December 2011
Blog

December 2011 posts

It's Snow Laughing Matter

Winter’s here and just a little more than a week away will be winter break for most of our kids. If we’re lucky enough we’ll get a chance to get out and play in the snow.

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or a good old-fashioned snowball fight sound like a family memory waiting to happen. Let’s make sure it’s happy memories we’re creating not a regretful ones.

Most parents these days grew up in the time where we didn’t wear helmets when riding bikes much less on the slopes, but what we know now about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) will make you think twice about sliding off the ski lift without one on.

It's always a season of caring

Talking about end of life is never easy and usually occurs when everything else has been tried. When making the shift from cure to comfort you want people who know how to make this part of life’s journey as supportive as possible. The compassionate care team at Swedish Hospice can help make the remaining time of a loved one’s life rich with dignity and compassion.

There can be a misperception that being on hospice means giving up. However, hospice care can actually improve the quality of life and perhaps even prolong the lives of some people receiving hospice care.

The care team works with doctors and hospitals, assesses care needs and coordinates insurance coverage – all in addition to addressing patient and family needs. They help the patient understand their illness and what care options might be available. The care team also makes the patient’s wishes a priority and assures they get the care they want and deserve.

Swedish provides services in pain management, symptom control, psycho-social support, home health aides for personal care, comfort therapies such as music and massage, volunteer support for caregivers and spiritual care to patients and families. All the necessary medicines and equipment needed to keep a patient comfortable can be brought right to the home, adult family home or skilled nursing facility.

What families say about hospice at Swedish:

“I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to witness your personal relationship with and interest in both of us.”

“I cannot thank you enough for the care and compassion you provided to my wife. Your staff brought her comfort and peace in the final days of her life.”

What people should know about hospice at Swedish:

 

Swedish Named a 2011 Top Hospital

Our medical director for quality and patient safety, Mary Gregg, MD, MHA, blogs about Swedish's Top Hospital Award:

Of all the awards Swedish has won over the years, the most meaningful is the Top Hospital Award given by the Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group. I am very proud to announce that Swedish has earned the award once again this year: The Leapfrog Group today named Swedish First Hill among the nation’s 2011 Top Hospitals.

Dr. Mary GreggThe reason this award is such an honor for us is that our physicians, nurses and other staff have been working tirelessly for years to develop a culture of safety and quality on behalf of our patients. This award validates their efforts because it is based on performance on key quality and safety metrics. Of 1,200 hospitals nationally, Swedish is one of only 65 in the country that are meeting these standards.

I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge our staff for their commitment to quality and safety and to thank them for everything they do for our patients on a daily basis. I also want to acknowledge our hospital in Ballard. Although that campus is not eligible for a Leapfrog designation because it doesn’t provide intensive care services, Swedish/Ballard also scored in the top 10 percent of all Leapfrog hospitals for the second year in a row.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. The annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. To learn more, read our news release or visit www.leapfroggroup.org.

The Leapfrog Group Names Swedish/First Hill Among Nation’s Top Hospitals for Second Straight Year

 

Reduce Your Holiday Stress

The holiday season generally puts increased demands on everyone. How do you have less stress and more fun during the holidays? Here are 8 ways to reduce your stress this holiday season.

1. Make the holidays about presence not presents. Avoid getting caught in the message that expensive gifts are a sign of love. Remember, your undivided attention and caring presence is your greatest gift to your loved ones. Create a memorable holiday by spending time with the people you care about. Never underestimate or diminish the lasting gift of your heart’s love.

2. Define what is important to you this holiday season. Unrealistic and high expectations promoted by advertisers can undermine the possibilities for happiness during the holidays. Your relationships, parties, dinners and gifts may never measure up to the perfection portrayed by the media. So, be realistic and make your holidays uniquely your own. Identify what you truly value during the holidays and create a celebration around what matters most to you. Avoid judging your holiday based on a magazine image.

3. Take care of yourself one day at a time. Drink plenty of water. Start a holiday tradition of walking with a friend or family member or participate in some other form of regular exercise. Deep breathe during your day and especially when you feel rushed or stressed. Listen to relaxing music. Avoid overdoing the sweets and alcohol. Keep healthy snacks, like fruit or nuts, nearby.

4. Rest in order to enjoy. If you are going shopping or attending holiday events that you know will tire you, make time for a nap or get to bed a little early. If you are doing added cooking and cleaning, remember to take extra time to rest and relax. If you are tired, you are not going to enjoy even pleasurable activities.

5. Pace yourself and delegate whenever possible. Make a conscious choice about the number of and which holiday activities you want to participate in. Trying to “do it all” can be exhausting. Be willing to say “no” and also share the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and added responsibilities with others whenever you can. Remember less can be more!

6. Norman Rockwell moments mostly happen in paintings...

Safe Passage

Traveling with children can be loads of fun but it also poses challenges that can test even the calmest of parents.

The safest way for your child to travel is in their car seat, even if they’re on a plane.

If there is a sudden change in trajectory, that 5-point harness will be able to hold onto the child better. We have a much better probability of surviving a crash (and less injury) if we stay where we’re seated. If we’re flinging around the inside of a car or plane, our chances of injury or death are increased.

Children are at a disadvantage because they’re lighter weight and have much more flexible cartilige than they do rigid bone because of all the growing that they have to do. That means that the 5-point harness that the car seats use hold in that little flexible body way better than just a 3-point seatbelt would. (A 3-point seatbelt is a standard lap-shoulder seatbelt), or a 2-point (lap belt) on a plane.

Let’s go back to the How do You Catch a Raw Egg demonstration.

State budget crisis may hurt community clinics that serve the poor and uninsured

Swedish was proud to host several community clinics and their patients this week at a vigil on our First Hill campus. The goal was to urge lawmakers, who are currently in Olympia and facing difficult decisions about the state’s budget crisis, to protect funding for community health clinics dedicated to serving uninsured and low-income individuals.

Individuals gather in support of community health clinics

More than 200 individuals gathered at the vigil.

Local clinics – such as Country Doctor, Health Point, International Community Health Services, Sea Mar, Seattle Indian Health Board and Neighbor Care – play a vital role in the health care safety net of our community.

And they are some of Swedish’s most important partners. Together, we work to provide access to health care for those in need regardless of income or insurance status.

In this economy, however, that has not been easy. We have seen a surge in uninsured and low-income patient populations. Swedish provided $112 million in charity care, Medicaid subsidies and other community benefits in 2010, double the amount from the previous year.

 

Dr-Perez-CHC-event.jpg
Dr. Julian Perez speaks at the vigil.


Meeting the needs of underserved populations is something no single organization can do alone. It requires partnership and collaboration. 

Our work with the community health clinics is an excellent example of that. The community clinics play an important role by providing front-line primary care in local community. Swedish supports their work by making our hospitals, diagnostic services, specialists and ERs accessible to their patients and providers.

While we understand the budget realities facing our state, we encourage you to learn more about this critical issue and we urge our lawmakers to seek creative solutions to these difficult problems.

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