Cardiac Rehabilitation Gave Janet Kittredge Her Life Back

cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation nurse Annette Petrucelli shares a smile with patient Janet Kittredge. Besides getting stronger, one of Janet’s favorite parts of cardiac rehabilitation was the good times she had with staff. “I love those ladies,” says Janet. “They became friends and I couldn’t wait to get back to see them.”

This story appeared in our
Fall 2013 Update Community Newsletter.

Janet Kittredge of Hancock struggled to breathe for two years before miserably failing a cardiac stress test and being diagnosed with a 90 percent blockage of one of the arteries in her heart.

In April, she had a stent placed in the blocked artery at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Part of her follow-up care plan was cardiac rehabilitation at her home hospital, Gifford.

Janet remembers the day she started cardiac rehabilitation vividly. She was nervous. “It had been so long since I had been able to do anything,” she says.

For Janet, a walk out to the garage meant sitting and resting before returning to the house. Carrying in groceries meant pausing between trips. “I completely stopped walking. I just stayed in and pretty much all I did was watch TV.”

So faced with the treadmills, recumbent bike and arm ergometer that make up the cardiac rehabilitation gym, Janet was worried.

A welcoming staff and consistent monitoring of her pulse and heart rate put Janet more at ease and quickly she discovered that not only could she do some exercise, the more she came, the more she could do.

“I just got so excited. It made me feel so good. I walked taller. I felt younger. I just wanted to do more and more and get stronger,” says Janet, who found herself raising the difficulty level on her workouts before even being prompted by staff.

Janet finished her program in August. The 67-year-old Stanley Tool retiree is now back to the active life she once enjoyed. She is walking a mile and a half or more a day, shopping with her granddaughters and impressing her friends with the bounce in her step.

“I have totally gotten my life back. I feel 100 percent better. I have energy. I feel like doing things.”

“I can’t say it enough how much this changed my life. If I hadn’t had this rehab, I never would have gotten myself to this point.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is a 12-week outpatient exercise, education and nutrition program for people with coronary heart disease, angina, recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery, stent placement or other heart conditions. It is offered in a special gym space at Gifford and overseen by specially trained registered nurses. To learn more, call 728-2222 or ask your health care provider for a referral.

Year in Review – Part 4

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

OCTOBER

Food choices in the Gifford cafeteria get even healthier as the hospital transitions to a healthy breakfast bar; healthier, lower salt meats; less butter and heavy cream in foods; and more grains and legumes as starches.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stops at Gifford on his “Cycling Vermont’s 14″ 500-mile bicycle tour of the state’s 14 counties. He tours Menig as part of his stop.

Dr. Josh Plavin, a National Health Service Corps scholarship recipient, speaks out for the federal program supporting primary care providers on Corps Community Day on Oct. 11, and for the need for more primary care providers, especially in rural regions.

Two local women, Krista Warner and Teresa Bradley, organize a bowling tournament in support of Gifford’s Woman to Woman fund and raise $1,485 for breast cancer awareness.

The CT scanner is upgraded from a 40-slice model to a 64-slice model, offering patients faster service, clearer imaging, and less radiation.

NOVEMBER

A new system, a CAREpoint Workstation, for transmitting EKGs from ambulances in the field to the Gifford Emergency Department is brought online. The system, generously paid for by the Gifford Auxiliary, is for use with heart attack patients to determine if they should be brought to Gifford or directly to a cardiac catheterization lab at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Stuff a TruckMenig residents work with school children from the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph to create 100 boxes of gifts for children in Third World countries through Operation Christmas Child.

Working with Connor Contracting Inc., Gifford staff and community members Stuff a Truck for Hurricane Sandy survivors in the Rockaway neighborhood of Long Island, New York.

The first patient is seen in the Radiology Department’s new fluoroscopy room. The room is utilized for interventional radiology procedures, which have grown in number.

Great American Smoke OutAll Gifford grounds go smoke-free in concert with the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15.

Gifford’s Annual Craft Fair raises funds for the Adult Day Program.

Married couple Elvira Dana and Jason Kass travel 36 hours from their home in Armenia to give birth at Gifford, for a second time.

Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire, the Vermont Ethics Network, and Gifford’s Advanced Illness Care team join together to offer a community discussion around end-of-life care planning. Other talks on death and dying continue at Gifford in the months that follow.

DECEMBER

Family physician Barbara Lazar joins Gifford, bringing a love of geriatrics to the Randolph team.

Chef Wendell Fowler leads a free talk on the pitfalls of the American diet. He suggests cutting the food additives, chemicals, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup in favor of fresher, less-processed foods to improve our health.

Gifford once again supports the community through its holiday gift certificate program – a buy local program where employees receive “gift certificates” redeemable only at regional, locally-owned businesses.

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.

Free Heart Series Begins Feb. 20

free heart series

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.

“Like” Gifford on Facebook to receive notifications of upcoming free educational events like these.

Tonight’s Talk Postponed Until Next Week

rainstormWe apologize for the inconvenience and late notice, but we’re postponing tonight’s talk due to expected freezing rain and sleet, and moving the schedule back a week. 

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGES BELOW

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center in Randolph will hold a free Heart Healthy Workshop Series this January.

The series includes talks from cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus and registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier. Gifford’s renowned chefs will complete the series with a cooking demonstration and discussion.

The schedule for the series is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus talks about “How to Avoid the Cath Lab: Preventive Cardiology”.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Registered Dietitian Stacy Pelletier discusses “Taking Your Food to Heart”.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Gifford chefs lead a heart healthy cooking demonstration and discussion on good fats, high fiber, portion control and flavoring with spices rather than salt.

“Food can play a major role in heart health, and with heart disease leading the nation as a killer of both men and women, holding this series made sense. We’re hoping to help do our part to reduce heart disease and to improve the health of our community,” said Gifford Director of Hospitality Services Ed Striebe, of why the hospital is holding the event.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, totaled 26 percent of all U.S. deaths – more than one in four – in 2006, affects more than 27 million Americans and, in 2010, was projected to cost the nation $316.4 billion in health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Risk factors for heart disease include family history, older age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, being overweight or obese, a poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol use.

“There’s not much we can do to alter our family history and age, but the remaining risk factors can be modified,” said Dr. Andrus, an experienced cardiologist, who also works at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “What we hope to relay to participants in our series is why heart disease occurs and the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

“We aren’t expecting people to instantly start running five miles a day or cut out all of their favorite foods. Rather we’ll be sharing ideas – and we hope inspiration – to get started or build upon the steps they’re already taking.”

Pelletier’s talk will focus on building a healthy diet.

“Eating certain foods can increase your risk of heart disease. This series aims to help people, especially those living with or at risk for heart disease, learn what these foods are and how best to avoid them,” said Pelletier.

The Heart Healthy Workshop Series will be held in the hospital’s Conference Center in Randolph. It is free and participants may attend one or all events. All are welcome, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Striebe at (802) 728-2191 at least one week prior to the class date.

Heart Healthy Workshop Series to Provide Free Advice, Cooking Demo

heart healthRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center in Randolph will hold a free Heart Healthy Workshop Series this January.

The series includes talks from cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus and registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier. Gifford’s renowned chefs will complete the series with a cooking demonstration and discussion.

The schedule for the series is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus talks about “How to Avoid the Cath Lab: Preventive Cardiology”.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Registered Dietitian Stacy Pelletier discusses “Taking Your Food to Heart”.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Gifford chefs lead a heart-healthy cooking demonstration and discussion on good fats, high fiber, portion control, and flavoring with spices rather than salt.

“Food can play a major role in heart health, and with heart disease leading the nation as a killer of both men and women, holding this series made sense. We’re hoping to help do our part to reduce heart disease and to improve the health of our community,” said Gifford Director of Hospitality Services Ed Striebe, of why the hospital is holding the event.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, totaled 26 percent of all U.S. deaths – more than one in four – in 2006, affects more than 27 million Americans, and, in 2010, was projected to cost the nation $316.4 billion in health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Risk factors for heart disease include family history, older age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, being overweight or obese, a poor diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol use.

“There’s not much we can do to alter our family history and age, but the remaining risk factors can be modified,” said Dr. Andrus, an experienced cardiologist, who also works at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “What we hope to relay to participants in our series is why heart disease occurs and the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

“We aren’t expecting people to instantly start running five miles a day or cut out all of their favorite foods. Rather we’ll be sharing ideas – and we hope inspiration – to get started or build upon the steps they’re already taking.”

Pelletier’s talk will focus on building a healthy diet.

“Eating certain foods can increase your risk of heart disease. This series aims to help people, especially those living with or at risk for heart disease, learn what these foods are and how best to avoid them,” said Pelletier.

The Heart Healthy Workshop Series will be held in the hospital’s Conference Center in Randolph. It is free and participants may attend one or all events. All are welcome, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Striebe at (802) 728-2191 at least one week prior to the class date.