Saturday, February 28, 2009

Don't let the Golden Years slip away

The Golden Years are supposed to be a time of relaxation after a lifetime of hard work. Unfortunately, for many of our elders, those years can also be a time of loss - whether it’s friends, family, mobility or independence that diminish.

However, with a helping hand from the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital’s Day Treatment Program or its Outpatient Services Program (OPS), seniors can relearn how to enjoy living life to the fullest.

These programs offer treatments specifically designed for older adults experiencing emotional difficulties who don’t require inpatient treatment. By spending time in a structured safe, stimulating, nurturing environment, participants can again become a vital part of the community.

Symptoms individuals may need help to overcome include:
  • Change in personality
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Decline in memory
  • Self-imposed isolation from family and friends
  • Excessive feelings of guilt, helplessness or hopelessness
  • Frequent uncontrollable crying
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in person hygiene
  • Loss of physical function
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Relapse
All participants enrolled in the Day Program and OPS receive an individualized care plan that reflects their own challenges and goals. Elements can include:
  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Group
  • Mental Health Management Group
  • Expressive Therapy Group
  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Medication Management
  • Discharge Planning
Levindale’s team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed social workers, certified psychiatric nurses and expressive art therapists.

Levindale’s Day Treatment Program is open to people who were recently discharged from a hospital and need treatment five days a week. Our Outpatient Services program follows up with two or three days a week of treatment. Referrals are welcome from doctors, residential centers, nursing homes, family members and other involved people. Transportation is available for most participants.

Levindale’s programs are often partially covered Medicare and Medicaid and many health insurance companies. The staff at Levindale also offers free depression screenings and follow up monitoring in the community through Project LIGHT. For more information, call 410-601-2358.

What are some difficulties you have faced in caring for an elder parent or grandparent who is experiencing emotional difficulties but doesn't require inpatient treatment?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy program at Northwest Hospital earns prestigious accreditation

The hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) program at the Center for Wound Care at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md., recently earned accreditation from the influential Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Fewer than 100 programs in the United States have achieved this designation.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a specialized medical treatment inside a pressurized chamber, in which a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressure. Modern hyperbaric therapy is highly successful in healing stubborn wounds.

Northwest Hospital uses HBOT to treat non-healing diabetic ulcers, osteomyelitis, post-radiation complications and compromised skin flaps, among other things. In addition, the oxygen, which is delivered into the bloodstream, helps fight certain infections, and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, which generally improves circulation.

Patients receiving HBOT can see dramatic results as early as two weeks from the start of treatment. “Another benefit is that this therapy is noninvasive,” adds Alan S. Davis, M.D., F.A.C.S., director of the Center for Wound Care and HBOT at Northwest Hospital. “If standard wound therapies prove to be inadequate within a certain time frame, HBOT should be considered and can be done at the same time patients are receiving other treatment.”

To earn accreditation from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, clinical hyperbaric facilities must demonstrate an ongoing, first-rate commitment to patient care and facility safety. The organization sends a team of experts to each center to examine staffing, training, equipment installation, operation, maintenance and standards of care. Participation in this accreditation program is voluntary.

The Center for Wound Care at Northwest Hospital opened in 1995, and HBOT was added in 2005. Treating physicians, technicians and nurses are all educated in the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Support groups help caregivers of adults

Providing care for a family member in need is an act of love. Unfortunately, caregiving can take a heavy toll if you don’t get adequate support. Caregivers face many emotional and financial stressors, and often there is little or no hope for a happy outcome.

Communing with others and sharing your experiences can help alleviate the feelings of isolation you hold. Joining a support group can help you obtain the skills you need to take care of yourself and to feel more confident in the care you provide.

Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md., is offering a caregiver support group for adults caring for other adult family or friends. The next meeting is at the Hospital’s Education Center on March 4 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Join others to find ways to cope with the difficulties of being a caregiver of an adult. Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 410-601-9355.

Are you caring for a family member or other loved one? What coping skills do you employ? What advice can you share with people new to caregiving?

Get involved! Northwest Hospital seeks volunteers

The gift shop at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md., is looking for volunteers to assist customers in selecting gift and personal items. Adult volunteers are also needed in the Emergency Department at Northwest to support staff and provide customer services to patients and their families. Weekday and weekend hours are available for both positions. Training will be provided. For more information, call the Northwest Volunteer office at 410-521-5911.

If you are a nurse or retired nurse interested in helping the community or looking for something to do in your spare time, consider volunteering to assist with Northwest Hospital staff with health screenings and other community health programs. Call the Community Education department at 410-521-5905 for more information.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Twitter with us

Thanks for following LifeBridge Health's blog. We want to provide the residents of Northwest Baltimore - and beyond - with timely and useful health news, so let us know what interests you.

In that spirit, please check out our Twitter page. My colleague, Holly Hosler, started Twittering on Jan. 14. As of Feb. 19, LBHealth had 111 followers, only 8 of which are internal.

Nearly all of our followers discovered the account on their own; we’ve done nothing to publicize it (until now) aside from putting a “Twitter” icon on our homepage.

We use the account primarily to spread news that is useful to our followers, such as:

* the dates of free LifeBridge Health screenings and lectures
* health tips and online health tools like knowyournumbersBaltimore.com
* blood drive announcements
* links to this blog, which also covers health topics

Twitter is receiving a lot of media attention right now, just as Facebook was a year ago. According to researchers for the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 11 percent of online Americans now use Twitter and the median age of a Twitter user is 31.

So check us out today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Medical TV keeps us tuned in

OK, not every post on this blog has to be serious. Today I thought we'd take a look at medical dramas on TV - and what your average health care worker thinks about them.

When the show was new it was like clockwork. Every Friday morning, the staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore would gather around the coffeepot and talk about the previous night’s episode of “ER.”

“We discussed whether or not the treatments were appropriate. Most of the time they were, but we would always spot a resuscitation bag that didn't inflate and other things,” says Judith Mulloney, a clinical leader in the PICU.

Sure, we all love pointing out the goofs and complaining about the cliched dialogue in the dozens of television dramas, sitcoms and reality shows that take place in hospitals. But what do LifeBridge Health employees think of the way doctors and nurses are portrayed on TV today?

“Some shows are better than others. But when physicians and medical personnel watch shows like 'House,’ I think they say `Come on, give me a break,’” says William Jaquis, M.D., chief of Emergency Medicine at Sinai.

“Patients come to you and say `Is that what really happens in the ER?’” says Janice Delgiorno, MSN, CCRN, ACNP-BC, Trauma Program manager/advanced practice nurse for the Sinai Department of Surgery’s Trauma Division. “A helicopter could crash outside the ER-7, but it’s not realistic.”

Ok, sometimes they get a little carried away. Reality-based shows like The Learning Channel’s “Trauma: Life in the ER,” show real doctors treating real patients. No scripts are needed to capture the drama that ensues when a gunshot victim arrives in the ER.

“I have seen our Trauma Team in action here at Sinai and it is just as intense in real life as on this show,” says Kelli Connor, a nursing manager assistant in Sinai’s ER-7.

Comedies like “Scrubs” and “M*A*S*H” capture the witty, off-the-wall sense of humor hospital workers need to stay sane. You may not actually learn anything by watching them – but it could help keep you out of trouble at work the next day.

“I once got reprimanded by an attending during rounds in the CCU for not hearing of the show “Emergency,” says Samuel Andorsky, M.D., a former Sinai resident.

So what are some of your favorite medical shows and characters? Which shows/episodes made you laugh, cry, or slap your forehead in angst during unrealistic scenes? To get you thinking, I've listed some of the most popular shows of all time:

“Ben Casey” – 1961-1966
Synopsis: Gritty, realistic hospital drama featuring manly Dr. Casey against the medical establishment, at first under the watchful eye of Dr. Zorba and later under the thumb of Chief of Surgery Dr. Freeland.
Starring: Vince Edwards as Dr. Ben Casey.
Memorable Quote: Narrator Sam Jaffe: “Man... woman... birth... death... infinity.”

“Chicago Hope” 1994-2000
Synopsis: The lives and trials of the staff of a major hospital in Chicago.
Starring: Adam Arkin as Dr. Aaron Shutt; Mark Harmon as Dr. Jack McNeil.
Memorable Quote: Dr. Shutt: “Truth is Jeffrey, you are not a stable person. Outside of this hospital I don't even know if you’re functional.”

“China Beach” 1998-1991
Synopsis: Members of the 510th Evac Hospital at China Beach, Vietnam, deal with the horrors of war in 1967.
Starring: Dana Delaney as Lt. Colleen McMurphy,

“Doogie Howser, M.D." 1989-1993
Synopsis: A 14-year-old boy genius is a second-year resident, but sometimes he just wants to be a regular kid.
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser.
Memorable Quote: Patient: “You're a kid!” Doogie: “True, but I'm also a genius. If you have a problem with that I can get you someone who's older but not as smart as me.”

"Dr. Kildare" 1961-1966
Synopsis: The story of a young intern in a large metropolitan hospital trying to learn his profession, deal with the problems of his patients, and win the respect of the senior doctor in his specialty, internal medicine.
Starring: Richard Chamberlain as Dr. James Kildare, Raymond Massey as Dr. Leonard Gillespi.

“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” 1993-1998
Synopsis: The trials and adventures of a female doctor in a small Wild West town
Starring: Jane Seymour as Dr. Michaela “Dr. Mike” Quinn.
Memorable Quote: Country music star Kenny Rogers: “Whiskey and truth should both be served straight up, Doctor.”

“E.R.” – 1994-2009
Synopsis: Author Michael Crichton created this medical drama that chronicles life and death in a Chicago hospital emergency room.
Starring: Sherry Stringfield as Dr. Susan Lewis, Noah Wiley as Dr. John Carter, Laura Innes as Dr. Kerry Weaver, and George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross.
Memorable Quote: Dr. Doug Ross: “I'm a doctor and nothing gets in the way of that. Nothing!”

“Grey’s Anatomy” 2005-?
Synopsis: A drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical residents and their supervisors.
Starring: Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey; Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang; Katherine Heigl as Dr. Izzie Stevens; T.R. Knight as Dr. George O'Malley; and Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev.

“House” 2005-?
Synopsis: While his behavior boarders on anti-social, Dr. House is a maverick physician who loves the challenges of medical puzzles.
Starring: Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House.

“Marcus Welby, MD” 1969-1976
Synopsis: Doctors Marcus Welby, a general practitioner, and Steven Kiley, Welby's young assistant, try to treat people as individuals in an age of specialized medicine and uncaring doctors.
Starring: Robert Young as Dr. Marcus Welby and James Brolin as Dr. Steven Kiley.

“M*A*S*H” 1972-1983
Synopsis: The staff of an army hospital in the Korean war find that laughter is the best way to deal with their situation.
Starring: Alan Alda as Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, Loretta Swit as Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, and Jamie Farr as Cpl. Maxwell Klinger.
Memorable Quote: PA System Announcer: “Attention, all personnel... the wounded you've all been waiting for has finally arrived in person... report to the Big Top immediately; the circus is about to begin.”

“Medical Center” 1969-1976
Synopsis: Set in Los Angeles, this program pushed the envelope, covering controversial topics like sex changes.
Starring: James Daly as Dr. Paul Lochner, Chad Everett as Dr. Joe Gannon and Chris Hutson as Nurse Courtland.

“Quincy M.E.” - 1976-1983
Synopsis: The cases of a coroner who investigates suspicious deaths that usually suggest murder.
Starring: Jack Klugman as Dr. Quincy, M.E.

“Scrubs” – 2001-?
Synopsis: Three residents learn the ins and outs of medicine at the mildly psychotic Sacred Heart Hospital.
Starring: Zach Braff as Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian; Sarah Chalke as Dr. Elliott Reid; Donald Faison as Dr. Chris Turk
Memorable Quote: J.D.: “Dr. Kelso, the doc here has been telling me that you have some great stories. I wouldn't mind hearing one sometime.” Dr. Kelso: “Oh what the (heck). Back in '68 I don't like you. The end.”

“Strong Medicine” – 2000-2007
Synopsis: A fictional medical drama with a focus on women's health issues, as well as progressive social politics and class conflict.
Starring: Rosa Blasi as Dr. Luisa “Lu” Delgado; Rick Schroeder as Dr. Dylan West.

“St. Elsewhere” 1982-1988
Synopsis: The lives and work of the staff of St. Eligius Hospital
Starring: Ed Begley, Jr., as Dr. Victor Ehrlich, Howie Mandel as Dr. Wayne Fiscus.
Memorable Quote: Dr. Daniel Auschlander: “Most people associate hospitals with disease. I think of romance. But that's another story.”

“Trapper John, M.D.” 1979-1986
Synopsis: Dr John McIntyre is the new Chief of Surgery at San Francisco Memorial Hospital in this M*A*S*H spin-off set 28 years after the end of the Korean War.
Starring: Pernell Roberts as Dr. John Francis Xavier 'Trapper' McIntyre.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sit up straight! See how pilates can improve your posture, burn off unwanted calories

Did you have a grandparent who frequently told you to sit up straight? Does that familiar voice sneak into your head whenever you find your shoulders drooping south or you are slouching over a laptop?

Grandma and grandpa probably had good reason to correct you. Poor body posture and mechanics causes abnormal stress on the back and neck. Over time, poor posture can change the structure of the spine, causing the discs and joints to degenerate, ligaments and muscles to shorten and cartilage to wear and tear.

A popular way to maintain good posture - while burning unwanted calories - is pilates.

Pilates founders have spent more than a decade refining the STOTT PILATES® method of exercise and equipment. This resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation, making it safer and more effective.

With an emphasis on breath, core conditioning and body awareness, STOTT PILATES® exercise is a safe and highly effective way to stretch, strengthen and streamline your body without building bulk or stressing your joints. Performed on a mat or specialized equipment, STOTT PILATES® is a fitness regime for a lifetime. The perfect complement to cardiovascular exercise, sport, rehab and life, STOTT PILATES® exercises will leave you looking toned, feeling revitalized and moving with ease.

Some of the many benefits of STOTT PILATES® include:
  • Longer, leaner muscles (less bulk, more freedom of movement)
  • Improved postural problems
  • Increased core strength/stability and peripheral mobility
  • Injury prevention
  • Enhanced functional fitness and ease of movement
  • Balanced strength and flexibility
  • Heightened body awareness
  • No-impact – easy on the joints
  • Can be customized to suit everyone from rehab patients to elite athletes
  • Complements other methods of exercise
  • Improved performance in sports (golf, skiing, skating, etc.)
  • Improved balance, coordination and circulation
LifeBridge Health & Fitness has a dedicated STOTT PILATES® studio, where you will enjoy expert one-on-one or group instruction by our STOTT PILATES® instructors on 13 STOTT PILATES® machines. Our STOTT PILATES® instructors provide participants with progressive instruction from beginner to advanced in a small group setting. Nonmember rates are available. Please contact our Pilates coordinator at 410-318-6831 for more information.

One-on-One Pilates
Experience the benefit of one-on-one Pilates instruction in a private studio setting. Let our experienced instructors teach you the correct techniques of this core-challenging, body-transforming method. Sessions are available in packages of one, five, and 10. Nonmember rates are available. Please contact our Pilates coordinator at 410-318-6831 for more information.

And click here to see a video on how pilates can work for you.

Have you taken a pilates class before? What did you think of it? Did you see results?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sinai Hospital doctor treats clubfoot patients from around the world

Every year in the United States alone, it is estimated that 4,000 to 8,000 babies are born with idiopathic clubfoot, a foot deformity that effects otherwise healthy babies.

Clubfoot is one of the most common birth defects. The heel and toes turn inward to the extent that it looks like the feet are upside down, with the soles pointed upward. Frequently, the blood supply to this area is abnormal. During infancy clubfoot does not cause pain. However, a child who is not treated will grow up to have a severe functional disability. They will not be able to wear shoes and the foot will eventually become painful, prohibiting participation in most sports and even certain forms of employment.

For decades, the long-standing medical solution has been surgery. But there is a better way.

John Herzenberg, M.D., is head of pediatric orthopedics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore where every Friday is Clubfoot Clinic and where almost every child is treated with a non-surgical technique called the Ponseti Method, named for the Spanish pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Ignacio Ponseti, M.D., who invented it.

One of Dr. Herzenberg's patients is Richard Jr., son of Richard and Amparo of the Dominican Republic. When their local doctor recommended surgery to correct their son's bilateral clubfoot, the couple hesitated, thinking there must be a less traumatic option available. They turned to the Internet where they discovered the Ponseti Method.

Not one orthopedist in the Dominican Republic practices or has heard of this method. Fortunately, Richard had family on the east coast and driving distance from Dr. Herzenberg's clinic. Family and relatives donated to the cause and in a few weeks, they were on a plane for their first consultation and Ponseti casting at Sinai Hospital.

Over the next weeks, Richard Jr.’s parents saw a dramatic difference in the position of their child’s feet. After a few weeks of casting, a tenotomy was performed and Richard was put in final casts for three more weeks. Once he was ready for shoes, the family was able to return to their home in the Dominican Republic.

Richard and Amparo feel fortunate to have discovered the Ponseti Method just in time to avoid surgery. Now, two years later, their son is walking and running just like any other child his age that was born with normal feet.

The family recently returned to Sinai Hospital for a two-year follow-up with Dr. Herzenberg. Richard Jr.’s feet are perfect. He has to wear his special shoes with the bar at night-time for another year, but there are no complaints. Richard Jr. is a very active toddler who loves to play and make his feet take him everywhere he wants to go.

Click here to watch a 10 minute video featuring Sinai clubfoot patients and their families. To learn more about Dr. Herzenberg and the Ponseti method for treating clubfoot, visit our Web site and order a free DVD.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Go behind the scenes of Sinai Hospital's physical plant

Some of the most popular health care blogs I've seen are written by health care professionals who have found success by offering to "pull the curtain back" for an "insider's" look at modern medicine. They are written by primary care physicians, nurses and even CEOs of major hospitals and institutions. Often they make good on their promise, providing valuable insight into the inner workings - and turmoil - that is the American health care system.

Here at LifeBridge Health, we recently added a behind-the-scenes feature to our monthly employee newsletter, the Bridge. For the first installment, I asked my valued co-worker, Ryan Nawrocki, to write an article on the immense heating and air conditioning systems that keep Sinai Hospital warm in our frigid Baltimore winters and cool when summer weather (finally) arrives. Ryan's article appeared in the February newsletter, which you can see each month on our Facebook page here (you don't need to be a Facebook account to read it).

Partnering with our Medical Photography & Media Design department, Ryan shot a companion video for the story. Click on the video below to take a tour of Sinai's physical plant.

Stay tuned for future stories and videos on the new helipad at Sinai and the Centrile Sterile departments at Sinai and Northwest Hospital. Central Sterile is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing operating room equipment and tools.

What are some hospital departments or areas that you would like to learn more about? Are there services or doctors you'd like to see profiled on these pages? Let us know!

video

Early screening key to preventing vision problems in kids

Vision problems in children are common. An estimated 13.5 million infants and children ages 1 - 17 have vision problems. The good news is that the majority of these vision problems can be corrected if caught early. Yet less than a third of U.S. elementary children aged 5 years and under had ever had their vision screened prior to starting elementary school, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Maryland mandates hearing and vision screenings for all public school students. But health professionals differ on how early children should be screened. According to this George Washington University Center for Health and Health Care in Schools report on the subject:

"The American Optometric Association and the American Public Health Association recommend comprehensive vision examinations for all children starting at 6 months of age and at regular intervals thereafter, while the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatricians support vision screenings for all children by age 3 and at regular intervals thereafter."

A change in your ability to see, from a neurological perspective, can happen at any age, and can be caused by many conditions, including:
  • Hormonal/pituitary imbalances
  • A weakening of nerves controlling the eye muscles
  • Infection, disease or pressure on the optic nerve
  • Tumor or stroke
  • Certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
While most conditions seen in children are common, some visual symptoms that can't be attributed to problems in the eye itself may be signs of a neurological problem. These can include a sudden loss of vision (full or partial), blurred or double vision, loss of color perception, a droopy lid or a pupil problem.

In some cases, your child's pediatrician may recommend consulting a neuro-ophthalmologist. Neuro-ophthalmology is the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders that affect the eye and visual function. Neuro-ophthalmologists receive advanced training in problems of the eye, brain, nerves and muscles.

Michael Altman, M.D., specializes in neuro-ophthalmology and pediatric ophthalmology at Sinai Hosptial of Baltimore's Krieger Eye Institute. In addition to coordinating the resources and specialists there, he puts the diagnostic technology and surgical expertise of Sinai Hospital to work, evaluating and treating neurologically-based vision problems.

Appointments begin with an extensive examination of your child's personal health history, lifestyle, and family history, along with a thorough eye and medical exam, with an emphasis on the neurological system. While some conditions can be treated medically through drug therapy, others may be treated through surgery. Some conditions cannot be treated, except through a change in your child's medical condition.

What do you think is the proper age for a child to have his or her first eye exam?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why is Baltimore's City Hall running in the red?

Baltimore residents are used to seeing downtown buildings and monuments illuminated in purple come NFL playoff time in support of the hometown Ravens. But what's with the red light enveloping City Hall and the Washington Monument all this month?

In honor of the American Heart Association's national "Go Red for Women" campaign, Sinai Hospital is sponsoring the illumination of the landmark structures. Both historic buildings will be cloaked in a red light, sunset to sunrise, all month.

The project is meant to emphasize the commitment to changing the lives of women in Baltimore City.

“Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s solution to save women’s lives," said Neil Meltzer president-elect of the American Heart Association and president/COO of Sinai Hospital. “With more than one of three women dying from cardiovascular disease, we will continue to fight this No. 1 killer by helping women turn simple choices into life-saving actions.”

For more information, you can read Mayor Sheila Dixon's full press release here. And click here to see a list of LifeBridge Health's upcoming free or low-cost women's heart and health screenings.

And tell us - what do you think of the red light? Have you lost a loved one to heart disease? What tips for healthy heart living can you share?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Daily Record announces finalists for Health Care Hero Awards


Several LifeBridge Health employees and programs are finalists for the 2009 Daily Record Health Care Heroes Awards. The winners will be announced at an awards breakfast on Tuesday, March 17. The finalists are:
Congratulations to all! So who are your health care heroes? Has there been a doctor, nurse or health professional who has touched your life in a positive way?

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to reduce your chance of aquiring a Staph infection

In the news today, a new scientific report suggests that swimmers using public ocean beaches increase their risk for exposure to staph bacteria and potential infections.

Staph infections are a growing public health concern. You acquire a staph infection when the bacteria staphylococcus aureus enters small cracks in the skin or a wound, quickly spreading to healthy cells.

The study found swimmers have a 37 percent chance of exposure to staph in subtropical marine waters. However, less than 3 percent of the water tested contained the potentially virulent variety of antibiotic resistant staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, which can cause mild skin irritations and, in some cases, death.

Of course, this doesn't mean you should cancel your summer trip to the beach. John Cmar, M.D., a Sinai Hospital of Baltimore physician, recently spoke to Fox 45 news about the dangers of acquiring MRSA and tips for keeping the harmful germs at bay. Click here to see the video.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sinai's Driver Evaluation & Training Program featured on Fox 45 News

Often a disability, illness or aging makes it difficult for us to complete daily activities we normally take for granted, such as the ability to bathe and dress ourselves or complete household or work-related tasks.

One of the most important day-to-day activities, for the majority of us, is the ability to drive. Driving is more than a convenience; it symbolizes freedom and independence. Yet a disability, illness or aging can render us unsafe drivers by impairing our decision-making skills and our ability to control a vehicle.

This week, Fox 45 News reported on Sinai Hospital of Baltimore's Driver Evaluation & Training Program. The program, part of the Sinai Rehabilitation Center, helps drivers maintain their independence while ensuring their safety on the road.

Click here to see the Fox 45 report.

You, a family member, a physician or an insurance company representative may call to schedule an appointment. For more information, call Jan Crye, OTR/L, at 410-601-7363.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Coping with a brain injury

The LifeBridge Health Brain & Spine Institute brain injury programs provide a full continuum of neurorehabilitation services to people recovering from acquired brain injury (ABI). These programs are designed to help restore a maximum level of cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral abilities.

Levindale Coma Emergence Program

Recovery from coma demands a structured, systematic approach to sensory stimulation that is designed for individualized patient needs. The Specialty Hospital at Levindale employs a nationally recognized, proven model of care based on the Ranchos Los Amigos Scale for Coma and JFK Coma Recovery Scale. Emergence from coma is supervised by a physiatrist and the full multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation professionals.

Sinai Hospital Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation Unit

This inpatient program, located at Sinai Hospital, serves adults who have sustained a significant brain injury and who are in need of specialized rehabilitation. Intensive therapy is provided daily on a one-to-one basis, as well as patient-specific specialty groups to meet individual rehabilitative needs. In addition, systematic family education is provided to assist in making appropriate decisions about patient care and discharge options.

RETURN!™ Brain Injury Community Re-entry Program

This outpatient program, located at Sinai Hospital, is a comprehensive day treatment program serving adults who have sustained an ABI and require highly skilled neurorehabilitation. RETURN!'s structured treatment approach blends a therapeutic environment with individual rehabilitative therapies. This holistic approach includes psychological support, vocational counseling and medical case management. Return to a meaningful and productive lifestyle is the desired outcome for all program participants.

Mild Brain Injury/Post-concussive Treatment

Mild brain injury accounts for the majority of brain injury cases and is caused by a variety of neurological insults. For those whose natural recovery is slow or incomplete, multidisciplinary services are used to ensure the best outcomes possible. Crucial in this endeavor is neuropsychological testing and counseling focused on identifying and managing cognitive- emotional concerns. Physiatrists and other clinical staff work together to enhance recovery and maximize functional change.

RETURN!™ to Work Program

The most important goal for the majority of brain injury survivors is to return to work. LifeBridge Health is working with the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services and the Governor’s Brain Injury Re-employment Initiative to provide long-term, supportive employment services to those with ABI. This is a comprehensive clinical effort, requiring the skills of the full brain injury treatment team, vocational rehabilitation specialists and job coaches.

For additional information about the brain injury programs of the LifeBridge Health Brain & Spine Institute, call 1-888-747-8899.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Feb. 8-14 is Cardiac Rehab Week

If you hurt your back, you would probably get physical therapy to speed up your recovery. But if you had a heart attack, would you know to take advantage of a similar program called cardiac rehabilitation that strengthens your heart muscle and lowers your risk for future problems?

Cardiac rehabilitation – “cardiac rehab” for short – is an essential part of the recovery process for those who have had a heart attack, heart procedure or chest pain related to heart disease. Rehab consists of three phases, the first of which is usually completed by patients while they are recovering in the hospital. The second and third phases are carried out on an outpatient basis.

The second phase of the LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation program is housed at Northwest Hospital. In Phase II, patients receive a customized exercise and diet plan. The program – run out of a new, state-of-the-art facility – is equipped with three flat screen TVs, a comfort station, the latest exercise machines and continuous heart monitoring equipment to ensure patients are exercising safely. In addition, the program offers stress management and other classes focused on risk factor reduction. An on-site dietitian provides diet and nutritional counseling, and patients can bring in their favorite recipes to their rehab sessions for the dietitian to make them heart healthy.

Participating in a Phase II cardiac rehab program lowers the risk for cardiac-related death by up to 25 percent, according to studies reviewed by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation in 2007. In other words, about one in four heart patients could have prevented an early death if they had only gone through Phase II.

“Many patients don’t realize just how important Phase II is to the recovery process,” says Lisa Gerberg, R.N., program manager of Cardiac Rehabilitation. “Some feel that they are too weak and tired to exercise. However, we have equipment that allows us to help virtually any patient – even those who can’t hold themselves upright – get the kind of exercise that benefits the heart.”

“Patients who complete Phase II are less likely to have future heart emergencies,” says cardiologist Andrew M. Barnstein, M.D., medical director of LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation. “As an added bonus, they are healthier, more active and have fewer joint problems as a result of their exercise. Those are huge benefits for an investment of an hour’s time just three times a week.”

In Phase III, patients can continue their exercise program at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, where a team of fitness specialists leads exercise sessions three times a week.

“Outpatient cardiac rehab really becomes a part of our patients’ social support after a heart event,” continues Barnstein. “We see improvements in their energy levels, emotional well-being and overall state of health. Our patients actually like coming here.”

For more information about the LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, call 410-601-WELL.

Zillah Ezra, a participant in the LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, works out on new treadmill in the dedicated fitness room at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Northwest Hospital Breast Care Center receives American College of Radiology Accreditation

The Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital has been awarded accreditation in digital mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

The Breast Care Center has held ACR accreditation ever since the organization started accrediting for mammography in 1992. The Breast Care Center’s first digital mammography unit received accreditation in December 2007, and this new designation is for its second digital unit.

Digital mammography is one of the most advanced technologies available to detect breast cancer. Full-field digital mammography has revolutionized the practice of mammography by providing a crisper, sharper image that increases the diagnostic information the radiologist needs in detecting cancers and breast abnormalities.

For the Northwest Hospital Breast Care Center to earn accreditation, the ACR assessed the qualifications of its radiologists, medical physicists and mammography technologists and reviewed equipment standards, image quality, reporting and patient follow-up.

The Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center is part of LifeBridge Health’s Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute. All of its mammography technology is digital, and as a certified Softer Mammogram Provider, it is one of only a few centers in the Baltimore area offering women a free MammoPad®, an FDA-cleared, warmed, foam cushion that dramatically eases the discomfort many women feel when they get a mammogram.

In addition to digital mammography, the center offers medical services such as breast ultrasound, breast biopsy and bone densitometry. Visit our Web site to learn more.

Evening and Saturday appointments are available. For more information about the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital, or to make an appointment, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

The National Cancer Society guidelines recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for all women. But despite increased public awareness, many women still skip these important procedures. If you had a friend or loved one who refused to get a mammogram, how would you counsel her?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore sponsors Go Red For Women event at Towson Town Center, Saturday, February 7


February is Heart Awareness month. Come join Sinai Hospital for an American Heart Association's Go Red For Women event.

It will be held this Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Towson Town Center in front of Macy's Department store. Sinai Hospital is the only heart hospital for this event that includes basic women's heart profile screenings, a talk by Stacy Fisher, M.D., Sinai's director of women's heart program, and a fashion show coordinated by Baltimore-based fashion guru Travis Winkey. A fashion-show producer and modeling-studio owner, Winkey has staged runway galas in New York, Paris, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Far East, and has worked with such fashion designers as Hugo Boss, Donna Byrd, and Willie Smith.

The event is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Towson Town Center is located at 825 Dulaney Valley Rd, in Towson, Maryland.

MACY'S WEAR RED SALE

February 4 - February 8

After getting a heart health checkup, shop at Macy's and get an extra 20 percent off most regular, sale and clearance purchases when you wear red. Forgot your red duds? Purchase a Red Dress Pin for $2 at any register and get the extra savings. Macy's will donate all Red Dress Pin proceeds to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement. Or shop online and save an extra 15 to 20 percent with promo code WEARRED.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blood drive scheduled at Levindale

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. This year alone, as many as five million patients will require blood transfusions, as accident victims, people undergoing surgery, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer and other diseases.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley recently issued a statement encouraging Marylanders to give blood:

“Particularly following the holiday season, when donations typically decline, it is important to make blood donation a habit,” states Governor O’Malley. “It is our civic responsibility to ensure that our friends, neighbors and even ourselves and members of our own families can rely on a stable blood supply should they require a transfusion. There is no such thing as a spare Marylanders and therefore all Marylanders are encouraged to learn more about giving blood and schedule a donation appointment by calling 1-800-GIVE LIFE.”

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore on Monday, Feb. 16, in the Schwaber Multi-Purpose Room, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. By donating one pint of blood, you can help save three lives. To set up an appointment in advance, call Janine Boulad at 410-601-2260.