Archive - 2016

Bring On the New Year!
Addressing Opioid Addiction “Close to Home”
Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays
Create a Winter Safety Plan
Holiday Drug Safety
Ready for Kindergarten!
The North Central Vermont Recovery Center
Cooking For Your Guests with Diabetes
Healthy Bodies and Healthy Communities
Copley Run for the Heart

Bring On the New Year!

By: Mary L. Collins

New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions. Dreaded, resolutions.

What will yours be for 2017?

More exercise? Better diet? Finally cleaning out that “catch-all” drawer in your kitchen?

How about – be a little kinder to yourself and less self-critical?

Statistically, less than 50% of people who make New Year’s resolutions (1 in 3 of us does) are still on track with their resolution 6 months later. Most crash and burn (54% to be exact) within the first month. And, as we age, our resolve to even suggest a resolution for the new year wanes.

So why do we do it?

One person called it, “A triumph of hope over experience.” It is our desire to do better and to achieve more that propels us forward into the “resolution zone.” And, in that thought, comes this idea of being kinder to and less critical of ourselves.

So how does that happen while we’re smack dab in the middle of the season of giving?

Hard to say. But let’s try.

I was told by a friend and colleague recently that, “Your compassion is your Achilles heel.” Interesting assessment! Yes, I do all that I can to consider others’ feelings and needs and to be kind. It’s how I was raised and it’s the way I want to conduct myself in the world. I truly think it is right to set the best example I can for myself, for my son, and for anyone in my ever-widening circle. But, perhaps, my friend was right. In my quest to do good and right things, am I reluctant to include the self-care that I need in order to function at my best? Do I rest on self-criticism because whatever I did or didn’t do in some particular situation wasn’t quite “up to standard,” not quite “good enough?” Yep, my friend may be right. I bet you do the same things and evaluate yourself almost exactly as I do. Hopeless self-sacrificers, aren’t we!

The fact is, among people within the healthcare field, it is our job to “care.” Caring, is, after all, our mission and mandate. Nurses, therapists, nursing assistants, hospice volunteers, personal care attendants and all others who serve have a responsibility to provide respectful, professional care to our patients and clients. To shirk this duty is not only acting out of integrity, it can also be an actionable offense.  Truly, I believe those who are in helping professions really do enjoy and gain deep satisfaction from helping and providing care. We just aren’t always as good at providing it in equal measure to ourselves.

Have you ever seen an overweight nurse? Met a therapist who smokes? Known a volunteer who looks tired or distracted? Might you be one of these people yourself? If so, I ask you to consider a thought that may make a huge difference in your wellbeing; and, perhaps, as a result, will present a stronger you to whoever you care for and about. It is this:

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

– Christopher Germer*

Easier said than done.  So, now, here’s where you need to make your list.

What are the 5, no, 10 things you do for others that you are reluctant to also do for yourself, if you even do them at all?

1 – 10
Now, go back and number that list in order of the item where you give the most to others and the least to yourself – in descending order. Let’s call it the:

1 – 10
So as not to sabotage your resolution success, circle the first three items on the list.





Copy and print these first three items and paste them on:

  • Your calendar
  • Your car visor
  • Your bathroom mirror
  • Wherever you are likely to see the list every day

Now, promise that you will resolve in 2017 to do, or, at least attempt to do these three things better for and toward yourself.  The world will manage. Trust me, it will.

Happy New Year!


* Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy. He is a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. Dr. Germer lectures and conducts workshops internationally on the art and science of mindful self-compassion.

Mary L. Collins is the Marketing Director at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice. A 2014 Home Care Elite Top Agency, LHH&H is one of eleven VNAs of Vermont home health and hospice agencies serving Vermont. She also serves as Marketing Director at The Manor, a 4 star nursing home and short term rehabilitation facility in Morrisville, VT, and she chairs the Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 

Addressing Opioid Addiction “Close to Home”

By: Leah Hollenberger

As you have likely heard in the news, Vermont is struggling with an opioid addiction epidemic. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one solution to successfully addressing opioid addiction. It takes individuals and organizations working together to address this complex issue. This pain medicineteam-based approach includes our Medical Staff, clinicians, and collaboration with community resources.

Our providers routinely discuss pain management 1:1 with patients. This includes verbal conversation and print materials outlining options, risks, strategies for pain management, and potential side effects. Providers utilize the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS) and the Medical Staff, as a group, continue to discuss the issue and how best to address it.

Within our Emergency Department, providers limit opioid prescriptions, with the goal to get the patient to go to a recommended follow up appointment with their primary care physician. Typically, enough pain medication is prescribed to last less than a day; longer if the patient is seen on a weekend to allow them time to get a follow up appointment.

Our clinicians also refer patients to Lamoille County Mental Health’s Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program (ASAP), the area’s Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, and North Central Vermont Recovery Center.

The Women’s Center and the Birthing Center are active with “Close to Home,” a Blueprint for Health program in collaboration with the area’s Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) program. “Close to Home” provides high quality, low intervention prenatal, obstetric, newborn, and post-partum care at a local level. It is for mothers-to-be already stable in a medication assisted treatment program. Weekly and quarterly reviews ensure these patients get connected to available resources and the participants meet with anesthesia and pediatric providers prior to birth for education on the program. Newborns of women in this program are required to stay at the hospital for 96 hours as it can take 24-48 hours for symptoms of withdrawal to show up. The Women’s Center and Copley’s Birthing Center also refer patients to the Lamoille Family Center’s Rocking Horse program for families living with substance abuse.

Copley’s Patient and Family Services team routinely work with patients and their families to connect them with a variety of social services. We are collaborating with the Blueprint’s Community Health Team at Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley to add a case worker in our Emergency Department. The hospital also promotes drug safety and awareness in publications and through this blog. Check out an earlier post, “Expect Some Pain,” for suggestions you can use to talk candidly with your physician about pain medication and pain management.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphie


Traditionally, the holiday season is full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to an array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

1. Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly and enjoy the conversation around you. You’ll also be more aware of when you start feeling full.

2. Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them altogether: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

3. Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process, and inhibits digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

4. Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

5. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Create a Winter Safety Plan

By: Valerie Valcour

winer preparednessWe have had our first reality check of the coming winter season. With the first snow of the season, I am reminded of the importance of creating my winter safety plan for this year.

What always comes to my mind first is getting my car ready for the winter. When will I put on my snow tires? Do I have a blanket, water, granola bars, window scraper and shovel in the trunk?

What about my house? What will I do if I lose power for an extended amount of time? What if I get snowed in? Are my older family members set up for an extended power outage?

These are all things we need to plan for now and communicate with our family and friends. The Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has a website with helpful tips to creating your Winter Safety plan. Check it out here.

Planning is the key to being prepared. Creating a plan with your family and workplace is the first step. This plan can include:

  • what to do in various situations, such as an extended power outage or deep snow or ice,
  • what you will do about your pets,
  • which important documents should be protected from floodwaters,
  • what medications you should have with you, and
  • where you will store non-perishable foods and water.

You can find a checklist for your planning here.

Communicating your plan is the next step. Be sure all the people who need to know your plan have a copy of it and know how to reach in you in an emergency.

Vermont Emergency Management has many ways to help us stay informed about all hazard or emergency events:

Don’t let this winter take you by surprise. Be prepared. You can always contact your local Vermont Department of Health, 802-888-7447 for more information.

Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

Holiday Drug Safety

By: Jessica Bickford

Holiday drug safety

With the holidays quickly skipping in our direction through autumn’s gloriously, crunchy carpet, we will most likely soon have visitors or be a visitor in someone’s home. This is a prime time to think about medication safety. The majority of us have over-the-counter and prescription medicine in our homes. The question is, “How do we ensure they are secure and only taken as designed?”

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Keep all medicines secured and out of reach of children. The medicine cabinet is not a good place, as it gives unrestricted access to anyone who visits your bathroom… including curious, climbing children. Locked boxes or closets are considered optimal for many prescription drugs, but well-monitored, high-up, out-of-sight areas will work too. Basically any area that can easily be supervised, but not on display.
  2. If traveling with medicines, consider asking your host the best place to safely store them while visiting.
  3. Clean out your medicines regularly keeping only what is needed in your home. This is especially true of prescription medications. Take a few moments to go through your medicines, checking for expired or unwanted leftovers. The Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department are all equipped to take unwanted prescription medicines year-round, no questions asked.

Parents have an added need for vigilance. When my kids were younger we visited my husband’s grandparents for Thanksgiving and our kids discovered a dropped pill under the television stand. It was just a Tylenol and we were able to dispose of it, but it illustrates the need for added attention. Here are a few tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your host about the importance of making sure their medicines are secured.
  2. Before you arrive, talk with children about safe medicine use and the need to be given medicines by a parent or caregiver. Also share the importance of not eating “candy” without checking in with an adult first – many medicines and prescriptions may look like candy, especially to a younger child. Another good conversation to have is about staying in well-supervised areas. For example, “Grammy and Grampa’s bedroom is their space, and we want to respect their privacy.”
  3. If you have younger children who may be playing on the floor, sit with them and play. While playing, scan the lower half of the room to discover any wayward pill or other small objects that may present a risk.
  4. Monitor your children and teens. Have fun, but know where they are and what they’re doing. is a great resource with tips for conversations and ideas for checking in with children and teens.

A few minutes spent thinking about medicine safety may help your upcoming holiday visits stay merry and bright!

Looking for more resources on prescription drug safety? Here are helpful resources:

Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Ready for Kindergarten!

By: Scott Johnson


“The research is clear that children who have high-quality early learning and development opportunities experience greater success in school, relationships and life. This not only benefits the children; it’s economically beneficial for our society as a whole.” – Let’s Grow Kids

Children need high quality environments that are rich in love, learning and literacy – whether that experience is at home with a parent, with kin or a neighbor, or at one of our many great child care providers in Lamoille Valley.

Since 2000, Vermont has gathered information on the readiness of children entering kindergarten by surveying kindergarten teachers about their students’ knowledge and skills within the first six to ten weeks of school. The effort to measure school readiness is a collaborative project of the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), the Department for Children and Families, and the Department of Health. (Various surveys for assessing schools’ readiness have been conducted since this effort began.) After extensive expert review, the new Ready for Kindergarten! Survey (R4K!S) has been adopted.

There are many interpretations of what constitutes “school readiness.” Vermont’s concept of children’s readiness is multidimensional and includes:

  • social and emotional development
  • communication
  • physical health
  • cognitive development and knowledge
  • approaches to learning (e.g., enthusiasm for learning, persistence, curiosity).

Vermont’s concept also reflects the belief that “school readiness” is interactional: children need to be ready for schools, and schools need to be ready to accommodate the diverse needs of each and every child.

What’s New

The 2015-16 Ready for Kindergarten! Survey (R4K!S) marks the deployment of a new survey instrument, changes in scoring methods, and criteria used for identification of students as “ready.” The survey also includes new and revised questions, including six in the physical development and health domain.

The R4K!S is not a direct assessment of children; rather it relies on the teacher’s accumulated observational knowledge of the child developed during the first few weeks of kindergarten.”

If you’re interested, click here to read the report.

Helping Your Child Be Ready

Parents and caregivers play a critical role in their child’s development. It’s important to offer children opportunities to learn, grow, and be capable every day. Creating environments that are literacy rich, full of adult-to-child interactions, are socially interactive with peers, and that attend to healthy habits are important ingredients to kindergarten readiness.

Here are some of my favorite resources to help:

I Can Teach My Child – “33 Ways To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten.”

Let’s Grow Kids: A great resource to learn more about the importance of the early years.

The Lamoille Family Center is committed to working with our partners to encourage, educate and celebrate families so we realize the promise of every child. For more information about the Lamoille Family Center call 888-5229 or visit our website at

Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.

The North Central Vermont Recovery Center

My name is Stefani Capizzi and I am the director of North Central Vermont Recovery Center.

North Central Vermont Recovery CenterI’m here to tell you that the Lamoille County’s Recovery Center is a really special place. One of the most unique and important qualities about the Recovery Center is that most of the people who work there (including myself, the paid staff, and the 20 plus volunteers) are people in long term recovery from addictions to alcohol and other drugs.This is AWESOME because it says people who struggle with addictions CAN and DO enter into recovery and go on to lead amazing, fulfilling lives. AND, any person who walks through our doors can meet and get help from someone who has probably walked in their shoes and can serve as an example of hope and possibility!

That being said, I am going to tell you what a person can expect when they walk through our doors. First, ALL of our services are free of charge. Yes, free.

An individual having trouble with addiction can find people who will connect them to resources like addiction treatment centers, housing, food, mental and medical health, education and employment, as well as a variety of recovery meetings and support groups held at our center and elsewhere. They will find recovery coaches who are trained to work individually with them, guiding and supporting them throughout their recovery. They will find a safe place to visit, have coffee and a snack, use the computers, read, learn, and sometimes join in social activities.

Loved ones (including grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, spouses, children, or friends) of people with addictions can also find help from family support groups and recovery coaches who work with family members.

Lastly, I’d like invite you to stop by and check out the Recovery Center (275 Brooklyn St. Morrisville, VT) any time we are open during the day:

  • Mon: 9am-12pm
  • Tues-Fri: 9am-6pm
  • Sat-Sun: 11am-4pm

Learn more on our website at

Cooking For Your Guests with Diabetes

By: Nancy Wagner

balanced meal

Suppose you’re planning a dinner party with several couples and find out that one of your guests has diabetes. Do you need to serve something special for them? Not necessarily.

When any of us eats carbohydrates (carbs) our body converts them to blood sugar which is the fuel for our muscles and brain. In diabetes, our bodies have a hard time managing these carbs so we need to do it ourselves through balanced eating.

People with diabetes need to count and space out the amount of carbs they eat. They can do this either by counting portions of carbs or by counting actual grams of carb. The general guidelines are:

  • 2-3 portions or 30-45 grams of carb per meal for women
  • 3-4 portions or 45-60 grams of carb per meal for men.

It’s also beneficial to have protein at each meal. Sweets are allowed as long as their carbs are counted in the allotted portions or grams. Some examples of a carb serving are:

  • 1 slice of bread or a small dinner roll;
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes, corn, peas, or winter squash;
  • 1/3 cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • ½ cup cooked beans or lentils;
  • ½ cup mixed fruit or a small piece of fruit
  • 8oz of milk
  • 2 small cookies
  • ½ cup ice cream.

All other vegetables are very low in carbs and usually can be considered “free”.

So, how do you plan that dinner party meal? You could start by planning several vegetables. For instance, a nice tossed salad with lots of colorful vegetables. Maybe some cooked broccoli or summer squash and zucchini.  Add a protein like salmon or boneless chicken breast. A small amount of starch such as brown rice could round out the meal. Have a variety of non-calorie beverages including seltzer, plain water, coffee and/or tea to offer.  Desserts don’t necessarily have to be sugar-free. You could have a variety so that the person with diabetes can make his or her own choice. Maybe some angel food cake with fresh berries. The key for desserts is portion size, smaller is better.

Your job as host/hostess is to provide a variety of healthy food choices and allow the person with diabetes to make their own choices. Many people with diabetes do not like attention brought to their eating or disease, so have a private conversation about the menu before the actual dinner party or before the other guests arrive. Now, sit back and enjoy the meal and the conversation.

Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital. She provides health and wellness to Copley employees through screenings, education and fun activities; educates patients regarding their nutrition and diabetes needs; and works with community members providing education to schools and businesses. Nancy enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases.

Healthy Bodies and Healthy Communities

By: Caleb Magoon


Just a week or so ago, local veterinarian and businesswoman Paula Yankauskas successfully swam the English Channel at the age of 62. The Hyde Park resident swam the 21mile stretch in just over 16 hours becoming the oldest American to ever complete the feat. She also raised (and still is raising) money for Multiple Sclerosis research at the same time.

Why is it exactly that we (as a society) have tied athletic events and achievement to fundraising? I’m not sure, but those events seem to pop up more and more every year. Many people must be funding and participating in these events because they’re growing and not going away.

I’ll be honest when I say that at times I feel overwhelmed by the asks we all get for the many events we see in our region. Yet, how can I say no? Would I say no to the Lamoille Area Cancer Network who puts an amazing 100% of funds to use in our community? No. Could I say no to a local youngster raising money for their first race? Would I say no to being a small part of Paula’s amazing athletic achievement? How could I?

I’ve been on the other side of things, too. I remember my mom doing the March of Dimes when I was a kid, and we helped collect coins for her. A couple years ago my wife and I completed the Camel’s Hump Challenge, a 14-mile backcountry ski circumnavigating Camel’s Hump in the dead of winter to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. It was an incredible feat just to finish the trek but it was even better knowing we had done a little good while we were at it.

No matter how we started tying these events to raising funds for worthy causes, it’s no secret why they are so widely popular. Bettering our community and world while bettering our bodies feels great. It goes beyond simply training on your own in a vacuum. These events give us the opportunity to set athletic and fundraising goals, work to achieve them and share in an experience and eventual success of an event. We don’t just do it alone, we do it as part of a wider community and we all win.

No wonder these are so popular. So join in! Find a cause or event you like and join up. Train and raise money and celebrate your inevitable win. I won’t be swimming the English Channel anytime soon, but Paula has inspired me to jump back in the water. When someone comes around raising money for his or her event, give what you can. Do it for the individual and the community. As hard as it can be to open your wallet once again, do what you can. This happy and healthy union between athletics and fundraising means we all win.

Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Copley Run for the Heart


Copley Hospital invites you to join us for the 2nd annual Run for the Heart on Saturday, October 1. This family-friendly run/walk will kick off Morrisville’s annual Rocktoberfest Street Festival Celebration.

The goal of this event is to promote healthy decisions, specifically focusing on a healthy heart. Why?

  • In Lamoille County, heart disease is one of the top leading causes of death for ages 25+
  • Heart disease is one of the top causes for hospitalizations, and is a prevalent chronic condition.
  • Heart disease is preventable and can be avoided with healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Almost all of us have been touched by someone with heart disease.

The 5K run/walk starts at Oxbow Park and uses the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.  Runners and walkers in the 5K will be given “chipped” bibs, with 802 Timing providing timing services. Immediately following the 5K kick-off, members of Copley’s Respiratory team will lead participants of the 1-mile health walk around the Oxbow park path.

Advance 5K registration for adults and students is $25 and 1-mile health walk is $10. Participants in both events will receive a t-shirt. Kids 6 and under can participate for free (t-shirt not included). All proceeds from the event will benefit Copley Hospital’s heart health programs including cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation and wellness programs.

If you can’t make the event on October 1, you also have the choice of a “Virtual Race Kit” where you can race on your own time and in the location of your choice and still receive a t-shirt and a Copley Champion Certificate.

Following the race, participants are encouraged to participate in the many festivities that Rocktoberfest offers. See a full list here.

What are you waiting for? Form a team, join a team, or run/walk in honor of a loved one. For more information or to register for Copley’s Run for the Heart visit