Tag - Morrisville

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Hip Hip Hooray
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Helping People Navigate the Health Care System
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Purely Patrick: Supported Employment Helps an Entrepreneur Succeed
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2018 Community Health Needs Assessment Posted
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WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms
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Learning Through Arthritis
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Talking to Youth About Marijuana
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10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel
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Stroke Awareness
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DULCE – An Innovation in Health Care Delivery

Hip Hip Hooray

By: Dan Regan

The other day, Presidents’ Day to be precise, I had my hip replaced. Years of playing squash, a fast-moving and otherwise healthful racquet sport, had worn away the cartilage on one hip and had ground the joint down to nothing. The surgeon’s highly technical (sic.) diagnosis was that it was “beyond broken.”

Leading up to this common but still major surgery, I found myself with three overwhelming concerns: (1) my toenails; (2) a slight irritation at waist level, dry skin from Vermont’s cold winters exacerbated by a styrofoam flotation belt worn for exercise in a pool; and especially (3) whether home health, after the operation, would look askance at our small house, and at the clutter and occasional mess created by its three dogs and three cats. Anyone who has given birth may already be scoffing at these concerns. Whether they are merely peculiar, fairly usual, or an abject denial of what was to come, I am not sure.

importance of preventative care

I do know for sure that, soon to turn 73, I am extraordinarily fortunate. This was the first time I had ever been an in-patient at a hospital. By contrast, in a single year—2016 for instance—7% of the total US population experienced a hospital stay of at least one night duration. That’s over 35 million inpatient stays in one year.

These Americans—readers of this blog among them—are a hardy bunch. My hospital of choice (Copley) provided an exceptional quality of highly personalized care during my recent stay. The entire staff was just terrific.

Nevertheless, no matter how wonderful the ministrations of a healthcare team, a hospital is a humbling place. That’s because a hospital is an example of a « total institution »—that is, a place of work and residence where a large number of people are cut off from the wider community for a considerable time. Their new community has its own rhythm, rules, and procedures. For the healing and recovery process to play out properly, hospital patients must skillfully play their important roles; above all, they must make an effort to get better.

Of course, the promise of eventual recovery makes it all well worth it, but hospitalization is nevertheless far from easy: frequent patients have to be mighty tough. For one thing, a slight pall of anxiety overlays everything. Patient instructions, for instance, even for a planned-in-advance procedure such as mine, can end up seeming more complicated than assembling furniture from IKEA. Amidst the swirl of prescriptions, instructions, do’s and don’ts, it’s hard not to feel at least a little dense.

To be sure, lots of valuable lessons are learned in the process, including humility, gratitude and our common humanity. But they come at a price: a temporary loss of privacy, nakedness and exposure, the surgical assault upon one’s body, as well as a forced immersion into the private travails of strangers who are all too close.

No one looks forward to feeling these ways. Their antidote would seem to be minimizing hospitalizations. Accomplishing that will require, on the part of many of us, a greater focus on wellness. And even then, some hospital stays are the product of bad luck or non-preventable circumstances beyond our control. Certain microorganisms, genetic legacies, environmental factors or accidents can land us on our backs.

But there remain many hospital stays that result from individual lifestyle choices. My hope is that, to minimize the chances of being hospitalized, readers will take whatever steps they can toward their own wellness. Recent posts on this blog, for instance by Caleb Magoon and Michele Whitmore, provide some great and practical suggestions. Future posts will provide more, so stay tuned.  

In addition, wouldn’t it be great if insurance providers increased their support for wellness? In Germany, for instance, certain blood pressure readings would yield an Rx for hydrotherapy and spa treatments. Try charging your insurer for those! Nor is there generally insurer support for membership in a gym or fitness center, despite the consensus among healthcare providers that more exercise would be beneficial for most people. Acupuncture, in spite of its lineage that dates back thousands of years, is rarely supported. Even therapeutic massage, the benefits of which are widely recognized, is not generally covered.

A greater investment in preventive and wellness measures would save a great deal of money now expended on curative, after-the-fact treatments. So I urge readers to take whatever steps they can, hopefully with—but even without—the support of their insurers. The hospital, even a great one, should be a last resort.


Dan Regan, a sociologist, is the former dean of academic affairs at Johnson State College and continues to work part-time for Northern Vermont University. He writes for a variety of publications about whatever interests him, including—recently—climate change, living with arthritis, the NFL players’ protests, and higher education.

Helping People Navigate the Health Care System

By: Rebecca Copans

Anyone who has accompanied a loved one to an emergency room knows how challenging it can be to navigate the medical system. Its complex language, daunting costs, and frenetic pace make it difficult for the average person to take in. If the patient has no one by their side and if they are dealing with two or more chronic conditions — plus poverty, food insecurity, and unstable housing — they face even greater challenges in navigating the healthcare system.

Sarah Williams, Lamoille County Mental Health Services (LCMHS) Medical Care Coordinator, has seen first-hand the results of that confusion and it has become her mission to directly challenge that problem. In her role, Williams has created collaborative relationships among providers at LCMHS and community partners, including primary care physicians, endocrinologists, neurologists, pharmacists, and hospital emergency room staff. Her role brings together providers and information systems to coordinate health services with patient needs to better achieve the goals of treatment. “When I look into a person’s eyes, I can see the difference that help has made. They are less stressed and can focus on getting well.”

Having someone to help patients navigate a complex system improves the quality of the care they receive. Outcomes improve as well, as the person receives the kind of medical follow-up that is required to treat their needs. Research across disciplines have shown that care coordination increases efficiency and improves clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction with care. “Greater coordination of care—across providers and across settings—will improve quality care, improve outcomes, and reduce spending, especially attributed to unnecessary hospitalization, unnecessary emergency department utilization, repeated diagnostic testing, repeated medical histories, multiple prescriptions, and adverse drug interactions” writes Susan Salmond and Mercedes Echevarria of Rutgers University School of Nursing.

Through these coordinated partnerships, LCMHS is enhancing the quality of care for the individuals they serve. This gives the individual an advocate, as well as someone to translate the often murky landscape of multiple disciplines of medicine. This has a striking benefit to patients’ mental health, quality of life, and their own sense of optimism as they have one distinct person that can be contacted to help clarify information, track multiple appointments, and identify specialists.

As primary and behavioral health care providers strive to integrate services, care coordination will support system-wide efforts to reduce emergency room visits and hospital stays, which is one of the greatest cost-drivers for the health care system. Based on the foundation of care coordination, primary and behavioral health care integration will make huge inroads in achieving the triple bottom line of health care: to improve the health of the population, to improve the patient experience of care (including quality, access, and reliability), and to control or reduce costs.


Rebecca Copans has worked extensively in government affairs, public relations and communications. As a society, our greatest potential lies with our children. With this basic tenant firmly in mind, Rebecca worked most recently with the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children and now with Lamoille County Mental Health to secure a stronger foundation for all Vermont families. 

A graduate of the University of Vermont and Dartmouth College, Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in globalization. Her thesis concentration was the history and societal use of language and its effect on early cognitive development. She lives in Montpelier with her husband and three children.

Purely Patrick: Supported Employment Helps an Entrepreneur Succeed

By: Rebecca Copans

Patrick and his sister Deseray Lewis sell Purely Patrick goods at Art on Park in Stowe

 

If you wander down Stowe’s Park Street on a summer Thursday evening, you are sure to find a colorful tent filled with specialty food items made and packaged by Patrick Lewis, the entrepreneur behind Purely Patrick.

A vivacious person who sings through his days, Patrick was born with Cerebral Palsy. His parents, Mary Anne and George Lewis, helped Patrick utilize his repetitive hand motions to build a specialty food business. He sells glass Ball jars and plastic water bottles (which are easier to ship) filled to the brim with beautiful dried ingredients like birdseed, recipes for dog treats, sweets like cookies and brownies, savory recipes like soup and cornbread, as well as a number of gluten-free recipes.

Along with his parents, George and Mary Anne Lewis, Patrick is supported by his sister, Deseray, and two LCMHS Developmental Services Supported Employment Staff, Carrie Cota and Miranda Maxham. Carrie has been with Patrick for seven years, and Miranda has been with him for three. Strong relationships and job retention are incredibly important here.

Patrick participated in the Race for Sensory Drive in May with his mother and sister, Mary Anne and Deseray Lewis.

 

“I wouldn’t trade [Carrie and Miranda] for the world. Not just anyone can do this job,” Mary Anne says. The rapport among them is obvious.

“Miranda is the numbers girl, and I handle the technical side of the business, including developing and maintaining the website,” Carrie says.

“Carrie is my techie,” Mary Anne jokes, “and Miranda is a worker bee—they both are!—but Miranda is never afraid of using her muscles. For example, she brings many jars from the Hardware store in for Patrick after his shopping trips. She carries a ton of Patrick’s groceries in at the same time. She is always moving, and very efficient. She is even insured to drive the big lift van and does so willingly and safely.”

Developing the business-side of Purely Patrick has been a learning process. Working with his strengths, over time they developed a concept for creating products that capitalize on Patrick’s repetitive hand movements and that avoid hand-over-hand motions that are difficult for a person who is blind. His Supported Employment staff helps Patrick to ensure that measurements are accurate. But “if there is anything in one of those jars, it’s because he put it there,” Carrie says.

Mary Anne agrees. “It’s not about us doing it, it’s purely Patrick!”

The team tracks Purely Patrick sales—from farmers markets and craft shows to internet sales—and their hottest market is sales from the family-owned Brass Lantern Inn in Stowe. The relationship is mutual. The innkeepers sell a number of Vermont products, from tea to maple syrup, “but the thing we sell the most of out there is Patrick’s products,” says Mary Anne.

When buying the specialty food products, many people don’t realize that Patrick is the innkeepers’ son. It creates a positive awareness of the abilities of an individual with a disability. Even though sales aren’t always robust at some community events, there is value in Patrick’s presence there. “He has some very loyal repeat customers over the years that come to Art on Park year after year,” Carrie says.

Mary Anne agrees. “I see it as a bigger picture; it is exponential networking and I feel that it’s wholesome disability awareness. I can’t tell you how many moms and dads have come up to us and said, ‘I had no idea that a Patrick could be employed.’ It’s inspiring for families of people living with a disability to see the incredible potential in every individual.”

 


Rebecca Copans has worked extensively in government affairs, public relations and communications. As a society, our greatest potential lies with our children. With this basic tenant firmly in mind, Rebecca worked most recently with the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children and now with Lamoille County Mental Health to secure a stronger foundation for all Vermont families. 

A graduate of the University of Vermont and Dartmouth College, Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in globalization. Her thesis concentration was the history and societal use of language and its effect on early cognitive development. She lives in Montpelier with her husband and three children.

 

2018 Community Health Needs Assessment Posted

Results and Implementation Plan are Now Available for Community Review

 

Copley Hospital has completed its 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and posted the results and implementation plan on its website, copleyvt.org. Through the CHNA process, Copley has determined the top health needs of the community are: Preventative Care, Mental Health, Chronic Health Conditions, and Substance Use/Abuse. The Hospital has developed, in conjunction with recommendations from local health care and social service organizations, an implementation plan. This plan will help address these needs and includes services/programs the hospital already offers, new services/programs the hospital may add, other organizations the hospital may partner with and metrics the hospital will use to track progress.

“We had a tremendous response to our survey and are grateful to the staff of area social service organizations and agencies and community leaders that helped with the assessment and shaping our Implementation Plan,” said Art Mathisen, Copley Hospital CEO.  “We view this as a plan for how we, along with other area organizations and agencies, can collaborate to bring the best each has to offer to support change and to address the most pressing identified needs.”

A CHNA is a federal requirement of all non-profit hospitals to prove the hospital is providing community benefit and meeting the needs of local residents. The CHNA process follows federal guidelines including gathering statistical data from reputable sources, surveying “Local Experts” who meet specific criteria and developing an implementation plan for addressing the Significant Health Needs in the area.

The complete report can be found here: https://www.copleyvt.org/about-us/community-health-needs-assessment/. Community members can also go to Copley’s Community Relations office and request a paper copy to review.

WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms

By: Nancy Segreto, WIC Nutritionist, Vermont Department of Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  provides wholesome food, nutrition education and community support for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum (including fathers and caregivers), infants, and children up to 5 years old. Our community now has three clinic locations, located in Johnson, Hardwick, and Morrisville.

In addition to the standard food offered by WIC, each summer the Morrisville WIC office distributes coupons worth $30 – $60 to families. These “Farm to Family” coupons can be used as money to buy produce from participating farmers at Vermont Farmer’s Markets, from July through the end of October. Families can meet the farmer who grew their food, tasting new foods while developing an appreciation for fresh, local whole foods. This program also supports Vermont farmers who receive 100% of the coupon value.

WIC recently partnered with Lamoille Valley Gleaning to offer monthly “WIC Gleaning Taste Tests” under our tent in the Morrisville WIC office parking lot. For those who may not know, “gleaning” is the gathering of extra crops from the fields after the harvest. Gleaning helps keep fresh, wholesome food in our community and supports a healthy food system. Past events have offered freshly harvested green beans, zucchini, lettuce, baby kale, arugula and more. Taste-tests and recipes are provided with themes such as pasta salads, soups, baby foods, and holiday inspirations.

The next WIC Gleaning Taste Tests will take place August 2, September 13, October 11, and November 8, from 2- 3:00pm at the WIC office (63 Processional Dr, Morrisville).

Families with Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur insurance are income eligible for WIC. Know a family who might qualify for WIC? Tell them about us!

To connect with WIC today, visit: healthvermont.gov/wic or call 800-649-4357 or 802-888-7447 (Morrisville). WIC is an equal opportunity provider. For more information about WIC, visit the Health Department website at http://www.healthvermont.gov/local-health-offices/morrisville/wic-services.

Learning Through Arthritis

By: Daniel Regan

arthritis_tips_Live Well Lamoille

At 72 most of my squash-playing days are behind me. Although I took up the game, a fast-moving racquet sport, too late in life, there was plenty of time, apparently, to pound on my joints. Soccer, before squash, had taken its toll too. Arthritic changes started showing up at least ten years ago on my ankle. In 2016, osteoarthritis of my left hip was bad enough for me to walk away from a consultation carrying a binder entitled “Preparing for Your Hip Replacement.”

I returned it to the clinic two months later. In the meantime, I had decided to try physical therapy combined with modest amounts of over-the-counter medication. Today, more than two years later, I have “graduated” to a prescription medication, but continue to work out one to two hours almost daily. Luckily, my current schedule allows that. I check in with a superb PT, who is an acute observer and listener, every three or four months for a “tune up.” Although others will choose differently, my road to an eventual joint replacement will be as gradual as she–and I–can make it.

No one chooses arthritis, although worse afflictions can be imagined. More than 54 million Americans, plenty of whom live in Vermont, live with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Of those, more than 30 million have osteoarthritis, the most common form of disability in adults. If arthritis sufferers conveyed what they’ve learned from their experiences, the pooled knowledge would constitute a valuable life studies curriculum.

Here are some of the life lessons I think I’ve learned from living with arthritis:

  1. Revel in a good day, do what you can to endure a worse one; but try not to read too much into either. Unless one is extraordinarily lucky, or unlucky, the day-by-day trajectory is neither clearly up nor down. I don’t need a weather app, for instance, to provide painful confirmation that the barometric pressure is falling; but tomorrow the skies may clear. An overall trajectory may well exist, but each particular day need not reflect it.
  1. Appreciate the small pleasures of life. I take real pleasure in walking even short distances with something like the stride I remember. There are analogues in every sphere of life.
  1. Learn to accept assistance, but try to gauge what you really need. I use a sock aid, but only for the foot I struggle to reach, and am considering using a single hiking pole for longer walks. For life in general as for arthritis, it’s important to accept necessary assistance; but it’s also worth remembering that the Beatles sang about “a LITTLE help from my friends.” It’s a good idea, to the extent possible, to push yourself.
  1. Move! When life is less than stellar, passivity and inaction are apt to take over. Long-term, this is exactly the wrong response to life as to arthritis. On the other hand, although I try to move through the initial pain in anticipation of relief, if it’s too much and I need an easier day, I take it—without second guessing myself.
  1. Relax. Time is especially precious, compared to when I was 20; but no particular moment is indispensable, really. In particular, not every second must be used productively. Waste some time, shamelessly, allot extra time for tasks; and minimize multitasking, unless you really, really like having the news on all the time. Arthritis and life require a dual sense of time–as both precious and dispensable–and the ability to move back and forth between them.
  1. Seize any opportunity to examine what is at the core of your identity. I had to ask—am still asking—myself to what extent my sense of self is wrapped up in moving as I had before. More generally, what makes you you? And without a particular attribute or capacity, how could you reinvent yourself? That act of remaking oneself is also an exercise in humility.

It is also an exercise in empathy. Overall, living with arthritis has heightened my empathy for those—the many people–who move as gracefully as they can through life with pain either external or internal.

Talking to Youth About Marijuana

By: Jessica Bickford

It is widely known that Act 86, which legalizes possession of marijuana by adults, takes effect on July 1st.  In my work with Healthy Lamoille Valley, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with community partners and there is an overwhelming concern for our youth as this law increases opportunities for youth access to marijuana. With this in mind, I want to share a few well-vetted resources to help youth, parents and community members.

What are we talking about? The first step in understanding the impacts of marijuana is to understand the drug.  This site from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens is particularly helpful and is designed be shared with your teen.  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

How do we talk to youth about it?  Talking with youth can feel difficult. Parentupvt is a great tool that provides sound advice and suggestions: http://parentupvt.org/how-can-i-help-prevent-it/talk-about-it. They also have infographics on marijuana: http://parentupvt.org/resources/infographics.

On the evening of June 5th, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, Healthy Lamoille Valley, and Blueprint for Health are partnering with area middle and high school students to share a community forum: “Effective Communication with Youth.”  Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-opiate-forum-presents-communicating-effectively-with-youth-tickets-45909426330.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has a Youtube tutorial with communication tips for parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FThKH0SEDeI

What are the guidelines around use and storage of marijuana? As with any legal drug, including alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and soon to be marijuana, we all have a role to play in safe, responsible storage and use. Act 86 provides very specific details on how and where adult use marijuana can be used and stored, as well as the quantities an individual can possess. In a nutshell, Act 86 only allows for use in a home residence, with some restrictions. Users are responsible to keep it away from anyone under the age of 21. (In fact, providing marijuana to minors has the same penalties as providing alcohol to a minor – up to a $2,000 fine and up to 5 years of prison time, per minor.) Those who have it or grow it are required to keep it secure where children and youth cannot access it, meaning locked up and out of sight. Users are not to drive impaired. Marijuana cannot legally be sold. https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT086/ACT086%20As%20Enacted.pdf

What do you need to know about marijuana and pregnancy? We know that alcohol and tobacco can cause some serious risks and complications to unborn children. It’s logical that marijuana can have risks as well. Check out more information at https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Pregnancy-508.pdf

How can I learn more and do more to prevent youth use? Healthy Lamoille Valley is working with Michelle Salvador at the Vermont Department of Health to host a community evening in June. Watch Healthy Lamoille Valley’s website for emerging details! Join us as we review the implications of Act 86 and then break into interest groups (parents, youth, educators, landlords, employers, etc.) to explore how we can prevent youth use and support area children and families.

Looking for more resources?

CDC Marijuana Use and Teens: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Teens-508.pdf

CDC Marijuana Use and Driving: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Driving-508.pdf

SAMSHA’s Marijuana Page: https://www.samhsa.gov/atod/marijuana

Vermont’s Marijuana Impact Assessment: http://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2016/12/ADAP_HIA_Marijuana_Regulation_in_Vermont_Exec_Summary.pdf

Our partners at Mount Ascutney Hospital created a good summary of Act 86 legalization.  If you would like a copy please send your request to Jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.


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.

10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel

By: Rorie Dunphey

The weather is finally improving and it is finally beginning to feel like summer. For many of us, summer means adventures and traveling. Is it possible to eat healthy when we are on the road having fun? Yes! Here are 10 simple tips to eating healthy when away from home;

  • Consider your drink – Choose water, unsweetened tea or drinks with no added sugars. Avoid drinking calories.
  • Savor a salad – Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount.
  • Share a meal or dish – Divide a main entrée between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
  • Select from the sides – Order a side dish or appetizer as a meal. It is usually more than enough food!
  • Pack your snacks – Pack a cooler with ready-to-eat fruit, vegetables or unsalted nuts to eat on road trips. It can help you avoid stopping for junk food when you need to stop to fill the gas tank.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and fruits – Stir-fries, kabobs or vegetarian options can be healthy and delicious. Order meals without gravy or sauces. Select fruits for dessert.
  • Compare calories, fat and sodium – Many menus now have nutritional information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium. You can also ask your server about for healthier options.
  • Pass on the buffet – Order individual items from the menu and avoid ‘all you can eat’ buffets. Steamed, grilled or broiled dishes usually have fewer calories than fried or sautéed foods.
  • Get your whole grains – Ask for 100% whole grain bread, rolls and pasta when eating sandwiches, burgers or entrees.
  • Quit the ‘clean plate club’ – Be mindful of how full you feel and stop eating when you have had enough. Slow down and savor each bite. Pack leftovers away immediately to avoid nibbling and refrigerate them for tomorrow’s meal.

It can be often be challenging to eat balanced and nutritious foods when away from home, but with a little effort and planning, you can still have fun and be healthy. Enjoy and safe traveling!


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.

Stroke Awareness

By: Nancy Wagner

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people per year. Approximately 800,000 strokes will occur this year, one every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every 4 minutes.

Copley Hospital will be holding a 2-part Stroke Awareness class the first week of May. Class one will be held on May 1st from 6-7pm and again on May 2nd from 12-1pm.  Class two will be held on May 8th from 6-7pm and again on May 9th from 12-1pm. To register, call Copley Wellness Center at 888-8369. There is no cost for the class but please pre-register so that we have enough handouts available. Classes will be held in the Stevens Conference Room at the hospital.

Take a moment to learn about risk factors for having a stroke, as well as preventative steps you can take.

Types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke: caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 13% of all strokes are hemorrhagic but more than 30% of all stroke deaths happen with hemorrhagic strokes.

Risk factors for having a stroke?

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, previous stroke or TIA (mini-stroke), atrial fibrillation, carotid artery disease, obesity, physical inactivity, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

Preventing a stroke:

Some of these risk factors you can’t control, but many you can. If you smoke, work on quitting. If you drink too much alcohol, cut back or quit. If you are overweight or obese, get more active and seek out a registered dietitian for help with eating. Healthy eating, increased activity and smoking cessation will help to improve your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, which will further decrease your risk of a stroke.

Signs of a stroke?

  1. Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  2. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  3. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  4. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  5. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

What to do if you or someone with you is having a stroke:

Many people don’t realize they are having a stroke. It is often more obvious to those around them. Time is important as quick treatment helps to prevent serious long-term effects of the stroke. Remember the word FAST which stands for:

FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!

 

Have questions? Want more information? Visit:

DULCE – An Innovation in Health Care Delivery

By: Scott Johnson

The healthcare sector is experiencing rapid changes. Vermont is on the cutting edge of reform – leading the country in exploring alternative payment systems and finding better ways to measure success for patients and quality of care.

These reform efforts are also impacted by the fast-growing science related to how adversity in childhood impacts health care. Research at Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child reveals the significant impact of early life experiences on the growing brain and other biological, physiological, and neurological systems. According to the Center, in the first few years of life, more than one million new neural connections form every second. This critical developmental stage creates the architectural foundation for the rest of the infant’s life. Chronic stressors on the developing brain impact the quality and quantity of those neural connections.

Activation of the stress response produces a wide range of physiological reactions that prepare the body to deal with threat. However, when these responses remain activated at high levels for significant periods of time, without supportive relationships to help calm them, toxic stress results. This can impair the development of neural connections, especially in the areas of the brain dedicated to higher-order skills. (https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/)

Our earliest life experiences can impact how we respond to circumstances and challenges for the rest of our lives. In our region there is an innovative program to assure infants and their families have what they need to get off to a strong start. Appleseed Pediatrics, the Lamoille Family Center, and Vermont Legal Aid are working as a team to support Lamoille area families with newborns. The program is called DULCE (Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaborations for Everyone) and is about to enter its third year of operation.

The DULCE model embeds a family specialist from the Lamoille Family Center into the pediatric practice. The family specialist works with every family who wants her support to assure children in Lamoille get off to the best start possible; reducing the likelihood infants’ fast-growing brains and bodies are exposed to toxic stress and its lingering impact on the child.

Carol Lang Godin – LFC Program Director
and supervisor to DULCE family specialist –
with two DULCE graduates

Lamoille’s DULCE site is the only Vermont site and the only rural model in this national research project (six other sites are in Florida and California). While it’s a free and voluntary program, 98% of families have accepted the offer for support, and since inception in March 2016, DULCE has worked with almost 240 Lamoille families. A detailed and comprehensive evaluation process will begin in the coming months, and early indicators from family surveys tell us that families are benefiting from the support and information they receive from the program. The team, including the family specialist and the attorney help families with a range of issues parents of newborns may face that can impact the family’s health and well-being, including: child development, landlord-tenant challenges, child custody, family court issues, mental health, substance use, housing, economic well-being, safety, food security, and transportation.

The Lamoille Family Center is working with its local and state partners to expand DULCE in other practices in Vermont. This promising innovation that links health care, community services, and legal supports started here in Lamoille and could be a core component of all pediatric practices in Vermont within a few years. Giving children their best chance for a healthy and prosperous future starts with a family-centered approach like DULCE.For more information, contact Scott Johnson at sjohnson@lamoillefamilycenter.org, or Carol Lang-Godin at clang-godin@lamoillefamilycenter.org.


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.