Gifford 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.
Final talk in series focuses on funerals, estates and what to do with all that stuff.
RANDOLPH – Over the past 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.
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.
Hospital VP receives ‘Patriot Award’ for support of citizen soldiers
David Wheel, executive director of the Vermont Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presents Gifford Medical Center Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry with a Patriot Award. Joining in receiving the award are, from left, Gifford Surgery Nurse Manager Jamie Floyd, Gifford Surgical Services Office Manager Bethany Osha, Wheel, O’Berry, Guard specialist and Gifford health care assistant Marc Truedson, and former Guard member and Gifford registered nurse Caitlyn Bushey. Truedson nominated O’Berry for the award. (Provided: Robin Palmer)
Marc Truedson’s commitment to serve the country as a specialist in the Vermont National Guard means time away from work as a health care assistant at Gifford Medical Center. Truedson’s employer supports his time away, filling shifts so that he can serve.
Recently Truedson discovered a way to thank Gifford and his senior manager, Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry, for that support. He nominated O’Berry for a Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
The ESGR is a Department of Defense operational committee that, with the help of volunteers, promotes and enhances civilian employer support of citizen soldiers.
On Monday afternoon, Vermont ESGR Executive Director David Wheel delivered the award and many kind words to O’Berry and her team. Continue reading →
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center, in collaboration with the Vermont chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Clara Martin Center, is hosting a May 1 free educational program called “Living with Bipolar Disorder.”
The 5:30-7:30 p.m. event in Gifford’s Conference Center features a film by the same title with a discussion to follow. The 43-minute film features an introduction by actor Joe Pantoliano, a review of the illness by clinical expert Dr. Joe Calabrese of Case Medical Center in Cleveland and stories of people who have bipolar disorder or have been affected by it. Continue reading →
Gifford Medical Center volunteer Maj. Melvin McLaughlin of Randolph has been nominated in the Salute to Senior Service Contest for his 40-plus years of volunteerism at the Randolph hospital.
Major, as he is known, is one of seven Vermonters nominated and hospital staff members are hoping that those who know and love Major will visit www.salutetoseniorservice.com between April 15-30 to vote for Major as the state’s winner and for a chance at a national recognition as “the most outstanding senior volunteer in the U.S.”
Your vote determines the state winner. A panel of judges picks the national winner.
A complete write-up on Major is available on the site. Here’s a bit of what the medical center had to say about their friend:
Every single day, now 95-year-old Maj. Melvin McLaughlin makes the short drive from his Randolph home to his local hospital, Gifford Medical Center, to lend more than a helping hand; he lends a helping heart. Pushing a walker, Major visits every hospital unit and Gifford’s adjoining nursing home to offer patients and staff alike love, a listening ear, and the sincerest of thanks. Whether at a patient or staff member’s side, male or female, stranger or friend, Major – as most know him – breaks the ice with a catch phrase: “Has anyone told you today that they love you?” If the answer is no, Major is ready with his reply: “Well, God loves you and so do I.” Staff members are also treated to the most heartfelt thanks for the job they do and somewhere in this sharing of love, there is almost always a hug between the kind-hearted Major and those lucky enough to step in his path.
“Gifford is home,” he’s told us on more than one occasion. “I have so many friends here, from the top to the bottom. And I emphasize the bottom because I like to tell those people, ‘Thank you for what you do, because without your labors this place would not stand.”
We at Gifford love Major. He is a brilliant and beautiful light in the day. As one nurse put it, “A day without Major is a day without sunshine.” He is the personification of what we are as an organization – warm, compassionate, supportive, humbled and blessed to be able to care for others. Introduce a new staff member, patient, or nursing home resident to Major and we have just told them everything they need to know about us. We care. We’re family. We’re here for you. This is the type of individual who walks our halls. This is our benchmark for love. For his boundless selflessness, remarkable strength of character, and length of commitment, we can’t imagine an individual more deserving of this service award than our amazing, treasured friend Major.”
When the nomination was read at a volunteer appreciation luncheon at the medical center on April 10, Major received a standing ovation from all in attendance. The former Marine saluted his fellow volunteers.
Experienced orthopedics physician assistant Bradford “Brad” Salzmann has joined Gifford Medical Center’s orthopedics team in Randolph.
Salzmann grew up in primarily Massachusetts and had two careers – first as a carpenter and then as a hospital-based paramedic – before becoming a physician assistant.
He also did ski patrol along the way and through his role as a ski patrol director got to know a physician assistant who ran a local clinic. Salzmann was inspired. He decided to pursue the “up and coming” profession.
He attended Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning his bachelor’s degree and physician assistant certification in 1996.
He went on to work as physician assistant in orthopedics at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., from 1996-2012 and at Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer, Mass., since 2000. He also worked in hospitalist medicine for a year for IPC Hospitalist of New England.
In addition, he has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management and as part the Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in Worcester, Mass., responds to government requests for assistance in national disasters.
As part of this group, he’s responded to hurricanes in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and the earthquake in Haiti. He was also recently part of the Hurricane Sandy response team.
His decision to come to Vermont was prompted by his love for the state.
“One of the reasons I’m here is we have family property and a little cabin in Stockbridge, so I’ve been coming here all of my life,” said Salzmann. “I love it here.”
Increasingly, he was excited to travel to Vermont, and reluctant to leave.
Now here to stay, Salzmann is living in Royalton, enjoying the Vermont outdoors and working full-time at Gifford seeing both outpatients and assisting Gifford’s two orthopedic surgeons in surgery.
“I like it. I’m really excited to be at Gifford,” he says, noting he turned down an offer at a larger hospital for the opportunity to work in a small hospital setting. “It’s personable. You get to know people and make more of a difference.”
Salzmann is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. He is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery.
This compassionate caregiver with a quick smile describes his practice style as respectful and truthful. He works with patients to explore options, such as therapy, injections or a visit to the chiropractor. “There are some things,” however, he notes, “that don’t get better without surgery.”
Call Salzmann at Gifford’s Randolph orthopedics office at (802) 728-2455.
Selfless community members give 16,524 hours to non-profit hospital
Susan O’Malley of Randolph
Gifford Medical Center recognized its 120 volunteers at an annual appreciation luncheon on Wednesday.
Volunteers gave 16,524 hours in 2012. That’s 2,066 eight-hour workdays or the equivalent of eight full-time employees, noted Ashley Lincoln, director of development and marketing. “That’s a pretty incredible number,” Lincoln said. “We really appreciate the smiles that you bring, your enthusiasm, and your willingness to come when you’re called.”
Arlene Conant of Randolph Center and Robin Rafuse Gurney of Randolph
Volunteers give of their time throughout the medical center, at its clinics, at the Adult Day, through chaplaincy, as part of the Board of Trustees and through the Gifford Auxiliary at the Thrift Shop. “We have a far reaching volunteer group and I thank all of you,” said Volunteer Services Coordinator Julie Fischer to the group of about 75 in attendance.
The volunteers were treated to live music by Thom Goodwin, quality and infection prevention manager at Gifford and a
Chris Furmeister of Randolph
musician. Gifford’s chefs prepared a meal based on the event’s Texas barbecue theme. Gifford staff volunteering as servers donned Western attire. And door prizes from generous local businesses, including Onion Flats, Randolph Village Pizza, Blue Moon Boutique, Belmains, Bud and Bella’s Bookshop, Dandelion Acres, Central Supplies, Chef’s Market, Holiday Beauty Salon and Tozier’s, were given out.
One volunteer in particular received a standing ovation after it was announced that the hospital has nominated him for a senior service award. Major Melvin McLaughlin, 95, has been volunteering at Gifford for more than 40 years.
Lincoln read the hospital’s nomination, which describes McLaughlin’s service and hospital staff members’ regard for the long-time volunteer. “We at Gifford love Major. He is a brilliant and beautiful light in the day. As one nurse put it, ‘A day without Major is a day without sunshine.’ He is the personification of what we are as an organization – warm, compassionate, supportive, humbled and blessed to be able to care for others. Introduce a new staff member, patient or nursing home resident to Major and we have just told them everything they need to know about us. We care. We’re family. We’re here for you.”
Nap and Agnes Pietryka of Randolph
The text of the full nomination is available online at www.salutetoseniorservice.com. Hospital administrators are hoping staff, volunteers and community members visit the site between April 15-30 to vote for McLaughlin, a Randolph resident since 1967.
McLaughlin, a member of the U.S. Marines for 25 years, saluted his fellow volunteers as they cheered him.
Volunteers also offered their thanks for the opportunity to give of their time at the medical center, an experience so many find extremely rewarding.
The event concluded with a presentation from LaRae Francis of Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team, who explained the team’s work to connect Gifford patients with needed community services and to help them better navigate the health system. The program is aimed at helping the chronically ill better manage their diseases by reducing barriers to care. The team has had 600 referrals since it began in February of 2011.
Community members wanting to access the program to receive help and learn about available community services can call (802) 728-2499. For information on volunteering at Gifford, call Fischer at (802) 728-2324.
A loon done in pastel, “Morning Solitude,” is part of Jan Rogers’ show at Gifford.
Jan Rogers brings her “X-pressions” graphite, pastel and colored pencil works to the Gifford Medical Center art gallery March 27-May 29.
Rogers of Williamstown uses various sizes of compressed paper stumps to apply graphite, pastel, and colored pencil to Bristol board, mat board, and pastel and vellum papers. Values, tones, and textures are constructed by drawing and blending to create depth and shading, resulting in a combination of lights and darks making the works almost “photo-realistic.”
“Most of my work is done in the fine line drawing method using a soft touch, subtle elimination of lines, and acute attention to detail,” says Rogers. “These skills can turn a drawing into a painting.”
“Graphite is my choice of medium because of the detail that can be achieved,” Rogers adds, noting that she uses pastel and colored pencil with some of her graphite works to enhance a single area.
Jan Rogers’ “Careen” is done in graphite on vellum with a colored pencil accent.
Rogers has been drawing and painting most of her life. She attended workshops at the Ashton Art Institute in Connecticut on fine line drawing, and works out of a home studio on commissions and inspirations for upcoming shows.
Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and shows in Connecticut, Arizona, California, and now Vermont, where she is a member of the Paletteers art group. She has won awards for her unique method and also designs one-of-a-kind notecards that are sold in Gifford’s Garden Gate Gift Shop.
Her show at Gifford is free and open to the public. Works can be purchased in the Gift Shop.
The Gifford Gallery is located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. The Gift Shop is on the south end of the hospital near the entrance to the nursing home and Birthing Center.
To learn more about this show or displaying your work in the gallery, call Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fischer at (802) 728-2324.
Gifford series opens conversation on death and dying to grief and how it transforms us.
RANDOLPH – During a memorial for the British victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Queen Elizabeth II called grief “the price we pay for love.”
Gifford Medical Center explores that theme in the third part of a free educational series on death and dying on April 4 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.
“Grief: The Price We Pay for Love” will feature chaplains The Rev. Tim Eberhardt of Gifford and The Rev. Mary Lewis Webb of the VA Medical Center as well as stories from several community members on personal loss and grief.
Organized by Gifford mental health practitioner and Advanced Illness Care Team member Cory Gould, a licensed psychologist, the discussion, she says, is not about the stages of grief or evidence-based interventions. “It’s really about what grief means, why we grieve, how we grieve and how grief might transform us,” Gould says.
“In the grief process, you get to experience the depth of feelings you had for the one you lost. At its best, grief has the power to deepen our lives.”
Someone who is grieving might ponder questions about “what is life?” and “what is death?” Considering these questions is where change can happen and individuals can grow from their loss, says Gould.
At a minimum, talking about grief normalizes and validates how an individual is feeling. It also becomes easier to talk about death and loss the more we do it, Gould says.