It’s HIPAA, not Hippo! – Protecting your private health information in the Electronic Age

NurseBob

NurseBob

Is your personal health information at risk of being shared with the world? Unfortunately, the answer is Yes!
There
are some interesting parallels between federal acts, icebergs, and hippos, all three keep their bulk and associated dangers submerged and out of sight.  Of course, most of us are familiar with the fate of the Titanic after its encounter with an iceberg, and I don’t think it’s too hard to find scary stories of hippo encounters if you follow stories of African safaris or some of the reality shows.  But, what are the risks associated with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act? (HIPAA)  Wasn’t a primary goal to protect the privacy of your personal health information?  Well, sometimes the best intentioned legislation goes awry, especially when there are competing, and perhaps even contradictory goals contained in the same act.  Anyone remember the reason the HAL 9000 computer murdered most of the crew in Stanely Kubrick’s film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 – A Space OdysseyConflicting directives! Continue reading

Mom’s Acting Crazy! – The Elderly and Urinary Tract Infections

NurseBob

Bob

Unexpectedly, your mom, dad, granny, is actingly strangely.  They seemed fine yesterday, but today they’re calling the police to find out why you’re not visiting anymore (you were there yesterday), making plans that make no sense at all (“I think I’ll drive across country to see all the sights I missed as a kid.”), accusing you of stealing from them (of course you’re NOT!), etc.  It’s not commonly known that seemingly minor infections, such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), can cause profound changes in behavior for the elderly.
As our population ages, and as many of us find ourselves caring for our increasingly elderly and frail parents, we are faced with situations which we are neither trained to reconize, nor handle.  So, if you’re in charge of the care for an elderly parent, I have some thoughts on what to look for. Continue reading