Chester River Health Foundation Donates Funds to Compass Regional Hospice

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Chester River Health Foundation has donated funds exceeding $234,000 — received in past years to support hospice care for Kent County and Queen Anne’s County residents — to Compass Regional Hospice. Chester River Health Foundation had raised funds for hospice care when it was provided by Chester River Home Care & Hospice. Since 2014, Compass Regional Hospice has provided hospice care for Kent County residents in private homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and recently opened its new residential Hospice Center on the third floor of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

The official check presentation took place at UM Shore Medical Center on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Representing the board of the Chester River Health Foundation (CRHF), Barrie Frazier-Meima, stated, “Those of us on the Foundation board and many individuals in the community who have been involved with hospice over the years are so pleased that Compass Regional Hospice is now providing hospice care in our hospital. This arrangement represents a perfect coming together for the benefit of Kent and northern Queen Anne’s county residents, and today, the Board of the Chester River Health Foundation is pleased to provide to Compass Regional Hospice $234,146.34 in funds originally donated to support local hospice care. People in our communities have needed and wanted a residential Hospice Center in our county, and now here it is.”

Shown L-R are Maryann Ruehrmund, executive director, Chester River Health Foundation; Barrie Frazier-Meima, Board chair, Chester River Health Foundation; Heather Guerieri, executive direction, Compass Regional Hospice; Tom Helfenbein, Board chair, Compass Regional Hospice; and Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH.

According to Heather Guerieri, executive director, Compass Regional Hospice, the funds will be used to pay room and board at the Hospice Center in Chestertown for patients who are unable to afford it, and to help offset other unfunded hospice care and grief support services provided to the residents of Kent County.

“For many years Chester River Health Foundation has played a significant role in ensuring that the residents of Kent and northern Queen Anne’s counties have access to quality medical care,” said Guerieri. “On behalf of the board and staff of Compass Regional Hospice, I would like to thank the Foundation for helping us respond to the end-of-life needs of Kent County hospice patients and their loved ones through the release of Foundation funds earmarked for hospice.”

Other guests included members of the community who were involved with hospice care over the years, including longtime KHF Board members Judie Willock and Mary Wick, who also served as Board president of the organization.

“I’m delighted that hospice care is once again a viable and important resource in Kent County and that Shore Regional Health teamed up with Compass Regional Hospice to house the residential Hospice Center right here in our hospital,” said Wick. “For many years, the Kent Hospice Foundation – our Board, our medical director Dr. Patrick Shanahan and our administrators, including Nancy Morris who was exceptionally dedicated and very effective – provided hospice care with a small group of volunteers and of course, our hospice nurses who worked for Kent County Hospice under the leadership of Dr. John Grant and later for Chester River Home Care & Hospice. An important focus of our fundraising efforts was to support staff education as well as patient care. The field of hospice care was always rapidly evolving and we wanted our team to have the latest knowledge and skills to provide the best care.”

For information about how to support hospice care and grief support in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, contact KendaLeager, development officer for Compass Regional Hospice, 443-262-4106, kleager@compassregionalhospice.org.

For information about how to support patient care and staff development needs at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, contact Maryann Ruehrmund, executive director, UM Chester River Health Foundation, 410-810-5660, mruehrmund@umm.edu

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Chestertown Dietitian Offers Help with Weight Loss

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Early March is that time of the year — after the holidays but before spring — when many people decide they need to take off a few pounds.  But it’s a struggle and most become frustrated and give up. In observance of March as National Nutrition Month, Mary King, RD, LD, CDE, of Nutrition Services at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, shares some suggestions for weight reduction and healthy eating that can last a lifetime.

“I hear so many people say, ‘I can’t lose weight,’” King says. “Most of the time they aren’t going about it in a way that is likely to succeed. But there are strategies that will work for most people to lose one to two pounds a week, which is a healthy rate of weight loss. If you lose too much too fast you can easily regain it back.”

First of all, says King, stay away from fad diets, such as low carb/no carb diets. As she explains, “People need at least 130 grams of carbohydrate in their diet for their brain and body to function properly. Carbohydrates provide energy and energy is needed for brain function and for exercise.”

However, she recommends you be sure to choose healthy carbs, such as whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruit, yogurt or skim milk, dried beans and peas. And of course, it’s important to limit simple sugar such as regular soda, punch, lemonade, sweet tea, fruit juice, candy, cookies, cake and pies.

King also recommends making sure there’s enough protein in your diet, as she explains, “Protein helps keep you feeling satisfied so you’re not hungry all the time.” Lean protein includes: eggs (and the whole egg is okay now), poultry and fish (but not fried), nuts and nut butters, low fat cheese, lean beef and pork, and Greek yogurt (low sugar).

Her other tips include getting plenty of fiber in your diet and starting a regular aerobic and strength-building exercise program. “Weight loss is very difficult without exercise,” King points out. “Choose activities that are reasonable for your age, physical ability and lifestyle, such as dancing, hiking, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, swimming – anything that you enjoy and will look forward to. Some people are more motivated to exercise if they do it with a buddy. Check with your primary care provider before starting any exercise program.”

Finally, don’t feel you have to go it alone. “Ask a dietitian for help,” she says. “Shore Regional Health hospitals have dietitians who are more than happy to help you with weight loss. You can contact a dietitian and we will help get you a referral for nutrition counseling.”

To reach a dietitian at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, call 410-778-3300, ext. 2295.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Free Events Planned in Chestertown for National Nutrition Month

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Mary King, center, registered dietitian and diabetes educator at UM SMC at Chestertown.

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health dietitians and diabetes educators have planned a series of events for National Nutrition Month® which is observed annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s campaign, “Go Further with Food,” focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices as well as developing sound eating and physical activity habits, and also offers strategies to cut back on food waste.

“We are excited to help people in our region learn more about how to avoid health problems and maximize their quality of life through proper diet and nutrition,” says Katie Ewers, registered dietitian and nutrition associate manager for UM Shore Regional Health. “Simple changes in the way you shop for food and prepare meals and snacks can significantly reduce your risk – and your family’s risk — for chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The events we’re offering are designed to share nutrition information and dietary strategies that people of any age can employ to maintain their best health.”

“Food Shopping for Health” a free, guided grocery store tour that teaches how to shop and plan meals for optimal health, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, at 1 p.m., at Redner’s Market, 17 Washington Avenue. The tour will be led by Mary King, registered dietitian, UM SMC at Chestertown.

King also will offer a free seminar, “The ‘Mind Diet’ and Healthy Weight Loss,” on Wednesday, March 28, at 2 p.m. in the Conference Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. This presentation will focus on strategies to take off unwanted “winter pounds” as well as food choices and meal preparation that research indicates foster brain health.

To RSVP for either of these events, please contact Mary King, 410-778-7668, ext. 2295.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Safe Sitter Class Set for February 24 in Chestertown

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The popular Safe Sitter® class, taught by pediatric nurses for youth ages 11-13, will be offered on Saturday, February 24, 9 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown Education Center.

Safe Sitter® is a national, non-profit organization that provides programs to teach youth life and safety skills for when they are home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. Over 175 lives have been saved by Safe Sitter® graduates using the skills learned through the Safe Sitter® training. More information about the program may be found at www.safesitter.org.

The cost for this one-day class is $45; some scholarships are available. Because seating is limited, advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call Chrissy Nelson, 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Chestertown Nurse Assumes New Role in Changing Health Care Landscape

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Angela Pritzlaff, Transitional Nurse Navigator

Over more than two decades serving health care needs in Kent County, Angela Pritzlaff, RN worked in various units at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and also for UM Chester River Home Care. Last August, she joined the new Care Transitions Program at UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH) as one of four transitional nurse navigators who are working with patients in the health care network’s three hospitals.

UM SRH launched the Care Transitions Program in 2017 to help reduce the number of people with avoidable or unplanned readmissions to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. People with COPD, as well as people with congestive heart failure and pneumonia, are at high risk of readmission, so the new program has focused primarily on “high risk” patients with those diagnoses. When these patients arrive for emergency care or are admitted to the hospital, a transitional nurse navigator (TNN) tracks their care and works closely with their primary care provider and other specialists — and also with family members or other loved ones — to help make sure they will have everything they need when they are discharged.

As a TNN, Pritzlaff helps patients and their caregivers plan to manage their health once outside the walls of the hospital. As she explains, “I gather the information I need to anticipate the full range of issues that might land a patient back in the hospital —problems with medications, psychological issues, his or her main health condition and other health concerns, physical limitations, health literacy, family support, prior hospitalizations and the possible need for a palliative care evaluation. Every patient is unique and their family and life circumstances vary widely, so the obstacles or challenges they might encounter in returning to their home environment differ from one patient to another.”

Depending on a patient’s particular needs, Pritzlaff may schedule follow-up appointments with primary care doctors and specialists, and assist with transportation arrangements if needed. She also is likely to spend some time educating the patient and/or family members about the patient’s health condition and what to do if problems arise after discharge, as well as helping them obtain, understand and manage their medications. “In many cases, a patient’s prescriptions will change during the hospital stay and it’s really important to make sure that the right medicines are taken once he or she gets home,” she says.

Pritzlaff follows up with phone calls to her patients and in some cases, home visits. In the case of patients who are discharged to a skilled nursing, rehab or other residential care facility, she connects with staff there to make sure that the correct medications as well as needed equipment and supplies are available promptly, that meals provided meet patients’ dietary needs, and that timely transportation to and from doctors’ appointments will be arranged.

“It’s really gratifying work,” says Pritzlaff. “Often I am assisting patients and families I have encountered in my previous nursing positions, so there is a sense of familiarity and a true continuum of care that I think people in a small community value.”

According to Nancy Bedell, MBA, RN, regional director of care coordination for UM SRH, the Transitional Nurse Navigator Program is a key population health initiative that supports the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together. “The goal here is to help people be well and to take care of themselves and their families,” Bedell says.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

UM SMC Celebrates Cardiac Rehabilitation Week with Free Events

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Join University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown (UM SMC Chestertown) during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, February 11-17, to celebrate the life-saving impact of cardiac rehabilitation. UM SMC Chestertown is hosting several events during the week for the public to honor the role of cardiac rehabilitation in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease and improving quality of life for patients and their families. Events include:

– Monday, February 12, from 9-10am: Can Carbohydrates Hurt You? Presented by Mary King, RD

– Wednesday, February 14, 2-3pm: Yoga for a Healthy Heart, Yes Really! Presented by Fletcher Johnson from River Warrior Yoga

– Friday, February 16, 2-3pm: Using the Herbs and Spices from your Pantry for a Healthy Heart. Presented by Krista Lamoreaux from Herbal Alchemy

– Tuesday, February 27, 6:30-8pm: Roundtable interactive discussion on Women and Heart Health. Presenters include: Dr. Julia Belanger, family practice physician, Chrissy Nelson, RN, certified diabetes nurse, and Sherrie Hill, RN, cardiac rehabilitation nurse.

All programs are free, open to the public and will be held in the Conference Center located on the second floor of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, 100 Brown Street. For planning purposes, please RSVP to Cardiac Rehab at 410-778-3300 ext. 2222 or sherrie.hill@umm.edu

Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, initiated by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), coincides with both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month in an effort to draw greater national attention to heart health. This year’s theme, “Making Positive Changes, One Beat at a Time,” honors the patients, families, and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to cardiac rehabilitation as a vehicle for a healthy lifestyle.

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation programs are available at UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown, Dorchester and Easton, provide a safe and supervised setting for cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation. Personal exercise programs are designed to help patients meet their specific goals using a wide selection of professional cardiovascular and resistance training equipment with built-in monitoring systems. For more information on this program please visit: www.umshoreregional.org/cardiac_rehab

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Safe Sitter Class Set for January 20 in Chestertown

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The popular Safe Sitter® class, taught by pediatric nurses for youth ages 11-13, will be offered on Saturday, January 20, 9 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown Education Center.

Safe Sitter® is a national, non-profit organization that provides programs to teach youth life and safety skills for when they are home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. Over 175 lives have been saved by Safe Sitter® graduates using the skills learned through the Safe Sitter® training. More information about the program may be found at www.safesitter.org.

The cost for this one-day class is $45; some scholarships are available. Because seating is limited, advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call Chrissy Nelson, 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Chestertown Nursing and Rehab Staff Rock the Holiday Season

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Larry Clark, left, was happy to host his friend, Darlene Wilson, and his mother, Anna May Dorsey, at UM Shore Nursing and Rehab’s Thanksgiving Dinner, held a week before Thanksgiving Day.

It starts a week before Thanksgiving with a special celebratory dinner for residents and their family members. At University of Maryland Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Chestertown, activities staff members Dianne Hill, Annie Wilson and Lashonda Newman go out of their way to ensure that the holiday season presents lively events and lovely decor to get everyone “in the spirit.”

“This year we had about 75 residents and their family members for our Thanksgiving dinner,” says Hill, who has been with the Center for three years. “It’s always a happy event, and so nice for residents and patients to be able to host their relatives and other loved ones for a special meal.”

UM Shore Nursing and Rehab resident Sandy Williamson pauses with staff member Boswana Elias in the dining room of the Center.

Christmas excitement kicks in as soon as December is under way. Visits from Christmas carolers, making gingerbread houses, Poinsettia day, Nutcracker Day, Fruitcake Day, Cookie Walk (a fundraiser to benefit resident care) and special performances by local musical groups such as the Pondtown Singers, the Burke Family Singers and Pastor Dave’s Gentleman’s Quartet are just a few of the many occasions that help residents of the Center enjoy the season with staff members and visiting friends and family members.

The day after Christmas features a performance by Tyla’s Dance Troupe, and on the 28th, a bus trip to Sandy Point State Park enables residents to see the annual winter wonderland called Lights on the Bay. New Year’s Eve is another highlight, with a celebration featuring live entertainment and a special buffet.

“Keeping our residents stimulated and engaged is a very high priority for all of us,” says Stu Seitz, Center director. “For many of our staff, the Center is like a second home and residents and their loved ones are like family. The holiday season is no exception and in fact, it is often a time when we have a few more residents with us, on respite care while their family members travel or have company. We welcome these temporary residents and go out of our way to include them in all aspects of community life.”

For information about respite care stays at the Center, call Gladys Peeples, 410-888-4550.

 

 

Celebrating National Home Care Month

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Chester River Home Care staff

During November, the home care and hospice community honor the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, and social workers who make a difference for the patients and families they serve. These caregivers play a central role in our health care system and in homes across the nation. To recognize their efforts, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice celebrates November as Home Care and Hospice Month.

Joining the celebrfation  are members of the UM Chester River Home Care (UM CRHC) team, outside their headquarters on the campus of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. The team includes nurses, aides, access representatives, social workers and physical, occupational and speech therapists. According to Trish Focht, manager, in the past year, CRHC staff members have tallied more than 97,600 miles driven in Kent and Queen Anne’s County to and from 12,179 in-home care visits to 853 patients. CRHC’s most recent overall patient satisfaction rating is 93%, well above the state and national averages of 81% and 84%, respectively. 

Shown in the photo are: (front row) Brooke Smith, Jenny Paul, Kim Price and Jen Wade; (middle row) Katie Davis, Sarah Hopkins, Jen Walters, Brianna Simms, Mary Lynn Price, Melissa Maule and Trish Focht, manager; (back row) Barb Cole, Alexa Jester, Karen Conley, Kristin Dickerson, Frances Rodney, Chris Kirby, Amanda Sutton, Kiara Henry, Sarah Reynolds, Melissa Myers, Lucinda Wakefield, Brooke Maier and Andrea Alduino.