RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center employees have raised $495 for the March of Dimes by wearing “Blue Jeans for Babies” on Friday.
The Randolph medical center and its clinics participate each year around St. Patrick’s Day in the fund-raiser, which allows employees who donate $5 to the March of Dimes to wear jeans to work for the day.
This year nearly 100 employees participated.
The March of Dimes is the nation’s leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health. It raises funds through a variety of events to help prevent birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.
“Gifford is pleased to be able to partner with the March of Dimes on initiatives to support prenatal and infant health,” said Robin Palmer, a member of Gifford’s Marketing Department who organized the hospital’s effort. “Employees appreciate the opportunity to both support a great cause and wear jeans to work.”
Roger Clapp, March of Dimes Vermont Chapter director, thanked hospital employees for their participation and noted that with this support Vermont has become the leading state in the nation in reducing premature birth. “Your support is paying off for thousands of Vermont families who are welcoming home stronger, healthier babies,” he said.
Other businesses wishing to wear “Blue Jeans for Babies” can contact the March of Dimes here in Vermont at (802) 560-3239.
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.
“Medicare – Ready 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 →
Gifford series opens conversation on death and dying to grief and how it transforms us.
RANDOLPH – During a memorial for the British victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Queen Elizabeth II called grief “the price we pay for love.”
Gifford Medical Center explores that theme in the third part of a free educational series on death and dying on April 4 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.
“Grief: The Price We Pay for Love” will feature chaplains The Rev. Tim Eberhardt of Gifford and The Rev. Mary Lewis Webb of the VA Medical Center as well as stories from several community members on personal loss and grief.
Organized by Gifford mental health practitioner and Advanced Illness Care Team member Cory Gould, a licensed psychologist, the discussion, she says, is not about the stages of grief or evidence-based interventions. “It’s really about what grief means, why we grieve, how we grieve and how grief might transform us,” Gould says.
“In the grief process, you get to experience the depth of feelings you had for the one you lost. At its best, grief has the power to deepen our lives.”
Someone who is grieving might ponder questions about “what is life?” and “what is death?” Considering these questions is where change can happen and individuals can grow from their loss, says Gould.
At a minimum, talking about grief normalizes and validates how an individual is feeling. It also becomes easier to talk about death and loss the more we do it, Gould says.
RANDOLPH – Each March Gifford Medical Center’s corporators gather to review the year past. This year, the 107th Annual Meeting of the Gifford Corporators has been postponed, but the hospital did not want to delay in sharing a few of 2012’s many successes and some plans for the future.
The meeting will be rescheduled, allowing for corporators to hold their annual business meeting, elect new board members and discuss health care reform.
Year in review
The end of the 2012 fiscal year marked another year “in the black” for Gifford. This is the 13thconsecutive year the medical center has achieved both its budget and operating margin – a feat unheard of at other Vermont hospitals.
The year also brought numerous awards and recognitions for the medical center. The Vermont House of Representatives honored Gifford with a legislative resolution of support and thanks. The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center, Gifford’s day care, once again earned five STARS from the Vermont STep Ahead Recognition System.
The Menig Extended Care Facility nursing home was named a 2012 Best Nursing Home and an Honor Roll nursing home by U.S. News and World Report – the latter naming it one of the best 39 nursing homes in the country. (Menig just last month earned a 2013 Best Nursing Home recognition once again). Menig also received the state’s Nursing Home Quality Recognition.
The March of Dimes recognized Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth and newborn care. Long-time pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the first-ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont. Gifford was awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for courtesy and compassion.
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
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
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.
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.
The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report. Our 2012 Annual Report will be out soon.
Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino meets in Gifford primary care with patient Cheryl Abbey of Randolph.
The Vermont Blueprint for Health is a state-led initiative aimed at improving care coordination, especially for the chronically ill. The goals of the initiative are to improve health, enhance the patient experience and reduce, or at least control, health care costs.
This is accomplished through what the Blueprint is calling “advanced primary care” that seamlessly coordinates a broad range of health and human services for patients and their families.
In 2011, the Vermont Blueprint for Health came to life at Gifford. Each of the medical center’s primary care practices was recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home and a huge care coordination effort got under way to meet patients’ diverse needs.
The care coordination effort, which is supported in part by grant dollars, is twofold. First, Gifford formed its own small care coordination team made up of three core employees; Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino, Gifford Diabetes Educator Jennifer Stratton and
Health Connections Caseworker Michele Packard. Second, a larger Community Health Team consisting of a diverse group of state and regional community housing, aging and disability agencies as well as eye care professionals, a pharmacy, insurers and more, was formed.
Blueprint core team members – Health Connections caseworker Michele Packard and diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton – meet weekly with Blueprint Care Coordinator Keith Marino at the Bethel Health Center to discuss individual patients and how to better serve them.
The Community Health Team meets quarterly while a care coordination team meets weekly. More importantly, referrals are bouncing back and forth between the agencies and teams ensuring patients are getting the services they need to maintain and improve their health. Keith coordinates this work, meeting directly with patients, spending time in each
of Gifford’s Patient-Centered Medical Homes, conferring with health care providers and helping patients access needed services.
Patients and community members are referred to Keith for a huge variety of reasons. They may need help managing chronic conditions, be struggling socio-economically, need mental health assistance, be disabled or elderly, have housing or transportation needs or just need help navigating the health system.
The Blueprint provides that help directly or refers them to an appropriate community agency. The help comes in the form of one-on-one meetings with Keith and outreach on his part to get the patient connected with needed resources.
“My role is to make sure patients are getting access to proper services, which enables them to self-manage their chronic condition,” Keith says.
Medicine Division Vice President Teresa Voci gives the example of a chronically ill patient who, because of financial pressures, has to choose between food and medication. Without medication, their health suffers. With the Blueprint services, their health care provider has a central resource to offer the patient for those issues that fall outside the health care setting but are barriers to care, like help with finding resources to buy food and medications.
Kim Flood of Barre is a real life example.
All three of Kim’s sons were diagnosed with asthma. The younger two, ages 4 and 1, were especially sick, including being hospitalized. Kim thought she knew the problem – mold in her Barre apartment.
Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Lou DiNicola referred Kim to the Blueprint. “Keith helped us find someone to do mold testing, help us with legal aid,” Kim says, “and he got city officials to come to the apartment. I had tried for months to get the housing inspector and building inspector to our house. I just got the runaround from everyone.”
With the mold verified and the help of legal aid, Kim settled with the landlord and in October moved into a home she bought in Barre Town on nine acres.
The kids haven’t been sick since.
Kim is one of 230 referrals Gifford’s Blueprint team has received since Keith was hired and the program got under way in February, notes Blueprint Project Coordinator LaRae Francis. Most of the referrals are from primary care providers, like Dr. Terry Cantlin of the Bethel Health Center.
“He’s been invaluable,” says Dr. Cantlin of Keith, who does the work primary care physicians simply do not have time to do in their busy practices.
Now if a patient is not taking their medication due to financial pressures, is missing needed appointments because of transportation issues or struggling with social issues – all scenarios Dr. Cantlin sees – he now has a one-stop resource for the patient.
It also prevents patients unaware of available community resources from “falling through the cracks,” says Mary Ellen Otis, executive director of the Orange County Parent Child Center in Chelsea.
That center, which provides a vast array of family services from new baby visits to parenting education, is part of the Community Health Team and refers clients to Gifford as well as gets referrals from the hospital. Under the new coordinated effort, Mary Ellen says, referrals are now far more efficient.
Maryette Withington can attest to that.
The Barnard resident has a relative with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cantlin referred Maryette to Keith for help learning more about the disease. He met with her at the Bethel Health Center and connected her with the Randolph Area Senior Center and the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Within 24 hours Maryette had information in her hands about the disease that she says has changed everything in her life.
“You’re totally responsible for that person. I just needed to know what to expect.”
She will have an ongoing relationship with the association and also continues to receive help from Keith, Dr. Cantlin and her Gifford health care team. It’s help she appreciates. “I have the best health care team in the world,” she says.
Need help yourself? Call the Blueprint Care Coordinator at (802) 728-2499.
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.
Free event focuses on eye care, shopping on a budget and more
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
Waterbury Woman Donates Vermont Paintings, Photos to Gifford in Daughter’s Memory
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.