1. Dellosso, Michael PTA

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Mary was a 78-year-old woman who fell while gardening and fractured her hip. For Mary, the injury was devastating. She and her husband lived alone in a large home with a spacious back yard. She enjoyed housekeeping, cooking, and maintaining the various gardens she had scattered around the property. Now her active lifestyle had been halted and she found herself spending most of her time sitting in her chair, watching gardens get invaded by weeds.


When I first met Mary, she was depressed and discouraged. She felt like her life had been snatched from her. In her words, for the first time in her life she felt "old" and "useless." And no surprise, her bleak outlook was affecting her recovery progress. Fast-forward 4 weeks. On my final visit to her home, Mary lamented that she wouldn't get to see me anymore. She smiled and said I was her inspiration. Mary had improved dramatically and was looking forward to beginning outpatient therapy the next week. What made the difference in Mary's recovery and in her attitude about it? I sold her happiness every time I saw her.


Many of our patients are going through the toughest season of their life. For some, it's not the first time. The same dark season keeps coming around and whispering lies to them, falsely reminding them how frail they are, how old they are, how dependent on others they are, or like Mary, how "useless" they are. It wears on them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.


This is where home care clinicians can make a difference. We are in a unique position to come alongside our patients and point them in the right direction, show them that ray of light, help them focus on the important things, and ultimately change their lives. We get the opportunity and responsibility to sell them happiness.


There's a sales mantra that says, "Sell happiness to every customer." We need to sell happiness to our patients. I'm not talking about disingenuous, plastic, sales-pitch happiness. I'm talking about selling genuine, heartfelt happiness-the kind that brightens moods, motivates, and gives hope. The kind that inspires patients to push on, to not give up, to see the good, and focus on the positive. The kind of happiness that can profoundly change a life. Here are five ways you can sell happiness to your patients.


Focus on the positive.

For many of us, illness or injury-especially if prolonged-is often accompanied by negative thoughts. We naturally focus on what's been taken away from us, what we can no longer do on our own or do at all. Make every effort to steer your patients' focus away from their limitations and help them focus on what they can do.


Remind them of their progress.

Progress is often slow and sometimes unnoticeable day to day. "Slowly but surely." Tell your patients that as long as we get the "surely" part down, "slowly" is okay and to be expected. I encourage my patients to celebrate the small victories because that's how this battle is going to be won. Take notice of the small improvements that point to progress and recovery. Challenge your patients with: "Don't look at where you are; look at how far you've come."


Encourage them often.

The weight our patients carry is a heavy one. Our words matter and mean more than we think they do. Patients look to us for answers, for direction, for leadership. It's up to us to determine how we relay information to them, how we challenge and exhort them, how we instruct them, and how we gently caution them when needed. Be careful with the words you choose and the tone of voice you use. Be honest and transparent, but be encouraging.


Keep the main thing the main thing.

The road to recovery can often be a long, winding, hilly, pothole laden lane. The end is often out of sight. The trip can seem endless and at times impossible. It's a road that is best measured in feet rather than miles. Our patients often have a big goal they're shooting for. For some it's an upcoming vacation; for others, it's to be able to get to the second floor of their home; for some it's to live independently again; and for a few it's just to make it to next week. Whatever the goal is, whatever that road looks like and however long it is, break it down into manageable steps. Set small goals and focus on one achievable step at a time. When a goal is met, celebrate the accomplishment and move on to the next one.


Remind them of their worth.

Our patients are often in the care of another and feel, as Mary said, "useless." They feel helpless. They feel like a burden to not only their family or caregiver, but to society. We are in a unique position to change that. Remind them of what they mean to those around them. Remind them that they are loved and can still give love. Encourage them to share their wisdom and experiences with others. Draw that out of them during your visit. Everyone wants to feel needed. Show them that they are needed and appreciated.


Selling happiness doesn't have to be-and shouldn't be-forced. It must be truthful, genuine, and sincere. It takes an extra effort on our part but in the end, it will pay off huge dividends for our patients.


Study Links Metabolic Syndrome to Higher Cardiovascular Risk in Patients With Psoriasis

NIH: Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, has long been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke. Now, researchers have identified a key culprit: the presence of metabolic syndrome, a condition that includes obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension, and is highly prevalent among psoriasis patients.


Partly because it worsens vascular and systemic inflammation, psoriasis, a common skin disease affecting 2-3% of adults, not only increases but speeds up atherosclerosis, the plaque buildup that clogs arteries and can lead to heart attack and stroke. Metabolic syndrome affects about 25% of adults and is on the rise, and its prevalence is even greater among patients with psoriasis.


The study found that systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and blood cholesterol were significantly higher in the participants who had both psoriasis and metabolic syndrome. And those with metabolic syndrome had higher coronary artery plaque buildup, assessed by CTA, which is a high-risk factor for heart attacks. It suggests that identifying metabolic syndrome, especially waist circumference, can significantly help in assessing cardiovascular disease risk in clinical settings for patients with psoriasis. It also showed for the first time, he said, the impact of metabolic syndrome on early vascular disease in psoriasis patients, measured through the plaque buildup.