yet to happen, and this begins in the mind. Thoughts causes feelings, and feelings leads to thoughts. A negative thought forms in our mind, and because of how fast the mind works, the thought takes root before we know it and the more we ponder on it, the more we feel unpleasant about it, leading to worry, unease, nervousness etc. Here’s an example of how this works. I have a headache, I begin to think about the headache, and a phrase like this forms in my head ¨this is bad,¨ the thought triggers a feeling of unease in me, which in turn triggers another thought, ¨what if it becomes worse?¨ this leads to a feeling of nervousness, followed by another thought, ¨what if it’s a migraine?¨ I begin to worry and the pattern continues until I become a train wreck of anxiety. Bear in mind that I may or may not have a migraine. Anxiety is like a little tear in a garment, unless patched up, it continues to get bigger and bigger. It all begins with a negative thought, the key is to nip it in the bud.

”We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.”― Teal Swan

Whether we fear the unknown or we fear what we think, the point remains we fear. So how do we prevent ourselves from being unduly anxious? Having determined that anxiety begins in the mind, the way to also get rid of it begins in the mind, at its onset. It’s called attacking a problem at its root or nipping it in the bud. Our minds have the tendency toward negative thoughts, but we also control our minds. Therefore, we can control our thoughts. Here are three easy ways to get rid of anxiety.

Think positive and breath

Positive thoughts gets rid of anxiety. Think thoughts that are calming, breath deeply and sigh to release tension.

Shift your focus on the environment

Do something like speaking to the space, standing instead of siting, walking around, jumping or bouncing, and touching object. Doing this may help you get out of your own head.


Yes write about it. Writing about what’s making you anxious gives you a better perspective on it. It helps you identify your worry and gives you the ability to step away from it and look at it from afar. You might just discover there’s nothing to worry about.

3 ways to get rid of stress – no judgements!

3 ways to get rid of stress – no judgements!

Among the lists of things that are common to humans, stress is one of them. We have all gotten stressed out at one point or the other; even babies feel stressed. I do three things to relieve stress depending on the nature of the stress, and the time and convenience I have.


Dancing is one of things I do to relieve stress when I am at home, the location is convenient. It could be as simple as swaying to a slow rhythm or dancing to a pop song. I am not a very good dancer, but it doesn’t matter, I am not doing it to become a professional. I find dancing really helps relieve my stress. Sometimes I stand in front of a mirror to watch myself dance, I give myself little tasks like how many new dance moves I can invent or the different ways I could move my body. Seeing the different bizarre dance moves I come up with makes me laugh and before I know it, I’m not so stressed anymore. Other times, I play the song in my head without listening to it and just shake my body however I want, I make funny faces while dancing and just think of how people will laugh if they should see me right then, it makes me laugh even more. Dancing is a great remedy for relieving stress, especially if you are a goofy dancer like me, it works if you’re good at it too.

Talk it out…to myself

The other thing I do to relieve stress is talk about it to myself. Now I don’t want to look crazy talking to myself in public, not that I don’t do it sometimes, but I send myself text messages instead. Or write in the little notepad app on my android phone. It’s like having a friend you tell everything to the moment it happens, but when I actually think of ranting to my friend every single time I’m stressed, I also think of losing a friendship, so I rant to myself instead. I text myself short messages, it’s like checking on myself, I receive the messages and I respond. I use the notepad when I have a lot to say, I just keep on writing and writing till I’m sure I have fully vented. This works best when I’m on the train or in any sitting position, I just take out my phone and write about the issue. I also find it helps me put things into perspectives, for example I have found solutions to problems that give me stress by writing about it. Each thought I’m trying to write or text takes a while to process and within those little moments, things become clearer, it’s either I solve the problem or I just feel better about it. One day, I was on the train for two hours and I felt like I have really written a lot on my notepad app, so I decided to transfer it to Microsoft Word on my computer, just to see how much I had written, and I found that I had written five pages worth of materials about the situation, I was amazed and that alone made me feel great!


Lastly, I daydream when I am stressed. I could be home or in public, but I am careful not to miss my stop while daydreaming on the train and I’m careful not to burn my food while daydreaming at home. There are other hazards I try to avoid while daydreaming, so generally, I daydream while laying on my bed or watching television, it’s safer that way. Usually, I would create characters my head and put them in my situation, rather than put myself in my daydreams. I would then think of happy stress-free ways in which my characters are resolving the situation or simply magically getting out of it. It makes me feel better to think of other people that might be facing the same issue, I don’t feel so alone and it’s just good to think of the fact that there might be a way for the issue to be resolved realistically or magically. Therefore daydreaming helps me in that sense. Sometimes I put myself in the daydreams and think of the farthest thing from the situation that is stressing me. This is what most people would do, it helps a lot too.


There are many unique ways in which people relieve stress, it might have become a habit or routine that we just do automatically without even thinking about it, but if we really think about it, we’d find we have our own individual ways of relieving stress. It could be universal too, it just means the method is so good, other people are using it.

How do you keep stress from getting you down?

Adrienne plays Words With Friends, Jonah plays pool, Ed works out (of course!), Harriet writes… share your favorite stress buster in the comments below or on the forum.

Healthcare only gets better with change

Healthcare only gets better with change

In an article published on on Thursday, the 12th of March, Theresa Boyle discussed how the Ontario’s home and community care system is failing patients and their families and how a report by a group of expert panel suggests ways to make the system more liable, organized and family-centered.

The 51 page report that acknowledges the growing pressures on the more than three million unpaid caregivers in Ontario, asserts that the system fails to meet the needs of clients and families. Therefore, 16 recommendations were made to make the system more trustworthy. In addition to these recommendations is a focus on creating a “cultural shift,” to make the system more centered around the needs of clients and families rather than those of service providers. The report states that clients and families are confused about the availability of publicly covered services, and that the assessment process for determining eligibility is not transparent.

According to Gail Donner, former dean of nursing at the University of Toronto and chair of the expert panel, the recommendations will begin to make it possible to have a robust family-centered model of integrated and co-ordinated care for families at home. Experts says the report validates concerns, the recommendations will serve as an important guide in improving and transforming the home and community care sector and that the government should adopt the recommendations as soon as possible. But, Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition is concerned that a recommendation calling for LHINS to select a lead agency to design and co-ordinate delivery of services could lead to more privatization of health care.

The article states that a scathing report on the state of home care in the province had been released earlier that week. A Toronto resident, Tracey MacMaster agrees that changes are desperately needed, and believes that her mother’s stroke was partly due to the insufficient home care. She said her elderly mother lived alone in Burlington and could not properly care for herself. MAcMaster had to make a ”big fuss” with the CCAC and wait three months just to get her mother one hour of care a week. This goes to show how desperately changes are needed.

Let the knowledge empower you

Let the knowledge empower you

Since you had the news you have thought about it over and over again. You have examined all angles, you have weighed all options and you know with full conviction if there was absolutely anything you could do, you would do it. Let the knowledge empower you.

Sometimes in life, we go through situations that we would only wish on our worst enemies. We question the universe, we blame it on God, we ask ourselves, maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s something, maybe it’s anything, maybe it’s nothing. But the fact remains it’s there and there’s nothing we can do about it. Let the knowledge empower you.

There is nothing we could do to change the moment before we know a loved one has a terminal disease, but there is a lot we could do the moment we find out, knowledge is after all power. Everything now revolves around what we know. What we do with the knowledge changes everything.

We have little control over what happens to us most times, but we have power over how we let it affect our lives. It’s called the power of knowledge, perception and choice. We could choose to be down and weary through life’s most challenging obstacles, we could choose to accept fate with resignation or we could choose to be empowered.

John was 19 years old when he found out his mother had breast cancer. The doctor really couldn’t tell them how much time she had left to live, but the certainty was that death was inevitable. Several questions were asked, what can we do? surgery? exercise? medicine? Answers came all summarized in one word. “Nothing”, with an unpleasant finality. John, as you can imagine, met the news with great sorrow. Who wouldn’t?

He was the only child of his mother, so he was who you might call a mama’s boy.

There are no guarantees in life, but there are choices. John decided he was going to be empowered by cancer rather than defeated. He started doing research on breast cancer and during the course of his research he found an information that had nothing to do with cancer, but was nevertheless empowering. This information changed his life.

John was a sophomore in college, when he got back from school each day, he would say something funny to make his mother laugh, and she would, and so it continued on till he graduated from college, went for his master’s degree, got married and had his first child. His mother lived to witness it all, dying eight years after her diagnosis. Fate? maybe, or just simple knowledge. John had stumbled on this article that reads laughter makes you live longer, he was a little bit skeptic about it, but he knew even if he could not stop his mother from dying, he could fill her remaining days with pleasant memories. Only those days turned to months, and months to years.

It doesn’t matter how much time, what you do with it is what matters. Life is all about how you choose to look at it. You have the power of knowledge, perception and choice over things you cannot change. Use the knowledge to empower yourself and use time wisely.

Resources for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Resources for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

What is EDS?

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that mostly affect the skin, joints, and blood vessels. The most common types of EDS includes the Classical Type, Hypermobility Type and the Vascular Type, also known as VEDS or Type IV. The Vascular Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is the most severe type of EDS, it makes the blood vessels and organs fragile, leading to easy bruising and rupture. Symptoms of VEDS includes stretchy skin, thin skin, thin lips, small chin, thin nose, large eyes and joint dislocation.There is no cure yet for EDS, but there are treatments that have been known to be very helpful.

Here is a list of sources that provides useful information about VEDS and other types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Please note that this isn’t an official endorsement and we’re not necessarily affiliated with these organizations. Is there an organization or resource caregivers should know about that isn’t on the list? Let us know.

EDS Network C.A.R.E.S Inc.

This is a non for profit organization established by EDS patients and family members to help improve the quality of life for people who have EDS and raise awareness through research, support, education and advocacy. Visit this site for information on types/causes/ syndrome of EDS, raising funds for a cure and raising awareness. The site also has a gift store which provides EDS awareness bracelets, EDS wallet medical cards, designer memorial pins, care buttons and information packets for educators.

EDS Today

This is the place to go for visual supported information about EDS. The site provides information, awareness, guidance and support for EDS patients, families, general public and medical community. In addition to advocacy, assistant with medical crisis, navigating the medical system, networking and fund raising for EDS research projects. There is also a helpline for an emergency crisis advocate on the website.

The Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation

For quick answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about EDS, this is the site to visit. EDNF provides answers to questions such as how one gets EDS, the meaning of “mosaic” or “mosaicism”, whether or not to get genetic counselling, how EDS affects one’s lifestyle, sleep problems and so on. The site also has an helpline and provides information about Ritter Rules. Named after actor John Ritter, who died of a thoracic aortic dissection, Ritter Rules are life-saving reminders to recognize, treat and prevents a deadly tear in the large artery that carries blood away from the heart.

Ehlers-Danlos Support UK

Visit this website for general information on all types of EDS. On this site one can tell and read stories of individuals with EDS, find latest news and past and current research on EDS.

NYU Langone Medical Center

This sites provides up to date quick and easy to read information about EDS, such as the definition, causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments of EDS.