For patients and their families, knowing how to take care of their health is always important. After all, they can get the most out of the best hospice care providers because of that. As such, Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse James David Parker of Amavi Home Health and Hospice Care Services, provided some pointers on how patients and caretakers can protect themselves from further illnesses.
Proper Hygiene During COVID-19
Parker noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has once again underscored the importance of proper hygiene. He said that even simple things like the right way of washing hands can make a difference in how well one can stay away from the virus.
The nurse demonstrated how one should do this. “They need to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.” Parker also corrected the misconception that washing itself kills the germs.
“The friction is there to remove any germs or viruses from the surface of the skin. Meanwhile, the soap is used to lyse the cell walls and prevent those contaminants from sticking on the cells.”
He explained that these processes help ensure that you don’t spread the germs over to other parts of your body. Parker added that this also helps prevent you from contaminating other objects that you might touch.
The Importance Of Vitamin D3
The nursing expert also went on to emphasize the role of proper nutrition in the wellness of patients, even those outside hospice care. He said that nurses are there to ensure that patients follow their prescribed diets. But he also stressed they should know what kinds of nutrients they should have more of.
One such essential nutrient, Parker said, is vitamin D3 or dihydroxycholecalciferol. He notes that vitamin D3 isn’t just a simple vitamin but is a hormone. The body uses this hormone to control calcium concentration, which plays a significant role in the immune system’s operation.
Beyond that, the vitamin has over 300 different functions in the body. Parker added that having it in sufficient amounts can help lower blood pressure and reduce joint aches and pain. “It also helps the body to relax and to get a good night’s rest.”
He also noted that several studies showed that the nutrient can help lessen the symptoms of COVID-19. While there are still more studies needed, many medical experts have welcomed the positive results.
Vitamin D3 is normally produced by the kidneys. Nurse Parker also notes that your skin can produce a significant amount of it during a sunny day. Outside of the body’s natural production, he said that you can get more vitamin D3 from salmon, eggs, oysters, and beef liver.
Vitamin D3 Supplements
But Parker noted that these sources might not always be enough to give you your daily needs. “Most people in the United States are vitamin D3-deficient with less than 20 nanograms per liter,” he revealed. Parker also observed that many people are unaware of their vitamin D3 levels., making it harder for them to properly maintain their intake.
As such, he urged people to have their doctors measure their vitamin D3 levels the next time they have a general checkup. “They will check your circulating dihydroxycholecalciferol level in a simple lab test for vitamin D3,” he explained.
Once you have your vitamin D3 levels determined, your doctor can then recommend the supplements you should take. There are a variety of supplements available that you can take orally. The doctor will determine the dosage you should take based on the following:
- Existing medical condition
- Amount of exposure to the sun
- Initial response to the treatment
Vitamin D3 supplements are taken orally. Depending on the prescribed medication, you can take it after a meal or without food. Whether you are taking the tablet or liquid supplement, Parker said that you need to closely follow the instructions for proper ingestion.
He also recommends that patients take vitamin K2 alongside their vitamin D3 supplements. “Vitamin K2 will make sure that calcium is properly directed to the bones and teeth and not deposited in the kidneys or blood vessels.” He added that the vitamin K2 should be of a higher supplementation level to be more effective.
Transcript of Interview:
“As an RN, I feel one of the most important things we can do is patient education. Especially for home care patients, infection control is paramount during this pandemic. I keep reminding my patients the importance of hand hygiene. They must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap. The friction is there to remove any germs or viruses from the surface of the skin and the soap is there to lyse the cell walls of those contaminants.
The other area is a focus on wellness that is to be in the mindset of being as healthy as they can be one day at a time. Nurses are there to help the patient on nutrition as well. It is also important that the patient is focusing on a good diet. The nutrient I feel that is very important is Dihydroxycholecalciferol or vitamin D3. New STUDIES HAVE FOUND NOW that it is a hormone and not just a vitamin. It has over 300 functions in the body as well as lessening the symptoms of COVID-19 in the human body. It not only helps control the immune system, but it is essential for absorption of calcium for the bones and teeth.
There are many studies now showing that higher levels of vitamin D3 help lessen the symptoms of COVID-19 infections. Most people in the United States are vitamin D3 deficient with less than 20 nano grams per liter. Most people do not ask their Dr.’s to test their level. I often teach that they should keep up with their levels. A patient’s skin can produce a significant amount of the recommended levels from the sun when the weather permits. So, getting some sun can be healthy and good for the patient’s overall health. It is in the winter months that people are very shut in which often correlates with cold and flu season.
Sometimes, sources of vitamin D3 can be salmon, oysters, eggs and beef liver. The recommended daily allowance for these food is not enough so the next time you go to your Dr., make sure you ask what is your current vitamin D3 level and what level of supplementation you should try. Your primary Dr. can help with that. He will check your circulating dihydroxycholecalciferol level in a simple lab test for vitamin D3.
For overall health, vitamin K2 must be taken in conjunction with vitamin D3 supplementation with higher supplementation levels. Vitamin K2 will make sure that calcium is properly directed to the bones and teeth and does not deposit in the kidneys or blood vessels in the body. A proper Vitamin D3 level can help lower blood pressure and alleviate aches and pains to some joints. It also helps the body to relax and to get a good night’s rest.”
– James David Parker RN CHPN
Best Hospice Care And Patient Education For Best Results
Even with the best hospice care available, patients can still do more to protect their health. And you can easily incorporate the simple tips Nurse Parker provided into your regimen. Do it today and keep yourself educated about your health.