Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Good Exercise, Good Friends, Good Fun

pulmonary rehabilitation

Lois Flint and Dennis Boardman of Chelsea share a laugh with Gifford respiratory therapist Stephannie Welch.

This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.

When Lois Flint of Chelsea showed up for pulmonary rehabilitation at Gifford, who did she  find one treadmill over? None other than her neighbor, Dennis Boardman. With Lois’ husband behind the wheel, the duo started commuting together for their thrice-weekly appointments, spending the winter working out and laughing hard at Gifford.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is medical therapy for chronic respiratory diseases, typically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While not curative, the 10-week program combines exercise and education to decrease symptoms and hospitalizations, increase exercise tolerance, and improve quality of life.

Dennis has COPD and had a cancerous kidney removed in October at Gifford. When he left the hospital, he was on oxygen. His primary care provider, Dr. Mark Seymour at the Bethel Health Center, suggested he try pulmonary rehabilitation.

He recently completed the program, off of oxygen.

The 62-year-old retired log truck driver credits the program with improving his stamina for walking, getting him off the oxygen and giving him “a lot of freedom to be able to do what I want to do.”

Lois had part of her right lung removed, also from cancer, three years ago. Since, the 74-year-old retired cook has struggled with her diminished lung capacity. Her primary care provider, physician assistant Starr Strong of the Chelsea Health Center, suggested the program.

Overseen by Gifford pulmonologist Dr. Marda Donner and a team of respiratory therapists and nurses who carefully monitor participants as they workout, the now four-year-old program can’t cure lung disease, but aims to help people feel better just the same.

Lois, for example, still has limited lung capacity, but she’s no longer letting it slow her down.

“It motivated me,” says Lois, who is now walking on the treadmill at home. “I think it’s great.”

Learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation by calling Gifford Cardiopulmonary Services at 728-2222 or asking your health care provider for a referral.

‘Keeping the Keys’

Gifford Medical CenterJune 18 talk looks at how to drive safely longer

RANDOLPH – At some point in life, driving may become more challenging or perhaps too challenging. “Keeping the Keys” is a free workshop by AAA that offers tips for safe driving longer. And Gifford Medical Center is bringing the talk to the Randolph area.

AAA Northern New England traffic safety specialist Rayette Hudson of Maine will offer the free workshop on June 18 in the Gifford Conference Center from 5-6:30 p.m.

Gifford Blueprint Project Manager LaRae Francis helped organize the talk. The talk is being held during Safe Driving Month.

The discussion targets drivers ages 50 and over as well as families of aging drivers. Discussed will be adjusting to natural changes in driving ability, keeping driving skills sharp and safe driving as long as possible.

“Everyone ages differently,” notes Francis. “Just because you hit a certain age, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take away your keys. But what are some signs to look for? How do you prolong safe driving? How do you choose a car for a senior?”

According to data from AAA, older drivers are actually among the safest drivers. They’re less likely to speed, less likely to drive after drinking, more likely to wear their seatbelts and avoid high risk driving situations, such as driving at night or in poor weather conditions.

Increasing age, however, is generally associated with a decline in functional abilities, such as vision and reaction time. An increase in medical conditions and consequently the number of medications taken can also both impact driving abilities.

Statistically, older drivers have lower crash rates per miles driven than young drivers. But because of their fragility, drivers age 85 and older are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents.

While the goal of the talk is to keep drivers on the road as long as possible to maintain quality of life and independence, the talk will open the door to discussions on when it is time for some drivers to relinquish the keys, Francis notes.

To join the discussion, register with Zach Bean at the Kingwood Health Center at 728-7100, ext. 6, by June 14.

An Inside Look at Haiti

Gifford Medical Center

Photo provided. Gifford laboratory technician Jennifer Celley plays with a young earthquake survivor at an orphanage in Haiti. Celley visited Haiti as part of a medical mission last year and is now sharing images in the Gifford gallery of her remarkable experience there. The show is a fund-raiser for a return trip to the impoverished country.

Braintree’s Jennifer Celley shares compelling images from medical mission

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center laboratory technician Jennifer Celley traveled to Haiti in June 2012 for a medical mission through the Community Health Initiative, a non-profit co-founded by Gifford Emergency Department physician Dr. Josh White.

The trip was Celley’s first ever to Haiti and she didn’t know what to expect. Would Caribbean island or post-earthquake rubble await? What Celley found was poverty, desperation, warmth and love.

“Before going to Haiti, I was excited yet nervous about what I was going to see,” says Celley of Braintree. “I had an image in my mind of a beautiful Caribbean island covered with rubble from the earthquake two years earlier. I was unsure and as the plane took off. I felt butterflies in my stomach. ‘Have I made a mistake?’ ‘Maybe I should go home’ ran through my head.

“As the plane descended I looked out the window and saw a lush, beautiful Caribbean island and felt relief. But as the plane continued descending, I saw an island so barren you could see tires burning on the ground, and thousands and thousands of rusty tin roofs staring up at you. It was at this moment that my heart sank. It sank for these people, and I knew then that I was supposed to be on this plane. I was destined to love Haiti.”

At first blush, Haiti assaults the senses. “The heat slaps you across the face,” Celley recalls. “It takes your lungs a minute to breathe in the hot, humid air. It takes your nose by surprise when you smell the rotting garbage and the raw sewage.”

But then there are the people – the thousands and thousands of desolate, smiling, joyful people.

“The amount of suffering that these loving, caring, happy people have to live with every day is heartbreaking, but the surprising part is how they cope with it and move forward. I did not hear anyone complain. I did not see anyone frown. I did not see one tear,” Celley says.

It is these people and these experiences that Celley documented through photographs, and it is these experiences that she is now sharing with the community in hopes of making an even greater difference.

Celley’s photos of her time in Haiti are in her employer, Gifford Medical Center’s, art gallery from the afternoon of May 29-July 31.

Created with the help of Dr. Lou DiNicola and Shari Voghell at the Corner Frame Shop in Randolph, the pieces are for sale. All profits from the sale support Celley’s effort to return to Haiti for another mission with the Community Health Initiative and directly support the organization.

To learn more about this organization with Randolph roots, visit www.chihaiti.org. To see Celley’s show, visit Gifford’s art gallery, located just inside the main lobby (marked “Registration”) and to the left.

Learn more about Gifford and get directions on the Web at www.giffordmed.org.

Gifford Holding 2nd Annual Antique and Artisan’s Fair

Gifford Medical Center

photo by Rowan of Ravara

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center will hold its second annual Randolph Antique and Artisan’s Fair on Saturday, July 20.

The fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Route 12 park space, and the hospital is looking for vendors to participate.

“We already have great interest from vendors and crafters,” said organizer Amanda Wheeler, “and are excited to welcome more to this successful event.”

Individuals and businesses selling antiques, architectural salvage, collectibles, crafts, unique items, vintage clothing and more are invited. Up to five food vendors will also be welcomed.

Lot sizes are 15-feet by 15-feet with up to three lots available per person/business. Lots are $20 each.

Not accepted are animals, cars, junk or merchandise from distributors such as Pampered Chef, Avon, Snap-on tools, etc.

The event will be held rain or shine. Vendors must supply their own tents, should they want them. Tables are available for a nominal fee on a first-come basis.

Space is limited. Call Wheeler at 728-2238 or e-mail awheeler@giffordmed.org by June 28 to reserve a space while they last.

A Message from the Administrator

Joe WoodinGifford Administrator Joe Woodin wrote the following as an introduction to the 2012 Annual Report, segments of which we’ll be featuring on our blog:

It’s interesting to be working in an industry that continues to be under the microscope of the political process, with people wanting more control over the cost of health care. Frankly it can be a bit exhausting, but I can understand and agree with their concerns.

“What can we afford?” is becoming an uncomfortable theme both locally and nationally; although we can all relate to this in our daily lives when we go shopping for food or services. There are now so many involved in helping to “fix” the health care system that it becomes a daunting task just to stay focused on the basics: providing quality patient care with compassion and kindness.

This report highlights a few of our providers who have remained focused and undistracted by all of the changes in health care. As the years have ticked by, they have not lost their love of the profession, nor have they been dissuaded by all of the changes, paperwork, and new requirements. Their work has become a calling, and they have touched many of our lives when we have been in need of medical help.

The more we try to understand and solve the complicated aspects of health care, the more I am reminded that at the end of the day, there are still patients in beds or in clinic exam rooms awaiting care. They are usually anxious, at times scared or upset, and always hopeful that someone can give them answers and help them through the next step. Our role is to ensure that we have a provider willing to enter into patients’ lives, helping to answer questions and even hold their hand when the news is “not good”.

So regardless of where we end up with “health care reform”, hopefully Gifford will always be there with physicians and staff members who reflect the values of the professionals highlighted in this report. Many things will change moving forward, but unchanged will be our commitment to you and our communities.

Gifford Provider Memoirs

2012 annual reportGifford is fortunate to have many long-time Medical Staff members. Some have worked in our community for 30 years or more. Most got their start as private practice physicians recruited to the area by the hospital and then became medical center employees.

Many came from outside the area. They could have chosen to work anywhere, but they chose to dedicate their careers and lives to the people of central Vermont and to bettering health care on a statewide level.

For patients, that means remarkable continuity of care, relationships embedded throughout generations, and access to some of the best and most experienced health care providers – anywhere.

With so much history and know-how behind them, we asked them to share some of their experiences with us. Our 2012 Annual Report is the result of their efforts to share what we’re calling brief “memoirs” or essays. Some talk about the amazing privilege of being entrusted with patients’ care and health. Others share stories of unique times with a patient.

We’ll begin featuring some of these memoirs as future blog posts. We hope you enjoy these reminiscences and are reminded, as we were, how very fortunate we are that these incredibly gifted individuals have given so much of themselves professionally, and personally, to our friends and neighbors.

As you’ll read, these long-time providers have also set the stage for our next generation of caregivers, who – like those who came before – are dedicating themselves to their communities and high-quality care for our region.


‘Afterwards: The Business Side of Death’

Final talk in series focuses on funerals, estates and what to do with all that stuff.

RANDOLPH – Over the paGifford Medical Centerst several months at Gifford Medical Center, community members have gathered for an educational series on death and dying, loss and love. First, they started the conversation, talked about “a good death” and then found the beauty of love in loss with “Grief: The Price We Pay for Love.”

Now, the series concludes with a practical discussion about funerals, settling estates and what to do with all that stuff an individual accumulates over a lifetime.

“Afterwards: The Business Side of Death” will be held in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center on May 16 from 5-6:30 p.m. The event includes presentations by funeral director Randy Garner and attorney Steve Webster, both of Randolph.

Garner will share what happens after someone dies and the choices available to families. “There a lot of options possible in Vermont that are not available in other places,” notes Cory Gould, a Gifford mental health provider and the organizer of this end-of-life series.

Webster will discuss settling a person’s estate, and Gould will pose questions for discussion on dealing with checking and other accounts, post office boxes, rental agreements, heating oil contracts and more. The talk, says Gould, will attempt to answer the question “Now what do I do?” “It’s really focusing on the practical, the pragmatic matters, after someone dies,” she says.

Attendance at previous discussions is not required to attend this latest talk. No registration is required, and it is free. Gould can be reached at (802) 728-7100, ext. 7, to answer any questions.

The talk will be held in the Gifford Conference Center. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked with a green awning from the patient parking area. For handicapped access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor. For directions to the medical center and more, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Gifford also offers a Grief Support Group on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 4-5 p.m. in The Family Center beside Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery.

New Healthier Living Workshop begins May 15 in Chelsea

Class focuses on chronic disease self-management and peer support

RANDOLPH – A new Healthier Living Workshop series begins May 15 and continues Wednesdays through June 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Chelsea Health Center.

Healthier Living Workshops are six-week classes for people with chronic conditions and their caregivers. They are offered for free – along with chronic pain workshops – throughout the year by Gifford as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health.

The workshops are led by trained facilitators and are designed to help improve strength, flexibility and endurance. They also provide tips for managing medications, eating healthier and improving communications with family and friends.

The goal is to help people better manage their health conditions and deal with the frustration, fatigue and pain that can accompany a chronic disease.

Participants also benefit from meeting other people with chronic conditions, learning how they cope and enjoying the camaraderie of knowing that they are not alone in how they’re feeling, notes Gifford workshop coordinator Susan Delattre.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, past participants report increased energy, reduced stress, more self-confidence and fewer doctors’ visits as a result.

Gifford Healthier Living Workshop participants have called the series “very relaxed and you really felt free to express yourself” and said they most enjoyed “meeting people who understand what I am going through.”

To register or for more information, call Zach Bean at Gifford’s Blueprint office at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6.

The workshop will take place at the Chelsea Health Center at 356 Route 110 in Chelsea.