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'health' posts

Having a healthy road to pregnancy

If you’ve been thinking about getting pregnant, here are some steps to take before your pregnancy to ensure a healthy and successful journey to becoming a mom.

  1. Start taking prenatal vitamins at least a month before conceiving. The folic acid in these vitamins (usually between 400 and 800 micrograms) will help decrease risk of a neural tube defect, like spina bifida. The spinal cord forms and closes by four weeks gestation, before many women even know that they are pregnant, so it’s important to get on this early.

  2. Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight decreases your risk of complications of pregnancy like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Good control of chronic medical problems will also help a future pregnancy go much more smoothly.

  3. Consider  ...

A year of personal medicine as a physician

I’m fortunate enough to have lived most of my life with hardly a worry in the world when it came to personal health issues. However, this year changed my outlook. Firmly into the fourth decade of my life, it became necessary to schedule some basic preventative health care screens for the first time. This then led me down to what seemed like a never-ending path of scheduling and completing test after test, followed by even more appointments. As the year progressed, I also became involved in a serious health care issue affecting a very close family member which led to learning how to navigate the maze of international health care!

As 2014 finally rolls to an end, I reflect on some valuable lessons learned, having experienced medicine from the perspective of a consumer rather than a provider.

7 benefits of eating together as a family

Regular family meals are good for children and for the family as a whole! Here's why:

1. Eating together encourages family togetherness
  • Positive family mealtimes help family members maintain relationships and feel a sense of belonging
  • When children can count on regular time with a parent or adults, they feel loved, safe and secure
  • Children set roots for a lifetime as they experience their family’s values and traditions

2. Eating together fosters happy, well-adjusted kids
  • Kids can feel accepted by their family and may not need to seek approval from the wrong crowd
  • Adolescents are less likely to be depressed and generally have a better self- esteem
  • Adolescents are less likely to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, illegal drugs or alcohol

3. Eating together helps kids do better in school
  • Listening to grownups at the table exposes children to new works which helps them read better
  • Table talk gives youth a safe place to express their ideas. They ....

Eat well and maintain a healthy weight - new class series

Most of us have heard the term, “the obesity epidemic,” and we are affected by it each day. Some of us have had personal weight struggles or have watched a loved one struggle, and all of us have been affected by the food industry’s constant flood of conflicting nutrition and diet information.
 
This has left us:
  • Frustrated and confused with our bodies
  • Unclear about how to feed ourselves
  • Constantly dieting or giving up on losing weight entirely
  • Overweight, obese, and sick
  • Eating for emotional reasons rather than eating to fuel our bodies
  • Misunderstanding obesity
If we want to be healthy, we must understand the basic science behind nutrition, obesity, and metabolism, and we must connect with our own personal needs. With the proper education, we can navigate through the media’s information, stop dieting, find our healthy weight, and change our lifestyle habits in a sustainable way.

Swedish Community Education and Swedish Weight Loss Services have partnered and are now offering Healthy Weight Classes; a three-class series that teaches you the tools you need to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. The classes provide ...

How to eat more vegetables

Did you know half of your plate should be from vegetables? Here are some ways to get more vegetables into your family’s meals and snacks.
 
1. Experiment with a new vegetable each week or each month!

Check out your local farmers market or produce aisle for something new and seasonal. Search the web or your favorite cook book for ideas on preparation, and don’t be afraid! Find recipes with some of your other favorite flavors or styles and you may just find your new favorite vegetable.

2. Get sneaky

  • Pureed peppers, zucchini or carrots can be “snuck” into tomato sauces for pasta or pizza. Not even the pickiest eater will notice!
  • Cauliflower, carrots or sweet potato can be steamed and pureed into mashed potatoes or a casserole.
  • Have a ...

Living our legacy

I officially joined Swedish as chief executive in November 2013. One of the many things that drew me to Swedish was its powerful legacy of innovation, care quality, and its focus on serving every member of our communities, regardless of their ability to pay.
 
Today, this legacy lives on through our team of dedicated caregivers, our leadership and our community partners. We challenge ourselves to think beyond the status quo to find the best outcomes for our patients.
 
It is an incredibly exciting time here at Swedish. During a period of unprecedented changes in the health care industry, I am proud to tell you that Swedish is stronger now than ever. Just a few years ago, our institution was stabilizing following significant financial challenges. Today, we are strongly positioned to continue delivering high quality, accessible care to the communities of Western Washington.
 
One of our most effective strategies for improving the health and well-being of those we serve is our affiliation with Providence Health & Services. I continue to hear questions about how the affiliation benefits Swedish and I want to provide you with specific examples of how the affiliation has strengthened our ability to serve more people across our communities, regardless of their ability to pay.

Last year, we:

An innovative solution for the un (and under) insured

Health-care reform is a big, confusing, emotionally-charged topic. Now that 2014 is underway and the Affordable Care Act is beginning to take effect, many more Americans will have greater access to health insurance than they had before. It is estimated that 180,000 people in King County alone will become newly insured this year.

Still, there will be many people in our community – and throughout the country – who will continue to face barriers to accessing care. Some of them will be considered underinsured because they can’t afford to fill the gap in medical expenses not covered by their insurance. Others receiving Medicaid may find it difficult to locate a physician who is willing to take them on as a patient, as doctors are not required to see Medicaid patients, and many don’t. And then, there will probably always be those people who don’t have any insurance at all because, for one reason or another, they can’t sign up: the homeless, the chronically mentally ill, those who can’t read or write English, to name just a few.

Community clinics scattered throughout the nation, including several in our community, help address this problem on the primary care end. But access to specialty medical care for low-income patients facing barriers to care like the ones described above is likely to remain extremely difficult.

Fortunately, an innovative program pioneered at Swedish is addressing this effectively, and is likely to become a national model.

The Swedish Community Specialty Clinic (SCSC) was expanded and moved to the Swedish/First Hill campus in  ..

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