Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Labor of Love From the Friends School

Several postpartum mothers are the recipients of a special service project from Friends School of Baltimore students.

The kindergarten students of Fran Morrissey and seventh-grade students of Erin Zimmerman worked together to tie and stuff fleece pillows on Quaker Community Day. The students made a total of 18 pillows, which were donated to Sinai Hospital's Labor and Delivery unit. They will be used by mothers who have had a C-section, who hold the pillows across their stomach when coughing or doing deep breathing.

"The goals of this project were to build community between students at Friends and to use our talents to help members of our local community," Morrissey says. "The kindergarten students also increased their fine motor skills while learning to tie knots and follow a sequential pattern. We incorporated empathy, reflection, resiliency, collaboration and communication skills into this activity."

Students and the teachers discussed how pillows help the healing process and what it feels like to work together, Morrissey says.

"The seventh graders provided a direct service to the kindergarten students and both groups of students provided indirect service to the surgery patients," she says.

To learn more about Sinai Hospital's Labor and Delivery unit, call 410-601-9355 (WELL).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Card Making for Cancer Survivors

by Jill Adler, M.S., Coordinator , Patient Information Services
Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute

Big cards, small cards, card with buttons, cards with stamps, cards with pink ribbons and cards with stickers adorned the Cancer Institute's conference room several weeks ago for one of the monthly Lunch & Learn activities offered to cancer survivors and their family members.

The facilitator, Bunny Kohn, RN, a gregarious patient infusion nurse at the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, led the class in an inspiring and gracious manner. She offered helpful pointers to help us beautify our cards and would not let us leave until the back of our cards with stamped with "handmade with love."

The story of how Bunny got involved in making cards is a sweet one.

"My card making workshop was created out of a 'giving back' theme when I celebrated a special birthday a few years ago and wanted to make it a special event for others," she says. "Since that time I have open house card making parties with lot's of arts and crafts available and food and fun to give us the creative spirit."

The handmade cards are created by Bunny's friends, family and co-workers and then sent to patients who become hospitalized or go to hospice. Bunny shares that "this is our way of reminding patients that we are thinking of them."

Bunny's recent card making workshop at the Cancer Institute was for patients to create a thank-you card for someone who has helped them through their journey. One of the women in the class made a card for the bus driver who brings her back and forth to treatment. Others made cards for their nurses or spouses or simply for someone that they wanted to acknowledge in a special and colorful way.

Patients were so giddy and enthusiastic Bunny has volunteered to hold the workshop again in the near future. After all, these cards are stamped with love!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harmonia Therapy Featured in Advance for Nurses

Last year we featured Buddy Wakefield and his innovate approach to respiratory therapy - teaching patients how to play a harmonica.

Since then, harmonica therapy has taken off among the pediatric patients at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. Blowing in and out on the instrument, and learning to play simple songs like "Jingle Bells," strengthens the child's ability to use diaphragmatic breathing, and likely increases the muscles used to inhale and exhale.

"The harmonicas are way more fun for the children than the incentive spirometers are," said Pat Moloney-Harmon, MS, RN, CCNS, FAAN, told Advance for Nurses. The magazine recently featured the program at Sinai.

To learn more about the Children's Hospital at Sinai, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Advice on Shopping for Safe Toys

Before you hit the stores for Black Friday, make sure you realize which toys can cause injuries to children.

The Maryland Public Interest Research Group released its annual Trouble in Toyland report this week, and reported that dangerous and toxic toys can still be found.

In the past three years, 15 children have died after choking or asphyxiating on a toy or toy part; two died in 2009 alone. A good rule of thumb is to see if parts of the toy can fit through a toilet paper roll. If so, those parts c
an cause a choking hazard, especially for children under age 3.

While companies have made progress with producing safe toys, Sinai Hospital pediatrician Anthony Caterina, M.D., urged parents to physically handle the toy before buying and to peruse the Maryland PIRG list of unsafe toys. Lead and other metals have been severely restricted in toys in the past two years, but Maryland PIRG researchers found some toys containing toxic lead and antimony on store shelves. Lead has negative health effects on almost every organ and system in the human body, and antimony is classified as a human carcinogen.

“In addition to physical characteristics, there can be chemical problems with toys such as lead, cadmium, and phthalates,” Dr. Caterina says. “Tha
nkfully we have groups like Maryland Public Interest Research Group that provides a list, and I encourage parents to look at it before buying toys. We can all agree that the best holiday experience is a safe holiday experience.”

To hear more from Dr. Caterina,
including advice to parents on Internet shopping, click below..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sinai Hospital Mourns Longtime Surgeon

Sinai Hospital is deeply saddened by the death of associate surgeon-in-chief Rhonda S. Fishel, M.D., MBA, FACS.

"Dr. Fishel taught generations of medical students and residents not only how to be excellent surgeons, but how to be compassionate physicians," says Neil Meltzer, President of Sinai Hospital. "Even once she became ill, Dr. Fishel remained committed to working with physicians, residents and patients at Sinai. Her tenacity and commitment were admirable, and she will be missed."

Dr. Fishel, 55, who was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma five years ago, continued to work at Sinai until a few weeks ago.

“Other people would have quit earlier, but she was really old-school and believed in her work,” says Thomas Genuit, MD, MBA, FACS, interim chief of the Department of Surgery and head of the Division of Trauma “She always fought for what she believed in, namely her patients.”

Dr. Genuit says Dr. Fishel received numerous accolades for her teaching, including the Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teacher from Sinai in 1995.

“She had a way of making you learn not by being harsh, but by being kind, and using humor to point out mistakes,” he says.

In recent years, Dr. Fishel used her experiences as both doctor and patient to develop a presentation for physicians titled “Giving and Receiving Bad News: Lessons I Learn.”

"I never understood what it felt like physically until I had to go through it. It's like a pain in your chest,” she told the Baltimore Sun in 2006. She gave the presentation across the country, including at the annual meeting of the American Medical Student Association in 2007.

Dr. Fishel spent the majority of her career in Baltimore, graduating from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1979, and completing a fellowship in surgical research at Sinai in 1983. She was the director of surgical care and the director of trauma services at Sinai until 1997, when she became the director of trauma services at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida. She returned to Sinai in 2000, becoming the associate surgeon-in-chief at Sinai, and a professor of surgery at Hopkins. In addition to the Golden Apple Award, she was honored as Sinai Surgical Resident of the Year in 1986, received the Golden Scapel Award from the Sinai Department of Surgery in 1992, and was voted a “Person of the Year” by Baltimore Magazine in 2006. A lifelong learner, Dr. Fishel earned her MBA from Hopkins in 2006.

In her spare time, she had a stand-up comedy routine that she performed locally and for family.

“She was very funny; she loved humor. We are better people for having known her,” says Lois Hagstrom, Sinai manager of Surgical Specialties, a coworker and friend of Dr. Fishel for close to 30 years.

In addition to her wife Michaela (Mickey) Barron, Dr. Fishel was close to her brothers’ families, and especially proud that one of her nephews, Dr. Matthew Fishel, became a pediatrician, Hagstrom says. An avid animal lover, Dr. Fishel was especially passionate about Great Danes.

“They had several over the years, and I hope they are waiting for her,” she says.

In addition to her wife and nephews, Dr. Fishel is survived by brothers Larry and Alan Fishel, and one niece. Services will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Road at Mount Wilson Lane.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in her memory to the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, Sinai Hospital, 2401 W. Belvedere Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21215. The family will be at home at 15 Shaded Glen Court, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hearty Harvest Ideas for the Fall Season

by Lindsay A. Martin MS, RD, LDN, Northwest Hospital

As the fall weather sneaks in, the leaves fall and the holidays roll in, there are so many harvesting fruits and vegetables to help jazz up the dinner plate to perfection. The fall menus are packed with hearty flavors and beautiful colors of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and yams. One source - the Baltimore Farmer's Market, which you can see and read about in this morning's Baltimore Sun.

There are so many ways to incorporate these seasonal vegetables into your own recipes or even try new recipes. Some suggestions:
  • Mash steamed butternut squash and sweet potatoes together and flavor with ground ginger and cinnamon.
  • Bake butternut squash with peeled apples and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  • Mash sweet potatoes with a dash of orange juice and top with orange zest.
  • Bake roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish.
  • Add butternut squash cubes to stews or vegetable soups.
  • Jazz up your favorite potato salad by swapping the white potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Finally, pumpkin pie, or a good recipe for pumpkin bread are always favorites in my household.
Most deep orange or yellow colored vegetables like squash, sweet potatoes and yams are filled with vitamins A, C and also high in fiber. Vitamin A helps to keep eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections. Vitamin C has the benefit to provide antioxidant protection and helps with immune function. And finally, fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease and help with bowel mobility.

Experts recommend at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Try adding a variety of colors to your diet, and why not try switching up some of your traditional recipes to make the most of your harvesting season?

For more information about Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, November 19, 2010

LifeBridge Health Honored as Environmental Trailblazer

LifeBridge Health was one of four hospitals to receive a Trailblazer Award from Maryland Hospitals for a Health Environment yesterday at the University of Maryland. MD H2E is a program that promotes sustainability in the state's health care sector.

LifeBridge Health received the award for its success with the LED Light Replacement Project. This project involves replacing 9,200 lamps in non-patient care areas at Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Courtland Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and LifeBridge Health & Fitness. The replacements will result in a savings of $132,452.95 in electrical costs per year and $662,264.75 over the lifetime of the LED bulbs.

Additionally, LifeBridge Health is the only health system in the region that is composting at all of its facilities, using “final compost product” for landscaping needs at system facilities. Finally, LifeBridge Health has a system-wide regulated medical waste separation and reduction program that reduced red bag waste by more than 50 percent since 2002.

The other winners were Anne Arundel Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center and Franklin Square Hospital Center.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

by Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, Live Well @ LifeBridge

Today is The Great American Smokeout. There are myriad of reasons to kick the habit, but the key is to determine YOUR reason—your “why” for quitting once and for all.

If you are considering quitting and want to be successful, begin first by sitting down and writing out your motivation. By now, most of us know the serious health impact smoking causes, which can provide a good place to start. Also consider what smoking will mean for you and your quality of life. What will quitting allow you to do that you feel you miss out on now? How will you feel both physically and mentally once you quit? What kind of example will your success be for those around you?

To provide you with some additional ammunition to get going, here is a timeline from the American Cancer Society that shows what you can expect to experience physically once you take that last puff and quit for good:

Even as soon as 20 minutes after a smoker smokes their last cigarette, their body begins the healing process.

Short-term Benefits
At 20 minutes after quitting:
• Blood pressure decreases
• Pulse rate drops
• Body temperature of hands and feet increases

At 8 hours:
• Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
• Oxygen level in blood increases to normal

At 24 hours:
Chance of a heart attack decreases

At 48 hours:
• Nerve endings start to regrow
• Ability to smell and taste is enhanced

At 2 weeks to 3 months:
• Circulation improves
• Walking becomes easier
• Lung function increases

1 to 9 months:
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases

1 year:
Excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

Long-term Benefits
At 5 years:
From 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

At 10 years:
• Risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
• Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
• Risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:
• Risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
• Risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Other Benefits of Quitting
• Cigarettes are expensive
• No odor of smoke in your clothes and hair
• A healthy example for children and grandchildren
• A more sensitive sense of smell
• A better sense of taste
• Family members, particularly children, will be healthier because they aren't breathing in your smoke.

It is NEVER TOO LATE to quit! A smoker who quits smoking is likely to add years to their life, breathe more easily, and have more energy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Learning About Your Diabetes Risk

By Jamie Strauss, R.D., L.D.N., Clinical Dietitian, Sinai Hospital

How many people do you know have diabetes? How many of those people that have diabetes knew they were at risk? And how many people are walking around undiagnosed?

November is American Diabetes Month. It is as a time for the American Diabetes Association to communicate and promote awareness of the seriousness and importance of diabetes prevention and control.

Here are some diabetes statistics from the ADA:

• 7.8 percent of the United States’ population has diabetes, which means 23.6 million children and adults
• 17.9 million people are diagnosed
• 5.7 million people are undiagnosed
• 57 million people have pre-diabetes
• Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2006
• Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes
• The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes
• Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure (accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2005)

In 2009, the American Diabetes Association launched a national movement to “Stop Diabetes.” You can lower your risk by lowering your weight and making healthy food choices. In one study, people who exercised 30 minutes a day 5 days a week lowered their risk of Type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about the Sinai Hospital Diabetes Resource Center or the Diabetes and Nutrition Center at Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Obesity Poses Challenges

This country faces many challenges and a big one – no pun intended – is obesity. “Obesity has become an epidemic,” says Lee Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Kaplan, a visiting professor from Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the MGH Weight Center, presented a lecture on obesity during Grand Rounds at Sinai Hospital last week. The lecture was dedicated to the late Albert Mendeloff, M.D., who was a gastroenterologist, nutrition expert and former physician-in-chief at Sinai.

“It’s one of those disorders everyone knows about, but not enough about,” Dr. Kaplan says. “Severe obesity is getting worse. All you have to do is look at any playground.”

Make no mistake: Obesity has become a worldwide problem, he says.

“Since 2005, more people are obese in the world than malnourished. Yes, the U.S. leads the way but other countries are catching up,” Dr. Kaplan says.

Obesity is challenging because of its complexity and health risks. For example, not every obese person overeats and sometimes a thin person can habitually overeat and not become obese. But the consequences of obesity can lead to life threatening illnesses. In the U.S., 1,000 people a day die of complications of obesity, Dr. Kaplan says.

Doctors often do not mention concerns about obesity to their overweight patients. “It is not recognized by most physicians,” Dr. Kaplan says. He offers suggestions on how physicians can approach the topic with their patients.
  • Respect the patient. Avoid pejorative language. “When most patients hear the word, ‘morbid,’ they think “disgusting,’” he says.
  • Do not indulge in the “blame game.”
  • Work to develop a therapeutic partnership and inform the patient that losing weight takes time. “There is no magic bullet," Kaplan says.
  • Discuss the causes of obesity and treat any underlying disorders. Acknowledge that some drugs patients take can cause obesity, and find drugs that do not.
  • Focus on a healthy diet, physical activity, stress reduction.
  • Surgery is an option but it should be the “therapy of last resort,” Dr. Kaplan says.
Obesity is a disease, he says. Complications from obesity can kill. “Obesity should be a global health priority,” Dr. Kaplan says.
-Sandra Crockett

Monday, November 15, 2010

Join the Army of Women

By Deb Kirkland, RN, BSN, MPH
Nurse Navigator, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Center at Northwest Hospital

October marked the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), when First Lady Betty Ford courageously spoke openly about her breast cancer. Before this time, there was no awareness or pink ribbon, breast cancer was never spoken of publicly, even as prevalent as it was then. Last month was also the two-year anniversary of another milestone in the history of breast cancer - the anniversary of Dr. Susan Love launching the Army of Women revolution on the TODAY show.

Earlier in the month, I attended a national leadership summit on CER Priorities, Methods and Policy, held by the Center for Medical Technology Policy. Dr. Love was one of the many dynamic speakers at this summit. As a young breast cancer survivor and advocate, it was a delightful and empowering experience to hear Dr. Love speak regarding her breast cancer efforts through the Army of Women. In the above picture are Dr. Love, Sharon Green, the chair of the Northwest Hospital Breast Care Center Patient Advisory Committee, and me.

Since the launch of Army of Women, 343,997 women have joined this force in the fight against breast cancer. This innovative revolution is a collaborative effort with researchers; to date Army of Women has collaborated with scientists in getting women enrolled in 37 studies with 44,000 of those women participating. The majority of these studies complete their enrollment within a week, which is typically unheard of. Army of Women is making history by changing the way research is conducted globally. Today, we have advancements in research for more effective diagnostics and treatments, yet we still have no cure. The Army of Women is moving beyond the cure and looking at prevention research, by focusing on the cause of breast cancer.

The Love/Avon Army of Women has the goal of recruiting one million women, including breast cancer survivors and women of high-risk for breast cancer, and to challenge the scientific community in expanding its current aim to include breast cancer prevention conducted on healthy women. The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has the mission of “working to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education, and advocacy. The Foundation works to identify the barriers to research and to then create new solutions.”

As outlined on the Army of Women site, the following people are eligible to join:
• All women, anywhere in the world, who are over age 18 are welcome to join the Army, whether you have had breast cancer or not.
• Men get breast cancer, too and are also encouraged to join the Army.
• There is no cost to you.
• You are not required to notify your health care providers or insurers. Your insurer does not need to approve your participation, nor will they be given information about findings from the studies in which you participate.
• All researchers who recruit from the Army of Women agree to follow the strict confidentiality guidelines enforced nationwide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Join the Army of Women today by clicking here. Please share this opportunity with friends, family members, and co-workers so we can all unite together. Remember, “prevention is the best medicine." Help Dr. Love and the Army of Women in learning more to prevent and ultimately eliminate breast cancer. The goal is to recruit 1,000,000 women (and men)!

To learn more about the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baltimore County hospitals enact disaster plan with state and local agencies

Northwest Hospital and the four other Baltimore County hospitals have signed the Baltimore County Healthcare Facilities Mutual Aid System Memorandum of Understanding (a.k.a., “Healthcare MOU”) with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore County Emergency Management Task Force and the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security. The Healthcare MOU will help county government agencies and hospitals quickly come together in an event of a disaster and provide coordinated health care for disaster victims.

When a large disaster – such as a terrorist attack – strikes, many people need to use a hospital at once. Specifically, the Healthcare MOU dedicates space outside the Baltimore County hospitals where patients with minor injuries can be treated. These spaces are called “surge sites,” which would be located at campuses of the Community College of Baltimore County, Greater Baltimore Medical Center and/or Stella Maris.

“While we hope that Baltimore County never experiences a disaster large enough to require the use of one of these surge sites, it is comforting to know that Baltimore County’s Health Department, Fire and EMS, hospitals and medical institutions and participating colleges and universities are working together as a team to share resources when lives are on the line,” says Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith, Jr.

Planning for emergencies is something that Northwest Hospital does extensively. The hospital routinely holds disaster drills so that its staff can practice their emergency roles. These exercises help the Northwest refine its emergency plans and correct any weaknesses that are exposed during the drill.

“Being prepared is the first step in ensuring success should we need to handle a real-life emergency or disaster,” says Nelson Figueroa, RN, BSN, MBA, Northwest’s director of emergency services and the emergency management coordinator. “We are happy to be part of the Healthcare MOU because it means that in a large-scale disaster, the surge sites will allow us to treat vast numbers of survivors in the most effective and caring way possible.”

Figueroa is pictured above with Smith and Northwest Hospital Vice President of Patient Care Services Sue Jalbert.

To learn more about Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tips for Cold Weather Activity and Exercise

by Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, Live Well @ LifeBridge

The weather has begun to turn cooler and winter is right around the corner. Although this time of the year is usually accompanied by a drop in physical activity, it’s still important to stay active and healthy through the season. One option is to bring your exercise indoors and opt for the gym and other exercise equipment such as recumbent bikes, treadmills and ellipticals for your workouts. If you prefer outdoor options such as jogging and biking, then there are a few key things you want to keep in mind when preparing for a winter workout:

1) It's fine to begin an exercise program in cold weather. Just be sure to dress appropriately in warm clothing such as layered, moisture-wicking, heat-insulating apparel. In addition, be sure to hydrate appropriately—although it may feel cold and you may not think you are sweating, you can still lose vital fluids through outdoor exercise that leave you dehydrated. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay appropriately hydrated.

2) If you have asthma or any respiratory conditions, be cautious and take your inhaler or other aids with you when you head out. Cold air and wind can restrict bronchial tubes and make breathing more difficult.

3) Warm-up by beginning with a light bout of movement that incorporates various muscle groups. This type of “dynamic warm-up” will prevent you from injury and prime your body for the more intense bout of exercise. Once this is complete, you can begin to increase your intensity, gradually ramping up to your full exertion exercise.

4) After you’ve completed your movement-based warm-up, you can opt to stretch some, but continue to use the more active, dynamic stretches that more closely mimic the type of exercise you are about to perform. When you have completed your routine, then you can head indoors to stretch with more static, “hold” stretches.

5) Stretch the lower back, hamstrings, hip flexors and shoulders—these muscle groups are the most utilized in running/biking activity and are those that tend to tighten up most frequently. Again, stretching these areas will prevent any muscle strains or sprains, and will keep you from being as sore the following day.

Being active and healthy is a year-long pursuit, so follow these simple tips to stay active and on top of your activity goals through the winter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Last Week to See A Line in the Sand

This is the last week to see the House of Ruth Maryland's A Line in the Sand. This special exhibit features portraits of groups or individuals who have made a large impact in preventing domestic violence. It has been touring for two years, and Sinai Hospital is honored to be the exhibit's last stop. The House of Ruth Maryland helps thousands of battered women every year. Don't miss your chance to see these photographs, on display in the Sinai Hospital Atrium.

If you need more information about the Family Violence Program at Sinai, dedicated to providing counseling and information for victims of domestic violence, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

November Parent's Night Out at LifeBridge Health & Fitness

Do you need an evening of peace and quiet, or perhaps a date night with your spouse?

LifeBridge Health & Fitness has recently reinvigorated its KidZone Parent's Night Out program. The November program is on from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, November 19 at LifeBridge Health & Fitness.

"The idea is to give parents a breather and have the kids participate in fun activities," says Robin Perry, member services team leader at LifeBridge Health & Fitness.

The night's events include a carnival festival, where kids can participate in WiiFit Bowlathan, Face Painting, Bean Bag Toss, Decorate Your Turkey Bag or play Apple on the Spoon. The cost is $15 for the first child and $5 for each additional child for LifeBridge Health & Fitness members; or $20 for the first child and $5 for each additional child for non-members. Parents may provide snacks for their children, and all parents must pick their children up by 9 p.m.

You must register by November 17. Call 410-318-6811 to sign up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nursing as a Second Profession: A Success Story

Do you feel stuck in your current job or that you're meant to do something meaningful?

If so, look to Rich Van Rensselaer, R.N., who works in Sinai's ER-7. Van Rensselaer, formerly the owner of a specialty wine and liquor store in Florida, graduated in May from the University of Maryland with a master’s in clinical nurse leadership. Van Rensselaer, 45, was recently profiled in the New York Times. To read more, click here.

Free Flu Shots At Northwest Hospital

Starting tomorrow, Northwest Hospital will be offering free seasonal flu shots to community members. This is a partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

These free shots will be available outside the hospital's Old Court Café (near the main lobby) from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the following dates:
  • Wednesday, November 10
  • Thursday, November 11
  • Monday, November 15
  • Tuesday, November 16
  • Wednesday, November 17

"This is a great opportunity for anyone who has not yet received a flu shot this year," notes Mary Wallace, the hospital's manager of infection prevention and control. Wallace points out that seasonal flu shots can cost up to $30 at area pharmacies, so getting a free seasonal flu shot can be a big help in today's economy.

The shots are available for anyone 14 years or older who has not yet received the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine. In addition to H1N1, the shots protect against two new strains of the flu.

Northwest Hospital is located at 5401 Old Court Road in Randallstown. Parking is free.

Reduce your chance of getting sick this year - come to Northwest Hospital on one of the above dates and times for your free shot!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Got the Urge? Incontinence and Women

When you “gotta go, gotta go,” all of the time, you probably should go straight to your doctor to determine the reasons why. It’s a problem facing many people. “Over 35 million people in America have bladder problems,” says Dee-Dee Shiller, D.O., the director of the Women’s Wellness Center at Northwest Hospital.

Dr. Shiller, presented a lecture on “urge incontinence” at Sinai Hospital’s Grand Rounds last week, where the focus was on women. “So many women deal with incontinence on a daily basis,” Dr. Shiller says. “The problem is, a lot of women don’t want to talk about it. They think it is part of the normal aging process.”

“Urge incontinence” is when a person leaks urine for no apparent reason after feeling the urge to urinate. It differs from “stress incontinence” which can happen after coughing, sneezing or exercising.

No one should suffer silently with bladder problems because good treatment options are available. Dr. Shiller advises her patients to urinate on a schedule, every two or three hours, instead of waiting until the situation gets dire. Also, her patients find that keeping a “bladder diary” is helpful.

The bladder diary can record the patients’ trips to the bathroom, what they drank, accidental urine leaks and what they were doing at the time. It can enlighten people to which bladder irritants may be causing the urge incontinence.

Bladder irritants can include caffeine, diet sweeteners, alcohol and tobacco. Dr. Shiller said that not everyone agrees with what can irritate the bladder. Also, losing excess weight, not drinking liquids three hours before bedtime, and doing Kegel exercises (contracting the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor for ten seconds and then relaxing) may help.

“Behavioral therapy does work,” Dr. Shiller says. However, there are medications that can also work although some can be costly.

The Women’s Wellness Center offers alternative therapies such as massage, yoga, meditation and acupuncture that can benefit women suffering from urge incontinence. “I would love it if Depends (adult diapers) were off the market,” Dr. Shiller says.

To learn more about the Women’s Wellness Center at Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-9355 (WELL).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Daylight Savings Ends Sunday

If you have trouble sleeping, there's good news - you are getting an extra hour this weekend.

Don't forget to adjust your clocks an hour back at 2 a.m. Sunday due to the end of Daylight Savings. But you may also want to pause this weekend to ask if you are one of the 60 million Americans who has a sleep disorder.

A lack of quality sleep is often responsible for car crashes and mistakes and accidents in the workplace, not to mention that it can make you feel miserable.

Some sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), exact a heavy toll on one’s health. OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. OSA, in which the upper airway repeatedly becomes blocked during sleep, is a condition that affects 24 percent of men and 8 percent of women. Symptoms include loud, irregular snoring; restless sleep with frequent (and possibly unnoticed) awakening; and waking up with a headache, dry mouth and/or sore throat.

Other common sleep disorder symptoms include daytime sleepiness; frequent nighttime urination; irritability or moodiness; memory loss; and poor concentration.

If you haven’t been getting a good night’s sleep lately, you owe it to yourself – and to your long-term health – to talk with your doctor about having a sleep study and seeing a sleep specialist.

Sleep studies are covered by most insurance plans. If you have a referral from your physician for a sleep study and consultation, appointments for a sleep study are available seven days a week at the sleep centers at Northwest and Sinai. To schedule a sleep study, call 410-601-9355.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

LifeBridge Health Recognizes the Importance of Family Caregivers

When we were young, our parents read us our favorite stories, bandaged our scraped knees and cheered us on at soccer games. As we got older, they were there again for us when we needed a few extra bucks or the keys to the car.

The story, however, doesn’t always end the way we would like. As we grow older, so do our parents. They can slow down, become physically frail, and appear mentally confused. Over the course of time, these strong individuals may need our help with even the simplest tasks of daily living.

According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than 65 million Americans take care of elderly loved ones. That’s why November has been designated National Family Caregivers Month, a time to thank, support and educate caregivers. These unsung heroes can be friends, neighbors or family members. The NFCA also provides tips and how-to guides.

When those caregivers need help, adult day care is a great way to keep elderly loved ones at home for as long as possible. It allows the elderly to spend time in a stimulating, safe place during the day while giving caregivers time to run errands or just relax.

Adult Day Services at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore is designed for elders with special medical needs such as diabetes, hypertension and post-stroke disabilities, and/or those with mental health problems such as dementia, confusion and Alzheimer's disease.

At Levindale, we strive to be an extension of your home environment with caring and personalized treatment because your loved one receives needed nursing, medical and social care.

Services for participants include:
-Door to door transportation
-Medical professionals on site for physical and cognitive challenges
-Escort services to doctors’ appointments
-Diverse activity programs and trips
-Delicious, nutritious meals
-Dignified support and assistance

Services for caregivers includes:
-Time to spend with other family members
-The chance to take care of other responsibilities
-Support and education services
-Piece of mind

For more information, call Levindale’s Adult Day Services at 410-601-2360.
-Helene King

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When a Big Stomach is More Than a Big Stomach

When is a big stomach more than visible proof of eating way too much fatty food? When it is an accumulation of fluid, and not fat, that is causing the abdominal distension. It is called “ascites,” a medical condition for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, which is the gap between the wall of the abdomen and the organs that are contained within the abdomen.

“Ascites is a symptom of a disease. It is not a disease itself,” said H. Franklin Herlong, M.D. Dr. Herlong presented a talk on “Management of Ascites” at Sinai’s Grand Rounds last week.

Dr. Herlong, a visiting professor from Johns Hopkins, is a gastroenterologist. “Ascites is one of the most frustrating symptoms that can dramatically alter a patient’s life,” Dr. Herlong said. Ascites is usually a symptom when a patient has cirrhosis and severe liver disease. “Fluid leaks out of the liver and that is how ascites is formed,” he said. “Cirrhosis is the most common cause of ascites.” However, ascites may be a symptom of other serious illnesses including congestive heart failure.

Ascites can be managed but it is important to treat the underlying disease itself, he cautioned. Treatments include salt restriction and properly prescribed diuretics. People who can manage their ascites will be able to eat better, move around more easily and probably improve their self-image. “Patients feel better,” Dr. Herlong said. And that is the best reason for managing ascites.

-Sandra Crockett

Monday, November 1, 2010

Choosing the Right Nursing Home

The smell of freshly baked bread drifts from the kitchen. Old friends chat as a dog chases a tennis ball nearby. These are the sights, sounds and smells of what senior living should be.

Your Golden Years aren’t a time to “settle.” After a lifetime of hard work, you should enjoy bright, elegant and friendly surroundings – where you can indulge in hobbies, challenge your mind and commune with nature.

To be happy, you don’t have to live in the house where you raised your family. “In fact, the older we get, the more overwhelming owning a home can become,” says Aric Spitulnik, president of Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. “That’s when it’s important to research new living options, so you can make life worth living without the headaches.”

His first tip: Start with a checklist of the things most important to you. Examples may include:
-Privacy, both with bedroom suites and bathrooms
-Internet connections
-Pets that live with you
-Beautiful grounds
-Nearness to shopping and museums
-Closeness to family
-Proximity to medical care
-Being treated with respect and compassion

Aric’s second tip: Get recommendations from friends, houses of worship, aging organizations and the Internet, and check each place yourself if possible. “The old institutional feel of nursing homes is not good enough for our elders,” continues Aric. “That’s why Levindale began a $31 million construction project in January – to create a modern, warm home that fits the desires of seniors ‘on the go’ and of seniors seeking dignified care.” It will be located on the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg campus.

Aric’s third tip: Give yourself enough time to figure out what accommodations will guarantee you a lifetime of fulfillment, and then take action. For more information about Levindale, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

-Helene King