SOMC Hospice conducts first veterans pinning ceremonyPosted on October 8, 2016

Hospice PinningWebSOMC Hospice recently conducted its first “veterans pinning ceremony” since becoming a national partner of We Honor Veterans in September. The recipient of this pinning was Ralph Bell, a veteran of the war in Vietnam.

The ceremony, which was attended by Bell’s friends and family as well as multiple SOMC Hospice staff members, was conducted by Army Sergeant Josh Lucas. During the ceremony, Lucas presented Bell with a certificate of recognition, a personalized note and an honorary “veteran” lapel pen.

“Honoring our veterans for their service to our country and our community is important to us,” SOMC Coordinator of Hospice Relations Scott Hilbert said. “We want all of our veteran patients, just like Ralph, to be recognized for their service. By partnering with We Honor Veterans and conducting ceremonies for patients and their families, we are able to give back to our community.”

We Honor Veterans is a campaign that focuses on implementing veteran-centered education for hospice staff and volunteers in order to improve care provided to veterans. SOMC Hospice intends to conduct additional pinning ceremonies to honor other veterans that are receiving hospice care.

For more information, or to find out how to become involved with upcoming We Honor Veterans pinning ceremonies, call 740-356-2657.

Ways to lower your risk of breast cancerPosted on October 2, 2016

We have all heard it – what we eat, what we do, how we live may have an effect on our risk of getting breast cancer. We can’t alter family history, but according to research, there are some things we can change that help lower our risk. Here is a list compiled by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Don’t smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. Besides, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
  • Breast-feed. Breast-feeding might play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
  • Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options.
  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. Generally it’s recommended to limit yourself to less than 1 drink per day as even small amounts increase risk.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet might decrease your risk of some types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. For example, women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts might have a reduced risk of breast cancer. The Mediterranean diet focuses on mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. People who follow the Mediterranean diet choose healthy fats, like olive oil, over butter and fish instead o f red meat.
  • Living a healthier lifestyle may reduce the risk of breast cancer, but always be vigilant about detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history.

SOMC’s Rehab Program Receives CARF AccreditationPosted on September 23, 2016

SOMC’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Program has received CARF (Commission of Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation. The accreditation is for a period of three years for both the adult Inpatient Rehab Program and Stroke Specialty Program.

“This is the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization,” said Regina Keller, program director and nurse manager of the Inpatient Rehab Program. “It shows the organization’s excellent performance and adherence to CARF standards. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process.  The program has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.”

“We are very proud of this accreditation,” said Dr. Danielle Forster, medical director of the rehabilitation program. “It serves as validation for our ongoing efforts to maintain an excellent Rehab program.”

VeraFlow coming to Portsmouth LIFE CenterPosted on September 21, 2016

Dance, stretch and find your true flow with VeraFlow – a class unlike any other you have ever experienced.

In VeraFlow, you stretch your body and train your mind to the rhythm of music. The experience leaves you feeling completely relaxed and content. It will be added to the Portsmouth Group Fitness schedule on Mondays starting October 3 at 6:45pm.

There will be a sneak peek class on Monday, September 26 at 6:45pm. For more information, call ext. 7650.

SOMC introduces new hospice dog, RayPosted on September 16, 2016

RayWebSouthern Ohio Medical Center has welcomed a new member to their hospice team – Ray, a three-year old golden doodle.

Ray is SOMC’s new hospice dog. He takes the place of Marley, who is now retired and continuing to live well. As SOMC’s third hospice dog, Ray will be on hand to visit with patients and their families. His job is simple: offer affection and compassion during difficult times.

“Like his predecessors, Ray is a valuable member of the hospice team,” Scott Hilbert of SOMC Hospice said. “He is very loving, and his presence is especially appreciated by patients who are used to the companionship of a pet at home.”

Ray has already had the opportunity to bond with several patients and their families. He also received a warm community welcome – an SOMC Facebook post introducing Ray received more than 200 shares within the first five hours.

“Ray has a great personality and is perfectly suited for this role,” Hilbert said. “We think he’s a joy to be around and I know that our patients agree.”

For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC Hospice Recognized as a We Honor Veterans PartnerPosted on September 11, 2016

It may surprise many people to learn that 25 percent of those who die every year in the U.S. are Veterans. To help provide care and support that reflect the important contributions made by these men and women, SOMC Hospice has become a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As a We Honor Veterans Partner, SOMC Hospice will implement ongoing Veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the Veterans they proudly serve.  The nation is seeing many of the Veterans who served in World War II and Korean pass away—and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise.

The We Honor Veterans campaign provides tiered recognition to organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for Veterans. “Partners” can assess their ability to serve Veterans and, using resources provided as part of the campaign, integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to Veterans into their organization. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, SOMC Hospice is better able to accompany and guide Veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending. And in cases where there might be some specific needs related to the Veteran’s military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, SOMC Hospice will find tools to help support those they are caring for.

“Our community is filled with men and women who served in our armed forces. We want to make sure that our Veteran patients and their families receive the care and recognition they deserve.” said Scott Hilbert, Coordinator of Hospice Relations. “Through partnering with We Honor Veterans we are taking a step forward in helping hospice patients, families, staff and providers understand and serve Veterans at the end of life more effectively in our community.”

A portion of the We Honor Veterans program encompasses a pinning ceremony for Veterans who are now under the care of SOMC Hospice. This allows those who have served our country to receive recognition in a unique way for the freedom they fought to defend. SOMC Hospice is currently looking for volunteers to help with the Hospice Veterans Pinning Ceremony.

To learn more about the SOMC Hospice Veterans Pinning Ceremony or to be involved through volunteering for the program please contact Scott Hilbert at 740-356-2567 or email at

SOMC Portsmouth Family Health Center opens todayPosted on September 1, 2016

DSC_2537WebSouthern Ohio Medical Center officially opens the Portsmouth Family Health Center today.

The Portsmouth Family Health Center is located on SOMC’s South Campus, at the corner of Kinneys and Waller, and will be a source of quality care for years to come.

Patients will have one care team that can treat both routine and urgent needs. They will also have the convenience of having prescriptions filled during the visit by our onsite, retail pharmacy. Our pharmacy is open to the public from 8-8, seven days a week.

That, combined with onsite outpatient lab and imaging plus occupational medicine and the ability to schedule appointments with preferred providers or see a colleague for a walk-in visit, makes SOMC’s Portsmouth Family Health Center a convenient source of care both in sickness and in health.

For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

Get Healthy with “Learn and Burn” and “R.I.P.P.E.D.”Posted on August 25, 2016

Are you ready to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle? Join Learn and Burn-a 12 week program provided by the LIFE Center and Weight Watchers.

Participants meet Thursdays from 6:00- 6:45 pm beginning September 8th, at the Portsmouth LIFE Center. The program includes all introductory material, on-line resources and weekly motivational information and recipes. Register by September 1st. Call the LIFE Center for more information, 740-356-7650.

If you want to shake up your workout routine, why not try R.I.P.P.E.D (Resistance-Interval-Power-Plyometrics, Endurance, and Diet)? There will be a free one hour class with Master Trainer Amy Wilson on Saturday, September 10th at 10:00 a.m. at the Portsmouth LIFE Center.

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Instructor, stay all day for the training. Call Debbie Kielmar for more information, 740-356-7391.

SOMC conducting Active Shooter Drill at South CampusPosted on August 17, 2016

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be working with local law enforcement, as well as the Portsmouth Fire Department, to conduct an active shooter drill at SOMC’s newly constructed South Campus on August 22.

The drill is scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and will include SOMC staff, community members and officers from several local law enforcement and emergency response agencies.

“This is an opportunity for us to test our policies and ensure that, should an event like this ever actually occur, we will be prepared to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible,” SOMC Director of Safety Services Christy Timberlake said. “It is also an opportunity for local law enforcement to build a familiarity with our new facility.”

During the drill, an active shooter situated will be simulated with participants playing the roles of bystanders and even victims. The sound of gunshots will also be simulated, but there will be no actual firearms in use.

“For the purposes of the drill, we want to create an environment that is realistic. However, as always, our number one priority is safety,” Timberlake said. “There will be no actual firearms on site and if, at any point, our participants become uncomfortable we will be able to pause the simulation and excuse them from the exercise.”

While the active shooter drill will take place in a contained environment, the community will have an opportunity to see the new South Campus facility for themselves when SOMC hosts an open house on August 25.

Are you drinking enough water?Posted on August 5, 2016

The human body is about 60% water. We lose water every day just by breathing. When the weather is hot, when we are physically active, and when we are ill, we lose water faster than normal. If we don’t replace it, we can become dehydrated. Sometimes we don’t recognize the symptoms of dehydration beyond just feeling thirsty. Other signs that you need more water include:

• little or no urine or darker-than-normal urine

• dry mouth

• sleepiness/fatigue

• headache

• confusion

• dizziness or lightheadedness.

So how much water is enough? Often we hear six to eight cups per day. While the American Heart Association says that is a good guideline, the actual need depends on the weather, the intensity level of the physical activity, and any medical conditions a person may have. We can roughly estimate how much fluid we need by getting weighed before and after exercise to see how much we’ve lost through perspiring. Roughly, it averages out to a pint per pound lost through sweat.

Although the AHA recommends water as the best way to replenish fluids, there are other sources that may be useful. Registered dietitian and SHAPE magazine contributor Cynthia Sass says about 20 percent of our fluids come from food, and fruits and vegetables especially are good sources. Strawberries and watermelons, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumber are some examples of high water content foods. Sports beverages are another choice, and can be a good alternative. But the AHA cautions that many are high calorie, high sugar, and high sodium and may include caffeine, all of which may exacerbate existing medical conditions.

As the hot summer days slow into autumn and the upcoming winter chilliness, staying hydrated should still be on your healthy agenda. Cold days and dry indoor heating systems can dehydrate us as much as sweltering summer weather. Whatever the season, make it a habit to carry a bottle of water with you daily, sipping throughout the day and especially being mindful of drinking before, during, and after your workout. Drinking water may be the easiest way to help you stay healthy all year long.

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