News From Grace Cottage

Chiropractor Doucette Joins Grace Cottage

| Featured, News

Chiropractor Michele Doucette now offers appointments at Grace Cottage on Tuesday mornings.

Dr. Doucette also practices chiropractic medicine at her office in Wilmington three days a week. By adding appointments in Townshend, her goal is to provide easier access for some people.

“I see patients from all over southern Vermont, and some of them travel quite far for the combination of services I offer. I’m happy for this opportunity to offer a new location to existing patients and to see new patients as well,” she said. “I really appreciate Grace Cottage for their openness to provide patients with alternatives in complementary medicine and integrative care.”

Dr. Doucette received her training at the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, earning her doctorate in 1989 with summa cum laude distinction. Her continuing education has included courses in nutrition, pediatrics, neurology, craniosacral therapy, and zero balancing, among others. She is also a Zero Balancing instructor and teaches classes to health care professionals internationally.

She has been certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Vermont Board of Chiropractic since 1989 and has maintained a private practice in Wilmington for over 27 years.

“We are very excited to offer this new service in the Grace Cottage Rehabilitation Center,” said Crystal Mansfield, Director of Rehabilitation, Community Wellness, and Community Initiatives. “This allows our patients a greater range of health care choices.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Doucette at Grace Cottage, call 802-365-3637.

Grace Cottage’s Louise McDevitt Publishes Book

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Grace Cottage Hospital Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Louise McDevitt is the author of a new book for clinical practitioners.

Orthopedic Physical Assessment, published by Fitzgerald Health Education Associates and co-authored by McDevitt and FNP Monica Tombasco, is a reference guide to help medical students and seasoned clinicians alike with orthopedic diagnosis and treatment.
The guide is a spiral-bound book in cue-card format, making it easy to find information quickly. It provides a comprehensive compendium, with diagrams, glossary, and references for further information.

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“Spring into Health” 5K is set for May 13th

| News

Enjoy a morning of good, healthy fun in the great outdoors at the 8th Annual Grace Cottage “Spring into Health” 5K this Mother’s Day Weekend, on Saturday, May 13th. The family-friendly 5K starts at 8:30 am on the Townshend Common. The race will be timed for competitors, but is open to all, whether you run, walk, roll, or stroll.  The course is 3.1 miles of mainly flat, paved road along Grafton Road (Route 35).

After the race, there will be awards, raffles, and general merriment. There is also a free Fun Run for kids 8 and under on the Common at 9:15. The event, held rain or shine, wraps up around 10:30.

Register online for an early bird rate of $12/adults, $5/kids at or by calling (802) 365-9109. Online registration closes at noon on Wednesday, May 10th. The first 100 to register will receive a free performance t-shirt. You can register at the race for $20/adults, $10/kids, but no guarantees on getting a t-shirt!

This event, sponsored by People’s United Bank, raises funds for our non-profit hospital. For more information,  see the event page or call (802) 365-9109.

Careers in Nursing

| Graceful Health
Lisa May

By Lisa May, RN, Grace Cottage Clinical Nurse Educator
as originally appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, February 10, 2017

Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare team, and this is a career with many opportunities, both in terms of jobs available, and of the many specialties within the field.

As the population ages, our need for nurses is growing, but surprisingly, enrollment in nursing schools is down. I want to encourage those considering this field by providing helpful information and by sharing some of my own story.

Career opportunities for nurses exist in hospitals, clinics, schools, long-term care facilities, and in community health. Emergency, trauma, cardiac, pediatrics, mental health, and oncology—these are just a few of the healthcare areas that need nurses. Additionally, there are over 60 special certifications for nurses, including wound care, forensics, infection control, informatics (data collection and reporting), management, and education.

Many people begin their healthcare careers as Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs). An LNA’s responsibilities include taking vital signs, obtaining specimens, and assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. LNA training varies by state, generally lasting several weeks to several months.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) complete a non-degreed 10-12-month program which combines both classroom and clinical training. LPN’s provide direct medical care like starting IVs and giving medications, working under the direction of Registered Nurses and/or Physicians.

Registered Nurses (RNs) plan, coordinate, oversee, and administer patient care. They offer advice, education and emotional support to patients and their families, and they instruct students and less experienced nurses, both in the classroom and at the bedside. The minimum education required for an RN is a two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). Some RNs complete a Bachelor’s of Nursing, preparing them for more supervisory roles.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, those with a Master’s degree, include Certified Nurse Anesthetists, Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. In Vermont, some Advanced Practice Nurses can diagnose and treat patients independently from an M.D. or D.O., depending on their level of education and experience.

As an RN, I’ve had experiences no other career could have provided. Most of my career has been in Emergency Nursing.

In the 1990’s I became a travel nurse. Travel nurses take short-time assignments in hospitals with temporary staffing needs. Most assignments are for three months. Traveling allowed me to experience Emergency Nursing in small rural hospitals as well as large inner-city trauma centers. I was able to see the country while still earning an income. In Charlotte, NC, I was part of a Special Events team that provided medical care to NASCAR teams and the Carolina Panthers.

Later, I took a break from ER nursing, choosing to work with an Organ Recovery and Transplant team in Charlotte. Calls in the middle of the night were welcomed because it usually meant there was a match for a patient on our transplant list. Flying out with the surgical team to assist with the preservation and recovery of organs was always exciting, knowing a life could be saved because of our efforts.

Eventually, where I chose to practice became a quality of life decision. I returned to the area where I was born and raised to be closer to family.

Grace Cottage Hospital is unlike any other hospital I’ve worked in. The care provided here is personal. My co-workers are like family. It is very rare for a CEO of any hospital to know every employee’s name. Roger Allbee, Grace Cottage’s CEO, addresses everyone by first name. Most mornings he stops at the nurses’ station to say hello and ask, “How are things going?” The community is supportive and loyal. It’s a very warm and caring environment.

As the Clinical Nurse Educator at Grace Cottage, I get to share my 28 years of nursing experience with less tenured nurses, guiding and improving their practice. This way, I get to encourage the next generation of nurses, while reinforcing and advancing the skills of those who’ve been in the field for a while.

Nursing is one of the fastest growing careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently 2,751,000 nursing positions in the United States. By the year 2024, it is estimated that number will rise to 3,190,300. Approximately 700,000 nurses are expected to retire over the next seven years.

Currently, supply is not meeting the demand. Therefore, healthcare facilities are getting creative in efforts to fill open positions. Large sign-on bonuses are offered, relocation fees are paid, and some hospitals have resorted to hiring nurses from other countries.

Grace Cottage Family Health and Hospital has recently added a student loan reimbursement program to its recruitment incentives. We are offering up to $5,000 a year for a maximum of 10 years for full-time nurses who are paying off loans directly related to their education. We are committed to assisting nurses with their loans in an effort to make sure that we have a strong staff in appropriate numbers. In this way, we can continue to promise the high quality, personalized care that Grace Cottage is known for.

Bio: Lisa May received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Castleton University in 1989, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina in 2009. She has been working in the Emergency Department at Grace Cottage since 2015 and recently transferred into the Clinical Nurse Educator role.

Annual Online Auction is ON Feb. 1 – 28

| News

Need a massage? A trip to Mexico or South Africa? An evening at the theater, or some new artwork for your walls?

From Wednesday, February 1, until Tuesday, February 28, 8:00 pm, you can bid on these items and many more through the Grace Cottage’s annual Cabin Fever Auction.

An awesome array of more than 70 items has been donated by generous businesses and individuals, with all proceeds benefitting the Grace Cottage Patient Care Fund.

There’s something for every taste and budget, including treasures you can’t buy anywhere else. Auction items range in value from $20 to $6,000, including gift certificates to favorite local restaurants, practical items like an oil change for your car, ski passes, rounds of golf, sailing, your name in Archer Mayor’s next book, and plenty more!

Bid low and get notified when someone outbids you, or “Buy Now” and make it yours today! Either way, you can feel good supporting this annual fund-raiser, which helps to provide free care to those lacking adequate resources. Check it out at

Fall Prevention Program Offered

| Featured, News

It’s true that advancing age increases one’s risk of falling, but falling does not have to be a normal part of aging. If you or someone you know has fallen or had an “almost” fall, then Grace Cottage’s Fall Prevention Program may be beneficial.

The Fall Prevention Program begins with an initial assessment to determine one’s risk factors, the issues that are most likely to lead to a fall. Licensed professionals, including a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a pharmacist, gather information about any previous falls, any changes in medication, and potential hazards in the home.

The assessment also involves taking a pertinent medical history, evaluating mobility, sensation, and cognitive ability, and conducting a series of simple movements to test balance, muscle strength, and gait. This initial assessment takes about 2 ½ hours, and if any needs are identified, a treatment plan will be developed.

Participants need a referral from a primary care provider or other physician. The risk assessment summary and any treatment plans that are developed will be sent to the referring provider so that he or she will be fully informed and involved. Most insurance carriers will cover fall risk assessments and fall prevention therapeutic visits.

To learn more about the Grace Cottage Fall Prevention Program, or to make an appointment, call 802-365-3637.

Secret Life of the Clinical Lab

| Graceful Health

By Erin Lamson, Grace Cottage Lab Technician as originally appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, December 2, 2016

Have you ever visited a lab for blood tests and wondered what happens to your specimen? If you have, you’re not alone. Lab testing happens behind closed doors for obvious safety reasons, leaving the clinical laboratory nearly invisible to the public eye. As a result, clinical lab professionals have one of the least understood roles in health care, even though a recent estimate suggests there are roughly 300,000 laboratory professionals in the United States.

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Grace Cottage adds safe room to its emergency department

| Featured, News

The Grace Cottage Hospital Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The staff sees approximately 3,000 patient visits each year. Mirroring statewide and national trends, at an increasing rate, patients with mental health or addiction issues seek help at the Emergency Department. These patients are at times a danger to themselves or to others.

For the safety of these patients, the hospital staff, and for the comfort of other hospital patients and visitors, Grace Cottage has constructed a designated ER Safe Room. Unlike the two existing emergency rooms which are fully-equipped with machines, medical equipment and supplies, this new room will be devoid of anything that a patient might use as a weapon against themselves or others. It also has features like shatterproof glass windows and electrical outlets that can be disabled.

This new room also allows nurses the ability to separate spouses/partners when there is a domestic altercation that has led a patient to the Emergency Department for treatment; and it can provide complete privacy for patients who need an extra level of security and comfort.

Located in Townshend, Grace Cottage is a non-profit critical access hospital which serves Windham County residents and visitors. Private donations allowed for the construction of this important addition to the hospital.

2017 Offers a Variety of Wellness Classes and Groups

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If you are one of the many who has pledged to take better care of yourself in the New Year, and you can get yourself to Townshend, then you are in luck. There are a variety of free to low-cost classes and programs available at the Grace Cottage Community Wellness Center. Perhaps there is one that is right for you or someone you care about.


Yoga: Tuesdays, 4:30-6:00. Fridays, 3:30 – 5:00. $5/class. A gentle yet invigorating class that focuses on breath work and poses. Prior to first class, call 365-3649.

Tai Chi for Fall Prevention: New Level 1 class starts January 10 and runs for 8 weeks. Tuesdays, 1:30 – 2:30. Free to qualified participants. A ‘sun-style’ class designed for seniors and those with physical limitations, focused on balance and avoiding debilitating falls. Pre-registration required by January 5: 365-3753.

Tai Chi/QiGong: New class starts Jan 5th. Thursdays, 3:30 – 5:00. $5/class. This class is intended to promote both balance and serenity with a degree of physical exertion. More info, call 365-3649.

Dance Meditation: Saturdays, 10:00 – 11:00. $5/class. 45 minutes of dancing to lively percussion followed by 15 minutes of meditation. Prior to first class, call 365-4201.

Strong Bones: Monday/Wednesday: 10:30-11:30 & 5-6. Tuesday/Thursday: 8:45-9:45 & 10:30-11:30. $3/class. A popular strength and balance class for older adults. Participants generally go 2x/week on a regular basis. Prior to first class, call 365-3649.


Men’s Coffee Hour: Wednesdays, 8:30-10:00. January 4 – February 22. Free. An 8-week series of casual lectures on topics such as the history of agriculture in Vermont, the West River Railroad, and Windham County forestry. Come to one or all. For more info: 365-3762.

Cancer Support Group: Mondays, 1:00 -2:30. January 2 – February 20. Free. A safe environment for sharing experiences and learning from others who are dealing with cancer diagnosis, treatment or recovery. Prior to first session, call 365-3715 x6.

Weight Loss Support Group: 2nd Tuesday of every month. 10:30-Noon. Free. A bit of education about a chosen topic of the day, followed by discussion, friendly advice and encouragement. Prior to first session, call 365-3715 x5.

Living Alone Support Group: 3rd Wednesday of every month. 10:15-11:45. Free. Informal, facilitated group focused on the challenges of living alone. Prior to first session, call 365-3753.

All classes and groups meet in the Grace Cottage Community Wellness Center at 133 Grafton Road, Townshend. More information is available at

Diabetes and the Holidays? Be Sure You Have a Plan

| Graceful Health

By Deborah Brown, Grace Cottage Diabetes Educator
as originally appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, December 2, 2016

It’s true that the holiday season presents extra challenges for diabetics and others with food restrictions, but it’s possible to enjoy the special foods you love and keep your sugar in balance, if you go into it with a plan.

Perhaps it was easier for some people in years past, when there were clear boundaries regarding “naughty” foods a diabetic shouldn’t eat. Now, healthy eating is all about making good choices. This is an important part of taking care of diabetes.

To make a healthy eating plan, choose from all of the food groups every day. This gives your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, and the variety helps to keep you from getting bored.

Use the “Plate Method” to determine portions. Mentally divide your plate into three sections. Half of your plate should contain non-starchy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions, or tomatoes, for example). One quarter of your plate should contain low-fat protein, and one-quarter should be carbohydrates (grains or starchy vegetables like bread, rice, potatoes, or whole-grain pasta). Using this visual as a guide can make it easier to develop a strategy. Then, if your food plan allows it, add one dairy or one fruit item on the side.

A few more guidelines can help. For example, don’t skip a meal, thinking you can save calories for the big meal. You want to keep your sugar as level as possible, and skipping a meal could make it dip dangerously. Also, you’re likely to be starving by the time you arrive at a party, which will make it very difficult to make good choices.

Once you arrive, head for the vegetables. These days, most parties include a veggie platter, and if you’re not sure that will be the case, you can take one with you. Or bring your favorite side dish to go with the meal. You can honor your hostess and have a safe, go-to food all at once.

Other than that, remember that any whole food is a better choice. Look for foods with whole grains, minimal processing, and the least amount of sauces.

And don’t be knocked off your diet by a well-meaning hostess or family member who encourages you to eat something that’s not right for you. You may feel forced to accept it, but just because it’s on your plate, that doesn’t mean you actually have to eat it. Carrying around a plate of food can serve as a deterrent.

During dinner, make your calories count so you don’t have to skip dessert. Pass on the rolls or sweet potatoes, and opt for a small piece of pie and skip the whipped cream. You can split a dessert with someone else. Then go take a walk. This will do wonders for your body!

No matter what foods are being served, three things can help your body digest foods at a healthier pace: drink lots of water, get some exercise each day, and keep monitoring your blood sugar so you can make appropriate adjustments. Water helps you to feel full, and it flushes out toxins.

If you drink alcohol, limit it to one drink for women and two for men. Sipping a glass of water alongside can make it last longer and help you to consume less. Avoid drinks that contain high-calorie mixers like soda or juice. And remember, alcohol can lower your blood sugar, so be careful if you take insulin or certain diabetes medications. Check with your medical provider for advice.

Some diabetics may choose to print out the “Healthy Holiday Eating Contract” (available from the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ website), sign and date it, and place it on the refrigerator, or carry it in a pocket or purse, as a reminder that they are going to take good care of themselves this season.

Of course, healthy eating is important all year round, but especially now, when temptation is common, these tips can help you stay true to yourself. It’s all about making good, healthy choices. The most important ingredient in your success is you!

Bio: Deborah Brown earned her LPN degree at the Thompson School of Nursing and her RN degree at Vermont Technical College. She has worked as a nurse at Grace Cottage and at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. She joined the Grace Cottage Community Health Team this year, first as RN Outreach Coordinator and later became one of the team’s Diabetes Educators.