Monday, December 29, 2008

Fauquier Health Makes the Big Time

Fauquier Health made an appearance on the local FOX News station this morning. The TV network shot in the lobby of the hospital from about 6:30 a.m. to almost 9:00 a.m.

Making a big impression were the Pet Therapy dogs of Fauquier Hospital. About nine were on the makeshift "set" and Jamie, a Dalmatian, visited a patient room on camera. Sheryl Vollrath proudly told the TV audience about the Pet Therapy program.

Lisa Spitzer, Fauquier Health's concierge and Linda Sharkey, vice president of Patient Care, represented Fauquier Health well, speaking about our Planetree initiatives and patient-centered care.

Hunter Payne, a loyal volunteer, played the piano in the lobby and hot chocolate chip cookies brightened the scene -- and fed the crew.

See the videos at: MyFox Washington DC Fauquier Hospital Dogs On Call Program

(Be sure to see both segments. One is under "related video" to the right of the main video box.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the first person

Dr. Jorge Minera, family practice physician at Piedmont Family Medicine, is concerned about an issue that has been all over the Internet lately: Because heart attack symptoms in women are different and less definitive than those in men, women’s symptoms may not be taken seriously enough, he says. (See next blog, below.)

On Monday morning, I found out first-hand that it’s not the case at Fauquier Health.

Making an attempt to keep up with the avalanche of Christmas cookies infiltrating my house, I was at the Fauquier Health LIFE Center at 7:30 a.m. climbing aboard the elliptical machine. By 7:34, I was out of breath and feeling weakness in my arms.

Now, I will admit I’m not in tip-top shape, but I can usually manage more than 4 minutes on the elliptical. I sheepishly made it over to the nurses’ station and admitted that I wasn’t feeling well. At the words, “short of breath” and “feeling week,” the women were genuinely concerned. At “chest tightness,” they flew into action.

The next hour or so was a blur as I was shipped off by ambulance to Fauquier Hospital, hooked up to an EKG machine and given aspirin and nitroglycerin tablets. I found that the folks in the Emergency Department took my condition very seriously indeed and worked hard to find out what was causing my discomfort.

For the next two days, it was echocardiograms, telemetry monitoring, blood draws and a stress test. Turns out, my heart is in great shape. For a while there, we thought it was a blood clot, but a CT scan ruled that out too. With the life-threatening possibilities ruled out, I was cleared to resume my normal activities while waiting for further test results to pinpoint the issue.

I was back in the LIFE Center Wednesday morning, feeling rested and ready to resume the battle against the cookies. The nurses welcomed me back and asked if I had doctor’s clearance to work out. They said they believed me, but I could tell they were keeping an eye on me, anyway.

It’s nice to know.

Key to women’s health is education



Pap smears and mammograms are vital tools that help doctors address women’s health needs, but comprehensive health care for women is a lot more complicated.

Dr. Jorge Minera of Piedmont Family Practice has a special interest in women’s health issues; he believes that education is the most important ingredient for healthier living.
Heart attacks in women, for instance, are largely misunderstood. Dr. Minera said, “Heart attacks have always been thought of as a man’s malady. Although equivalent numbers of men and women suffer heart attacks, more women than men die of heart attacks because women’s symptoms are different and are not as easily recognized.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, women’s symptoms can begin as much as a month before the heart attack and can include:

• Unusual fatigue
• Sleep disturbance
• Shortness of breath
• Indigestion
• Anxiety
• Weakness in the upper arms

Major symptoms during the heart attack include:
• Shortness of breath
• Weakness
• Unusual fatigue
• Cold sweat
• Dizziness
Dr. Minera said that although many women are conscientious about getting preventive care, when the issue is acute, they may delay getting help because of their many responsibilities. And the warning signs of heart attacks in women are often overlooked or attributed to other causes. “Often when women do seek help with these kinds of symptoms, their concerns are not validated; they are dismissed because their symptoms are more subtle.”

The doctor said that as a family practice physician, he has an advantage because of his previous experience with his patients. “We have the time to get a complete history, and consider all the risk factors -- tobacco use, cholesterol, blood pressure, is there diabetes in the family, or heart disease? Has there been a recent increase in stress? We can look at the patient as a whole and maybe see things differently.”

Weight management

When Dr. Minera and Piedmont Family Practice nurse practitioner Angelina Harman are asked, “What’s the most serious health problem women face today?” they agree wholeheartedly: obesity.

Dr, Minera said that he spends a lot of time with his patients on weight management education. “As someone who was once overweight myself, I understand that it is a struggle. But the rewards of achieving a healthy weight are tremendous. Sensible eating and exercise are the keys.

“I don’t want my patients to think of exercise as something they set aside time for and have to fit in. Being active, playing with your kids, taking long walks, they should just be part of your everyday life.”

Dr. Minera said that when it comes to weight management, having a previous relationship with a patient is extremely helpful. “Because we have seen the patient -- and maybe their family --- over a number of months or years, there is trust there, and they may feel comfortable telling us things they might not tell someone they are seeing for the first time.

“We want to find out what the stumbling blocks are. Is there a history of weight problems in the family? Has the weight gain been progressive or sudden? What is the diet history? Has there been a change in the stress level? After I have the history, I always get blood work done, test lipids (cholesterol) and thyroid to really find out what’s going on.”
Dr. Minera would like to see the “ideal weight” charts and BMI tests thrown out. “Waist to hip ratios are a much better indicator of health risks than just weight or BMI.”

Sometimes, Dr. Minera prescribes medication to assist with weight loss, but these require close follow-up.

And obesity is not the only weight management concern. Dr. Minera and Harman both see a fair number of adolescent girls and agree that eating disorders are not uncommon. For these teens, their weight can drop quickly into the danger zone. Harmon said, “We see a lot of it.”

Weight issues are complex, long-term problems that require careful monitoring and a lot of listening, said Dr. Minera. “These are not situations where one visit is going to ‘fix it.’ They require the patient and doctor to work together toward a long-term solution.”

The HPV vaccine

Better education is also needed about the vaccine that protects against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. This is especially true now that the state of Virginia mandates the vaccine for rising sixth grade girls. Enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 2007, the regulation went into effect Oct. 1 of this year.

Dr. Minera said the vaccine has been misunderstood and blamed for causing serious side effects. “There have been a lot of extreme reports floating around about problems attributed to the vaccine, but the connection has never been proven. The fact is that the types of HPV prevented by the vaccine cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and 90 percent of genital warts cases.”

Even though the legislation mandates that girls be vaccinated before they enter middle school, parents can opt-opt for their daughters. Dr. Minera believes that with education, parents will see how important the vaccine is and agree to protect their children -- before they become sexually active.

Dr. Minera said he is happy to be in family medicine. “I am able to see children and geriatric patients, and everyone in-between. I do simple biopsies, screen for depression, and even do a little counseling. Between me and my patients, it’s a good partnership.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Warrenton physician specializes in pain relief




When interventional pain management specialist Dr. Daniel Heller was working at a pain clinic in Richmond, his patients were men and women who had already been to a slew of other doctors, desperately seeking an escape from debilitating pain. He said, “These were people who may have had numerous spine surgeries and were placed on high-dose narcotic medicines. Through the use of spinal cord stimulation, we were able to wean them off narcotics entirely, reduce their pain levels significantly and get them back to work.

“That was satisfying.”

Now a physician with

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center
, Dr. Heller is helping patients in Warrenton find relief from chronic pain.

Spinal cord stimulation involves placing a small battery (about the size of a golf ball, but flat instead of spherical) under the skin, with wires extending out toward the spinal column. The electric impulses produced by the battery modulate the pain signals between the brain and the spinal cord. “Many patients experience about a 50 percent reduction in pain,” said Dr. Heller. He added that before implanting the battery, a patient will undergo a trial procedure for a week or so to confirm that the therapy will be helpful. “They can test drive it; if it provides significant relief we can implant it using minimally invasive surgery.”

He’s enthusiastic about the treatment. “The procedure has been around for 30 years, but the technology has advanced so much in the last ten years. It’s an alternative that shouldn’t be overlooked,” he said.

Spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment, but it’s only one in Dr. Heller’s pain management arsenal. He believes in a multi-faceted approach, which may include site-specific injections, oral medication, physical therapy, even psychological treatments – or a combination of several techniques.

More than medicine

Dr. Heller said that eighty percent of opiate pain relievers are prescribed by primary care physicians, but sometimes, even these strong medicines don’t provide relief.

“Morphine can be effective, but if it’s not the right pain reliever for the problem, it won’t take care of the pain,” Dr. Heller said.

The key to pain relief is a good diagnosis, said Heller. “Sometimes, opiates are prescribed for chronic pain and when they don’t work, the dosages are increased until they get to a level the doctor is not comfortable prescribing. But if the problem is a nerve injury, an opiate may never work, regardless of the dose. It may be a pain signaling problem, where the brain is signaling pain even when there is nothing anatomically wrong. You’ve got to know what the root cause is before you can come up with a pain management strategy.

“Diagnosis is everything.”

Sometimes, the diagnosis requires a little detective work. Take for an example a case where the pain complaint does not match up with what the MRI reveals. “Sometimes there is more than one problem,” said Dr. Heller. “A person may have arthritis in the hip and a disc problem in the back. The pain might manifest itself in the same way for either injury. In order to devise a treatment plan, you have to know exactly what is causing the pain.”

Sometimes Dr. Heller uses an injection to help with diagnosis. He injects anesthetic into one of the problem areas. If the pain is greatly reduced in that area, that means the pain is originating from the place of the injection. If the pain continues unabated, the pain is being caused by another injury. Again, Dr. Heller emphasizes, “The treatment that may help with disc pain may not work on arthritis-type pain. The treatment must be specific to the diagnosis.”

Multi-discipline treatment

Once the diagnosis is complete, a treatment plan is outlined. Dr. Heller looks at each patient’s history with a holistic eye. Has the pain been chronic and severe? Is the patient experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of the pain? Has a sleep disorder developed because of the long-term pain?

“We take all these factors into account,” said Dr. Heller. “There are situations when we can target more than one problem with a single medication. Some pain medications can have a mood-lifting effect. Others can make a person sleepy. We can take advantage of the side effects to solve multiple problems.”

Sometimes when one medication fails to reduce pain, another – or a combination of medicines – will succeed.

Dr. Heller believes in using the least intrusive treatment possible. A peripheral joint injection directly at the problem area can utilize a lower dosage of steroids than an oral medication, for instance.

Radiofrequency ablation is another minimally invasive technique that can be used to treat pain. After isolating the specific sensory nerve, or nerves, causing the pain a site-specific diagnostic injection -- a needle with a heated tip -- is used to ablate, or destroy, the nerve. This technique, effective for arthritis-type neck and back pain, can relieve discomfort for six to 12 months, until the nerve regenerates.

Benefits of spinal cord stimulation

• A trial can be done first to make sure the patient has the pain reduction they are looking for before a permanent implant is placed.

• It is easily reversible.

• It has few side effects.

• Implantation is a minimally invasive procedure, requiring a minor surgical procedure on an outpatient basis.

• Pain relief can allow patients to reduce or eliminate their use of narcotic drugs.

• Some batteries are rechargeable; others last seven to ten years.

• The pain management system is completely implanted. Patients can travel anywhere and participate in many non-impact recreational activities, including swimming.

Who may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation?
• If you have chronic trunk or limb pain

• If you have had spine surgery, but still have chronic pain

• If you have peripheral neuropathy

• If you have peripheral vascular disease

• If you have complex regional pain syndrome

• If other treatments have not helped your pain

• If you do not have a pacemaker and are not pregnant



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bistro Is Recognized by Board of Health


Anyone who has visited Fauquier Health's Bistro on the Hill knows it's a few steps up from a typical hospital cafeteria. With a fresh salad bar, homemade pizza, Mongolian barbeque, and homestyle specials every day, the variety is exceptional and the quality first class.
Operating the Bistro on the Hill is a vast undertaking.

Vernon Rhea runs the full-scale restaurant with kindly precision. He stays on top of every detail and knows every staffer.

His efforts have paid off again. On a recent inspection carried out by the Virginia Health Department, the Bistro exceeded all state standards, and had no deficiencies -- for the third inspection in a row.

The Virginia Health Department normally does inspections twice a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The inspections take about an hour per visit. The focus is on food safety as it relates to temperatures of food and equipment, general sanitation and employee personal cleanliness during preparation of foods.

Vernon said, "They check on our Food Service Serv-Safe Certification. We exceeded all state standards by having 23 of our Food Service Employees certified as Safe Food Handlers. The requirement is to have one Serv-Safe Certified employee on premises during hours of operation."

Congratulations to the Bistro staff!

Now, what's for lunch?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

News from the L.I.F.E. Center

Fauquier Health's L.I.F.E. Center will host a Holiday Open House on December 17. The event is an annual gathering hosted by the staff and members.

Everyone brings a dish to share with others. Come for the good people, good food and good cheer. The Open House starts at 6 a.m., when the L.I.F.E. Center opens, and continues until closing time at 8 p.m.

Everyone is welcome. The more, the merrier. The L.I.F.E. Center is located at 419 Holiday Court in Warrenton, Suite 200. The phone number is 540.316.2640.

The second L.I.F.E. Center event will be for members only. On December 10, the L.I.F.E. Center will hold fitness reassessments. This can be a follow up to the fitness assessment members had at signup. L.I.F.E. Center experts will check height, weight, flexibility, balance, waist measurement, grip strength and blood pressure.

Reassessments will take place in the L.I.F.E. Center's Studio 1. They will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will continue all day. Appointments are not necessary; members will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.



Monday, November 24, 2008

Dr. David Snyder Is this Year's Top of the Tree Honoree


Past Honorees

1983 Gay Kerns
1984 J. North Fletcher
1985 Louis and Edna Stevenson
1986 Hilde van Roijen
1987 William D. and Agnes Doeller
1988 Community Volunteers
1989 Marshall Hawkins
1990 Rodger Baker
1991 Vincent and Betty Tolson
1992 Diana Lescalleet
1993 Mary Denning
1994 Hellen Dellinger
1995 Robert W. Iden, MD
1996 Reverend Carl Schmahl
1997 Harriet Mae Benimon
1998 Edyth Burton
1999 Janice Traver
2000 Brenda Wood
2001 Mary O’Shaughnessy
2002 Brian T. O’Connor
2003 Caren Eastham
2004 Fran Regan
2005 Doris Kearney
2006 C. Hunton Tiffany
2007 Ruth Gray
2008 David M. Snyder, M.D.

Celebrate the Holidays with Lights for Life

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary’s annual program to honor loved ones with holiday lights on Hospital Hill will be held this year on Wednesday, December 3. Visitors will gather near the Fauquier Health's Emergency Department entrance at 7:00 p.m. to see five Norway spruce trees illuminated.

The lights will represent hundreds of special individuals who have been remembered or honored by friends and family. Money raised from the sale of the lights will go toward the Auxiliary’s pledge to Fauquier Hospital’s cardiopulmonary unit.

The Lights for Life celebration is always festive and never fails to put everyone in the mood for jingle bells and gingerbread. The St. James Episcopal Church Junior Choir will provide music this year.

The Lights for Life program began in 1983, when Airlie donated the beautiful evergreens and the community was invited to remember loved ones by purchasing lights. Every year, on the first Wednesday in December, the hospital’s Auxiliary has continued the tradition.

Each year one person is chosen as the top of the tree honoree, for his/her contributions to the hospital and the auxiliary. The 2008 top-of-the-tree honoree is Blue Ridge Orthopedic Associates surgeon David M. Snyder, M.D. He is being honored for years of service to his patients and to the community.

For more information on the Lights for Life celebration, those interested may call the hospital information desk at 540-316-4636.


The Helping Hands of the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary is an integral part of the Fauquier Health team. Founded in 1954, the Auxiliary's original mission was to help hospital personnel by providing necessary funding and a wide variety of supplemental services. The Auxiliary pays for equipment and the development of patient-centered programs.

The Auxiliary’s Thrift Shop, now located on Main Street, was established in 1955 as the group’s first fund-raising project. Still going strong, the Thrift Shop has proven to be one of the most prosperous sources of funding for the Auxiliary year after year. In addition to generating funds to support Fauquier Health, the store also provides donations of clothing to families within the community.

Items for sale range from household items, books, jewelry and toys to dresses, pants, shoes and even gently worn prom and wedding dresses. The shop’s volunteers generate $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

Another source of revenue for the Auxiliary is the hospital Gift Shop. The all-volunteer staff sells everything from candy and flowers to handmade jewelry. From $25,000 to $60,000 is raised each year through the Gift Shop.

In 1959, the Auxiliary began one of its most important and rewarding projects, the Nurse Scholarship Program. The program has since been expanded to include scholarships for all health care-related fields and for young men as well as young women.

The Candy striper program, introduced in 1961, has evolved into the current Jr. Volunteer program, which attracts more than 60 young people every year. It’s a year-round program that gives young people in the community the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the community. Junior Volunteers also broaden their horizons, acquire knowledge and expand their experiences by working in all areas of Fauquier Health.

Fifty years after the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary’s humble beginnings, more than 330 volunteers and auxiliary members support the day-to-day operations of the 86-bed hospital, contributing more than 36,000 hours of dedicated service each year.

Looking for a Reason to Celebrate

I think that the holidays are arriving just in the nick of time.

Every place I look, I see evidence that people really need something to be happy about -- a reason to be distracted from failed mortgages, global strife and an endangered environment.

I noticed last month that on Halloween, the percentage of folks who dressed up for the occasion was way up, and spirits (if you’ll excuse the expression) were high. More houses than usual sported happy little skeletons and my kids’ Trick or Treat bags were very full at the end of the night. It was a night of reveling, a chance to forget.

It was that way too, at Fauquier Health’s annual Holiday Faire. Fifty-two vendors offered their wares last Friday and the mood was decidedly jubilant.

Del Clarambeau of the Fauquier Health Maintenance Department played a jolly Santa Claus and the ever-cheerful Amy Ashby of Human Resources was a taller-than-average elf in bright green and red regalia.

When young Ryan Brundage (son of Jennifer Brundage, a Fauquier Health clinical technician) toddled into the Fauquier Health Resource Center with his mom, he spotted Santa and immediately walked purposefully over and climbed on the big guy’s lap. Although not yet talking in full sentences, Ryan knew who was the most important person in the room.

Gift-wrapping volunteers Edythe Burton, Nancy Allen and Betty Seniw watched while Ryan snagged a candy cane out of the basket and showed everyone the meaning of happiness: peppermint candy and the promise of toys.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the floor shopping was intense. Urologist David Pfeffer, M.D. manned a booth that displayed the results of his glass-blowing hobby. Holiday ornaments and other glassware in swirling colors caught the eye of many a shopper.

Members of the Fauquier Health Arts and Entertainment Committee sold popcorn, cookies, and other baked goods. Holiday decorations, hats and scarves, jewelry and gifts for the home were on sale. Business was brisk.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. Laughter filled the halls of the conference center and it felt right.

It was just the right medicine, at just the right time.

Now, who’s ready for another dose?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Veteran's Day at Fauquier Health

Fauquier Hospital has for years been the site of a Veteran's Day ceremony, at the top of Hospital Hill.

On Tuesday, veterans gathered to remember their colleagues, both past and present. Rich Lee was the master of ceremonies, while Liberty High School's Symphonic Band, under band director Patrick Neidich, and the school's JROTC, under Lt. Col.(retired) John O’Sullivan, the Senior Army Instructor set the mood.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's from the Bistro. Mmm Mmm good.

Some things in life are so good, you've got to share the experience.

Have you tried the chicken and rice soup at Fauquier Health's Bistro on the Hill? No. I'm serious. It's unbelieveable. I won't say it's like mother used to make. My mom used to make Campbell's.

The Bistro version is rich and meaty, flavorful and fragrant. It'll warm you down to your toes.

Don't get me started on the chocolate chip cookies ...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Speaking out for Vegetables

Fauquier Health nutritionist Aren Dodge is a strong proponent of eating smart. That includes a wide variety of vegetables.
There are a lot of good reasons to eat up all your veggies -- and reach for more. A quick perusing of easy-to-find Web sites, including one from the Tufts University School of Medicine, shows that there is a plethora of evidence that vegetables can be good for your health in dozens of ways.

-- "Tufts nutrition experts find that the vitamin folate – found in a variety of foods including vegetables and cereals – may help ease depression and prevent memory loss."
http://enews.tufts.edu/stories/856/2003/06/26/Folate

-- "Cutting edge research at Tufts uncovers the anti-aging powers of blueberries and other dark-colored fruits and vegetables, signaling the growing importance of a colorful diet."
http://enews.tufts.edu/stories/1154/2002/03/11/PowerOfBlue

-- "Vitamin K, found in the likes of spinach and kale, is crucial to maintaining good bone health."
http://tuftsjournal.tufts.edu/2008/06/briefs/04/


And here's a surprising study out of California that gives hope to parents everywhere:
-- "Contrary to popular belief, a new study released by First 5 California found that parents don't need to sneak fruits and vegetables into their children's meals -- kids say they actually like them! Interviews with more than 100 preschoolers across California revealed that kids not only know it's important to eat fruits and vegetables, they frequently prefer them to candy.

"The research found the common belief that it's an uphill battle to get young kids to eat healthy foods like broccoli or carrots is false," said Kris Perry, executive director of state agency First 5 California. "We were thrilled to see preschoolers express real enthusiasm for a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy drinks like milk."
http://www.medilexicon.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=127483


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CDC: Diabetes diagnoses up 90 percent over 10 years

November is American Diabetes Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported a 90 percent increase in the rate of new diabetes cases among U.S. adults in the past 10 years.

Based on data from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the rate increased from 4.8 cases per 1,000 people during 1995-1997 to 9.1 cases per 1,000 in 2005-2007. State-specific estimates ranged from 5 per 1,000 in Minnesota to 12.7 per 1,000 in West Virginia. States with the highest incidence were predominantly in the South.

“We must step up efforts to prevent and control diabetes, particularly in the Southern U.S. region where we see higher rates of diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity,” said lead author Karen Kirtland, a data analyst in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.

For news about diabetes control in Fauquier, see an earlier blog post at http://www.viewfromhospitalhill.org/2008/10/focus-on-diabetes.html.

While we're on the subject, Fauquier Health's own Aren Dodge, diabetes educator, was recently honored at the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk for Diabetes on October 18 as a member of the community who is “changing the future of diabetes.”


An announcer read the following as Aren appeared, wearing a bright teal Fauquier Health shirt: “This is Aren Dodge. Aren was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over 15 years ago when she was 13. Not long after her diagnosis, she discovered the rewards of helping others through their struggles with the same day-to-day challenges with diabetes.


“Aren is a certified diabetes educator and director of the nutrition and diabetes program at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton. She is the educator for the Fauquier County school system, supporting a staff of students with diabetes, and also organizes diabetes education for the Fauquier Free Clinic.


She also leads classes on living healthy with diabetes, and coordinates diabetes support group and other community events -- like the Fauquier Health StepOut Team (which participated in the walk)! Aren is stepping out to change the future of diabetes.”


Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Calendar of Events for Fauquier Health

Tuesday, November 4
Health Education
When: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes
Topic: Holiday Eating
Cost: $12 for non-L.I.F.E. Center members
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Thursday, November 6
New-Driver Control Clinic
When: Classroom segment will be held at 7:00 p.m. Behind-the-wheel part of the course will be held November 8 or 9, morning or afternoon.
Where: Classroom segment – Sycamore rooms at Fauquier Hospital; behind-the-wheel – lower parking lots of Lord Fairfax Community College, Warrenton
Cost: $169
Details: Designed to give teen drivers skills to handle the unexpected.
Call for info: 800.862.3277 or go to http://teendrivers.com/mdva.htm

Health Education
When: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Topic: Holiday Eating
Cost: $12 for non-L.I.F.E. Center members
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Saturday, November 8
Free Advance Directives Seminar
When: 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet at the Information Desk of Fauquier Hospital
Registration required: Yes
Call for info: 540.316.3588

First Aid, Adult, Infant & Child CPR, AED
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Cost: $65
Registration required? Yes
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Monday, November 10
Health Education
When: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes
Topic: What’s Next? Taking Your Exercise to the Next Level
Cost: $12 for non-L.I.F.E. Center members
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Wednesday, November 12
Free blood pressure screening
When: Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Planetree Quilting Bee meeting (New quilters welcome)
When: 4:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Resource Center
Call for info: Terry Pfautz, ext. 1480


Thursday, November 13
Diabetes Support Group
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Will meet in Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms for talk on “Diabetes and You.” Deepak Kashyap, M.D., of Fauquier Health Endocrinology will speak to attendees about diabetes prevention and treatment.
Call for info: On support group -- Aren Dodge, 540.316.2640; for info on “Diabetes and You,” talk, call 540.316.3588

Diabetes and You
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore rooms
Details: Deepak Kashyap, M.D., of Fauquier Health Endocrinology will speak to attendees about diabetes prevention and treatment.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Health Education
When: 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes
Topic: What’s Next? Taking Your Exercise to the Next Level
Cost: $12 for non-L.I.F.E. Center members
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Friday, November 14

Type O Blood Drive
When: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore rooms
Registration required: No
Call for info: 540.316.3588


Wednesday, November 19
Massage for Couples, Level II
When: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $45 per couple
Registration required: Yes
Details: Therapeutic massage for couples, taught by Heidi Leavell. Couples should bring two pillows and a sheet and wear comfortable clothing. Ladies should bring a bathing suit or a halter top. Level II is for couples with some experience.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Thursday, November 20
Free Joint Replacement seminar
When: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore rooms
Registration required: Yes
Details: Dr. David Snyder will discuss every aspect of joint replacement, from initial consultation to rehabilitation, as well as non-surgical alternatives.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Friday, November 21
Holiday Craft Faire
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: First-floor conference areas at Fauquier Hospital
Registration required: Anyone who would like to reserve table space for the annual Holiday Craft Faire must do so by November 1.
Call for info: 540.316.5000 -- Brenda Bohon (ext. 3528); Carmen Contreras (ext. 4918); Evelyn Smith (ext. 3144)


Wednesday, November 26
Planetree Quilting Bee meeting (New quilters welcome)
When: 4:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hsopital Resource Center
Call for info: Terry Pfautz, 540.316.5000, ext. 1480

Ongoing
Vascular screening
When: Wednesdays (Call for appointment)
Where: Fauquier Health Vascular Lab
Cost: $50 each; $125 for all three tests
Registration required: Yes
Call for info: 540.316.5800


Cholesterol screening
When: Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $26
Registration required: Yes
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Flu Season Is Upon Us

Chris Kelleher of the Fauquier Health Radiology Department is not looking her best as she receives her flu shot Friday morning, October 31. Fauquier Health employees received flu shots as part of an initative to keep staff healthy this flu season.

For residents 18 and older, the Rapphannock-Rapidan Health District will hold a Drive-Through Flu Clinic from 2:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, November 3 at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton. A limited number of doses will be available.

Special Blood Drive on November 14

A Type O Blood Drive will be held on Friday, November 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Sycamore rooms of Fauquier Hospital.

All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for Type O donors. O is the most common blood type. Type O blood is used for premature newborns, trauma victims and people of any blood type. Be a “Universal Hero” and give blood on November 14.

Fauquier Health Celebrates Pastoral Care

David Smith, Fauquier Health chaplain, gathered his volunteer chaplains together October 28 for a Pastoral Care open house in the Sycamore rooms. Chaplain Smith lent his own caring presence to the event by greeting all who visited with his welcoming smile and quiet, reassuring voice. And of course, to start things off with a lively note, he led a drumming session.

Chaplain Smith has expanded the pastoral care offerings at Fauquier Health to include:

• The Spirituality Work Team (SWT) meets the first Monday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Chestnut Room. This is an open meeting and all are invited to attend.

• Praying Hands Ministry: This initiative of the SWT responds to the request of patients who are asked upon admission if they would like to have someone pray for them. The names of those patients are sent to SWT members (under confidentiality) and the SWT members are asked to pray for these individuals.

• In addition to the Praying Hands Ministry, the Hospital has lay ministers from the community come to the hospital chapel each Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and conduct a “Healing Prayer” service of liturgy readings and prayer. With chaplain assistance, patients are identified who desire prayer and are included in this service. A system wide “Prayer Line” is available to patients and staff who wish to have prayer offered in their behalf by calling ext. 2229 and leaving a request on an automated system.

• In conjunction with our Palliative Care initiatives, a special group of volunteers designated as “Chaplain Assistants” are working with the hospital Chaplain to provide support to patients who do not have family or friends to be with them during their difficult time. These volunteers provide a “Caring Presence.”

“David’s leadership is so inspired,” said Beverly Hunsaker, a volunteer chaplain and follower of the Bana’i faith. “David is so organized – he keeps us focused. There was a time, years ago, when volunteer chaplains were barely tolerated here, but the hospital is so welcoming now. There is a new attitude about the role of religion and healing.”

The Rev. Liz Danielson, founder of Spiritual Care Ministries, was also eager to talk about her work with Fauquier Health. She works with the Chronically Ill Support Group, which meets Tuesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in The Bistro. The chronically ill are largely a forgotten group, she said. “There are people here who are hurting from constant back pain or other illnesses,” she said. “They are functioning, they are working, but it’s difficult. They need our support.”

Donna Meadows (mother to Beth Foddrell, physician relations specialist) is a part of the Wednesday night prayer group, along with Betsy Anderson and Connie Chintall. Led by Chaplain Smith, they pray for anyone who asks to be remembered.

The Fauquier branch of Gideon International was represented at the Pastoral Care open house as well. Betsy Surles and Clyde Tisdale handed out Gideon Bibles to those who stopped by.
Kaye Kready, a volunteer chaplain, was present, representing Liberty Community Church in Bealeton.

Rochelle Applewhite, chaplain’s assistant, was also at the open house, sharing information on the Caring Presence program. Trained by Chaplain Smith, volunteers serve at the bedsides of those who are dying without family members present. Rochelle said, “We listen to them, bring music or read poetry. We are just there for them so they are not alone.”

She said the volunteers are expanding their duties to attend patients who are ill who are alone and want someone to talk to.”

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Doctors’ Offices Debut at Lake Manassas

GAINESVILLE: Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas will open its doors November 3 in Gainesville, serving busy families living near the eastern borders of Fauquier County.

Internists Esther Bahk, M.D. and Marwa Abdelfattah, M.D. will provide primary care services in a convenient, patient-centered environment. Both doctors are excited about serving the Gainesville patient population.

Dr. Bahk said, “I am looking forward to establishing myself in the community and creating lasting relationships with my patients.”

The doctors said they were pleased to be part of the Fauquier Health family, with its focus on patient-centered care. Dr. Abdelfattah explained, “I love the Planetree concept of providing ‘an excellent patient experience,’ of involving patients and families in decisions about their own health care. It’s what I do. I am happy to have found a place where our philosophies are compatible.”

The new office will offer quality health care with an emphasis on convenience. Among the considerations for busy families:

• Early morning and evening hours, as well as appointment times on Saturdays.
• Same-day appointments are available for non-emergency care.
• A concierge meets patients at the front desk to answer questions and help them navigate through the process.
• A business cafĂ© provides dedicated space with wi-fi service for those who would like to work – or play – on their computers while they wait for family members.
• Lab work, including blood tests, can be accomplished on site.
• The new medical offices will have access to Fauquier Hospital diagnostic scheduling and records. Radiology or laboratory tests to be completed at the hospital may be arranged from the Lake Manassas offices.
• Medicare patients are welcome.
Dr. Bahk said, “My husband and I are both working parents. When we were looking for a pediatrician, we sought out a doctor who offered quality care, and convenience, too. I look forward to helping patients who have that same kind of lifestyle.”

Dr. Abdelfattah is a Gainesville resident and is eager to begin serving her neighbors. “As an internist, working with this diverse patient population is going to be very satisfying.”

Fauquier Health Internal Medicine, Lake Manassas
Address: Suite 101, 7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Gainesville
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 noon
Phone: 703.743.7300
Information: For details, call Physician Referral at 540.316.DOCS

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evening Seminar Focuses on Realities of Cancer

Cancer touches nearly everyone’s life in one way or another. Because of this reality, Dr. Sanjeev Aggarwal will present an evening seminar designed to help listeners deal with the multi-faceted aspects of the disease. Dr. Aggarwal is the radiation oncologist and medical director for The Cancer Center at Lake Manassas in Gainesville.

Dr. Aggarwal will speak on breast and prostate cancer and how the diseases affect patients’ lives, as well as the lives of their families and friends.

The free lecture will take place Wednesday, October 20, at Grace Bible Church, 4387 Free State Road in Marshall. For information, call (540) 364-3832 or go to www.gbcmarshall.org, “About Us.”

The Cancer Center at Lake Manassas is a strategic partnership of Fauquier Health and Prince William Hospital. The staff is dedicated to serving patients and families living in Northern Virginia, particularly the counties of Fauquier, Prince William, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Loudoun and Fairfax.

Visit the Cancer Center’s website at: www.cancercenterlm.org

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Veteran ED nurses have seen it all

At right, Dr. Joseph Servideo and Dr. Tom Myers enjoy the celebration of the opening of the new Fauquier Health Emergency Department waiting room. (Patients were welcomed this morning, October 15.) Both doctors worked in the Fauquier Hospital ED 30 years ago.

Lisa Mountjoy, a nurse in the Fauquier Hospital Outpatient Procedures Department and Lois Sutphin, a nurse in the Fauquier Hospital Infusion Center, gathered in the staff lounge and pored over old news clippings from the last 33 years. One article, cut out and stapled into a scrapbook, was torn and faded. The date on the page showed it was from September of 1978, three years after Mountjoy graduated from nursing school and joined Fauquier Hospital.
Both women remembered the story well.

Mountjoy said, “That was when we were still in the ‘old ED’ (a six-bed unit). Only that week we had been approved for helicopter transport.”

The newspaper article told of a serious car accident. A 22-year-old man had been pierced with an 8-foot-long board. “It was unbelievable,” said Mountjoy, who was head nurse of the ER at the time. “It went right through him. They had to cut both ends of the board away in order to get him in the ambulance.”

Attending the victim was Dr. Joseph Servideo, the current chairman of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department. He was then 34 and in his first year with Fauquier Hospital. He said, “The board had collapsed his lung, went behind his heart, behind his abdomen and through his bowel. I had never seen anything like it, and I was scared to death.”
Dr. Servideo and one of the hospital surgeons got the patient stabilized and he was airlifted to the Washington Hospital Center, where he was operated on successfully.

Former ED nurses Bernice Pearson and Janice Foley, now both retired, were on the scene that night too. Foley said, “It was a small community back then. If something big happened, you heard about it and just went in to help.”
In those early days of helicopter transport, Foley was called on several times to travel with patients on what she called “the MASH helicopters.” She said, “I’d be in the helicopter holding the IV and the patient would be in this big tube, attached to the outside of the helicopter. Sometimes when they didn’t have a medic, they’d ask the nurses to help with transport.”

The good old days
Sutphin, who began working at Fauquier Hospital in 1973, says that the hospital was a very different place back then. “We didn’t have a doctor in the ER all the time. I’d be in the OR and the bell would ring when there was a patient waiting at the ER door.”

Foley remembered, “One night a man arrived with a wire sticking three inches out of his eye. I had trouble finding a doctor and when I got one on the phone, he asked, ‘Can you see the wire?’

“I said ‘Yes,’ so he said, ‘Well, pull it out then!’ ”

Because of the frequent absence of an ER doctor, then nurses were often required to use their own judgment. Pearson told the story of a night when she was making her rounds and Foley was in the ER. “We heard this small voice say ‘Help.’ We checked the parking lot. No car. No rescue squad. So we went on with our conversation. We heard it again. ‘Help. Someone please help me.’

“We went outside and found a man hanging on to the wall in the parking lot. He had been shot in the leg and was AWOL from the service. We brought him in.”

Foley added, “We didn’t have any security back then. We figured if they can make it as far as the parking lot, that’s good enough for us.”

Foley remembered, “We had someone come in who had been shot in the chest and wasn’t going to make it. A motorcycle gang had been involved in a shootout. About 30 of his friends showed up and said, ‘We want his jacket,’ so I gave it to them.” Later, Foley realized she had given away evidence in the shooting. “I would have given them anything they asked for. They were scary.”

Sutphin said, “We made our own saline, distilled our own water, and prepared our own medicines that we got from Rhodes Drug Store. We used glass bottles for IVs instead of plastic bags.”

Mountjoy added, “We didn’t wear gloves back then. I remember one man came in who had been hit in the head with an ax. There was a lot of blood, but he was still talking. I held his head together with my bare hands while he was taken to Fairfax. HIV and Hepatitis were unknown back then.”

Thirty years ago, the most common emergencies handled in the ER happened on farms and in car accidents, according to the veteran nurses. Sutphin remembered, “Hay pickers, corn pickers, mower accidents. I remember when five people in one family were killed in a car accident. That’s how we got the traffic signal in Remington. One time someone came in whose whole bottom lip had been bitten off by a horse. They sewed it back on.”

She said, “I remember one little girl who lost her arm in some machinery. I was scrubbing that little girl’s arm, and I was crying like a baby the whole time.”

Dr. Servideo pointed out that emergency room physicians have so many more tools than they did 30 years ago. “Back then, we had X-rays, EKGs and some limited blood work. Now we’ve got CT scanners, MRIs, Dopplar ultrasound and multiple lab tests that can tell us so much more.”

The range of medicines has expanded tremendously too. “Back in the 1970s, if someone came in with a heart attack, we didn’t have much to offer – some pain relief, oxygen and nitroglycerin. Now, we can give them clot busters that within 20-30 minutes can dissolve the clot that is causing the heart attack.”

Clinicians’ training has changed, too. “Back then,” said Dr. Servideo said, “We didn’t have the specialty backup that we do now. Acute care specialties were just coming into being back then. Emergency room doctors were just family doctors who worked in the ER.

“And nurses, although they came out of nursing school very well trained and experienced in hands-on care, didn’t have to have the same skills they do now. In 2008, they need to be able to read heart monitors and work IV pumps, things that didn’t exist back then. We have an extensive program for new nurses that includes lots of lectures and hands-on experience, as well as working alongside experienced nurses.”

A close-knit group
Mountjoy and Sutphin remember the early days of the Fauquier ER as a time when the medical staff worked very closely together. “It was a much smaller group,” said Mountjoy. “We had six nurses who worked together for years. And the wonderful doctors… Dr. Servideo, Dr. (Eric) Maybach, Dr. (Steven) von Elten worked in the ED back then.”
Mountjoy remembered, “A child came in who had run her bike down her driveway into traffic. They thought they would have to amputate her leg. Dr. Benjamin Allen was the perfect doctor to help her. He had an artificial leg himself. He was able to offer encouragement and tell the family that their child’s life was not over. He told them how he played tennis and became a ski instructor.”

Foley and Pearson agreed that Fauquier Hospital has been able to attract wonderful doctors. Foley said, “When I first started here, we only had general practitioners, no pediatricians, no OB/GYNs. I remember when Dr. (Tom) Meyers (an OB/GYN doctor) first came here to look at Warrenton. He and Dr. (Bob) Young said they walked up and down Main Street and talked to people. They found that people were friendly and that there was a real sense of community. They wanted to start their practices and raise their families here. I’ve heard that kind of story a lot over the years.”
Of all the wonderful people the nurses remember from their early days in the ER, one they speak of most fondly is “Grandma” Ruth Krusie. Krusie was a legendary nurse whose memory is honored with the hospital’s Ruth Krusie award, given annually to an outstanding Fauquier Hospital nurse.

Mountjoy, Sutphin, Foley and Pearson all were honored with the Ruth Krusie award.

Mountjoy said, “Ruth Krusie was 72 when she passed away, and worked here up until 9 months before she died. She was so much fun, and a wonderful nurse. Before she went home every night, she’d tell us, ‘Watch out for the fools.’ ”

The women also remember the hospital’s snack bar wistfully. Sutphin said, “There was one long counter with some stools, and three or four tables for two people each. And there was the famous chicken salad. Volunteers – the chicken pickers -- would pull the chicken off the bone. It was wonderful.”

Mountjoy broke in, “And they made the best milk shakes. I liked mine chocolaty, but not too chocolaty. They knew just how many squirts of syrup to use for me.”

Mountjoy recalled that one night, visitors to the hospital cafeteria got a surprise. It seems that a jail inmate set his own mattress on fire and was brought into the ER with burns. Mountjoy said, “He escaped and ran buck naked through the hospital -- it was a shorter run back then. He ran into the cafeteria looking for something cool to put on his burns.

“He scared the cafeteria ladies, but one of the nurses ordered him into the shower.”

The nurses maintain that health care was much more of a hands-on proposition years ago. “Because the staffs were so much smaller, the head nurse was not only overseeing and supervising, she was another nurse on the floor.”
Sutphin remembered one day when the nurses would have preferred not to be so “hands-on.”

“There was a bomb scare at the hospital in 1969. Bernice (Pearson), then head nurse of the medical surgery unit, called us in and told us, ‘The bomb is supposed to go off at 7:00. So until five to seven, we’re going to search for the bomb.’

“I was only 17 and said, ‘I’m too young to be doing that. I’m going home.’

“Bernice said, ‘No, you’re not.’

“So we all looked for the bomb.”

Nurses did what needed to be done, agreed all four veteran nurses. Foley remembered a time when there was a shootout at a big country music concert in town. “I saw someone was shot, so I started to jump down and help. Bullets were flying. My husband pulled me back and said, ‘You can’t do that!’ ”

Pearson said with a smile, “Yes, Janice was one of those ‘eager’ nurses.”

All four nurses have deep ties to Warrenton. Pearson’s mother, Inez Gray, was also a Fauquier Hospital nurse, when the hospital was located in a house on Waterloo Street. “ ‘Lady Gray,’ everyone called her,” Pearson said. Pearson has been married for 40 years to Raye Pearson, a police officer she met in the ER.

Foley married Charles Foley, who was a prosecutor for the county, then a judge.

Foley said, “One night, when I was pregnant, a drunk gave me a hard time. He was chasing me around the exam room and I had to call for help.

“The next day he told Charles that a nurse beat him up the night before in the ER.

“Charles told him, ‘I heard about you at about 2 in the morning from that very nurse.’ ”

That was then, this is now

How do the nurses compare today’s brand-spanking new 33-room ED to the six-bed ER of 35 years ago?

“I love the fact that there are all private rooms,” said Sutphin. “We used to have all the patients in one room separated by curtains. And we have all state-of-the-art equipment. The new ED is just beautiful.”

When asked what he thinks of the new ED, Dr. Servideo grins broadly. “It’s fantastic. Having our own CT scanner is a dream come true. We have everything we need to provide the best possible care. You won’t find another ED anywhere that is better equipped.”

Through the Years


At right you'll see the Fauquier Hospital snackbar that was a favorite place for employees to get some famous chicken salad or a milkshake.

1925
20 patient beds
344 patients admitted
184 operations performed
57 emergency treatments
22 babies born

1956
56 employees
$100,000 annual payroll
$18.23: average daily cost of a room

1967
$19 cost of a semi-private room, daily
$26 cost of a private room, daily

1972
91 patient beds
3,000 patients admitted
26,000 patient days
900 operations performed
300 babies born

1981
40 physicians
330 employees, including 40 registered nurses
11,300 emergency room visits
500 babies born

2007
Fauquier Hospital Care
Patients admitted (not counting deliveries) - 5,008
Inpatient days of care - 21,121
Babies delivered - 820
Outpatient visits - 82,552
Emergency Department visits - 32,003

Charity Care
Free Medical Care - $4,028,871
Services to Free Clinic - $130,284
Rental for Free Clinic - $82,800 per year
Hours donated to Fauquier Free Clinic
by Fauquier Health System physicians and staff - 470

Community Outreach
Held programs that benefited 2,063 people
Conducted health screenings for 2,500 people
Participated in health education and local events benefiting 33,062 people

Grand Opening of New Emergency Department

Fauquier Hospital has doubled the size of its Emergency Department and added new features and upgrades.
“We’ve added a big, beautiful, new waiting room (opening October 15) that is going to provide a lot more comfort for our patients,” said Dr. Joseph Servideo, chairman of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department. “We’re also opening up more exam rooms and adding more physicians and clinical staff. All of this means we’ll be able to serve our patients much more quickly.”


The new ED expansion will not only allow for more flexibility during peak patient times, but it will also help the staff adapt to increasing demands created by future growth. “The hospital administration was very open to making the ED a little larger than what we needed for right now,” Dr. Servideo explained. “So this new expansion should easily serve us for the next five to 10 years.”

Highlights of the expansion include:

• 13,000 additional square feet of space, bringing the total number of square feet in the ED to 25,660

• 13 additional patient rooms, for a total of 33 private patient rooms in the ED

• A new, ED-dedicated CT scanner, providing convenient access and quicker results for ED patients

• Two state-of-the-art trauma suites that allow maximum use of space in the event of large-scale accidents or tragedies

• Dedicated rooms for obstetrical and orthopedic patients

• Two negative pressure rooms for potentially contagious patients that prevent the spread of infections

• New technology that includes: a digital imaging system that allows physicians to view x-rays within seconds; voice recognition dictation system; an electronic patient tracking system, which allows hospital personnel to see and update the location and status of each patient from anywhere in the ED

• Portable digital x-ray machines that can travel from room to room, for patient comfort and convenience

• Streamlined admission procedures through bedside registration, clinical staff information white boards for patient rooms, specialized treatment rolling carts, and more

• Inspired by nature themes, the expanded waiting room space is designed to inspire and soothe. It’s beautifully functional. New additions include an office for security; a private financial counseling room; new reception desk; new reception office space; and an area with vending machines and tables for patients and visitors. A children’s area will make waiting with little ones a bit easier, and two large triage rooms will offer staff more space to assess patients as they arrive.

• The new entrances, one for self-transported patients and one for ambulances, are sweeping, open areas that will welcome patients to the Fauquier Hospital ED

• A few more parking spaces have been added, and a traffic circle will allow anxious drivers to drop off and pick up patients more easily

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Focus on Diabetes


Diabetes is a lifestyle disease. That means it can be caused or made worse by poor choices -- a high-calorie, high-sugar diet and a sedentary lifestyle, for instance.
The Fauquier Times-Democrat newspaper was good enough to publish several stories highlighting the disease and the tools Fauquier Health provides to battle it. In case you missed them, here are the stories.

Managing diabetes: Hard work, but worth it

About a year ago, in July of 2007, Warrenton resident Jim Smyth realized that he hadn’t been feeling well. He said, “I was really tired, didn’t feel like myself. I felt like I had a minor case of the flu. I have traveled a lot internationally for years, so I figured that’s why I was feeling run down.”


He had no idea how ill he really was.

Dr. Michael Lin of Warrenton diagnosed Smyth with Type 2 Diabetes, which runs in his family. “It turned out I was really sick, and had been for a while. I just didn’t know it,” said Smyth.

He was put on medication, and tried to get a handle on his blood sugar. “I started exercising at home, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was undisciplined, and there was no accountability.

“I am pretty busy. I work for an international publishing company, in business development, and have customers all over the world. By 8 a.m., I’m already way behind, because the rest of the world has been up and doing business for hours. When I was first diagnosed, I kept thinking I could continue the way I had been and just make a few changes in diet and exercise.”

By December, Smyth saw that his self-help efforts were not working. On his doctor’s suggestion, Smyth joined Fauquier Health’s LIFE Center, a medically based fitness center. “I started because I had to. At first I did it to live longer, but now I do it to feel better. And it really works.”

That was 9 months -- and 36 pounds – ago.

Smyth joined Fauquier Health’s Diabetes Management class and was surprised. He said, “I’m very well-educated. I read everything on diabetes when I got my diagnosis. But I took the pre-test they gave in the class and failed. The class gave me a chance to talk with experts and discuss how the disease affects my body and how I could make real changes.”

Smyth met for one-on-one sessions with diabetes educators Aren Dodge and Dottie Williams at the LIFE Center. “They provided a combination of expertise and genuine caring that is unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else,” said Smyth.

The individual classes were followed by four group classes. Dodge reported, “Jim is great. He’s our cheerleader. He comes to classes and speaks to others about his experiences and provides encouragement.”

Nutrition is a main focus of the Diabetes Management classes. Smyth said, “It’s not easy, but I have no choice. If I want to eat junk food, I’m going to feel bad.

“Dottie is always checking on me. ‘How’s your blood sugar today? What did you eat yesterday?’ It’s great to have someone to discuss things with. They teach you how to eat the right amount at every meal. The support is terrific.”

Regular exercise is another important component of diabetes management. Smyth said, “I can’t say enough about the LIFE Center. People don’t know how lucky we are to have this kind of facility right here in our small town. I come in and work out for 30-45 minutes, six days a week whenever I’m not out of town. Once I’m here, I don’t want to leave.
“I have people here who ask me how I’m doing. It’s a little extra incentive. If I don’t come, next time they want to know, ‘Where were you?’

Smyth continues to get help and motivation from Williams and Dodge, as well as exercise physiologist Sara Freeman. “Sara developed a plan for me and I follow her directions. I never get bored. There are lots of different things to try. I’m not great at stretching, so Amy (Moore, another exercise physiologist) showed me what’s good for me. I’ve done water exercise classes with John Ferguson and that was great, a lot of fun.”

“It’s hard work, but I get real benefits--benefits that let me enjoy every day more. I am very grateful for the care and support I get from the LIFE Center team.”

Smyth has made astonishing progress in a short time. The last time his blood sugar was tested, his numbers were the same as a person without diabetes. “I feel really good. It has happened very quickly. My doctor was amazed.

“The real benefit has been to the quality of my everyday life. I wake up every day feeling better. I can’t control the disease, but I can control how it affects me.”


New endocrinologist debuts in Warrenton

Nearly one in ten American adults has diabetes and, if present trends continue, one third of Americans born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime. These staggering statistics are from the American Diabetes Association.

Because diabetes is now being referred to as an “epidemic,” Fauquier Health has recruited a diabetes specialist to be part of its newly created Fauquier Health Endocrinology. Endocrinologist Dr. Deepak Kashyap is delighted to be in Fauquier. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to provide vital specialty care in diabetes and other endocrine diseases.”

Dr. Kashyap said that his role is to de-burden primary care doctors by focusing on intense diabetes education and treatment. “Your primary care doctor may be treating you for arthritis, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions as well. I am able to focus my time with patients addressing their questions and working with them to improve their understanding of diabetes.”

Dr. Kashyap is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology and is a certified diabetes educator. He explained, “This is an additional certification in teaching patients how to manage their diabetes – reviewing the roles of nutrition and physical activity, educating patients about the pathophysiology, individualizing treatment goals and providing coping skills.”

A study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that about one-third of people who have diabetes don’t even know they have it. Dr. Kashyap said, “By the time most diabetics are diagnosed, the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas have been damaged so much that only 50 percent of them remain functional. And each year, another 3-5 percent of these cells fail. Newer drugs such as Byetta (a twice-daily injection) or Januvia (a once-daily pill) could possibly prevent further pancreas failure.

“I have a lot of experience with these newer therapies. Byetta, for instance, can have the added benefit of decreasing the appetite for easier weight loss. Because excess weight is a contributor to diabetes, this is an important benefit.”
Dr. Kashyap added, “I am trained in the use of insulin pumps, which can be used in place of insulin shots. Pumps release the medication automatically, and there are fewer needle sticks.”

But diabetes treatment is not all about medication. Diabetes is a “lifestyle disease,” caused and exacerbated by poor diet and inactivity as well as genetics.

Dr. Kashyap said, “I spend a lot of time with my patients talking about meal plans and exercise habits. It can be difficult to convince patients of the long-term benefits of these changes because sometimes serious diabetic complications may take several decades to develop. Many adult diabetics don’t even have the most common symptoms: fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urination and blurry vision.”

About half of those diagnosed with diabetes decide to change their lifestyle.

“If we catch diabetes early, and significant lifestyle changes are made, in some cases it can even be reversed. But I must have the patient’s participation. My job is to empower people to make the changes they need to make. If you have diabetes, you have to live with it, but I’m here to help you with that.”

Fauquier Health Endocrinology
550 Hospital Drive (at Fauquier Health Medical Center on Hospital Hill)
Warrenton, VA 20186
Main number: 540.316.5940
Main Fax line: 540.316.5941


Special Programs for Diabetics

Diabetes and You
What: Dr. Deepak Kashyap, a board certified physician in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, will discuss diabetes prevention. Find out who is at risk for diabetes; the signs and symptoms of diabetes; how diabetes develops, and what changes you can make to reduce your risk of diabetes and protect your health.
When: Thursday, November 13, at 7 p.m.
Where: Sycamore Room B at Fauquier Hospital
Information: Registration required. Call 540.316.3588.


Self-Management Training
Classes on diabetes self-management are offered at Fauquier Health’s L.I.F.E. Center in Warrenton.
Participants learn the basics of managing diabetes, including nutrition, monitoring, problem solving, activity goals, stress and complication prevention. A free glucometer, test strips and lancets are given out, and those who enroll are signed up for a free L.I.F.E. Center membership while they are enrolled in the class.
The self-management sessions, which require a doctor’s referral, include two one-hour, one-on-one classes with diabetes educators Aren Dodge and Dottie Williams. Eight hours of group classes follow, offered weekends, evenings or day times.
The classes are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. More information is available by calling the L.I.F.E. Center at 540.316.2652.

Diabetes Support Group
The Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center hosts a free Fauquier Diabetes Support Group on the second Thursday of every other month. The group will meet from 6-7 p.m. in Studio 1 on November 13 and January 8, 2009.
The group will be for anyone in the community with any type of diabetes, as well as his or her support person.

More information is available by calling the L.I.F.E. Center at 540.316.2652.

Diabetes Program at the Free Clinic
In addition to its regular health clinic, the Fauquier Free Clinic has a diabetic specialty clinic that meets once a month by appointment. Three doctors participate in the special program: Dr. Michael Ackerman, Dr. Bill Simpson and Dr. Kevin McCarthy.
The patients benefit from extra attention, shorter wait times, group classes about diabetes management, and seeing the same volunteer physician each time they come.
Operating since 2003, the diabetes clinic serves about 35 patients, mostly those who can benefit from additional education about their disease, or who have had a particularly difficult time controlling their blood sugars.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Weight Loss Update

I wrote an entry at the beginning of August (http://www.viewfromhospitalhill.org/2008/08/weight-loss-doesnt-have-to-be-solitary.html), announcing that I was trying to lose weight, and expressing frustration because my efforts were showing no results. I sort of committed myself publicly, and therefore feel accountable to my readers. (I suppose I could just delete that entry, but that would be cheating, right?)

Well, thanks to almost-daily trips to Fauquier Health’s L.I.F.E. Center, I have lost 18 pounds since the day of my rant (August 7). I have given away two boxes of too-big clothes and I feel much better.

Every morning when I arrive at the L.I.F.E. Center, I am greeted by smiling faces murmuring words of encouragement. That support – and the fluctuating needle on the scale – keep me showing up day after day.

John Ferguson, one of the L.I.F.E. Center staff who has been my cheerleader since the beginning, stopped by my treadmill the other day to show me a (very large) pair of pants he used to wear; now they would be swimming on him. Sharing success stories gives us all hope.

Other staff members are just as supportive. Sarah Freeman is trying to entice me into one of her exercise classes, and Amy Moore gave me an impromptu lesson on blood pressure numbers and what they mean. The L.I.F.E. Center staff has been there for me and I appreciate them so much.

Of course, I have to do the sweating part myself.

It's Just a Drill


Don’t be alarmed. The photo you see at right is not of someone tragically injured. It’s a picture of Amanda Sturgeon, senior director of Fauquier Health’s Patient Accounts Department, who “took one for the team” as part of an emergency preparedness drill September 25.

Amanda, Colleen Beres, (director of patient care for 3S/3W), Lionel Phillips (chief financial officer) and Barbara Tobias (a hospital volunteer) acted as burn victims in a mock disaster drill designed to give health systems around the region a chance to test their preparedness in case of a life-threatening disaster.

Fauquier victims were convincingly made up by Christina Clayton of the Patient Access Department and Julie Whisler, a strategic services specialist.

The drill, organized by the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance, included hospitals from all over Northern Virginia, and challenged the facilities to consider how they would handle multiple emergency events happening simultaneously.

In Thursday’s scenario, three explosions in Northern Virginia -- at least one the result of a “dirty bomb” -- and an overturned truck loaded with chemicals strained the resources of Northern Virginia healthcare facilities. The disaster wasn’t real, but healthcare leaders around the region made decisions as if it was.

When word first arrived of the mock explosions, Fauquier Health’s emergency preparedness team assembled to prepare for the arrival of “patients.” An assessment of current resources was quickly accomplished and steps were taken to make beds and other resources available for an unknown number of badly injured patients.

Patients already identified for discharge that day were moved (they weren’t really moved, just theoretically), an area of the hospital closed due to construction was reopened and prepared for patients (again, just theoretically), and other emergency bed space was located.

More than three hundred victims were to be handled by the hospitals in the area. Facilities closest to the disaster were hit first with a wave of victims, and then about 9:10 a.m., Fauquier received its first two “burn victims.”

As in an actual disaster, information was scarce and medical personnel and administrators were called upon to think on their feet.

As part of the drill, Fauquier staff handled issues that would present themselves during a disaster:

• A 3-year-old child had been separated from its mother, who had been taken to the Fauquier ED. Mother and child were reunited after communication with other hospitals.

• Some arriving patients were passed through a decontamination process as a precaution because no information was initially available about the type of bombs that exploded.

• An unrelated multiple-car accident on U.S. 29 brought more critically injured patients into the ER.

• Separate phone lines were set up to handle calls from loved ones, staff calling in to offer help, concerned members of the community and the media.

• Lisa Spitzer, Fauquier Health’s concierge and David Smith, chaplain, took charge of helping victims and their families cope with their fear and grief.

• One of the hospitals in the Northern Virginia group received a terrorist threat and Fauquier Hospital was placed on lockdown. No unauthorized persons were allowed in or out of the hospital doors. Supply deliveries were checked and rechecked.

• An instant messaging Web site allowed all the participating hospitals to report status updates and needs. When Fauquier Hospital reported that it needed ventilators and IVs, another hospital responded quickly.

• The “Incident Command” team, led by president and CEO Rodger Baker and Carla Adams, senior director of inpatient services, used special computers and cell phones reserved just for emergency situations.

• Everyone’s roles were carefully documented and assigned in advance. All jobs had more than one person who understood them, for backup.

As the drill wound down and “victims” washed off the red paint, the day’s events were documented, questions were asked, and an evaluation of the process was completed. Mock victim Barbara Tobias was honored with the “best actress” award for crying on cue so convincingly that she scared the make-up artists.

It was a surreal day -- mock disasters followed by genuine responses. Then again, I imagine a real emergency would produce its own brand of surreal.

It was a worthwhile project for all concerned. At the end of the day, the realities of a large-scale disaster were a little more concrete.

Doing is believing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Driver Car Clinic Being Held Again in November

I wrote a blog back in April about a New Driver Car Control Clinic sponsored by Fauquier Health. I thought it was an excellent opportunity for parents to prepare their young drivers for the unexpected hazards of the road.
The class is being offered again in November. Here are the details.

New-Driver Control Clinic
When: Classroom segment will be held at 7:00 p.m. Behind-the-wheel part of the course will be held November 8 or 9, morning or afternoon.
Where: Classroom segment – Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms; behind-the-wheel – lower parking lots of Lord Fairfax Community College
Cost: $169
Details: Designed to give teen drivers skills to handle the unexpected.
Call for info: Go to http://teendrivers.com/mdva.htm or call 800.862.3277

If you would like to read the initial blog, which tells the inside story about the class, click
here.

Promoting Health in Fauquier

Here's a calendar of events for Fauquier Hospital. Lots of "healthy" events here.

Saturday, October 4
Nannette’s Walk, benefiting breast cancer awareness.
When: 9:00 a.m. for 2-mile walk
Where: Starting at the Middleburg Fitness Club
Registration required? Yes
Details: Percentage of proceeds benefit Fauquier Hospital
Call for info: 703.447.2302

Diabetes Product Fair
When: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health’s L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required? Yes
Details: Vendors and pharmaceutical representatives will have information on products. “Ask the Educator” booth will be offered, as well.
Call for info: Aren Dodge, 540.316.2652

Health Education
When: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Details: The topic is “Weight Loss.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Wednesday, October 8
Planetree Quilting Bee meeting (New quilters welcome)
When: 4:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Resource Center
Call for info: Terry Pfautz, 540.316-5000, ext. 1480

Free blood pressure screening
When: Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Friday, October 10
Health Education
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Details: The topic is “Work Out Smarter, Not Harder – Tricks of the Exercise Trade.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Saturday, October 11
Free advance directives seminar
When: 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet at the information desk of Fauquier Hospital
Registration required? Yes
Call for info: 540.316.3588

First Aid, infant and child CPR class
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Cost: $60
Registration required? Yes
Details: The class includes infant and child CPR and will prepare participants to respond to children up to age 8 or up to 55 pounds.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Thursday, October 16
Women and Fibromyalgia lecture with Dr. Mehra
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Registration required? Yes
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Health Education
When: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic is “Weight Loss.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Saturday, October 18
Walk for Diabetes
When: Registration starts 9:00 a.m.; event begins 10:30 a.m.
Where: Micron Technologies, Manassas
Registration required? Yes
Details: Fauquier Health is putting together a team to participate in the Prince William Step Out: Walk for Diabetes, a 3.1 mile walk and fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.
Call for info: Aren Dodge, team captain at 540.316.2652; call 1.888.DIABETES or go to diabetes.org/stepout to join the team or donate

Wednesday, October 22
Planetree Quilting Bee meeting (New quilters welcome)
When: 4:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Resource Center
Call for info: Terry Pfautz, 540.316.5000, ext. 1480

Wednesday, October 22
Massage for Couples, Level I
When: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $45 per couple
Registration required? Yes
Details: Therapeutic massage for couples, taught by Heidi Leavell. Couples should bring two pillows and a sheet and wear comfortable clothing. Ladies should bring a bathing suit or a halter top. Level I is for couples with no massage experience.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Wednesday, October 29
Conversations in Ethics
When: 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Details: The topic will be on palliative care. The speaker is the medical director from Capitol Hospice.
Call for info: Paula Black, social worker, 540.316.5000, ext. 2488

Thursday, October 30
Classes for Caregivers
When: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Session I is 1:00 to 2:00, on general caregiving skills; Session II is 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., on home safety; Session III is 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., on community resources; Session IV is 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., on caring for the caregiver)
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Registration required? Yes
Details: Experts speak on the problems caregivers face. Information on local resources will be available. Attendees may attend as many sessions as they wish. Offered by Fauquier Health in conjunction with Aging Together.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Health Education
When: 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic “Work Out Smarter, Not Harder – Tricks of the Exercise Trade.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Tuesday, November 4
Health Education
When: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic is “Holiday Eating.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Thursday, November 6
New-Driver Control Clinic
When: Classroom segment will be held at 7:00 p.m. Behind-the-wheel part of the course will be held November 8 or 9, morning or afternoon.
Where: Classroom segment – Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms; behind-the-wheel – lower parking lots of Lord Fairfax Community College
Cost: $169
Details: Designed to give teen drivers skills to handle the unexpected.
Call for info: 800.862.3277, or go to http://teendrivers.com/mdva.htm or call

Health Education
When: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic is “Holiday Eating.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Saturday, November 8
Free advance directives seminar
When: 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet at the information desk of Fauquier Hospital
Call for info: 540.316.3588 (Registration required)

First Aid, infant and child CPR class
When: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Cost: $60
Registration required? Yes
Details: The class includes infant and child CPR and will prepare participants to respond to children up to age 8 or up to 55 pounds.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Monday, November 10
Health Education
When: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic is “What’s Next? Taking Your Exercise to the Next Level.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Wednesday, November 12
Free blood pressure screening
When: Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Thursday, November 13
Diabetes Support Group
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Will meet in Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms for talk on “Diabetes and You.”
Details: Deepak Kashyap, M.D., of Fauquier Health Endocrinology will speak to attendees about diabetes prevention and treatment.
Call for info: Aren Dodge, 540.316.2640

Diabetes and You
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Details: Deepak Kashyap, M.D., of Fauquier Health Endocrinology will speak to attendees about diabetes prevention and treatment.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Health Education
When: 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $12 for those who are not members of the L.I.F.E. Center
Registration required: Yes (space is limited)
Details: The topic is “What’s Next? Taking Your Exercise to the Next Level.”
Call for info: 540.316.2640

Wednesday, November 19
Massage for Couples, Level II
When: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $45 per couple
Registration required? Yes
Details: Therapeutic massage for couples, taught by Heidi Leavell. Couples should bring two pillows and a sheet and wear comfortable clothing. Ladies should bring a bathing suit or a halter top. Level II is for couples with some experience.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Thursday, November 20
Free Joint Replacement seminar
When: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore rooms
Registration required? Yes
Details: Dr. David Snyder will discuss every aspect of joint replacement, from initial consultation to rehabilitation, as well as non-surgical alternatives.
Call for info: 540.316.3588

Ongoing
Vascular screening
When: Wednesdays (Call for appointment)
Where: Fauquier Hospital Vascular Lab
Cost: $50 each; $125 for all three tests
Registration required? Yes
Call for info: 540.316.5800

Cholesterol screening
When: Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health L.I.F.E. Center
Cost: $26
Registration required? Yes
Call for info: 540.316.2640