Free Gifford evening out focuses on couples’ sexual health
Health experts from Gifford Medical Center are joining forces to offer couples an educational evening out.
Gifford in Randolph is hosting “Aging Together: A special presentation for couples on changing sexual health” on March 27 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.
“Our goal,” says organizer Rebecca O’Berry, Gifford’s vice president of surgery, “is to have people come in to a comfortable environment to talk about how normal physical changes can affect couples’ lives together.”
Dr. Richard Graham
Speaking will be experienced urologist Dr. Richard Graham and veteran gynecologist and menopause expert Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara.
Urologists treat male reproductive health conditions, as well as urinary health in men and women, and gynecologists care for female reproductive health. Common conditions like erectile dysfunction, which millions of men in the United States experience, and menopause, typically beginning around age 51 for women, can affect a couple’s relationship – often when those couples are finally able to spend time together.
“This is an important time in your life,” says O’Berry. “Your kids are getting older. You get to be back to being a couple and you don’t want normal signs of aging or medical problems to hinder that time together.
“There are ways that we as medical professionals can help you. There are answers.”
Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara
Drs. Graham and Russo-DeMara will review common problems and solutions and take questions from participants. Light refreshments will be served as the medical center strives to make the talk a fun “date night” out.
All are welcome to this free event. Those wanting to participate should register by calling Robin Palmer at (802) 728-2284 by March 21.
The Gifford Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital. Take the elevator from the main lobby and follow signs to the conference center or take the stairs under the green awning from the patient parking lot. The conference rooms are just inside. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org. Like Gifford on Facebook to receive notices of other upcoming free community talks.
From left, Menig Extended Care Facility licensed nursing assistants Loretta Cushing and Darlene Doyle and licensed practical nurse Anne Murphy gather around nursing home resident Della Allen, 99, on Wednesday. The nursing home at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph was recognized among the nation’s 2013 Best Nursing Homes.
RANDOLPH – For a third consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility at Gifford Medical Center has been named among the nation’s very best nursing homes by U.S. News & World Report.
Looking at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data regarding health inspection, level of nursing staffing and quality of care for nearly 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, U.S. News & World created and released a “2013 Best Nursing Homes” list on Tuesday. Menig, along with seven other Vermont nursing homes, made the list for its “five-star” (the maximum available) rating.
Menig was also recognized in 2011 and 2012 and was named among the top 39 nursing homes in the nation last year.
“I am so proud of the Menig staff. We work in a place that is clean, well maintained, has great food and a dedicated pool of volunteers who love the elderly. Varied activities keep the residents’ quality of life high. This teamwork and our nursing staff’s commitment to care are what make Menig such a high-quality home,” said Cindy Richardson, Menig director of nursing. “This honor is wonderful recognition of the work we do on behalf of our residents every day.”
The U.S. News list is created to help consumers find quality nursing home care. Homes are given between one and five stars in the rankings.
“Fewer than one out of every five nursing homes got an overall rating of five stars,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “All seniors deserve the best nursing care available, and these are homes that merit their consideration by demonstrating such high quality.”
Menig is a 30-bed nursing home attached to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The medical center is currently amid the permitting process to move the nursing to Randolph Center where it would become the anchor of a senior living community. The new community would include independent and assisted living as well, helping to meet a significant community need for more senior care and living options. The move would also free up space at Gifford to create industry-standard single inpatient rooms (rather than shared two-person rooms) for patient safety and privacy.
Learn more about the nursing home rankings here. Also, you can learn more about Menig online at www.giffordmed.org.
The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report. Our 2012 Annual Report will be out soon.
Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino meets in Gifford primary care with patient Cheryl Abbey of Randolph.
The Vermont Blueprint for Health is a state-led initiative aimed at improving care coordination, especially for the chronically ill. The goals of the initiative are to improve health, enhance the patient experience and reduce, or at least control, health care costs.
This is accomplished through what the Blueprint is calling “advanced primary care” that seamlessly coordinates a broad range of health and human services for patients and their families.
In 2011, the Vermont Blueprint for Health came to life at Gifford. Each of the medical center’s primary care practices was recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home and a huge care coordination effort got under way to meet patients’ diverse needs.
The care coordination effort, which is supported in part by grant dollars, is twofold. First, Gifford formed its own small care coordination team made up of three core employees; Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino, Gifford Diabetes Educator Jennifer Stratton and
Health Connections Caseworker Michele Packard. Second, a larger Community Health Team consisting of a diverse group of state and regional community housing, aging and disability agencies as well as eye care professionals, a pharmacy, insurers and more, was formed.
Blueprint core team members – Health Connections caseworker Michele Packard and diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton – meet weekly with Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino at the Bethel Health Center to discuss individual patients and how to better serve them.
The Community Health Team meets quarterly while a care coordination team meets weekly. More importantly, referrals are bouncing back and forth between the agencies and teams ensuring patients are getting the services they need to maintain and improve their health. Keith coordinates this work, meeting directly with patients, spending time in each
of Gifford’s Patient-Centered Medical Homes, conferring with health care providers and helping patients access needed services.
Patients and community members are referred to Keith for a huge variety of reasons. They may need help managing chronic conditions, be struggling socio-economically, need mental health assistance, be disabled or elderly, have housing or transportation needs or just need help navigating the health system.
The Blueprint provides that help directly or refers them to an appropriate community agency. The help comes in the form of one-on-one meetings with Keith and outreach on his part to get the patient connected with needed resources.
“My role is to make sure patients are getting access to proper services, which enables them to self-manage their chronic condition,” Keith says.
Medicine Division Vice President Teresa Voci gives the example of a chronically ill patient who, because of financial pressures, has to choose between food and medication. Without medication, their health suffers. With the Blueprint services, their health care provider has a central resource to offer the patient for those issues that fall outside the health care setting but are barriers to care, like help with finding resources to buy food and medications.
Kim Flood of Barre is a real life example.
All three of Kim’s sons were diagnosed with asthma. The younger two, ages 4 and 1, were especially sick, including being hospitalized. Kim thought she knew the problem – mold in her Barre apartment.
Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Lou DiNicola referred Kim to the Blueprint. “Keith helped us find someone to do mold testing, help us with legal aid,” Kim says, “and he got city officials to come to the apartment. I had tried for months to get the housing inspector and building inspector to our house. I just got the runaround from everyone.”
With the mold verified and the help of legal aid, Kim settled with the landlord and in October moved into a home she bought in Barre Town on nine acres.
The kids haven’t been sick since.
Kim is one of 230 referrals Gifford’s Blueprint team has received since Keith was hired and the program got under way in February, notes Blueprint Project Coordinator LaRae Francis. Most of the referrals are from primary care providers, like Dr. Terry Cantlin of the Bethel Health Center.
“He’s been invaluable,” says Dr. Cantlin of Keith, who does the work primary care physicians simply do not have time to do in their busy practices.
Now if a patient is not taking their medication due to financial pressures, is missing needed appointments because of transportation issues or struggling with social issues – all scenarios Dr. Cantlin sees – he now has a one-stop resource for the patient.
It also prevents patients unaware of available community resources from “falling through the cracks,” says Mary Ellen Otis, executive director of the Orange County Parent Child Center in Chelsea.
That center, which provides a vast array of family services from new baby visits to parenting education, is part of the Community Health Team and refers clients to Gifford as well as gets referrals from the hospital. Under the new coordinated effort, Mary Ellen says, referrals are now far more efficient.
Maryette Withington can attest to that.
The Barnard resident has a relative with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cantlin referred Maryette to Keith for help learning more about the disease. He met with her at the Bethel Health Center and connected her with the Randolph Area Senior Center and the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Within 24 hours Maryette had information in her hands about the disease that she says has changed everything in her life.
“You’re totally responsible for that person. I just needed to know what to expect.”
She will have an ongoing relationship with the association and also continues to receive help from Keith, Dr. Cantlin and her Gifford health care team. It’s help she appreciates. “I have the best health care team in the world,” she says.
Need help yourself? Call the Blueprint Care Coordinator at (802) 728-2499.
Gifford’s Pharmacy Manager Jane McConnell speaks to a chronic illness group. A dynamic and thoughtful speaker, McConnell will be among the speakers in our new monthly heart health series, “Matters of the Heart”.
Gifford Medical Center launches a new monthly educational series next week for anyone concerned about their heart health.
Called “Matters of the Heart,” the series starts on Feb. 20 and continues on the third Wednesday of each month from 1-2 p.m.
The free talks feature experts from Gifford talking about heart healthy topics, such as diet, exercise and managing stress.
Behavioral health specialist Samantha Medved, a licensed social worker, kicks of the series with “Stress 101.” On March 20, registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier talks about “Heart Healthy Oils.” On April 17, pharmacist Jane McConnell discusses “Cardiac Medications,” and chef Steve Morgan leads a talk on “Reducing Salt” on May 15.
“This series will certainly benefit heart patients, including those recovering from a heart attack or suffering from heart disease or high blood pressure,” says Ed Striebe, director of hospitality and food services at Gifford. “Good heart health is vitally important for everyone, however, so this series is truly open to all.”
The educational series continues throughout the year. A complete schedule of talks is available online at www.giffordmed.org. All talks are in the Conference Center, except those led by Gifford’s chefs. Those discussions are held in the cafeteria.
No registration is required. For more information, call Striebe at (802) 728-2191.
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Free event focuses on eye care, shopping on a budget and more
Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton works with a patient in Gifford’s Diabetes Clinic at the Kingwood Health Center in Randolph. (File photo)
RANDOLPH – A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. But Gifford Medical Center is striving to make living with diabetes easier this March when it holds its eighth annual free Diabetes Education Expo.
Sharing everything from eating healthy and cooking on a budget to simple exercises one can do at home, the March 15 expo aims to provide a “Road Map to Managing Your Diabetes.”
Also covered will be eye care in a talk by Dr. Dean Barcelow of Bethel’s Eye Care for You and a discussion by behavioral health specialist Sam Medved on the steps and challenges of making lifestyle changes. A cooking demonstration will be provided and vendor booths will include the latest in diabetes products as well as help from Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team in overcoming obstacles to successful self-management.
According to 2011 data from the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes nationally. In Vermont, the disease affects more than 55,000 people, according to the Department of Health.
Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from the body not producing or improperly using insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily living.
To remain healthy, diabetics must have regular checks of eyes, feet, teeth and more and they must take an active role in managing their diabetes through diet, exercise, monitoring their blood glucose and taking medications, if required.
“A diabetes diagnosis and daily living can be overwhelming because it can mean lots of lifestyle or behavior changes,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton. “I often recommend gradual changes that are doable for the patient and don’t break the bank.
“This year’s Diabetes Education Expo is an extension on that. We’ll talk about how to buy healthy foods on a budget, we’ll demonstrate cooking healthy foods to make them delicious and enjoyable, and we’ll show you simple exercises that you can do at home, without a gym membership or high-tech equipment.”
In fact, there’s a lot a diabetic can do to manage their disease – even their eye health.
Diabetes can damage small blood vessels in the eye’s retina, the back part of the eye. Diabetes also increases one’s risk of having glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems.
Dr. Barcelow, an optometrist, will share what he’s looking for in the eye when it comes to signs of disease and talk about what patients can do prevent eye problems.
“I like to tell my patients that diabetes is kind of a lifestyle,” he says, listing taking medications as prescribed, diet and exercise as keys to a successful diabetic lifestyle.
To hear Dr. Barcelow, Stratton and the event’s other speakers map out diabetes self-management, sign-up for the expo by March 8. Seating is limited. Call Zach Bean at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6 to register.
The expo takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use the southern entrance of the hospital (before the Thrift Shop) on Route 12 in Randolph. Get directions and learn more online at www.giffordmed.org.
Diabetes Education Expo Agenda
9 a.m. – Registration, vendor/information booths open
10-10:45 a.m. – Eye Care for Diabetes, Dr. Dean Barcelow, Eye Care for You
10:45-11:15 a.m. – Exercise, Jane McConnell, Gifford pharmacist and exercise enthusiast
11:15 a.m. to noon – What’s Next, Making Changes, Samantha Medved, Gifford behavioral health specialist
Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch
1-1:30 p.m. – Eating Right When Money’s Tight, Jennifer Stratton and Stacy Pelletier, Gifford registered dietitians
1:30-2 p.m. – Cooking demonstration, Chef Steve Morgan, Gifford
2 p.m. – Raffle drawings
Miss Vermont USA wows Menig nursing home residents
RANDOLPH – If the residents of the Menig Extended Care Facility get their way, Miss Vermont USA 2013 Sarah Westbrook will easily be crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas in June.
Westbrook, 24, visited the Randolph nursing home Wednesday afternoon. With grace and plenty of humor, the Burlington beauty answered questions, posed for pictures and let residents try on her surprisingly heavy crown.
Her visit was organized by friend Jennifer Joseph, an East Montpelier resident and Vermont Technical College nursing student who did her clinical training at Menig.
“I love it. The residents made such an impact on me,” says Joseph, who wanted to give back. “It was the only way I could think to give back some of what they gave me. I just wanted to see them smile, because they all made me smile.”
And smile they did. There was laughter, tears, accolades, and humor.
“I’m very proud to have you. It’s an honor,” 96-year-old resident Annie Gaiko told Westbrook. “You live here in this atmosphere with all of these old bucks, and it’s nice to see a young one. You’ve got the world by the tail.”
Resident Edie Reynolds assured Westbrook that she would go all the way in the competition, calling her beautiful inside and out.
Whether Westbrook, a fitness instructor and student studying health and wellness, becomes Miss USA won’t be known until June. One thing is certain, however. Thirty nursing home residents, some as old as 101, will be pulling for her come pageant night.
Free Jan. 31 community discussion focuses on how to live well while dying
RANDOLPH – Few would likely pick a “bad” death. But what is a “good” death and how do you choose one?
Those are the questions regional hospice and health care experts will address at a Thursday, Jan. 31 event at Gifford Medical Center titled “What is a ‘Good’ Death?” The talk, a free community discussion open to all, is from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center. Continue reading →
A bulldozer dangles in this 2007 photo of new bridge construction in Randolph. Provided by Harriet Chase
RANDOLPH – Randolph resident and historian Harriet Chase brings her love of the area to the Gifford Medical Center art gallery Jan. 30-March 27 with a show of local photographs.
She is calling the show “photo-art” after learning to apply graphics to her photographs.
“I first learned computer graphics and was pleased with the simple effects that a few enhancements could give to a really nice photograph,” Chase says. “None of these enhancements ever overpower the image itself, but subtle actions that perhaps highlight an area, a frame consistent with the picture or a computer ‘matting’ make a good photograph all the nicer.” Continue reading →
Proposed senior living community before Randolph Development Review Board next, final phase of Act 250 filing expected soon
RANDOLPH – In an exciting reversal, the District 3 Environmental Commission on Jan. 3 awarded Gifford Medical Center a long-sought partial approval for a planned senior living community in Randolph Center.
The commission granted Gifford approval on an Act 250 criterion regarding construction on primary agriculture soils, clearing the way for the Randolph-based medical center to move forward with filing for the final phases of Act 250 review next month.
“We’re very happy. This is great news. The favorable ruling by Act 250 will allow us to move forward with one of the most important aspects of the project,” said hospital Administrator Joseph Woodin. Continue reading →
Mom Sara Bowen, big sister Cassidy Sedor and dad Shawn Sedor, all of South Royalton, cuddle their newest family member – Kaydence Sedor, born on Jan. 2 at Gifford Medical Center and the Randolph hospital’s first baby of the new year.
RANDOLPH – Sara Bowen and fiancé Shawn Sedor of South Royalton were the first to welcome a baby in the new year at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.
Bowen gave birth to daughter, Kaydence Sedor, on Jan. 2 at 10:29 p.m. A gorgeous and healthy Kaydence weighed in at 7 pounds 12 ounces and is 20 ½ inches long.
She is the couple’s second child. Two-year-old Cassidy Sedor was also born at Gifford.
The family was excited to have the first baby of the new year. “It’s really cool, actually,” said Bowen, but they were more excited with the newest member of their family, regardless of her birthdate.
“I’m lost for words. I love my kids. They’re amazing. (There’s) nothing better than to have kids,” said Bowen, who was originally due to give birth on Dec. 28.
“We’ve got another little one to add to the family. (Kaydence) has someone to look up to and (Cassidy) has someone to take care of,” added Shawn. “I’m just glad that she’s healthy. We are lucky to have this blessing in our life.”