Health & Science

Easing the Stress of Caregivers in End-of-Life Care

Sep 25, 2012
via Flickr

This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in our culture. One of those issues is what it's like to care for someone who is in the final stages of his or her life. As difficult as it may be to make our own decisions regarding our own dying process, it is even more difficult to make those decisions on behalf of a loved one. Complicating this is a condition known as "caregiver syndrome," the manifestation of the physical and emotional stress of long-term care of a loved one. This can affect a proxy's ability to make sound decisions about end-of-life care.

Death and Dying Series preview

Sep 24, 2012

Beginning tomorrow on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci brings us a series of conversations around the theme of death and dying in the 21st Century.

The series was born out of a scholarship she received from the Religion Newswriters Association that allowed her to take a course at Alverno College in Control of Life and Death.

Stephanie Lecci joins us in the studio to give us a preview of what we can expect to hear for the rest of the week.

One of the biggest financial burdens individuals and businesses face is the rising cost of health care. In order to ease that weight, some people and employers have been turning to High Deductible Health Care Plans. They keep monthly premiums low by requiring patients to spend a significant amount of money before their insurance kicks-in. As WUWM’s LaToya Dennis reports, those high deductible plans can pay off, but are a gamble.

Many of us are rightfully concerned about the safety of what we eat and what might be added to foods along the processing chain from farm to table. But Lake Effect essayist Judy Steininger says a knowing a little basic chemistry might help ease some of our concerns.

Wisconsin AIDS Care a National Model

Jun 14, 2012
Erin Toner

Wisconsin recently reported a sharp increase in new HIV infections. They rose nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, with the most new cases in Milwaukee County. While the numbers are alarming and the population sometimes difficult to reach, those who connect early with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin are in good hands. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it has become a one-stop-shop for the many services patients may need and is considered a national model.

He had cared for Ebola patients. He himself caught the virus. Only then, said Dr. Kent Brantly, did he fully grasp the awful nature of this disease.

In 30 years of practicing medicine, Dr. George Risi has never had an experience as emotionally draining as his month in Sierra Leone.

Orangutans Hop on the iPad Bandwagon

May 21, 2012
Milwaukee County Zoo

Back in February, Lake Effect celebrated Primate week with a series of stories and features about our close cousins. One of those features considered the technological prowess of primates – and we’re not talking just humans. There was Albert II, the first rhesus monkey in space. Or the orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, who, like their human counterparts, really enjoy iPads. It may not be what Steve Jobs had in mind, but it turns out that iPads have some practical uses at a zoo.

Erin Toner

Monday, we reported on a one-year-old clinic in West Allis treating a growing number of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some say they’re seeking outside therapy because they’re dissatisfied with their VA health care. This morning, WUWM’s Erin Toner revisits the clinic to report on another free service it provides – mental health services for the families of veterans. Family members don’t qualify for care at VA hospitals.

Erin Toner

An alarming number of suicides among American soldiers has/have been pressuring the VA to improve mental health services for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As a result, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department plans to add nearly 2,000 employees to reduce wait times for appointments. In Milwaukee, a growing number of vets dissatisfied with the VA have been supplementing their government care with therapy at an outside clinic. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it offers a less structured approach.

Erin Toner

Technology has transformed health care in recent times – supplying everything from sophisticated imaging machines to electronic medical records. When it comes to communications, though, the medical field continues to rely on a device many might consider archaic – the pager. But doctors may soon ditch their trusty old beepers, at least at one Milwaukee-area hospital. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it’s testing a new system in hopes of improving patient care.

Erin Toner

The Milwaukee VA hospital is asking veterans to help build the world’s largest medical database. The effort is called the “Million Veteran Program”. Its goal is to collect blood samples and medical histories from a million vets nationwide, and eventually, make the information available to researchers. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, organizers hope the data leads to medical breakthroughs, including for ailments that afflict service men and women.

The Milwaukee VA is shortening its residential mental health treatment programs. Doctors there say the shortened stay from 90 to 45 days will mean more intense treatment and will make it easier for veterans to transition back into society sooner.

But as Erin Toner reported for NPR’s Morning Edition, some patients say getting clean and sober is just the first step in their recovery. They worry about being pushed out too soon.

Time may not seem all that controversial, but to scientists it’s a debatable topic. Adam Frank is a professor of Astrophysics at the University of Rochester in New York and a regular contributor to Discover and Astronomy magazines. He's also the co-founder of the 13:7 Cosmos and Culture blog on NPR.

We learn how one woman's cells changed the course of medicine. Rebecca Skloot is the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, published by Crown. She'll be the keynote speaker tomorrow at "An Evening to Promote Racial Justice," presented by the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee. Rebecca Skloot lives in Chicago, and spoke with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich.

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