Author: Virginia Gay Hopsital

Be a Hero to your Health! Make plans to attend the Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday, April 7

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And, they don’t all wear capes, right? The theme for this year’s 4th Annual Benton County Community Health & Wellness Fair is “Be a Hero to your Health!” Virginia Gay Hospital is encouraging all Benton County residents to be heroes to their own health and make plans to attend on Saturday, April 7 from 8 am to Noon. This free event, open to all ages, will be held at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School, 210 W 21st St, Vinton. Who is your hero? Attendees will have a chance to say thank you to anyone who has had an impact on their life by adding a special message to a Hero Tribute banner on display at this year’s fair. It’s a great opportunity to acknowledge a favorite teacher or show your gratitude for a public servant or a mentor who has made a difference for you or the community. There will be plenty of photo opportunities with some of your favorite superheroes. Kids and adults are encouraged to join the fun and come in costume, too!  Event organizers are encouraging you to post “selfies” on social media with #bentonco_healthhero. Plans include over 40 displays covering a variety of health and wellness topics as well as activities for individuals and families. Weather permitting, this year’s outdoor activities will include super-size versions of Jenga, Connect-4, and...

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Virginia Gay Nursing & Rehab celebrates excellence in care with “Best In Class” award

Jessica Henkle, RN-BC, and director of Virginia Gay Hospital’s Nursing and Rehab unit has announced that Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab has received quality awards from an independent survey company in 14 categories of care. The awards won again this year include Admission Process, Cleanliness, Communication from Facility, Individual Needs, Laundry Service, Nursing Care, Overall Customer Experience, Overall Satisfaction, Recommend to Others, Response to Problems, and Safety and Security. The Nursing and Rehab staff earned additional awards this year for Activities, Dining Service, and Professional Therapy Services. “The average number of awards received by a facility is four,” explained Jessica, “and again the Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab staff’s accomplishment of 14 awards is truly amazing.” Pinnacle is an independent company conducting surveys of VGH Nursing and Rehab residents and their loved ones. The surveys are anonymous and are conducted over the phone by trained Pinnacle staff members. Pinnacle conducts over 150,000 phone surveys each year and works with more than 2,300 care providers in all 50 US states, Canada and Puerto Rico. The quality of care VGH Nursing and Rehab provides residents is consistently reflected in the high number of customer satisfaction awards from Pinnacle over a period of many years. “We pay very close attention to our survey results because there’s nothing better than learning how we’re doing from the residents and their loved ones,” says Jessica....

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Be 1: Bring One for the March Blood Drive at Virginia Gay Hospital

Be a donor and bring a donor! Virginia Gay Hospital and LifeServe Blood Center are encouraging donors to bring a friend in to donate with them and then grab a cup of coffee afterward. Coupons will be given to every donor for $1 off a purchase courtesy of the 5th Street Koffee Haus at the March 20 drive held in the lower level cafeteria at Virginia Gay Hospital. Blood donations from healthy, volunteer blood donors are vital to maintaining the blood supply in our community and organizers are asking for your help in attaining their goal of 30 donors at this event. To schedule an appointment, please contact LifeServe Blood Center by calling 800.287.4903 or visit www.lifeservebloodcenter.org. If you have eligibility questions, please contact their medical team at nurse@lifeservebloodcenter.org. You may also contact Robin Martin at (319)...

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Follow-up to Consumer Advisory Issued for Chicken Salad Purchased at Fareway

Benton County Public Health Director, Melissa Smith, RN, BSN is making the public aware of additional information as a follow-up to the consumer advisory issued for chicken salad purchased at Fareway Food stores earlier in February. CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections. As of February 21, 2018, 65 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 5 states including Iowa. “First of all, if anyone has the implicated chicken salad, it should be thrown away immediately. Do not return it to the store,” states Smith. Fareway has not sold the product since Friday, February 9, 2018. Since the product has a 4-day use-by date, there should no longer be product in the community (unless it has been frozen). Anyone who may have consumed the chicken salad should watch for symptoms. Usually, people who get Salmonella infection develop symptoms within 12 to 36 hours after ingesting the bacteria, but symptoms can appear as early as six hours and as late as three days after ingestion.  Symptoms of Salmonella infection generally last four-to-seven days and include diarrhea, headache, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration, vomiting, muscle pains, and bloody stools. Many people get better without treatment, but in some cases, people can become...

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Let’s Do Something about our Failing Mental Health System

In our culture the mind is separate from the body. The medical model we live with reflects the separation, and political policies reflect that idea. Individuals who think nothing of sharing their diabetes diagnosis might do anything to avoid a diagnosis of depression. Our public policy is to keep mental health coverage in one silo, and physical health services in another. Meanwhile, science and greater awareness of other cultural norms have shown that mind and body is intertwined: illness in one often creates illness in the other, health for one means better health for the other. Measured by access to care and access to psychiatric beds, the worst place in the industrial world to suffer from mental illness is the U.S. By the same measure, Iowa is last in the nation. Living in Iowa may well be dangerous for your wellbeing. That’s why the Iowa Hospital Association launched a legislative action alert, asking Iowan’s to ask our legislators for better mental health care in Iowa. Here is what the IHA had to say in their call to action. Mental health treatment in our state languishes on the edges of the care continuum. It is a fragmented, frustrating – and sometimes deadly – non-system that leaves struggling Iowans stigmatized, marginalized and criminalized. We are failing. But even in this crisis, there are reasons for hope. Iowans have never been more...

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5 Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Your Flu Risk

This time of year if you ask any healthcare provider what one thing they’d like most, it could be to eliminate calling the gastrointestinal bug causing diarrhea, intestinal pain, and nausea the “flu.” That “flu” won’t kill you unless you become extremely dehydrated. Influenza, the real flu, has been on a rampage this year causing emergency room overload and deaths among young and old alike. This influenza season seems worse than usual because some of those who have died from the virus are young, or middle-aged, and otherwise in good health. More typically, the virus is most dangerous for the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. The rate of hospitalization is the highest since the CDC began tracking flu-related hospitalizations in 2010. The CDC has also reported the deaths of 53 children from flu-related illness: 80% of those children had not received the vaccine. “If you have influenza,” says Dr. Maggie Mangold, a physician at the Vinton Family Medical Clinic, “your doctor can decide if antiviral medications (such as Tamiflu) are right for you.  We typically treat those at highest risk, which includes the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and those diagnosed with various chronic diseases.” What to do now: 1.) Get vaccinated. The influenza season may last later than usual this year, and it isn’t too late to get some measure of protection....

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Virginia Gay Hospital announces the addition of 3D mammography

3D mammography is now available at Virginia Gay Hospital. 3D mammography is another example of the partnership between the Virginia Gay medical community, the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, and the community of patients that continues to bring the very best in care close to home at Virginia Gay. Donations to the Foundation’s 2017 Tree of Lights campaign helped pay for a portion of this new, more accurate breast cancer detection technology. The Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation is also making it easier to afford 3D mammography. Gifts of Hope is a fund created to provide mammography services to women who do not have insurance coverage, or for whom a high deductible makes screening unaffordable. Now, Gifts of Hope will also pay the difference between standard 2D mammography and 3D screening if the patient’s insurance does not cover the cost of the 3D test. Research has shown that 3D mammography in conjunction with standard 2D mammography, detects from 20% to 40% more cases of invasive breast cancer, while also reducing the need for additional testing by as much as 40%. The improved results from 3D mammography don’t result in radiation exposure above FDA limits, and by avoiding additional tests, the test may help limit lifetime exposure. 3D mammography requires only a few seconds more than standard mammography. The testing procedure is identical, except for the slight arc...

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Fall Prevention in the Home & Community

Many of us either know someone who has fallen or has fallen themselves, but did you know that 1 in 3 Americans over the age of 65 falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of injury – fatal and non-fatal – and are significant regardless of age. Falling is an inevitable part of aging and deserves attention to raise awareness and improve safety, particularly during this time of the year when snow and ice are forecasted. The body’s natural reaction to falling is to initiate its protective mechanisms known as “reflexes.” As the aging process evolves, reflexes change and unavoidably slow down; however, there are other influences over slowing reflexes including changes in muscle mass and body fat, bone density, vision, certain medications, and alcohol. There are many ways to prevent falls and simple modifications can be established within your lifestyle: Eat a nutritious diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D Know your medications (including over-the-counter and supplements) and possible side effects Perform a specific home exercise program consisting of stretching, strengthening and weight bearing several times per week Smoking cessation Wear sensible footwear – consider low heels and not wearing slippers, stockings or socks alone – nonskid soles provide added traction Keep rooms and walkways free of clutter and obstacles including newspapers, boxes, electrical cords and phone cords Remove throw rugs or make sure they...

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Opening Doors for Behavioral Health Services

(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Fall/Winter 2017 issue and has been updated. An online version of the entire publication can be found at https://myvgh.org/thrive/) Adding a behavioral health specialist has been a priority since design of the new Virginia Gay Family Medicine clinic in Vinton began. Behavioral health and mental health are often used interchangeably, and there is debate among professionals in the field as to what the terms should mean. In general, it is often thought that Behavioral Health involves issues including the lack of wellness caused from both mental and behavioral causes. Behavioral Health is generally considered to be more inclusive of a broad range of issues which might include depression, stress, grief and addiction. Traditionally, Mental Health has been more narrowly defined as focusing on neurological or biological issues a person is born with, like bipolar disorder, personality disorders, or schizophrenia. For the sake of this article we will use the term Behavioral Health to be inclusive of neurological, biological, social, and personal causes of mental and emotional distress. Regardless of what we call it, our society often stigmatizes receiving help with mental or behavioral health issues, and that stigma keeps many people from seeking help. Making things worse, those who do seek help often find accessing care to be difficult and frustrating. There can be long delays between seeking help...

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Frontier Co-op Receives Iowa Department of Economic Authority High Quality Jobs Approval

Benton Development Group (BDG) has announced the completion of a High Quality Jobs application for Frontier Co-op in Norway. The program is offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA) to offset some of the costs of expansion, relocation, or modernization of businesses offering employment with qualifying wages and fringe benefits. The Frontier expansion project includes a 7,000 square foot, innovation center allowing Frontier Co-op to add new jobs, and to retain existing qualifying jobs for the program. Benton Development Group, Frontier Co-op, and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance worked together to apply for the IDEA program. BDG worked with the Benton County Board of Supervisors to approve the required local matching in the form of a tax abatement that the Supervisors recently voted to approve. “BDG was pleased with the opportunity to assist Frontier Co-op,” explains Kate Robertson, Executive Director of Benton Development Group. “Our role is to assist businesses and organizations by bringing together the resources and expertise to make it easier for businesses to relocate, expand, or retain jobs in Benton County.” Frontier Co-op, with locations in Norway, Belle Plaine, Urbana, and North Liberty is Benton County’s largest employer with more than 500 people working for the company. Founded in 1976, and based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Co-op™ offers a full line of products for natural living under the Frontier Co-op, Simply Organic, and Aura...

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Giving Local Matters and Saves Lives

Blood donations from healthy, volunteer blood donors are vital to maintaining the blood supply in our community. Virginia Gay Hospital partners with LifeServe Blood Center to host a drive in Vinton every other month. Because of the generosity of several local heroes, the most recent blood drive held on Tuesday, January 23 was a great success. The goal was to collect 18 units, and the Vinton community exceeded expectations with a turnout of 24 donors. As many as 69 lives will be saved from those donations. The list of donors included four first time donors, one of which was Lu Karr. “As a cancer survivor,” explained Lu, “I was aware of some restrictions in donating blood, but I learned I was OK to donate and my employer, Storey Kenworthy, had a goal that 30% of their employees would donate blood in January. My family and I have also received donated blood that was essential for our survival. Donating was easy, quick, and I’m going to be there next time because it’s a great feeling to know you’ve helped save someone’s life.” Also participating in Tuesday’s blood drive was a veteran donor, Orville Bakenhus, who says, “Blood is needed. It’s something a lot of people could do, but many don’t. I’ve donated on and off for years as time as allowed. Now that I’m retired, I’ll continue to give as...

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Influenza Activity Increasing in Benton County

Surveillance by the Iowa Department of Public Health and Benton County Public Health, and testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory indicate flu activity is increasing. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. “If you have flu symptoms, help out your family, friends, and co-workers by staying home to avoid spreading the virus,” said Virginia Gay Home Health/ Public Health Director Melissa Smith, RN, BSN. “It’s also important to remember to cover your coughs and sneezes and clean your hands frequently to help yourself and others stay healthy.” In the last reporting week, the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network indicated 119 influenza-related hospitalizations statewide, mostly among those aged 64 or greater. Several flu outbreaks have been reported in long-term care facilities, especially in central and western Iowa. The most common flu virus circulating is the influenza A(H3N2) strain, although four different strains have been identified. In years when A(H3N2) viruses dominate, the flu season tends to be more severe with more hospitalizations and deaths. Based upon CDC’s national estimates, an average of 300,000 Iowans get the flu every year and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa. The flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza; however, because some of the A(H3N2) viruses may only be partially covered in the vaccine, it’s even more...

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