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Johns Hopkins Home Care Group

Sure, getting gifts for your friends and family may seem difficult enough, but exchanging gifts with co-workers in the office can be a whole different level of stress. Don't fret, here are five tips that can help you determine the best practices for holiday gift giving in the workplace this holiday season.

Have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Be Thoughtful

You don't have to get too personal, but it's always nice to show you know a little something about the person receiving the gift, even if it's something specifically related to what they do on the job. Gift cards to an eatery or store they talk about are perfect examples.

Give gifts in a private setting

If you're only giving gifts to a select person or group in the office, it's best not to do it in front of others. Some in the office may not be receiving gifts at all, or may be jealous of the gifts given to co-workers around them. When possible, try to give gifts equal in value when giving to a group.

Think of your assistants

It's a great way to show your gratitude for all of the work they do in putting up with you! All jokes aside, even a small token of appreciation goes a long way in saying "thank you" for their efforts during the year.

Go in with a group

When considering a gift for your boss or supervisor, let the team be represented as whole. It won't come off as self-serving as an individual gift could and can help get your boss a really great gift while keeping everyone within a budget.

Pass on gag gifts

It's generally a bad idea to gift something that could be seen by anyone in the workplace as offensive. While these types of gifts can be funny when exchanging with friends and family, they should stay out of the office.

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Last month, brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard drew national attention when she opted to end her life in Oregon through a physician distributed medication under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. The Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill patients to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician. Currently three states have laws that allow this, and aid-in-dying practices are protected in two others. Many others are hearing proposals for laws like these such as New York and Pennsylvania.

While some think the choice should be the right of the patient so as to avoid an extended painful death, opponents of the laws argue that people such as disabled or elderly could be pushed into the decision.

Where do you stand on the issue of physician assisted suicide? Do you think it should be legal? Cast your vote in today's Hopkins Happenings and feel free to explain your stance in the comments below.

Do You Think Physician-Assisted Death For Terminally Ill Patients Should Be Legal?

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Click here to view last week’s poll results from "Five Ways to Avoid the Holiday Blues?"

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"If I had known then, what I know now..."

Part of growing up is learning lessons and applying them as you go on in life. As wide-eyed kids out of school, we might think we know everything we need to know entering our career pathway, but quickly learn there's so much more. Of all of the lessons you have learned, what is the one thing you wish you had known before you started your career? Would that knowledge have taken you on a different path? Leave a comment and share your answer to today's Question of the Week!

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'Tis the season for holiday travel. Whether you pack the family in a car or endure the bustle of the airport, traveling is very rarely a smooth process and it's only amplified by the crowded holiday rush. In today's Throwback Thursday, leave a comment and tell us about some of your most chaotic or event-filled traveling experiences.

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As we get older, our knees, hips, ankles and other joints begin to wear down from years of use and stress - sometimes causing great pain. What causes joint pain and what can be done to help prevent and alleviate joint pain? Assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery Robert Sterling answers some questions about best practices for keeping our joints healthy in today's Ask The Expert.

What are some variables that lead to joint pain?

SterlingThere are numerous potential causes of joint pain, including pain from ligaments, tendons, bones and sources within the joint itself, such as the cartilage and joint lining. Overuse injury is a very common cause of joint pain, as is repetitive trauma. For example, jackhammer operators have an increased incidence of wrist and elbow pain.

The most common cause of joint pain in adults is osteoarthritis. Being overweight has been shown to be a risk factor for development of arthritis in the knee. Arthritis becomes more common as people age, and arthritis is more common in women than men. Trauma, genetics, hormones and nutrition are other contributors to the development of joint pain and arthritis.

 

How can highly active people help preserve their joints though the added strain?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to joint health. Highly active people can preserve their joints best by avoiding injury. Many sports have been tied to knee injuries, including soccer and competitive basketball. Proper preparation before participating in sports and proper muscle recovery after activity can help prevent injury and preserve joint function.

 

What can people do to alleviate pain from arthritis if they have it?

Unfortunately, there is no way to “cure” osteoarthritis. However, people can do some simple things to slow the progression and limit the pain.

Weight control is one factor that can help ease arthritis pain. In the knee joint, for each pound of weight, the joint can feel 1.5 to 3 pounds of pressure when climbing a step. Maintaining a healthy weight can help slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

An exercise program for the muscle around the knee and hip will improve strength and often decreases joint pain from arthritis. The use of a simple knee sleeve can also improve pain by providing compression at the joint. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications, are also commonly used to relieve arthritis pain.

 

What are the best supplements available for joint pain relief?

There are numerous supplements available that are advertised for relief of joint pain—glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, ginger, methylsulfonylmethane, etc. However, there are no rigorous clinical research trials that consistently demonstrate positive effects of supplements.

The clinical practice guideline on treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee published by the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons does not recommend use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate due to a lack of evidence. That said, many individuals do feel relief from taking supplements, and the effect in an individual cannot be discounted.

Supplements can have side effects—for example, ginger can cause blood thinning—or interact with prescription medications. Anyone interested in adding supplements to a health regimen should be aware of this and make sure that the supplement will not interfere with any prescription medications.

 

Some food and drinks, such as fish and milk, are thought to help prevent wear on bones and joints. Is this true? If so, are there any others?

The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the joint lining, has been show to be lower in people who consumed higher levels of vitamin D, Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.

A study from one center found that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, had a protective effect on the development of arthritis. There are numerous other foods that may help ease joint pains due to their natural anti-inflammatory properties, such as onions, leeks, extra-virgin olive oil, fatty fish, walnuts and soy beans.

 

What are the most common joints that require replacement?

The knee is the most commonly replaced joint, followed by the hip, shoulder and ankle. In 2010, there were more than 700,000 total knee replacements and more than 300,000 total hip replacements performed in the U.S.

 

If joint replacement is necessary, what recovery tips do you have for people who have received replacement surgery?

Proper presurgical preparation is critical to making the recovery easy. Ask questions. Patients who are better informed and participate in the development of their treatment plan have better outcomes.

Losing weight before surgery is critical for obese patients, both to ease the recovery and reduce the risks of surgery. A preoperative exercise program involving the arthritis joint helps improve postoperative recovery. A simple program of stretching and gentle strengthening can go a long way postoperatively.

If you are having surgery on your hip, knee, or ankle, find out how to prepare your home before surgery to prevent falls. Find a “coach” who will be available to assist you after surgery, and who can help you at home with both your personal care and home exercises.

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While the holidays are often thought of as a joyous time, they also can be a time that causes great stress and vulnerability to depression. With short days and limited access to sunlight, winter can cause some people to fall into a depressed state. Coupled with the anxiety of family communication (or lack thereof), this can be a true battle for those vulnerable to episodes of depression.

How do you beat the holiday blues during this time of year? Take a look at some these five methods and vote on one or all of the ones you use to stay in a healthy mood each winter.

  • Get some sunlight and exercise. Fifteen to 30 minutes of sunlight, especially in the morning, will go a long way to alleviating the winter blahs.
  • Adjust your expectations. Don’t let visions of perfection spoil everything.  Learn that most things can be good enough – gifts, food, company, etc.
  • Stay active. exercising can keep you healthy, but can also help keep your mind active and away from things getting you down.
  • Start a holiday tradition. It's easy to reflect back to old times, which can have a somber effect at times. Instead of dwelling on the past, start a new holiday tradition so that you can look ahead to more good times.
  • Do the things you enjoy. The winter is the perfect time to begin a hobby. Tap into your artistic side by creating something unique, start a collection, read a series of books. The little joys of youd daily progress will go a long way.

 

How Do You Avoid The Holiday Blues?

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For more on beating depression during the holidays, visit the Johns Hopkins Medicine health awareness page.

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Everyone has a different outlook on what makes them successful. For some, a prospering career doing something they love makes them successful. Some measure it by financial goals, while others determine it by how they help the people around them. Share the ways you measure success by leaving a comment.

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PastDo you often wonder what it would be like to live in a "simpler" time? Do you wish you could have styled in a "flapper" dress  in the 1920s or experienced Woodstock in the 1960s. Would you go back to live through the breakthrough of the internet in the 1990s or take a trip even further back before the 20th century? Tell us what decade you would go back to and why in the comments below. Be sure to share the things you would most look forward to seeing or doing in your trip back in time!

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Since the Ebola virus arrived in the United States over the summer, Johns Hopkins Medicine has ensured that every effort possible has been made to ensure staff, patients and visitors are well-informed about its Ebola virus disease preparedness efforts. As a result, numerous employee and patient resources such as:

What Have Been The Most Helpful Ebola Preparedness Resources?

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Click here to view last week’s poll results from "When Do You Begin Holiday Shopping?"

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