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Sweet Dreams?

Sleep is just as important to child development as a healthy diet and exercise, although it is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of a child’s life.

As adults, most of us can mutter through on little sleep for a day or so before we get unbearably grumpy, but with kids, their bodies are growing and connecting neurons in the brain all the time. Sleep is absolutely critical for healthy development.

While they sleep their brains are processing and sorting everything they learned that day, and that’s not just the stuff they learned at school; their bodies are honing their fine motor skills and processing the social interactions of the day.

To make sure your child is getting the proper amount of quality sleep, here are some tips:

6 Simple Steps to Prevent Medication Errors

Our medical director for quality and patient safety, Mary Gregg, MD, MHA, blogged for the Washington State Medical Association about medication safety - what we as patients can do to help keep us safe:

Medications fight illnesses, prevent disease and help improve quality of life. But it’s important to take them safely and as directed.

Dr. Mary GreggAs a cardiac surgeon, I’ve seen the consequences of not taking medications properly. I once had a heart attack patient come to the hospital. After a successful surgery inserting a stent to prevent blockage in his artery, he was discharged with a prescription for a medication to prevent clots. For one reason or another, the patient didn’t fill his prescription as instructed for several days and he ended up in the ER for emergency heart surgery.

Some easy simple steps to prevent medication errors:

Medicine comes in many forms

It's a well known fact that animals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and promote healing. The Swedish/Edmonds Therapy Pups (STP) program, which began in early 2008, has expanded to include more than 10 teams of volunteer handlers and their Pet Partners®. Presently, the teams visit patients on surgery floors, but they can be stopped for a visit any time you see them in the halls. While their primary purpose is to see hospital patients, they often visit patients’ family and friends too – and our staff!

So what do handlers and their therapy pups do during a visit? I asked a few of our teams to share their stories. Also, make sure you watch the ‘dog cam’ below!

Are you ready for surgery?

I am a nurse practitioner and one of my jobs is to help patients through their surgical experience with us. Here are some of the things you should know before surgery:

Communication

Surgery can be a very stressful event, and thinking about it may cause some anxiety. The best way to prepare for surgery is through education. Make sure that you have talked to all of your doctors so that you are making an informed decision about surgery. We will collaborate with your primary care physician and your cardiologist, but we encourage you to communicate with your entire medical team as well.

Education

Learn about your surgery, what your hospital stay will be like, and what you can expect during recovery. The more relaxed and confident you are going into surgery, the better your chances of a successful and comfortable experience.

Diet

Emerging therapies in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is unique among neurological diseases in that there are currently eight treatments for this one condition that have received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Five of these drugs require subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, two are administered intravenously, and fingolimod, the newest agent on the block, is given orally. None are considered curative, but these disease-modifying therapies (DMT) have led to a reduction in relapse rates and the progression of disability.

Despite this progress, each of the drugs comes with side effects, including flu-like symptoms with the interferons, lipoatrophy with glatiramer, progressive multifocal leukodystrophy (PML) with natalizumab, and congestive heart failure or leukemia with mitoxantrone. As the first oral agent for MS, fingolimod created great expectations prior to FDA approval. Its popularity, however, has been surprisingly limited, presumably due to the potential for unknown long-term risks. The occur rence of PML with natalizumab demonstrated to MS neurologists and patients the potential risks associated with new drugs.

Additional DMTs in the pipeline may increase MS-management effectiveness in coming years, although safety will continue to be a major consideration in the use of these drugs. For instance, oral cladribine was on the verge of FDA approval in early March when the agency referred the drug back for more safety studies. This drug is already used in intravenous form for the management of hairy cell leukemia, but it is being studied for use with remitting relapsing MS because of its apoptotic effects on lymphocytes. If cladribine is ultimately approved for use, the risk of infection and neoplasms may limit its use.

Other oral agents being studied include:

Bring out your meds!

We teach our kids to say no to drugs, but did you teach them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug other than marijuana - more than cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine combined!

It’s not just your kids you need to worry about, from the baby crawling to the teenager who babysits for you, your own teenager and their friends, even the workmen in your house. If your medications are kept in the bathroom, it’s very easy for someone to access them behind the privacy of the closed door.

This weekend, take time to....

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