50 years of putting the patient first

Home Care 5WebThe last 50 years have seen a lot of changes in the world of healthcare. The same is true for SOMC Home Health Services. Since Scioto Memorial Hospital opened the state’s first hospital-based, Medicare-certified Home Care agency in 1966 the program has been continuously improving and expanding. 

The program has grown to provide care in several counties across southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, and has incorporated new technology as well. Whether it was offering point-of-care documentation by laptop computers in 1993 or adding remote patient monitoring through home telehealth services in 2009, SOMC has consistently found new ways to improve the patient experience.

Home Care 2WebSome things, however, haven’t changed much at all.

“The core is still that the patient is always priority,” Brenda Fucci said.

Fucci has been part of SOMC’s Home Care team since the mid-1980’s, save for a seven-year period when she was with hospice. She is not the only employee who to boast an impressive length of service, and the fact she and so many others have demonstrated such dedication to their patients and to each other is part of what makes Home Care so special.

“We’re like a family,” Fucci said. “Many years ago, no one ever left unless they retired or moved away.”

WEBAudrey Evans has felt the benefits of that atmosphere first hand. Years ago, a trio of 4-H’ers in a club Evans advised lost their father to an accident. She was touched when her co-workers responded by donating money raised through the department’s “jeans fund” – where employees donate a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays – to the children.

“They pull together like that. I’ve seen it happen time and time again,” Evans said. “If a staff member is sick or needs help, everyone pulls together.”

Around the holidays, the staff also chips in to provide gift cards to patients they know are in need. It’s part of an enhanced relationship the Home Care team is able to build with their patients.

Barb Free, who has been with Home Care for 30 years, explains that the relationship is closer when the care is delivered inside the patient’s home.

“When a patient is in the hospital, they feel like they’re on ‘your turf’ and they’re uncomfortable,” Free said. “In the home, it’s different. You get to enjoy all their animals and things like that. It’s just different in their home.”

Ultimately, giving the patient that level of comfort is what Home Care is all about. The staff works hard to make sure patients receive the care they need without having to be admitted to the hospital, even going so far as to teach patients and their families how to administer IVs.

“Our goal is to help a patient stay in their home,” Fucci said. “To do that, we teach families a lot about their diagnosis, their medication and how to do IVs.”

“Patients are a lot more involved in their own care than they used to be,” Free added.

While some of the ways Home Care empowers patients and their families may be new, the reason behind it is the same as it has always been – because it’s in the best interest of the patient.

SOMC Home Health Services was the first agency in Scioto County to achieve JCAHO accreditation and has maintained this accreditation since 1989. SOMC has ranked by National Research Corporation as “elite status” six times in the last ten years. Elite status indicates that SOMC has scored in the top 25% of agencies nationwide based on publicly reported patient outcomes, patient satisfaction and financial management parameters.

SOMC Home Health Services is located at 724 Eighth Street in Portsmouth and can be reached at 740-356-5600.

SOMC Cardiac Rehab Obtains AACVPR Certification

DSC_4305WebThe Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Southern Ohio Medical Center has received re-certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). SOMC Cardiac Rehab was recognized for its commitment to improving a patient’s quality of life by enhancing standards of care.

“Cardiovascular programs are designed to help people with cardiovascular problems (such as heart attacks, stents, angioplasty, open heart surgery, and congestive heart failure) recover faster and improve their quality of life,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of SOMC Cardiac Rehab, said. “Our programs incorporate exercise, education, counseling, and support for patients and their families.”

To receive AACVPR certification, the SOMC Cardiac Rehab program participated in an application process that required extensive documentation of its practices. AACVPR certification is the only peer-reviewed accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Programs are reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

Imm added that programs certified by the AACVPR are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. SOMC’s AACVRP certification is valid for three years.

SOMC Hospice conducts first veterans pinning ceremony

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 cancer

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 Accreditation

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 Center

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, Ray

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 somc.org or like SOMC on Facebook at facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.

SOMC Hospice Recognized as a We Honor Veterans Partner

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 HilbertS@somc.org.

SOMC Portsmouth Family Health Center opens today

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 somc.org or like SOMC on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.