April 2011 posts
When you think of social media, what comes to mind? For many people, it might be keeping up with friends and family on Facebook or watching a viral video on YouTube. But have you ever thought of social media as a resource for your health?
For two years, Swedish has been exploring that very question. We’ve been testing the waters of social media to see how new modes of online communication can help us better serve our patients and the community.
So far, we like what we see and believe there’s great potential. Our physicians have used new tools, such as streaming video and online chats, to host virtual conversations about various health topics. We’re also learning that this is a whole new way to make our medical experts more accessible and approachable by creating forums where people can more easily tap into their knowledge and experience.
Can social media improve the health of the community? That's what many health-care organizations, including Swedish, are trying to find out. Recently, hospitals from across the country gathered in Seattle to discuss role of social media in health care.
The start of Spring doesn’t just mean we can now justify complaining about the weather (as I did, starting March 20th). It is the exciting start to a vibrant produce season! You may have received the hint from bundled asparagus spears taking over the produce displays at your local supermarket that the season has indeed changed. Aren’t you curious to know what else will be taking the place of those winter root vegetables on your plate?
Some of the produce you will be seeing this season includes rhubarb, chives, bamboo shoots, asparagus, Chinese vegetables, lettuce, radish, and spinach. Berries will be beginning to make an appearance by the end of the season.
Why eat seasonally?
If you are eating according to season, you are probably eating locally as well. Besides the obvious benefit to the environment, if your food isn’t traveling far, you will be saving money and will get a bigger nutritional bang for your buck. You will enjoy your produce at the peak of ripeness, so your taste buds will thank you as well.
What do I do with…?
Just like learning to name oranges, zebras, and fire trucks, our children need to learn how to name their emotions. They need to understand what emotions are and how to handle them.
When we dismiss our children’s emotions, what is this teaching them? It’s teaching them that their emotions don’t matter which in turn teaches them that they are not important. Emotion Coaching is when we take the time to listen to our children’s fears or frustrations and coach them along to identify the emotion and let them discover how best to handle the situation. It teaches our children that they’re important. We don’t necessarily want to solve their problems, but can guide them on how to find acceptable solutions.
Let’s try this example, your child is afraid of the dark, but as you’re tucking them in it’s discovered that the night light bulb has burned out.
SNI is leveraging communication tools that deliver information to patients, referring physicians and the public as a crucial part of providing care at the advancing edge of neurological knowledge. The goals of these tools are two-fold. One goal is to update established patients and their doctors regarding the latest developments in our programs and centers. The other is to lower the barrier for patients and physicians who are facing a new neurological problem to discover tertiary subspecialty care.
A new SNI communication tool
Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D., director of SNI research, and John Henson, M.D., recently launched the SNI blog to complement other communication efforts and to provide a communication outlet for the staff of SNI. The SNI blog offers brief notes about advances in neurological care provided in SNI’s centers, as well as news items about the institute that are of interest to our patients and referring physicians.
Blog content is more dynamic than Web content. Search engines are able to detect targeted key words within each entry, which helps direct highly relevant Web traffic to the blog. This aids in the dissemination of information to patients and physicians. Viewers also can subscribe to an e-mail notification system that will alert them to newly posted material.
Other SNI communication tools
Effective verbal communication depends not only on what we say, but also on how we sound. Our voice is what connects us and defines us as human beings.
World Voice Day (tomorrow, April 16) recognizes the value and significance of vocal health in everyday life. Between three and 10 percent of people in the United States experience voice problems of some kind.
To keep you speaking clearly, the Voice and Swallowing Disorders Center at Swedish recommends following these tips:
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages cause increased urination. This loss of fluids dries out the voice. Alcohol also irritates the mucous membranes that line the throat.
Don't smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. Cancer of the vocal folds is seen most often in individuals who smoke.
Avoid eating spicy foods. Spicy foods can cause stomach acid to move into the throat or esophagus.
Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods contain vitamins A, E and C. They also help keep the mucus membranes that line the throat healthy.
Did you know that all babies cry? Some will cry more than others, but parents and caregivers need to have a plan for what to do if the crying becomes too frustrating. On April 19th, Swedish is implementing a new program called The Period of PURPLE Crying to teach families about a normal, developmental phase of increased crying that all babies go through.
“Purple” in The Period of PURPLE Crying stands for: