Category: Patients

New Tower Signals New Opportunities for Nurses

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center is growing to meet the community’s health care needs. That’s great news for nurses and other health care professionals. Methodist-Mansfield-Tower-Two-Entry-500

We’re so fortunate to be in a thriving service area. In fact, our service area population has grown 59 percent since the hospital opened. The community’s growing demand for health care services includes emergency, surgical, and acute medical, and our award-winning Women’s Center has experienced dramatic growth in births and neonatal intensive care services.

Why are we so excited about the new Tower Two? Here are some quick facts about the new 208,000-square-foot building:

  • 22 additional ICU beds
  • Expanded dialysis unit from three to eight beds
  • 32 additional cardiac telemetry beds
  • 32 additional postsurgical beds
  • Expanded telemetry monitoring capability to 144 units
  • 32 beds available for future expansion
  • Cath lab upgraded to accommodate electrophysiology procedures.

For nurses, Tower Two represents quality and safety improvements in the environment of care, including a new telemetry and nurse-call system to provide leading-edge patient monitoring and safety features. All rooms are WIFI ready for patients and visitors. The nurse-call system is integrated with the safety features of the patient’s bed to alert nursing staff when someone needs assistance without the patient having to call. In addition, increased space in Tower Two will enable us to build on specialized services such as neurosciences.

Methodist Mansfield employees have always enjoyed working in a top-notch, family-friendly facility. Tower Two takes this to the next level with expanded food services, cozy areas where staff can take a break and get away, and other amenities.

The new Tower Two is tangible evidence of the reputation our staff has established for delivering top-notch quality patient care. In fact, since our opening, we’ve been voted a Best Medical Facility, Best Maternity Ward, and Best Emergency Department in North Texas. A big part of our quality and commitment to excellence is our commitment to our employees. We truly are one big family, a team of health care professionals that strives day in and day out to deliver the best care to our patients and their families. Quality and patient safety are our highest priorities and community service is a hallmark of our culture.

New buildings facilitate our ability to achieve our mission, but it’s our people who make the difference. So with the opening of the new Tower Two, we’re looking for nurses, patient care technicians, and ancillary staff who are committed to providing compassionate, quality patient care. The best additions for our team are people who have a positive attitude and strive to do their best for every patient, every time.

If you’re ready to expand your career with a healthy, growing organization, consider Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
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Methodist Dallas First Hospital in DFW To Receive Baby-Friendly Designation

by Pamala Gessling, MBA, BSN, RNC-OB, NEA-BC
Director of Nursing, Women and Children’s Services
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

February 10, 2015, was a big day for moms and their babies at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. That’s the day the hospital became the first health care organization in Dallas County to receive the Baby-Friendly birth facility designation from Baby-Friendly USA.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

I was extremely proud and happy for our wonderful staff and physicians who worked so hard to help Methodist Dallas attain this top certification for family-centered care. Every nurse who cares for mothers and their babies received 20 hours of extensive training. Our physicians each received three hours of education. These standards are part of national quality core measures, and breastfeeding is now a reportable measure for The Joint Commission.

Based on the universally accepted Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, obtaining the Baby-Friendly designation required a huge commitment on the part of the hospital. It began with our decision to implement shared-care nursing in 2012. This is a model of nursing in which the same nurse provides care for mother and her baby in the same room. This dramatic departure from traditional postpartum care was based on research that showed having babies close to their mothers helps the new moms learn their babies’ cues, supports the bonding process, and better prepares moms to succeed and have a good experience when they take their babies home.

Why is Methodist Dallas so committed to helping new moms successfully breastfeed their babies? In the new health care environment that focuses on improving care outcomes and patient experiences, pursuing the Baby-Friendly designation was simply the right thing to do. Breastfeeding is best for infants and mothers for many reasons:

  • It’s natural
  • Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be obese or develop diabetes
  • It supports the critical bonding between mothers and babies
  • It provides an opportunity to educate moms before they take their babies home.

Most moms don’t know that even one sip of baby formula changes the intestinal flora of their babies’ stomachs. That means formula-fed babies are more likely to develop bacteria that’s not normal for them to have. It’s best for babies to keep the flora that they are born with to help them fight all kinds of infections. In short, it’s healthier for the babies. Moms benefit from breastfeeding because it helps them return to their prepregnancy weight and get back in shape faster. Plus, breastfeeding is less expensive than purchasing baby formula.

It takes about two days post delivery to begin producing breast milk. These first few days, mothers produce a low-fat, high-protein milk called colostrum, which provides all the nutrients and fluid that newborns need in the early days, as well as many substances to protect babies against infections. Babies’ stomachs are about the size of a marble when they are born. Breastfeeding babies will stop nursing when they are full. Often, we unintentionally teach formula-fed babies to overeat. Our goal is to help new moms establish breastfeeding the first few days. We help them better understand their babies and learn how to pick up cues that they are hungry. This helps ensure a better experience and outcome down the road.

If moms choose not to breastfeed, we will of course support their decision and provide the same outstanding care we provide to moms who do choose to breastfeed. Most important, our goal is to help educate moms so they can make informed decisions. We have a huge obesity issue in the U.S., and we have a relatively low exclusive breastfeeding rate. I’m gratified to report that since Methodist Dallas began the program, the number of moms who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies has climbed to 54 percent. That’s huge for us.

By obtaining the Baby-Friendly designation, we are empowering women to naturally breastfeed their babies to help them get a healthier start in life. We’re here to support them, regardless of their feeding choices, so they can get a good start on raising their children. Our staff believes in the value of this effort and is committed to strictly following the standards established by Baby-Friendly USA.

Several years ago, Methodist Health System’s President and CEO, Stephen L. Mansfield, PhD, FACHE, set out to achieve his vision of creating one of the healthiest health care organizations in America by 2016. To achieve this vision, we need to educate our patients and the communities we serve about choices and healthy lifestyles. It’s a powerful tool to get healthy and stay healthy and that’s certainly one of the foundational principles of Baby-Friendly USA.

If you’re ready to join one of the healthiest health care systems in the U.S., consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
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Expanding Our Reach Through Accountable Care

by Purity Nyaga, MSN, RN
Clinical Director, Accountable Care Organization (MPCACO), Methodist Health System
In 2012, Methodist Health System waded into the new world of accountable care by being selected as a participant in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The ACO model was designed to provide beneficiaries with high-quality service and care while reducing overall expenditures by enhancing care coordination. To assure the achievement of this triple aim, CMS established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, identified appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and enhanced the patient and caregiver experience of care.

Methodist was a pioneer in this care delivery arrangement. We applied for the MSSP and were accepted into the pilot program as the first ACO in North Texas. What’s more, we were the only ACO in the area to achieve cost savings

As an early adopter, Methodist Patient-Centered ACO (MPCACO) focused on doing everything we could to reduce costs, improve quality, and increase patient satisfaction. There were a lot of opportunities to serve our beneficiaries with needs that included transportation, food, finding doctors and equipment, and so on. We saw lives changed and made a lot of friends in the process. Above all, we were able to positively affect a significant number of beneficiaries’ lives, which in turn resulted in lower readmission rates, reduced unnecessary emergency room visits, and decreased avoidable hospitalizations. When CMS announced the first-year results, we were amazed — $12.7 million in savings!  We were off to a great start.

You may be wondering why Methodist leadership decided to pursue this new venture. Our leadership was looking for innovative ways to fulfill our mission and vision. They were assertive and wanted us to be part of the solution to the health care challenges that face the entire industry.

Since 2012, we have seen the broad range of benefits that an ACO offers to patients, providers, and the community as a whole. Besides the cost savings, we have been able to document improvement in the quality of care for the beneficiaries covered by our organization. Our navigators have seen more than 3,000 patients. Even more important, we’ve seen individual lives impacted and changed for the better.

Coordinated care is the key to the ACO’s success. Our care navigation department is staffed with registered nurses, clinical social workers, community health workers, health coaches, and other health care professionals who are ready to go into the community and into beneficiaries’ homes to work with them according to their needs. The ACO staff also helps beneficiaries coordinate care with specialists, communicate with pharmacies, set up appointments for patients, arrange for home visits, assist with community resources, coordinate finding the appropriate post-acute-care providers, provide health care education and coaching, and much more.

We have been able to build the ACO from the ground up, including forming strategic community partnerships. One example is our partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, which helps us provide fresh fruits and vegetables to eligible beneficiaries. In fact, approximately 8,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables are distributed monthly. We also provide transportation cab vouchers to beneficiaries so they can get to their treatment and follow-up visits with their physicians. We refer our beneficiaries to area agencies for services, including:

  • CitySquare — providing multiple services at reduced rates, like housing, food pantry, and legal
  • Adult Protective Services — a safety support system for patients who need it
  • Metrocare — mental health and developmental disabilities support
  • American Cancer Society — a comprehensive program with a 360-degree assessment of medication and financial support needs for patients and their families.

Based on our patients’ needs, we continue to pursue new strategic partnerships and collaborations.

What are some of the key takeaways we’ve learned over the past three years? They include:

  1. Realizating that the health care system is much more fragmented than we originally thought
  2. Learning that care incentives for doing the right thing under the traditional fee-for-service model are misaligned and contribute to many of the problems addressed by accountable care
  3. Appreciating that this effort is going to require a lot of work in order for all of us to continue to move forward.

The next two to three years will be an exciting time for the MPCACO. We anticipate significant growth in total number of lives covered, from our current number of 25,000 to around 100,000. We also look forward to networking and sharing with other participating organizations in the CMS ACO program, as well as commercial ACO programs within our region.

The ACO is still an unfamiliar concept to many in health care. From the beginning of the ACO movement, Methodist has taken a leading role to move from volume-based care to care that is value based. As an organization that cares for the well-being of its employees, the MPCACO will begin assisting in managing the health of employees and their dependents by offering navigation services, health coaching, weight-loss and smoking-cessation programs, and any other services that they may need to promote health and wellness. This is another example of Methodist’s commitment to the health and well-being of our family members. As a caregiver, isn’t this the type of organization where you want to work and grow?

If you’re ready to join an innovative leader in health care delivery, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
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New Methodist Richardson Medical Center Opens April 14

By Cheryl Koch, RN, MSN, CNOR
Director of Surgical Services
Methodist Richardson Medical Center

We all know the feeling. You eagerly anticipate a special event and it seems like it takes forever for the date to arrive. Then when it finally arrives, it seems like it happens in the blink of an eye. The Methodist Richardson Medical Center family, along with the surrounding communities of Richardson, Wylie, Sachse, Murphy, Plano, and Garland, has been excited about the approaching opening date of the new hospital. Now, after many months of construction, the day is almost here.

The new Methodist Richardson Medical Center will accept its first patient at 7 a.m., Monday, April 14. Years of planning will culminate with a week of preopening festivities. The official ribbon-cutting with Richardson civic and business leaders will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9. Then mark your calendars for our community Grand Opening Party and Healthy Kids Day (in association with the Richardson Family YMCA) on Saturday, April 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Citizens of Richardson and surrounding communities are invited to tour the hospital; operate some of the new technology, including the da Vinci® Surgical System; experience diagnostic and treatment facilities of the future — cardiac catheterization lab, electrophysiology lab, endovascular room, and new operating suites; meet physicians; contribute to a community mural; go on a scavenger hunt; relish picnic food; express themselves with face painting; learn the art of flying a kite; have their fingers encased in a cast; and decorate surgical caps.

While the facility will be a wonderful resource for the community and provide an advanced healing environment for our patients, the most important thing for patients to know is that our staff remains steadfast in its commitment to quality, safety, and compassionate care. We’ve been a family of caregivers working together for many years. That gives us the ability to maximize our new surroundings to their full potential to help our patients recover and heal.

The new hospital is designed with the patient in mind with spacious, all-private rooms appointed in soothing colors. Equipment has been integrated into the rooms to make work flow as easy as possible, contributing to the overall positive patient experience. The opening of the new hospital couldn’t come at a better time. Over the past several months, Methodist Richardson has experienced record volumes in our emergency department, and in March we delivered 100 babies, more than twice the number of births that we experienced just two months prior.

Other important components of the new hospital include:

  • Expanded women’s services department to accommodate the growing demands from the community
  • Two new cardiac catheterization labs equipped with the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies
  • Oversized operating rooms with large video displays
  • New pre-op holding area with all-private rooms
  • An outpatient infusion suite
  • Enhanced capability to perform additional endovascular and electrophysiology procedures — many of which are minimally invasive — thanks to new specially equipped procedure rooms
  • Additional beds, including 25 medical telemetry beds, 25 intensive care beds, and 25 intensive medical care beds, all on the 3rd floor of the new hospital
  • An expanded level III neonatal intensive care unit
  • A new bistro with outdoor seating for staff, patients, families, and visitors.

The new hospital has also incorporated design aspects that will enhance work life for our staff, improving their ability to care for their patients. Staff lounges will be located on every patient care unit, many with balconies. Equipment has been standardized throughout the facility, enabling staff to enjoy a better work experience throughout the hospital.

If you’re looking for a fresh start in a beautiful new environment working with experienced colleagues, it’s time to choose Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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Local Officials and Business Leaders Join Methodist Charlton Open House Celebration for New Patient Care Units

Campus Adds New Tower Units, Odyssey Hospice, and Select Specialty Hospital

Methodist Charlton Medical Center recently held an open house to celebrate several additions to the growing campus. These additions increase the number of hospital beds, and offer patients and the community more options in their continuum of care.

Methodist Charlton President Jonathan S. Davis, FACHE, addresses guests attending the open house.

Methodist Charlton invested $27.3 million in this most recent expansion and renovation, which adds 35 new patient care beds and additional patient

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care units. Three additional patient units are now open in the new patient tower to provide specialty care in cardiology, orthopedics, surgery, and oncology, and offer upgraded amenities to patients and families. The postcoronary interventional care unit (PCIU) was also relocated and enlarged to almost double its previous size to support cardiology patients.

“This expansion demonstrates Methodist Charlton’s ongoing commitment to our community,” says Methodist Charlton President Jonathan S. Davis, FACHE. “Our ultimate goal is to better meet the needs of our community and improve the care that we provide to our patients each and every day.”

To further support the health care needs of the community, Methodist Charlton has leased space in the original tower of the hospital to Odyssey Hospice, an independent provider operating an inpatient hospice unit, and Select Specialty Hospital, an independent provider of inpatient long term acute care. Odyssey and Select bring much needed services to the southern Dallas County community and allow Methodist Charlton patients to receive hospice and long term acute care services without being transferred to another facility. The Odyssey inpatient hospice unit at Methodist Charlton is the only one in Dallas County located inside a hospital.

The expansion is also expected to enhance the patients’ experience throughout the hospital. The additional 35 patient beds will help place patients from the emergency department in their inpatient rooms more quickly. With these transitions and expansions, approximately 85 percent of patients (not including Select Specialty Hospital or Odyssey Hospice units) will be placed in the new patient tower upon admission.

The open house celebration included prayer by Methodist Charlton Advisory Board Member the Rev. Jim Bowden, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Duncanville, as well as a tour of the new patient care area. Making remarks were Jonathan S. Davis, FACHE, Methodist Charlton president; Delia Jasso, Dallas city council member District 1; Joe Gordon, president of Select Medical’s hospital division; Ron Crossno, MD, Odyssey Hospice senior national medical director; and Curtistene McCowan, Methodist Charlton advisory board member and DeSoto city council member.

Note to editor: Photos available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org/OdysseySelectOpenHouse

About Methodist Health System

Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas. Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, Methodist Midlothian Health Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. To see why Methodist Health System is a brilliant choice for your career, join our talent community at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org and connect with us through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and our blog.

Odyssey Hospice and Select Specialty Hospital are independent, legal entities separate from Methodist Health System, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, or any other affiliated institution.

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System.

Human Resources
1441 N. Beckley Avenue
Dallas, TX 75203
Contact: Suzanne Lewis
214.352.5929
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12 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Eating Frenzy

By Karen Taylor

Employee Health Coach
Methodist Health System

Starting a diet during the holidays? Think again. Most dietitians agree that the season of giving is also the season of eating. Starting a quest to lose weight may be fraught with challenges. While gifting is great, the extra calories and fat grams found in many holiday foods result in the gift that keeps on giving.

Most people gain one to five pounds during the holiday season, which are hard to lose. In addition to temptations such as cookies, candy, and traditional favorites like dressing, gravy, and cranberry sauce, many people are driven to eat to relieve the stress of the holiday season. When we’re stressed, we don’t make the best health choices.

Losing weight during the holidays is tough. Watching portion sizes is important, but saying no to the many opportunities for extra treats is the most effective as well as the most difficult strategy. Instead of trying to lose weight over the holidays, the best plan may be to maintain your current weight. Then you can kick your quest to lose weight into high gear with the start of the New Year.

Maintaining your weight during the holidays may sound like a relatively easy thing to do, but there are many factors working against you — extra treats in the break room, lots of parties with high-calorie foods, and more.

So how do you avoid falling victim to the holiday eating frenzy? Here are 12 tips designed to keep you on track to maintaining your weight:

  1. Never skip meals. If you know you’re going to be eating a large dinner, plan a low-calorie breakfast, such as oatmeal with blueberries, and a light lunch, such as a broth-based soup and half a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  2. Keep a food diary. Journaling what and when you eat is a great way to identify poor food choices. Then you can quickly adjust.
  3. Exercise. Some exercise is better than none. And more exercise is better than some. Personally, I enjoy the gym and attend a boot camp class on a regular basis. Here, we have gyms at Methodist Charlton and Methodist Dallas Medical Centers, and personal trainers are available to work with you one-on-one at reasonable rates.
  4. Watch portion sizes. They are critical to successfully maintaining your weight. Smaller servings can be just as satisfying while saving you lots of calories.
  5. Holidays are days, not weeks or months. Avoid the holi-week or holi-month cycle that causes many of us to lose control of our diets. Get back on track quickly!
  6. Choose wisely. Weigh your choices on the holiday buffet before making your selections. If you really want Aunt Betty’s holiday fruitcake, take a small piece and consider foregoing the nuts and cheeses and other high-caloric treats that you can enjoy throughout the year.
  7. Skip the seconds. Limit your meal or party dining to one plate.
  8. Eat slowly. We often eat so quickly, we don’t give our body time to send us that cue that we’re getting full. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  9. Drink water. Many calorie-laden beverages dot the holiday landscape —  eggnog, hot chocolate, holiday punch, gingerbread lattes, and more. What’s more, alcohol is full of calories. A wise alternative is one holiday beverage followed by water.
  10. Keep healthy snacks handy. Put them in your bag, purse, or car. Carry healthy alternatives such as granola bars, carrots, and apples so on-the-run fast-food choices won’t be tempting.
  11. Be the healthy holiday hero. Bring a healthy side or entrée to a holiday gathering so you’ll know there will be at least one nutritious, good-for-you item you can enjoy.
  12. Learn to say no. We’re often overwhelmed with commitments during the holidays. If we can prioritize things that matter most, then you will be well on your way to managing stress and avoiding stress eating.

As a health coach, my top priority is helping our employees stay as healthy as possible, including maintaining an ideal weight and making lifestyle changes that will improve their well-being. If you’re ready to give yourself and your career the gift of happy, healthy holidays, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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Diabetes: Fact or Myth

By Joyce Kaska-Laird, MA, RD, LD, CHES, CDE
Diabetes Program Manager
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

As someone who works with diabetes patients every day, I often find myself in the role of a myth buster. Patients who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes and those who have been dealing with the disease for some time often have to be reminded about the realities of living with their chronic condition. In a word, I reinforce moderation with my patients.

While each patient requires individualized instruction and a care plan specifically tailored to meet his or her needs, commonly held myths still exist. Here are just a couple:

  • Potatoes, bananas, grapes, and other foods are strictly off limits. False. The reality is that patients with diabetes can eat these foods, but they must be vigilant about portion size and balancing food groups to maintain their blood sugar level within desired limits.
  • Sweets are a definite no-no. False. Again, moderation and portion size are the keys to satisfying a sweet tooth. An acceptable portion is a 2-inch square piece of cake or one-half cup of ice cream. Because sweets have carbohydrates, patients must integrate sweets into that particular day’s nutrition plan. For instance, if they ingest carbs with a serving of sweets, they need to reduce carbs elsewhere in their food intake that day. That’s where the balancing act becomes important.

The facts are patients come to us exhibiting the same risk factors that are growing among the population as a whole — obesity, lack of exercise, increased levels of stress, poor eating habits, and a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Most troubling is the rapidly increasing incidence of diabetes appearing in teens and young adults, which translates to increasing health care costs.

The good news is we’ve come a long way in helping patients manage their diabetes. New pharmaceutical advances offer patients improved quality of life. For example, some medications increase the amount of insulin made by the pancreas after a meal and help control the amount of sugar made by the liver.  New injectable medications help patients’ bodies make more insulin after they eat and act to suppress appetite.

Thanks to technological advances with blood sugar meters, tracking information is easier. Older adults can use meters with larger displays and numbers. Meters no longer require coding. New meters can display reading trends over an extended period of time. And we can now monitor patients remotely while giving real-time information to members of their care team. This enables quicker modification of medications, diet, exercise, and other aspects of patients’ lives.

Here are the four most important things that patients can do to either prevent the onset of diabetes or keep their diabetes under control:

  • Lose weight and maintain an ideal body weight. By reducing weight by 10 to 20 percent, patients can improve their blood sugar levels. Maintaining an ideal body weight is as easy as limiting fast-food intake, eating a balanced diet, limiting fat intake, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain balance throughout the day. Watch carbohydrate intake. Don’t skip meals. Instead, eat balanced meals throughout the day.
  • Be active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Walking, cycling, and running are good examples.
  • Control stress. If stress is an issue, consider joining a support group. Look for activities you enjoy doing. And remember, exercise reduces stress.

At Methodist Charlton Medical Center, we help patients get involved in their care so they can better manage their diabetes for a better quality of life. If you’re ready for a better quality of life, maybe it’s time to make a change in your career and choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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Does a full moon mean higher emergency department volumes?

By Joben Rieth, RN, BS, MBA
Director of Emergency Services, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Does a full moon mean higher emergency department (ED) volumes? Will more women really go into labor? Halloween conjures up thoughts of black cats, werewolves, and other superstitions, so that begs the question, “What’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to health?”

ED nurses will tell you that patient volume goes up during the full moon. This year, the full moon falls on Monday, October 29, a night sure to be filled with parties, tricks, and treats. In labor and delivery, clinicians say it’s busier the day before, day of, and day after the full moon. There is no conclusive evidence to support these observations, but here’s what we do know about the full moon and other medical myths.

Tale: ED visits increase during holidays.
Fact:
On Halloween, the ED sees an increase in finger and hand injuries, cuts, and broken bones in children. For adults, alcohol is often involved. Alcohol impairs balance and judgment, so driving while intoxicated isn’t the only issue. Using power tools under the influence, decorating, climbing on ladders, and a host of other activities can become more dangerous when alcohol is in the mix.

Tale: Seizures are brought on by a full moon.
Fact: Researchers at the University of Patras Medical School in Greece studied 859 patients treated for seizures and found a “significant clustering of seizures” around the time of a full moon. They aren’t sure why, but what we do know is that there seems to be a link with riskier behavior and a full moon on a weekend. Do we change our staffing in the ED when there’s a full moon? No. We staff according to historic statistics, which show that Sunday and Monday are traditionally busier in the ED than other days of the week.

Tale: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Fact: While some experts say the only way an apple will keep a doctor away is if you throw it at him or her, several recent studies have suggested that the high levels of phenolics contained in apples work as a potent antioxidant that can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer. In addition, a recent study from researchers at Ithaca, New York–based Cornell University suggests that apples may also stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

Tale: Feed a cold, starve a fever.
Fact: Regardless of your illness, the bottom line is that your body needs energy in order to overcome the illness. Your best bet if you’re feeling under the weather? Stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and eat your normal, nutritionally sound diet.

As for staying out of the ED this Halloween and throughout the fall season, here are some tips for you and your family:

  1. Don’t eat any candy without sealed wrappers. You can’t guarantee safety or good hygiene with unwrapped items.
  2. Make sure costumes are reflective for safety when crossing streets.
  3. If you want to paint your face, be sure to read the label to ensure the product is safe for face application.
  4. If you’re going into neighborhoods you aren’t familiar with, be careful. Go in pairs with adults.
  5. Also, remember that this is the season for Halloween, tailgating parties, fairs, and fun. If you choose to drink an alcoholic beverage, be responsible and get a designated driver.

At Methodist Health System, we help take away the fear of finding a job that works for you. For more information, visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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Live from Methodist Dallas Medical Center, It’s the Pink Glove Dance!

By Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Cancer Program Manager
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Fred Astaire and the top hat. Chubby Checker and “The Twist.” Michael Jackson, the sequin glove, and the moonwalk. “Dancing with the Stars” and the mirror ball trophy. Over the years, dance has had its iconic associations. With the arrival of October, we take time to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a new dance association, the Pink Glove.

Several years ago, latex glove supplier Medline began producing pink gloves to call attention to the monthlong observance. In 2009, Medline rolled out a dance video as a way to increase awareness of breast cancer and its support of the effort to battle and defeat the disease. A 2010 sequel involved more than 4,000 people from across the nation, including hundreds of survivors and their families. Everyone involved knew they were onto something when the video received more than 13 million views on YouTube.

The Pink Glove Dance video continued to take on a life of its own as Medline launched the first competition in 2011, and 139 individuals and organizations submitted entries. Judging was through online voting, and a hospital from South Carolina was crowned the winner with more than 61,000 votes.

In 2011, Pink Glove Dance fever spread to Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. This year Methodist Dallas Medical Center also joined the competition. We produced a video that features eight breast cancer survivors and represents 17 departments, including volunteer services, environmental services, information services, labor and delivery, clinical outcomes management, human resources, and more. The video is set to Katie Perry’s A Part of Me that includes these lyrics: “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no.”

The underlying theme of the video is things that cancer can’t take from you. Participants in the video wear T-shirts imprinted with words like “beauty and friends,” “hope and love,” “family and peace,” “faith and joy,” “life and support,” “dreams and spirit,” “courage and strength,” and “survival and health.” The choreography is built around boxing as participants try to knock out cancer.

The Pink Glove Dance video has been a unifying experience as staff members from throughout the hospital have come together to rally around our breast cancer patients and their individual journeys to well-being. We want to help them find a support system that works best for them and, in doing so, we connect with each one in the way that provides the resources that are best suited to their specific situation. We think the video is also a great way to remind women about the importance of yearly mammography, reinforcing our commitment to early detection and screening.

At Methodist Dallas, we had a ball producing the video. In fact, we learned a few things that may be helpful to other hospitals as they create their videos:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it fun.
  • The more participants, the merrier.
  • Trust your co-workers to come up with something creative. They won’t let you down.
  • Always feature survivors, lots of survivors. They’re the real stars of the video.
  • Share the completed video with all employees. At Methodist Dallas, we included our video in our September G.R.E.A.T. Award celebration, which helps us recognize exceptional staff and encourage Giving Recognition for Excellence, Achievement, and Teamwork. We will also show it at each of our Employee Forum sessions, in staff meetings, at physician section meetings, at community outreach events, and at survivor support groups, and we will put it on our recruitment and general websites.

To see the Methodist Dallas and Methodist Mansfield 2012 Pink Glove Dance videos, visit PinkGloveDance.com. We welcome and appreciate your vote! The Pink Glove Dance Competition 2012 will begin at noon CST on October 12 and will close at midnight on October 26. Winners will be announced on November 2, 2012.

If you’re ready to ready to kick up your heels with an organization that provides a fun, caring environment, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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Monday Night Mammos: This Isn’t Your Mother’s Mammogram Experience

By Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Cancer Program Manager
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Picture this. It’s 7 p.m. Monday evening. You’re headed to the breast imaging center to have your mammogram. You pull your car up to the entrance and are met by a friendly valet who parks your car. An escort guides you to the imaging center where you are greeted by a friendly staff member who offers you a mock-tail (an alcohol-free beverage) and healthy snacks such as fruit, cheese, and crackers. You’re then ushered into a private room where you slip into a fluffy pink robe to the strains of soft music and aromatherapy. As you wind down, a nurse navigator introduces herself and takes you to the imaging suite, where a caring technician explains what the mammogram involves and what to expect. After the procedure, you change into your street clothes and are escorted back to the lounge where you receive a chair massage and hand scrub. Amid congratulations for taking time to care for yourself and your health, you are offered a freshly cut gerbera daisy, a bag of pink M&Ms, and a chilled bottle of water for the ride home. Perhaps best of all, you’re assured that you will receive your test results via a personal call within 24 hours. Not your mother’s mammogram experience, you say? Welcome to Monday Night Mammos at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

What began as a pilot program in early 2012 has become a much-anticipated event by women who have come to rely on Methodist Dallas for their well-being. Women have told us they love the experience, not a usual response when asked to describe their last mammogram.

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By adding relaxation and pampering to the mammography experience, we’ve managed to strike a chord that resonates with women of all ages. “Finally, I don’t dread getting a mammogram,” one woman told me. “You treated me like a queen,” another said. The personal, caring touch is a hallmark of the entire mammography experience. And I think we’re onto something!

While the extra touches set the Methodist Dallas mammography experience apart from other area imaging centers, state-of-the-art digital technology and medical expertise are the foundation of our breast screening program. If, for some reason, the mammogram shows abnormal results, our breast health nurse navigator calls the woman the day after her procedure to answer her questions and schedule follow-up diagnostic testing. We follow the American Cancer Society screening guidelines, which recommend a baseline mammogram between 35 and 40 years of age and an annual mammogram after 40. If a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family, we strongly recommend she discuss the timing of her mammogram with her physician.

The Monday Night Mammos program is offered on the last Monday of every month (except for Memorial Day), as well as the first four Mondays in October in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. A similar program is offered at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. An appointment is required (visit www.MethodistHealthSystem.org/MondayMammos for information), and Methodist Health System bills your health insurance company directly for the charges.

The program is ideal for women ages 40 and older who are due a regular screening mammogram. In fact, we encourage our employees to take advantage of the opportunity to be pampered, because like most women, we as caregivers are so busy caring for others, that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Methodist Charlton and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers also offer imaging centers. What’s more, Methodist’s Women’s Imaging Centers are among only about 30 percent of breast imaging centers in the United States to offer a softer digital mammogram, which makes the exam more comfortable.

Today, we are seeing younger women diagnosed with breast disease, so we are committed to educating women about the importance of beginning breast self-exam when they are in their 20s. In addition, women should have an annual breast exam by a qualified medical professional. Our commitment to educating women about prevention and early detection of breast disease extends beyond the Methodist campuses. Through our mobile units and community partnerships with organizations such as the Bridge Breast Network, YMCA, University of North Texas, and Dallas Cancer Disparities Community Coalition, as well as funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we are able to sponsor a breast screening program for uninsured and underserved women.

If you’re ready to join an innovative team of caregivers, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/M/F/D/V

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