Tag

Best health

16, Sophomore, All-In

By | ePatient, Musician, Podcasts | One Comment

Welcome to the Health Hats podcast series about young adults transitioning from pediatric to adult medical care. In this series, I interview young adults with complex medical conditions, their parent or guardians, point-of-care clinicians caring for these young adults, and whoever else I find of interest in this fascinating, frustrating, heart-breaking, and inspiring world.

This second podcast of the series is with Sara Lorraine Snyder, a fine, eloquent, young woman who has lived her entire life with chronic medical issues. She’s learning to drive her own healthcare and manage the transition to adult medical care.

“If you were playing with the team for football or whatever and then they come you come in the next practice and half of your team is completely new people that you don’t even know and  then you don’t know how to effectively work with that team so that in the end of the day you can win or like achieve, whatever you need to.” Sara Lorraine Snyder

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Setting Personal Health Goals

By | Caregiver, ePatient, Podcasts | No Comments

Episode Summary

We’re going somewhere with our best health journey. Destination: Personal health goals. If you’re well, stay well. If you’re acutely ill, get over it. If you’re chronically ill or dying, live the best life possible. There’s a difference between medical and personal health goals. Onward. Read More

Equity: more to achieve the same

By | Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, Consumer, ePatient, Leader, Podcasts | No Comments

Diversity, equality, and equity are not the same. Diversity = the inclusion of differences. Equality = leveling the playing field. Equity = People have the same opportunity to achieve best physical, mental, and spiritual health no matter their social circumstances, biology, genetics, or physical environment. Bias impacts them all. Reaching for equity requires moving toward systems designed and built for inclusion and best health outcomes. Read More

Crossing Thresholds

By | Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient | One Comment

Before I officiate at a wedding, I meet with the couple. Getting married is crossing a threshold. There’s a moment before which you aren’t married, after which you are. What’s the difference, one moment to the next?  I’ve officiated at 26 weddings over 40 years. One time, the couple couldn’t say.  I didn’t officiate.

We continuously cross thresholds in our lives and in our journey to best health. A threshold is a beginning, a change – before we weren’t, now we are. We cross a physical threshold when entering a building, a room, a town… We cross a threshold when we enter a community, a relationship, an experience. We cross a threshold as we park our cars, enter a clinic, go for an MRI; when the doctor or nurse enters the room or responds to an email; when we call our insurance company; when someone asks, How are you? We cross a threshold when we feel a lump, hear a diagnosis, throw up, panic, feel pain, fall. Before we didn’t, now we do.

Crossing a threshold can present us with limitless possibilities. Who knows what might happen? Anticipation, excitement, hope. Some thresholds upset our sense of balance, our inertia. Why me? Distraction, hopelessness, annoyance, frustration, fatigue, rage  Crossing a threshold can energize or suck energy, depending on the moment and perspective. Read More

May the Force…

By | ePatient, Family man | No Comments

Tragedy: the common unifying force of life, no matter your genetics, your circumstances, your behavior, your health. As you season the likelihood of experiencing tragedy increases. A tragedy can be a death, diagnosis of serious illness, break up, job loss, legal difficulties, downsizing, loss of a contract, loss of key staff, loss, loss, loss. Read More

Trailer: Health Hats, the Podcast

By | Podcasts | No Comments

HHP000_Episode Summary

Best health is living at peak performance no matter our biology, abilities, or our circumstances. Reaching best physical, mental, and spiritual health is complex, frustrating, frightening, and oh so rewarding.  I’ve worn many hats during my life in healthcare. I’m a person with Multiple Sclerosis, I’m a nurse who’s worked in the community, in hospitals, in managed care, and behavioral health.  I’ve been care partner to several family member’s end-of-life journeys. I’m a musician, an Opa, a storyteller, and a patient/caregiver activist.  Wearing all these hats, I know a little bit about a lot of healthcare and a lot about a little bit of healthcare. I  interpret the Tower of Babel so You can drive your own train and achieve your personal and community health goals. In this podcast, I will invite passionate, skilled people to muse with me about life, death, advocacy, research, data, healthcare delivery, anything that piques my interest. Let’s make some sense of all this!

Episode Notes

Please find me at  https://www.health-hats.com/.  or subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

About the Show

Welcome to Health Hats, empowering people as they travel together toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen and I have worn many hats in my 40+ years in healthcare as a patient, caregiver, nurse, informaticist, and leader. Everyone wears many hats, but I wear them all at once.  We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in healthcare’s Tower of Babel.  Let’s make some sense of all this.

My guests and I reflect on what works for people, professionals, and communities in their journeys toward best health: learning, making choices, communicating, and adjusting to realities. We can range from personal, clinical, technical, entrepreneurial, organizational, to whatever interests me at the moment. Join the ride!

Readers of Health Hats, the Blog, we will publish a Podcast in at least two of each month’s weekly posts. To subscribe go to the blog https://www.health-hats.com/

Hey there, this is Danny. Best health is living at peak performance no matter our biology, abilities, or our circumstances. Reaching best physical, mental, and spiritual health is complex, frustrating, frightening, and oh so rewarding.

Manage the Stress You Can

By | ePatient, Family man | 2 Comments

When my son, Mike, was dying I knew I needed help supporting Mike AND survive and thrive myself.  I went shopping for a counselor. No surprise to you – I am not an easy patient. But I was willing to do the work. My shopping eventually led me to three counselors.  The first, a friend highly recommended. This friend had survived leukemia with several years of chemo, stem cell transplant and heart surgery. His mental and spiritual health were shaken. I could see that this counselor had really helped him. I made an appointment. The guy popped Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints the whole time. To keep himself awake? No go. Still shopping. The next counselor I knew from work. She was on my providers’ council. She asked questions. I answered. How did I feel…? I didn’t need talk therapy. I had family and friends. I needed a roadmap. How do I manage myself? The third counselor spent 5 minutes asking me about diet, sleep, exercise, pooping, my family, transportation. You have to take care of the basics to manage grief. Then he said, there’s stress you can manage and stress you can’t. Grief is stress that’s hard to manage.  There it is. It’s not going away. Now tell me your top two stresses in your life right now. That was easy. On top – My mother. (That’s another story for another day). Tell me more. I told him more, another 10 minutes. Then he gave me three things to try to help manage the stress with Ma. I spent 45 minutes of the allotted hour with him! He was a keeper.  I tried all three recommendations with Ma. I could pull off two. Rapidly less stress in that arena. Therapy from a master is worth shopping for! He’s still part of my team. I talk to him on the phone from time to time – like when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Read More

Best Spiritual Health, Dying

By | Caregiver, ePatient, Family man | One Comment

Sixteen years ago on November 18, 2002, our son, our brother, our friend, Michael Funk, died of metastatic melanoma at age 26. Mike said that he wasn’t born with a tattoo on his butt telling him how long he had to live.  What a gift.  Mike was a gift. His perspective about dying was a gift. One day we were sitting at the kitchen table talking about dying and superpowers. Mike thought that he and I had the same superpower: we both accept what is. Yup, he died young. That’s life. You open your heart and tragedy just walks right in. What’s the alternative? Closed heart? Not for me.

Welcome, my dear Health Hats blog readers, let me introduce you to the birth of Health Hats, the Podcast. We are here to empower people as they travel together toward best health. Best health includes physical, mental, and spiritual health. Today’s blog post and podcast are about Mike who found his best spiritual health over the last year of his life, as he died. Read More

Best Health at End of Life

By | Caregiver, ePatient, Family man, Podcasts | 6 Comments

Episode Summary

Best Health includes physical, mental, and spiritual health. Michael Funk, my son, died at age 26 on November 18, 2002, of metastatic melanoma. Mike found his best spiritual health in the last year of his life as he died. As Mike said, I wasn’t born with a tattoo telling me how long I had to live. This first episode of Health Hats, the Podcast, celebrates Mike’s journey through a montage of an interview with Mike several months before he died, a conversation with Bob Doherty who conducted that interview, and stories about my experiences with Mike. Listen as we try to make sense of this reality. Read More

2018 Healthcare Literacy in Research Conference

By | Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient, Researcher | No Comments

I attended the tenth annual Healthcare Literacy in Research Conference in DC last week as a PCORI Ambassador. As is my habit, when I go to conferences I think, So what? How does this help lay people navigating health and illness?

What is literacy anyway? Ability to read and write? No, that’s not enough. Maybe it’s more. Keywords may include: understand, communicate, useful, culture. Understand whom? People understanding professionals? Professionals understanding people? Who communicates? People, communities, professionals communicate with each other. Communicate what? Useful knowledge about illness, health, or life? Or all of it? In a culture of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and clinics? OR culture of people and communities?

So, at the conference, I was looking for co-produced research (researcher and patient partners) about lay people, professionals, and communities understanding each other to increase useful knowledge about less illness and best health.

Here’s a sample of the best of what I heard and learned.

  • Family literacy programs: A call (again) for health literacy in partnerships with adult basic education: In search of ‘new oil’ and ‘new lanterns.’ Maricel Santos. The adult literacy world and public health need to spend more time in each other’s worlds. The goal is not to make things simple, but to make them understood. Literacy existing in the context of life helps literacy matter. Here is an article by Santos. Nice.
  • One of my favorite posters, Helping Consumers Choose and Use Health Care. Stephen Rush. Readable, large font, high contrast (unlike many posters which are small font, low contrast at a literacy conference). Very practical. Introducing Just Plain Clear Glossary (justplainclear.com)
  • Digital Literacy in an Urban Cancer Population: Who are we leaving out? Alison Petok, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University. My 2 cents: In spite of the literature saying that smartphone use is on the rise and that many use their phones for health, the distribution of internet access is variable across demographics and the proportion of those using a health app more than twice is low. This poster describes this variation in more detail and describes hosting workshops to increase comfort with using portals and health apps. My mom used to annoy me. I was her personal help desk. I suggested she find a 15-year old at church, pay $10/hour, for her personal help desk. She shifted from flip to smartphone and started using health apps. And stopped calling her cranky son.
  • Health Literacy in Health Systems: the association between health service providers health literacy, awareness, and attitudes toward health literacy promotion, and patient communication. Diane Levin-Zamir and Shirley Mor from Israel. Health literacy in the context of the settings of medical/patient relationship (hospital and clinic cultures), not the single focus on patient health literacy.
  • Health Literacy and Health Communication in the Social Networks of New Mothers. Tetine Sentell. Another presentation considering the context of health literacy.  In this case, social networks. Where do mothers get health information about their pregnancy? (Mother, mother-in-law, friends, colleagues) Sad to say, their husbands are seldom part of that social network.
  • Communication in the Dental Clinic: Describing the role of health literacy and nonverbal behaviors. Dafna Benadof from Chile. First, love seeing dental as a study area. Dental health is a great barometer of overall health, yet, similar to behavioral health, vision, and hearing, considered separate. Second, so much of health literacy is the written and spoken word. Gestures, facial expressions figure in as well. This study looks at the similarities and differences in nonverbals between patients and professionals.

I was disappointed that I saw few co-produced studies. The research was mostly about illness literacy of lay people in the cultures of doctors, hospitals, and clinics with notable exceptions such as those above. Slowly, we progress. A valuable conference. A good use of my time.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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