Monday, October 31, 2011

Time to Get Your Flu Shot

Today Fauquier Hospital began offering flu shots to its employees. Administrators and clinicians here think it's very important for our staff and volunteers to have flu shots -- to protect them from the flu, and to protect their patients.

I was one of the first in line to get my injection. Do you detect a note of pride in that statement? If you do, you're right. I know now that I have provided myself a layer of protection from all the coughs and sneezes that have already begun to plague those around me. One co-worker already lost a week of work because of the flu.

My family and I get the flu shot every year, because you know when it's like when the flu bug enters your house. One person is sick for a few days, then is joined in misery by the next family member, and so on. It's a merry-go-round I prefer to avoid.

So go get your flu shot. You'll be happy you did, and your friends and family will be, too. It's safe, it's easy, it's inexpensive.

It just stings for a second, but protects you all winter. (And if you are under 50 years old, you can have the flu mist and even avoid the momentary sting.) The hospital doesn't offer flu shots to the general public, but there are lots of places where you can get it -- your doctor's office, local pharmacies, Wal-mart, even some supermarkets.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your family, friends and co-workers. Stay off the merry-go-round.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Orthopedist Dr. Robert Smith to Talk on Joint Replacement

Robert Smith, M.D., of Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center, will discuss all aspects of joint replacement on Wednesday, November 2, at 6 p.m. in Fauquier Hospital's Sycamore Room. Dr. Smith is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder and knee arthroscopy, sports medicine, joint replacement and general orthopedic surgery.

While joint replacement surgery is major surgery, it has a high success rate and most patients are very satisfied with the pain relief and improved mobility that surgery brings. In most cases, the new joint will last many years. In the talk on November 2, Dr. Smith will explain that long-term success is often dependent on age, weight and activity level, as well as other factors. He'll discuss the surgery and recovery, as well as how to tell when it's time to consider joint replacement surgery.

Registration is free and requested. Call 540-316-3588 to register or for more details.

Free Screenings at Fauquier Health Pediatric Rehabilitation's Open House

Fauquier Health Pediatric Rehabilitation offers physical, occupational and speech therapies, helping children to grow and reach their full potential at school, at home and in their community. Therapists will be available at an Open House on Tuesday, November 8, from 1 to 6 p.m. to provide free screenings and to answer questions. Physical, occupational, and speech screenings will include tests to gauge language skills, as well as fine and gross motor skills for children up to 18 years old. Depending on screening results, therapists may recommend that parents obtain a prescription for a full evaluation.

Parents, pediatricians, educators and professionals are welcome to attend.

The Open House will be held at Fauquier Health Pediatric Rehabilitation’s Lake Manassas location at 7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Suite 101, in Gainesville. The rehab group also has another office in the Warrenton Professional Center at 493 Blackwell Road in Warrenton. Those interested in Fauquier Health Pediatric Rehabilitation or the Open House may call 540-316-2680.

Thrift Shop Needs Donations

The Fauquier Auxiliary Thrift Shop on Main Street in Warrenton is seeking donations of clothing for all ages – from babies to adults. The Thrift Shop volunteers would also like to replenish the shop’s inventory of small appliances.

All Thrift Shop sales directly benefit the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary. To learn more about the Thrift Shop and the Auxiliary, go to

Aging Together and Fauquier Health Collaborate on Falls Prevention Symposium

One of every three adults 65 years and older falls each year; falls are among the top ten causes of death for seniors. Fauquier Health and Aging Together are partnering to educate the community about the danger of falls and how easily they can be prevented. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging. They are preventable. Collaborate.

The Falls Prevention Symposium will be held Wednesday, November 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fauquier Hospital’s Sycamore Room. Local experts will showcase the most effective ways to prevent falls; most are practical, cheap, and easy to accomplish. They include good medication management, vision assessment, exercise, and home or environmental modifications.

Deb Muir, occupational therapist at Fauquier Hospital and yoga instructor at Fauquier Health Wellness Center, says that many seniors are concerned about falling. “A lot of my older clients tell me that they don't shower but rather sponge bathe because of a fear of falling. They are unable to step in and out of the tub, can't stand long enough or don't have the balance to shower. For some of these patients, exercises like yoga, tai chi, or walking in a pool could help to improve their strength and balance enough to increase their safety in the shower; for others a tub transfer bench and a grab bar would make showering safe again."

This event is free and includes lunch, but participants must register to attend. Contact Aging Together at 540-829-6405 or by October 31.

Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary Selling Holiday Poinsettias

The Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary will be selling poinsettia plants this holiday season to raise money to benefit Fauquier Hospital.

Red, white or marble poinsettias can be ordered by October 31 in the hospital’s Gift Shop, and must be picked up on December 1. Small plants (4.5-inch pots) are $6 each or two for $10. Large plants (8-inch pots) are $20 each or two for $38. Payment may be made by cash, check or credit card.

More information about the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary may be found at

Fauquier Health Calendar of Events for November

Wednesday, November 2
Joint Replacement Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 6 p.m.
Details: With Robert Smith, M.D., orthopedist
Register: 540-316-3588

Falls Prevention Symposium
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room.
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: A joint effort with Aging Together; local experts will showcase the most effective ways to prevent falls.

Thursday, November 3
Diabetes Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: “Your Heart and Diabetes” with A. Maranian, M.D., cardiologist;
“Keeping Up with Diabetes” with Esther Bahk, M.D., internist
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, November 5
Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, November 7
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: 4 sessions; November 7, 14, 21
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, November 8
Pediatric Rehabilitation Open House
Where: Fauquier Health Pediatric Rehabilitation’s Lake Manassas location at 7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Suite 101, in Gainesville
When: 1 to 6 p.m.
Details: Therapists will be available to provide free screenings for children and to answer questions. Parents, physicians, educators and professionals are invited to attend.

Wednesday, November 9
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, November 10
Look Good…Feel Better
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Register: 540-667-2315

Diabetes Lecture
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: “Holistic Approaches to Managing Diabetes” with Joseph David, M.D., internist
Register: 540-316-3588

Friday, November 11 and 12
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Weekend class
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, November 12
First Aid/Adult, Infant and Child CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $65
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, November 14
National Diabetes Day
Free Glucose Testing
When: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Fauquier Hospital main lobby; 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
Details: Free

Tuesday, November 15
Type O Blood Drive
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 1 to 5 p.m.

Cancer Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut Room
When: 7 to 8 p.m.
Register: 540-667-2315

Thursday, November 17
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Friday, November 18
Fauquier Health Holiday Fair
Where: Fauquier Hospital Conference Area and Bistro on the Hill
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Crafts and holiday gifts will be on sale.

Saturday, November 19
Babysitter Training
Where: Sycamore Room
When: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $40
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, November 28
Reflexology for Your Feet
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 per couple
Register: 540-316-2640

Wednesday, November 30
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fauquier Hospital, from a Distance

I learned a lot about social media at the third annual Healthcare Social Media Summit at the Mayo Clinic (pictured here). And, far from home, once again I learned how very special Fauquier Hospital is.

On the second morning of the conference I got a call from my ex-husband. He had had some sort of episode and was dizzy and confused. He had managed to get our daughter off to school, but obviously was not well. I got him to call 911 and alerted a friend that he’d be heading to Fauquier Hospital by ambulance. He was seen quickly in the ED, and given the necessary tests.

I received by-the-minute text updates from my friend on site, as I tried to focus on the seminars I attended hundreds of miles away. I was glad to read that our ED nurses were so thoughtful and professional, and that the hospital’s endlessly empathetic concierge stopped by to generally spread sunshine and concern. When the patient was admitted for observation, another friend drove my daughter to the hospital for a reassuring visit. My girl has been a volunteer at the hospital, so she felt right at home.

I mostly repressed my need to control everything long distance, but did call the charge nurse on duty at Fauquier Hospital. She was patient and reassuring, and for the hundredth time that day, I thanked my lucky stars that my kids’ dad was in the care of kind, smart clinicians who would do their best for him.

Knowing that everything was more or less OK at home, I turned my mind to focus on the conference.

The Mayo Clinic has a worldwide reputation for medical excellence. It is also a truly beautiful hospital -- as big as a small city and designed with elegant lines and designs taken from nature. When Fauquier Hospital was renovated in 2001, guided by patient-centered Planetree principles, the aim was the same -- to create a comforting, calming, welcoming environment. Both institutions seem to have achieved the same feeling -- on very different scales.

The Kahler Grand Hotel, where the conference is being held, is located directly across from the Mayo Clinic. It was built in the 1930s and has maintained the feel of a grand old hotel. Its customers, I think, may include patients at the Mayo Clinic and their families. The rooms are designed for the comfort of folks who may be staying a few days or a few weeks. Each room has a microwave and a small fridge, an iron and ironing board.

There isn’t much hustle and bustle in the hallways at the Kahler. The staff speaks gently to guests, always ready to hold the elevator for someone in a wheelchair or for a dad cradling a fussy baby. There is a touching effort here to foster an unhurried dignity for guests. I wonder if the staff at the Kahler have gone through Planetree training. They treat their guests with respect and kindness, just like the staff at Fauquier Hospital.

Funny how my thoughts keep going back to Fauquier Hospital and one particular patient. As an advocate for a health system, I often write about patients in general and healthcare in terms of specialties and services, but I know that our patients and their families are only concerned with one patient at a time. I’m glad the patient I care about right now is at Fauquier Hospital, where they, too, care about one patient at a time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Online Health Information Can Be Fun

I am lucky enough to be attending -- on behalf of Fauquier Health -- a healthcare summit on social media in Rochester, Minnesota, across the street from the Mayo Clinic. The conference is being run by the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Ragan Communications.

I am learning a ton and am inspired by all the smart people bringing reliable health information to the public through social media.

There have been a lot of highlights. This video, for instance. It's truly wonderful, and produced by the folks at Mayo. You'll laugh, and you'll learn something about heart disease too.

Then there was the video about Dozer the dog, who spontaneously joined a half marathon fundraising race in Maryland. Someone from the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center caught it on tape, and Dozer became the largest cancer research fundraiser in the race. Here's the video:

Yesterday afternoon's keynote speaker was especially inspiring. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician who is absolutely passionate about her patients and about keeping kids healthy. In addition to seeing patients, she writes a wonderful blog: , that is a must-read for anyone with kids. As a physician, she feels it is her responsibility to use her training to reach out to parents everywhere, not just in her community, to provide solid health advice in a very appealing, readable form.

And just for fun, I'll include here a video from the Mayo Clinic that is just meant "to make you feel absurdly happy." It did it for me: . The couple in this video was present at the conference and was honored with a "Healthy Virus" award -- their video was viewed 7.7 million times on Youtube, although the couple still doesn't know what You Tube is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fauquier Health Recognizes first Daisy Award Recipients for Excellence in Nursing

Fauquier Health’s first-ever Daisy Awards for compassionate nursing were presented Monday, October 3. Tena Barnes-Carraher, national DAISY Foundation co-founder, was the keynote speaker.

Daisy recipeints were Ina Bowman, RN, director of the Fauquier Health Emergency Department and Deb Larsen, RN, clinical coordinator for the ED. Barnes-Carraher, who created the DAISY Foundation in honor of the wonderful nurses who cared for her husband through a long illness, said that the nomination submitted for Bowman and Larsen told a compassionate tale. A family passing through the area was involved in a car accident that resulted in the mother’s death. The family’s dog was lost in the chaos that followed. Bowman and Larsen tracked down the dog at Fauquier’s SPCA, retrieved and cleaned up the family pet before returning it to the family. This simple act of kindness was immensely comforting to a bereft family coping with a tragic death.

Nominations for the Daisy Award were accept¬ed from Fauquier Health patients, visitors and employees over several months and reviewed by the Daisy Review Commit¬tee. Nominees were: Judy Pohodich, RN (Intensive Care Unit); Theresa Thompson, RN (third floor patient care); Stephanie Snouffer, RN (second floor patient care); Kim Steves, RN (Emergency Department); Sedar Sertas, RN (Emergency Department); Bram Stevens, RN (Emergency Department); Jennifer Deane, RN (Emergency Department); Katrina McLean, RN (Emergency Department); Kasey Saunders- Carter, RN (Emergency Department); Christine Pierce, RN (Family Birthing Center); Dottie Williams, RN (Wellness Center); Kelly Leathers, RN (works in various departments); Daniel Carter, RN (Interventional Radiology); Sonya Gray, RN (Operating Room), as well as Bowman and Larsen.

Fauquier Health will present the Daisy Award every quarter to a deserving nurse in the health system. Recipients receive a Daisy pin, a hand-carved trophy, and a Cinnabon party for their unit.

Nominations are accepted any time and may be submitted online at (look for the daisy on the home page) or by picking up a nomination form at the front desk of the hospital.

Monday, October 10, 2011

FDA Approves Liquid that Stops Bleeding During Surgery

At first glance this one seems to fit under the catagory of science fiction, but it's for real.

The FDA this week approved LeGoo, a new gel that allows surgeons to temporarily halt blood flow during certain procedures.

The gel—which is liquid at room temperature and solid at higher temperatures—prevents blood from filling the surgical area without damaging blood vessels, which often occurs when surgeons use clamps or elastic loops. The gel can stop blood flow for up to 15 minutes and dissolves later on its own, according to FDA.

The agency based its approval on research that showed that LeGoo is biocompatible and non-toxic, and on a clinical trial that showed that the gel as safe and effective as vessel loops used during coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.

According to Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, LeGoo is "an innovative device that offers surgeons an additional aid during vascular surgery. The gel's unique properties may facilitate surgeries that entail the joining or grafting of blood vessels."

LeGoo is indicated for use in blood vessels that are four millimeters or less in diameter and below the neck. It is contraindicated for use on vessels that supply blood to the brain. Read more here. (Be aware that there is a video of the surgery on this site, so if you're squeamish, don't scroll down.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fauquier Health Supports Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Walk October 9

As a beneficiary and supporter of the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation of Middleburg for the past several years, Fauquier Health supports the Foundation’s Sunday, October 9 breast cancer fundraiser for county women.

Conducted at the Warrenton Branch Greenway at 1 pm, the money raised by this family event will help Fauquier women with breast cancer detection, treatment and education. With grants the past several years (totaling $80,000), the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation assisted with funding the hospital’s first digital mammography system and funded mammograms for uninsured/underinsured women.

For more information on the two mile walk/ three mile run, visit