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.

Pulling Together in the Face of Natural Disaster: Braintree

Braintree's response to Irene

Volunteers, including LaRae Francis and Carol Blodgett from Gifford’s lab,
stand in front of a burn pile at the site of Ken Perry’s former Thayer Brook Road
home in Braintree.

The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report.

Brenda Wright from Gifford’s Environmental Services Department was standing in boyfriend Ken Perry’s Thayer Brook Road home when it began to break apart. Irene’s torrential rain caused Thayer Brook to sweep over its banks, taking away much of Ken’s Braintree land, including that which supported the house.

They lost nearly everything, and on Oct. 28 – exactly two months after the flood – demolished the ruined home.

A group, including LaRae Francis, Carol Blodgett and Robin Palmer from Gifford, arrived the next morning to help pick up remaining debris to be trashed or burned. LaRae brought a group from her church. Carol hadn’t yet been to sleep after her night shift in the lab.

Not Just a Medical Center; A Medical Home

The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report. 

What is a Medical Home?

medical homeA medical home is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that builds partnerships between patients, their physicians and, when appropriate, their families.

The American Academy of Pediatrics was at the forefront of the medical home movement, detailing decades ago that every child needed a place where care was accessible, ongoing, patient and family-centered, of high quality, coordinated, and compassionate.

Today, those philosophies have been expanded to adults as they’ve been adopted by family practice and other health care associations.

In fact, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a non-profit dedicated to improving health care quality, is now recognizing qualifying medical practices as Patient-Centered  Medical Homes.

medical center

Bethel Health Center family physician Dr. Terry Cantlin talks with patient Eileen Strickland-Holtham of South Royalton during a routine exam. The Bethel Health Center is one of five Gifford practices recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home.

Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Achieving the Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition is part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health’s goals for all primary care providers in the state.

The hope is to improve primary care so patients are getting regular needed care and other supports to maintain their health before facing more costly emergency or inpatient care.

“The medical home adopts a ‘whole person’ approach to primary care, encompassing medical, behavioral and self-management support,” says Gifford Blueprint Project Coordinator LaRae Francis. “It’s the entire health care team wrapping its arms around the patient to provide the support and resources he or she needs to manage his or her health
conditions.

“It aims to keep people healthier, enhance their quality of life and benefit them financially, both through reduced health care costs and secondary costs such as missed work.”

In 2011, each of Gifford’s primary care practices – the Gifford Health Center at Berlin’s pediatrics practice, the Bethel Health Center, the Chelsea Health Center, Gifford primary care in Randolph and the Rochester Health Center – was recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home following inspections by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The health centers, which serve a total 21,540 patients, each formed quality improvement teams to address expectations for a Patient-Centered Medical Home, primarily through honing and streamlining systems. Among those expectations, or standards, were access to care, communication, such as through timely callbacks to patients and tracking referrals and tests, such as lab results to ensure they are communicated back to the patient.

The process, says Vice President of Medicine Teresa Voci, allowed the health centers to identify and correct problems. It’s all work done behind the scenes, but also all work that makes care more timely for patients.

Labs, X-rays and referrals to specialists are all now better tracked to ensure the patient and the primary care provider know the results of those exams, notes Chelsea Health Center site manager and nurse Travis Worthen. Providers are also more often meeting with patients to go over results.

And the patient is increasingly a bigger part of the health care team.

“Historically, medicine has always told patients what to do and now medicine is really turning toward engaging the patient in a partnership for health outcomes,” Teresa explains.

Blueprint project coordinator

Blueprint Project Coordinator LaRae Francis has headed up efforts to implement the Vermont Blueprint for Health at Gifford and in the larger Randolph Health Service Area.

The work doesn’t stop with Gifford.

With the medical center’s primary care locations now all recognized, LaRae, as Blueprint coordinator for the Randolph Health Service Area (a Blueprint-defined area spanning from Randolph to White River Junction), is now looking outside of Gifford. She’s reaching out to White River Family Practice in Wilder and the South Royalton Health Center.

She hopes to help these private health centers also earn the recognition, further improving patient care in our region.

Free Men’s Health Talk Provides Expert Advice in Comfortable Setting

Gifford Medical Center general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli

Gifford Medical Center general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli and urologist Dr. Richard Graham will lead a free men’s health talk on June 6 on colorectal health, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

The talk will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center with free pizza and refreshments served at 5:30 p.m.

The talk aims to raise awareness of men’s health issues and preventable conditions, such as colon cancer, in a comfortable atmosphere, says Rebecca O’Berry, Gifford vice president of surgery.

“Both of our physicians are very approachable and personable and are able to find the humorous side of these topics,” O’Berry said. “I’m thrilled that we have two surgeons who are gifted, passionate, and so easy to talk to.”

Dr. Ciccarelli has been a general surgeon for more than 20 years, providing surgical care and colonoscopies at Gifford since 2007.

Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States and Vermont.

Colorectal cancer develops from polyps that grow – silently, unseen and unfelt – on the inside wall of the colon. Many polyps will never become cancer, but some will over the years.

A colonoscopy can both detect and prevent colorectal cancer. This is because during a colonoscopy, these polyps are removed in their precancerous state or before disease can be felt, preventing the onset or the spread of the disease. And when found early, colorectal cancer is highly curable.

Without colonoscopies, it is not until polyps become cancerous, grow large, and block the colon or break through the colon wall that colon cancer symptoms are evident.

“This is one area of medicine where we can actually prevent disease, extend lives, and improve quality of life,” says Dr. Ciccarelli, who will also discuss other common colorectal health issues, such as diverticulosis, anal fissures, and hemorrhoids.

Dr. Richard Graham

Gifford’s new urologist, Dr. Richard Graham

A renowned urologist, Dr. Graham has been practicing urology for 28 years and has performed surgeries around the world. He joined Gifford’s urology practices in Randolph and at the Twin River Health Center in White River Junction last year, bringing new procedures to the hospital.

An urologist specializes in diseases of the male and female urinary tract as well as male reproductive organs. Dr. Graham will consequently talk about common male reproductive ailments, including prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

In Vermont, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death, according to the Vermont Department of Health. Nationally, about one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is 67.

Treatment for prostate cancer can sometimes cause erectile dysfunction, a condition that affects millions of men in the United States and can be a sign of more serious disease.

Dr. Graham will address how prostate cancer is diagnosed and treatment options, and what works for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. He’ll also discuss the controversy over PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests for men, when they should be performed, what they mean, and why doctors order the screening.

“It’s a serious subject,” Dr. Graham says of the talk that he has given around the world, “but it’s also interactive.”

The event is open to men of all ages and to couples. There is no cost to attend but registration is encouraged. Call 728-2104 by May 30 to sign-up.

Gifford is an American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer nationally accredited cancer program. The hospital is located at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12 south of the village) in Randolph. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked by a green awning. Learn more online at www.giffordmed.org.