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Nursing Home Scorecards Are Misleading — This Week on Sound Medicine


Sound Medicine airs at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, on WFYI, 90.1 FM. For the airtime on a public radio station near you, check the Sound Medicine website. 

Evaluating nursing homes. Government agencies use a standardized rating system for evaluating nursing home facilities, but IU research has found that because the system does not take into account the degree of cognitive impairment of patient populations, the entire rating system is flawed. For example, a patient’s worsening dementia may result in a low grade for his nursing home, but the patient’s decline may well be a natural one. Dr. Arif Nazir provides details about his research with Sound Medicine’s Steve Bogdewic, Ph.D., and offers alternative ways to discover good nursing home care for elderly loved ones.

Dr. Nazir serves as the president of the Indiana Medical Directors Association. Medical directors are physicians who provide care to people residing in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.

Treating lymphedema. Lymphedema is a swelling, usually of the upper arm or breast area, that commonly follows surgical removal of lymph nodes. Breast and other cancer treatments often involve lymph node removal. Sound Medicine host Barbara Lewis will talk with Barbara Feltman, a physical therapist who specializes in treating lymphedema. Feltman offers an overview of the condition and its therapies, and she explains why it’s considered an “orphan disease.”

Cancer rehabilitation. Medical facilities routinely provide rehabilitation programs for heart attack and stroke patients, but it is unusual to find providers that offer rehab for cancer survivors. Cancer rehab expert Julie Silver, M.D., a cancer survivor herself, seeks to remedy the problem. In an interview with Sound Medicine’s David Crabb, M.D., Dr. Silver explains the importance of helping cancer patients recover physical strength after debilitating treatments. Silver is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Book: The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain. In her new book, author Barbara Strauch takes on some popular assumptions about aging. She joins Barbara Lewis to discuss The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain. Strauch cites evidence showing that older brains develop and remain flexible, and she’ll argue that grown-up brains perform better at tasks such as making judgments and recognizing patterns. Strauch is the deputy science editor for The New York Times.

Sound Medicine is an award-winning radio program co-produced by the Indiana University School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM). Sound Medicine is underwritten by Indiana University Health Physicians and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Listen to Sound Medicine on the following Indiana public radio stations:
WBSB (Anderson), WFIU (Bloomington, Columbus, Kokomo, Terre Haute), WNDY (Crawfordsville), WVPE (Elkhart/South Bend), WNIN (Evansville), WBOI (Fort Wayne), WFCI (Franklin), WBSH (Hagerstown/New Castle), WFYI (Indianapolis), WBSW (Marion), WBST (Muncie), WBSJ (Portland), WLPR (Lake County) and WBAA (West Lafayette).

The show also airs on these out-of state public radio stations:
KSKA (Anchorage, Alaska), KPOV (Bend, Ore.),  KEOS (College Station, Tex.), KRCC (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KUAF (Fayetteville & Ft. Smith, Ark.), KFTW (Ft. Worth, Tex.), KMHA (Four Bears, ND), KIDE (Hoopa Valley, Calif.), WLRH (Huntsville, Ala.), KEDM (Monroe, La.), KUHB (Pribilof Islands, Alaska), KPBX (Spokane, Wash.), WCNY & WRVO-1 (Syracuse, NY), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), and WYSU (Youngstown, Oh.)