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Health News



New Rehab Services for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

May 24 - Penobscot Valley Hospital is pleased to announce that Occupational Therapist, Kristen Stanley, has obtained certification in the LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) Big Program. LSVT is a program specifically developed for patients with Parkinson’s disease to promote increased functional movement with exercise and balanced-based activity. The LSVT BIG program has documented improved function in people following this specialized treatment, which consists of four sessions per week for four weeks. Kristen is proud to offer this service to our community.

We encourage patients and caregivers to engage in discussions with your primary care provider regarding Parkinson’s Disease treatment. It is strongly recommended that patients with Parkinson’s or other Neuromuscular Disease receive therapy early after diagnosis, rather than waiting for symptom progression. However, it is never too late for patients to benefit. For more information on LSVT, visit

Occupational Therapists assist people of all ages to regain independence in meaningful activities through creative and therapeutic techniques. Specific OT services offered at PVH include:
· stroke rehabilitation
· hand therapy
· upper extremity strengthening
· adaptive equipment training
· pediatric rehabilitation
· splinting

Kristen Stanley, OTR/L graduated from Husson University with a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2012. She has experience treating multiple complex medical diagnosis in the inpatient skilled care unit promoting safe return home for patients. She has also provided treatments for various diagnosis in the outpatient setting. Kristen is an active member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Society of Hand Therapy and is certified through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and recently received certification in the LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Therapy) Big Program to treat patients with Parkinson's Disease. She is an active volunteer in the community, with recent projects including the Burlington 4-H club, Golden Key Senior Center, and will also be volunteering for House in the Woods in the near future.

Speak with your primary care provider to discuss how occupational therapy might be beneficial for you. Specific questions on OT or the LSVT program can be directed to the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center at 207-794-7228. 

Penobscot Valley Hospital Occupational Therapist Kristen Stanley, OTR/L, has recently received certification in the Lee Silverman Voice Training BIG program to help treat patients with Parkinson’s and other Neuromuscular Diseases.

Learn the Warning Signs of a Stroke

Public Encouraged to Learn Warning Signs, Prevention and Treatment Tips For May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month

May 9 - With more than 795,000 strokes occurring every year in the United States across the age spectrum, it is critical that all Americans adopt preventive lifestyle habits, know the warning signs, and understand the treatment options available to themselves and their loved ones should a stroke occur. May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month—a time for all of us to become more aware of the warnings signs of a stroke.

Although it’s more common in older adults, stroke can affect anyone. In fact, stroke is trending upward in younger Americans. A recent study showed that the rate of stroke increased by
· 147% in people ages 35–39,
· 101% in people ages 40–45,
· 68% in people ages 45–49, and
· 23% in people ages 50–54.

Lifestyle Modifications
Although not all strokes are preventable, certain lifestyle habits can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke. Factors that work in a person’s favor include maintaining a healthy diet and low cholesterol, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and refraining from smoking.

Early Action Is Vital
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 38% of respondents to one survey were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a stroke. Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of onset of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who receive delayed care, states the CDC—thus, recognizing the signs and taking quick action is key.

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, act FAST:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weaker?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
Time to act is now if you see any of these signs! Call 9-1-1 right away.

Treatment Transforms
Of the 750,000+ Americans who suffer strokes annually in the U.S., more than 130,000 die. For those who survive a stroke, quality of life is an important issue. In addition to regaining physical abilities such as the ability to walk, get dressed, and bathe independently, one’s capacity to communicate may also be severely damaged by a stroke.

“A person’s ability to communicate is the foundation of just about everything they do, and every interaction they have,” said Stacey White, Penobscot Valley Hospital’s Speech-Language Pathologist. “Beyond just having their basic needs met, the degree to which communication skills are restored affects stroke survivors’ social interactions and relationships, employment status and success, and overall satisfaction and participation in life. Seeking treatment from a speech-language pathologist can make a transformative difference in helping people enjoy a fulfilling life after stroke.”

One of the most common communication challenges that follow a stroke is aphasia, a disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand or produce language. About 25%–40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia. Other communication difficulties include slurred speech due to weak muscles and difficulty in programming muscles for speech. In addition to these challenges, speech-language pathologists help with cognitive challenges following a stroke—which may include memory and problem-solving skills—and swallowing problems that result from weakness and/or in coordination of muscles in the mouth and throat.

“During Better Hearing & Speech Month, we want stroke survivors and their loved ones to know that speech-language pathologists are here to help with swallowing, communication, and thinking abilities that may have been affected by stroke,” Stacey added.

To contact Stacey at the PVH Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, please call 794-7228.  

Tick bites can cause many diseases

Watch out for ticks when outside now that spring is here. CLICK HERE to read more about the diseases tick bites can cause.


Allergy Allert

Today's allergy levels for LINCOLN, ME:
9.13 - medium/high
Today's predominant pollens:




Tomorrow's allergy levels:
0.9 - low

Sharing Services to Improve Healthcare

Hospitals across the country are striving to reduce costs while maintaining high-quality care to meet the demands of their communities. For Penobscot Valley Hospital (PVH) and Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH), two critical access hospitals 35-miles apart, that means enhancing service offerings while achieving economies of scale through shared services.

“Over the years, we have shared many specialists with area facilities including orthopedics, otolaryngologists and urologists. Today, PVH and MRH share many key positions including a health information management director, registered dietitian, social worker and an orthopedic surgeon,” states Gary Poquette, FACHE, CEO at Penobscot Valley Hospital.

“Because of our small, rural status, these positions can be more efficient when shared. It may not be feasible for one hospital to employ all of the full-time specialists, but when we share these employees, we improve access to high-quality care in both of our communities,” adds Bob Peterson, CEO at Millinocket Regional Hospital.

Patients benefit from these shared services as it means less time traveling to and from healthcare appointments. Since so many people live in one community and travel for work in the other, it is nice to have options to provide care to them, from the same provider, in whichever location they prefer.

Another benefit from these joint agreements is the ability to offer more services to the community than each hospital could offer individually. Orthopedics are one example of a service that was added in the Lincoln community in 2016 and the service will be enhanced with additional days in the PVH Specialty Clinic and Operating Room in May 2017 as Millinocket Regional Hospital has recently hired a second orthopedic surgeon to meet the increased demand in the two communities.

In thinking globally as partners and not competitors, PVH and MRH are setting a great example of two hospitals working together to meet the healthcare needs of their communities.  


Partnering for a Sustainable Future in Healthcare

Penobscot Valley Hospital (PVH) and Health Access Network (HAN) are pleased to announce collaboration efforts through a $30,000 Maine Health Access Fund (MeHAF) planning grant. The focus of the grant work is to alleviate and avert the threatened loss of local services and access to care due to a significant downturn in the local economy. The group aims to strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole.

Members of the planning network include: Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs-Lincoln Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and the Save-a-Life Substance Abuse Committee.

The steering committee includes the organizations' CEOs, 2 board members, 4 senior leadership members, VA representatives and members from the participating committees. The goal of the project is to strategically research, review and develop evidence-based models of rural clinical, operational, and/or organizational integration to advance and strengthen the rural healthcare system in northern Maine.

MeHAF grant outcomes include:
1. Analyze different levels of integration
2. Develop viable models for an integrated rural delivery system
3. Improve coordination of care, including with our area veterans
4. Create transition plans to continue to address the community’s healthcare needs

“This grant work comes at a key time for Penobscot Valley Hospital,” states Penobscot Valley Hospital CEO Gary R. Poquette, FACHE. “To combat years of financial losses, our board, leadership and staff have been working for the last two years to redesign healthcare delivery in our community. While change can be difficult, it is necessary in these current economic times. Often times, it can bring about positive change as we have recently seen the addition of new services to meet the needs of our community in orthopedics, pediatric dentistry and gynecology.”

Three key strategies Penobscot Valley Hospital leadership have focused efforts on throughout 2016 include:
1. Revenue enhancement and expense reduction – PVH is working to analyze all services to ensure revenue exceeds cost. As demand changes, shifting from inpatient services to outpatient care, PVH is making those necessary adjustments to remain financially viable.
2. Explore viable models of Critical Access Hospital (PVH) and Federally Qualified Health Center (HAN) integration – site visits to three locations in Maine and Vermont have been made to gather integrative approaches including financial, legal and consultative advice.
3. Evaluate the feasibility of affiliation – the Board of Directors has been working to establish framework and guidelines if Penobscot Valley Hospital were to affiliate with a larger tertiary care hospital. Starting this month, representatives serving as ambassadors from PVH and HAN Boards, PVH and HAN medical staff and leadership will be visiting the three tertiary systems in Maine: MaineHealth in Portland, Central Maine Healthcare in Lewiston, and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems in Brewer. They plan to discuss how past partnerships have looked between tertiaries and Critical Access Hospitals, and what opportunities and improvements might arise for the Lincoln Lakes Region if PVH were to seek a healthcare partner down the road. 

“Health Access Network, Penobscot Valley Hospital and the VA share many of the same patients,” states Health Access Network CEO Bill Diggins, RN. “In February, I visited the Lincoln Town Council to discuss the financial struggles in healthcare. Add to that Lincoln’s struggling economic climate and changes at the state and federal levels for reimbursement, and it culminates with a need to assess opportunities for HAN and PVH to remain financially viable. Our mission states that we aim to make a real difference in the health of our community, and we cannot do that without combined efforts from our hospital, VA, and community members.”

While it will be a considerable task, Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and Save-a-Life committee members look forward to collaborating with the community throughout this grant process to redesign the delivery of healthcare to meet the needs of the Lincoln Lakes Region for years to come. 

Healthy Me – a free weight loss program

Penobscot Valley Hospital invites you to join us for our free weight loss program redesigned for 2017 called Healthy Me. This program is created by PVH physical therapists and registered dietitian to help you make lifestyle changes to reach your weight loss goals.

Healthy Me provides all the essentials to embrace healthy lifestyles including free use of the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center gym on Thursday evenings during class. The program provides education on heart rate monitoring, safe exercise options, meal planning and making healthy food choices.
· Reach your goals for weight loss in a supportive environment with guidance from licensed professionals
· Receive personalized support to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching programs into your daily routines
· Learn about personal energy needs & healthy food options

Participants in last year’s classes lost an average of 1lb per week over a 5-week session!

Healthy Me is open to those living within the Penobscot Valley Hospital service area who have a goal of weight loss. Classes will be held the second Thursday of each month at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center, 37 Main Street, Lincoln starting February 9 from 5:30-7:00pm. Participants should plan on attending each month. Call 794-7228 or visit today for more information on Healthy Me. 

Participants in the Penobscot Valley Hospital Healthy Me program will learn more about healthy lifestyles at this free weight loss program. Healthy Me is open to anyone interested in improving his/her health and begins on February 9 at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center on Main Street in Lincoln.


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