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.
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.
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.
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.
The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report.
What is a Medical Home?
A 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.
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
“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 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.