Friday, January 28, 2011

What It's Like to Take Childbirth Classes at Sinai

Ed. Note: We asked one of the Birthplace at Sinai's mothers-to-be to discuss what it's like to take childbirth classes. She'll be blogging periodically on her experiences as a new mother.

I’m expecting a baby, but I don’t know what to expect. I’ll be honest; my initial reaction to my positive pregnancy test was fear. Memories of the “It’s gonna hurt a lot, I bet” line from the movie Knocked Up rang through my head. The only solution, it seemed, was to get educated as much as possible about the process of giving birth so that one is prepared – at least mentally.

The last time I lived with a newborn was 30 years ago, when my brother was born. The last time I cared for a baby (or changed a diaper) was 20 years ago, at the height of my babysitting career. Because my experience with infants is from a generation ago (and my views of labor and delivery have been shaped purely by television), it was a forgone conclusion that I would enroll in the classes offered by The BirthPlace at Sinai.

In my seventh month, my husband and I took the Prepared Childbirth Series to find out what labor was all about as well as to learn the infamous breathing techniques. With a baby on the way we are more cost-conscious than ever, so we were pleased that the series of three evening classes cost $60 per couple; other hospitals in the area were charging anywhere from $80 to $140 for their childbirth classes.

Our class was taught by a certified childbirth instructor who is also a nurse on the Labor and Delivery unit. In detail, she went over the stages of labor (I had no idea that labor had stages), letting us know what would be happening to us moms physically and what we and our support persons could do to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Thanks to the class, I’m (kind of) actually looking forward to labor. Who knew that this feeling would be a surprising, happy result of the class?

Maybe it’s because I know so many women who gave birth a month ahead of their due dates or maybe it’s because I can’t imagine my abdomen getting any larger (how does one reach down to tie her shoes?), but I have a gut feeling (pun intended) that my baby will be born early. Therefore, I rushed to take all my classes during my seventh month. (Besides, I plan to sleep and get as much rest as I can in the last two months of my pregnancy.) We took the Baby Basics 101 – Newborn Appearance and Care ($20 per couple), the Breastfeeding – Best Start for Mother and Baby (free!) classes and a tour of the BirthPlace (also free).

While the Newborn Appearance and Care class echoed a lot of the advice that I was reading about already in the book Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, it was new information for my husband to digest. Most importantly, the class gave me confidence that I was becoming knowledgeable about how to care for a baby. A very entertaining midwife ran the class, and the men in the class were the ones who had to change the diapers on the dolls and learn how to swaddle the doll in a receiving blanket.

In addition to providing practical instruction and setting realistic expectations, the Breastfeeding class stressed the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby during the first hour after birth. Thanks to Sinai’s rooming-in policy, in which most moms opt to have their babies stay with them in their rooms rather than the nursery, establishing this skin-to-skin bond is possible, and it increases the chances for successful breastfeeding. We were told that any of the nurses on the Mother/Baby unit can teach new moms how to breastfeed in real time. Sinai also has lactation consultants that can answer questions after a mom has headed home with her newborn. As soon as I have a newborn to feed, I plan to attend some of the free “Mommy and Me” breastfeeding support group meetings held at the hospital every Monday at 10 a.m.
After our baby is born, we also plan to take the hospital’s Infant Safety/CPR class ($40 per couple or $25 per individual). For moms who have previously given birth, Sinai also has a refresher class about the birth process as well as sibling classes so that older children can learn what having a new brother or sister will mean for them.

For more information or to enroll in any of The BirthPlace at Sinai’s Family Education classes, call 410-601-WELL (9355). For the siblings classes (offered for children 2½ years and older), please call the Sinai Auxiliary at 410-601-5032.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sinai Hospital Successfully Weathers 2011’s “Mini Snowmageddon”

During last night’s winter storm, once again Sinai Hospital employees pulled together to provide patients with seamless care. A Snow Command Center was enacted to ensure that all patient needs would continue to be met. To help essential staff members who were stuck at home because of the treacherous road conditions, gracious volunteers with AWD vehicles provided transportation to the hospital.

Here’s how Incident Commander Sharon Rossi, RNC, MS (also director of Women's and Children’s Services) summed up last night’s and this morning’s efforts:

Sinai ended its Code Yellow snow emergency at 10:15 this morning, but if you must venture out on the roads today, please be careful and take extra time. There are still plenty of ice, snow and disabled vehicles to watch out for.

As the Sinai staff was busy keeping patients safe, Neil Meltzer, Sinai president and COO, had an incident of his own. While he making his way home from work last night, Meltzer was one of the many unlucky drivers who were stuck on Interstate 83 (JFX) because of the snowy conditions and a jackknifed tractor trailer. For over eight hours, Meltzer was stranded in his car, at times trying to make his way through an obstacle course of abandoned cars. During long periods of idling, he passed the time by talking to family and friends and checking Facebook.

“Since I’m from Massachusetts, I always have an emergency kit in my car,” said Meltzer. “I was prepared but I did not anticipate an eight hour commute home.” Since Meltzer was stranded during the typical dinner hour, he made due by subsisting on two tins of sugar-free mints.

Meltzer stayed in touch with Sinai’s Snow Command Center while he was stranded to ensure that the weather was not causing any problems for the staff or patients. “I felt very confident that Sharon and the entire clinical management team were prepared and managing the situation appropriately.”

Have any snow stories from yesterday’s/this morning’s storm? Share them in the comments section.

-- Betsy Haley and Holly Hosler

Bariatric Surgeon To Discuss Weight Loss Options

If you are morbidly obese, you may feel like there is no place to turn. Luckily, Sinai Hospital's Bariatric Surgery program offers hope, providing the latest surgical techniques in gastric bypass,, nutritional counseling and emotional support.

Join us for a free seminar at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 7 to learn if bariatric surgery is right for you. This talk is led by bariatric surgeon Christina Li, M.D.

Dr. Li specializes in minimally invasive and obesity surgery.
She received her medical degree from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. She finished her resident training in general surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where she also spent a year as a research fellow at the Maryland Center for Videoscopic Surgery. Most recently, Dr. Li completed a one-year fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Attending this talk is the first step to weight loss. Registration is not required. Additional classes will be held March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6, July 7, August 1, September 7, October 3, November 7, December 5. To learn more, call 410-601-4486.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Patient Safety Fair at Sinai on March 8

Sinai Hospital is proud to sponsor the Annual Patient Safety Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. This fair shows how different products are used at Sinai, encouraging safer care for every patient, every day.

Products on display will include the VersaCare bed, which helps prevent pressure ulcers. Reducing these ulcers, also known as bed sores, has been a high priority for LifeBridge Health facilities. Both Levindale and Northwest offer wound care.

"It is of paramount importance to Sinai to engage staff and others as we strengthen collaboration and commit to safe health care for all," says Sinai patient safety officer Tina Gionet, RN, MS.

Everyone is invited to attend the fair, from staff to patients. Sponsors will receive lunch and attendees will receive refreshments. There will be a raffle for gift cards and giveaways.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Skin Cancer and the Dark Days of Winter

Winter is here and the days are short. It may not be foremost on your mind, but checking for skin cancer should still be a part of your routine. If you notice any changes in your skin, talk with your primary care physician.

“About a million people in the U.S. are getting skin cancer each year,” says Nelson Goldberg, M.D., a surgeon specializing in plastic surgery and surgical oncology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Goldberg presented a lecture on skin cancer and biopsies at Sinai Hospital’s Grand Rounds. “You have a one in three chance of getting skin cancer before you die,” he says.

Most cases of skin cancer – the basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma types - are nonfatal, Dr. Goldberg says. Malignant melanoma skin cancer can be fatal, though not always. Early detection and treatment is advised but biopsies are not always warranted, he says.

Doctors look for certain symptoms before requesting a skin biopsy. Those symptoms include bleeding or crusting of the area. When a biopsy is performed, a piece of the skin is removed for further examination and skin cancer can be diagnosed or ruled out.

“It is not uncommon for patients to ignore skin cancer if it is not bothering them,” Dr. Goldberg says. But small changes can grow into large, disfiguring ones. “It is better to get them off when they are small,” Dr. Goldberg says.

-Sandra Crockett

Monday, January 24, 2011

Once More, With Feeling: Get Your Flu Shot!

Since January 1, Sinai Hospital physicians have diagnosed 70 cases of influenza, and 37 cases have been diagnosed in the past week. That's more cases of flu in one week than the entire month of December. Sinai ER-7 physician Dov Frankel, M.D., discussed the flu rise on WJZ-TV.

If you have not received your flu shot, it's not too late. All LifeBridge Health employees may come to Employee Health to receive their flu shot, which is free. Those who work in health care are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, as are children and anyone with a compromised immune system.

Looking for a place to receive the flu shot? You can find a location near your house via
-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Northwest Advocate Recognized

By Audrey Bergin, MA, Coordinator
Domestic Violence(DOVE)Program at Northwest Hospital

Baltimore County’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council has recognized an individual for the leadership they have brought to the challenge of reducing domestic violence in our community. Recently Cassie Offutt, Advocate for the Domestic Violence at Northwest Hospital was awarded this honor at Baltimore County’s Domestic Violence Conference, in front of hundreds of colleagues.

She was nominated by multiple colleagues in the domestic violence community for her dedication to victims. Cassie works with the police in local precincts conducting home visits with victims who have recently been assaulted and scored “high” on a Lethality Assessment (meaning the violence in their life, could become lethal). She follows up with victims until they are safe. Cassie also provides court accompaniment for Protective Orders and criminal cases. The police and lawyers who she works with cannot praise her enough.

One colleague said she is “paramount in assisting us with domestic violence strangulation cases.” Another said, “She does whatever is necessary to make a client safe.” “She is an invaluable asset to our work and to the work of all domestic violence agencies.”

Cassie motivates and inspires others with her enthusiasm and her dedication. She was awarded for leading by her example. As a result of Cassie’s hard work, the Domestic Violence Program at Northwest has been able to serve hundreds more victims each year.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sinai Vice President Named to ADA Board

Sinai Hospital Vice President Lorrie Liang has been named to the Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the country’s largest voluntary health organization battling this debilitating disease.

Nearly 27 million people live with diabetes and 57 million more are pre-diabetic. Not only can this disease be life threatening, but it can take a big toll on families, as well as on those who have it. Diabetes is a serious disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or respond properly to insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose to be used for energy. The ADA works to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of the people affected by it.

As a member of the ADA board, Liang is responsible for assisting with the organization’s business affairs. She also works closely with its volunteers and staff on activities and initiatives.

Liang has been active with the American Diabetes Association for eight years and has served two terms as the chair of its Community Leadership Board in Maryland and as an Executive Committee member of the Baltimore Community Leadership Board.

Among her many leadership roles at Sinai Hospital, Liang overseas the departments of Medicine, Surgery and Anesthesia; the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics; The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute; Faculty Practice; Medical Education and research projects.
-Helene King

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parisi Speed School Offers Training

The Parisi Speed School, powered by LifeBridge Health and Fitness, has training options for everyone from young children to athletes.

Now there's one more benefit to working at LifeBridge Health: for a limited time, employees are entitled to 50 percent discounts on two Parisi programs:

  • Signature Speed School- Focuses on 4 aspects of training, top speed, acceleration, change of direction (agility), and total conditioning. The discount is 50 percent off initial plan and initial evaluation.
  • FitKids/Total Conditioning – A high energy program, where kids can exercise, have fun and create good exercise habits, while increasing strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. The discount is for 50 percent off in the first month.

For more information, call Hakeem Clark at 410-318-6808.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cold Vs. Flu: The Battle

It’s the bout of the season, and it’s fought at home, at work and in public.

In one corner, the symptoms are suddenly feeling feverish, having a headache, being achy, feeling tired and spiking a fever, sometimes with a scratchy throat.

In the other, the signs are gradually noticing a stuffy nose, frequent sneezing, and a sore throat coupled with a hacking cough. A fever rarely develops.

It’s the battle of the flu verses the cold. No one has to fall victim to a knockout punch from either.

“The flu is a respiratory virus that’s contagious,” says Peter Andrews, P.A., director of Employee Health at Sinai Hospital. “Those at high risk include the elderly, children, health care workers and people with some chronic health conditions. However, everyone is susceptible, so prevention is key.”

There’s no reason to let the flu give you a sucker punch. “The great thing is that the flu is most often preventable,” says Rose Wetzel, R.N., B.S.N., manager of Occupational Health at Northwest Hospital.

“For most people, the flu shot or nasal spray will prevent the virus. Both are quick and easy.” It takes about two weeks before antibodies develop protection against the virus. If you do come down with the flu, rest is the best way to get better, unless you are in a high-risk group.

In that case, check with your doctor immediately to see if medication to lessen the symptoms is needed. On the other side of the ring, the common cold, which can be caused by more than 200 different viruses, is usually mild and rarely turns into other serious health problems, such as infections or pneumonia. A fever is seldom associated with a cold. Again, because a cold is caused by a virus, medicine will only treat the symptoms, not provide a cure.

If you do get sick, stay home, rest, avoid contact with others and contact your doctor if necessary.

“One of the best ways you can avoid a cold and the flu is to wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” says Lucia Smedly, infection prevention specialist at Levindale and Courtland Gardens. “Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub for 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing, “Happy Birthday.”

Other ways to stay healthy?
  • Eat right and exercise.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stop smoking
  • Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin C or other supplements that can boost your immune system.

-Helene King

Monday, January 17, 2011

Managing Cancer Pain

When you have an illness, pain management is important. That's especially true for cancer patients, who may experience pain from a tumor, a side effect of treatment, or from another cause.

Luckily, the pain management specialists at LifeBridge Health have innovative ways to help you and your loved ones manage pain. Join Lynn Staggs, M.D., for an informative talk on Thursday, January 27 to discuss the Management of Cancer Pain.

Dr. Staggs received her undergraduate degree in biology from Vanderbilt University. She earned a master's degree in physiology and her medical degree from Georgetown University. Dr. Staggs completed her residencies at the Spain Rehabilitation Center at University of Alabama-Birmingham and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis.

This talk will be held at the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute Conference Room from noon to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required; call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gardens Help Healing at Hospitals

In the midst of a cold Maryland winter, it's helpful to visualize spring and blooming gardens at LifeBridge Health facilities.

Building gardens at hospitals is a practice that goes back at least a thousand years in both Eastern and Western medicine. More than just something pretty to look at, this cultivation of plant life produces physiological benefits. Yes, gardens are good for your health.

Studies by Texas A&M architecture professor Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D., have shown that after viewing nature – even in a garden setting - for as little as three to five minutes, one’s blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension are restored to more optimal levels. In effect, one has been de-stressed. Evidence also demonstrates that patients who have views of gardens or nature from their rooms report less pain.

For employees, gardens often provide a much needed contrast to the stark, sterile, technical hospital environment; plants stimulate the spirit, mind and body in ways the inorganic world cannot. So it’s no wonder that gardens are being incorporated into the landscape at various LifeBridge Health centers.

Earlier this year, right outside of Sinai’s Lowell and Harriet Glazer Atrium, the new Jacqueline H. Hess Memorial Garden was unveiled. Named for a founder of the Sinai Auxiliary and Gift Shop, a gift from George Hess and his sister Diane Pelham Burn established the Hess Garden Fund in 1984. The garden’s flora includes ginkgos, river birches, roses, hydrangeas and nepetas. Diane created the garden’s metal tree sculpture, and Jacqueline’s grandchildren David and Bill Hess made the new sundial. David also crafted the benches.

Northwest Hospital is in the midst of building a garden near its main entrance.

“The creation of the Healing Garden at Northwest is the result of employee feedback,” says Northwest Hospital President Erik Wexler. “Staff have suggested that we have an outdoor area where employees and visitors can go and ‘de-stress’ from the challenges we all face. We seized the opportutunity to construct the garden after the trailers were removed from the front of the hospital.”

In December, the garden’s larger trees and shrubs were planted; additional
plantings are expected in the spring. The entrance walkway to the garden will be paved with bluestone, and heavy benches will allow employees, patients and visitors to relax.

While Sinai and Northwest have what are considered “passive gardens,” through which observers relax and passively enjoy the environment, Levindale has plans to open an “active garden” modeled after Kibbutz Lavi in Israel.

“Levindale’s new garden will open all the senses,” says Betsy Narrow, president
of the Levindale Auxiliary. Lighting, waterfalls and music will combine to create a Zen-like effect. Residents will be encouraged to use all five senses to explore and cultivate the garden.

Even the sense of taste will be covered, as herbs will be planted for residents to enjoy.

“The garden will be built with areas for residents and children to plant together,” Betsy says. Planting beds will be accessible from wheelchair height. Seating areas in the garden will be designed to allow wheelchair-bound residents to pull up and socialize with others.

Levindale’s “sensory garden,” located in a courtyard, will be visable from an interior hallway. That way, residents who don’t care to venture outside can still enjoy the visual aspects of the garden.

Over the years, LifeBridge Health’s new healing gardens will undoubtedly provide for stress reduction and increased well-being for thousands.

-Holly Hosler

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Neurosurgery Chief Explains Giffords' Surgery

Following the Arizona shootings, many have been following the progress of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head. Against the odds, she is holding her own, even breathing by herself after being taken off a respirator.

The lifesaving surgery she underwent included removing part of her skull to allow the bullet in her brain to be taken out and her brain to swell unencumbered.

Neal Naff, M.D., chief of Neurosurgery at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, has performed the same type of surgery many times and explains that doctors are monitoring her progress very closely.

“At this point, they will be keeping an eye out for increased pressure on the brain as well as any seizure activity and infections," he says.

Giffords' physicians remain encouraged by her progress, saying it is "going as anticipated." Dr. Naff says that once the brain swelling goes down, her doctors will talk about reattaching the portion of the skull that was removed.

According to Dr. Naff, it could take weeks and months to the long-term effects of the injury. However, yesterday Giffords opened her eyes. She can follow commands, move her arms and breathe without help, all of which are encouraging signs of her recovery.

To learn more about Dr. Naff and the Brain and Spine Institute, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

-Helene King

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Smoking Increases Risk of High Blood Pressure in Children

There's yet another reason to quit smoking: parents who smoke may be raising their child's blood pressure.

This week in Circulation, Swiss researchers published their results of a study looking at parents who smoked and their preschool-aged children. The researchers found that systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in children of smoking parents. Even when they corrected for body mass index, parental hypertension, birth weight and risk factors, they found that parental smoking is a risk factor for high blood pressure.

In other words, if you smoke, you're putting your child at risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular complications. If you can't quit for yourself, quit for him or her.

Luckily, Northwest Hospital is here to help you kick the habit. Up in Smoke is a FREE six-week smoking cessation program. It includes behavioral modification, support, and nicotine replacement. The next session begins on January 20 and is open to LifeBridge Health employees and members of the community. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 410-601-9355.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Concussions: More Than a Knock on the Head

Two or more athletes collide on a football field. One hits the ground hard suffering a head impact. The athlete gets up, shakes it off and continues to play. Not always the wise thing to do.

“I often say that football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport,” says Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., the director of the Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute. A concussion is not a simple knock on the head but an injury to your brain that should be taken seriously, he says.

Dr. Crutchfield presented a lecture about sports-related concussions at Sinai Hospital’s Grand Rounds last week. Neurology, rehabilitation and other experts collaborate to monitor and treat sports-related concussions in high school- and college-aged athletes to predict when it is safe for an athlete to resume participation in contact sports.

Dr. Crutchfield is an expert in treating concussions, and a former college athlete who himself suffered a concussion. “I understand what is going on in the inside as well as the outside,” he says.

Everyone should remember that if you sustain a hard hit to the head, seek medical attention. Without proper medical attention, particularly from repeat concussions, risks can include insomnia, visual disturbances, and early onset dementia.

And you don’t have to be an athlete to receive the help you need at the Brain & Spine Institute. In addition to sports injuries, common causes of concussions include bicycle accidents, car accidents, and falls, as well as blows to the head. BSI experts will medically manage those individuals who sustain a recent brain injury and to work with those with unresolved long-standing symptoms that relate to mild brain injury.

“A concussion may cause moderate changes in a person's thinking, emotional, or physical
abilities, and these changes can significantly impact everyday life,” Dr. Crutchfield says.

To learn more or to find a physician, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
-Sandra Crockett

Monday, January 10, 2011

Get Your Flu Shot

As 2011 ramps up, you do not want to be waylaid by the flu. Getting your flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent the flu (although don't forget to wash your hands).

Northwest Hospital is pleased to offer the flu vaccine to family members of Northwest patients while supplies last. Make your appointment by calling 410-521-2200 (extension 55430). LifeBridge Health employees are reminded that they can still get their free flu shot at either Sinai or Northwest.

The 2010-2011 flu shot protects against H1N1, an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus. While everyone should get vaccinated, high risk groups for getting the flu include children under 5, those older than 50, those with certain chronic medical conditions and health care workers.

If you are not eligible to get a flu shot at Northwest, but want to get the vaccine, you can find a location here. You can see flu trends here.

Sick with the flu? To find a physician, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, January 7, 2011

No Link Between Vaccines and Autism

This week yet another report showed that a study linking vaccines to autism was fraudulent.

The controversy began more than a decade ago. In 1998, British physician Andrew Wakefield published a study indicating that the common MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine was linked to childhood autism.

"After this initial study was released linking the MMR vaccine to autism, huge amounts of time and money were spent attempting to corroborate these findings," explains Sinai physician Anthony Caterina. "When no links were found after numerous large studies, there was a backlash against the medical community with many people, including some overly vocal celebrities, claiming there was a conspiracy taking place to protect vaccine manufacturers."

Since Wakefield's study was published, many parents opted out of vaccinating their children, causing numerous outbreaks of these deadly diseases. Autism rates continue to climb. An editorial in the British Medical Journal described Wakefield's study as "an elaborate fraud."

"That study wrongfully tarnished the reputation of vaccinations and the medical community. Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of mankind, and hopefully this new information regarding the unethical and criminal nature of Dr. Wakefield's actions will hopefully begin the process of reversing the damage already caused," Caterina says.

To find a pediatrician at Sinai Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

by Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS
Lead Lifestyle Coach
LiveWell @ LifeBridge

This is the week of the infamous "New Year's Resolutions" - those goals we set that so often become distant memories as the year progresses. This year, set your intentions and maintain your resolutions by focusing on the following:

1. BE SPECIFIC. Goals such as "losing weight" or "eating right" are simply too vague. In order to stick with your resolution, you must be as specific as possible. Using these examples, your resolution may instead look something like "lose 10 pounds and/or go down 2 sizes in 3 months." For eating habits, try "eat healthier by increasing my daily intake of fruits and vegetables to at least 5 servings."

2. MEASURE. Famous business guru and management expert Peter Drucker states, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Keep a journal of your goal that includes the steps you take to reach it along with the progress you are making. Tracking your nutrition has been shown repeatedly to be the number one thing an individual can do in order to lose weight, and journaling your workouts will provide valuable feedback as to your progress in strength and cardiovascular gains.

3. PUT YOURSELF "OUT THERE". Accountability is one of the most effective ways to keep you committed to your resolution. Post your resolution on Facebook or in an email blast to friends, and periodically update them, asking them to hold you to your goals. Work with a personal trainer or exercise with a friend and hold each other to your mutual target.

4. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Without an established plan in advance of beginning, your much less likely to be successful. It's one thing to have a resolution in mind, but without a structured idea of how you are going to achieve it, you're left at the whim of day-to-day distractions and lost in your efforts. Set the structure - the where, when and how of your tasks - to accomplish your goals and commit to these steps as part of your daily habits.

Follow these steps to set yourself up for success and as you achieve small victories along the way, reward yourself in a healthy way for your discipline and accomplishments. Realize that with all resolutions and goals, it is the journey is the key, not simply the end result. If you focus on the process, then you are bound to maintain your healthy habits and build momentum towards keeping your resolutions all throughout the year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Water Main Break on Lanier Avenue

Attention Sinai Hospital visitors and patients: there has been a water main break on Lanier Avenue near the physician lot. Barriers denoting the detour have been placed on Lanier and Belvedere avenues. The detour has placed a major impact on the main parking lot, Belvedere garage, and the shuttle service from and to the Pimlico employee parking lot for Sinai employees. Patients and visitors are asked to use Valet services.

To see a map of the Sinai campus, click here.

Cookies, Candy and Cocoa, Oh My: Support from the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute

by Jill Adler, M.S., Coordinator, Patient Information Services, and Bunny Kohn, R.N., Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute

Puffs of hot chocolate, glittery dancing snowflakes and bags of holiday treats served as the warm welcome mat for patients being treated at the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore last week.

This special holiday surprise was due to the generous spirit of the Outpatient Infusion Services (OPIS) nursing staff. Instead of the nurses eating dinner out as a group to celebrate the season they pooled their money and hosted a party in-house for the patients.

CostCo was the shopping kingdom of choice for one of the nurses. She could be seen moving her way down the aisles with baskets of sugary holiday cookies, bags of delicious candy and an array of chocolates.

Several nurses stayed late one night to "bag" enough goodies in the Snowman-themed bags to get the week started. The celebration started on Monday morning, running throughout the week. Festive decorations adorned the nurses stations and the reception area was newly designed to have patients and their guests enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, tea or cocoa. The whole nursing area smelled great and brought lots of smiles and full feelings of happiness for everyone.

The baggies had festive decorated cookies, chocolates and other candy for patients take to their seats during treatment or to just take home with them and enjoy later. A holiday card was given to each patient as they registered as well as a box of reusable shopping bags that had been donated. Just to add even more joy to the mix, poinsettia plants, silver garland and snowmen figurines were placed on the tables to be enjoyed. An adorable gingerbread house created by the pre-school aged grandsons of one of our nurses brought smiles from everyone as it was placed at the sitting area for all o enjoy.

The staff was also asked to donate hats, gloves and scarves for our patients which were given out by our Oncology Social Worker and Patient Care Navigator.

The time and love given to this event was just one more way of showing how the staff cares with so much compassion and feeling to the special patients and their families that are being treated at the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute.

To learn more about the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sinai Welcomes First Baby of the Year

It was an extra special day for Louis and Henrietta Blaustein Women's Health Center at Sinai on Saturday: Baltimore's first baby of the year was born here at 12:41 a.m. on 1/1/11. Danny and Nechama Gordon welcomed a 7-pound, 14-ounce girl who was 20.5 inches. Both mother and baby are doing well, and Sinai wishes them health and happiness in the year ahead!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Specialty Hospital at Levindale Opens Telemetry Unit

Maryland's first telemetry unit in a chronic hospital opened at Levindale last week. This unit provides heart monitoring for patients who require specialized medical care and treatment for serious illnesses and/or injuries.

Each patient’s blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate and blood oxygen levels are continuously monitored as part of this highly specialized care. The telemetry unit is designed for patients who have arrhythmia, syncope, chest pain, electrolytes imbalance and/or congestive heart failure.

“Levindale saw a need in the community for this kind of cardiac care to manage acute patients,” says Dean A. Smith, RN, BSN. “Close monitoring of this kind complements the other therapies that our patients receive. These can include ventilator-dependency, chest tube management and tracheostomy suction.”

Levindale’s high intensity telemetry unit also treats other complex-medical conditions that require IV medications, PICC lines, dialysis, wound care and rehabilitative services, TPN and additional nutritional interventions.

There are a total of 20 beds in the telemetry unit. Patients who are 18 or older may be admitted directly from intensive care units (ICUs) and intermediate care units (IMCs).

The telemetry unit’s highly trained staff consists solely of on-site doctors, as well as respiratory therapists and registered nurses (RNs)- who are certified in Advanced Cardio Life Support (ACLS). The ratio of nurses to patients is five to one.

Services are also coordinated with an on-site pharmacy and lab. Physical, occupational, speech and therapeutic therapies are also a big part of the treatment.

The telemetry unit is part of the Specialty Hospital at Levindale, which is a licensed 120-bed hospital that is Joint Commission and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accredited.

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

-Helene King