Susquehanna Health joins Geisinger
in Marcellus Shale research effort
Susquehanna Health, a health care system serving northcentral Pennsylvania, has joined with Geisinger Health System and Guthrie Health to study the health impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling, the first large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment of the health effects of natural gas production.
"We are happy to participate in this important research initiative," said Steven P. Johnson, president and CEO of Susquehanna Health. "As Susquehanna Health serves a patient population that is affected by Marcellus Shale gas drilling, it is appropriate that we join forces to investigate what effects, if any, this industrial activity is having on our patients."
It was announced in August that Guthrie Health, a health system serving northern Pennsylvania and southern New York, also would join the Geisinger-led research effort. Teams from all three health systems will use their electronic health records to examine the health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near the Marcellus Shale formation, a rock formation in which energy companies already have drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells.
Susquehanna will collaborate with Geisinger in the planning and execution of this phased, collaborative, multi-disciplinary study, including the development of a health surveillance network intended to capture, assess and report on data secured via electronic health records, and make this data available for research purposes.
"Geisinger's position has been that given our place in the community and our commitment to the patients we serve this was a project we believed we should lead," said Dr. David Carey, director of Geisinger's Weis Center for Research. "The goal of the study is to provide sound information to guide effective prevention or mitigation strategies, and to aid local, state, and federal governments in developing rational policies with respect to mining activities."
Health effects that will be investigated first may include asthma and trauma cases. Long-term research will examine whether gas operations increase the incidence of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Preliminary results of data analysis may be released within the next year, Carey said, while other aspects of the research will unfold over five, 10 or 15 years.
Survivorship clinic encourages patients
to 'get busy living'
LEWISBURG - According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. Survivors may experience stress or uncertainty about how to adjust to life during or after cancer treatment.
The Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health of Evangelical Community Hospital steps in to aid survivors in facing their diagnosis and the emotions tied to that diagnosis, and gives them the tools they need to meet each new day with courage.
In the center's definition, a survivor is anyone who has been identified as having breast cancer and survivorship starts on day one.
After surgery, patients meet with Beth Jordan, a certified registered nurse practitioner, to talk about anxieties and fears, adjustments to their physical appearance and about what to expect as they recover and go through treatments.
"Survivorship clinics have become more popular in the last decade because more and more people are living beyond treatment and cancer diagnosis," Jordan said. "The Center for Breast Health and our caring staff slowly guide patients back into a 'new normal' by emphasizing to survivors to 'get busy living.' "
The Thyra M Humphreys Center for Breast Health is dedicated to screening every patient and their family members to understand their current level of coping. Depending upon their responses and after identifying concerns, a personalized plan is crafted to their needs.
The plans give them the tools they need to reduce the stresses associated with diagnosis including assistance to address financial, emotional, spiritual and other concerns. Plans also outline a variety of community resources designed to promote overall wellness during and after cancer treatment.
Breast Cancer Survivorship Clinics have proven to be successful and add an element of care that benefits patients beyond treatment. With the results from the breast cancer survivorship clinics proving to be helpful for the patient, Evangelical Community Hospital's Committee on Cancer is looking into ways to support survivors of all types of cancers.
For more information on Breast Cancer Survivorship Clinics at Evangelical, call 522-4212 or visit www.evanhospital.com.
Geisinger earns Environmental Services Certificate
DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System recently was selected by Health Forum's Health Facilities Management magazine and the Association for the Healthcare Environment as the winner of the 2012 Environmental Services Department of the Year Certificate of Merit. The award was presented at the AHE national conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 16-19.
"This award is affirmation that Geisinger offers one of the safest, cleanest and most welcoming patient environments in the country," said Tamara D. Almquist, senior director, environmental and surgical cleaning services, Geisinger Health System. "It is an honor to accept this award and we will continue to improve the environment at all Geisinger facilities in hopes of being named the Environmental Services Department of the Year in 2013."
The sixth annual award, sponsored by Cintas Corp., recognizes the outstanding achievements of leading-edge hospital environmental services and housekeeping teams in maintaining the highest levels of performance in 14 critical areas - major department accomplishments; education and training; productivity; technology; waste-reduction efforts; patient safety; senior leadership engagement with environmental services activities; patient satisfactions metrics; quality improvement initiatives; and environmental services staffing models.
Chiropracter joins local practice
DeWald Chiropractic, 1355 Four Mile Drive, recently welcomed Dr. Brandon Fiedler, a National Board of Chiropractic-certified chiropracter, to its staff.
Fiedler will help DeWald Chiropractic better serve patients' needs. He is competent in a variety of treatment techniques, including diversified, Gonstead, flexion/distraction and activator.
He maintains a strong belief for enhanced living through a natural approach toward food, lifestyle and healing.
"I enjoy working with patients to meet their individual goals and look forward to providing them chiropractic so they can achieve optimal care in a welcoming environment," Fiedler said.
New patients may schedule an appointment with Fiedler by calling 322-1776.
HOLD FOR DOCS' NAMES
Susquehanna Health welcomes new electrophysiologist
Susquehanna Health Heart & Vascular Institute at Williamsport Regional Medical Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Bosede Afolabi to its team.
Afolabi is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. She possesses a high level of expertise and training, including fellowships and residency in electrophysiology and cardiology from the University of Florida and Cleveland Clinic.
Electrophysiology is the specialized treatment of heart rhythm disorders using medical management and procedures such as ablation or device implantation. Individuals with existing heart disease are at the greatest risk of heart rhythm disorders, which can be present with no symptoms. Be aware of symptoms including palpitations, dizziness, fainting or chest pain.
Afolabi joins Drs. Bering, Blum, Burks, Morcos, Nardone, Shafique and Trautwein in helping to deliver comprehensive heart care to the community.
New patients and referrals may schedule an appointment with Afolabi by calling 321-2800.
RSV prompts child visitation restrictions at Geisinger
DANVILLE - Geisinger Medical Center has issued restrictions temporarily prohibiting children under the age of 5 from visiting children's and women's inpatient units because of the seasonal increase in pediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases.
"This time each year, the number of RSV infections in children rise precipitously," said pediatrician Dr. Michael Ryan, chairman of Geisinger's Janet Weis Children's Hospital. "It is typical for hospitals to initiate sibling visitor restrictions to children's and women's inpatient areas for the protection of our patients. This is an annual practice and is usually lifted at the end of the winter season."
According to Ryan, young patients have vulnerable immune systems and may not be able to fight off this potentially dangerous virus. Age-related visitation restrictions serve as a protective measure to eliminate the threat of exposure from other children who are often a primary carrier.
RSV is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. While most healthy people recover from RSV infection, it can be severe in infants. Winter is an especially harsh time for this illness. In the United States, RSV infections generally occur from November to April.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age. Each year, 75,000 to 125,000 children in this age group are hospitalized due to RSV infection.
RSV illness develops four to six days after exposure, typically with a runny nose and decrease in appetite. Coughing, sneezing and fever can follow one to three days later, and wheezing also may occur. In very young infants, irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties may be the only symptoms of infection.
YWCA thanks sexual assault nurse examiners
The YWCA of Northcentral PA would like to thank local sexual assault nurse examiners, also called SANEs, who provide exceptional care to men, women and children in the wake of abuse and violence. As medical professionals, they collect fingernail scrapings, document ligature marks or gunshot wounds, and swab for potential DNA evidence while making the health and safety of their patients the top priority.
Following trauma such as sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and neglect, child maltreatment, human trafficking and other forms of intentional or unintentional injury, forensic nurses and sexual assault nurse examiners provide skill and respect that is vital to victims in crisis.
"I find the sexual assault nurse examiners in our community to be an amazing group of women," said Lynn Bies, manager of Wise Options, a 24/7 emergency shelter and hotline for those facing domestic violence, sexual assault and crime. "Whether it is a child where there is suspected abuse or an adult that has been raped, the compassion and care these women provide is so important. SANEs allow victims to have power and dignity in a time where all that has been stripped away from them."
Perhaps the most difficult job of the nurse examiner is the examination itself. The nurse hears the victim tell the traumatic details of what they have just been through a process that can be as frightening as the act itself.
"Victims deserve competent and compassionate care and SANEs provide that," Bies said.
In addition to medical care, nurse examiners provide emotional support as they share the burden of fear that a parent goes through after bringing their child to the emergency room because of the suspicion of sexual abuse. They hear the shame and pain as a woman tells them of her repeated rape by someone she thought was her friend. But in hearing the details of the abuse, sexual assault nurse examiners offer help and support that significantly increases the reporting of the crime and improve the likelihood of prosecution of the perpetrator.
"I cannot say enough how important these women are to our community," Bies said of the work done by the nurses.