Get Help ‘Creating a Healthy Lifestyle’ March 14 at Gifford

Free health fair and diabetes expo focuses on chronic illness

Gifford chefs Ed Striebe and Steve Morgan

Gifford chefs Ed Striebe, left, and Steve Morgan present at a past Diabetes Education Expo. The annual, free event is expanded this year to all with chronic illnesses and includes a health fair as well as presentations, including a cooking demonstration by Morgan.

Gifford Medical Center will hold a free Health Fair and Diabetes Education Expo on Friday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center and visitors’ entrance.

The fair, redesigned from past years, is open to anyone with a chronic condition, not just those with diabetes. It does not require registration, and puts a strong emphasis on “Creating a Healthy Lifestyle” – the fair’s theme.

Gifford has held a Diabetes Education Expo for eight prior years. While the diabetes epidemic remains, organizers from Gifford’s Blueprint for Health team decided to expand the event this year to other conditions because so much of what is being discussed is applicable, explained Jennifer Stratton, Gifford certified diabetes educator.

“Most people who have chronic conditions have something in common,” Stratton said. “I also wanted to open it up to those with pre-diabetes to help prevent diabetes from actually happening.”

The day includes vendor booths and a health fair open throughout the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. event. Vendor booths are located in the hospital’s visitors’ entrance south of the hospital near the Gift Shop. Vendors this year are local community resource agencies and organizations talking about services and help available locally.

Health fair booths are in one of the hospital’s conference rooms and include blood pressure checks, foot checks, glucose monitoring, goal-setting guidance and guidance on healthy lifestyle choices, physical therapy exercises, tobacco cessation help, diabetes education, information on support groups, and more. The booths are operated by experts from Gifford as well as local dentist Dr. John Westbook and local optometrist Dr. Dean Barelow.

Special presentations will also be offered in a second conference room, including a 10-10:45 a.m. talk by Stratton on “Advances in Diabetes Management;” an 11-11:30 a.m. talk on “Using Herbs to Complement Your Diabetes Wellness Plan” by Sylvia Gaboriault, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator; and a 1-1:30 p.m. cooking demonstration on “Sugar ‘Less’ Baking” with Gifford chef Steve Morgan.

Participants may drop in or stay all day. A couple of raffle drawings will be offered and the hospitals’ cafeteria will be open for those wishing to buy lunch.

Learn more by calling Gifford’s Blueprint team at (802) 728-7710. Gifford Medical Center is located at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. Drive past the hospital, south on Route 12, and take the entrance just after the medical center to access the visitors’ entrance. The Conference Center is marked with a green awning. For handicapped accessibility, go in the main entrance marked “Registration” and take the elevator to the first floor.

After 50 Years on Dry Land, Lori Sedor Tried – and Loved – Water Aerobics

water aerobicsThis story appeared in our
Fall 2013 Update Community Newsletter.

Lorraine “Lori” Sedor has a myriad of health problems and a healthy fear of the water. So when certified diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton invited Lori to attend a water aerobics class Gifford was offering at the Vermont Technical College pool, Lori thought “no way.”

A retired school driver, 67-year-old Lori of Braintree has diabetes, an enlarged heart, rheumatoid arthritis, injuries from an accident, and uses a walker to get around. She also nearly drowned at age 16 and hadn’t swum since.

But Lori told Jennifer she’d try it, if only to prove her wrong.

“She told me that I could do it and I told her I couldn’t, and she was right, as much as I hate to admit it,” says a good-natured Lori.

The class started back in January and lasted six weeks. She was slow at first, but soon she was doing jumping jacks, twisting, bending, touching her knees, “and I swam.”

“I loved it. I was able to exercise whereas on land it’s harder to exercise. My body felt better. It’s just fantastic.”

After the class, Lori’s daughter bought her a year’s pass to the pool and for a couple months, Lori and a friend went two or three times a week. Health problems have prevented Lori from swimming since, but she expects to soon be back in the pool.

“I can’t wait to go back,” Lori says. “I’d recommend it for anyone who needs to exercise.”

Another water aerobics class is taking place now. If you have a chronic condition, call Jennifer Stratton at 728-7100, ext. 4 to learn about future classes.

Year in Review – Part 1

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the first quarter excerpt.

JANUARY

pediatrics' open houseUrologist Dr. Richard Graham and menopause practitioner Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Twin River Health Center offer a free talk at the Montshire Museum on urinary incontinence.

Gifford is once again awarded a grant from the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program. For the 11th year, Gifford is the only entity in Vermont to receive the $35,000 grant for breast cancer awareness education and outreach.

Pediatrics and adolescent medicine moves from the main medical center building to Dr. Chris Soares’ former space at the corner of South Main and Maple streets. Joining the practice on the first floor of the renovated, spacious Victorian home is pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

A free three-week series on heart health includes talks from cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus and registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier as well as a heart-healthy cooking demonstration from Gifford’s chefs.

FEBRUARY

As part of Gifford’s expanded efforts under the Vermont Blueprint for Health, a chronic illness support group – Chronic HealthShare Consortium – is launched and begins meeting monthly.

Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli strives to bring colon health to the forefront with a free health talk, “Everyone’s Got One: A Discussion on the Colon and How to Keep It Healthy”.

Pacemaker surgeries return to Gifford after a quarter century hiatus.

The Menig Extended Care Facility is named among nation’s top 39 nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report, which released a list of “2012 Honor Roll” nursing homes. Menig was the only nursing home chosen in Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire.

MARCH

The 106th Annual Corporators Meeting is held at the medical center and features Steve Kimbell, commissioner of what was then the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Leo Connolly, Fred Newhall, and Peter Nowlan are elected to the Board of Trustees.

A Vermont House of Representatives resolution recognizes “the outstanding health care services provided by Gifford Medical Center”. The resolution is in honor of Gifford’s more than 100 years of service to the Randolph area and for its many recent awards.

The Diabetes Education Expo focuses on teeth and feet and how diabetes can keep both healthy. It is the 7th annual exposition organized by the Diabetes Clinic especially for the growing diabetes population.

An open house is held for pediatrics’ new space at 40 South Main Street. Children attending enjoy face painting, balloons, snacks, tours of their new doctor’s office, bike helmet fittings, and painting tiles that have become part of the clinic’s permanent decor.

Wound Care Now Available at All Gifford Clinics

This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.

wound care available at Gifford clinics

Wound care nurse Jan Giles cares for patient Lisa Sayman of Barre.

With an increase in conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and peripheral artery disease, more and more people are suffering from wounds that don’t heal well.

Gifford podiatrists and general surgery staff already offer help with wound care, but now Gifford is launching a special mobile wound care clinic for the convenience of patients.

Registered nurse Jan Giles is leading the effort. She is specially certified in both wound care and diabetic wound care. Jan is now seeing patients in Gifford’s general surgery office and at all Gifford health centers for the convenience of patients.

Jan’s wound care help includes monitoring wounds, applying dressings, utilizing compression as appropriate, referring patients to a health care provider for additional care, and working with home health care agencies to coordinate proper wound care at home.

“This is what I’ve wanted to do for years,” says Jan. “I think it’s an art and a science, and I really enjoy the challenge of it.”

Diabetic foot ulcers and venous stasis ulcers are the most common chronic wounds. Wounds can also occur following an injury or surgery.

A key to wound healing success is seeking treatment early, Jan notes.

To schedule an appointment with Jan in the wound care clinic, call 728-2777.

Eighth Annual Diabetes Education Expo March 15

Free event focuses on eye care, shopping on a budget and more

Diabetes Education Expo

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

New Healthier Living Workshop Begins Oct. 15 at Gifford

Class focuses on Chronic Disease Self-Management and peer support

Healthier Living WorkshopA new Chronic Disease Self-Management Healthier Living Workshop series begins Oct. 15 and continues Mondays through Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Gifford Medical 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 in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center at 44 S. Main St. From patient parking, the Conference Center is marked with a green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center.

‘Eating Right When Money’s Tight’

RANDOLPH – Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially so if you’re on a budget.

Gifford Medical Center Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian Jennifer Stratton is striving to help those on a budget better grapple with the issue during a free talk titled “Eating Right When Money’s Tight.”

The talk will be held on Sept. 26 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Red Clover room in the hospital’s Conference Center.

The event will feature tips from Stratton about eating healthier without over-paying, recipes will be given out, and Susan Moore, a diabetes patient, will join Stratton to share a tasty, easy-to-make dish.

The idea to hold the free talk was prompted by an increasing number of patients saying, “‘I cannot do this. It’s too expensive to eat healthy,’” Stratton says.

Stratton will show how it can be done with tips like looking for in-season foods and preparing more meals from scratch. Stratton hopes to follow-up the discussion with trips at a later date to the grocery store and food shelf for hands-on healthy shopping tips.

The strategies presented will apply to all who are shopping on a limited budget, not just diabetics. No registration is required, but anyone with questions is encouraged to call Stratton at the Diabetes Clinic at 728-7100.

Free Diabetes Education Expo Slated for March 23 at Gifford

Event to Focus on Foot and Tooth Health

Gifford Medical Center chefs Pauline Barrett and Steve Morgan

Gifford Medical Center chefs Pauline Barrett and Steve Morgan lead a cooking demonstration at a past Diabetes Education Expo.

RANDOLPH – For most, feet and teeth are essential to daily living and must be kept healthy, but a diabetes diagnosis can mean added foot and dental problems and thus a need for extra vigilance.

Gifford Medical Center’s seventh annual free Diabetes Education Expo on March 23 focuses on foot and teeth health for diabetes, with special presentations from Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky and Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara.

“So many people don’t realize the importance of particularly dental health when it comes to diabetes care. High blood glucose can lead to more bacteria on your teeth, increasing one’s chance of developing tooth and gum disease,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton. “We’re hoping to bring dental care to the forefront in this year’s expo and talk about another important topic: feet.”

Long-time high blood glucose damages one’s feet in three ways: it can damage nerves (causing a lack of feeling or neuropathy), can affect blood flow, and can depress the immune system.

“The diabetic triad is what makes feet particularly at risk in diabetes,” says Dr. McNamara, who has decades of experience in foot care and also holds a special board certification in the treatment of wounds. “Peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease and a suppressed immune system: diabetes makes one more prone to these three things.”

“Diabetes is the number one underlying reason for amputations of the foot, many of which are probably preventable,” he adds.

Good blood sugar control, particularly early in one’s disease; wound prevention; and wound care are keys to helping prevent neuropathy and serious foot problems, like infection.
Nationally, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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 take an active role in managing their diabetes. The free expo is one way Gifford helps people with diabetes find the right tools to manage their disease and stay healthy.

The expo is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Randolph medical center and organized by the hospital’s Diabetes Clinic.

Seating is limited and registration is required. Call the Diabetes Clinic at (802) 728-7100 by March 16 to register, including for the free lunch.

Learn more about Gifford Medical Center and its services for diabetics online at www.giffordmed.org.

Expo Schedule

9-10 a.m. Vendor booths open
10-11 a.m. Gifford’s professional chefs lead a cooking demonstration
11 a.m. Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky discusses teeth and diabetes
Noon Lunch (vendor booths open)
1 p.m. Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara talks about foot health
2 p.m. Raffle drawings