Wednesday, September 30, 2009
To address the latest treatment advances and other important topics related to this disease, Stephen J. Noga, M.D., Ph.D., a LifeBridge Health cancer specialist, a group of additional health care professionals, patients and other community Baltimore area members are holding a town meeting. This free event is being held on Tuesday, October 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hotel Monaco Baltimore.
An overview of blood cancers will be discussed, with a focus on two common types of blood cancers – non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
“As an oncologist practicing in Baltimore for many years, I have seen exciting treatment advances,” says Dr. Noga, director of Medical Oncology/Hematology at the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute programs at Sinai and Northwest hospitals. “I think a town hall is a wonderful way to share the latest information, as well as my knowledge, with the community to help improve patient care.”
This year in the United States, nearly 66,000 people, including 1,120 in Maryland, will be diagnosed with NHL, the fifth most common cancer among American men and women.
In addition, more than 15,000 people, including 640 in Maryland will be diagnosed with CLL – the most common adult leukemia – and about 640 Maryland residents will be diagnosed with leukemia.
Unfortunately, leukemia has been in the headlines in the past few weeks. Beyonce Knowles reduced her audience to tears after paying a touching tribute to a young girl with leukemia during her stage show in Sydney, Australia. Leukemia also took a toll when Mary Travers, of the folk singing group- Peter, Paul and Mary- died September 16.
The October 6 town meeting is being sponsored by Cephalon Oncology.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This will be Jay's only stop in Maryland on his fall tour. The event will be at Regalo, located between Renaissance Fine Arts and Radcliffe Jewelers at 1848 Reisterstown Road.
A portion of the proceeds from items purchased at the event will benefit the braVo! Financial Assistance Fund at LifeBridge Health. The fund helps patients at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital and the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at Sinai Hospital obtain supplemental services not covered by insurance, such as breast prosthesis, wigs, massage therapy, certain medications and transportation to and from treatment.
Tickets are $25. Reserve early, as seating is limited. Call Tiffany at 410.484.9640 or at regalo (at) regaloframes.com
Monday, September 28, 2009
If you or a loved one is having a hard time stopping your smoking habit, here are some tips from the Baltimore County Health Department. You can also talk to your physician.
1) Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free Nicotine patches and free phone counseling.
2) Call the Baltimore County Department of Health, Tobacco Use and Cessation program for free nicotine replacement gum, patches and other support, including classes, at 410-887-3828.
3) Baltimore County offers a Freedom from Smoking Class, with eight sessions that each last 90 minutes. Topics covered include controlling weight, smoking triggers and handling stress. Classes start October 1 at the St. Stephen's AME Church in Essex at 6 p.m.; October 6 at The Drumcastle Center in Baltimore at 5 p.m.; and October 13 at the Rising Sun First Baptist Church in Baltimore at 6 p.m. To register or for more information, call 410-887-3828.
To find a LifeBridge Health physician, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
Friday, September 25, 2009
The message of the PSA is simple and important: wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs.
You can see for yourself how the children sing "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat" and explain
that, in order to get rid of germs, hands must be cleaned for at least 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing a sing.
The stars are nine children, who range in age from three to eleven.
“My grandchildren had a ball,” says Phyllis Jones, an administrative assistant at Levindale. “They also understood what they were doing. Their schools have even taught them to sneeze into their elbows and to use hand sanitizers when necessary.”
“My son, Alex, practiced singing ahead of time,” says Jennifer Labute, administrator at Courtland Gardens. “He wasn’t nervous at all in front of the camera and had a good time.
It’s great that he’s part of something created to help other children.”
The PSA is being broadcast on local television stations and is posted on the YouTube, icyou.com and at www.washyourhandsmaryland.org
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Clinical breast exams will be offered on a first come basis, and all are encouraged to take tours of the new, spa-like Samuelson Breast Care Center. Light refreshments will be served.
Dawn Leonard, M.D.
Medical director, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center
Deb Kirkland, B.S.N., M.P.H.
Breast nurse navigator, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center
Deb will talk about the importance of breast self exams/breast self awareness, especially in younger women. As a survivor, she will share her personal experience with breast cancer and how it evolved into the role of Nurse Navigator for breast cancer patients in the Breast Care Center.
Shannan DeLany Dixon, M.S., C.G.C.
Genetic counselor, LifeBridge Health
Assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Human Genetics, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Shannan will discuss the key risk factors and warning signs of hereditary breast cancer. She will focus on the importance of a family history of cancer and talk about two key genes, BRCA 1 and 2. She will also cover what genetic testing can and cannot tell us, and how this information is useful to doctors and patients.
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Registration, clinical breast exams and self-guided tours.
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Speaker program and question and answer session.
8:00 – 8:30 p.m. Clinical breast exams and self-guided tours.
To register for a screening and/or the speaker program, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This afternoon, Sinai Hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary with another of its 50 Acts of Kindness. Artist Danamarie Hosler created a one-of-a-kind mural that adorns the side of a house on the corner of Park Heights and Boarman avenues and the official dedication took place in front of her creation.
In addition to Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer, a number of community leaders spoke, including Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton (District 6), and Pimlico Terrace Community Association President James Wood, pictured below with Meltzer.
"My wife and I, we'd pass by and see that young lady painting," Wood said. "I want to thank each and every person who helped get this program in place."
Sinai Hospital opted to do 50 Acts of Kindness to celebrate its anniversary rather than throw a party, Meltzer said. The acts have included a school supply drive, painting Pimlico Middle School and building a playground at Fallstaff Elementary. Future events include a community recycling day.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Unfortunately, what happened to Sen. Byrd is not an unusual event among the elderly population. Every 18 seconds in this country, an adult over the age of 65 falls so severely so as to warrant a trip to the emergency room. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2003, 13,700 elderly Americans died from falls.
Could you or a loved one be at risk for falls? A person’s risk for falling is determined by things such as age, a history of falls, medications (some cause dizziness), gait issues and his or her mental state. It’s quite common for people to fall in the same manner Sen. Byrd did – he stood up, felt dizzy and fell.
If you think you could be at risk for falling, discuss with your doctor what steps you should take to prevent falls. Your physician may be able to prescribe you a different medication that does not cause dizziness, and may know of community exercise programs that will help you improve your balance. Also, you should have an ophthalmologist give you a yearly vision check to make sure that you are still seeing clearly.
To reduce your chances of falling at home, do the following:
- Ensure your rooms are lit well enough so that you can clearly see any objects you might trip over. Don’t leave clutter in areas you frequently walk through.
- If you use throw rugs, use double-sided tape to make sure they adhere securely to your floors.
- Don’t boost yourself up on furniture to out-of-reach objects – instead, use a step stool. Better yet, put items that you use frequently in cabinets that you can easily reach without a stool.
- Wear shoes that fit well and are not too lose. Rubber-bottomed shoes will give you the best grip, so wear them inside as well as outside.
Are you concerned about your own risk for falls or the risk of someone you know? Have you done anything to make your home safer? For more information, visit the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, or talk to your physician about ways to fall-proof your home. To find a LifeBridge Health physician, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
Monday, September 21, 2009
LifeBridge Health is sponsoring a different kind of advertising campaign this fall, with the tagline "Wash Your Hands. Spread the word, not the flu." Given recent concerns about the H1N1 "swine" flu as well as the seasonal flu, there's never been a better time for the message to resonate across Baltimore.
"We want to make hand washing synonymous with LifeBridge Health," says Rudy Miller, vice president of Marketing and Community Relations. "When we first envisioned this campaign, it was actually before the emergence of H1N1, but now, more than ever, it makes sense that we spread the message that you can largely prevent illness by doing something as simple as washing your hands the right way."
In partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Baltimore City Health Department, the hand washing campaign features several creative elements. The restroom door signs show various people inadvertently toting toilet seats back from the bathroom with them, all because they neglected to wash their hands. "Don’t take your rest break back with you," the signs admonish. The Restaurant Association of Maryland plans to offer area restaurants similar posters from LifeBridge Health to display in their restrooms. Thirty-second public service announcements showing children washing their hands will also run on local stations. ClearChannel Outdoor is donating free billboard space to feature the hand washing message, and the city is permitting LifeBridge Health to put eye-catching sink graphics on some of the city’s sidewalks.
If you like the hand washing reminder signs on the back of the bathroom doors, be sure to check out the campaign’s official Web site at www.WashYourHandsMaryland.org.
Friday, September 18, 2009
"Typically, the new procedure allows for the decompression of the ulnar nerve of the elbow with an incision as small as one-inch," Berner says. "The new approach of using an endoscope significantly decreases the amount of time and scarring associated with a decompression."
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve in the elbow. The ulnar nerve is one of the main nerves of the forearm and hand. Symptoms include numbness and tinging in the fingers, along with weakness of grip. Office workers and others who operate machinery with a bent elbow are often effected.
One blog from a patient who underwent surgery for cubital tunnel sydrome is here.
The traditional treatment of this condition often required surgery that would leave extensive scarring. However, Berner's latest approach can require only a one-inch incision and take as little as 15 minutes in the operating room. This is possible because this new technique utilizes an endoscope or operating telescope to assist the surgeon.
To learn more about the Hand Center at Northwest, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Nurse Navigator, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Center at Northwest Hospital
Cancer is caused by mutations in our genes. Sometimes our body can repair these changes, but other times it cannot. About 90 percent of cancers result from changes that occur over our lifetime. The other 7-10 percent of breast cancer is actually caused by specific hereditary genes that have been identified as the BRCA1 and BRCA2.
These genes are associated with breast and ovarian cancers. One in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women express this particular gene mutation. They are dominant genes, meaning they may be passed on from either the paternal or maternal side of the family. Carrying these genes may increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
With breast cancer there is screening for early detection, and in the event one is diagnosed with breast cancer, we have many treatment options available that increase the likelihood of survival. However, ovarian cancer, which may advance without warning, is often detected later, and treatment options unfortunately tend not to be as effective.
So what does this mean for you? If you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, you may want to consider genetic counseling or genetic testing. Discussing your risk with a counselor can help clarify whether genetic testing is right for you. Another helpful resource is the Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) Web site.
Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 15 at Northwest Hospital to hear a presentation on Genetics and Breast Cancer, given by Leslee Gold, RN, our local FORCE representative. In addition, a personal story will be shared by a young breast cancer survivor who carries this gene. Hear first-hand how this gene impacts her life. This talk will be held in the Owings-Reister Room and dinner will be provided. Please RSVP 410-521-8831 if you are interested in joining us.
If you are interested in genetic testing, call 410-601-WELL to set up your appointment.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
LifeBridge Health leadership set the tone for this year's flu season yesterday: get your flu shot as soon as possible.
LifeBridge Health CEO Warren Green, Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer, Northwest Hospital President Erik Wexler and Levindale and Courtland Gardens President Aric Spitulnick all are pictured here getting their seasonal flu shot, courtesy of Peter Andrews, PA-C, Sinai and Levindale Director of Occupational Health.
This shot was for the "regular" seasonal influenza. LifeBridge Health is doing everything it can to make sure employees are as protected and prepared as possible. All employees are encouraged to get their seasonal flu shot, and receive a free meal ticket as an incentive. The seasonal flu peaks in February.
When the H1N1 vaccination becomes available, and, if there are enough, all LifeBridge Health employees will be offered that shot as well. If there is a shortage, those health care workers directly interacting with patients will be prioritized.
Meanwhile, there are cautionary steps everyone should take: wash your hands frequently; cough in the crook of your elbow; and stay home if you are sick. Stay tuned to learn more about what LifeBridge Health is doing to promote hand washing across Baltimore.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The Founders and Past Leadership 50th Anniversary Lunch brought together family members of the founders and previous leaders, including members of the board of directors, trustees, medical staff and executive leadership. Pictured below are Henry Rosenberg Jr. and Leonard Attman, treasurer of the Sinai Hospital Board of Directors.
Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer presented an overview of Sinai's accomplishments and Ronnie Footlick, the chairwoman of the LifeBridge Health Board of Directors, spoke about the history of Sinai. Meltzer is pictured below with LifeBridge Health CEO Warren Green and Lowell Glazer, the chairman of the Sinai Hospital Board of Directors.
Founded in 1866 as the Hebrew Hospital and Asylum, Sinai Hospital moved to its current campus in northwest Baltimore 50 years ago. Sinai incorporates a legacy of service to the Jewish community, Footlick said.
"Sinai represents the grandest example of our collective responsibility to help and heal the world," Footlick said.
Monday, September 14, 2009
For many pre-term infants, that's an everyday reality. In order to help health care workers understand that environment, one innovative program has volunteer staff pretend to be infants, where their co-workers use tape, pacifiers and other tools to mimic a neonatal intensive care unit environment.
Philips Children's Medical Ventures (PChMV) conducted "Preemie for a Day" workshops for Sinai Hospital NICU staff today. The program included an overview of developmental care, but also had interactive compenents, such as staff members pretending to be a group of quintuplets admitted to the unit.
Many of the "quints" commented on how overwhelming every aspect seemed.
"It all moved so quickly," said Jenna Bishop, an occupational therapist and one of the volunteers. She is pictured above with Michelle Jenkins, RN, and Itta Steiner, RN.
Another activity had nurses Lia Coombs, RN, and Janice Woolen, RN, wrap up Michelle Block, RN, pictured below. Leaders from PChMV lead discussions on how staff can better help preemies.
The goal of the workshops is to help babies be calmer, quieter and more comfortable during their hospital stay - and go home quickly to mom and dad.
For more information about Sinai Hospital's NICU, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
Friday, September 11, 2009
The carpal tunnel is a passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons. Swelling constricts the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed, resulting in pain, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist. This pain can move up your arm.
Symptoms are not immediate - you may feel burning, tingling or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers. The symptoms often appear originally at night. You may feel the need to "shake out" your hard or wrist when you wake up.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often congenital, as some people are born with smaller tunnels. Other risk factors include injury to the wrist like a sprain, fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause, rheumatoid arthritis or mechanical problems in the wrist. Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
One common misconception is that overuse at the computer can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, writer's cramp, where there is aching in the fingers, wrist or forearm from repetitive use, is not a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. The syndrome is three times more common among assemblers than data-entry personnel. One blog that offers tips for dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome and repetititive stress injuries can be found here.
LifeBridge Health is pleased to offer a free carpal tunnel syndrome hand screening on Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at LifeBridge Health & Fitness. Stephen Fisher, M.D., will be on hand to conduct the screening and answer questions. Call 410-601-WELL to register.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The focus of palliative care is placed on the “caring” and not the “curing” of an individual facing a life-limiting illness. Unlike hospice, people receiving comfort care do not always have terminal diseases. They may be living with a chronically painful condition.
“Unfortunately, pain management is too often overlooked when medical treatments are needed,” says Cathie Papantonio, coordinator of the Palliative Program at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. “In our programs, we concentrate on easing pain, relieving stress and enhancing the quality of life for patients and residents.”
These aspects include:
- Asking a person what he or she wants and actually listening to the answer. Many times we assume that we know what is best for someone, and act with out consulting him or her.
- Adapting activities a person has always enjoyed doing can take his or her mind off of pain, even for a short time. Be sensitive when the person wants to remain quiet.
- Creating a calm, relaxing environment can aid a person’s psychological well-being. You may turn the lights down low or having a lower wattage lamp in the room.
- Flowers are welcomed by some people, while others don’t care for the smell.
- Specific smells can also bring back good memories for people in distress. Aromatherapy gives those in pain the opportunity to choose certain scents that can be introduced into their rooms.
- Music can be an added soothing element when making people comfortable. It can remind them of happy occasions earlier in their lives or comfort them in the moment.
- Patients and residents are the focus of our efforts
- Anticipating their needs is most important and is done by
- Listening to what they want and by
- Serving them and their family members.
One of the best ways to help someone in pain is to educate his or her family members. If they know what the side effects of pain treatment are, they can be more sensitive. Constant communication with residents, patients and their families is the key to helping them enjoy their days and evenings.
Creating space, privacy and a homelike environment relieves the pressure on family members and allows them to spend quality time with their loved ones. It’s also important to allow family members to help with direct care when they choose to and are able.
There is no norm when someone is in pain. Concentrating on what he or she desires should be constantly shifting. Monitoring the changes in pain levels is also vital.
Going beyond what is expected is also a way to help a person cope. Papantonio says that Levindale uses complementary therapies, such as massage, Reiki, yoga, music, art and aromatherapy when appropriate.
When a loved one, patient or resident is terminally ill, it is important to know what the person’s wishes are and to have them documented. End-of-life concerns, fears and expectations should be openly and honestly discussed in the context of religious, spiritual, social and cultural customs. Easing the physical and emotional pain of loved ones, residents and patients shows love and respect by family members and caregivers.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
In the past two years, 63 people have taken one or more of the workforce development classes. LifeBridge Health has retained 87 percent of the employees who have taken the courses, and 25 percent have gone on to continue their education. Interested participants take a reading and math assessment and are then paired with the appropriate class. Pictured at right are recent School at Work program graduates.
In recognition of the success of its workforce development programs, LifeBridge Health was chosen as a Baltimore Regional Employer Award in the category of "Creating Success in the Current Economy." The awards ceremony is November 10. Winners were selected by a panel, made up of representatives from the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board and the Baltimore County Workforce Development Council.
"I'm proud and excited," says Anita Hammond, Workforce Development Coordinator. "By getting the word out, I hope that we get more people to take advantage of our programs."
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The yearly opening meeting of the Edith Rosen Strauss Organization, a charitable group dedicated to raising money for children with cancer, was held today at Sinai Hospital. The lunch event also honored Lilyann Podell, a longtime member and devoted volunteer, pictured at left.
Sinai Hospital Chief of Pediatrics Joseph Wiley, M.D., spoke to the crowd of roughly 30. The organization raises roughly $30,000 a year for Sinai.
"Because of you, we have better outcomes, better quality of life and better resources for our patients," he said.
The number of pediatric oncology patients has grown, both nationally and at Sinai. The updated Herman & Walter Samuelson's Children Hospital at Sinai, expected to break ground in December, will have expanded capacity, including an increase in inpatient beds and waiting areas for families. The Pediatric Oncology Unit will double its number of exam rooms.
"I cannot thank this organization enough," Wiley said. He is pictured above with Podell and ERS co-chairs Beverly Stappler and Dorothy (Dotsey) Roth.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The screenings, held next weekend, include blood pressure, body composition analysis, heart health lifestyle assessment, lipid panel, and comprehensive metabolic blood profile. There is a $20 fee.
The comprehensive metabolic profile includes glucose, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide, alkaline, phosphatase, total protein, albumin, anion gap, calcium, and total bilirubin. The lipid panel includes HDL cholesterol, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides.
Pre-registration is required, call 410-601-9355. Participants must fast 12 hours. You should drink 8 ounces of water prior to the screening in order to have an accurate body composition analysis. Please wear loose clothing. Blood will be drawn from your arm.
Results will be mailed to you in 4-5 weeks. Also included in your fee is a 2-week free membership to LifeBridge Health & Fitness.
These screenings are not intended to be used as a substitute for your regular doctor exam,
but as an added checkup. All results should be shared with your physician.
Appointments begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 at the Northwest Hospital Education Center, 5401 Old Court Road in Randallstown.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
A FREE glaucoma screening will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, on the sixth floor of the Morton Mower Building, Krieger Eye Institute, on the Sinai Hospital campus.
For unknown reasons, African-Americans are 3-4 times more likely to get glaucoma than other groups. Others at risk include:
- People with family history of the disease
- People over 60
- People with diabetes
- People who are extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Long-time users of steroid medications
- The victim of a severe eye trauma
- Russian Jews
- American Indians
The Maryland-based Polakoff Foundation, a founding member of The Eyes Have It Program, has a goal of screening at least 500 high-risk people in 2009 at four different Baltimore hospitals.
Screenings are painless and take only a few minutes. The Eyes Have It Program maintains programs for uninsured people who are referred for medical attention due to glaucoma. No appointment is necessary.
For more information on upcoming screenings, call 410-601-7295 or click here.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
August was Breastfeeding Month in Maryland, and DHMH recognized employers through the state whose programs and policies that support new mothers upon their return to work.
Employers who provide a private, clean space and short breaks for nursing mothers reap the benefits, such as less absences and lower health care costs. Breastfed babies tend to have have fewer doctor visits, fewer hospitalizations, and need fewer prescriptions. Studies estimate a $400 savings on health care in just the first year of life for every breastfed baby.
Plus, allowing new mothers to breastfeed leads to higher morale and productivity.
LifeBridge Health has previously received the March of Dimes designation as a "pregnancy friendly" workplace. The criteria to receive that recognition includes providing a private area where lactating women can pump and store breast milk.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
LifeBridge Health is competing in the category of Majority-Owned Business, which recognizes corporations or individual business executives that have shown leadership in the area of inclusive business practices
Winners will be announced at an awards presentation event at 6 p.m., Wednesday, September 23 at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore.
Awards will be presented in four categories: successful minority businesses that deserve recognition for outstanding achievement; corporations or individual business executives that have shown leadership in the area of inclusive business practices; partnerships or strategic alliances that generate new business opportunities for minority-owned or women-owned firms; and a president's award.
This is the sixth year for the Bridging the Gap Awards. For more information about the event, click here.