Vote for Major

Vote for Major for a Salute to Service AwardGifford 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:
Major McLaughlin

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.”

Vote for MajorWe 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.

Those visiting the Salute To Senior Service site can also add their own comments about Major.

Gifford Offering Free Medicare Talk

stethoscope

© Jonoman1 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

RANDOLPH – For more than 40 million Americans, Medicare provides their health insurance. Across the nation and here in Vermont, more Americans become eligible each day, leaving big questions about the federal insurance program and just what it covers.

Gifford Medical Center is aiming to help answer some of those questions for its employees and the public in a free talk this April.

MedicareReady or Not … ” is being held on April 11 from 6-7 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center. The talk will feature a presentation from Acadia Benefits Inc. health insurance specialist Scott McKee on Medicare parts A through D, eligibility and resources. Continue reading

‘Aging Together’

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

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

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.

Menig Once Again Ranked Among Nation’s Best!

Gifford Medical Center

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.

 

Healing Through Art

Waterbury Woman Donates Vermont Paintings, Photos to Gifford in Daughter’s Memory

Gifford Medical Center

Elise Braun poses by just two of 25 pieces of framed Vermont art donated in her daughter’s memory to Gifford Medical Center.

RANDOLPH – Octogenarians Elise Braun of Waterbury and Gilbert Myers of Williston on Friday hand-delivered 25 pieces of artwork to 25-bed Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

The framed art is by 13 different Vermont painters and photographers and is a gift from the Susan Sebastian Foundation to Gifford for its patient rooms.

The foundation is named for Braun’s daughter who passed away in 2009 and had a wish to brighten hospital rooms through local art.

The art given to Gifford holds a common look and feel. Each piece depicts Vermont’s warm weather months – spring, summer and fall – and is of the outdoors.

Braun and Myers used the book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being by Dr. Esther Sternberg to help guide their purchases, which are meant to take the patient out of the room and into the outdoors to a favorite vista or recreational hobby.

“It gets you out of the room and gets you thinking about getting out,” says Braun. “It makes you feel like you want to get better.”

For Gifford, which helped pick out the pieces and invited many local artists to participate, the artwork is a welcome addition to patient care and the patient experience.

“This is truly an extension of Gifford’s commitment to support local – as this gift allows us to showcase our local talent while bringing warmth to our patients,” says Ashley Lincoln, Gifford director of development and public relations. “We are thankful to the Susan Sebastian Foundation for including Gifford in its outreach and appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into a gift like this.”

For Braun, the foundation’s work is healing.

“It has been very therapeutic for me, extremely therapeutic. It makes me feel she (Sebastian) is at work in the world and that makes me happy.

“This is Susan. This is what she was about,” Braun says.

Sebastian’s good work continues.

In addition to Gifford, Fletcher Allen Health Care received 47 pieces from the foundation in 2009, Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans received 37 pieces, 12 pieces then went to Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend and 38 to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury.

Next will be Copley Hospital in Morrisville. Myers and Braun’s goal is to provide local art to all Vermont hospitals over the next several years.

New Healthier Living Workshop Focuses on Managing Chronic Pain in February

Gifford Medical CenterA new Chronic Pain Healthier Living Workshop series will be held Mondays, Feb. 11 through March 18 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

Healthier Living Workshops are six-week classes offered through the Vermont Blueprint for Health for people with chronic conditions and their caregivers. They are offered for free throughout the year by Gifford Medical Center and led by trained facilitators.

This new class, being offered for only the second time at Gifford, has a special focus on chronic pain.

The workshop will cover coping with chronic illness and chronic pain; how to feel more in control of your pain and health; improving problem solving skills; how to work with health care providers to maximize your ability to manage your illness and pain; how to balance activity and rest; healthy eating; gentle movement exercises and more.

“Chronic pain … includes many types of conditions from a variety of causes. There is no one treatment or approach that is right for everybody. There are a number of things people with chronic pain can do to feel better … (to) better manage pain and help you become more active and more involved in life,” according to the literature from the Vermont Blueprint for Health.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing for the exercise portion and to sign up soon with Gifford Blueprint Patient Access Coordinator Zach Bean at 728-7100, ext. 6.

Gifford Medical Center is located at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) just south of Randolph village. The workshops are held in the Conference Center, which is marked with a green awning. For handicapped access, go in the main entrance and take the elevator to the first floor.

She’s Got ‘the World by the Tail’ and 30 New Fans

Miss Vermont USA wows Menig nursing home residents

Sarah Westbrook

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.

Miss Vermont USA Sarah Westbrook

“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.”

Miss Vermont 2013 Sarah Westbrook

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.

Gifford Seeking Applicants 
for Philip Levesque Grant

grants and awardsCommunity organizations must apply by Feb. 11

 

RANDOLPH – Nonprofit community organizations have an opportunity to apply for a $1,000 grant.

Gifford Medical Center is seeking applications for the annual Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award – a grant established in memory of the hospital’s late administrator.

Applications for the $1,000 grant are due to the hospital by Feb. 11.

The grant was established by Gifford’s Board of Trustees in 1994 in memory of Levesque, Gifford’s beloved president and chief executive officer from 1973-1994.

The award is given annually to an agency or organization involved in the arts, health, community development, education or the environment in Gifford’s service area in recognition of Levesque’s commitment to the White River Valley. Continue reading

Harriet Chase Brings ‘Photo-Art’ to Gifford Gallery

Harriet Chase, Bulldozer

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

Gifford Gets Nod from District 3 Environmental Commission on Soils Issue

Proposed senior living community before Randolph Development
Review Board next, final phase of Act 250 filing expected soonsenior citizens

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