Monday, February 16, 2015

Preventing Measles

This winter brought unexpected news in our nation – a multi-state outbreak of measles.  This outbreak, which began at Disneyland in California in December 2014, has spread to several states and impacted more than 100 individuals. It is the largest outbreak of measles the United States has seen in two decades. 

While a local outbreak of measles is unlikely, the best way for our community to protect itself is to be educated about this disease, its signs, symptoms, spread and prevention.  Fauquier Hospital is well prepared to address cases of measles and provide our community with the information it needs to protect local families from infection.

What exactly is measles?
According to Anhtai H. Nguyen, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Fauquier Hospital, measles is a serious, highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Common complications from measles include ear infections and diarrhea, and severe cases can cause pneumonia, convulsions, blindness, brain damage and death.

What are the symptoms of measles?
Common symptoms include:
·        Fever, which can become very high
·        Runny nose
·        Cough
·        Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
·        A rash, running from the hairline to the face and neck
·        Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth

How is measles spread?
Dr. Nguyen confirms that measles is very contagious. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.
·        Through the air. Droplets from coughs or sneezes of an infected person can make others sick for up to two hours after that person leaves a room.

·        On surfaces. Tables, doorknobs, keyboards, and phones that are touched by an infected person can transmit the measles virus to others.

The incubation period for measles, from exposure to fever, can be 7-12 days, and the time from exposure to rash onset can be 7-21 days.

What do you do if you have been exposed to measles?
If you or your child has been near someone diagnosed with measles or begins to exhibit any of the symptoms associated with the disease, notify your healthcare provider or contact Fauquier Hospital immediately. Early intervention can help prevent the spread of infection and be helpful in treating an infected person’s symptoms.

What can be done to prevent measles?
Dr. Nguyen said, “The most important thing we all can do is get vaccinated. The measles vaccine is known as the MMR vaccine and also protects against mumps and rubella. It is estimated that 95 of 100 people who get fully vaccinated will be protected from measles.”

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for children. The first should be administered between 12 and 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. Adults born after 1957 who have not been vaccinated also should receive one to two doses of the MMR vaccine; adults should contact their healthcare provider to discuss appropriate immunization.

If you need the MMR vaccine or have any concerns about whether you may or may not be fully vaccinated, contact your doctor or Fauquier Hospital for assistance, said Dr. Nguyen. “Fauquier Hospital is happy to answer your questions about measles anytime. You also can find out more information about this disease and the current outbreak at”

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Pet Therapy Dog is Sassie

One of many reasons I love my job. This morning I got to meet this adorable, sweet dog. Sassie is an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie, and couldn't be sweeter.

Her mom, Kathryn Gilman, is pretty nice, too. The pair recently started visiting patients as part of  Fauquier Hospital's Pet Therapy team.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Fauquier Health Now Offers Low-Dose 3D Mammography

Fauquier Hospital is the only facility in the region to have the lowest dose technology available for 3D mammography.

New 3D mammography (also known as breast tomosynthesis) is an advanced, clinically proven screening and diagnostic tool for early breast cancer detection.

Karla Kenefake-Hymans, director of Fauquier Health's Medical Imaging Department, said, "During the 3D mammography exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in an arc over the breast, taking multiple low dose images. A computer produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for your radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible.

"With conventional digital mammography," Kenefake-Hymans added, "the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of the breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, making normal breast tissue look like an abnormal area, or potentially hiding a small cancer. By looking at the breast tissue in slices, the radiologist can provide a more accurate exam." Research studies show that 3D mammography reduces callbacks for additional imaging by up to 16% and increases cancer detection by up to 40%.

A screening mammogram is an annual mammogram that is done when there are no signs or symptoms of a problem. A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate a specific symptom of possible disease, such as a lump, or to further evaluate a specific area of the breast as follow-up to a screening mammogram. 3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time, with the same system.

Low radiation exposure

Fauquier Hospital is the only facility in the region to have the lowest dose technology available for 3D mammography.  This allows for both the 3D and 2D images to be taken with the same radiation dose as 2D images alone.  It also means that the length of time a woman is in compression is the same as only a 2D examination; some 3D systems require double the compression time.

3D mammography can benefit all women who undergo a standard mammogram, either a screening or a diagnostic examination. However, it may be even more beneficial for a woman’s first baseline mammogram; for women 40-60 years old; women with a significant amount of dense breast tissue, and women with a personal history or a close family history of breast cancer.

Call 540-316-5800 to schedule your annual 3D screening mammogram appointment at Fauquier Hospital. You must have a doctor’s order to schedule the exam.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fauquier Hospital Earns Accreditation as Chest Pain Center

Michael Jenks, M.D., is the chief of Fauquier Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Fauquier Hospital received full accreditation status as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care(SCPC) on December 12. The three-year accreditation from SCPC is the result of the rigorous evaluation of Fauquier Hospital’s ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

The accreditation assures that processes are in place aimed at: reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved; and monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack, to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.

Michael Jenks, M.D. chief of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department, explained, “Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. The accreditation process has been a long and worthwhile process that has involved every one of our hospital departments.”

Rodger Baker, CEO and president of Fauquier Health, added, “Our clinicians and support staff have done an amazing job, examining our protocols and processes to make sure that folks who come to our Emergency Department with chest pain are treated quickly and effectively. This accreditation comes after more than a year of focused work in chest pain care.”

Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:
  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly  
  •  Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms 
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel 
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment 
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. Another  important aim of the SCPC accreditation is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public -- through community outreach programs -- to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Dr. Jenks added, “People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient. With our new accreditation, we hope to bring more attention to this and help even more people in Fauquier County.”

Part of LifePoint Hospitals®, Fauquier Hospital is one of 23 of the system’s hospitals that have achieved SCPC accreditation in 2014 as part of a company-wide commitment to enhancing quality and ensuring excellent service and care in the emergency department.

Fauquier Hospital Hosts Two New Support Groups

In order to help people who are going through difficult times, Fauquier Hospital is hosting two new support groups.

The Cancer Support Group will meet the second Monday of every month, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., in Fauquier Hospital’s Sycamore Room.

Oncology nurses, licensed social workers, and spiritual care providers will offer cancer education,
hope and support to patients, family members and caregivers who share similar experiences.
This professional support, provided by Heartland Hospice, will help guide patients and families through diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. Heartland Hospice of Warrenton provides end-of-life care for the mind and spirit as well as the body. To learn more, contact Mary Kelly, nurse liaison at 540-349-3970.

The Bereavement Support Group has been formed to help those who are experiencing a loss because of the death of a loved one. The group, for those 18 and older, will meet the third Monday of every month at 1 p.m., in Fauquier Hospital’s Chestnut Room and is sponsored by Capital Caring.

To register, or for more information, contact Roxanne Woodward, bereavement counselor, at 703-957-1800. Participants should feel free to drop on at any meeting, without having to notify a counselor in advance.