Posted in chronic pain

Part 1 Depression and Chronic Pain

Most Chronic Pain sufferers experience depression along with their Chronic Pain for a variety of reasons:

  • the pain meds interrupt their daily lives
  • their social life comes to a halt
  • they don’t feel like doing anything, but staying indoors
  • their friends stop calling to check on them
  • they can’t accept their life as it is
  • they’re in denial
  • the pain is more than they can bare.

Personally, I’ve experienced all of these reasons and I bet most of you have too. It’s hard to go outdoors and try to act normal when your insides are screaming in pain. But, most of us give it the old college try and go out, even if it’s to do nothing other than purchase groceries.

Going to your doctor’s appointment is one step outside, but how many of you truck it back home immediately afterward? Or do so right after you go by the pharmacy first?

I find it hard to go out because I begin to hurt withing 30 minutes after I’ve been walking around the store, even when I have grandiose ideas of stopping by other shops while Rick and I are out and about. We may stop for lunch, but by that time, I’m ready to go home.

By the time I get home, I’m on the heating pad and feeling down because I can’t get out and do the things I use to do years ago before the Chronic Back Pain and Fibromyalgia stepped up their game. So, I plan to see a psychologist to talk about my depression and how to handle my problems with social activity. But if you are seeing a therapist now, how do you know he or she is a reputable therapist? And do they have YOUR best interest in mind?

One place to start is GoodTherapy.org and its article “50 Warning Signs of Questionable Therapy and Counseling.” This article lists the red flags that may warn you to change your therapist immediately. However, Good Therapy suggests that you talk with your therapist first before jumping ship. If your therapist listens to your concerns, she should be open and willing to understand. However, if she isn’t willing to accept your comments, then for your best interest, seek another therapist.

Here are the first 18 red flags (I’ve rewritten them but the meaning is the same):

  1. Counselor does not  have the training to address your issues and/or attempts to treat problems anyway.
  2. Therapist has no interest in your goals or changes you need to make in your life.
  3. Counselor does not give clear information on how they can help you with your issue or concern.
  4. Therapist doesn’t let you know when your therapy will be done.
  5. Counselor isn’t in the habit of seeing a therapist herself.
  6. Therapist will make you promises or guarantees regarding your therapy.
  7. There are unresolved complaints against your therapist with a licensing board.
  8. Your rights as a client, confidentiality, office policies, and fees are not given to you so you can decide to go forward with your treatment.
  9. Your behavior, lifestyle, or problems are criticized or judged by the counselor.
  10. You are treated as inferior by the therapist in subtle or not so subtle ways.
  11. Your family, friends, or partner are blamed for your problems by your therapist.
  12. You are encouraged to blame your family, friends, or partner for your problems by your therapist.
  13. At the expense of focusing on you and your therapy, therapist gets personal psychological needs met. This could be knowingly or unknowingly.
  14. Your counselor tries to be your friend.
  15. Without your consent, your therapist initiates touch (hugs, etc.).
  16. Your counselor may try to have a romantic or sexual relationship with you.
  17. Rather than focusing on your problems, your counselor talks excessively about her personal issues or self-discloses personal info. This has no therapeutic purpose for you.
  18. Counselor tries, although not related to your therapy, to enlist your help with something.

To get the word for word “red flag” of these 18 warnings, be sure to check out the link above. The next two parts will continue with the rest of the warnings. Then we’ll talk about how to find a reputable therapist or counselor!

I hope you have found this helpful, especially if you are in therapy now and not receiving the results you hoped for.

Take care of yourselves and do something for me today. Go outside. Just walk around your house or look at your flowers. But get out of the house. It will help you so much.

With care,

Carolyn

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Customer Relations Management

Customer relations management (CRM) is software that uses information technology to help organizations build customer relationships and increase the value of the goods and/or services it provides.  The advantages of CRM include tracking and documenting customer history with instant access to those records, determining the best-selling practices for the organization and analyzing reasons behind customer complaints.

A medical office benefits from the CRM techniques in a variety of ways.  First, gathering complete patient history along with recording every subsequent office, lab and radiology visit allows CRM to track, document and monitor the patient’s information.   Physicians access patient information instantly, enabling effective health care for the patient.  Correct diagnoses facilitate prescriptions, tests and/or procedures for the patient’s care.

Secondly, future occasions of communication with the patient, including phone calls, visits and surveys, are documented and recorded in the CRM.  The CRM monitors the information and suggests support and service practices for the medical office to consider for improving patient relations.  In addition, by responding to the patient’s needs and creating improvements with business practices and services, the medical office effectively attains its performance goals.

Although CRM helps the medical office staff improve patient relationships, ultimately, effective communication is required for formulating the correct diagnoses and care.

Ineffective communication within a medical office however, creates a number of dangers for the medical office and its patients.  CRM offers recommendations based on the input of complete and detailed patient history.  The patient needs to feel he can disclose all pertinent information to the nurse or physician, without judgment.  In addition, the physician needs to create an atmosphere where the patient has no inhibitions expressing his concerns, problems and symptoms.  If the patient feels embarrassed or ashamed of disclosing all information, the physician is unable to properly treat his problem.  Ineffective communication results in the possibility of the patient being misdiagnosed and/or receiving incorrect medication.

Problems occur with ineffective communication among the office staff also.  If an administrative assistant receives incorrect information from a nurse regarding future appointments, the patient may be scheduled for a follow-up rather than a procedure with the physician.  The nurse gives the patient specific instructions, for example, stopping blood pressure medication ten days prior to the procedure.  Because being off the blood pressure medicine is dangerous for the patient, he waits several weeks until he is able to go off the medication again and further delays the procedure.  In addition, the appointment, certified incorrectly for a follow-up with his insurance requires additional time to re-certify the procedure.  The certification process takes hours or days depending upon the type of procedure and insurance coverage. These problems, due to ineffective communication, cause the patient to suffer longer than necessary and cost the medical office in wasted time and money.

The CRM is an important and effective tool for the medical office.  However, it relies on effective communication among the medical staff members and patients in order to offer the medical office assistance with improving patient relationships as well as the value of its services.

 

Posted in Website content

Your Website and Content Design

Does your website need to be refreshed? And if it does, how often? Before answering these questions, take a look at the following questions first:

  • Is your site mobile-friendly?
  • Have you checked Google Analytics?
  • On that note, do you have pages with high bounce rates and low time on your site?
  • Have you read your content lately?
  • Have you tried A/B testing?                                                                                                           (A great tool after analyzing your poorly performing pages and tried tweaking your design and content. Send half of your users back to the original page and the other half to your new test page. The results will surprise you!)

If you answered no to any of the above questions, then YES you need to refresh your website content and maybe the design. Some experts say a website should be refreshed yearly, others say every two years, however, yearly would be a sound answer to the question. Julia McCoy’s article “5 Killer Content Creation Tactics to Never, Ever Forget” is the resource for this report. So, following are the 5 areas your website needs yearly maintenance.

CONTENT PLANNING

From Google’s list of algorithm updates to the released Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, content is still king and requires careful planning. Basic fundamentals of content planning include:

Brand knowledge – you should know your brand intimately and what it’s trying to achieve

Target personals – knowing your audience is important so you’ll know who to target your content toward

Generate ideas – ideally a large pool of ideas will help you manage your content plan. These include blog posts, infographics, or podcasts.

Planning – like anything done well, it takes planning and organization to put all the information you just collected into an easy to find source. Try using excel broken down into months and weeks to organize and plan your ideas. This will help you save time, produce better content, and allow for more long-term goal setting.

Segmentation – your ideas need a delivery medium that works best for your audience – find and experiment with several.

CONTENT AUDITING

Look at this task as freshening your website, much like you would do of your home in the spring. Review your content for irrelevant, unread, or stale and replace with fresh content that is sure to bring traffic to your site. Here are the steps of performing an audit:

Step #1: Create a spreadsheet with the following categories for each column:

  1. URL
  2. date audited
  3. page title
  4. page description
  5. page content
  6. keyword(s)
  7. alt tags
  8. last date updated
  9. internal link(s)

Step #2: Organize the pages you audit by heading toward Google Analytics. Maneuver to the “All pages” section from the “Behavior” tab. A list of pages will appear and you’ll pull the URLs from the most popular pages first to ensure an audit of content on your most visited pages first.

Your spreadsheet goes to work now. Find the “page” column and maneuver to the button next to the page title. You’ll find the page URL which you’ll copy to your spreadsheet. Repeat this process for each page on your site.

Step #3: The Reviewing Process. Review the following sections of each page and note the findings of each assessment on your spreadsheet:

*Page URL and title: Ask yourself if your title page is exclusive and definitive; are your target keywords included in the content; is your page URL text instead of a string of numbers? Go back and fix the problems for any questions you answered “no” to. Fixing these problems will make your site appear stronger.

*Page description: Is your page description concise, easy to read, and informative? Does it read well for prospects? Does it use relevant keywords?

*Page content: The content should be valuable, relevant, current, and helpful on every page of your site. Make sure it is free of typos, grammar mistakes and should contain at least 300 words of content.

*Keyword use: Use enough target keywords without over doing it.

*Alt tags: Images on your pages should have a title and alt tag – which is a relevant keyword.

*Last update: Pages updated every 24 months and a page updated less frequently will help your site’s SEO when it’s been revised.

*Internal links: Pages on your site should highlight 2-3 internal links that point to content pages within your site.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

The giants in advertising include social media programs Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Close to 2.1 billion people maintain social media accounts and an estimated $8.3 billion earned in advertising in 2015 lets you know that 2016 will be a big year for social media. Marketers expand their content’s reach, earn new leads, create new connections, and execute improved industry research by building and maintaining social media accounts.

Predictions are that social media will be a large priority in 2016 which means maintaining an active presence on social media. Posting and enticing users by replying to comments, presenting polls, soliciting user-generated content, and sharing content through multiple channels will increase your brand’s exposure. Create a social media account you can maintain on a regular basis (at least twice a week) because a stagnant account is worse than no content at all.

CREATING INTERACTIVE CONTENT

Interactive content enriches your relationship with your users, who want to feel involved in your content. If you are unfamiliar with interactive content, here are several types:

Assessments:  Quizzes or calculators, made popular by Facebook and BuzzFeed, are used for everything from entertaining to thoughtful, marketing-focused self-evaluation. Quizzes like “What character, color, job, etc.” and assessments help your poll users gain information and ideas from your site and its content as a whole.

Infographics: These offers concentrate value to your readers by distributing a hefty amount of information in a small parcel. Infographics earn more views and more shares than any other type of content. This makes them an imaginable choice for the marketer who want to get their feet wet with interactive content.

Idea generators: Idea generators designed with convenience and functionality in mind are perfect for readers who need a little help with generating an idea. Go to HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator where you input a bit of information and the give-and-take generator serves you with a unique, interesting idea that is yours. How’s that for interactive and invaluable?

CUSTOM LANDING PAGES

Customer landing pages, rescued by smart marketers who know that used correctly, these pages have the potential to provide a huge SEO and traffic boost for a website.

Their essential function leads users to an assigned spot outside of your website to gain information and complete the desire action. They’re essential to effective content marketing. To ensure your landing pages work to push your reader to action, remember:

Shorter is better: In the world of landing pages, the less flowery the language the higher your conversions will be. An uncluttered design with nothing but the needed information will outperform a bulky page with so many extras your reader doesn’t know where to read next.

Call To Action content rules: Wishy-washy content does not have a home on a landing page. Ensure your landing page offers high-quality text and a strong CTA. Although this step seems simple, it can increase your conversions and help readers take desire actions.

Coordinate your hyperlinks: A landing page is a one-stop shop. If you have hyperlinks leading away from your page, offer links that lead readers into a separate and equally valuable funnel.

Make conversion obvious: Simpler is better. Within a few seconds, your readers should know what you want them to do from your landing page content. Be direct about your conversion goals:

  • Want their emails? Mark the subscription box so it’s easy to use and find.
  • Want them to click? Show them where to click!
  • Want them to share content? Give limited options and strong reasons for doing so.

Being direct about your conversion goals helps them come true.

Make it appealing: Your landing page should look great! It’s easy to navigate, free of broken features, cohesive with our larger site design, and well-functioning and attractive. Keep it elegant and you’ll receive more conversions.

In conclusion, by using these five content tactics, you ensure of receiving the most results possible from the strategy your content takes your readers. Providing useful and relevant material for your readers will increase your traffic, who will spread the word. These tips give long-lasting value for your content strategy for 2016.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pain is everywhere!

Good afternoon everyone!

I hope you are having a pain-free day, but if you aren’t just keep in mind that everything is temporary – even pain – so maybe later today or tomorrow you’ll get a reprieve from your pain.

Have you checked out National Pain Report? Just click on this link and you’ll go directly to the site. A lady posted a long post explaining her daily pain and how miserable she feels. I answered her and so did several other people. But the last post was from a gentleman who has had a terrible time. He was in sports in his 20’s and through a mishap broke his back. When his doctor looked at his back, he told him it was a mess and that whatever the doctor did for him would probably put him in a wheelchair for life. The gentleman went on to explain how he felt he had nobody to speak to, his marriage was rocky and right now, life isn’t going very well.

We’ve all been through this. Most of you don’t know me and wouldn’t know about my hell year of 2013. I just had SI Joint Fusion Surgery in December of 2012 and although my surgeon told everybody he “cured me,” well, he didn’t. The first few months of 2013 weren’t too bad. I was recouping from the surgery and finally took the leap of faith to go up the stairs where our television was set up so I could watch a movie. It was the hardest climb up and the worse climb down those stairs. Worse than when I had the Harrington Rods implanted. It really sucked. But Rick was there holding me all the way.

But what was worse was the fact my husband worked all day every day at Sears and I was alone until he came home. No calls from friends, only a couple visits, and that was it. I felt as though my entire life had changed and because I wasn’t walking yet, my friends couldn’t handle watching me try to move from the chair to the bathroom.

My therapist told me that they didn’t know how to handle the change in me. It made them uncomfortable and so, the easiest thing for them to do was not call or come by. Out-of- sight out-of-mind principle.

I hated that year. I was terribly depressed, lost all hope, and considered suicide. But we were out of milk. If you don’t understand what I mean, email me and I’ll tell you. I was sarcastic, unhappy, and always sad. And I cried all the time.

Well, in December of 2013 I realized that I really didn’t like me anymore. I wasn’t fun. And I was making life hell for Rick. So on January 1, I resolved to change my attitude and deal with whatever and where ever this pain would lead me. If a wheel chair was in my life, then so be it. If I walk with a cane forever, then so be it. If I never dance another dance…then I’ll have to learn to live with that one.

What I’m trying to say here is depression is a disease. And when you have feelings of hopelessness, sadness, crying, and despair…then it is time to see your doctor. There are medications to help you and maybe the doctor will get your cocktail right so you’ll begin to smile again and actually try to smell a rose.

There is always somebody out there who is worse off than you are – and I hated hearing that sentence, but it’s true. When I finally accepted it, then I began to live my life again. I don’t know if I’ll ever dance again (but I sure hope I do) and I don’t know if I’ll ever walk normally without a cane (but I sure hope I do)…but when it comes down to the scope of things…those are really 2 very minor things to be upset about.

I hope I’ve helped you a little bit today and please share this post with your friends. I’m hoping to begin a Chronic Pain Sufferers’ Group in the area I live. I think getting with other people who are going through the same thing can help you realize you aren’t alone.

May God bless you and keep you. And may tomorrow be sunny and pain-free!

Love you,

C