Author - Erik Burns

hospital, readmission

Hospital Readmissions

Until now, no one has identified illness recovery as a science. There is a large body of research on every type of illness, but not how to recover from it. This is particularly true in traditional western medicine, where the majority of medical practice is to seek answers. However, there is a growing number of practitioners starting to look at patients from a “functional” perspective. The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)  defines functional medicine as asking “the how and why illness occurs, and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.” This holistic approach is taking root and large health care institutions such as Cleveland Clinic have opened new Functional Medicine departments. The science is coming from multiple centers and practitioners, but none speak to the general physiological process of recovery.  There is a landmark study on hospital readmissions that has not received the attention it deserves. Dr. Harlan Krumholz and researchers from Yale University published a study in 2013 that looked at over two million 30-day hospital readmission rates in people over the age of 65. 1 in 6 patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge. The majority of people who were readmitted back to the hospital were readmitted for reasons other than the illness that put them there in the first place. For example, when someone was originally admitted for a heart condition, many times they were readmitted within 30 days for pneumonia. This raises a very big question, which still needs an answer: how do we combat hospital readmissions?  One of the key takeaways from this study was the notion that people are discharged from the hospital with something called Post-Hospital-Syndrome. Researchers cited that people experience a period of generalized risk for poor outcomes related to staying or leaving the hospital. While staying in the hospital, people are subjected to hospital-acquired infections, poor sleep, poor nutrition, and generalized weakness from lying in a hospital bed. This leads to an inability to regain strength at home. Being at home can also produce issues related to dehydration, nutrition, and nausea from prescribed medications. Patients often battle difficulty thinking clearly, drinking enough fluids to stay adequately hydrated, and loss of balance. These issues put patients at risk of falling, bring feelings of frustration, and unfortunately a trip back to the hospital.  Health care’s answer to “fixing” this problem has been to identify people who are high risk, and working to get their doctor’s follow up visit done a little quicker. Most recently, telemedicine has made its way into people’s homes, providing contact with a care provider via the internet. These are excellent approaches, but it still does not address the core reasons people fail to recover: poor nutrition, poor sleep, medication intolerance, poor physical condition, and poor mental condition.  Make People Better is addressing these core issues a few ways. First, at-home DNA testing can virtually eliminate adverse drug reactions, identify nutritional preferences, and encourage direct participation by the patient through shared decision-making.  Second, we have developed a Hydrobiotic called re:iimmune, sold over the counter at pharmacies and clinics, that delivers balanced electrolytes, pre and probiotics, zinc, ginger, and L-glutamine to support the body’s natural recovery processes, improve digestion, and decrease nausea.  The key takeaway for you is 1 out of 6 people in the United States will be readmitted to the hospital within the first 30 days of leaving. We do not want you to be the 1.
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hydration, dehydrated

Staying Hydrated Is the Key to Recovery Success

Make People Better understands that the success of your recovery depends on how prepared you are at home. There are several key categories with things you can do to make your recovery a success. Important things to have:
  • Access to WiFi – it is a must! 
  • Access to a smartphone so you can text and send pictures.
  • Phone numbers for your providers including your pharmacist (TIP - ask for their back office number).
  • Email address for your providers. 
  • Cell phone number for your provider is really a plus. Many times a provider will have a cell phone that you can text information to ask questions. Often they don’t always offer, but if you ask they usually give you one. 
  • A list of all your medications including supplements (TIP - try to keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy). 
  • A copy of your discharge instructions. 
  • A copy of any teaching information you were given.
  • Get a calendar and write down important follow up appointments and exercise routines you were given. 
  • Have a list of at least 5 people you can call for help. Notify them that you are recovering and you may need their help.
  • Get the app for Uber or Lyft just in case you need a quick ride.
  • Blood pressure cuff
  • Pulse oximetry monitor
  • Reliable scales
  • Thermometer 
Prepare your environment
  • Make sure your home environment is clean, clear of clutter, and you have personal support. 
  • Remove small throw rugs – you would be surprised how many people trip over rugs.
  • Borrow/rent/purchase a walker if needed– you will be weaker than you think.
  • Have clean sheets on your bed.
  • Put a phone charger next to your bed.
What to eat and drink 
  • Having all your food and drinks prepared and ready the first 2 weeks are key (TIP - most grocery stores deliver).
  • Because all medications cause nausea, you should eat small portions frequently.
  • Having a small amount of food in your stomach at all times can help. This can be as simple as a few crackers. 
  • Freshly prepared soups are great, just keep a large pot in the fridge. Bone broth soup is an easy go-to and full of nutrition. Here is a great recipe
  • Steel cut oats are another good choice. Oatmeal really does stick to your gut! 
  • Breakfast for dinner works when you are recovering. Nothing gets an appetite going like bacon, and even a cardiologist will agree that a little bacon will not hurt.
  • Your body is busy recovering. Do not eat large or hard-to-digest food. You do not want to re-route too much blood and oxygen to the gut. 
  • Fruits and vegetables are preferred over meat. Staying hydrated is the key to your success. 
If you are not able to drink enough water, then you can purchase an over-the-counter hydration supplement. Of course we recommend re:iimmune. It is our favorite hydration and immune support supplement. Mix 1 packet into 2 cups of water, stir it up, add ice, sip on it throughout the day, and check out the difference it makes!
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partner, health care

A True Partner in Your Health

Health care has long been focused on how to get patients more engaged in their care. Over the last 20 years, researchers have looked for ways to get people to participate actively in decisions regarding their care, and DNA testing for health is one of the greatest tools for both practitioner and patient.  The goal is not to be your own doctor,  but rather to be willing to share in the decision-making process.  We know that the patient-physician relationship has taken some hard hits. Providers are squeezed for time, and people’s health is too complex for a 20-minute visit. When you are sick, you want to fix it immediately. People look to their provider for the solution. The problem with this approach is that there is usually more than one way to fix it. Providers have traditionally taken the responsibility for coming up with the plan. Patients get their prescribed plan and they do “what the doctor ordered.” Shared decisions are rare in the clinic setting and even rarer in the hospital. So how do we create an environment where the patient and the provider work together as a team?  We believe that DNA testing for your health could be the answer. When a patient takes a home DNA test, they receive a comprehensive scientific report with easy-to-read results. A patient being able to share this information with their practitioner is a direct path to shared decision-making.  Imagine scheduling an appointment with your doctor when you are not sick. Then imagine sitting down and reviewing all your DNA results; for example, what foods work best for you, what vitamins and minerals you should take, what exercise program you perform better at, and what medications are best for you. In this scenario, you lead the conversation and you are the one inviting your doctor into the discussion. Wouldn’t you feel that your doctor really “knows” you? Wouldn’t you be more inclined to engage with her/him when you are sick?  Technology is bringing high-level health information to your fingertips. It is possible to diagnose yourself. However, we argue that this approach is not in most people’s best interest. Telemedicine, email conferencing and walk-in clinics are common conveniences, but they are no substitute for a real patient/provider relationship. re:iimmune believes that home DNA testing is a game changer. When you are supported in making and implementing choices based on your unique health traits, you become a true partner in your health.
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pain management, dna

What DNA Testing Screens

Pain Management Nearly every individual will be prescribed an opioid-based pain reliever at some point in their life. Aside from the potential for addiction, there is the chance for unintentional overdose and death. There is perhaps no better application for medical DNA testing than to prevent this.  Dynamic DNA screens for over 30 different drugs used in the treatment of chronic or acute pain including, but not limited to:
  • Opiates (i.e. Hydrocodone, Morphine, 
OxyContin, Tramadol)
  • Steroids (i.e. Dexamethasone)
  • Muscle Relaxers (i.e. Soma)
  • NSAID (i.e. Celebrex, Ansaid)
Cardiovascular Cardiovascular drugs are the most widely prescribed class of medication. Over 26 million adults are currently living with heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Dynamic DNA screens for over 25 cardiovascular medications including, but not limited to:
  • Statins (i.e. Lipitor and Zocor)
  • Anti-Coagulants (i.e. Plavix and Warfarin)
  • Beta Blockers (i.e. Lopressor)
  • Anti-Hypertensive (i.e. Coreg)
Psychiatric Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  Whether it be depression, anxiety, or mood swings, nearly everyone is affected in one way or another. 1 in every 10 Americans takes an antidepressant, and up to 38% of individuals report side effects. Dynamic DNA screens for over 30 psychotropic medications including, but not limited to:
  • Anti-Depressants (i.e. Abilify, Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta)
  • Anti-Psychotics (i.e. Seroquel)
  • Anti-Anxiety (i.e. Xanax, Valium)
Comprehensive This option includes all three of the previous panels, plus additional medical insights for many other drug classes, totaling over 200 medications. Since your DNA never changes, these results will forever be a  guide to you and your physician as your body and medical needs evolve. Additional areas covered include:
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Urology
  • Infectious disease
  • Cancer
Many companies offer home DNA testing, but in our experience Dynamic DNA Labs is the most comprehensive and offers the most individual assistance in understanding your results. You can order your tests from their website.
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body, health

Your Body Is Designed to Feel Good

We have all been subject to trial and error when it comes to our health. We try different diets to lose weight. We eliminate dairy, gluten, and even coffee. We take vitamins and minerals believing they will help us. We join different fitness clubs or purchase home exercise equipment just to find a plan we can live with on a consistent basis.  Home DNA Testing is one way of participating in your health at the deepest level.  We are given a prescription for a medication. It may not work or it makes us feel bad, so we try another one. Trial and error is “finding out the best way to reach a desired result or a correct solution by trying out one or more ways or means and noting and eliminating errors or causes of failure until you succeed,” according to Webster Dictionary.  With a simple cheek swab you can learn more about how your body is uniquely designed to feel GOOD, without years of trial and error.  re:iimmune wants you to know what is possible. Here is what you can learn about YOU. Fitness DNA Test will help you discover: – The best exercise program for weight loss – Key traits for muscle energy, recovery and fatigue – Insulin and body fat response to exercise – Traits for aerobic capacity, nitric oxide and vascular function  Strength
  • Glucose Metabolism
  • Muscle Growth
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle Development
  • Nerve Activity
Metabolics
  • Endurance Benefit
  • HDL Response
  • Insulin Response
  • Response to Exercise
  • Testosterone Levels
Recovery
  • Muscle Recovery
  • Sleep Cycle
  • Exercise Fatigue
  • Tendinopathy/Osteoarthritis
Cardio
  • Aerobic Capacity
  • Exercise Response
  • Blood Vessel Formation
  • Nitric Oxide Metabolism
  • Vascular Function
Performance
  • Muscle Energy
  • Muscle Speed
  • Optimal Exercise Type
  • Endurance vs Strength
Build
  • Blood Pressure
  • Muscle Growth
  • Muscle Volume
Nutrition DNA Test will help you discover: – Optimal diet type for weight loss – Reactions to gluten, caffeine, alcohol, and lactose – Predispositions for metabolic rate, cholesterol, blood sugar – Determine nutritional needs for vitamins and folate Diet
  • Body Fat Loss
  • Omega 3,6 Levels
  • Optimal Diet for Weight Loss
  • Obesity Predisposition
  • Saturated Fat Levels
Behaviors
  • Eating Disinhibition
  • Snacking
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Satiety
  • Tendency to Overeat
Nutritional
  • Vitamins B2, B6, B12
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Folate
Reactions
  • Caffeine Metabolism
  • Gluten Sensitivity
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Alcohol Flushing
  • Peanut Allergy
Metabolic
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Metabolic Rate
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • Antioxidants/Detoxification
  • Triglyceride Levels
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lighthouse relief, refugees, re:iimmune

Re:iimmune Partners with Lighthouse Relief

Re:iimmune is proud to donate to Lighthouse Relief (LHR)! LHR provides crucial emergency response support for all refugees arriving on Lesvos Island, the majority of which are from Afghanistan. To make this happen, they partner with Medical Volunteers International (MVI). It is MVI who provides medical staff for each boat landing.  To locate and assist the dinghies filled with refugees, LHR works with Refugee Rescue’s emergency response boat. Once the emergency response boat lands or is brought to port, LHR then assesses medical cases and provides emergency care. Emergency blankets, biscuits, and water are also provided. After this, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) vans transport the refugees to the transit camp. The refugees then stay here for about one day. Once settled in for this day at the camp, LHR provides dry clothing, diapers, blankets, feminine hygiene products, food, water, hot tea, and shoes. A nurse then continues monitoring medical care and assisting with care in the onsite clinic.  Because so many of these refugees waited for a week in the Turkish forest with scant food and water before taking this hours-long journey across the sea, dehydration is quite high among them. Re:iimmune provides packets for the most severe cases of dehydration. Each packet contains: 
  • Zinc, which promotes immunity
  • Balancing electrolytes
  • Ginger, that helps occasional nausea
  • L-Glutamine, to aid in natural tissue recovery
  • Prebiotic, to assist in the growth of good gut bacteria
  • Probiotics, to support the immune system
Re:iimmune is also all-natural flavoring, It contains no added sugars, fruit juice, preservatives, synthetic colors, or gluten. We are so proud to help the refugees start their health off on the right path, and we look forward to continuing this help with LHR in the future.   
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dna

Illness Recovery

When you google the words ”illness recovery,” you will likely get search results related to mental health or drug rehabilitation. You will scroll through many pages before you find anything related to the general physiological response of recovering from any illness.  It is this exact reason that Make People Better was created.  Make People Better started because too many people struggle to recover from their illness. It really doesn’t matter what type of illness, from the flu to fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease to cancer, or depression to diabetes - everyone struggles to regain wellness. Healthcare providers are excellent at making diagnoses, prescribing medications, or performing advanced surgeries, but they don’t have a clue how to help people manage their illness once they leave the hospital or clinic. Technology and advances in science have made it possible to recover from almost any illness, but at what price? Is there a need for the science of illness recovery? We think the answer is yes.  Our mission is to identify the core reasons people struggle to recover from an illness and work to provide scientific solutions that can improve health outcomes. As part of our overall strategy, Make People Better is launching our Get Better, Better campaign. We want to start with your personal DNA, which will help you with shared decision-making between you and your doctor, bridging the gap between illness and wellness. Home DNA testing is a game changer! Not only is it possible, but it is also affordable for people to test their DNA with a cheek swab from the comfort of their home. The information someone can obtain from this type of testing can be the catalyst to realizing their full, healthy, potential self. Your unique DNA shows how you process food, and determines your optimal diet for health. Also, you can determine key traits for muscle energy and fatigue, as well as aerobic capacity and how your body recovers after exercise. The real game changer is taking out the guesswork for your doctor by testing how your body responds to different medications. Testing for medicine eliminates the possibility of adverse drug reactions and includes medications for your heart health, pain management, mental health, digestive health, and diabetes.  We also want to help you approach illness recovery as seriously as you approach the illness. We will give you facts that should make you raise an eyebrow along with tips on how to manage your health better during the illness recovery phase. We think the information provided will help you begin to understand that you are unique, and your DNA can help you make better choices for your health.  We want to help you get better, better. Try re:iimmune today to see how much faster it is at helping you recover from your illness! 
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