Have Fun on the Slopes, Not Accidents

By Dr. Kimona Alin, Medical Director, Grace Cottage Emergency Department

I love skiing. Anyone who knows me, knows that’s true. There’s nothing I like better than putting on my skiis and helmet and heading down the slopes on a beautiful bluebird day.  

You do wear a helmet when you ski or snowboard, don’t you? As much as I love skiing, I also know it can be dangerous. I work in the Emergency Department at Grace Cottage Hospital, so I see what can happen. I’d like to share some information about the most common injuries and some tips for preventing them.

Let’s start with head injuries…

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Grace Cottage Provides a Safe Place for Victims of Sexual Assault

by Christine Morris, RN, Pediatric/Adult SANE and Lisa May, RN, Clinical Nurse Educator, Grace Cottage Hospital

Sexual assault has been much in the news lately, and it’s more common than most people realize.
On average, there are over 380,000 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. Over 60,000 of these attacks involve children under the age of 12. Also, it’s a common misconception that only women fall victim to sexual assault. According to the Department of Justice, 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.

These statistics are frightening. Even more concerning is that these numbers only reflect those that have the courage and support to seek help following an attack. Not knowing where to go, plus feelings of fear, guilt and shame, as well as the stigma associated with rape often prevent victims from receiving necessary medical attention and emotional support.

Grace Cottage Hospital has two registered nurses on staff who are specially trained by the Vermont Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program to provide confidential, compassionate care and emotional support for patients during an extremely traumatic, frightening time.

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Nurse Practitioners: Providing Personalized Care, Improving Accessibility

By Louise McDevitt, Nurse Practitioner, Grace Cottage Family Health   

National Nurse Practitioner Week, Nov. 12-18, is a good time to highlight the unique role that Nurse Practitioners have played in the evolution of today’s health care system, helping to focus the system on self-care and prevention as well as on treating disease. 

The education of a Nurse Practitioner starts with the same training that every Registered Nurse acquires. In fact, only those who have passed the RN certification and have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can apply for an Advanced Nurse Practitioner program. NPs must have at least a master’s degree, plus 500 hours of clinical training, before they can sit for NP certification. Many NPs have a doctorate, as well as advanced education and clinical training. Like physicians, they have yearly continuing education requirements in order to refresh and advance their skills.

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Need Basic Resources? I Can Help!

By Jane Wheeler, Grace Cottage Patient Resource Advocate

It’s getting cold out there. This is the time of year when people stockpile wood, fill their oil or propane tanks, and put extra food in their cupboards and cellars. With winter coming on, everyone has resource challenges that need to be addressed.

Winter also brings on health challenges, as colds and flu go around, and slippery conditions make accidents more likely.

Peace of mind comes with having needed resources in place, and peace of mind is important to your health.

Are you prepared for winter? If you have any questions about how you’ll meet your health and household needs this winter, if you live nearby or are a Grace Cottage patient, I want to talk to you. I work at Grace Cottage in Townshend as part of the Community Health Team, and my job is to help people get the resources they need to live healthy lives.

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Bone Density and the Silent Disease

By Emma Higley, Grace Cottage Diagnostic Imaging Manager

Has someone you love ever bumped themselves lightly or had a simple stumble that caused a bone fracture? If so, this may be an indication that they have a bone disease called Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is the most prevalent bone disease, one in which the bone mineral density and the stability of the bone are reduced, making the bone porous. Osteoporosis is commonly referred to as the “silent disease” because this process often occurs over time with few or no symptoms, and so the patient doesn’t know it is happening. The most common areas for a patient to acquire fractures due to Osteoporosis are the lower back, hip and wrist.

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How’s Your Healthcare Vocabulary?

By Claire Bemis, RN, Grace Cottage Care Coordinator

Have you ever heard your healthcare provider use a word you don’t understand? Most of us have. Like other specialized fields, medical professionals use a lot of jargon to communicate with each other. They all understand these words, and sometimes they forget these terms are not familiar to the general public.

How is your healthcare vocabulary? I get lots of questions about the following terms. See if you can define them yourself, and if not, look to the end of this column for the answers.

Advance Care Directive versus Living Will
Care Coordination
Contusion versus Abrasion
Critical Access Hospital
Hypertension
Mid-level provider
Patient-Centered Medical Home
Primary care
Swing Bed
Thrombosis
Ultrasound versus MRI versus CT Scan

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Creativity Offers Profound Benefits as We Age

By Caroline Chase, Grace Cottage Behavioral Health Specialist

Throughout my life, I remember hearing members of the “older generation” saying “aging is not for sissies.” As a child, this never “struck a chord,” probably because I had a hard time coming to the realization that someday I, too, would reach, what seemed at the time, the dreaded “older generation.” Yet, here I am now, heading into the final chapters of my life, much more aware of the rewards and liabilities of aging.

I am now able to observe, both in myself and in the elderly population with whom I work as a psychotherapist, the attributes and qualities that contribute to healthy aging. While aging can bring with it the emotional freedom of being able to sort out one’s priorities, and hopefully, learning not to “sweat the small stuff,” aging can also bring with it complex and painful emotions that are often not recognized by society.

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A Successful School Day Begins the Night Before

By Holly Meyer, Grace Cottage Family Health RN

The lazy days of summer are behind us, and it’s back-to-school time.

After a long summer break, setting our kids up for a successful school day can be quite a production. Just like any production, it is important to set the stage in order to achieve a great performance. I think we can all agree that a great school day starts with a great night before. Here are a few tips to help your child to be a class act at school.

Encourage physical activity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children who exercise regularly have better attention spans and less behavioral problems. Go outside with your kids in the afternoon before dinner. Go for a hike, take a bike ride, or play tag. Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity on school days, or 150 minutes per week, is all it takes!

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Thoughts for a Successful School Year

By Eileen Arama, Grace Cottage Family Health MSW, LICSW

In just a matter of days, school will be added to families’ daily plans: getting up and ready for it, doing homework after it, hopefully enjoying friendships and feeling proud of accomplishments.

Three concepts can guide families through a successful school year: Structure, Communication, and Positive Stress.

It’s been said many times: routine and structure help both children and adults to function at their best. And it’s true; people do manage well when they set regular times for waking up and sleeping, meals and brushing teeth, homework and play. Initiating and maintaining these healthy routines and habits can provide predictability and stability for all ages.

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HPV Vaccine: Cancer Prevention for Teens and Beyond

Elizabeth Linder

By Dr. Elizabeth Linder

You’ve heard of the following potentially deadly childhood diseases—whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, and tetanus—but we rarely see anyone suffering from these serious illnesses these days. Why? Because almost all children in the U.S. have been protected from them by getting the recommended vaccine.

If you are willing to protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, are you also willing to get them a vaccine that can prevent cancer?

The vaccine that I am referring to is the HPV vaccine, which is highly effective in preventing Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can lead to various cancers affecting reproductive and other vital organs in young women and men.

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