SOMC Rehab Department to host free hearing screening on May 25

In honor of May being Better Hearing and Speech Month,Southern Ohio Medical Center is hosting a free hearing screening on May 25 in the Rehab Department of the SOMC LIFE Center.

SOMC Audiologist Kristie Thacker is encouraging the public to attend even if they don’t think they have a hearing problem. Screenings can help uncover problems before they become obvious.

“Whether you think you’re experience hearing loss or not, it’s a good idea to come to screenings like this,” Thacker said. “A lot of people have hearing loss and really don’t do anything about it. It happens gradually, so they may not even notice it right away.”

It is also a good idea to have children tested, especially if parents are concerned that their child isn’t talking. SOMC will also have speech therapists at the event.

An estimated 28 million Americans live with hearing loss that can be treated. Audiologists can prescribe hearing aids and assistancelistening devices. They can also teach people with hearing loss how to concentrate on hearing all sounds.

“Even a very slight hearing loss can have an impact on your daily life,” Rehabilitation Center Director Kevin Stimpert said. “Hearing loss is treatable, and there is no reason for anyone to miss all the important sounds of life.”

In addition to services for those with difficulty hearing the SOMC Speech and Hearing Center offers a wide range of Speech-Language therapy services.

“Our Speech-Language Pathologists offer comprehensive evaluation and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders,” Stimpert said. “Services are provided to children and adults for communication problems due to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, radiation treatments or neurological diseases, delayed speech and language development, difficulty saying particular sounds, stuttering, voice problems and swallowing difficulty.”

For more information, or to schedule an appointment for the free hearing screening, contact the SOMC LIFE Center’s Rehab Department at 740-356-7554.

Khoury, Barber and Wakefield continue perfecting their craft

When it comes to peripheral stenting at Southern Ohio Medical Center, as is the case with most things, there have been plenty of changes over the years. Technology has changed and the list of offered procedures has grown.  The size of the staff has expanded as well.

Peripheral stenting is a minimally invasive procedure where a catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into a peripheral artery (arteries in the lower abdomen, kidneys, neck, arms, legs or feet) and inflated to compress plaque buildup.  A stent is then placed in the vessel to keep the vessel open to maintain necessary blood flow. This procedure is performed in a state-of-the-art cardiovascular catheterization laboratory.

In its infancy, back in the 1980’s, the SOMC Cath Lab operated with a three person staff.  Radiologic Technologist, Andy Barber and nurse Mary Ann Wakefield were two of the lab’s original members, but Barber credits the arrival of its third member with truly advancing the art of stenting.

“Things really started progressing in 1993 when Dr. Thomas Khoury came,” Barber said. “He pushed the envelope and we started doing a lot more than what we were doing at that time. As the procedures have evolved, he’s stayed current and up to date on everything.”

Together, the trio of Khoury, Barber and Wakefield became peripheral endovascular pioneers. They were among the area’s first to offer these services by a dedicated team and Wakefield became the county’s first nurse certified in radiology.

“For our patients, our experience is very important,” Dr. Khoury said. “We’ve done over 4,000 procedures.  That experience, our state of the art technology, and the harmonious work of the staff lowers the risk of complications and ensures excellent outcomes for our patients.”

SOMC Hike for Hospice to take place on May 19

The 26th annual Hike for Hospice will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19 at the SOMC Hospice Center. Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m.

“Hike for Hospice provides our community with a wonderful opportunity to honor their loved ones while making a difference in the lives of current hospice patients,” Teresa Ruby, director of SOMC Hospice, said.

Hike for Hospice also helps raise valuable funds for SOMC Hospice. Participants of the hike raise funds by asking friends to sponsor an amount per kilometer walked or by giving an outright donation.

“The money we generate goes into a fund that helps cover things that might not be covered by a patient’s insurance, if they have insurance at all. For chronically ill patients, for example, the funds can go towards things like electric bills, gas bills and handicap ramps,” Ruby said. “We also celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and accommodate special wishes for our patients.”

Participants can join in groups of three or more, presenting banners, shirts or other forms of team-promotion. Each team willreceive one complimentary 8×10 photo and all hikers and supporters will be eligible for various prizes, which will be presented at the end of the hike.

Hike for Hospice shirts are available and can be purchased in the Hospice Office of the Gibson Building on SOMC’s East Campus. Cost per shirt is $12 for sizes S—XL or $13 for sizes XXL—XXXL in white, orange or teal. Cash, check and payroll deduction will be accepted.

Early registration is encouraged for the event but hikers can also register the day of. For more info, please call 740-356-2643 or 740-356-2653.

SOMC nurses driven by a passion to help others

Nursing is a field unlike any other. It is physically and emotionally demanding and requires those who accept its challenges to be driven by more than monetary gain.

Lisa McGowan, Amy Montgomery and Nicholas Erlenwein are all nurses at Southern Ohio Medical Center. McGowan is an RN Case Manager, Montgomery a HomeCare Clinical Coordinator and Erlenwein a circulating nurse in surgery.

Their jobs may be different, but their motivations are the same: They are driven by a desire to make a difference.

“I think it’s just something that’s inside of you,” Montgomery said. “Health care is just something that felt like a calling for me.”

SOMC, and other healthcare facilities nationwide, honored those who hear that calling during National Nurses Week. Nurses Week beginsevery year on May 6 and concludes May 12, which is also the birthday of Florence Nightengale. Nightengale is known as the founder of modern nursing.

“National Nurses Week is an important event for our hospital because it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the individuals who dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of others,” Claudia Burchett, chief nursing office and vice president of SOMC Patient Services, said.

Montgomery and McGowan joined SOMC in 1990s, but have worked in health care for longer than that. They believe there is a dedication forexcellent care at SOMC that sets the hospital apart.

“SOMC is full of caring people. They care deeply for the patients, and they care deeply for their employees,” McGowan said.

Erlenwein has been at SOMC for six years and has already developed close relationships with his co-workers, as well as with his patients.

“This surgery’s like a big family to me,” Erlenwein. “We work so closely together that you form bonds and friendships. There are also relationships you form with the patients. They’re trusting their lives with you, and you want to do everything you can to take care of them.”

For SOMC nurses, the knowledge that they make such a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients is perhaps the most fulfilling part of the job. For those who answer its call, Montgomery believes that nursing can be one of the most rewarding professions there is.

“You get fulfillment out of every day that you go to work,” Montgomery said.

SOMC to host ‘Tri For Your LIFE’ sprint triathlon on August 12

Southern Ohio Medical Center has announced a new challenge for local athletes and fitness enthusiasts – the ‘Tri For Your LIFE’ sprint triathlon.

The triathlon is scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m. on August 12 at the SOMC LIFE Center. Prior to the actual event, prospective participants are invited to take advantage of a 12-week training program, which begins May 29, to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

The triathlon was the idea of SOMC’s Dr. Marion Hochstetler, who will also be participating.

“Any triathlon is always a challenge, but it’s also very rewarding,” Dr. Hochstetler said. “SOMC’s sprint triathlon is designed to be short enough for beginners, but it’s still challenging enough to test seasoned athletes.”

‘Tri For Your LIFE’ is a new program for SOMC and includes a 200m swim, a 20K bike ride and a 5K run. In addition to individual competitions, there is also a relay offered for three person teams.

In previous years, SOMC’s ‘Run For Your LIFE,’ which also seeks to improve health and wellness in southern Ohio, has received excellent community support. Approximately 250 individuals show up each year for thatevent.

“I’m personally very excited for this event, and I’m looking forward to seeing the community participate as well,” Dr. Hochstetler said. “It’s a great way for people to get together and have a good time. It’s also a great way to begin making a serious commitment to improving your health andquality of life.”

For additional information on the sprint triathlon or available training, contact the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650. Participants can also register online at www.hfpracing.com. SOMC is offering a special $45 discounted rate for individuals who registerprior to July 29. After July 29, registration is $55.

SOMC hosts Nurse’s Day event at Friends Center

Nearly 50 high school students considering a career in healthcare got the opportunity to take a closer look at their dream jobs during Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Nursing Camp event at the SOMC Friends Center.

Nurse Recruiter Katy Stephens said the event helps students decide whether or not they want to enter the healthcare field. For those who do, it also offers insight into numerous nursing specialties.

“The students in attendance learn more about surgical nursing, maternity nursing, cardiac nursing and emergency nursing as well as community health and wellness,” Stephens said. “When the weather allows it, we even bring in a helicopter and give them a glimpse into flight nursing.”

SOMC invited four students each from 15 local high schools to the event. Guidance counselors were tasked with selecting which students to send. Among those in attendance was Minford sophomore Olivia Thoroughman, 16, who said she enjoyed the hands-on elements of Nursing Camp.

“I enjoyed the surgical segment and being able to use the simulation tools,” Thoroughman said.

In addition to encouraging the interest of students like Thoroughman, SOMC also helps aspiring healthcare providers by explaining the various routes they can take to become a nurse. SOMC also offers financial assistance for nursing school to employees.

Stephens said that SOMC’s Nursing Camp event is continuing to grow and receive positive feedback. In fact, the students are consistently asking for more.

“The most common things we hear is that they want to go into the actual hospital and see the work we do first-hand,” Stephens said. “That feedback led us to pass out flyers for shadowing opportunities at SOMC this year.”

Although they may not be able to engage in patient care as high school students, events like Nursing Camp are meant to help put them on the path to doing just that later in life.

SOMC, Red Cross hosting blood drive on May 3

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the American Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive on May 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Suite 207 of the SOMC Waller Building, located on the main campus.

The public is encouraged to participate in the blood drive, and all donors will be entered into a drawing to receive free Toro Loco lunch coupons. Those wishing to participate must present a photo ID that includes both their first and last name, be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. Participants with tattoos or sterile piercings will be accepted as long as the tattoos or piercings were administered in a licensed facility in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana.

Appointments are necessary, though walk-ins will be accepted. To schedule an appointment or to receive more information, please visit www.RedCrossBlood.org or call 740-356-8118.

Cochenour donates Hoops for Hope proceeds to SOMC Hospice

For the second consecutive year, Marty Cochenour has donated the proceeds from the Richard Cochenour Hoops for Hope Memorial Benefit to SOMC Hospice. This year’s donation totaled $4800. The benefit, named in honor of Marty Cochenour’s late father, included a variety of events, such as a Chinese auction, a 50/50 drawing and an NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball party. Last year, Cochenour donated $3,100 to Hospice. Teresa Ruby, left, is seen accepting this year’s $4800 donation from Marty Cochenour, right, on behalf of SOMC Hospice.

SOMC, American Cancer Society teaming up to provide cancer support groups

Southern Ohio Medical Center, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, is now offering a variety of support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones.

“‘Look Good… Feel Better’ is an ongoing support group that helps patients deal with the way cancer can alter their appearance,” Anna Cardenas of the American Cancer Society said. “We’re there to support our patients with everything from wigs to prosthetics.”

‘Look Good… Feel Better’ participants meet at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the SOMC Cancer Center’s Central Conference Room. The meetings are open to the public though registration is required. According to Cardenas, the meetings can be quite uplifting for the patientsinvolved.

“It’s such an amazing thing. You’ll see people go in there and, before the meeting is over, they’re having a party,” Cardenas said.

Families dealing with cancer will often require support more often than once a month, however. That’s where the Reach to Recovery Program comes in.

The Reach to Recovery Program is for breast cancer patients, and it works by connecting patients with specially trained volunteers who have dealt with similar treatments and conditions.

“SOMC and the American Cancer Society are working to provide the best support structure possible for breast cancer patients,” Cardenas said. “We do that by connecting current patients with others who have been down the same road.”

The only thing a patient needs to do to participate in the Reach to Recovery Program is call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. From there, volunteers will begin working to provide patients with the support they require.

To learn more about support groups available to cancerpatients, contact the SOMC Cancer Center at 740-356-7490. To register to participate in ‘Look Good… Feel Better,’ call 1-800-395-LOOK.