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Living with stroke - resources and support

If your life has been touched by stroke, one of the greatest resources you can connect with is your local stroke support group. 

There are many benefits of joining a stroke support group, including the opportunity to:

  • Socialize in a relaxed environment – feeling connected to a community is incredibly important after a stroke.  Isolation can be a significant contributor to depression and deteriorating condition.
  • Share your stories, setbacks, and achievements – the connections you establish within a stroke support group are great resources for encouragement and advice.  These relationships are also important in challenging you to push forward, continuing to work towards complete recovery.
  • Learn something new – education provided at stroke support group events can be priceless!  There is an incredible amount of information regarding navigating life after stroke and this is a wonderful venue to hear information and ask questions.  Common topics of discussion include:

BRCA Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

In today’s New York Times, actress and director Angelina Jolie bravely and openly discusses her experience with BRCA genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer:

The 37 year old Ms. Jolie – who has not had cancer – underwent genetic testing because of her family history of cancer. She was found to carry a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which puts her at significant risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Ms. Jolie, the mother of 3 adopted and 3 biological children, elected to undergo a risk-reducing double mastectomy, and plans to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed soon to lower her risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Ms. Jolie’s story opens a public conversation about the importance of genetic testing in helping to reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. This very personal decision about mastectomy by someone widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the movies also helps women recognize that their body image and sexuality does not have to be defined by their breasts. Not every woman will make the decision to have major surgery, but genetic test results can also make sure that your breast cancer screening is appropriate for your level of risk; women who carry a BRCA gene mutation need ...

iPad Loan Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute

Going through cancer treatment as a patient, family member or caregiver can take a lot of personal time. And we know that being in a hospital environment on a day-to-day basis can be exhausting. Here at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI), we aim to provide resources and access to services to help your mind, body and spirit heal.

One way we do this is through using innovative programs that help connect patients and family members to resources within the community. Recently, SCI has launched a new iPad Loan Program that puts interactive and educational resources right at your fingertips.

You can use the iPads while waiting in the lobby or even during treatment to:

Supporting the March for Babies

Dr. Packia Raj and I helped with the March of Dimes Walk (March for Babies) on Saturday, May 4th at the Seattle Center.



The March for Babies is the longest-running and most widely recognized walking event in the nation with 2013 marking its 75th anniversary. This fundraiser incorporated thousands of volunteers participating in a fun-filled day of walking to raise money in support of lifesaving research and programs to make sure every baby gets a chance for a healthy start in life... 

Employment Matters: New Workshop Series for Multiple Sclerosis

What do I tell my boss? Will I have to quit? How will I afford my future?

A multiple sclerosis diagnosis can come with a lot of uncertainty and questions about the future. But it does not have to be career-ending. Learning about your employment options and planning ahead can help you make informed decisions about your career.

Beginning May 8, 2013, the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute will offer free workshops to help people navigate their employment options. Employment Matters is a monthly series  designed to prepare people with the knowledge to confidently approach challenges, build a career plan and strengthen their employment options.

Shaheen Virani, CRC, leads the Employment Matters workshops. Shaheen is a rehabilitation counselor who specializes in helping people with MS make plans and decisions to support their individual employment needs--whether it is to continue working, make a career change or apply for disability.

Here are a few Employment Matters topics coming up this spring (or click here for the full 2013 schedule):

Staying productive in the workplace with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

"But you're so young!" is a reaction a many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may hear when they talk about their diagnosis. There is a common misconception that MS is diagnosed older or appear much more disabled. However, most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, smack in the prime of her or his life and career.

MS symptoms may affect a person's ability to work and participate in an educational program more or less depending on the course of their disease. Many people wonder if they can keep working or they quit because of their MS limitations, causing financial stress.

There is a place in the workplace for people with MS and there are options to support you. Shaheen Virani is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor at the MS Center at Swedish. A vocational counselor can help people living with MS navigate their employment options, whether it is to continue working, make a career change or apply for disability.

Vocational services at the MS Center are free and can often be coordinated with other appointments on the same day. A counselor can support people with MS in many ways, including:

Nurses: At the Core of the Patient Care Team

Nurses are at the core of the patient care team. Whether a patient is diagnosed with cancer, admitted to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute or delivering a healthy baby, they receive care from a team of highly-skilled and dedicated nurses.

Many of us take it for granted that our nurses will be skilled, competent and caring. But how do new nursing school graduates learn how to be effective caregivers?

Swedish’s senior nursing leadership created Swedish's innovative Registered Nurse (RN) Residency Program in 2010, after doing extensive research on nationwide best practices for effectively transitioning academically trained RNs with bachelor's degrees to a commitment to careers in the stressful and demanding environments that nurses face in critical care settings.

The goal of the program is to address at Swedish the serious problems posed by a looming national shortage of experienced and skilled hospital critical care nurses. An important strategy for accomplishing this goal lies in reducing the troublingly high percentage of newly hired RNs who drop out of the profession during the first year or two after they are hired.

The inaugural Destination Swedish luncheon event on Feb. 11 generated nearly $500,000 for the program, which has been carefully designed to promote a culture of peer support and shared learning between new RNs who go through an intensive 12- to 24-week residency program together.

The following is an interview with Susan Jones, clinical educator in the program.

What is a nurse residency and why it is important?

Susan: Nursing school...

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