Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celebrate Occupational Therapy Month in April

In one of the most iconic superhero films of all time, Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne’s father says, “Why do we fall? To pick ourselves back up.” As much as we would all like to be as strong as Batman and have the physical and mental strength to pick ourselves up from a fall, not everyone can do it on their own. That’s where occupational therapists come in and work their magic. Occupational therapists help you both “pick yourself up” so that you can live a fully-functioning, productive life.

April is Occupational Therapy Month. Regardless if you have ever been to an occupational therapist, it is important to know that they exist and are here to help. What exactly is occupational therapy? It’s a service that helps patients with mental, physical, developmental and emotional disabilities perform everyday tasks. Occupational therapists provide these services to everyone, from young children with learning disabilities to elderly adults who have suffered from a stroke.

Natan Berry, MS, OTR/L at Sinai Hospital says, "One of the most satisfying things about being an occupational therapist is being able to see the tremendous progress that people make. A patient can be completely dependent for all of their activities of daily living, but through aggressive rehabilitation, even basic remedial tasks such as putting toothpaste on a toothbrush become possible until maximum independence is achieved. I was recently shopping at BJ's Wholesale Club when I ran into a former patient of mine. She was dependent on a mechanical ventilator for over a month, yet here she was walking and shopping the aisles independently!"

Here is a video that highlights the occupational therapy student program at Sinai Hospital:

At Sinai Hospital there are currently 22 occupational therapists who work in various departments such as NICU and geriatrics, offering both inpatient and outpatient services. “We all do various treatments that relate to the specific area that we work in, but treatments can range from completing basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and toileting, to instrumental activities of daily living such as cooking, medication management, and laundry. We also do range of motion of the upper extremities, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, splinting, and teaching how to use adaptive equipment to make daily life easier. We work on improving cognitive skills to make functioning in the real world safer and more efficient. We also have specialties, including our outpatient driving rehab program,” Berry says.

The goal of an occupational therapist is to help a patient accomplish their goals and maintain their independence, so help promote Occupational Therapy Month by thanking an occupational therapist or occupational assistant today!

To learn more about Occupational Therapy visit the Sinai Rehabilitation Center, or our previous blog post titled Occupational Therapy Can Be a Rewarding Career.

-Trish Smith

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celebrate National Healthcare Volunteer Week April 10-16

Every year thousands of people generously donate their time to hospitals. These volunteers assist with the comfort, care and happiness of hospital patients and their families, as well as the needs of hospital staff.

The week of April 10-16 has been designated as National Healthcare Volunteer Week. This week recognizes the significant contributions that volunteers make to the healthcare community. Most importantly, it is a time for people to thank these volunteers for enriching their lives.

LifeBridge Health centers Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center each accept applications for their volunteer programs. People of all ages, from high school seniors to retired senior citizens, are encouraged to apply.

Some of the volunteer positions include:

· Office/clerical positions
· Therapeutic recreation assistants
· Friendly visitors
· Gift cart volunteers
· Book-Mobile volunteers
· Entertainers
· Spiritual support volunteers
· Horticulture therapy assistants
· Adult day care service assistants

Jennifer Terrell, Director of Volunteer Services and Business Outreach at Northwest Hospital, says “Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and help others, and health care facilities are always in need of caring, compassionate people to devote their time and talent as volunteers.”

"Every day Sinai's team of volunteers make meaningful contributions to the patient care and administrative operations of the hospital. They are a constant reminder that helping others is the most important reason for working in health care," says, Beth Markowitz, Volunteer Manager for Sinai Hospital.

Janine Boulad, Volunteer Services Manager at Levindale and Courtland Gardens, says "First I want to say that I as the manager of volunteers I have the best job in the world. I have a job that reaffirms my faith in humanity everyday. Health care volunteers provide the human touch to our patients and residents. They give the gift of time and time can never be repaid. Typically in nursing homes 50 percent of the residents do not get visits, but with the help of our outstanding volunteers, every resident who wants a visit can have one."

Volunteering at a health care facility is a great way to give back to the community and to help the less fortunate. It will also help you gain valuable skills that you can use for the rest of your life.

Learn more about:
Volunteering at Sinai
Volunteering at Northwest
Volunteering at Levindale
Volunteering at Courtland Gardens

-Trish Smith

Monday, April 11, 2011

Congestive Heart Failure

Elizabeth Taylor died of congestive heart failure (CHF) at the age of 79 on March 23. Her death raises awareness of this serious condition that affects an estimated five million Americans.

Congestive heart failure means that the heart muscle cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. CHF may develop over a long period of time, sometimes over years, or almost immediately.

“There are many different reasons that CHF occurs,” says Dr. Ali Tabrizchi, an interventional cardiologist at the Heart Center at Sinai in Baltimore. “Genetics, which are passed down through families, as well lifestyle choices, can be to blame.”

Among the possible causes:
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Problems with the heart’s valves
  • Thyroid conditions
  • A heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • An infection of the heart muscle
  • Vitamin deficiencies
People of all ages and of both sexes can have congestive heart failure. Among some people who died from it are actress/dancer Ginger Rogers, makeup founder Max Factor, Jr., jazz musician Lionel Hampton, NBA center Kevin Duckworth, and actor Andy Hallett who had a recurring role in the TV series “Angel.”

Chest pain is only one possible symptom of a heart problem. Other symptoms can be:
  • Constantly tired or weak
  • Dizzy spells
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Problems breathing when lying down
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing when you exert yourself
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Waking at night coughing or short of breath
Adds Dr. Tabrizchi, “through intensive treatment, outpatient management and education, many patients improve their health quality of life.”

Based on examinations and tests, your physician will develop a treatment plan for you, which can include:
  • Increased activity as recommended
  • Dietary changes to reduce intake of salt and sodium
  • Medication to help the heart work better
  • Rest to give the heart a break
  • Referral for heart transplantation
For more information, contact the Heart Center at Sinai, the Northwest Hospital Division of Cardiology at, or call 410.601.WELL.

-Helene King

Friday, April 8, 2011

National Heimlich Maneuver Week is April 10-16

Every five days a child in the U.S. dies from choking to death. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if the parents knew how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. This emergency technique, which was developed by American Henry Heimlich, was founded in 1974. Since then it has saved over 100,000 American lives and countless more around the world.

This year National Heimlich Maneuver Week will occur from April 10-16. The week-long observance will celebrate the life-saving technique and educate the public about proper ways to perform it.

Do you want to learn the proper way to administer the Heimlich maneuver? Watch this video:

To learn more about the Heimlich Maneuver visit the Heimlich Institute.

-Trish Smith

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7 is National Alcohol Screening Day

Every year thousands of people fall victim to alcohol-related injuries. The scary fact is that many of these injuries are caused by alcoholics who took their first drink when they were underage. The Screening for Mental Health website says “Approximately 20 percent of eighth graders, 35 percent of tenth graders, and 48 percent of twelfth graders report having consumed alcohol during the past month.”

By the time young people graduate college, many of them will be consuming four or five alcoholic drinks in one night. This puts them and their peers at a higher risk for injury, and will likely lead to alcoholism. Before the cycle of alcohol addition occurs, people need to become educated about alcohol use and its health concerns.

National Alcohol Screening Day is an annual event that raises awareness about alcohol consumption. It is a day for people to receive free advice on alcohol use problems, and for them to take anonymous alcohol screenings to determine if they need help.

The following video was created by students from the Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic University to promote National Alcohol Screening Day:

If you think that you or someone you know may have an alcohol addiction, please take an anonymous alcohol self-assessment on How Do You Score or Alcohol Screening, or find an Alcohol Treatment Center Any Place in the U.S. on the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center website.

-Trish Smith

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

LifeBridge Health Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy Associates Open New Physical Therapy Clinic in Reisterstown

LifeBridge Health Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation powered by Physiotherapy Associates announces the grand opening of its sixth physical therapy clinic today in Reisterstown, Md. The Reisterstown facility offers expert, individualized physical therapy treatment from a team of licensed physical therapists in a non-hospital setting.

Patients have access to a comprehensive list of services: back and neck care, orthopedic physical therapy, post-operative rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, work injury rehabilitation and other specialty services.

“We are excited about the opportunity to care for the residents of Reisterstown and to further expand our brand of individualized high-quality physical therapy services to even more people in the Baltimore area,” said Dave Gray, P.T., Area vice president, Physiotherapy Associates.

In addition to the Reisterstown clinic, there are clinic locations in Eldersburg, Owings Mills, Pikesville, Timonium and Towson. Patients have the option of receiving care at any of the clinics within the system. The Pikesville clinic, located within LifeBridge Health & Fitness, offers additional services such as aquatic therapy and a fitness center.

To learn more visit LifeBridge Health & Fitness.

-Noel Lloyd

5 Ways to Eat Healthy at a Ballpark

Baseball season is officially here! What does that mean? It means going to your local ballpark, watching your favorite team battle it out and eating a lot of unhealthy ballpark food.

Besides paying an arm and a leg for beer and food, you’ll be paying with your health if you keep ingesting all those hot dogs and French fries.

By making a few healthy decisions you can feel good about what you’re eating, even if you don’t feel good about how well your team is playing. Here are five ways that you can eat healthy at your local stadium or arena.

1. Choose Chicken Over Beef or Pork

It might be considered un-American to not eat a hot dog at a baseball game, but since you do have alternatives, you should choose a healthier option. A typical Nathan’s hot dog has 297 calories, a hamburger 273 calories and a grilled skinless chicken breast sandwich has about 120 calories. If you have to choose between a grilled chicken sandwich and fried chicken fingers, always go with the sandwich.

2. Ditch the Ice Cream and Go for Frozen Yogurt

On a hot summer day you might want nothing more than a delicious ice cream cone, but beware the calories. A traditional vanilla ice cream cone has about 145 calories, while vanilla frozen yogurt has about 117 calories.

3. Popcorn vs. Peanuts

If you’re craving a snack to munch on during the game, choose peanuts instead of popcorn. A typical box of popcorn can have up to 2,000 calories, considering all the butter and oil that was used to cook it. A serving of dry roasted peanuts has about 854 calories, which is still high, but much healthier than those kernels.

4. Avoid the Cheese, Please!

Cheese is one of the tastiest, but most high-calorie foods to eat. That being said, as tempting as it may be to get an order of nachos smothered in cheese (over 1,000 calories), cheese-smothered French fries (644 calories) or a super soft pretzel with cheese (569 calories), opt for food without the cheese. Your stomach will thank you later.

5. Eat Beforehand or Bring Your Own Snacks

Whoever said that you have to spend a huge chunk of your hard-earned money at a baseball game? You can always eat before the game to avoid having the urge to splurge on fatty stadium food. Also, you can bring a Ziploc® bag of healthy snacks like granola or fruit to curb your appetite.

Now that you know how to eat healthy at your local sports stadium it’s time for you to put on your favorite jersey and support your local team!

To learn more about healthy food options visit Sinai Hospital's Diet and Nutrition page.

-Trish Smith

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore Earns Designation as Cardiac Interventional Center

The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) designated Sinai Hospital of Baltimore as a Cardiac Interventional Center on April 1, 2011.

This distinction means that Sinai complies with state standards so that emergency medical services (EMS) workers can bring patients experiencing the most common type of heart attack, called a STEMI, here. Ambulances bypass hospitals that are not a cardiac interventional center.

It is widely recognized that the sooner a patient is treated for the blockage causing a STEMI, the better the heart muscle will recover. That’s why a well-coordinated effort between EMS providers in the field and the medical staff at a cardiac interventional center is generally associated with fewer complications and better outcomes.

“Maryland’s EMS system continues to be a national model for trauma and emergency care,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The designation of cardiac interventional centers complements our statewide system and ensure that Marylanders receive the best treatment possible when it comes to heart attacks and STEMI care.”

The American Hospital Association estimates that 400,000 people in the United States and 5,600 in Maryland experience a STEMI each year, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Symptoms can include:
  • Discomfort in the center of the chest - which can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain - and lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw and/or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
To learn more about heart-related conditions visit the Heart Center at Sinai.

-Helene King

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jennifer Terrell Earns ROMG Chamber President's Award

Jennifer Terrell, director of Volunteers and Business Outreach at Northwest Hospital, was the recipient of this year’s Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce President’s Award.

This is an honor awarded by the chamber’s president and given to the member who has given the most and gone the extra mile for the ROMG Chamber of Commerce.

“Jenn has helped just about every committee we have with events or anything they have needed assistance with,” says Rachel Heird, president of the ROMG Chamber and AVP, branch manager of Farmers & Merchants Bank in Owings Mills. “Jenn also volunteered to co-chair one of our most popular committees, Women In Business. She’s an all around team player who gives over 100 percent to whatever she takes on, and she is a valued member of this organization.”

Jennifer is currently the 1st vice president of the chamber and a very active member of the group. When helping out with chamber events, she’s there from start to end to ensure that everything runs smoothly. She is similarly dedicated to her work in organizing the hospital volunteers at Northwest.

--Holly Hosler

Friday, April 1, 2011

Health Awareness Observances for the Month of April

What are the symptoms of autism? Do you know the best way to protect your infant against vaccine-preventable diseases? How do you prevent meningitis? If you don’t know the answers to these questions and you want to educate yourself about autism, infant immunization, meningitis and other health-related issues, then get ready to celebrate April Health Awareness Month!

The following health observances are recognized for the entire month of April:

Alcohol Awareness Month

According to Psychology Today, “25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.” Considering the millions of children that there are in the U.S., that is a tragically high number. Alcohol Awareness Month was created to educate both children and adults about the devastating effects of alcohol. Individuals and organizations can learn how to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse and help people get the treatment they need.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders estimates that “IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States” and “worldwide it's estimated that between 1 in 10 and nearly 1 in 4 people (9% to 23% of populations) has IBS.” What exactly is IBS? It’s a disorder that causes abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month promotes the understanding of IBS, ways to treat it and the raising of money for advancement in IBS research.

Occupational Therapy Month

Did you know that occupational therapy helps people who are suffering from arthritis, diabetes and obesity? Occupational Therapy Month is a celebration to appreciate occupational therapists and assistants. Visit the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. to learn Ten Things You Can Do to Celebrate Occupational Therapy Month.

March for Babies

According to the March of Dimes website, “In the United States, about 12.8 percent of babies (more than half a million a year) are born prematurely. The rate of premature birth has increased by 36 percent since the early 1980s.” March for Babies was created by the March of Dimes to help fund research to prevent premature birth, birth defects and other birth-related conditions associated with newborns.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

“Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States,” according to, an organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. National Child Abuse Prevention Month raises awareness about these victims and educates people on strengthening families and communities affected by child abuse.

National Autism Awareness Month

“One percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3 to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder,” states the Autism Society. Autism is a developmental disorder in the brain that affects a person’s social and communication skills. It usually appears within the first three years of life, but with early and effective treatment, it can help children successfully integrate into society. National Autism Awareness Month educates the public about autism and promotes fundraising for the Autism Society of America.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month

The Centers for Disease Control estimates “there are approximately 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.” These sexually transmitted diseases can create long-term health illnesses, and eventually lead to death. STD Awareness Month educates people about ways they can prevent STDs, as well as stresses the importance of talking to a healthcare provider if you have an STD.

National Donate Life Month

National Donate Life Month was created in 2003 by Donate Life America, an organization whose goal is to motivate the American public to become organ, eye and tissue donors. According to its website, “An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.” Donate Life America proclaimed April as National Donate Life Month to continue its mission of raising awareness for organ donation in America.

National Facial Protection Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that mouth guards can prevent up to 200,000 injuries a year. Although it is mandatory for sports players to wear mouth guards in hockey, football and lacrosse, many people believe that it should be mandatory for all athletes in every sport. National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and it advocates for mouth guard protection and protective facial gear for all sports players.

Foot Health Awareness Month

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, “a 150 pound person walking one mile can exert a force of 63.5 tons on a single foot? That weight can greatly impact a person’s ability to move around. Foot Health Awareness Month encourages people to take care of their feet and ankles so that they can prevent future foot problems from happening.

National Minority Health Month

Did you know that African American men are 80% more likely to have chronic liver disease than white men, or that Asian American women are 2.4 times more likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-Hispanic white women? These are statistics from the Office of Minority Health, an organization established by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. National Minority Health Month educates the public about ways to improve the health of racial and ethnic minorities in America. Visit the National Minority Quality Forum website for more information.

-Trish Smith