April, 2010


SOMC Hosted 10th Annual Love Your Heart

Becky Cooper, RN of SOMC’s Emergency Department assists two kindergarten students in using Doppler to hear their heartbeat during SOMC’s 10th Annual Love Your Heart educational event.

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently hosted the 10th Annual Love Your Heart event, April 20 and 21. Since 2000, the program has used a Wizard of Oz theme to educate more than 10,000 five and six-year-old children about healthy heart habits.

Debbie O’Dell, kindergarten teacher at Portsmouth West, has brought her classes to Love Your Heart since the program started ten years ago. She explained that it’s good for her students to take a field trip and learn outside of the classroom.

“My students love coming to SOMC to learn about their hearts,” O’Dell said. “A lot of people don’t take care of their hearts and I think it’s due to a lack of education. If you teach the students while they are young, then they are more likely to utilize this knowledge as adults.”

When the schools arrived at the SOMC Friends Community Center, they were greeted by the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Dorothy and other characters from the Wizard of Oz. The children learned that the Tin Man received a new heart and that he needs to learn how to take care of it. After the opening program, small groups were led through five different interactive stations where they learned how to feed, see, hear, feel and exercise their hearts.

“By using a storybook theme to present the information, SOMC staff assisted children in developing their cognitive learning skills,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of ICU and program director for Love Your Heart, said. “This approach to teaching has been so successful that in May 2001, the ICU staff received the Seabury and Smith, Inc., Community Service Award, for our efforts in teaching area children about heart health.”

“Love Your Heart stemmed from the education team of the Intensive Care Unit,” Tony Smith, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “I portray Tin Man every year and I really enjoy teaching the students and creating a connection between Tin Man’s heart and theirs.”

Schools from Wheelersburg, Northwest, Stanton, Clay, Notre Dame, South Webster, Green, Valley Portsmouth City and Minford brought 1,150 children to this year’s event. SOMC nursing staff and nursing students from Shawnee State University, Collins Career Center, Pike County, Rio Grande and Ohio University nursing students volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.

“I think Love Your Heart is a great program and good education for kids,” Sarah Fox, SSU student volunteer and nurse resident at SOMC, said. “My niece came last year and she kept talking about how much fun it was.”

“Love Your Heart has proven to be one of the most successful programs conducted for kindergarten-aged children in the Scioto County area,” Aeh added. “We are grateful that SOMC can provide such a wonderful program for our community and we look forward to planning Love Your Heart 2011.”

SOMC Magnet Status Attracts Excellent Nurses

Southern Ohio Medical Center is the first hospital in the tri-state region to achieve the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) highest honor, the Magnet designation, recognizing national excellence in nursing. After obtaining Magnet in January 2008, SOMC has become a member of the elite six percent of hospitals in the U.S. that can claim this distinction.

“In the health care profession, Magnet recognition is an immense honor,” Claudia Burchett, vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer, said.

“It serves as external recognition of the excellent care that we provide to our patients and their families. This achievement was the result of more than 30 months of preparation, 2,000 pages of submitted documentation, a four-day on-site inspection and years of commitment to quality and excellence.”

According to the ANCC, statistics show that nurses who work in Magnet-designated hospitals are more satisfied with their job and the care they provide. Magnet hospitals also have an increased retention rate for nurses – an important factor in light of today’s nursing recruitment challenges.

“I saw a SOMC billboard about Magnet and then I went online to find more information about the facility,” Carolyn White, a new nurse at SOMC, said. “I had previously worked for a Magnet hospital and when my husband and I were looking to relocate, I knew SOMC was the place for me.”

White chose to leave her friends and family to move five hours from her home in Glasgow, Kentucky to the Portsmouth area. She has been a RN in the SOMC Orthopedic and Family Care Unit since November 2009.

“Working at SOMC has made my move a lot easier,” she said. “I think I have my family and friends here now.”

Ruthie Sandala also had a similar situation. She searched and applied online for two years before landing a position in the Same Day Surgery department at SOMC. After previously working for a Magnet organization, Sandala moved from Indianapolis to Portsmouth just to work at SOMC because she knew what Magnet really stands for.

“I know that Magnet means the hospital values their nurses and treats them well,” Sandala said. “And they usually ask the nurses for their opinions before putting policies in place.”

Burchett added that physicians are also attracted to Magnet hospitals. “It’s a sign to them that the hospital is dedicated to hiring and keeping the most qualified nurses,” she said. “We provide an environment where education is vital, and we promote ongoing education, certifications and nursing research.”

The ultimate goal of Magnet recognition, however, is a demonstration to patients of the quality care provided by Magnet hospitals. Independent studies show patients who receive care at Magnet hospitals have a shorter length of stay, improved patient outcomes and higher satisfaction rates. According to the ANCC, “Magnet recognition provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive.”

SOMC to Host Volunteer Recruitment Day

Southern Ohio Medical Center will host a volunteer recruitment day called “A Taste of SOMC Volunteering” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 11 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio. Community members and students ages 15 and older that are interested in volunteering at SOMC are invited to attend.

SOMC volunteers provided more than 51,000 hours of volunteer time in 2009. They assisted in numerous departments throughout the hospital including: the Gift Gallery, Friends Center, administrative offices, nursing floors, the Print Shop, the Cancer Center, Hospice, the LIFE Center and many other areas.

“We have volunteers who do everything from delivering newspapers to tending to families who have just lost a loved one,” Shawn Jordan, administrative director of Community Relations, Friends Community Center and Volunteers, said. “SOMC is very grateful for the countless hours, dedication and smiles the volunteers provide to our patients and their families. They are the heart of our organization.”

The recruitment day will give those interested in volunteering an opportunity to speak with current SOMC volunteers, Guild members, various departments at SOMC and receive free health screenings, eat lunch and enter for a chance to win door prizes.

“If you have three or four hours a week of free time or even the ability to volunteer once or twice a month, volunteering at SOMC may be just what you are looking for,” Jordan added.

SOMC offers several benefits to their volunteers including: convenient work hours, complementary meals, free flu shots, annual award and recognition banquet, reduced rates at the Life Center and monthly activities such as bingo, shopping, etc.

Reservations to attend “A Taste of SOMC Volunteering” are preferred and can be made by calling the Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234.

Anesthesiologist Welcomed at SOMC

Gregory Theodore, MD, an anesthesiologist, has been welcomed to the medical staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center. He is board certified in Anesthesiology.

Dr. Theodore received his medical degree from Rutgers Medical School in Camden, N.J. He completed an internship at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Ohio and a residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Theodore can be reached at 1805 27th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 or by calling (740) 356-8231.

Free Skin Cancer Screenings, May 13

The SOMC Cancer Center will host a free skin cancer screening May 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Volunteers from the Fight Cancer, Save Lives Cancer Coalition will assist physicians and nurses at the Cancer Center during the screening.

“Some cancers never cause symptoms or become life threatening. A screening is a proactive way to remain in touch with your health. A screening test may find something that may be treated early with much better outcomes,” Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of Oncology Services at the Cancer Center, said.

Lawson explained that some skin cancers may be related to over exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

“Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age,” Lawson continued. “Exposure to UV rays from sunlight or tanning beds is the most common and easily preventable cause of skin cancer. Therefore, protection should start in early childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life.”

The risk of skin cancer is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily. Frequently these are people with red or blond hair and blue eyes, Lawson added.

Anyone who spends a majority of their time, either at work or at home, outdoors, exposed to the sun, should consider a skin cancer screening.

“Where you live can also be a risk,” Lawson said. “People who live in areas where there are high levels of UV radiation from the sun are at greater risk of getting skin cancer.”

The screening is free and appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, please call the Southern Ohio Medical Center Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234. There are a limited number of openings available. The Cancer Center is located at 1121 Kinneys Lane, Portsmouth.

SOMC Hike for Hospice May 15

Supporters of SOMC Hospice will participate in the 24th annual Hike for Hospice Saturday, May 15. This non-competitive 5-k “Fun Walk” will begin at the SOMC Hospice Center (East Campus), 2201 25th St., with check-in at 8:30 a.m. and the walk beginning at 9:30.

SOMC Hospice is a non-profit agency offering a special way of caring for those faced with terminal illness. Participants of the hike raise funds by asking friends to sponsor an amount per kilometer walked or giving an outright donation.

Participants also can join in groups of three or more to form teams, presenting banners, shirts or other forms of promotion. Each team receives one complimentary 8×10 photo.

Hikers and supporters will be eligible for prizes and T-shirts will be available for purchase. Awards will be presented at the end of the hike to teams as well as individuals in various categories.

Rest stops will be available along the way and free lunch will be provided by Subway Sandwiches & Salads on Gallia Street in Portsmouth. Other corporate sponsors include Life Ambulance, OSCO and Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Early registration is encouraged but hikers can also register the day of the event. For more information or to purchase a T-shirt please call (740) 353-2567.

Hope Guild Donates to SOMC

The Hope Guild, part of the friends of SOMC, recently donated $15,000 to Southern Ohio Medical Center. To raise the money, the guild held various fundraisers throughout the year, including book sales and an employee sale at Scioto Shoe Mart. The funds will be used to purchase Telehealth monitors for SOMC Home Care patients. Members of the Hope Guild are shown presenting a check to Randy Arnett, president and CEO of SOMC.

SOMC Offers Diabetes Education Program

Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently awarded a $200,000 grant by the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Healthy Ohio/Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction.

The funds will be used toward the implementation of a Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, created to provide immediate access to lifestyle education for people in Scioto County with type 2 diabetes.

“The overwhelming majority of patients diagnosed with diabetes are type 2,” Dr. Phillip Roberts, family practice physician at SOMC, said. “A smaller percentage of patients present as type 1 and an even smaller percentage present with a mixture between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise.”

A native to Portsmouth and a local physician, Dr. Roberts, takes a special interest in diabetes. He trained at Southern Ohio Medical Center and with Dr. Deeb, a former SOMC endocrinologist. His intense training to treat diabetes from an endocrinologist perspective has made him comfortable and knowledgeable of the disease.

“I will be involved in educating the participants of the Diabetes Prevention and Control program,” he said. “During the medication portion of the session, I will explain the different types of medications and insulin options that are available at this time. This will include their benefits, common side effects and the ways that each individual medication works to improve the diabetes process.”

He added, “If patients have a good understanding of the treatments and medications their physician puts them on, they tend to take a more active role in their care.”

Dr. Roberts explained that part of the treatment of diabetes is to comprehend what your body is going through. Nutritional needs, weight loss through diet and exercise, life style changes and prescribed medical therapies are crucial to the treatment of diabetes. He says that the new prevention program will emphasize this importance and provide participants with a key advantage.

“We want to ensure that the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program participants have all the resources necessary to successfully manage the disease on their own once the program is complete,” Jill Preston, workforce development manager at SOMC, said. “Not only will this include one-on-one education time with clinical dieticians, exercise physiologists and diabetes experts, but we will also provide them with many resources to help better manage their diabetes.”

The program will be offered at four locations throughout the county and will be held in conjunction with the Portsmouth City Health Department, the Scioto County Health Department, the Family Health Care Center, Community Action Organization and Shawnee Mental Health. Physician referral for participation is required.

For more information about the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, please speak with your primary care physician or contact the SOMC Diabetes Education Department at 356-2627.

Dr. Roberts is located at SOMC’s Wheelersburg Family Practice, 613 Center Street, Wheelersburg and is currently accepting new patients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 574-0529.

Teamwork at SOMC Leads to Patient Success

Pictured are employees of the Intensive Care Unit at SOMC and patient Walt Barrett during his celebration of recovery before going home.

Walt Barrett, a 34-year-old local restaurant manager, developed flu-like symptoms in September of last year. He prolonged a doctor’s visit and three months later ended up in the emergency department at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Before he knew it, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in life-threatening condition.

“I had not been to a doctor in probably eight years before all this,” Barrett said. “I just thought I would feel better but then my cough turned into pneumonia and then I went into respiratory failure.”

Although his memory is fuzzy throughout the first two months of his hospital stay at SOMC, he does remember spending Christmas and New Years Eve with the staff of the ICU.

“The nurses quietly decorated my room while I was asleep on Christmas Eve. I woke up on Christmas morning and was pleasantly surprised to see my room sparkling with lights and ornaments,” he said. “Then, for New Years Eve, we had a party! We watched the ball drop in Times Square, drank cider and celebrated with confetti.”

Barrett said he was grateful for the nurses, therapists, physicians and many other staff who made him feel at home, especially during the holidays. The large team it took to provide Walt’s care became like a second family to him.

“Walt developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with multi-system organ failure,” Dr. Samer Kseibi, pulmonologist at SOMC, said. “He had a very high mortality rate, almost 100 percent. We didn’t think his complicated condition and lungs would ever recover but we all worked together diligently to keep him alive; the team worked like one pair of hands.”

“Walt came close to death several times but he pulled through,” Michael Hammer, registered nurse in the ICU, said. “He fought just as hard as we did.”

Cindy McQuay, a respiratory therapist at SOMC explained that Walt was put on a ventilator in the beginning and then eventually was weaned off of the machine. He then worked hard with physical, speech, respiratory and rehabilitation therapists to regain his speech and mobility.

After Walt was off the ventilator, he was able to eat for the first time. One nurse was so excited she made homemade mashed potatoes for him.

“We all became emotionally attached to Walt and we didn’t want to give up on him,” McQuay said. “Now he has recovered and my heart melted when I heard him talk for the first time, it’s so rewarding.”

“Walt had been in the ICU for two months. When he left our unit to move to Rehab, we asked him what his goal was,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the ICU, said. “He said he wanted to physically walk back into the ICU and give everyone hugs.”

Three months later, the day before Walt went home, he proudly walked into the ICU. Walt said he had a promise to fulfill as he walked into a room full of teary-eyed caregivers and greeted them with hugs of appreciation.

After a five month stay at SOMC, Walt is now home and in full recovery. He is thankful for his second family and for the excellent care he received at SOMC.

“Walt is one of our success stories at SOMC,” Dr. Sadiq Al-Nakeeb, critical care intensivist at SOMC, said. “And we are very proud of that.”