Brazilian care home ‘hug tunnel’ so loved ones can embrace


Click to enlarge

A care home for elderly people in southern Brazil has come up with a creative way to bring some love to its residents amid the coronavirus pandemic, by creating a “hug tunnel” that allows relatives to safely embrace them…

The facility is home to 28 senior residents who have been in isolation since March 17, with communication with the outside world limited to video calls.

Luciana Brito told CNN the idea for the “hug tunnel” came from a viral video, where a woman in the United States created a plastic curtain in order to hug her mother.

Love is pretty good at overcoming problems.

Norway Donates US$250 Million to Protect Colombian Rainforests


Norwegian PM Erna Solberg and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

❝ Colombia’s fight against illegal logging is being extended to 2025 as part of the nation’s pay-for results strategy, Norway’s prime minister announced after donating US$250 million to the project.

As part of the 2015 pact signed between Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and Colombia, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg confirmed the cooperative battle to save Colombia’s rainforest would be extended by five years…

❝ Colombian Environment Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo said that within the next 12 years the government hopes to reduce deforestation to zero.

Norway’s donation represents the first alliance of climate and forest under the Paris Agreement. Prime Minister Solberg hopes the agreement will bring higher standards for inter-institutional collaboration in climate initiatives.

The Paris Agreement is just another one of those historically useful, politically constructive agreements, constructed by smart politicians in modern nations.

So, of course, our fake president withdrew the United States from all provisions of this agreement. And BTW, at minimum projected costs, a donation like this is less than 3 new F35s, the latest toy for our military..

Grayheads in prison

❝ Prison populations are shrinking, reflecting a decade-long movement by states to enact policies that reverse corrections growth, contain costs, and keep crime rates low. At the end of 2016, fewer people were held in state and federal prisons than in any year since 2004.

But despite this overall reduction, one group in prisons is surging: older individuals. From 1999 to 2016, the number of people 55 or older in state and federal prisons increased 280 percent. During the same period, the number of younger adults grew merely 3 percent. As a result, older inmates swelled from 3 percent of the total prison population to 11 percent…

❝ Like senior citizens outside prison walls, older individuals in prison are more likely to experience dementia, impaired mobility, and loss of hearing and vision. In prisons, these ailments present special challenges and can necessitate increased staffing levels and enhanced officer training to accommodate those who have difficulty complying with orders from correctional officers. They can also require structural accessibility adaptations, such as special housing and wheelchair ramps.

Additionally, as the Bureau of Justice Statistics found, older inmates are more susceptible to costly chronic medical conditions.

Yup. The cost of warehousing grayheads ain’t as cheap as anyone else the man considers noisy, dangerous.

People who help you die better

❝ Thirty years ago a young anaesthetist, newly appointed as head of department at Calicut Medical College Hospital in the Indian state of Kerala, encountered a case that would change his life.

❝ A college professor aged 42 with cancer of the tongue had been referred to him by an oncologist. The man was in severe pain and the anaesthetist, Dr. M R Rajagopal, was asked if he could help. He injected the mandibular nerve in the jaw in a procedure known as a nerve block and told the patient to return in 24 hours. Next day, the pain had almost completely gone and Dr. Raj, as he is known, was pleased with his work.

“He asked me when he should come back. I told him there was no need to come back, unless the pain returned. I thought he would be happy I had cured the pain. Instead, he went home and killed himself that night.”

❝ It turned out that the oncologist had avoided explaining to the college professor that his cancer was terminal. Instead he had said he was referring him for further treatment.

“It was only when I told him there was no need to come back that he realised his cancer was incurable. He went home and told his family it was all over.”…

❝ …His patient’s suicide showed him that treating the pain was not enough…“I realised that thinking about nerve blocks was too narrow. Pain is just the visible part of the iceberg of suffering. What is ignored is the part below the surface — feelings of hopelessness and despair, worries about money, about children. That is what palliative care is about. That man gave up his life to help me understand it.”

RTFA. Please. I worked in a small way with those who brought the hospice concept to the United States. Palliative care should be a right for every human being. That’s not so easy in a nation whose government considers healthcare a privilege – and treats it as such.

Click the link. Read this tale.

We can put an end to AIDS

Since the first cases of AIDS were identified in 1983, we’ve come a long way. Today we have the tools to end the HIV epidemic. So what will it take to end AIDS? Well, we know nowadays that we identify all those that are infected, we get them into therapy. We get them to take their medications and get the virus suppressed. That is not only good for them but it’s also good for society because transmission from HIV essentially stops.

We also need to identify all those individuals who are at risk of developing HIV, who are acquiring HIV but have not yet been infected. And those individuals can be put on something called PrEP or preexposure prophylaxis. In other words, you can give them an anti-viral medication that will prevent them from catching HIV. Those two things, treatment as prevention and PrEP, are critical in stopping the HIV epidemic.

So is that simple? What will it take really to stop the HIV epidemic? Well, first and foremost, in order to do these two things, getting more people on therapy and implementing PrEP, additional resources are needed. At a time where global economies are not doing well and competing public health problems exist demanding resources be allocated, we will need to find ways to find more resources to dedicate, to get people on therapy for HIV.

The second challenge is obviously combating stigma and discrimination. Throughout the epidemic stigma and discrimination has been a major barrier for people to get tested, for people to enter care, for people to remain in care. And therefore we need to continue addressing stigma and discrimination.

Finally, we’re going to have to make better healthcare systems. We need to retool and reinvent better ways to deliver care. Today when somebody gets infected with HIV they need to get into care and they need to remain in care for the rest of their lives getting antiretroviral therapy. We know that this component retention in care, keeping people engaged in care throughout the long haul is really a major challenge. And even here in the U.S. over 50% of people diagnosed who initially enter care are not retained in care…

RTFA. Better – watch the video with Dr. del Rio at the top of the article. The medical community is capable and on the way to ending a scourge that affects the whole world.

NOAAWatch — Excessive heat #1 killer weather in USA


August 2013

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in or more parts of the United States. East of the Rockies, they tend to combine both high temperature and high humidity; although some of the worst heat waves have been catastrophically dry.

NOAA has a page [here’s the link] explaining warning levels and including suggestions. Read it. Save the link. Most places in the United States you will need this info sooner or later.

Thanks, Mike