The cornerstone of good healthcare: Nurses

What makes for a good hospital? Most people answer with good, experienced doctors. True. But what makes for a great hospital? The answer is – nurses. The silent yet ever important part of the hospital, nurses are not just caregivers, they are the patients’ advocates and health educators of patients, their families and the community as a whole. The following quote by Rawsi Williams best highlights the great duty carried out by nurses throughout the world -

“To do what nobody else will do,
in a way, nobody else can do,
in spite of all we go through;
that is to be a nurse.”

What do nurses do?

People don’t believe that the work of a nurse encompasses a lot. But the truth is that for a nurse to be good at his/her job, they need to be adaptable and competent. Nurses take on different roles throughout the day and also throughout their careers. When administering direct patient care, nurses are required to monitor, analyse and record patient symptoms, reactions and progress. Their service is as important as that of doctors in the performance of treatments, examinations and rehabilitation.

With the constantly changing medical field and the day-to-day innovations that appear in the medical landscape, nurses need to continuously learn about upcoming technologies, medicines and medical procedures to provide the best possible care for patients. Apart from being great managers and expert care providers, they also have o be skilled in communication. Since they spend more time than even doctors with patients, it is essential that nurses are adept at interacting with patients, putting them at ease and helping in their recovery. It only when the cure and care fields of medicine work together that a patient recovers completely. And the nurses play an important role in this regard.

“They may forget your name,
but they will never forget how
you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

 Nursing as a profession does not just end with giving the patients medication on time or ensuring they are comfortable. The nursing practice has many systems and processes in place that helps in the smooth functioning of the healthcare centre and also ensures relevant data regarding patient medical histories, measures of treatment and other important facts are recorded properly and kept safe for future references. The nursing process consists of 5 steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. These 5 steps are common throughout the field of nursing and are the common factors that unite different types of nurses who work in varied fields. These steps make the core of nursing practice and are essential in imparting holistic, patient-centric care. Nurses also play an important role learning process of young medical interns and residents. Experienced nurses are able to help young practitioners with their years and knowledge and are many times responsible for preventing major mishaps.

So, the next time you are in the hospital, please make sure to thank the nurses too. For though the doctor diagnosed and treated you, the nurse brought you back to health. All of us at Vikram Hospital would like to say a huge thank you to all our nurses and the nurses positioned throughout the world for the amazing work that you do.

 

Nursing Problems in First Time Mothers

Your first pregnancy can be very stressful, everything is about to change and you are unsure if you are ready. On the positive side, there is no dearth of information and knowledge on this particular phase of life. But an often unrecognised problem of pregnancies is the difficulty in nursing, especially the problem of flat or inverted nipples. It is a problem faced by 1 in 10 mothers and is particularly true for first-time mothers.

Breastfeeding is an important aspect of life for a new born child. The first six months of a child’s diet consists entirely of the mother’s milk. If the child has difficulty nursing, it can adversely affect the health of the infant.

A flat or inverted nipple doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot nurse an infant. There are many techniques and non-surgical treatments to ensure your child gets the nourishment he/she needs.

Also, there are many steps that you can take to correct the problem before and after the pregnancy.

Determining whether you have a flat or inverted nipple:

The very first step is to determine whether you have a flat or inverted nipple before your child is born. There is a very simple test – the pinch test helps figure out whether you have flat or inverted nipples.

The steps to follow are -

1. Grip the areola of your breast between the thumb and index finger.

2. Pinch gently but firmly an inch behind your nipple.

3. A normal nipple should protrude. If the nipple does not become erect, it is considered flat. If it retracts or disappears, it is considered inverted.

Treating flat or inverted nipple:

Knowing if you do have an inverted or flat nipple before the birth of the child is very good, since you can take measures to correct them. One such method is the Hoffman Technique, it’s an exercise that helps reduce the inversion of the nipples.

The steps to follow are -

1.Place the thumbs of both hands opposite each other at the base of the nipple.

2.Press gently but firmly into your breast.

3.While your breast is still pressed down, pull the thumbs away from each other.

4.Move your thumb to another position and repeat.

Note: Repeat this exercise twice a day at first, then work up to five times a day.

It helps to do the Hoffman Technique during pregnancy so as to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding. Exercising your nipples even after the baby is born will help in drawing them out properly and help you nurse your baby better.

If unfortunately you were not aware of the shape of your nipple during pregnancy and have difficulty feeding your child due to flat or inverted nipples, there are many items that can help protrude your nipples along with exercising them.

Pumping

One such method is pumping milk with breast pump, this will simulate the sucking action of a baby and help in breaking the adhesions under the skin of the nipple that causes the inversion or flatness of the nipple. The disadvantage is that if an infant gets attached to a bottle, it is hard to wean them off it and make them drink from the mother.

Nipple shields

Nipple shields with their silicon-based protruding nipple form with holes in the end can help the infant suck directly from the mother. Unfortunately the success rate of this method is not very high. If your child is a fussy feeder, he/she may not take to the foreign feeling of a nipple shield well.

Overall, the best method would be to try and make your baby feed from you directly. This will help in reducing the inversion or flatness of your nipple and help you bond with your child.

Wishing you a happy and comfortable pregnancy. Feel free to contact us for further information about breast feeding and child care.

Alzheimer’s Disease

World Alzheimer's Day

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. 
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

Microscopic changes in the brain begin long before the first signs of memory loss.The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell connects with many others to form communication networks. Groups of nerve cells have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell.
Scientists believe Alzheimer’s disease prevents parts of a cell’s factory from running well. They are not sure where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs and, eventually die, causing irreversible changes in the brain.

Mother’s Milk – The first and the best food!

3

 

Breast milk is best food described as ‘mother’s love’. It is the nature’s way of ensuring nourishment, comfort, care, and protection to the new born.  Breastfeeding creates a beautiful bond between the mother and her baby. It also establishes a sense of trust and nonverbal communication by which the baby recognises the mother, her touch, her feel, and voice.

Unfortunately, many women believe that breastfeeding might have a sagging effect, but the truth is though pregnancy alters the look and feel of the breasts to some extent, breastfeeding does not have any altering effects. On the contrary, it provides endless benefits to both mother and the baby.

Breastfeeding provides complete nourishment to the baby as breast milk is a perfect combination of vitamins, protein, and fat which is in a form that can be more easily digested than infant formula. It contains antibodies that strengthen the immune system and help the baby fight against viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. It also lowers the risk of asthma or allergies. In short, breast fed babies have fewer hospitalizations or trips to the doctor and reach their growth milestones at the right age. Moreover, breastfed infants are less likely to be overweight when they grow up.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mother as it is known to burn up to 800 calories per day thus helping in losing weight that was acquired during pregnancy. It reduces the stress level and avoids the risk of postpartum depression. It releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps the uterus to shrink to its normal size after birth. It also lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding has taken a back seat in the modern world due to the number of working mothers who are either unavailable or totally unaware about benefits of breast feeding and its importance. The breastfeeding week is an attempt to popularize breastfeeding and to celebrate motherhood.

By,

Vikram Hospital

5 questions every woman ought to ask about PCOS

pcos

 

What is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a medical condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. Simply put, women with PCOS don’t ovulate every month, their cycles are very irregular and they might develop cysts in their ovaries. If you have PCOS your bodywill not process carbohydrates properly and produce too much insulin, which in turn cause your ovaries to release excess amounts of testosterone.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

PCOS symptoms tend to be mild in the beginning, but can progressively have far-reaching effects on your health. Women with PCOS struggle with their weight, skin conditions like acne, extra hair on their face and body, and thinning hair on their scalps, all of which can make them feel unattractive. Irregular periods – fewer than nine a year, fertility problems and depression are other common symptoms.

What causes PCOS?

The exact causes of PCOS remain unknown, but are generally thought to be a combination of hereditary and lifestyle factors. If other women in your family have PCOS or irregular periods, or even diabetes you are particularly at risk.

Should I be worried about PCOS?

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women worldwide.  However, early diagnosis can help control the symptoms and prevent potential complications of PCOS like diabetes and heart disease. If you have a family history of PCOS or have any of the typical symptoms, you should see a doctor. No single test can confirm if you have PCOS. Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.

How do I beat PCOS?

A balanced diet, regular exercise, medication to balance your hormones and not smoking, go a long way in dealing with the symptoms of PCOS. However treatments depend on your symptoms and it’s important to consult a doctor before the symptoms worsen. You can take the first steps to tackling PCOS by registering for a specially designed PCOS Package at Vikram Hospital Bengaluru. The package includes consultations with an Endocrinologist, Gynaecologist and Dietician, and lab tests – FSH, LH; T3 T4, TSH, Serum Prolactin; FBS; PPBS; Serum Insulin; Free Testosterone; USG-Abdomen & Pelvis. Avail a 30% discount on the PCOS Package at Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru between July 20 and Aug 20. Call 88844-16662to fix an appointment today.

Vikram Hospital (Bengaluru) Pvt. Ltd. 71/1, Millers Road, Opp. St. Anne’s College, Bengaluru. www.vikramhospital.com

Rare Cancer- Real Trouble

Carcinophobia could grip anyone who figures out that there are more than 200 different types of cancer that develop from different types of cells in different parts of the body.  Some of these cancers are termed ‘rare’ because fewer than 2 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with it each year.

On medical terms, a cancer could be considered rare if it develops in an unusual site in the body

  • Retinoblastoma that develops from the immature cells of a retina
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans develops in  the deep layers of the skin
  • Male breast cancer
  • Heart cancer
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma involving nasal cavity .

Cancer is also termed rare if it needs specialized treatment procedures.

  • Angiosarcoma of the breast is treated differently to most other breast cancers.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor which needs specialized treatment when compared to the other common cancers of the digestive tract.

Rare cancers seem like vampires; scary, unheard of, with little or no information available. Many feel isolated because they are less likely to meet other people with the same type, thus denying any chances of sharing experiences or finding support.  In some cases, the patient may need to travel to a specialist hospital or doctor for treatment. Coping with rare cancer is a real challenge.  Inaccurate or delayed diagnosis is a major obstacle for the proper treatment of such patients with which could lead to poor prognosis.