Monday, February 28, 2011

Kicking Off National Nutrition Month

By Anitra Zaske, RD, LDN, CNSC, Clinical Dietitian, Sinai Hospital

The American Dietetic Association has declared March as National Nutrition Month®. The theme is “Eat Right with Color." What does that statement mean to you? If you painted a picture of your weekly diet, how many colors would your picture have? Are French fries your favorite vegetable?

Throughout the month of March, the Food and Nutrition departments at LifeBridge Health are hoping to color your minds, plates and palettes as we explore what it means to “Eat Right with Color."

The following activities will be happening next month at LifeBridge Health!
  • Healthy Recipe Contest - submitted recipes will be combined into an environmentally friendly E-Cookbook to share with LifeBridge Health friends and family!
  • Employee Kids Coloring Contest, Ages 13 and under (Sinai and Northwest) – get your families involved and teach your children the importance of eating right with color! Completed pictures will be on display at both Sinai and Northwest hospitals.
  • Nutrition Trivia – Answer the trivia questions presented and enter your name in a raffle for a FREE COOKBOOK!
  • Weekly Information Booths – Stop by and ask your registered dietitians any nutrition questions you may have, and enter your name in our FREE raffle! Pick up some new, healthy recipes to try at home!
There will also be featured entrées and healthy selections in the retail cafeterias and employees will receive "Tips of the Week" in AllUser emails with recipes and information on the health benefits of eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains!

Also, Wednesday, March 9 is Registered Dietitian Day. Don’t forget to wish the registered dietitians you know or work with a Happy RD Day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Scholarship Program Available at LifeBridge Health

One of the benefits of working at LifeBridge Health is tuition assistance. Another is a scholarship program for dependent children and grandchildren of employees.

The LifeBridge Health Scholarship Program is funded by LifeBridge Health and administered by Scholarship Management Services, a department of Scholarship America. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Applicants must be entering their sophomore year of college, and employees must have completed a year of service at LifeBridge Health. If chosen, health care majors receive $2,500 and non-health-care majors receive $1,500. Awards are given based on academic achievement, not financial need.

Interested students must fill out the application and submit a transcript. Applications are due March 15. To learn more, employees can visit the Benefits page on BridgeNet.

Want to work at LifeBridge Health? Click here to see available openings.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eating on the Go

by Emilie Hunt and Angie Eshleman, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian, Sinai Hospital

It’s no secret that the business of life can get in the way of our healthy eating habits. This may especially hold true if our schedule is pulled in many different directions on a regular basis. Don’t let the stress of eating healthy while on the run leave you discouraged. Believe it or not, it can be easy to find healthier options while you are running errands and finishing last minute tasks.

Consider these tips when dining out:

• Pay attention to portion size. Many of the meals offered can be super-sized or mega-sized. Choose the child’s size portion or substitute an appetizer portion for your normal sized entrée. It may even help to share half of your meal with a friend or take half home!
• Look for a heart symbol next to the choices. Many restaurants provide “Heart Healthy” options which tend to be lower in sodium and fat.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for your meal prepared a certain way. Ask the waiter to hold the rich sauce, or substitute a steamed veggie for French fries.
• Shopping at the mall? Fight the urge to eat high calorie entrees such as Chinese food or a cheeseburger and fries. Grab a flavor packed fresh fruit smoothie instead. Load it up with a variety of fruits and low fat yogurt for maximum flavor.
• Keep healthy, easy to grab snacks in the car or in your purse. Try fruit and nut granola bars, trail mix or a piece of fresh fruit. All are loaded with fiber and will help keep you tied over until you finish your errands.

For more tips about Eating on the Go, click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learning About Braxton Hicks Contractions

Ed. Note: We asked one of the Birthplace at Sinai's mothers-to-be to blog periodically about her experiences as a future (soon to be new) mother.

My due date is still over five weeks away, but I’m now experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions – or false labor – with growing frequency. My body is warming up for labor and delivery, though I’m not uncomfortably large yet and it’s still strange to think that my baby will be here in just a few weeks!

Uterine contractions are caused when the body releases oxytocin – a hormone that plays a huge role in human reproduction. Also known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin helps lovers bond with one another as the hormone reduces fear and anxiety and increases trust. It’s also a hormone that’s emitted during breastfeeding, causing the breasts to release milk and strengthening the bond between mother and baby. (Incidentally, some women have their pregnancies induced or labor sped up through receiving Pitocin, which is artificial oxytocin.)

Strange as it may be, I can sometimes feel my body release oxytocin; it feels like a wave of unexplained well-being and relaxation rolling over me. It’s not a sexual feeling, but it’s similarly intimate and pleasurable.

These oxytocin-produced sensations became more acute when I approached middle pregnancy, and I get them a lot now. When I do, shortly thereafter my belly feels rock hard to the touch and I may feel minor cramping in the lower part of my uterus. Normally, the uterus has some give and one’s abdomen feels slightly soft. During a contraction, however, if you press on the uterus, it will feel similar to a forehead.

I know these are Braxton Hicks contractions and not true labor because my contractions come with irregularity with no pattern of growing frequency, consist of no or only mild cramping, and don’t last longer and longer. When I do feel cramping, it’s confined to the lower part of my uterus and doesn’t emanate from the lower back and move forward to the upper uterus. That said, every pregnancy is different, and medical experts say that if you experience six or more of these Braxton Hicks contractions in one hour, you should call your OB-GYN. He or she may want to evaluate you to make sure you’re not in true labor.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Northwest Hospital’s Dr. Stacey Berner Recognized for Surgical Excellence

Stacey Berner, M.D., medical director of the Hand Center at Northwest Hospital, has been recognized as one of the country’s “great hand and upper extremity surgeons to know” by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review.

He joins an elite group of 44 other surgeons on this list. He was selected due to his leadership in and contributions to hand and upper extremity surgery.

Dr. Berner made medical history last year when he became the first surgeon in the United States to perform a new robotic hand surgery procedure using the da Vinci Surgical System.

He earned his degree in medicine from Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Berner completed an internship in general surgery and a residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, which he followed with a fellowship in hand and microsurgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

-Noel Lloyd

Monday, February 21, 2011

Biologics: the New Frontier

It is not a pleasant subject, but inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a fact of life for many people. That's especially tough when you are a child.

“There are about four million people in the U.S. with IBD,” says Ritu Walia, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist at Sinai Hospital. “About 5,000 people are diagnosed with IBD each year.
There are 50,000 to 100,000 children in the U.S. with it,” she says.

IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD should not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), although both are intestinal tract conditions and have similar symptoms of . IBS is not a disease and doesn’t increase the risk of colon cancer. IBD, in constrast, is characterized by inflammation in the small and/or large intestines and can increase the risk of cancer.

Dr. Walia presented "Biologics in the Care of IBD" as part of the Dr. Jennifer Ann Kierson Memorial Pediatric Grand Rounds Series on February 15. Traditionally, physicians have prescribed steroids like Prednisone, which can cause “huge side effects.” Dr. Walia says. Some possible side effects of steroids are slowing growth and bone development, hypertension, osteoporosis, bloating and mood swings, among other things.

Biologics, on the other hand, are proteins that prevent substances in the body that cause inflammation. They do not cause the same side effects of steroids but the patient’s immune system should be monitored. One recent article in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News pointed out that while every patient is different, "current evidence suggests that biologic therapy will significantly reduce the most severe consequences of [Crohn's Disease]."

Even though biologics are more expensive, perhaps it is time for the medical profession to consider treatment with biologics as the first line of defense in treating IBD and not the last, Dr. Walia concludes.

Treatment with biologics is “steroids-sparing, improves the quality of life and facilitates normal growth and development,” says Dr. Walia, which is especially important for a child with IBD.
-Sandra Crockett

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baltimore County SWAT Team Puts Donated Equipment to Good Use

Last August, LifeBridge Health & Fitness donated more than 20,000 pounds of weight plates, dumbbells, pre-set dumbbells and adjustable benches to the Baltimore County SWAT team. Just a couple of weeks ago, the team took delivery of another batch of fitness equipment.

The 23-member team has put the equipment to good use, according to SWAT team member, Dan Rose.

“It gets used every day,” said Rose. “Physical fitness is a big part of what we do. Every day we get two hours to work out. Everyone works out at their own level, whatever it takes to stay in shape.”

Rose explained being in top physical condition is paramount due to the sudden and often stressful nature of the job. The SWAT team takes part in 150 or so deployments yearly that can sometimes last up to two days, including hostage situations and high risk warrants. The team even provided security support for President Obama’s recent visit to Baltimore.

Rose expressed his gratitude for the equipment, especially in these times of tight budgets.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “We greatly appreciate the donation.”

To learn more about LifeBridge Health & Fitness, call 410-484-6800.

-Noel Lloyd

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Northwest Hospital Subacute Care Unit Receives High Ranking

The Subacute Care Unit at Northwest Hospital has received a high ranking of five stars overall in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 Best Nursing Homes.

U.S. News uses government criteria for this list, and in this case, the government defines a nursing home as a Medicare or Medicaid facility that provides 24-hour nursing care and other medical services.

Northwest Hospital’s Subacute Care Unit treats patients who have been discharged from the hospital’s acute care services, but who still need specialized treatment therapies before going home.

The rankings highlight facilities across the country which provide high-quality care and are tools for millions of elderly Americans and their families in search of supervision for the elderly and/or disabled who need more care than is offered in an acute hospital setting.

U.S. News’s Best Nursing Homes profiles more than 15,000 centers and ranks them by state, using data and quality ratings from the federal government. The rankings are updated quarterly.

They rely on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets and enforces quality standards for all homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. The overall rating of one to five stars is based on the number of stars earned in three other categories: health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality of care.

Facilities that ranked highest in Best Nursing Homes 2011 earned overall five-star ratings. Only about one home in seven met this standard.

“Choosing a nursing home for your parent or loved one is incredibly difficult,” says Avery Comarow, Health Rankings Editor at U.S. News & World Report. “Homes at the top of our rankings have repeatedly shown high quality and deserve consideration.”

-Helene King

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Reason to Stop Smoking

While Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is not fully reversible, patients and physicians can take action to minimize the disease's progression, a pulmonary expert said last week.

COPD, which causes difficulty breathing, is the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, with 12 million people diagnosed each year. Additionally, 24 million people are suspected to be undiagnosed. Thirty-five percent of smokers develop COPD, said Joshua Rubenfeld, M.D., a member of the Sinai Hospital Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Rubenfeld presented a COPD update at Sinai Hospital Grand Rounds last Thursday. Other risk factors for developing the disease include drug use, an HIV diagnosis, a family history, or those with an occupation that exposes them to gas or fumes.

To make a diagnosis, a physician must do a spirometry test, which involves blowing out as hard as one can into a small machine that tests lung capacity, and use a bronchodilator at least one to evaluate the effect. Diseases that can mimic the symptoms of COPD include asthma, pulmonary edema, tuberculosis, or broncostaxis, which is why it's important to nail down a COPD diagnosis.

COPD is a 'global disease', says Rubenfeld, as it can cause skeletal muscle wasting, osteoporosis,
kidney disease and other tobacco-associated diseases like coronary or cerebrovascular problems.

If it sounds like a grim prognosis, there is a way for a patient to take control: stop smoking. This will allow lung function to improve the first year and then allow the lungs to decrease at a normal rate. Additionally, those with COPD benefit the most from oxygen therapy, and physicians will also often prescribe corticosteroids, bronchodilators, or antibiotics. Still, “everything is palliative except for the oxygen,” Rubenfeld said.

The bottom line is that quitting smoking before a COPD diagnosis offers the best chance to breathe easy, and those who are diagnosed should stick with the recommended medications. As Rubenfeld explained, “hospital admissions for COPD exacerbations portend a poor overall prognosis, surgical therapy is risky, bronchoscopic therapy is unproven, and medical therapy is the cornerstone for helping the disease.”

To learn more about Dr. Rubenfeld or Sinai Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine’s Day Super Special in the Old Court Café

Yesterday - Valentine’s Day - patrons of Northwest Hospital’s Old Court Café had the opportunity to purchase a “Super Special” – a deluxe meal consisting of a rib eye steak, three steamed shrimp, a twice-baked potato, a side of steamed broccoli, a chocolate covered strawberry and a fountain drink. Since this was Valentine’s Day, buyers of the special also received one red rose. All this was not a bad deal for $11.99.

My husband John was handling our dinner plans, so I invited him to join me for lunch to take advantage of the Super Special. Though it’s unconventional to start a Valentine’s meal by picking up a tray and walking through a cafeteria line, we were up for an adventure.

The Old Court Café is unaware that I’d be writing this review, and I’m happy to report that John – a former saute chef – had many nice things to say about the food. (I can’t say the same about his assessment of many of Baltimore’s fine dining establishments.) Likewise, I found the food delightful overall. Nothing tasted unpleasant or “off.”

The rib eye – which was partially pre-cooked and then heated in a saute pan to the customer’s desired doneness – was seasoned with spices that reminded John of chimichurri. For a complete meal price of under $12, one cannot realistically expect the best cut of prime rib, but given the quality of the meat, the chef prepared it in a way that was most enjoyable. A-1 steak sauce was provided as an optional condiment, but it was unnecessary and would have overpowered the delicious seasonings.

“The shrimp are good,” said my husband, who usually complains about his fish being over-cooked. My shrimp were slightly more done than his, but they were still tasty with just the tiniest hint of Old Bay. “They should make a sub sandwich with the steak and the shrimp on top of it,” fantasized John.

Despite being lukewarm by the time I ate it (a problem endemic to steamed vegetables), the broccoli was perfectly firm – not at all mushy as one would expect. It was an appetizing color, fresh tasting and didn’t require any additional seasoning. If only all leafy green veggies could taste that way!

The twice-baked potato was not entirely unlike the ones that can be purchased in a grocer’s frozen foods section; indeed the freezer was its likely origin. It was not bad by any means, but it was clearly our least favorite part of the meal. “The potato needs butter,” John suggested. “If they had just melted some butter and poured it over the top, it would be so much better,” he said.

“If they had, our cardiologists would thank them,” I said.

“True. I guess we are in a hospital.”

It was easy to forget that fact.

Take the chocolate strawberry, for instance. It was quite unlike any chocolate strawberry I’d eaten before. My husband concluded that it was the same chocolate used for Berger cookies, but I thought it tasted much, much better. It was pure genius that it had a dark chocolate coating that was just soft enough that when the strawberry was bitten, the chocolate didn’t crack and fall of the fruit and just hard enough that it clung well to the strawberry and didn’t leave a residue on the plate.

“Yum,” John spontaneously uttered at least two or three times during our meal. His biggest complaint was that the café’s standard black Styrofoam plate was too small for all the food. “The roses are a nice touch,” he said, handing his to me. Small plate or not, we both had devoured all of our food.

-Holly Hosler

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mending Hearts at Sinai

by Beth Markowitz, Manager, Volunteer Services at Sinai

Sinai Hospital is extremely fortunate to host the only Baltimore chapter of Mended Heart Patient Visitors. The volunteers each have personal experience with heart disease, and are able to connect on an emotional level when they visit our patients at the Heart Center at Sinai.

Mended Hearts is a national nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Heart Association, and offering the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers for more than 50 years. Recognized for its role in facilitating a positive patient-care experience, Mended Hearts partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics and offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums. Their mission is to "inspire hope in heart disease patients and their families." There is also a program for families of children with heart disease called Mended Little Hearts.

Sinai currently has seven mended hearts volunteers who visit patients on the second floor and offer support and assurance to patients and families. This connection often inspires the volunteers to go above and beyond. For example, one of our Mended Hearts recently waited for a patient through their procedure when they had no family. Another Mended Heart comforted a patient for more than an hour when the patient was feeling depressed. Pictured above are two of our Mended Hearts volunteers, Fran and Jack Becker.

In my opinion, Mended Hearts are a wonderful complement to the comprehensive care given in the Heart Center at Sinai Hospital!

To learn more about Volunteer Services at Sinai, you can call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Levindale Among Best U.S. Nursing Homes

Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center has received a ranking of five stars overall in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 Best Nursing Homes.

The rankings highlight facilities across the nation which provide high-quality care and are a tool for millions of elderly Americans and their families in search of a nursing home.

U.S. News’s Best Nursing Homes profiles more than 15,000 centers and ranks them by state, using data and quality ratings from the federal government. The rankings are updated quarterly.

The rankings rely on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets and enforces quality standards for all homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care centers receive an overall rating of one to five stars from the government based on the number of stars earned in three other categories: health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality of care.

Facilities that ranked highest in Best Nursing Homes 2011 earned overall five-star ratings. Only about one home in seven met this standard. U.S. News’s Honor Roll highlights 18 homes that received five-star ratings in all three categories in which homes are judged. Honor Roll nursing homes not only got five stars overall, but achieved a perfect 15 stars for four consecutive quarters.

“Choosing a nursing home for your parent or loved one is incredibly difficult,” says Avery Comarow, Health Rankings Editor at U.S. News & World Report. “Homes at the top of our rankings have repeatedly shown high quality and deserve consideration.”

-Helene King

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LifeBridge Health Employee of 46 Years Retires

This past Friday, Northwest Hospital celebrated the career of Bonnie Gibson, telecommunications operator. Though she spent 37 of those years at Northwest, Bonnie started working as a registration clerk at Sinai Hospital in 1965 after she retired as a sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Upon moving to Northwest Hospital (which was still Baltimore County General Hospital at the time), Bonnie worked as a unit clerk and technician in the emergency room (ER) and later as an inpatient unit clerk. For the past 11 or 12 years, Bonnie has worked at the switchboard.

“I loved my switchboard job, but the ER was more exciting,” she says. She enjoyed the diversity of tasks that the ER brought as well as the opportunity to learn new things.

When asked about her plans following retirement, Bonnie says that she plans to “get something else” and perhaps volunteer after she relaxes a while. Relaxing, however, doesn’t involve sleeping in.

“I get up at 5 a.m.,” she says.

She will be missed. Says Telecommunications supervisor Wendy Toussaint, “Bonnie has brought limitless enthusiasm, energy, knowledge, loyalty and dedication to the LifeBridge team.”

-Holly Hosler

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Congratulations to our Health Care Hero Finalists!

A hearty congratulations to the following members of the LifeBridge Health family who are nominated as Maryland Daily Record's Health Care Heroes:

You can see a complete list of the finalists here. The awards ceremony breakfast will be held at 7:15 a.m. on March 23 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore.

Tuition Assistence Offered At LifeBridge Health

Editor's Note: Tuition assistance is one of the many perks offered for LifeBridge Health employees. We asked one recipient to write about how the benefit helped her achieve her goals.

by Jill Bloom, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, LifeBridge Health

I had been thinking about going back to school to get a graduate degree for several years, but I always found one excuse after another not to do so. Too busy at work. Too busy outside of work. Taking the dreaded Graduate Record Examination ... the class schedule was inconvenient... I couldn’t find the perfect program to complement my resumé and work experience. See what I mean? The list was endless!

Last year, however, I received information about a new graduate program for Health Communications at Boston University. Not only was the degree in my field of interest but it was an online degree program, which meant I could do the course work as it fit my schedule. The only thing standing in my way, besides being admitted to the program, was the cost of it.

I knew one of the core benefits offered at LifeBridge Health was tuition reimbursement, but I had never fully investigated the specifics. Turns out it was a pretty good deal. While it won’t pay my entire tuition bill, it will certainly be a big help in offsetting the cost of this 18-month program.

Here’s how it works: If you're a LifeBridge Health employee who works at least 20 hours per week, you are eligible to receive tuition assistance. The money is for tuition only, not fees and books.

Courses must be given by an accredited academic institution and directly related to your job and/or enhance skills for your current job or one that you may be promoted to within LifeBridge Health. The amount of assistance varies from institution and by major – nurses receive additional assistance so check with the HR department at your facility for more details.

Once you’ve started your studies, you must complete the course and receive a C or better for undergraduate study, and a B or better for graduate classes, or you must pay the money back.
You must agree to remain employed from six months to one year at your facility once you’ve completed your course. According to LifeBridge Health Benefits Consultant Lori Turner, 550
employees are currently taking advantage of tuition assistance.

As for me, I’m now two courses into my 10-course master's degree, and so far so good. The course work is challenging, but interesting, and directly relates to work I do every day. For me, tuition reimbursement was the incentive to take the next step in my career. I’d encourage all
LifeBridge Health employees to look into it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Multi-disciplinary Care at Northwest Hospital

If you are facing a breast cancer diagnosis, you want confidence that your treatment plan is the best one possible. To ensure that each breast cancer patient of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center does, in fact, receive the best care, Northwest Hospital hosts monthly multi-disciplinary conferences that are connected to Sinai Hospital via teleconference.

These conferences are called “multi-disciplinary” because they consist of a meeting of doctors from different cancer specialties, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and endocrinologists. A genetic counselor, who can give insight into the chances a patient’s breast cancer will return after treatment, also attends.

Dawn Leonard, M.D., breast surgeon and medical director of the Samuelson Breast Care Center, leads the conferences. After she presents the details of a patient’s case, center radiologist Liba Goldblum, M.D., explains images of the patient’s tumors taken from mammography and breast MRI. Next, a pathologist goes over slides that show the molecular structure of the patient’s biopsied tumor. Finally, the specialists are invited to apply their specific areas of expertise to the case, and a dialogue about treatment ensues.

As each patient’s cancer diagnosis is as unique as that person is, the format is an effective way to make sure that no angle of a patient’s medical condition is left unexplored. Essentially, the monthly conferences give patients the benefit of “being seen” by a dozen or more physicians at the same time.

Through it all, patient privacy is protected. Only pertinent details are shared, such as age, ethnic background, medical history (especially history of breast cancer risk factors) and family history of breast or ovarian cancer. These are all factors that play into a patient’s breast cancer risk.

For patients who have a high chance of breast cancer returning after treatment, doctors may advise them to undergo a mastectomy – even if their breast cancer is at stage 0, the earliest it can be detected – to protect them from a future breast cancer diagnosis. The group of physicians will also make recommendations as to whether a patient should receive chemotherapy, drug therapy or radiation – and in what order. Finally, if a patient needs one or both breasts removed, the doctors will also discuss when and how breast reconstruction should be approached. Reconstruction is always viewed as part of the treatment for breast cancer so that, if she so desires, a woman can have back her original image as much as possible.

Finally, some of the cases handled at the conferences are particularly difficult, such as when the group considers a patient who has a stage 4, triple negative cancer diagnosis, which has a low survival rate. Given that some cancer treatments can be hard on some patients, how aggressively should such a cancer be treated? Is the treatment worse than the disease?

Sometimes the answers are best determined through a conversation between doctor and patient. However, the overall consensus of the cancer doctors is that the patient must always be given hope. Optimism is a powerful force in impacting a patient’s outcome, and, given hope, even some of the sickest patients move onto the road to recovery.
-Holly Hosler

Monday, February 7, 2011

LifeBridge Health Goes Red For Women

Patients, visitors and employees were literally seeing red at Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (pictured above) and Sinai Hospital on Friday. To draw attention to women and heart health, staff members took part in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women 2011 National Wear Red Day. You can also click below to hear Margaret Ferski, RN, BSN
Manager of Patient Care Services at Sinai.

Cherry, burgundy, ruby and scarlet colored clothes, jewelry and shoes were seen on women and men throughout the hospital.

Coronary heart disease, which can cause heart attacks, is the number one killer of women in the United States. In fact, twice as many women die of heart disease, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases than from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

That’s why the annual Go Red for Women Day is so important to LifeBridge Health employees. They want everyone to understand that knowledge is power, and that knowing the risk factors of heart disease and ways to live a healthy lifestyle can make the difference between life and death. Learn more about your risk factors for heart disease here.

In keeping with the idea that there’s no better time to modify our diets, the Employee Activities Committee at Sinai also asked staff members for their most delicious heart healthy recipes to share. Here is one of the favorites.

Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon
1 scallion, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved.
Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce.
Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.)
Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.
-Helene King

Friday, February 4, 2011

Staying Healthy in Winter Weather

by Emilie Hunt, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Every time you listen to the radio, turn on the TV or surf the web, there seems to be another snowstorm brewing. Snow days give us an excuse to skip our workout and cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate.

But whether it's rain, sleet or snow, the USDA recommends all Americans get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily to maintain weight or 60 minutes if you are trying to lose weight. With children stuck inside, parents may wonder what they can do to keep their family active. In addition, our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy are often forgotten during the pre-blizzard trips to the store.

Here are a couple of ideas to help keep your family fit and eating healthy through the winter weather.

Exercise away the winter blues:
  • Encourage kids to play outside- and join them. Building a snow man or pulling a sled can shed those winter pounds.
  • Shovel your sidewalk or driveway- and offer to help your neighbor! An hour of shoveling snow can burn up to 400 calories.
  • Try walking at your local mall. Did you know that the lower level of the Owings Mills Mall is one half of a mile?
Fill up on these healthy and hearty winter meal tips:
  • Soups are a great way to get your kids to eat veggies- try a broth based soup packed with fun-shaped noodles and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Serve with whole grain crackers.
  • Make your own pizza! Keep whole wheat pizza crust in the freezer and get creative with your toppings. Use low-fat lunch meat and a variety of veggies that you already have on hand as toppings.
  • Craving hot chocolate? Try No Sugar-Added Hot Chocolate with Added Calcium. The added calcium provides as much calcium as a glass of milk!
To learn more about Sinai Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Dietary Guidelines Stress Portion Control, Less Sodium

While the government has issued new dietary guidelines for us to follow, it's worth asking if anyone is listening.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been published jointly every 5 years since 1980 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The recommendations form the backbone of federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs used by consumers, industry, nutrition educators and health professionals

This year, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocate portion control and issues specific guidelines for less sodium. But rather than a gentle reminder, both medical experts and government officials take a more direct tone in reminding citizens to cut back on the fat and amp up the fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

It's not just a question of weight, although certainly the rates of obesity are alarming. Nearly 34 of adults and 18 percent of teenagers are obese. But even those at a lower weight should avoid too much sodium, which can cause high blood pressure, particularly in people who have heart disease and certain illnesses such as kidney disease and diabetes. The maximum sodium intake for everyone should be 2,300 mg daily which is approximately a teaspoon of salt. The dietary guidelines, for example, recommend that all African Americans and anyone over age 51 limit their daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg which is a bit more than half a teaspoon.

In addition to urging less sodium intake, the guidelines recommend water over sugary drinks and switching to fat free or low-fat (1 percent or skim) milk.

“The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease. Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individual and family, but also for our country,” Secretary Vilsack said.

-Sandra Crockett

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bone Marrow Drive for Sinai Patient To Be Held Saturday

A swab of your cheek may be the ticket to saving a young boy's life.

Harry Friner, age 3, needs a bone marrow transplant in order to survive AML, a rare type of leukemia. Harry was diagnosed a year ago and his cancer recurred in the fall. The photo above was taken of Harry and his father Richard at the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Sinai Hospital.

A bone marrow drive in Harry's honor will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, February 5 at Trinity Church, 2907 Mountain Road, Joppa, MD 21085. All are invited to attend - check out the health and age requirements to see if you are eligible to join the Be the Match registry. If you do not meet the health or age requirements, you can also sponsor somebody who does meet them or make a donation. Frequently Asked Questions about joining the registry are answered here.

Joseph Wiley, M.D., Chief of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai, was a guest on ABC's Good Morning Maryland on Monday to talk about registering and why it's important. He was joined by Harry's 7-year-old sister, Ella. Click here to see the interview.

-Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Keeping Your Infant Safe

Since 1989, U.S. hospitals have worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to implement measures designed to prevent infant abduction, such as the case of Carlina White. Over the last two decades, the number of in-hospital infant abductions has declined due to these preventative efforts.

Sadly, abductors have increasingly targeted homes, shopping centers and other public areas. Between 1983 through 2010, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports an annual average of 9 to 10 documented infant abductions and that 95% of these abducted infants were located and safely returned to their parents – usually within a few days to two weeks. While this is good news, nonetheless it is important for hospital staff and parents to work together to achieve the goal of making this a never event.

What can parents do to prevent an abduction from occurring? Here are some tips that Sharon M. Rossi, R.N.C., M.S., director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Sinai Hospital, says every parent needs to know and follow. Rossi was on Good Morning Maryland @ 9
on ABC
last week.

In the hospital:
  • Only allow staff wearing a picture hospital ID badge to handle your baby.
  • When resting or sleeping, place the baby bassinet next to your bed on the window side so it is away from the doorway.
  • When you plan to shower or sleep, discuss supervision of your baby with your nurse.
  • Call a nurse at any time if you have questions or feel uncomfortable about the behavior of a staff member.
At home:
  • In public birth announcements, do not include your home address.
  • Do not post information about your infant with pictures on social media walls – only share this with those people you know and trust. Because privacy settings can change with little or no notice, don’t assume that anything you post on social media is private.
  • Avoid using outside decorations (wooden storks, balloons, etc.) to announce the arrival of your newborn.
  • Verify all home visits with the hospital or home health company or local health department agency before setting up any appointment to be seen in your home.
  • Check for visible photo ID before opening your door to any utility worker or general repair person. If unsure, do not open the door and instead verify the employee's identification with the company.
While shopping:
  • Always use an approved car seat that is safely buckled in your shopping cart.
  • Never leave your infant unattended or turn your attention away from your infant.
  • Do not allow a person you do not know to “keep an eye on your infant.”
  • Do not use social media features that tag your location.
  • Once your shopping is done, secure your infant in the car, lock the doors and then load your groceries. Keep the keys with you and do not leave your infant in a car that is running.