Compass Regional Hospice to Offer Vigil Volunteer Training Nov. 29

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Sharon Loving

The core of hospice work is providing end-of-life care to patients and their families. Courtney Williams, manager of volunteer and professional services at Compass Regional Hospice, said vigil volunteers help to provide a crucial service to patients facing the last few days of life, as well as the families and caregivers who are with them in those last days and moments.

Compass Regional Hospice will offer a vigil volunteer training session at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the home of its Grief Support Services, The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville.

The course will be facilitated by Support Services Supervisor and social worker Sharon Loving.

“The intention of our vigil program is to provide a soothing, serene energy and a space for the dying to transition peacefully,” Williams said. “Just letting our patients and their families know they are safe, they are surrounded by love, and they are never alone is often the greatest gift we can give you.”

A gift offered wherever a patient calls home or in Compass Regional Hospice’s residential care facilities, vigil volunteers can be there to reiterate or remind families of what medical personnel have communicated, suggest comfort care for the patient, sit with the patient while a caregiver has a chance to rest, and reassure caregivers they are doing a good job.

A vigil volunteer is similar to a birth doula, who helps families welcome new life into the world, except the role’s responsibility is to provide comfort and peace while a patient transitions and prepares to leave the world.

Vigil volunteers create a calm and peaceful space through music, aromatherapy, soft lighting, closing doors to reduce noise, turning off televisions and electronic devices, and possibly sitting bedside while silently praying or meditating.

“Some volunteers feel a pull toward this type of work. It’s sometimes called different things, but it’s all about being a steward to help a person transition peacefully,” Williams said. “The common thread in each of our vigil volunteers is that they tend to have a very tranquil, soothing energy and nature about them that emanates and creates a sense of peace.”

Bente Cooney of Grasonville began volunteering with Compass Regional Hospice in 2014. Her goal is to normalize the dying process through volunteering with Compass as a vigil volunteer.

Bente Cooney and Courtney Williams

“I’m comfortable with the end-of-life process. Death is a natural part of life and we all deserve the best possible departure we can have,” Cooney said. “Sitting vigil is more about being than doing most of the time. The vigil volunteer’s job is to be a stable, calm presence and to help create a sacred space while staying alert to any changes. We stay in tune with what the patient needs as they transition.”

She said the hospice movement of the early 1980s was a welcome addition to the health care landscape.

“Hospice is a very healthy and beautiful addition to the care we offer in this country,” Cooney said.

Williams said vigil volunteers must be comfortable having frank conversations about end-of-life issues, need to be comfortable with the dying process and must be able remain calm in the face of change.

“Providing a vigil and being with someone as they are passing is the core of hospice work. Mildred Barnette, former Hospice of Queen Anne’s executive director and one of its founders, would say that we’ve had vigil volunteers since 1985, and we’ve called them different things as the program has evolved, but ultimately, vigil volunteers have always been at the core of Compass Regional Hospice’s offerings as a hospice provider,” Williams said.

For more information about becoming a vigil volunteer, contact Williams at 443-262-4112 or cwilliams@compassregionalhospice.org.

Compass Regional Hospice – Care on your terms

Compass Regional Hospice is a fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization certified by Medicare and the state of Maryland and accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1985, Compass Regional Hospice has been dedicated to supporting people of all ages through the challenge of living with a life-limiting illness and learning to live following the death of a loved one. Today, the organization is a regional provider of hospice care and grief support in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. “Care on your terms” is the promise that guides staff and volunteers as they care for patients in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the residential hospice centers in Centreville and Chestertown. Grief support services are offered to children, adults and families of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the loss of a loved one, through The Hope and Healing Center. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

Chestertown “SANE” Nurses Recognized During Forensic Nurses Week

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Forensic Nurses Week was November 5-9, 2018 and this year’s theme is Forensic Nurses – “In every hospital, For every community, The future of care.” Based in Elkridge, Maryland, the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) includes 4,300 members, who are often referred to by the acronym, SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners).

Forensic Nurses at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown are Shannon Temple and Kimberly Seward.

When sexual assault victims arrive at an emergency department, one of the first people they encounter is a forensic nurse who is trained to gather information from the crime. Forensic nurses follow scientific and legal procedures to collect evidence and ensure quality of care for the victims.

For SANEs, other goals of sexual assault and rape testing include assessing and treating injuries, preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, and offering psychological support. They work to address and validate patient concerns, minimize trauma and promote healing. They follow procedures set by local jurisdictions, the IAFN and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to collect information to be used in legal proceedings. A standardized process is imperative to ensuring victims get justice.

Shore Regional Health Announces New Chief Quality Officer

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Diane (Dee) Murphy has joined the senior leadership team of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health as chief quality officer.  Murphy came to the regional health care network in August 2018 from Northwest Health, Arkansas where she served as system chief quality officer. In that capacity, she provided oversight for quality and performance improvement for five acute care hospitals and 35 physician practices. Previously, she was the chief quality officer at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center; she also served as a Navy nurse and a surveyor at the Joint Commission.

Murphy’s educational credentials include a doctorate in health administration from the University of Phoenix; a master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb; and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Carolina University.

“We are delighted to bring Dee Murphy on board at Shore Regional Health,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH. “Her vast experience in health care quality management leadership, risk management, infection prevention, patient advocacy, and accreditation makes her a great asset to our organization.”

For All Seasons Presents Conversation to End Sexual Violence

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On Thursday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m., For All Seasons will offer a conversation to end sexual violence with speaker Don McPherson, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, activist and feminist. McPherson’s topic, “You Throw Like a Girl: A Conversation to End Sexual Violence,” will discuss one of the issues of our time – men’s violence against women.

For more than 34 years, McPherson has used the power and appeal of sports to address complex social justice issues. He has created innovative programs, supported community service providers and has provided educational seminars and lectures throughout North America.

He comments, “Women have always been in this conversation about sexual violence. Now it’s time to bring the conversation together with men and women. This discussion is directed primarily at men and focuses on language such as ‘you throw like a girl’ that sets a standard on the narrow expectations of masculinity while simultaneously establishing an understanding that girls and women are ‘less than” men.’”

He adds, “The ‘Me Too’ movement provides an opportunity for men to not just stand in solidarity with women but make real change in the root causes of sexual violence.  My presentation focuses on nurturing positive language and a healthy understanding of masculinity.”

According to Beth Anne Langrell, Executive Director of For All Season, people are just trying to figure out where we go from here and what we do now that this issue is front and center in the media. She states, “Not talking about it is not an option. We need to have conversations that are pro-social and protect our families and individuals. We have to find age appropriate ways to have the conversation and by having Don here, we can start that conversation in our community.”

As an athlete, McPherson was a unanimous All-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. Since 1984 McPherson has delivered school and community-based programs addressing issues such as drunk driving, alcohol and substance abuse, bullying, youth leadership and mentoring.  Upon retiring from pro football in 1994, he joined Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, as National Director of Athletes in Service to America.  In 1995, McPherson turned his focus to the issue of “men’s violence against women,” as director of Sport in Society’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program and emerged as a national leader and advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.  He has conducted workshops and lectures for more than 300 college campuses, community organizations and national sports and violence prevention organizations.  His programs and lectures have reached more than one million people.

McPherson has received several honors in recognition of his service, including the Frederick Douglas Men of Strength Award, given by Men Can Stop Rape; Champions for Change, presented by Lifetime Television; The Creative Vision for Women’s Justice, presented by the Pace University Women’s Justice Center; and a Leadership Award from the National Center for Victims of Crime.  He has served as a board member, consultant and advisor for several national organizations including the Ms Foundation for Women and the National Football Foundation and the US National Committee for UN Women.  McPherson recently joined the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University.

The For All Seasons event, to be held in the Gold Room at the Tidewater Inn at 101 E. Dover Street, is free and open to the public. To reserve your seat, visit donmcpherson.eventbrite.com or call 443-258-2130.

Throughout the year, For All Seasons brings awareness to the community about such issues as suicide, sexual assault, trauma, and mental health needs.For All Seasons provides Trauma Certified Individual, Family, and Group Therapy; Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry; and Crisis and Advocacy Services for Child, Adolescent, and Adult Victims of Sexual Assault, Rape and Trauma. For a same-day crisis appointment, call 410-822-1018.

Follow For All Seasons on Facebook to find out how to get involved. For further information, call Monika Mraz at 410-822-1018, email mmraz@forallseasonsinc.org or visit forallseasonsinc.org.

Safe Sitter® Class Set for November 17 in Chestertown

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The popular Safe Sitter® class, taught by pediatric nurses for youth ages 11-13, will be offered in Kent County one last time this year on Saturday, November 17, 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.

Telemedicine Pilot Programs Expand Access to Care

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Telemedicine programs utilized in the delivery of emergency psychiatric care and palliative care have expanded access to care in these specialties for patients in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, thanks to a collaborative project of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH), University of Maryland Medical System, and University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM).

Telemedicine utilizes computer video and audio and related technologies that enable physicians and other care providers in one location to communicate with health professionals and patients in another.

Designed to overcome the limited availability of specialists in certain areas of  the five-county region served by UM SRH, the development of telemedicine applications to provide palliative care and emergency psychiatric care was supported by a $75,149 grant from the Maryland Health Care Commission and a 2:1 match from UM SRH.  Funds were used to purchase the needed technology and support the cost of a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the two programs.

That study indicated strong success for the use of telemedicine in both specialties. In emergency psychiatric care, wait times for patients needing assessment in Kent and Queen Anne’s county were reduced by nearly one-third. In palliative care, telemedicine facilitated a three-fold increase in the number of patients who were able to access and benefit from a palliative care consult and/or treatment.

“We are pleased to see that the use of the technology is widely accepted by physicians and patients,” says UM SRH Chief Medical Officer William Huffner, MD. “We are now in the process of refining and expanding telemedicine services in palliative care, emergency psychiatric care and other subspecialties.”

Alzheimer’s Association Upper Shore Dementia Caregivers Conference November 13

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The Alzheimer’s Association Upper Shore Dementia Caregivers Conference on Tuesday, November 13 in Chestertown, Md., will provide information and resources to families who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Healthcare professionals that work with a geriatric population are also encouraged to attend.

The half-day event—from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.—will be held at Heron Point of Chestertown, 501 E. Campus Avenue, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Topics include how to distinguish between a senior moment and an early sign of cognitive impairment; ways to communicate throughout the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and when to consider in-home care. “The focus of the conference is to address the challenges that caregivers face throughout the progression of the disease,” says Education Coordinator Cynthia Prud’homme. “We want people who are affected by the disease to know that the Alzheimer’s Association is here to provide support.” The 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) is available day or night in more than 200 languages.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

UM CMG – Medical Oncology Announces Addition of Mary S. De Shields, MD

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University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) announces the addition of Easton-based oncologist Mary S. De Shields, MD. She will continue seeing patients in her current office, located at 509 Idlewild Avenue, Suite 1, Easton, MD 21601. Patients may make an appointment with Dr. De Shields by calling 410-819-3332.

UM CMG is a University of Maryland Medical System-owned network of more than 300 primary care physicians, specialists – and advanced practice clinicians. As part of UM CMG, Dr. De Shields is affiliated with UM Shore Regional Health, where she will be serving as the Medical Director of Oncology.

Dr. De Shields has been providing medical oncology services to residents on the Eastern Shore for more than two decades. She earned her Medical Degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and completed her internship, residency and chief residency at the Medical Center of Delaware, now Christiana Care Health System.She then went on to complete her fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

“We feel honored to have Dr. De Shields join our team at the University of Maryland Community Medical Group,” comments Dr. William Huffner, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs at UM Shore Regional Health. “Dr. De Shields is a dedicated oncologist and member of the community, and we are lucky to gain her expertise at UM CMG. While the practice name will be changing, Dr. De Shields will continue to provide the same exceptional care in the same location to the residents of the Eastern Shore.”

UM CMG consists of community-based provider practices affiliated with UM Shore Regional Health, UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center, UM Charles Regional Medical Center and University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus.  A list of UM CMG providers is available at http://docfind.umms.org/cmg.

About the University of Maryland Community Medical Group  

The University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) is a multi-hospital, multi-specialty, community-based physician-led group, and part of the University of Maryland Medical System. With more than 300 primary care physicians, specialists, and advanced practice clinicians in more than 75 locations across the state, UM CMG offers patients a vast network of highly experienced providers, delivering care right in their neighborhood. For more information, visit www.umcmg.org.

New Provider Welcomed at UM Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology

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UM Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology welcomed new provider Lisa Bronaugh, MSN-FNP, last month. Bronaugh joins Bayan Mesmar, MD and Doris Allen Tate, nurse practitioner in providing treatment services to patients of the Center.

In her most recent position as nurse practitioner for Miles River Physicians in Easton, Bronaugh’s responsibilities included analysis and interpretation of patient histories, physical exam findings and diagnoses information; developed treatment plans for patients with acute and/or chronic conditions; and educated patients about self-management of acute and chronic illnesses. Previously, she worked as a registered nurse at Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, West Virginia and in acute care at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Bronaugh earned her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and her Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner from Simmons College in Boston.

“We are very glad to have Lisa on board with us in the Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology,” says Trish Rosenberry, regional director, MultiSpecialty Clinics. “Her skills and experience are an excellent fit to the Center team.”