Weight Loss Support Group Starting at Gifford

Cindy Legacy

Cindy Legacy poses with Gifford registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier. Legacy of Randolph lost 110 pounds and is now starting a weight loss support group at Gifford to help maintain her own weight loss and help others on their journey to becoming healthy.

After losing 110 pounds, Cindy Legacy of Randolph is launching a weight loss support group at her workplace – Gifford Medical Center – to help keep the weight off and help others on their weight loss journeys.

The first meeting, which is free and open to all, will be Wednesday, April 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Gifford Conference Center.

Legacy has some goals for the group, including providing educational resources, occasional speakers, discussion, support, walking and activities. There won’t be weigh-ins, or judgment, however.

“I don’t care what you weigh. It’s none of my business,” says Legacy, who rather wants to help anyone, at any stage in his or her effort to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.

But she is also interested in finding what participants want and what meeting times work best. That will be part of the first meeting. She’s envisioning weekly, evening meetings to follow.

No registration is required to attend.

For more detailed directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org.

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.

Assessing Quality of Life: Live Your Dash

The DashIn between birth and death there is a dash. You know: the diminutive line on a tombstone or obituary indicating all those years of life between birth and death.

Linda Morse made “The Dash” famous in a poem by the name that challenges us to reflect on how we live our dash.

On Dec. 5, Gifford Medical Center picks up the discussion with “The Dash: Quality of Life Matters.”

The free discussion open to all is a continuation of last winter’s popular education series on death and dying and reopens a new series expected to last into the spring, explains organizer Cory Gould, a mental health practitioner and member of Gifford’s Advanced Illness Care Team.

The talk will include interviews with pre-selected participants on their quality of life. For example, Dr. Daniel Stadler, assistant professor of medicine and an internist with special interests in geriatrics and palliative care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, will interview a woman in her 90s about her life experiences.

Other discussion points during the 5-6:30 p.m. event will focus on:

  • What do we mean by “quality of life?”
  • How do you measure it?
  • Is your quality of life different than someone else’s quality of life?
  • Does quality of life change over time?
  • How does one’s quality of life relate to the quality of one’s death?

“There’s a truism that’s been repeated over and over again and that is that people die as they lived,” says Gould. “We want to involve participants in a discussion of the question: ‘What gives life meaning for you?’”

Following this free talk, other talks are planned on advance directives; what dying looks like; a “death café” or open discussion about death; and a discussion on death with dignity versus assisted suicide.

Speakers will explore the concepts but there will be ample opportunity for group discussion and sharing.

Last year, the popular series included sessions on starting the conversation of end of life and preparing for death, such as through Advance Directives; what is a “good” death; and various aspects of grief.

Prior attendance at discussions is not required and all are welcome.

No registration is required for this free educational discussion. Gould can be reached at (802) 728-7713 to answer questions.

The talk will be held in the Gifford Conference Center. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked with a green awning from the patient parking area. For handicapped access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor. For directions to the medical center and more, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Gifford Offering ‘Family and Friends CPR’ Course

Gifford Medical CenterRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center’s Blueprint Community Health Team is offering a non-certification CPR course, called Family and Friends CPR.

The class is Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 6-8 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.

The course will cover CPR for infants, children and adults and is designed to provide anyone with the basic skills needed to keep someone alive in the event that his or her breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

All are welcome to the course. There is a $5 fee. It is for the instructional booklet, which participants take home.

Attendance is limited to 12. Register by calling the Blueprint team at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 3.

The Gifford Conference Center is at the main medical center on Route 12 in Randolph. Park and look for the green awning marked “Conference Center.” For handicap accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs.

New Healthier Living Workshop begins Oct. 24 in Berlin

Class focuses on chronic disease self-management and peer support

BERLIN – A new Healthier Living Workshop series begins Oct. 24 and continues Thursdays through Dec. 5 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin. (There is no class on Thanksgiving.)

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 Gifford’s Blueprint office at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6.

The Gifford Health Center at Berlin is located at 82 East View Lane, just off the Airport Road in Berlin. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Living Well with Bipolar Disorder

Gifford offering bipolar education and recovery group

bipolar disorderRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center mental health practitioner Cory Gould will lead a bipolar psychoeducation and recovery group called “Living Well with Bipolar Disorder” Sept. 16 through Nov. 18.

The group will be held Mondays over 10 weeks from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital Conference Center. It will offer group support, education, coping skills, help developing a support system and self-understanding.

Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological brain illness characterized by extremes of mood, anxiety, thought and behavior. Manic-depression is an older term for bipolar disorder and refers to the classic episodes of manic highs and depressive lows.

The latest research on bipolar disorder emphasizes it as a cycling illness. Gould points to a Web site by author and bipolar patient John McManamy dedicated to the disorder. “What we call bipolar is an enormously complex illness … . Simply knowing that we have ups and downs is not sufficient. What we need to know is how these ups and downs relate, what is driving them and what else is interacting with the dynamic,” McManamy writes.

Bipolar disorder is thought to affect 2-3 percent of the American population, although some expert researchers think the figure is closer to 5 percent. Equal numbers of men and women are affected.

Typically, the first episode occurs in the teens or early 20s. But bipolar disorder can also begin in childhood. Fortunately, kids respond to treatment and can lead normal lives – just like adults with the illness – when it is managed optimally, Gould notes.

“Knowledge is power. Learning everything you can is essential to recovery,” Gould says. “We now have many more tools to help people with bipolar disorder.”

There is a fee to attend. Insurance is accepted. Sign-up by calling Gould at 728-7100, ext. 7. A brief screening interview is required for all participants.

The Gifford Conference Center is on the first floor of the medical center. From patient parking, take the stairs under the green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center. The group meets in the Markle Room.

Gifford Offering a Variety of Trainings for Parents, Children

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center is offering a handful of upcoming trainings aimed at children and families.

On Aug. 8, the Randolph hospital is host to both a “Family and Friends CPR” course and a “Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development” training. Both events are from 6-8 p.m. The non-certification CPR course is offered by Gifford’s Blueprint team in Conference Center. Register by calling 728-7100, ext. 6.

The sexual development course is in The Family Center (beside Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery) and offered by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. The course, aimed at child care providers and parents of young children, focuses on normal sexual development and behaviors in young children, and what both children and adults need to know to keep children safer.

Among the topics to be discussed are how to response to sexual questions and behaviors, and preventing child sexual abuse.

Participants must register by calling Nancy Clark at Gifford at 728-2274.

Clark follows this training with two others – these aimed at children.

On Saturday, Aug. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. a Babysitter’s Training Course will be offered in The Family Center. The course teaches budding babysitters how to be safe, responsible and successful. It covers good business practices, basic care, diapering, safety, play, proper hand washing, handling infants, responding to injuries, decision making in emergencies, action plans and much more.

Communication skills are emphasized along with being a good role model, and participants receive a certification card upon completion of the course and reference notebook to take home. The course is offered by instructor Jude Powers.

Would-be babysitters should sign up with Clark by Aug. 17. There is a $20 fee to participant and participants should bring their lunch.

Finally on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Powers will offer a training for children ages 8-11 called “Home Alone and Safe.”

Designed by chapters of the American Red Cross, this course teaches children how to respond to home alone situations, including Internet safety, family communications, telephone safety, sibling care, personal and gun safety, and basic emergency care. Children will role play, brainstorm, watch a video, take home a workbooks and handouts, and earn a certification upon completion.

The cost to participate is $15. Participants should sign up with Clark, again at 728-2274.

For more information on other upcoming Gifford events, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Randolph Concert Series Begins Tuesday at Gifford

summer concert seriesGifford Medical Center’s summer concert series starts tomorrow (Tuesday, July 16) and continues primarily on Tuesdays throughout the summer. All shows are free and start at 6 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Route 12 park space.

Starting the series is the South Royalton Band, conducted by Dick Ellis and comprised of more than two dozen musicians from central Vermont. One of few surviving town bands in the region, the South Royalton Band is known for playing marches, songs from Broadway, novelties, Dixieland music, patriotic numbers and more. The South Royalton Band plays July 16. The concert is sponsored by The Frankenburg Agency.

The following week on July 23 folk funk band Phineas Gage of Waitsfield takes to the Gifford park. Sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and The Frankenburg Agency, Phineas Gage is an acoustic power band playing “music for happy brains,” including originals and covers from the last 50 years.

On July 30 will be The Lyra Summer Music Workshop, including students and faculty participating in an intensive summer workshop for piano and string musicians. Performed will be a broad array of classical solo and chamber music selections. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

In a rescheduled concert (due to rain), the Friends of Gifford perform on Aug. 1. Performing will be Gifford employees Greg McConnell, Mike Berry and Claudette Goad, who make up Diamonds in the Rough, a blue grass and gospel group. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane.

Songs and standards from Chris Smith and Friends follows on Aug. 6, again sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane. Smith is a local musician, educator and writer.

Panton Flats, a blues, soul, rock and R&B group from Vergennes, plays on Aug. 13. Born out of an impromptu jam session at 2009 benefit concert, Panton Flats has been playing its original and highly “danceable” music around Vermont since. Its Gifford concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

Finally, on Aug. 20, fiddler Beth Telford and guitarist Jim Green visit the Gifford park with their Celtic museum. The concert is sponsored by The Frankenburg Agency.

Bring your lawn chair, picnic blanket, family and friends. Concerts are weather-dependent. Visit www.giffordmed.org or “like” Gifford on Facebook for updates. Gifford and the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to organize the series.

Year in Review – Part 3

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

JULY

Gifford summer concertsGifford’s first in a summer-long series of concerts in the park is led by Dick Ellis and the South Royalton Band.

Experienced certified nurse-midwife Ellen McAndrew returns to Gifford, expanding midwifery care to the Twin River Health Center in White River Junction.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Nazek Shabayek joins the surgery team. She previously practiced for more than 25 years in Tennessee and Connecticut.

Gifford holds the 1st Annual Randolph Antique and Artisans’ Fair in the park.

A Babysitter’s Training Course in The Family Center teaches youth how to be safe, responsible, and successful babysitters.

With the addition of Gifford nurse practitioner Sheri Brown, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin begins offering family care in addition to midwifery, orthopedics, podiatry, and soon neurology.

AUGUST

Family nurse practitioner Andrea LaRosa joins the Sharon Health Center sports medicine team.

A “Home Alone and Safe” course in The Family Center helps children ages 8-11 be better prepared for home-alone situations.

A one-night CPR class is offered to family and friends of infants and children, with subsequent classes in November and February.

Last Mile RideThe seventh annual Last Mile Ride, held on the third Saturday in August, raises $54,000 for end-of-life and advanced illness care. The ride, which this year also includes a 5K, attracts 225 motorcyclists, 60 runners/walkers, and 20 cyclists.

Free classes are offered and soon a support group starts for the state’s many home caregivers.

Healthier Living Workshops – free six-week classes for the chronically ill – are offered through the year at Gifford. A new workshop focuses on chronic pain.

Chiropractor Dr. Andrea Kannas joins the Sharon Health Center’s sports medicine team.

SEPTEMBER

Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian Jennifer Stratton strives to help those on a budget better grapple with eating healthy during a free talk titled “Eating Right When Money’s Tight”. The talk is followed up with visits to the grocery store and local food shelf, where Stratton offers hands-on shopping tips.

The medical center once again ends its fiscal year on budget and having met its state-approved operating margin. It is the 13th consecutive year of fiscal success. This feat is unique to Gifford and representative of its teamwork and commitment to care.

New Healthier Living Workshop begins May 15 in Chelsea

Class focuses on chronic disease self-management and peer support

RANDOLPH – A new Healthier Living Workshop series begins May 15 and continues Wednesdays through June 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Chelsea Health 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 at the Chelsea Health Center at 356 Route 110 in Chelsea.