It All Comes Down to Time
Time always matters, especially when a loved one’s welfare or life hangs in the balance. The words “if it had been caught sooner. . . “ are rarely used in a positive scenario.
For senior living residents, the time it takes to accurately identify health issues and provide proper treatment can literally mean life or death. At a minimum, it can mean less incidence of pain, suffering, and potentially worsened conditions. In fact, the faster a health issue is identified, verified, and treated, the healthier the entire community will be! This is where having immediate access to full-service diagnostic lab testing comes into play. It is a crucial tool in maintaining the health and well-being of senior living residents.
Many Common Issues Can Be Treated Quickly With Good Outcomes
There are many common health issues in seniors that offer early “clues” or warning signs, that if heeded, can prevent a whole spectrum of complications. These issues include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues
- Respiratory Infections
Heed the Warning Signs
The good news is that by noticing the early warning signs and providing confirmation via fast, accurate diagnostic testing, many issues can be treated quickly with significantly improved outcomes. Here are some signs to look for:
- Frequent and/or painful urination
- Unusual urine color or odor
- Pressure in lower pelvis, lower back pain on one or both sides
- Fever / chills / mental changes / confusion
- Changes in eating habits
- Dehydration / constant thirst
- Changes in personal aroma to a sickly sweet smell
- Abdominal pain
- Loose, watery stool for 24 hours or more
- Fatigue and body aches
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
The Power of Early Detection
The impact of early detection coupled with appropriate timely action cannot be overemphasized. Time and accuracy are truly critical factors here.
- Annually, over 2 million UTI infections occur in long term care facilities alone, resulting in 120,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths.
- Gastrointestinal issues can lead to other or worsened conditions such as superinfection, HUS, reactive arthritis, post-infection IBS, and Guillain-Barré.
- Treating early in the course of respiratory infections like COVID-19 can speed recovery and reduce likelihood of developing severe or fatal outcomes.
Using traditional methods, urine testing traditionally takes up to 72 hours to complete, and often led to inconclusive results, leading to inappropriate antibiotic types being prescribed. With 1 in 3 UTIs demonstrating resistance to antibiotics, it’s essential to pinpoint which medication will work best as early as possible. Access to next-generation assay tools produces actionable diagnostic information within 24 hours. This can completely change the course and severity of a UTI infection, producing a much more favorable outcome.
Traditional stool cultures used to diagnose common GI problems typically take 3-5 days to produce results. The process is highly complex and the scope can be limited. A next-gen GI panel takes just 50 to 60 minutes, is a much simpler process, and can detect 22 common viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause infectious diarrhea. Treatment can occur in hours vs. days.
With respiratory infections, including Covid-19, treatment must be started within days after symptoms first appear to be effective. A “simple” cough or sore throat can quickly escalate to serious levels and spread. Next-gen respiratory panels are significantly faster and more sensitive than traditional panels and can test for over 20 viruses and bacteria from a single swab.
An Answer is Available
One major solution to improving the health and wellbeing of senior living residents is available right now. It has been implemented in hundreds of senior communities around the country and can be characterized by these few words:
SEE IT. TEST IT. TREAT IT.
Full-Service Diagnostic Lab Testing from EmpowerMe Wellness
EmpowerMe has hospital-grade diagnostic labs which are the first of their kind to be purpose-built for the needs of seniors. Featuring best-in-class equipment and staff, these tech-enabled labs allow communities and ordering physicians to order and receive results electronically, often within 24 hours of being received in the lab. Multiple types of specimen testing are available, including:
- Respiratory panels
- GI panels
- Blood tests
- And much more
A partnership with Mayo Clinic enables EmpowerMe to offer an expanded testing catalog, so if a resident needs a specific test, EmpowerMe can do it.
SEE IT. TEST IT. TREAT IT. It WILL Make a Difference!
Theresa Catalano, Laboratory Director at EmpowerMe Wellness, sums it up like this: “Once an early warning sign is spotted, we are positioned to move very quickly. Our program ensures fast, accurate results. So many health crises can be averted or minimized with early detection and treatment. It makes such a world of difference!”
“Instead of facing serious complications, our residents can be treated and back to their best selves in minimal time,” Theresa continues. “They feel better, their families feel better, and community staff can focus on making residents happy. Everyone benefits!”