Health Information Technology – The Safer Future in Healthcare

From the past 20 years, information technology has brought many major transformations in almost all fields of the world and healthcare is simply not an exception. While the revolutions of science are ruling on all parts of our lives, it has also brought a positive change in medical and healthcare by introducing health information technology.

Health information technology has absolutely changed the notion of addressing the healthcare issues. With the help of the transformation of information technology in health section, you will get benefit in your overall healthcare circle including relationships of your doctors, your hospital records, your pharmacy and other important medical information. Like all other information technology systems, the health IT system also needs proper configuration, network security consulting, solution & specialist to make the workflow risk-free.

Benefits of Health IT

The smart and efficient exchange of healthcare information through information technology is advantageous and beneficial in many ways. Following are some of the benefits that healthcare IT can offer:

Better information means quality healthcare

Better and effective exchange of information means safer and quality healthcare. With the help of electronic health records and information exchange, practitioners will be able to review the complete picture of patient’s medical history which eventually improves health care quality. With detailed health records, the risks of improper medications can be avoided and chances of medical errors will be reduced.

Assurance of efficient and accurate treatment

Once the health information technology has the complete medical record of the patient, it will assure that the treatment will be provided faster and efficiently. It will be easier for practitioner to decide tests based on the prior provided information. The clearer picture will help the consultant to give more accurate prescriptions and reduced unnecessary medical tests.

Ease up the administration

While compiling and managing the paperwork is certainly a tough call, healthcare IT makes the things easier. With the help of electronic medical records and management system, the administrative tasks have become hassle-free and efficient, which has subsequently lower down the administrative costs. However, to ensure the authenticity of information, administrative bodies have to be particular about network security consulting, solution & specialist.

Ensure the security of information

While the health information technology has reduced the burdens of paperwork, it has also ensured the safety and security of medical records of the patients. With the help of healthcare information system, all the medical records and relevant information can be saved and secured, as unlike the conventional paperwork system, electronic health records are safe and easy to transferred and accessed electronically. Though, paperwork of medical records are unrecoverable in tragic situations, but one has to ensure proper network security consulting, solution & specialist to ensure the security of electronic health records.



Source by Kelly K John

Learning Something New: For Life and For Health

You often hear how laughter is the best medicine, and for some people chocolate or multivitamins fit the bill instead. Each person is unique and so is his or her preferred form of medicine. What about learning something new as a form of medicine?

Often there are parts of personality, talents, and health that haven’t been expressed, at least in a while, and are just waiting to be let out. Everyone has different talents, so the key to unlocking these hidden treasures is unique to you. It could be that drawing or painting offers a form of expression that you enjoy. Writing stories, or a blog. Dancing or singing. Someone who is good at cooking dinner might try out desserts or baking instead. How about learning piano or guitar? A new sport?

Learning something new helps us feel adventure in life, which is very much a part of feeling healthy and active. When daily work and chores build up, trying something new shakes things up and encourages us to be in better tune with ourselves in many different ways–including our health. It could be that you have a talent you have exercised before, and maybe it’d be fun to take it to a new level in some way.

The adventure of learning something new can be frustrating at first, and even this feeling can contribute to your health. People can find that the frustration they experience in a new activity is one they’re dealing with on a larger level too in other parts of life. Tackling the challenge through the new learning experience can jump start changes in other areas of life too. Once you take the first step, you never know where it will lead you.

Just as life is a journey, so is health. These two experiences are woven together so that whatever you do to improve one area often improves the other one as well. Learning something new sparks both your body and your mind in new ways, impacting both your health and your life.

So, what have you been wanting to learn or try out lately that you haven’t had a chance to express yet? Maybe you’ve thought about it and it’s felt a little scary to go for it. As the season shifts slowly from winter toward spring, jump into this challenge anyway and see what happens. Enjoy the new adventure, expressing your talents, and the changes it brings to your life and your health!



Source by Aarti Patel

Statutes in U.S. Healthcare System

The healthcare field is the subject of a host of federal statutes, regulations, guidelines, interpretive information, and model guidance. There are a considerable number of statutes and regulations that have an impact on the delivery of healthcare services. A statute is legislative enactment that has been signed into law. A statute either directs someone to take action, grants authority to act in certain situations, or to refrain from doing so. Statutes are not self-enforcing. Someone must be authorized to do so to take action. A statute may authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to take action, and it is up to the department to implement the law. Regulations, or rules, are made by administrative personnel to whom legislatures have delegated such responsibilities. It is a tool for developing policies, procedures, and practice routines that track the expectations of regulatory agencies and departments. The statutory and regulatory requirements are subject to judicial interpretation.

A very important element of healthcare management is to understand the key regulatory environment. One government statute that effects patient healthcare is the Anti-Kickback Statute. The Medicare and Medicaid Patient Protection Act of 1987 (the “Anti-Kickback Statute”), has been enacted to prevent healthcare providers from inappropriately profiting from referrals. The government regards any type of incentive for a referral as a potential violation of this law because the opportunity to reap financial benefits may tempt providers to make referrals that are not medically necessary, thereby driving up healthcare costs and potentially putting patient’s health at risk. The Anti-Kickback statute is a criminal statute. Originally enacted almost 30 years ago, the statute prohibits any knowing or willful solicitation or acceptance of any type of remuneration to induce referrals for health services that are reimbursable by the Federal government. For example, a provider may not routinely waive a patient’s co-payment or deductible. The government would view this as an inducement for the patient to choose the provider for reasons other than medical benefit. While these prohibitions originally were limited to services reimbursed by the Medicare or Medicaid programs, recent legislation expanded the statute’s reach to any Federal healthcare program. Because the Anti-Kickback statute is a criminal statute, violations of it are considered felonies, with criminal penalties of up to $25,000 in fines and five years in prison. Routinely waiving copayments and deductibles violates the statute and ordinarily results in a sanction. However, a safe harbor has been created wherein a provider granting such a waiver based on a patient’s financial need would not be sanctioned. The enactment of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) added another level of complexity to the Anti-Kickback statute and its accompanying safe harbors. HIPAA mandated that the OIG (Office of Inspector General) furnish advisory opinions to requesting providers that are either in an arrangement or contemplating an arrangement that may not fit squarely within the law. For a fee, the OIG would analyze the arrangement and determine whether it could violate the law and whether the OIG would impose sanctions on the arrangement. In many of its advisory opinions published over the past few years, the OIG has stated that it would not impose sanctions, even though it found that the arrangement in question could violate the statute. A common reason the OIG has given for not imposing sanctions has been that the arrangement provides an overall benefit to the community. Healthcare finance professionals need to ensure that all business transactions comply with the Anti-Kickback statute.

The Anti-Kickback statute effects the patient. The main aim of this statute is to improve patient safety, provide satisfaction and avoid risk. The result of the acquisition of a physician’s practice would serve to interfere with the physician’s subsequent judgment of what is the most appropriate care for a patient. It would also interfere with a beneficiary’s freedom of choice of providers.

Physicians have direct patient care responsibilities. Any incentive payments to such physicians that are either tied to overall costs of patient treatment or based on a patient’s length of stay could reduce patient services. Also, the profits generated by cost savings may induce investor-physicians to reduce services to patients. Health care programs operate on the good faith and honesty of health care providers. It is important to ensure that quality services are provided at the hospital. The Anti-Kickback statute helps the government not to tolerate misuse of the reimbursement systems for financial gain and hold the responsible parties accountable for their conduct. Such conducts can also prompt patient complaints. The hospitals and physicians who are interested in structuring gainsharing arrangements might adversely affect patient care.

The Anti-Kickback statute creates a protective umbrella, a zone in which patients are protected so that the best health care is provided. This statute helps to improve efficiency, improve quality of care, and provide better information for patients and physicians. The Anti-Kickback statute is not only a criminal prohibition against payments made purposefully to induce or reward the referral or generation of Federal health care business, it also addresses the offer or payment of anything of value in return for purchasing, leasing, ordering of any item or service reimbursable in whole or part by a Federal health care program. It helps to promote quality and efficient delivery of health care transparency regarding health care quality and price.

There are millions of uninsured patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills. Giving a discount on hospital charges to an uninsured patient does not implicate the Federal Anti-Kickback statute. Most need-based discounting policies are aimed at making health care more affordable for the millions of uninsured citizens who are not referral sources for the hospital. For discounts offered to these uninsured patients, the Anti-Kickback statute simply does not apply. It is fully supported that a patient’s financial need is not a barrier to health care. Furthermore, OIG legal authorities permit hospitals and others to offer bonafide discounts to uninsured patients and to Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries who cannot afford their health care bills. The Anti-Kickback statute is concerned about improper financial incentives that often lead to abuses, such as overutilization, increased program costs, corruption of medical-decision making, and unfair competition.

There are risk management implications of this statute. There are risks associated with the Anti-Kickback statute and its good to prevent them. Rather than be an imposing and daunting challenge to understand, the outcome can be development of risk management systems to guide the delivery of health care. This fact is recognized that such statutes are an important attribute of the risk management professional. For example there are potential risks under the Anti-Kickback statute arising from hospital relationships. In case of joint ventures there has been a long-standing concern about arrangements between those in a position to refer or generate Federal health care program business and those providing items or services reimbursable by Federal health care programs. In the context of joint ventures, the chief concern is that remuneration from a joint venture might be a disguised payment for past or future referrals to the venture or to one or more of its participants. The risk management should be done by having a knowledge of the manner in which joint venture participants are selected and retained, the manner in which the joint venture is structured and the manner in which the investments are financed and profits are distributed. Another area of risk is the hospital’s compensation arrangements with physicians. Although many compensation arrangements are legitimate business arrangements, but may violate the Anti-Kickback statute if one purpose of the arrangement is to compensate physicians for past or future referrals. Risk management is to follow the general rule of thumb that any remuneration flowing between hospitals and physicians should be at fair market value for actual and necessary items furnished or services.

Risk management is also needed in entities such as in cases where a hospital is the referral source for other providers or suppliers. It would be prudent for the hospital to scrutinize carefully any remuneration flowing to the hospital from the provider or supplier to ensure compliance with the Anti-Kickback statute. Also, many hospitals provide incentives to recruit a physician or other health care professional to join the hospital’s medical staff and provide medical services to the surrounding community. When used to bring needed physicians to an underserved community, these arrangements can benefit patients. However, recruitment arrangements pose substantial fraud and abuse risk. This can be prevented by having knowledge of the size and value of the recruitment benefit, the duration of payout of the recruitment benefit, the practice of the existing physician and the need for the recruitment. Another area where risk management is to be applied is when the discounts are given. The Anti-Kickback statute contains an exception for discounts offered to customers that submit claims to the Federal health care programs. The discounts should be properly disclosed and accurately reported. The regulation provides that the discount must be given at the time of sale or, in certain cases, it should be set at the time of sale. This will help in risk management. It is also needed in medical staff credentialing and malpractice insurance subsidies.

The key areas of potential risk under the Federal Anti-Kickback statute also arise from pharmaceutical manufacturer relationships with 3 groups: purchasers, physicians or other health care professionals, and sales agents. Activities that pose potential risk include discounts and other terms of sale offered to purchasers, product conversion, consulting and advisory payments. The pharmaceutical manufacturers and their employees and agents should be aware of the constraints the Anti-Kickback statute places on the marketing and promoting of products paid for by federal and state health care programs. To that end, the draft guidance recommends pharmaceutical manufacturers ensure that such activities fit squarely within one of the safe harbors under the Anti-Kickback statute. The Department of Health and Human Services has promulgated safe harbor regulations that protect certain specified arrangements from prosecution under the Anti-Kickback Statute.

Healthcare being one the most regulated of all sectors of commerce, it is important that all facts and circumstances with respect to the statutes and regulations are evaluated.



Source by Meenu Arora Kapur

Fitness And Nutrition For Health

In the age which we live there is an unprecedented focus on getting and staying healthy. As more and more research points to the effect of fitness and nutrition on our overall health, the findings become more difficult to ignore. There is no doubt that the food that we eat and the physical activity that we perform significantly impact our weight and our body’s overall health and longevity.

When you look at fitness and nutrition and the consequences of ignoring their importance, it is not difficult to see how large a role they play in our health. First and foremost, it is important to understand how powerfully diet can affect us. Natural, whole foods – such as fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins – give our bodies the vitamins that it needs to function effectively. We have energy when we eat right. And when we have energy we burn fat. Eating properly allows us to maintain a healthy weight and keep undue stress off of our hearts; it also allows us to keep our blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the healthy range. Most importantly, good nutrition keeps our bodies stocked with antioxidants that fight off a range of illnesses including cancer.

But nutrition does go it alone; fitness and nutrition go hand in hand for achieving good health. When we keep our bodies active through a consistent exercise program, we are adding to our body’s ability to metabolize food and keep weight down. Further, good fitness means strong and limber muscles and a strong cardiovascular system. Exercise also lowers blood pressure and reduces stress levels.

Learning how to pair fitness and nutrition for optimum health means a commitment to a particular lifestyle. It is essential that you revamp your diet to eliminate fatty, high-sodium, and processed food and replace it with fresh, natural – and even organic – choices. But remember, fitness and nutrition work best as a team. Implement a consistent regime of physical activity into your daily schedule including cardiovascular work, stretching, weight training, and even yoga or Pilates.

When you truly understand the importance of fitness and nutrition in your life, you will understand how crucial these lifestyle changes are in order to live a long and healthy life.



Source by Michelle Bery

Workstation Health and Fitness Solutions For RSI

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is now a major industrial disease affecting millions of people around the world. RSI includes conditions such as carpel tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis and tendinitis – often collectively referred to as upper limb disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), computer related injuries or cumulative trauma disorders, or CTD. Often the posotion of workstations and the design of the PC and accessories can affect how our health and safety.

1. Workstation Ergonomics

A well designed workstation is essential to maintaining good posture and reducing the risk of lower back pain and other computer related injuries.

2. Ergonomic Keyboards and Mice

There are quite a few ergonomically designed keyboards and mice available. The Microsoft Natural Keyboard is one example. This keyboard splits the keys into two panels – one for each hand, and angles each panel so that the hands sit naturally on the keyboard, rather than requiring them to be twisted into an unnatural position which is the case with normal keyboards. Many mice are now designed to fit neatly into either hand, and can often have a scrolling wheel, which can make scrolling through documents easier and less stressful than using scroll bars.

These ergonomic devices are generally more expensive than standard designs, but can be well worth the investment.

3. Ergonomic Use of Keyboards and Mice

The computer mouse was originally designed to make using a computer easier – it is much easier to point at a picture and click than to learn a relatively complicated series of keystrokes. However, research has shown that using a mouse is a significant cause of repetitive strain injury. Especially if the mouse is located at the same level and to the side of the keyboard – it's usual location. This requires extending your arm which introduces significant tensions and stresses in your arm, shoulder and neck.

The best position for your mouse is on a raised platform slightly above the numeric keypad on your computer. Also, if you reduce the speed of the mouse and the number of clicks you have to make you can greatly reduce the muscle tension in your arm and hand. Additionally, you can swap the primary and secondary mouse buttons (the left and right buttons), to change the mouse from being right handed to left handed. Using your left hand – or right hand if you are left handed – can take some getting used to, but can be very helpful if you are suffering from any aches and pains in one hand. Regularly alternating between left and right hands can also give your arms and hands a rest, so minimizing the risk of developing any RSI condition. You can swap the mouse buttons using the mouse applet in the Windows Control Panel – or directly from the Stress Buster context menu – with fewer mouse clicks and / or key strokes.

To reduce the mouse speed, open the Mouse applet in the Windows Control Panel, select the tab Pointer Options and move the pointer speed slider to the left to slow. Click OK.

To reduce the number of clicks you have to make, open the My Computer icon, then select Tools, Folder Options, and then under Click Items As Follows, choose Single-click to open an item.

If you can you should avoid using the mouse as much as possible. Most actions and commands can be transported out using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse. For example, to reduce the number of clicks you have to make with your mouse – as described above, you could use the following keyboard shortcuts:

1. Press the button on your keyboard to open the Windows Start Menu.
2. Use the arrow keys to select My Computer (or the alternative name you may have given to your computer), and then press Enter or Return. This will open an explorer window for your computer.
3. Hold down the Alt key and press "T" to open the Tools menu, then press "O" to open Folder Options.
4. In Folder Options, hold down the Alt key, and press "S". This will select the option Single-click to open an item.
5. Press Enter or Return to close the Folder Options dialog.

Windows Help provides extensive help on using keyboard shortcuts with Windows. Individual applications such as Microsoft Office also have their own keyboard shortcuts – with the appropriate help. Learning keyboard shortcuts can take some time, but once learnt, using them tend to be faster than using the mouse, and avoids much of the discomfort associated with the mouse.

4. Rest Breaks

All ergonomic experts agree that taking frequent rest breaks is essential to avoid the risk of computer related injuries.

You should take frequent "eye breaks" – staring at a computer monitor for long periods causes you to blink less often – resulting in dryer eyes. Every 10 to 15 minutes you should look away from your monitor and blink your eyes quickly for a few seconds. This will refresh the tear film and clear any dust from the surface of the eyes. Additionally you should focus on something at a distance – preferably 20 feet or more away – look out of the window if you can – this will relax the muscles inside the eye.

You should take frequent short pauses or "micro pauses" – for 10 seconds or so up to a minute – every 10 minutes or thereabouts. You should take regular short breaks – for 5 minutes or more – every hour or so – maybe go for a coffee or a short walk around the office, and you should take a long break every two or three hours – for at least 15 minutes, or preferably 30 minutes to an hour. Exactly how long and how frequent your breaks are depends on your own personal preferences and working environment.

5. Stretching Exercises

Regular stretching is an essential part of RSI prevention and recovery, remember that your body is not designed to be sat at a desk for 8 hours a day clicking a mouse. Respect your body and give it the movement and range of motion it normally expects.

6. Posture

Good post is essential to avoid repetitive strain injury and other computer related injuries. Well designed workstation ergonomics can help in maintaining a good posture.

* Make sure that you can reach the keyboard with your wrists as flat as possible (not twisted up or down) and straight (not twisted left or right). An ergonomic keyboard can help to keep your wrists straight.

* Make sure that your elbow angle is 90 degrees or more to avoid nerve compression at the elbow.

* Make sure that your upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use – avoid overreaching. Also make sure that your wrist is as straight as possible when the mouse is being used.

* Make sure that you sit back in the chair and that you have good back support – especially lumber support.

* Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor. Use a foot rest if necessary.

* Make sure that your head and neck are as straight as possible.

* Make sure that you are relaxed. Forcing yourself to sit up straight can sometimes introduce unhealthy tensions in the back muscles.

7. Alternative Input Devices

There are a number of alternative input devices you can use, instead of the mouse and keyboard, which you might find helpful. Examples are the trackball, a graphics table and pen, a touchpad, and even voice control.

RSI is a very serious health risk, especially with the young people who are coming to any industry sector that has continuous use of a PC. You need to take all the actions and preventions necessary to help minimize that risk.



Source by Gerard Bulger

Student Health Insurance – International Options For Students

Congratulations! You finally got the scholarship you applied for at the University of London. In two months' time, you will be jetting off to another continent, to study fashion under the wing of one of the largest names in the industry.

Naturally, in the excuse that followed, you never thought of student health insurance. International students rarely do – before they get sick, anyway. Once they're face to face with the terrible reality of illness, they regret that they've been so careless about health coverage.

Why wait for this to happen to you? If you do not have a student health insurance with international coverage yet, here are two very good reasons to start shopping around for one.

1. You want to protect yourself from uncertainty. You may be stronger than an ox now or even just borderline healthy. Still, no one knows what would happen in the future. You could fall ill weeks after your arrival. There are no guarantees that you will not meet an accident or catch the flue while abroad.

You may protest, "But my parents have insurance and it covers me!" How are you? Moreover, even if you already have some form of coverage, this is most likely minimal at best. Furthermore, policies are generally not specifically intended for traveling students. Unlike student health insurance, international holidays and extended stands are likely to be items of exclusion in whatever policy your parents have.

2. You want to plan your life ahead. Planning your finances should begin even before you get your first real job. You do not want to start your adult life swamped with a huge medical bill to pay off, on top of your student loans.

Do not get caught unawares. As you go about planning your trip, request for quotes from various providers of student health insurance. International students should consider getting them combined medical and travel insurance coverage. Then, and only then, can you consider yourself a responsible adult with an eye out for his or her own well-being.



Source by John S. Willard

Healthy Food For Optimal Health

When I learned I had breast cancer, I decided that I needed to find out as much as I could about how my diet might impact my health. I absorbed everything I would get my hands on that discussed the importance of nutrition in regaining health and preventing a recurrence of cancer. Shortly after I learned I had cancer, I also found out that I am allergic to dairy and eggs. I needed to make changes to my lifestyle – fast.

The first thing to go was dairy. All of the years that I was consuming massive amounts of cheese was taking a toll on my health. Almost immediately upon giving it up, the majority of my migraine headaches disappeared. Another astonishing revelation was when, just as quickly, I no longer needed the Afrin nasal spray I had come to depend on to clear my sinuses for 35 years! I couldn’t leave the house without it. Now my need for it had disappeared. I had no idea that all of these issues were being caused by dairy.

Suddenly it was obvious, but for years I went along consuming dairy and suffering side effects without ever putting the two together. To improve my health on all counts, I realized that I needed to get back to basic, simple foods. No more processed junk foods, no more saturated fats, and no more refined white flours and sugars. So, along with dairy, I cut them out of my life. I now eat a mostly plant-based diet that is rich in nutrients and full of vitamins.

I buy organic when possible to avoid the pesticide and herbicide residues that are so prevalent in conventionally grown produce. I cook my meals from scratch. No more cans, packages or boxes (with a few exceptions). I now use my creativity and Google savvy to put together healthy meal ideas that work for my family. I noticed an immediate improvement to my health. I not only started to lose weight, and ultimately slowly and steadily lost 50 pounds, but I started to feel like my younger self again. More energetic, less achy, clearer skin.

I found that by merging elements from a vegan diet and a raw food lifestyle I could satisfy my family’s needs of eating healthy. The elements that I incorporated from the raw food diet is not only eating more vegetables in their raw state, but also eating foods that are “pure”. In other words, foods that are not processed or otherwise adulterated. They don’t contain chemicals or additives as they are mostly freshly made and consumed. However, it was not feasible to prepare only non-cooked foods 100% or the time. Although, I do try to eat at least 50% raw each day.

I needed to include hot healthy foods into my diet as well. In the northeast the winters are cold and it is just not possible for me to cut out all warm food. As far as veganism, I have eliminated all animal products, with the exception of some fish on occasion for the omega 3 benefits.

My diet now focuses on a plant-based diet and includes whole grains, beans and nuts. With all of the changes I have incorporated into my life, I have reduced my risk of having a recurrence of cancer substantially. Consuming less saturated fat, including an exercise regime, cutting out alcoholic beverages and more leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables all cut my risk. But my new regime is not only one that is good for those who have cancer. It is a lifestyle that we should all incorporate elements of into our everyday lives. It is healthy and promotes optimal health. Healthy food is key to optimal health. Making small changes in lifestyle can add up to big benefits over time. The next time you consider picking up a loaded burger, consider your health!



Source by Meadow Summers

How to Make a Toy Hammock

Children see the pleasure people get from spending a couple hours relaxing in a hammock. People in hammocks generally feel happy and at peace, so naturally they want to extend this good feeling to their toys. The problem is, however, they don’t know where to get one. You can buy online or in leading toy stores. But here’s a better idea: show your child how simple it is to make a toy hammock using basic paper crafting. Consequently, they may create several for all their dolls, teddy bears, and other toys. So read on to learn how to make a toy hammock.

Materials:

1. Colored copy paper or construction paper

2. Sturdy string either embroidery floss or yarn

3. Tape or glue

4. Scissors

The first step is to determine the size of your hammock. Some children may want to have medium sized toy hammock to accommodate a number of toys, while some may want to create a realistic approach by having one toy hammock for each toy. Whatever the child desires, decide how long and wide the hammock should be.

In this tutorial, the measurements will be 1 inch to the width and 5 inches to the length. Simply cut a piece of the construction paper or colored copy paper according to your measurements. You would also want to have a thick base; you can do this by cutting the paper 3 times its desired length and folding it again to the desired length.

After sizing it, it’s time to fold it. Do accordion fold to the entire piece lengthwise. Then in an alternating pattern, cut equal triangular notches out of both sides of the folded paper. Now here comes the slightly crucial part; shaping it. To do this, unfold the sheet of lattice and then cut off each corner at an angle. Meanwhile, prepare two pieces of string to be used to tie the ends of the toy hammock. Using your scissors and the sturdy string either embroidery floss or yarn, cut two strings that are at least 7 inches longer than your hammock.

To follow the angles you cut, stick three small strips of tape under the opposite sides of the hammock. Make sure you leave half of the tape strips available for folding over later. Then place the string along the outer edge of the toy hammock. Now fold the tape over using the available half of the tape strip to secure the string in both sides. Before you secure the angled ends, make sure to tape the middle sections first. Finally, tape or tie the string ends to a post, a hook mounted on the wall, or any object heavy enough to bear the toys’ weight. You have just made a toy hammock; now place a little stuffed toy on it and give it a swing.



Source by Jamie West

USASF Rules and The Cheerleading Worlds

The USASF (United States All Star Federation) is the largest company that sets out all of the rules and regulations for All-Star Cheerleading. Each year they come out with new rules – some of which bring up a lot of buzz in the cheerleading world. The 2012-2013 season is no exception to this. I am going to talk about a few of the major rule changes that bring up a lot of buzz.

Tumbling Rule Changes

• Standing fulls are not allowed

• Standing doubles are not allowed

• Consecutive bounding, twisting skills are not allowed

Age Grid Rule Changes

• Eliminate mini level 3 through mini level 5

• Eliminate youth level 5 restricted teams by placing restrictions on youth level 5

o No double fulls in tumbling

o No kick doubles in basket tosses

o No twisting in braced flips

• No longer separating junior coed level 3 from junior all girl level 3

• No longer separating junior coed level 4 from junior all girl level 4

• Bottom age for senior teams, level 1, level 2, level 3, level 4, and senior restricted level 5, will be 10 years old

• Bottom age for senior level 5 teams will be 12 years old

• The age restriction for an international open team that is level 5 is 15 years of age and older

• The age restriction for an international open team that is level 6 is 17 years of age and older

• Eliminate international age rule for the United States teams – athletes must be of legal age according to the age grid by the cut off (August 31st) of that season

All of these new rules are to be implemented during the 2012-2013 all star cheerleading season.

Along with the USASF being the major rule maker within all star cheerleading, they are the people who allow the handing out of Worlds Bids. Worlds is the top competition known to all star cheerleading. It is for senior level 5 cheerleaders only. There are only so many worlds bids offered per year, and the USASF divvies out which competition gets to hand them out based on the number of teams and athletes attend their event.

Bid season is right around the corner! With that being said, some of you may be new to cheerleading and not know much information about what a worlds bid actually is. A worlds’ bid is literally your ticket to The Cheerleading Worlds. Without one, you cannot go and compete at the most prestigious competition for level 5 cheerleaders in Orlando, Florida. There are three different types of bids that are offered: at-large worlds’ bid, partial paid worlds’ bid, and full paid worlds’ bid. I will go in depth a little bit more to explain the differences between the various types of worlds’ bids.

At-Large Bid: An at-large bid is essentially an unpaid worlds bid. This type of bid allows teams to go compete at Worlds. Unlike the other types of bids offered, teams have to pay the full price of the competition. The costs include actual competition fees, hotel fees, travel fees (ex – airplane, bus, rental cars, etc.), and hopper passes to Disney (because the competition is located in Orlando and the competition is on Disney properties).

Partial Paid Bid: A partial paid worlds bid is a bid that partially pays for a team’s trip to Worlds in Orlando, Florida. The money for the bid comes directly from the competition company that they win the bid at. The costs that the partial paid bid for pays for the same things that an at-large bid pays for, however the overall costs are less to the athletes or gym because of receiving some of the money from a competition company.

Full Paid Bid: A full paid bid is pretty self-explanatory. This is a completely paid for trip to The Cheerleading Worlds by the competition company that they win the bid at. The costs that are paid for are all of the same costs that a partial paid bid and an at-large bid has.

The way teams obtain bids (no matter the type) is through various national competitions hosted by a variety of companies. Teams compete two days and get a combined score that gives you a ranking. The competition company then hands out Worlds bids at their discretion.



Source by Samantha R Wagner

How to Make Custom Boxes at Home

At Home DIY

The economy is in a downfall right now. If you are like me and not living in the 1% that can afford to throw their money around then you try to save money as best you can. DIYs are “do it yourself”s that help save money yet receive quality results. One DIY that helps young entrepreneurs who are also cost efficient are Homemade Custom product boxes. If you look online, you will see many DIYS with different ideas about how to create your custom product box. On Pinterest alone just typing the words “custom boxes” will get you hundreds to thousands of results. Some of them even have free templates to download just to help you make it easier. But make no mistake, making your custom box is not as easy as it seems unless you have a good background in crafts. Hopefully, this article can help you.

Supplies

– Box cutter

– Decorations

– Measurer

– Cardboard or material to make box

– Packing tape

Steps

– Take the cardboard and box cutter and open up the cardboard so you can shape the cardboard into whatever shape you want

– Take the object you are going to send and use that to measure the dimensions if the box and cut accordingly

– Fold the box, so it fits well around the product.

– Make finishing touches to the box, so it looks nice, and so the item does not fall out or break. Then use the packing tape to seal up the box. If the object is fragile, then I suggest insulating the box with materials such as bubble wrap, tissue paper or packing peanuts, etc.

– Finally, decorate by adding a company logo or just make it pretty, however, you would like.

Alternatives

If you are not the creative type to imagine a particular type of custom box, then do not worry. There is a wide variety of custom box templates to choose from. Some include

– an oven shaped template for baked goods

– Footlocker boxes for shoes

– Premade candy boxes

– Etc.

Question and Answer

One of the questions I hear a lot that revolve DIY Custom boxes are how are they better than just buying premade custom boxes made by professionals. Well in the case of DIYs:

– They are usually cheaper than going through a manufacture

– you get to have a lot more control over how the process is done

– Sometimes manufacturers do not let you add an addition that you want

– Sometimes the manufacturers around your area do not have a particular material that you need or want.

In support of buying it from a store some might say:

– When building, you lose time which can lead to you losing money and nobody wants to lose money

– There isn’t a warranty on homemade products so in the occasion where your box breaks you would have to start over and waste more money

– There is a questionable quality to handmade items such as boxes.

The choice is up to you, as an entrepreneur or just a creative artisans it up to you to make some tough decisions considering your products and the boxes you use.



Source by Maryam Nasrullah