Tag - Vermont Department of Health

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The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use
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When Is 13 Not a Lucky Number?
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WIC & Gluten-Free Living
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Care Coordination at Copley Hospital
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What Is a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby?
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3-4-50 Vermont
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Are You Prepared?
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The Global Big Latch On — Saturday August 5th, 2017
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Help Me Grow
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The Wellness Garden at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice

The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use

By: Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

Perhaps you’ve heard about the impact of trauma on long-term health. In Vermont and here in Lamoille Valley there is a lot of attention being paid to the set of childhood experiences that are directly linked to challenges later in life. These experiences, called Adverse Childhood Experiences (see the list below), or ACEs, are traumatic events that, if untreated, can have significant negative effects. The most common of these ACEs in Vermont are: divorce/separation, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and extreme economic insecurity.

What may surprise you is the link between these ACEs and tobacco use. The chart below shows the number of ACEs and their relationship to early smoking onset, adult smoking rates, and the lung disease known as COPD. Here are some important statistics about those connections.

  • If you experience more than three ACEs you are more likely to use tobacco.
  • 88% of Vermont smokers started before age 18.
  • In Vermont, forty percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 who have experienced more than three ACEs are using tobacco. That’s more than twice the number of users in that age range who have fewer than three ACEs.
  • Those individuals with four or more ACEs are 3x more likely to start smoking before age 18.

According to the Vermont Department of Health website, tobacco use is the NUMBER ONE preventable cause of death. In Vermont, smoking costs approximately $348 million in medical expenses and results in about 1,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

 

According to their own internal documents, tobacco companies try to attract new young smokers by targeting retail stores near schools and parks. (http://www.counterbalancevt.com)

 

According to the 2015 Youth Behavior Risk Survey, almost one-quarter of high school students in Lamoille County have reported using three different types of tobacco products:  27% tried electronic vapor products, 23% tried a flavored tobacco product, and 22% smoked a whole cigarette, with 11% of students reporting that they smoked within the past 30 days.

If we want to reduce the use of tobacco and improve health outcomes in our region we must do something to reduce exposure to those ACEs, or do more to help young people heal from the impact of those experiences before they start using tobacco. The annual focus on urging smokers to quit is called The Great American Smokeout, and it occurred last week on November 16th. Maybe some of you participated in this event, and remain tobacco free!

The community has an important role to play in reducing the likelihood our young people will choose to smoke. The links between smoking rates and adverse childhood experiences tell us that solutions lie in community-level efforts that support children, youth, and families. Research shows that the kind of help that makes a difference includes community-level activities that:

  • Make sure all children are socially and emotionally supported, and
  • Assure each family has two or more people who can offer concrete support in times of need.

As you may have heard, Healthy Lamoille Valley (HLV), our community prevention coalition, has regained tobacco prevention funding and is charged with addressing prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth, eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, and increasing tobacco-free policies in towns, public places, workplaces, and college campuses. If you want to get connected to our local efforts, including our reestablished HLV Tobacco Prevention Task Force, contact the HLV Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator, Alison Link at alison@healthylamoillevalley.org. Check out the website at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/tobacco.

 

*ACEs include: mental illness, depression, or person with suicidal intentions in the home; drug addiction or alcoholic family member; parental discord – indicated by divorce, separation, abandonment; incarceration of any family member; witnessing domestic violence against the mother; child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional); child neglect (physical, emotional).


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.

When Is 13 Not a Lucky Number?

By: Wendy Hubbard RN, BSN, Vermont Department of Health

Many of us have heard the saying “Lucky Number 13.” When is 13 not a lucky number? Thirteen is no longer a lucky number when it is associated with the increased rates of 13 cancers. These cancers have been associated with being overweight or obese. The “Cancer and Obesity” report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 3rd can be found on their website.

The CDC infographic discusses what communities are doing to encourage their neighbors to increase their physical activity and get healthy foods into their daily meal plan. I would like us to take a moment and look at the resources in the Lamoille Valley. There are many activities going on and simple, no cost ways we can encourage each other to have improved health.

Families, for example, can get out and walk or bike on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.Find a walking buddy to encourage each other and get out there and enjoy the fall air.

Local schools encourage breakfast and offer healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch. There are summer meal programs for children in many areas. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program offers food benefits, nutrition education, recipes and breastfeeding supports to families that meet the eligibility requirements. You can call 888-7447 for more information on WIC services.

The 3-4-50 website has Vermont specific data along with tips and strategies to reduce obesity.

The 3 represents the 3 behaviors that are the leading causes of cancer:

  1. Tobacco use
  2. Poor diet
  3. Lack of physical exercise and obesity

These 3 behaviors contribute to 4 chronic diseases:

  1. Cancer
  2. Heart disease & stroke
  3. Type 2 diabetes
  4. Lung disease

These behaviors and chronic diseases are the cause of more than 50% of deaths in Vermont.

WIC & Gluten-Free Living

By: Nancy Segreto, BS, Nutritionist, Vermont Department of Health, Morrisville

WIC in Morrisville office recently offered a class on Gluten-Free Living in partnership with the Morrisville Co-op. WIC  provides nutrition education as well as healthcare referrals and supplemental foods for income-eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five. WIC offers wellness classes and activities that are often open to the public, free of charge.

The class focused on simplifying the process of planning, shopping and cooking gluten-free, as well as sharing basic facts that could clear up common misconceptions. Participants played a ‘Fact or Fiction’ sorting game, sampled delicious healthy gluten-free foods and went home with mini binders filled with tips, recipes, planners and a free gluten-free cookbook for busy people on a budget.

What’s all the craze about eating gluten-free?

Why are so many people choosing to be gluten-free? Are gluten-free foods healthy? Is there a roadmap for navigating the myriad of gluten-free foods on the market? What is the difference between food allergies, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity? How do we sort gluten-free fact from fiction?

Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye. It is also used as a filler to improve texture and is found in many processed foods. People who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or with non-celiac gluten sensitivity must follow a gluten-free diet. Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a gluten-free diet. Fortunately, a gluten-free diet will improve symptoms, according to a 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association (now Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) article.

How do you plan a gluten-free meal?

MyPlate is the latest USDA nutrition guide, a pie chart (plate) depicting a place setting divided into five food groups:  

  • 50% vegetables and fruits (mostly vegetables)
  • 20% protein
  • 30% whole grains, with additional healthy fats and dairy. 

To become gluten-free only the whole grains section needs to be adjusted, choosing grains such as quinoa, rice, millet, teff, and gluten-free oats instead of wheat, barley, and rye. WIC offers brown rice, corn tortillas, and gluten-free breakfast cereals as alternatives to whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and breakfast cereals made with gluten.

 

Traditional Diet Whole Grains Gluten Free Whole Grains
Wheat, barley, rye
Rice, quinoa, millet, teff, oats, corn Rice, quinoa, millet, teff, GF oats, corn
Baked goods- all (use sparingly) Baked goods with GF flour only (use sparingly)

 

Myths and Misconceptions

Avoid the gluten-free processed food traps! That chocolate cupcake is not good for you. Gluten-free processed baked goods usually have more sugars, carbohydrates, and additives than their wheat counterparts. These items should be used sparingly as a treat or when everyone else is eating the pizza or party cake, and the gluten intolerant person wants to join in.

If you suspect you have celiac or NCGS, experts recommend being screened by a healthcare provider. If you try a gluten-free diet, stick with whole foods and grains and use baked goods sparingly. The Celiac Foundation website has a wealth of resources. You can also check out the Morrisville Department of Health Facebook page for upcoming scheduled classes and events.

Care Coordination at Copley Hospital

By: Leah Hollenberger

Social Determinants of Health

The Social Determinants of Health (Image via American Public Health Association)

 

Many words have been written about care coordination and addressing the social determinants of health as a way to reduce healthcare costs. But what does that really look like?

Healthy People 2020 defines social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and age that affect their health.” They include factors such as education, the safety of our homes and neighborhoods, financial security, the cleanliness of our water and air, access to good nutritional food, etc.

Care coordination is a collaboration between providers, social services and the patient themselves. It often sounds simpler than it actually is. Let’s be clear: one meeting doesn’t lead to change. Thoughtful, consistent care coordination involving the patient and all members of their care team is needed over the long term to help someone become healthier. That care team can include local health care providers, substance abuse counselors, mental health counselors, RN case managers, social workers and a variety of other case managers from across local agencies.

So how does it work? Let me share a few examples. (Note: We have changed names to protect privacy.)

The Right Care in the Right Place at the Right Time
Copley recently treated Joe in our ED and, due to the severity of his illness and the resources required to manage his care, transferred him a tertiary hospital. His health improved but he still needed weeks of inpatient skilled nursing and complex care coordination to ensure once he was home, he had a secure social support network to assist him. Joe wanted to be cared for at Copley as it was closer to home and easier for his family to participate in his care. The tertiary hospital was reaching capacity, and, coupled with the need for local care coordination and Joe’s preference, contacted Copley. There was no question that Copley could provide the medical care, but we weren’t sure if we would be able to meet his other needs to ensure a smooth transition. After three weeks of collaborative teamwork with nurses, providers, pharmacists, care managers, social workers, Chaplaincy, nurse leaders, and the patient himself, a plan was developed to address both Joe’s social and clinical issues so he could be admitted to Copley and provided with the appropriate continuation of care. Joe was able to receive the inpatient skilled nursing care and complex care coordination he needed in a more affordable setting, closer to home.

Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department (ED) Visits
John is a middle-aged man who has come to Copley Hospital’s Emergency Department nearly 40 times in the past two years.  In addition to his alcoholism, John struggles with mental health issues and has a long cardiac health history. He is considered a “super-utilizer” of medical services. Copley has a full-time social worker in our ED as part of an Emergency Department Care Coordination pilot with Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley. The social worker assesses the patient’s needs 1:1 either at the bedside or through a follow-up call. Copley’s social worker was able to connect with John 1:1 in the ED earlier this year.

Copley’s social worker subsequently met with John each time he presented to the emergency department and followed up each visit with a phone call to review discharge plans and follow-up appointments. With John’s permission, she kept each of his various providers informed after each visit. After several visits, John met with Copley’s ED social worker and his primary care RN care coordinator to talk about his goals and what he thought he needed to be successful. Two weeks later, he decided he was ready for treatment and came to the Emergency Department for help. Copley’s ED team, inpatient medical social worker, and ED social worker all worked throughout the day to help get him admitted into an appropriate facility for inpatient alcohol treatment.

The ED social worker continued to check in with the inpatient facility and advocate for John. He was able to remain in the program for a longer period of time and she coordinated transportation with Rural Community Transportation (RCT) in advance for his follow-care plan appointments. Forty-eight hours after discharge, John met with his primary care RN care coordinator to review his discharge plan and ensure he had what he needed to be successful. Copley’s ED social worker continued to contact John and his providers regularly, confirming he had attended appointments with his substance abuse counselor, psychiatrist, primary care provider, specialist appointments, and RN care coordinator. This plan was followed for four weeks, at which point, John’s ongoing case management was transferred to his primary care RN case coordinator.

The outcome? John has maintained his commitment to make healthier choices. The shared care plan continues, with the goal of eliminating future costs of avoidable visits to the ED, by keeping John and patients like him, feeling engaged, motivated, and supported to make healthy choices.

Reducing Costs
Copley Hospital recently participated in an initiative to reduce the percentage of ED visits of 29 identified “super-utilizers” by implementing a shared care plan. The 29 “super-utilizers” accounted for 4% of the total ED visits in the initial 90-day time period; they accounted for only 1% in the second 90-day time period. A potential $144,300 was saved by this decrease in ED visits. This collaborative initiative involved Blueprint for Health Medical Homes (Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley, Northern Counties Health Care, Family Practice Associates in Cambridge and other primary care practices), Vermont Chronic Care Initiative with the Vermont Department of Health, and other local health agencies along with Copley Hospital.

These are just three examples of care coordination at Copley. We plan to continue the ED Care Coordination pilot, with Copley helping to fund the social worker position in the ED. However, we know this will not be enough to meet the need.  We continue to strive to provide excellent patient care for needed services and invest in programs to help reduce the rising cost of health care. Copley will continue to advocate for and contribute to shared care plans to connect patients with needed health services and social determinants support, collaborating with existing organizations and resources, to help patients make healthy choices.


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.

What Is a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby?

By: Valerie Valcour

 

According to the CDC, in 2016 there were 4.5 infant deaths in Vermont. (CDC, 2017) This is the number of infant deaths (before age one year) per 1,000 live births.

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) would like to help families not to have this experience. VDH has a web page where you will find 10 tips for making a Safe Sleep Environment for your baby.

VDH is having a discussion group about infant safe sleep. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts with JSI Research and Training Institute (JSI). JSI will be developing a well-researched infant safe sleep education campaign for our Vermont families, professionals and community organizations.

Please join us for a 1.5-hour conversation and snacks! 
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Copley Hospital, Stephen’s Conference Room. To thank you for your time, each person will be provided with $50 in cash. Please let us know if you plan on attending. For more information, contact Lauren at 603-573-3352, lauren_smith@jsi.com.

 

References

CDC, National Vital Statistics System Retrieved from https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/2015-annual-report/measure/IMR/state/VT

PHOTOS BY: Aurimas Mikalauskas/CC BY-SA 2.0, Alick Sung/ CC BY 2.0, Sami Nurmi/ CC BY-NC 2.0, Sharon Mollerus/ CC BY 2.0, Derek Alfonso/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Kate Williams/CC BY 2.0


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. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

3-4-50 Vermont

By: Valerie Valcour

Have you heard about 3-4-50 yet? If you haven’t, you will. 3-4-50 represents 3 behaviors (tobacco use, lack of physical activity and poor diet) that can lead to 4 chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and lung disease) that can lead to more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont.

The good news about the 3-4-50 message is that good health is contagious and the Vermont Department of Health is spreading this good news along with tips and recognition for positive behaviors.

On the 3-4-50 website, we show how communities can support bike paths, sidewalks, smoke-free public spaces, farmers markets and community gardens. Employers can make it easier for employees to take physical activity breaks, support tobacco cessation efforts and add healthy options in vending machines. Schools and child-care centers can provide drinking water all day and activity breaks throughout each day. Your organization can complete a “Sign-On” form and be recognized for your efforts to make your environment healthy.

Over the next few months, I hope to see several schools, businesses and communities get recognized for their efforts because when the environment around us supports positive behavior, it’s easier for all of us to make healthy choices.


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. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

Are You Prepared?

By: Valerie Valcour

September is National Emergency Preparedness month. Now is a good time to dust off or create that emergency plan and checklist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers four weeks of activities to help you be prepared.

Week 1: READY… Build a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Many emergencies happen without warning, so it is important that you take steps ahead of time to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. One important way you can prepare is by having a kit ready in case you do not have access to food, water, or electricity for several days after a disaster. In addition to building a kit, talk to your loved ones to develop an emergency plan with the steps you all will take in different types of emergencies and how you will contact one another. Finally, stay informed to make sure you get the information you need when an emergency happens.

Week 2: STEADY…Review your plans and update your kit.

Preparing does not stop after you have your kit ready and your emergency plan in place. In a real emergency, you may become overwhelmed or confused, so it is important to practice your emergency plan. Review the plans and hold practice drills with your whole family. Review and replace the contents of your emergency kit every six months. Be sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries and add any personal items that are unique to your needs.

Week 3: SHOW… Inspire others to prepare.

Research shows that talking about preparedness increases the likelihood of others taking steps to get prepared. Talk to your family and friends about the important steps they can take to be prepared. Be a preparedness role model – volunteer in your community, take a first aid and CPR class, or share a photo of your emergency kit or share a selfie  of you and your family at your emergency meeting place.

Week 4: GO! Take immediate action to save lives.

It is vital that people take not only immediate but also the appropriate protective action when an emergency happens. Local officials will ask you to shelter in place (take shelter in a basement or windowless interior room) in some situations and to evacuate your home, workplace or community in response in others. Know when to go (or stay), where to go, how to get there and what to do BEFORE an emergency. The most important thing is to take immediate and decisive action.


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. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

The Global Big Latch On — Saturday August 5th, 2017

We’re on the map! During International World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7 (this week!) the Lamoille Family Center and the Vermont Department of Health are partnering to host the 2017 Global Big Latch On. During this event, women and their children will gather together to breastfeed and offer peer-to-peer support. Friends, family, and community members are encouraged to join in this celebration to show their support for breastfeeding.

This free event will be held on Saturday, August 5th from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Lamoille Family Center (480 Cady’s Falls Road, Morrisville, VT). Light refreshments and prizes will be provided. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to 888-5229 ext. 141.

The Global Big Latch On events aim to protect, promote and support breastfeeding families by:

  • Providing support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raising awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Helping communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Making breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increasing support for women who breastfeed.

The Big Latch On has grown from two countries participating in 2010 to 28 countries participating in 2016. There could be over 18,000 participating breastfeeding women and children this year!

Please consider attending this community event. If you have questions, you can reach out to Carol Lang-Godin at the Lamoille Family Center 888-5229 x141. We hope to see you there!

Help Me Grow

By: Steve Ames

Here in the Lamoille Valley Region, we’ve been excited to assist with the rollout of the Help Me Grow call center and other components of the Help Me Grow project. Together with my council, the Maternal Child Health Team, and other partners, we’ve been spreading the word about the availability of anonymous early childhood support from the Vermont Department of Health.

Help Me Grow is a new part of the Vermont Department of Health’s effort to ensure all children in Vermont are screened for developmental delays and to ensure that all kids and young families have the resources they need to grow and thrive. It’s part of the State’s 2-1-1 information center.

Vermont 2-1-1 is the number to dial to find out about hundreds of important community resources, like emergency food and shelter, disability services, counseling, senior services, health care, child care, drug and alcohol programs, legal assistance, transportation agencies, educational and volunteer opportunities, and now early childhood development. It’s free and confidential for all callers to use.

There are many kids and families who would benefit from support, but who slip through the cracks. They don’t get the help that could benefit them during early childhood – when support is most effective.

Help Me Grow proactively addresses a family’s concerns about their child’s behavior and development by providing an early childhood specialist at the other end of an anonymous phone line (2-1-1 extension 6) and making connections when needed to existing community-based services and high quality parent education resources. For example, a young family looking for child care, a playgroup, or advice on how to handle a rambunctious two year old will find help and solutions with a call. By strengthening connections and providing resources for families in this way, Help Me Grow supports caregivers to promote their child’s social and emotional well-being.

When parents, caregivers or child care providers work with children, a screening tool helps kids learn and adapt very early in their lives, allowing them to develop appropriately and get the help they need, when they need it, early on.

The Help Me Grow project has added a Developmental Screening section to the State’s Immunization Registry so that a child’s physician can see results of a screen and review it without re-screening if the screen was conducted by a child care provider or educator. It’s a great example of making the system of supports more efficient and less duplicative.

Additionally, Help Me Grow now has two Child Development specialists at the 2-1-1 call center that can help anyone with child-related questions. Parents and caregivers can call 2-1-1 x6 anytime and get answers to challenging questions about their kids.

I’ve been psyched to help the Department of Health spread the word about Help Me Grow, and to help develop the website and various tools to measure how effective the 2-1-1 line is. In addition, at our Regional Council meetings, we’ve been sharing call center data to track the development of any gaps in the systems of support for kids and young families.

A team from the Vermont Department of Health and Building Bright Futures was fortunate to be able to attend the Help Me Grow National Conference as well, where we learned about successful aspects of implementation by regions and States from every corner of the Country.

One of the key components of Help Me Grow around the country and here in Vermont is the ability of the team to share anonymous call data with partners and others. For us in the Lamoille Valley, this data sharing allows the Regional Council to get a better sense of what young families are struggling with. We get quarterly reports from Help Me Grow about what areas of concerns folks are calling in about. That allows us to identify gaps in support and work with partners to address those gaps.

Each of these types of activities strengthens kids and families, and the fabric of support that we have all built for our neighbors and fellow citizens. It’s a wonderful time to be a kid in Vermont!


As the Regional Coordinator for Building Bright Futures, Steve staffs The Lamoille Valley Building Bright Futures Regional Council, a volunteer committee focused on the well being of young children and their families. There is one such Council in each of twelve regions of the State. Steve also works with the Playroom in Morrisville. He writes about early childhood, families, community, play, and equity.

The Wellness Garden at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice

By: Mary L. Collins

It’s no secret that wellness among those who provide care to others can often suffer from neglect. While it may be benign neglect, the fact is, nurses, LNAs, PCAs, homemakers, therapists and others in the direct care field can often place themselves last on the list of health and wellness.

The American Nurses Association defines a healthy caregiver as:

“one who actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal and professional wellbeing. A healthy caregiver lives life to the fullest capacity, across the wellness/illness continuum, as they become stronger role models, advocates, and educators, personally, for their families, their communities and work environments, and ultimately for their patients.”

So, how do our caregivers manage their own needs?

By choosing nutritious foods and an active lifestyle, managing stress, living tobacco-free, getting preventive immunizations and screenings, and choosing protective measures such as wearing sunscreen and bicycle helmets, health care professionals and providers can set an example of how to be, themselves, healthy.

Lamoille Home Health & Hospice is dedicated to supporting its staff’s wellness by encouraging physical activity. Office staff are often seen walking the few miles each day around the health care campus on Washington Hwy that includes Copley Hospital, The Manor nursing home and short term rehabilitation facility, Copley Terrace, Morrisville Family Practice, and LHH&H’s offices. Staff can easily complete a two mile walk just by circling the campus. Many have invested in Fitbits to track their steps and activity. Most have dropped a few pounds in the process.

It is not only a physical benefit; the mental health benefits are also noted. According to Director of Nursing, Jennifer Beebe, “Nurses and caregivers are fully dedicated to their work, so much so, that we sometimes neglect our own health and wellness as we care for others. Lamoille Home Health is dedicated to providing the tools and resources our staff needs in order to stay physically and mentally healthy. It’s essential that we do in order to be examples to ourselves and to our patients.”


LHH&H has also received a grant from the Vermont Department of Health to launch our first Wellness Garden to benefit staff and families. If you agree with the adage, “Your body is your temple,” it starts with what we ingest, or don’t. LHH&H sees the wellness garden as a collective benefit and example for its staff and volunteers. All are invited to participate in the maintenance and harvest.

How does the wellness garden work?

Four years ago, the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Community Garden Network, Gardener’s Supply Company, and Master Gardener, Charlie Nardozzi, started working together to create a way for small employers (under 100 people) to initiate a garden at their worksite. From that, the Green Thumbs at Work Program was born. Through it, cash grants are awarded to companies and nonprofit organizations through a competitive application process. The grants must be matched by the employer. Grantees also receive a gift certificate from Gardener’s Supply Company and technical assistance from the Vermont Community Garden Network and Nardozzi. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont provided more grant money to expand the program. To date, 26 employers in the state have started Green Thumbs at Work gardens. Eight more organizations were chosen to launch gardens in 2017. LHH&H is among those eight.

The LHH&H Garden will benefit staff, volunteers, and our clients. The support of the grant and donations from local organizations and businesses including the HA Manosh Corp., many community volunteers, and staff, including PCA, Peggy Sprague, who is donating ALL the starter plants from her own extensive home gardens, will help LHH&H to complete the garden and encourage good health habits among our employees.  A bimonthly newsletter will be shared among staff, volunteers and patients and will include gardening tips, healthy recipes, and the benefits of eating certain vegetables and herbs.

The LHH&H Wellness Garden will provide much needed physical activity as well as the bounty of fresh produce harvested throughout the growing season. For more information, contact, Mary L. Collins, Marketing Director, Lamoille Home Health & Hospice at (802) 888-4651 or, email her at mcollins@lhha.org


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.