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Coping with Grief and Loss: A guide to healing when mourning the death of a loved one – Harvard Health Publications

Perhaps one of the most terrible things about life is that it ends.   At the same time, the fragility of life is perhaps what also makes it beautiful and precious for many of us.  And so, it is perhaps most painful when we have to see others die than it is to finally succumb ourselves.  In the behavioral health profession this process of experiencing the death of others is referred to at grief and loss…  Most of us do not handle it very well.  Both the lead up to it, the moment when it happens and then our often long process of trying to understand and deal with it.

The Policy ThinkShop recommends the following Harvard medical resource to help you broaden your perspective on death and dying–the inevitable crisis we often face more than once in our lives.

 

“Compassionate advice for dealing with the loss of a loved one. The loss of a loved one can be a profoundly painful experience. The grief that follows may permeate everything, making it hard to eat, sleep, or muster much interest in the life going on around you.

This emotional maelstrom can affect behavior and judgment. It’s common, for example, to feel agitated or exhausted, to sob unexpectedly, or to withdraw from the world. Some people find themselves struggling with feelings of sorrow, numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety.

While no words can erase grief, Coping with Grief and Loss can help you navigate this turbulent time.

In its pages, you’ll find advice on comforting yourself, commemorating your loved one, and understanding the difference between grief and depression. You’ll also find special sections on coping with the loss of a child, parent, or spouse.

Coping with Grief and Loss also includes information on navigating life when a loved one is terminally ill, on end-of-life planning, and on ways to talk about death.

Loss affects people in different ways. There is no “right” way to grieve, and no timetable or schedule for grieving. This Special Health Report aims to help you cope with the loss of a loved one at your own pace and in your own way. It offers numerous physical, emotional, and social strategies that help healing take place.”

More via Coping with Grief and Loss: A guide to healing when mourning the death of a loved one – Harvard Health Publications.

Filed under: access to education, Aging, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Death and Dying, News

RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America Recommends Seismic Shift in Funding Priorities to Improve Health – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation forms prestigious commission and makes bold recommendations to protect our youngest and most vulnerable kids…

Policy ThinkShop Resources:  Download report at: http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/reports/2014/rwjf409002

“Commission to Build a Healthier America Recommends Seismic Shift in Funding Priorities to Improve Health, with Emphasis on Early Childhood Education, Community Revitalization and Broader Health Care Scope”

MORE via RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America Recommends Seismic Shift in Funding Priorities to Improve Health – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Philanthropy

Gallup’s Top 10 U.S. Well-Being Discoveries in 2013

The Policy ThinkShop team wishes you and all of our visitors this year a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Here are some fun facts about our health that will get us thinking about a healthier future and a happy 2014 from the Gallup organization:

Highlights from the health and well-being findings Gallup.com published in 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gallup published nearly 100 unique articles in 2013 about Americans\’ health and well-being. Through its daily surveys, conducted year-round, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uncovers new insights and provides the most up-to-date data available on Americans\’ mental state, exercise and eating habits, healthcare coverage, physical health, and financial well-being. The following list represents Gallup editors\’ picks for the top 10 most important findings from this year.

Lacking employment is most linked to having depression: For Americans, being unemployed, being out of the workforce, or working part time — but wanting full-time work — are the strongest predictors of having depression. Gallup found that these relationships hold true even after controlling for age, gender, income, education, race and ethnicity, marital status, having children, region, obesity, having health insurance, and being a caregiver. Bonus finding: Depression costs U.S. employers $23 billion in absenteeism each year.

Obesity is a growing problem for Americans: The adult obesity rate has been trending upward in 2013 will likely surpass rates since 2008, when Gallup and Healthways began tracking. The obesity rate has increased across almost all demographic groups.

Those who are actively disengaged at work are more likely to smoke: Eighteen percent of actively disengaged workers — those who are emotionally disconnected from their jobs — light up vs. 15% of other workers. Bonus finding: Workers who smoke cost the U.S. economy $278 billion annually.

Female veterans have a more optimistic life outlook: Female veterans of the U.S. military have a much more optimistic outlook on their lives than their male counterparts do. Female veterans\’ future life ratings are similar to those of women in the general U.S. population, but male veterans\’ ratings trail behind other men\’s ratings.

Heart attacks hit women harder, emotionally speaking: American women who say they have had a heart attack at some point in their lives have an average Emotional Health Index score that is eight points lower than the average score among women who have not had a heart attack. In comparison, the average Emotional Health Index score among men who have had a heart attack is four points lower than it is among men who have not.

Depression rate drops in areas hardest hit by Sandy: One year after Superstorm Sandy, reports of clinical depression among those living in the hardest hit areas have mostly recovered to levels seen before the storm. But reports of anger in the most affected areas have increased. Bonus finding: More residents smoke and fewer eat healthily than before the storm.

Income more to blame for obesity than food deserts: In a first-of-its-kind study exploring the relationship between adult obesity and food deserts, Gallup found that lack of access to grocery stores alone doesn\’t matter in terms of obesity; it only matters when Americans also have low incomes. But being low-income is associated with higher obesity rates, regardless of access to food.

Engaged employees have a healthier lifestyle: Employees who are engaged at work are more likely to report eating healthier, exercising more frequently, and consuming more fruits and vegetables than workers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged.

Single-parent households struggle more to afford food: Thirty-one percent of single-parent households said there were times in the past 12 months when they struggled to afford food, compared with 19% two-parent households. Younger parents and parents with three or more children also had more trouble affording food at times.

Among U.S. workers, lack of exercise is linked more to obesity than eating habits: Exercising fewer than three days a week is more closely linked to U.S. workers being obese than any of 26 other behavioral factors, including healthy eating. This held true even while controlling for age, ethnicity, race, marital status, gender, income, education, region, and religiosity.

via Gallup’s Top 10 U.S. Well-Being Discoveries in 2013.

Filed under: Aging, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Death and Dying, Happy New Year!!! From The Policy ThinkShop, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform

CVS cuts access to opioid pain-killers for suspect doctors | Reuters

In a society where drugs have been demeaned as too expensive or dangerous substances that cause addiction and ruin lives, it is big news when a major drug distributor like CVS announces that they are going to address the illegal and destructive distribution of pain-killers by targeting physicians that fall outside any reasonable nor for prescribing these highly addictive substances.

“CVS Caremark Corp said on Wednesday that it has taken the unusual step of cutting off access to powerful pain-killers for more than 36 doctors and other healthcare providers found to prescribe the drugs at an alarmingly …”

via CVS cuts access to opioid pain-killers for suspect doctors | Reuters.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, consumers, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, News, Parenting, ,

In U.S., Less Than Half Look at Restaurant Nutrition Facts | Gallup Poll

The Policy ThinkShop is expanding its policy analysis and research resources in response to the current  healthcare reform challenges faced by the states and communities.  We will be posting periodic articles and resources addressing the numerous variables that define the nation’s current healthcare challenges which go well beyond putting a health insurance card in a person’s hand.

Visit our health policy and research blog at:

http://healththinkshop.com

for more health specific resources and to share with us which areas of health you want us to address for your daily health administration, policy and planning needs.

The restaurant industry can be seen as fitting into a continuum.  At one extreme are the restaurants that focus on providing easy to make menus, easy to store foods, easy to please customers.  By easy to please we might mean people who are looking for the basic satisfying elements producing the classic “addictive” flavors from sweets, salts and fatty foods.  At the other extreme, difficult to call it “extreme” since it is probably the more reasonable in terms of healthy lifestyle, there is the fresh vegetables, fish and light fowl, moderately portioned cuisine  served in prestigious and select culinary establishments for the educated palate.  Home cooking has historical and culturally embedded positive meaning in our culture but truth be told most home cooking is not very healthy either…  In this case, it probably goes outside our initial restaurant continuum because cooking at home requires skill, time and appropriate ingredients.  Of course, in the available ingredients we find the most difficult challenge.  Keeping fresh vegetables, fish and fowl on hand is to often cumbersome and expensive.  Although budget is often the decisive factor here, time, a more universally unavailable commodity, is often the thing that makes or breaks home cooking.

Aside from the mechanics, logistics and administrative aspects of culinary efficacy there is, perhaps equally decisive as time, health literacy.   That is, knowledge of the relationship between food and health.  That is not the only aspect of health literacy but it just as well aught to be.  According to the Gallop Poll, knowledge about what we eat is woefully missing in the American culinary mind.

The Policy ThinkShop is expanding its policy analysis and research resources in response to the current  healthcare reform challenges faced by the states and communities.  We will be posting periodic articles and resources addressing the numerous variables that define the nation’s current healthcare challenges which go well beyond putting a health insurance card in a person’s hand.

Visit our health policy and research blog at:

http://healththinkshop.com

for more health specific resources and to share with us which areas of health you want us to address for your daily health administration, policy and planning needs.

“Even as more U.S. restaurants list nutritional information on their menus, less than half of Americans, 43%, say they pay a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of attention to it. Americans are much more likely to take note of nutritional labels on food packages, with 68% saying they pay at least a fair amount of attention to this …”

via In U.S., Less Than Half Look at Restaurant Nutrition Facts.

Filed under: access to education, Aging, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, Medical Research, Medicare, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy, , , , ,

High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia – NYTimes.com

Sugar, salt and animal fat (mostly cholesterol) are the mainstay of the American diet.   These three main ingredients are omnipresent–avoiding them is nearly impossible.

As the baby boomers reach their golden years, especially in the aftermath of the recent deep and long recession, the retirement years will be lean for millions of them.  Lean in terms of resources and lean in terms of access to lean and healthy foods which are usually more expensive, harder to cook or keep in the fridge and requiring more frequent shopping as vegetables and fruits do not keep well on the counter or in the fridge.

Behavioral health, lifestyle and diet will have a much greater impact than so called healthcare reform and access to health insurance will.  Health insurance gets you medical care, in a system that is not proactive nor preventive.  The danger is that we will not change our health habits and that access to health care will only mean greater utilization of services…   Indeed,  the baby boomers will be a tremendous cost to the healthcare system and their Rock and Roll attitude may not bode well for their aging lifestyle and healthcare risk.

“People with diabetes face an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a connection scientists and physicians have worried about for …”

via High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, access to education, Aging, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, consumers, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, , , ,

HealthThinkShop « Health Matters: Think About It …

Pain is as old as complex cell organisms and greed is as old as the cave man.

What is relatively new is how scientists, corporations, (and even physicians trained to help people), engage the business of creating, distributing and profiting from medicines intended to help people but marketed to make money.

The company that reinvented and re-marketed the long used chemical compound called Oxycodone (Oxycodone is an analgesic medication synthesized from poppy-derived thebaine. It was developed in 1916 in Germany, as one of several new semi-synthetic opioids in an attempt to improve on the existing opioids: morphine, diacetylmorphine (heroin), and codeine.) as the new Oxycontin (a synthetic analgesic drug that is similar to morphine in its effects and subject to abuse and addiction.) has unleashed an epidemic that was inherent in a drug that needs much closer control and should be prescribed by properly trained physicians.

So the issue is …

via HealthThinkShop « Health Matters: Think About It ….

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Community Tragedy, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Parenting, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy, , , , , , , , , ,

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells – NYTimes.com

As we age and become more sedentary, our muscles atrophy.   This leads to an unhealthy cycle that reduces our ability to burn calories, etc.  Better understanding how exercise helps us to build and maintain muscle can help us prioritize our need for exercise above other competing tasks that eat up our day and leave us stressed and tired at bedtime.

The next time you think about being too tired to exercise, think about how beneficial exercise is and how it will pay you back in more muscle and energy which you need to live strong.

“Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial …”

via How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, News, Public Health, , , , , ,

Healing the Overwhelmed Physician – or Rescuing healthcare practice from the solo provider?

Individualism, the heroic individual, the leader, the father, the head of an organization and Norman Rockwell’s idilic physician all have one thing in common: the increasingly untenable belief that individualist leadership is the optimal form of guidance and decision making to meet our collective or individual needs.

Enter the case of the solo physician trying to navigate the increasingly complex internal and external realms of his/her medical practice.

The variables under consideration regarding an individual’s health status, those variables needed to understand the internal medical practice resources involved in assessing that status, those variables involved in the dynamics of the outside world of lifestyle and behavior causing or maintaining that status, and, perhaps more importantly, the complex healthcare system supporting the physician and the patient’s experience addressing the numerous communicative, behavioral and resource utilization issues involved in addressing that health status are as complex and exhausting as this very sentence.

Such is the healthcare system today.  Hard to argue that we have not made progress from the days of low life expectancy, high child mortality and when, by today’s standards, low level infections caused serious health problems and even death.

The problem today seems much more complex and overwhelming as healthcare knowhow has become an information management problem.  Computers and medical records do not seem to be helping much yet and the individualism involved in our national culture of choice and personal control seems to be militating against group progress.

The NYTs published a worthwhile article to get us thinking on this topic.  The Policy ThinkShop recommends reading it and further discussion–discussion we can continue here at your Public Policy Blog …

“We physicians are susceptible to a kind of medical Stendhal syndrome as we confront the voluminous evidence about the clinical choices we face every day. It would take dozens of hours each week for a conscientious primary care doctor to read everything he or she needed in order to …”

via Healing the Overwhelmed Physician – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: access to education, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Death and Dying, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, News, Public Health, Public Policy, , , , , ,

States’ Policies on Health Care Exclude Poorest – NYTimes.com

It is dumbfounding!   It paralyzes the brain, the heart and almost all hope–without need for audacity.

Ph.D.s, advocates, health professionals, and good old moms and dads come to the agreement that healthcare needs changing and that sick people should get help–especially those who have difficulty getting it.  Presumably, it is logical and reasonable to think that many of these people are what we, all of us for hundreds of years, have called “the poor.”

Yet for as long as there have been those with and those without, those with often have the efficacy to get more and those without, perhaps by definition, get even less–always…

So here we are well into healthcare reform and the NYT is sounding the whistle on the haves once again–millions have been spent and the poor are somehow invisible once again when it comes to targeting the needs of those who are hurting and are having a difficult time getting good, reliable, continuos, patient centered, medical home care!  Go figure… or better yet, go read the New York times…

“The refusal by about half the states to expand Medicaid will leave millions of poor people ineligible for government-subsidized health insurance under President Obama’s health care law even as many others with higher incomes receive federal subsidies to …”

More via States’ Policies on Health Care Exclude Poorest – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: access to education, Aging, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, consumers, Death and Dying, Economic Recession, Feminization of Poverty, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Maternal and Child Health, Medical Research, Medicare, News, Parenting, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy, Public Service, WeSeeReason, , ,

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