SOMC’s Sammons Receives Degree

Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of Health and Safety at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has received a Master’s of Science Degree in Safety, Security and Emergency Management with a concentration in Occupational Safety from Eastern Kentucky University.

A native of Gallipolis and daughter of Ron and Jean Ann Lemon, Sammons is a 1988 graduate of Gallia Academy High School, received her Associate in Applied Science degree in Legal Assisting in 1990 and her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies in 1992 from Marshall University.

Sammons has been employed at SOMC for almost 11 years and resides in South Shore, Kentucky, with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Raigan, 13, and Carson, 4.

SOMC Rehab Helps Break Communication Barriers

Imagine you need to yell for help, but the words won’t come out of your mouth.

Communication barriers may result from conditions such as stroke, brain injury, or disease. Patients may have trouble expressing thoughts or cannot find the right words to say. They may not be able to understand verbal or written language, reason and judge, or solve problems.

“About 10 percent of the American population has a communication disorder,” Kevin Stimpert, executive director of Rehabilitation Services, said.

“In addition to medicine and surgery, the effects of communication disorders on individuals can be minimized through rehabilitation and education. Speech and hearing specialists help individuals untangle the twisted messages that limit their ability to comprehend or express thoughts. We also help them learn new ways to produce speech, and regain the ability to put words together.”

In May, SOMC observes Better Hearing and Speech Month and acknowledges speech pathologists, audiologists and other professionals who work with people with communication challenges. Therapists at SOMC include Jody Cooper, SLP; LuAnn Lashley, SLP; Stephanie Willis, SLP; Ginger Wright, SLP, and Kristie Thacker, AUD.

“Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), in particular, have the challenging job of helping people recover competence in communication,” Stimpert explained. “SLPs assess and treat all types of communication disorders, as well as swallowing disorders, and give patients and families the tools to overcome these difficulties.”

Stimpert said SLPs help patients use remaining skills and, when necessary, learn alternative communication.

“We often forget that we not only communicate by speaking, but also by gesturing, writing, drawing, reading, and our facial expressions. Speech therapists also evaluate a patient’s ability to solve problems he or she might encounter after returning home.”

Many patients with conditions such as stroke, brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease have swallowing disorders. The speech therapist evaluates the patient’s feeding and swallowing to provide effective treatment, which may be as simple as altering a person’s head or body position during swallowing or coughing or eliminating certain food textures. Other individuals may need to learn new ways to swallow.

For additional information on services at SOMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, call Brett Lacey at (740) 356-7438.

Grief Support Focuses On Living Alone

SOMC Hospice is offering a four-week grief support group that is focused on cooking for one, staying healthy, socialization and will give participants the opportunity share in educational discussions about the grieving process. Participants will be encouraged to share memories, questions and concerns with others that have experienced the same loss and are struggling with the reality of learning to live alone.

Meetings will be held every Tuesday in June beginning at 5 p.m. June 3 in the Hospice Conference Room of the Gibson Building on the SOMC East Campus, 2201 25th St.

Space is limited, so registration is necessary. Call Susan Goins at 356-2676.

Hospice Hike Draws 560 Walkers

The 22nd Annual Hike for Hospice attracted 560 walkers Saturday, May 17 to support SOMC Hospice, the program for the terminally ill, by participating in a 5-k “fun walk” through residential Portsmouth. The participants raised approximately $36,000 in funds for the program, and were treated to refreshments by Subway and Life Ambulance.

SOMC’s Skaggs Speaks At National Conference

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA-BC, Director of Nursing for Emergency and Outpatient Services, recently spoke at ACI’s Fourth National Conference on Improving and Expanding Emergency Department Services in Washington D.C., April 30-May2, 2008.

Skagg’s discussed “10 Years and 10 Winning Service Strategies for Your Emergency Department – All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” She has been an employee of Southern Ohio Medical Center for more than 25 years, and the Director of Nursing for Emergency & Outpatients Services at SOMC for the past 14 years.

Service Guild Supports SOMC Heart Education

Members of the Service Guild, part of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently presented a $1,000 donation to the SOMC Love Your Heart program, which uses a Wizard of Oz theme to teach five- and six-year-olds how to create and maintain a healthy heart. The presentation was made during the annual event, which was held April 1, 2 and 3 at the SOMC Friends Community Center.

Shown at the presentation are Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the SOMC Intensive Care Unit; Tony Smith, assistant nurse manager of the SOMC ICU; Lora Maddix, RN and program coordinator; Freda Villiter, guild member; Alicia Fink, RN; Joyce Craig, guild member; Tami Peach, RN; Maxine Arnett, guild member; Korina Echinlaub, nurse educator of the SOMC ICU; and Teresa Barnett, RN.

PALS Support SOMC ‘Love Your Heart’

Members of the Portsmouth Area Ladies (PALS) recently presented a $1,000 donation to the Love Your Heart program at Southern Ohio Medical Center, which uses a Wizard of Oz theme to teach five- and six-year-olds how to create and maintain a healthy heart. The presentation was made during the annual event, which was held April 1, 2 and 3 at the SOMC Friends Community Center.

Shown at the presentation are Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the SOMC Intensive Care Unit; Tony Smith, assistant nurse manager of the SOMC ICU; Lora Maddix, RN and program coordinator; Freda Billiter, PALS member; Brenda Thacker, PALS member; Alicia Fink, RN; Maxine Arnett, PALS member; Tami Peach, RN; Teresa Barnett, RN; and Korina Echinlaub, nurse educator of the SOMC ICU.

Ohio National Guard Honors SOMC For Supporting Troops

Brigadier General Matthew L. Kambic, Assistant Adjutant General for the Ohio Army National Guard, visited Portsmouth Monday, May 12, hosted by Col. Terry Johnson, DO, flight surgeon and commander of the Ohio Medical Command for the Guard.

Gen. Kambic came to honor Southern Ohio Medical Center as a strong supporter of the Guard and its members, and publicly thank SOMC President Randy Arnett for supporting Col. Johnson, who is a member of SOMC’s medical staff and director of the Family Practice Residency Program at the hospital.

“We’ve deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in the global war on terror and none come out of Ohio without going through Dr. Johnson’s hands,” Gen. Kambic said during a presentation to Arnett. “We just deployed four brigades and the troops from Ohio performed so well everyone wants to know what Ohio is doing. It’s the talent and teamwork that Terry and his team have built.”

Gen. Kambic thanked Arnett for supporting Col. Johnson during two deployments to the Middle East and a future deployment next spring. He presented SOMC a lithographic plaque featuring command coins from Adjutant General, Major General Gregory L. Wayt, Gen. Kambic and Command Sergeant Major William L. Gilliam of the Guard.

“SOMC employees have a strong tradition of service to our country and we thank our men and women like Dr. Johnson and the many others who serve in our armed forces,” Arnett said. “We’re proud to be an employer of many who give this highest commitment.”

Dr. Johnson added that the support coming from an employer is often invaluable for a soldier in the field.

“The last thing a soldier should have to worry about when risking his or her life is whether there will be a job waiting when the tour is over,” he said. “It’s a critical concern and I feel very blessed to have SOMC’s support during my service.”

Hope Guild Presents $10,000 for SOMC Projects

Members of the Hope Guild, part of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently presented SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett with a check for $10,000 raised through the group’s annual fundraisers. The donation was presented during the Volunteer Luncheon, which took place April 17 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, and will benefit projects throughout the hospital.