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

South Royalton Family Welcomes First Baby of New Year at Gifford

Gifford Medical Center

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.

Gifford Medica Center“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.”

Unique Kari Meyer Landscape Paintings In Gifford Gallery

Gifford Medical Center

This photo shows one of Kari Meyer’s paintings now on display in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery. Called “Morning Meadow,” it is acrylic on canvas and painted on Beaver Meadow Road in Marshfield.

Montpelier painter Kari Meyer’s unique landscapes are in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery through Jan. 30.

Born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom, Meyer’s love of nature started at an early age. She spent much of her childhood playing in the woods and rivers near her rural home.

She attended high school at St. Johnsbury Academy. The school offered in-depth classes in art and Meyer says she fell in love with acrylic painting. She went on to earn an associate degree in multimedia and graphic design from Champlain College and then her bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Vermont.

Her knowledge of graphic design, she says, continues to be integrated into her artwork. Her studies at UVM also sparked an interest in sculpture. On close inspection, viewers of Meyer’s work can see her love of texture and three dimensions.

“As an artist I see art as a form of communication that has a power beyond that of words. Through imagery I attempt to portray ideas that words cannot, like the archetypal beauty that connects all things,” Meyer says. “I attempt to create a positive experience for the viewer, while also hoping to make a positive commentary on the world.”

Meyer works from photographs. She estimates a third of her time creating a painting is spent in the woods and walking the back roads of Vermont in search of the places that portray the magic and beauty of the landscape.

She works in digital photography, using a computer to alter colors, lighting and even composition of some of her images. By incorporating different textures and materials into her paintings, she creates an even more dynamic image that changes with lighting, casting its own shadows and creating a depth and mystery within each image.

Meyer says her imagery demonstrates an abstraction of nature, with her inspiration coming in part from the ideals of wabi-sabi, a prominent philosophy of Japanese aesthetics.

“For me wabi-sabi changes the worldview of Western civilization. Things we normally view as negative become beautiful. Loneliness, old age and death become beautiful because they are inevitable and represent the constant flux of the universe,” Meyer says. “I attempt to address this idea of the movement of eternity, of everything either coming from or returning to nothingness. My work urges the viewer to contemplate the relationship between oneself, nature and the universe.”

See Meyer’s work for yourself at Gifford. The show is free and open to the public. The gallery is just inside the main entrance of the medical center, located south of Randolph village. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org.  Learn more about Meyer’s work online at www.karimeyer.com.

Couple Travels from Armenia to Give Birth at Gifford

Married couple Elvira Dana and Jason Kass live and work in Armenia, a developing country once part of the Soviet Union.  When it came time to have children, however, Dana and Kass looked outside of Armenia for care.

Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

Elvira Dana and Jason Kass hold 3-year-old Gideon and newborn Natalie at a family home in Northfield. The married couple has come home to Vermont from Armenia – traveling for 36 hours – to have both their children at Gifford Medical Center.

They looked to Dana’s native Vermont, specifically Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

For each of their child’s births – first Gideon three years ago and then Natalie late last month – the family flew back to Vermont.

“When Gideon came along we decided very quickly we needed to be back in the U.S. for the birth,” says Dana, who grew up in Northfield and was one of Gifford’s early Birthing Center patients nearly 35 years ago.

Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

She got her prenatal care – such that it was – in Armenia and e-mailed test results and information to Gifford’s team of certified nurse-midwives.  “They were willing to be flexible about some pretty strange pre-natal care,” says Dana, noting some documents sent had been translated from Russian and Armenian.

At 36 weeks of pregnancy (the latest point in a pregnancy that women are recommended to fly and often the latest point an airline will allow a pregnant woman in the air) Dana, with Kass at her side, traveled the 36 hours home.  Gifford childbirth education and lactation consultant Nancy Clark provided the couple a crash course in birthing.

Gideon was born the morning after that final birthing class.  He arrived two weeks early and just two-and-a-half hours after Dana made it to the hospital.

Hurricane Sandy this year delayed the family’s flight and Dana ended up flying – a bit nervously – at 37 weeks.  But Natalie was patient, arriving on Nov. 26, one day after her due date and about an hour and forty-five minutes after the family made it to the hospital.

Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

In both instances, says the couple, the atmosphere, low-intervention birth experience, and friendliness of staff were exactly what the family was seeking.

“Nobody was stressed.  It was so calm.  It was just us, a midwife and a nurse with no beeping noises.  Everyone we interacted with was so kind, including the cleaning and food services staff,” Dana says.

Pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola – Dana’s pediatrician growing up – checked on both babies following their births.  The children have both gotten their pediatric care at Gifford while they’re in the state.  And in fact, they even called Gifford, reaching Dr. DiNicola as the on-call pediatrician, when Gideon spiked a high fever in Armenia and the couple didn’t know what to do, says Kass, 37 and formerly of Randolph Center.

Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

It is the consistency of the care provided at Gifford, says Dana, that gives the couple the confidence to fly in and give birth with a midwife they may never have met or entrust their child’s care with a pediatrician who may not be a familiar face.

“Mostly we just feel so incredibly lucky,” says Dana, cradling her newborn.Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

Service through the Peace Corps first took Dana to Armenia in 2005.  Putting her master’s degree in teaching English as a second language to work, she taught English and trained teachers.  She then was hired as Armenia country director of American Councils, a non-profit that administers U.S. State Department and international educational programs, including student exchanges.

Jason joined her in Armenia in 2008, working in the scant Armenia job market and for meager Armenian wages as a head gardener at a renovated public park.

Presently staying with family in Northfield, the couple and their now two children will fly back to Armenia on Feb. 4.  Natalie will need a passport before they can go.  Bilingual young Gideon is on his second passport, having already filled one in his three years of life.

The family hopes to make Vermont their permanent home one day again soon – at least by the time Gideon will start school.

Couple Travels From Armenia To Give Birth At Gifford

The Kass family plays together. They are in Vermont from Armenia to have their latest child, newborn Natalie, at Gifford Medical Center’s Birthing Center.