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Before we know it, the winter flu season will be here. There are many things we can do to prepare ourselves for what is coming. For the respiratory flu, there is a vaccine (flu shot) which can be administered at your primary care physician’s office or the local pharmacies.

For the norovirus (stomach bug), there is no such vaccine. The federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis per year are due to norovirus. Becoming informed about the virus is the best means of preventing the spread of the virus.

Here are the facts from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention that you need to know:

WHAT IS NOROVIRUS: It is a highly contagious group of viruses that causes vomiting and diarrhea in people.

WHO GETS SICK: Anyone can become sick. Severity of symptoms depends on the person’s general health. The very young and the elderly are apt to be more severely affected.

HOW DO PEOPLE BECOME SICK: The virus is found in the stool and vomit of the sick people. You can become ill with the virus in several ways: by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus; by touching surfaces or objects contaminated and then placing their hands in their mouth; or by having close contact with another person who is sick. Examples of close contact are, sharing food or utensils, being present while someone is throwing up, drinking liquids from the same cup or bottle, shaking hands.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Illness comes on suddenly and may last one to two days. Children tend to have more vomiting than adults.

WHEN DO SYMPTOMS APPEAR: Symptoms usually start about 24 to 48 hours after swallowing the virus, but can appear as early as 10 hours after exposure to the virus.

HOW LONG CAN VIRUS BE PASSED ON TO OTHERS: Sick persons can spread the virus from the moment they begin feeling sick and for at least three days after the illness ends and sometimes up to two weeks after feeling better.

HOW SERIOUS IS THE ILLNESS: Most people recover in one to two days. Sometimes people are unable to drink enough fluids lost due to vomiting and diarrhea. These people may need medical attention. Symptoms of dehydration include dark colored urine, decrease in urine, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually fussy or sleepy. Dehydration symptoms are usually only seen among the very young, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems.

HOW CAN ILLNESS BE PREVENTED: You can decrease your chances of illness by washing your hands with soap and water and dry hands with a disposable towel after toilet visits, after changing diapers, before eating or preparing foods, after touching animals. Carefully wash fruits and vegetables. Cook oysters thoroughly. Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach based household cleaner. Immediately wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated using hot soapy water and dry at the highest temperature possible.

IF YOU BECOME ILL WITH NOROVIRUS: Stay home to avoid spreading the norovirus to friends and coworkers. Do not prepare foods for others while you have symptoms and for three days after you recover.

Diligent hand washing cannot be stressed enough to prevent the spread of throughout the year. Let us do all we can to stay healthy during this coming winter/fluseason.  

Free Community Walk and Monthly Fitness Challenge in October

October 7- October is National Physical Therapy Month! The Physical Therapy Team at Penobscot Valley Hospital invites the greater Lincoln Lakes Region to join them in celebrating physical therapy. Our team’s goal is to improve health in our community. Physical therapists are licensed health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages to help reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. Throughout the month of October, PTs will be celebrating the health and wellness efforts of our community by participating in a community wide call to promote walking in our area.

There is strong evidence that physical activity has substantial health benefits. People living with conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease can lessen the severity and prevent progression of their disease by increasing physical activity. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends all adults engage in 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Children and adolescents should do one hour or more of physical activity daily.

Walking is a great way to start and maintain an active lifestyle – it requires no special equipment and has a lower risk of injury than vigorous-intensity activities such as running. Walking is something that is multipurpose, it can be done for transportation, such as to get to work or school, as well as a way to socialize such as with friends or a dog, and even be incorporated into busy work days through walking meetings or at break times.

We are offering two great ways to celebrate P.T. Month this October. First, the physical therapists at PVH will be offering free pedometers during the month of October (while supplies last). You can stop into the PVH Wellness Center at 37 Main Street in Lincoln to pick up your pedometer anytime during the month of October. We will also have available tracking sheets so that you can track you steps each day during the month of October. The goal for a healthy lifestyle is 10,000 steps per day but any goal that increases your steps from you baseline is a great way to start. Use your pedometer to track your steps in a typical day and see if you can increase that by 10% each week. You may be surprised at the results! Tracking sheets can be turned into the P.T. department throughout the month and we will tally those steps to see how far we can go together as a community. The average person covers a mile for every 2,000 steps!

Second, we will hold a community-wide walk to celebrate our progress and goals. The walk will leave from the PVH Wellness Center at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 14. The rehab team will be on hand and participants will be guided through a stretching session by our physical therapists. The team will then accompany walkers on their choice of route depending on their chosen level of difficulty. One shorter route over even terrain or a second longer route covering some areas of uneven ground will be presented as options. Our therapy team will share information on footwear for walking (Ever wondered what different types of shoes are for - pronators, supinators? We’ll answer those questions!) and discuss injury prevention. Register at

So please join us, start walking your way to a healthier lifestyle, tracking your steps, meet our therapy team, and get outside with your neighbors and enjoy a walk this October as we at Penobscot Valley Hospital celebrate National Physical Therapy Month! Visit our new Facebook page at for more advice, tracking sheets for the 10,000 step challenge, or to register for the walk.  

PVH 5th Annual Fall Fundraiser

September 22 - Plans are under way for the 5th annual fall Penobscot Valley Hospital fundraising event which will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln. This year, PVH and the Auxiliary are hosting a mystery dinner theater performed by Mystery for Hire and a catered meal by Chef Herman and students of Region III. There will be live music by professional classical ensemble North Country String Duo. The event will conclude with amazing raffles and a silent auction.
Last year's fundraising event was a huge success, netting nearly $8,000 for aesthetic improvements to the inpatient rooms at PVH. All the proceeds from this year’s event will go toward the purchase of new equipment that will save lives and increase patient comfort and safety. Specific equipment includes a LifePak 15 Defibrillator in the Emergency Department for $35,000 and an adjustable patient table at Penobscot Valley Primary Care for $7,500.

We are currently accepting sponsorships from area businesses to help us reach our fundraising goal. Visit for more information on how to be part of this fundraising event.

Tickets are on sale now. Members of the Auxiliary will be selling tickets in the lobby of Lincoln Maine Federal Credit Union this Friday, September 25. Additionally, tickets can be purchased at Penobscot Valley Hospital in the Patient Registration desks by the Laboratory and the Central Scheduling desk by the Cafeteria. You may also purchase tickets online at - BE SURE to write fundraiser tickets in the comment field - then we will mail your tickets to you. Tickets are $30 each which includes your admission, entertainment and dinner. Guests are encouraged to bring cash for some amazing raffles and silent auction items.

Please consider joining Penobscot Valley Hospital and the Auxiliary for a great evening out on November 7! 

Actors from the group Mystery for Hire will be back to entertain the crowd at Penobscot Valley Hospital’s fundraising event, “Marriage is a Mystery” Dinner Theater and Silent Auction on Saturday, November 7 at Mattanawcook Academy. Tickets are now on sale any time at PVH or on Friday in the lobby of Lincoln Maine Federal Credit Union.

Art Exhibit

Head on over to NICE NEWS for a story about an art exhibit held at Penobscot Valley Hospital!

Heidi Huntington nominated for MHA Caregiver of the Year

Heidi Huntington, RN, CEN, at Penobscot Valley Hospital, has been nominated for the 2015 Maine Hospital Association Caregiver of the Year Award. This is a very prestigious nomination that recognized less than 15 caregivers across the State of Maine.
This award honors a caregiver from a Maine Hospital Association member institution, who, on a daily basis, demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the delivery of care to patients and their families.

The 2015 winner is Clayton Bell, MD, a third-year resident in the Rural Track Residency Program at Rumford Hospital. The winner was announced at the Maine Hospital Association’s Summer Forum on Wednesday, June 17 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Each hospital CEO was allowed only one nominee, so being nominated truly is an honor, said MHA President Steven Michaud.

“All of the nominees demonstrated the superior quality of care given at Maine hospitals,” Michaud said. “It was a challenge to select just one award winner from the nominees.”

Michaud and a committee of past MHA chairs led by Immediate Past Chair Michelle Hood, president Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, selected the award recipient.

Huntington was nominated by senior leadership at Penobscot Valley Hospital as she provides compassionate, professional and timely care to each patient she encounters. She is instrumental in the day to day operations of the PVH Emergency Department and is a leader amongst her peers. Physicians, patients, and community agencies we work with hold her in high regard as a kind, knowledgeable member of the nursing profession.

“Heidi Huntington is well regarded by physicians and her peers in nursing. She serves as a mentor to new nurses and has grown to be a professional team leader within her department,” states PVH chief nursing officer Monica Vanadestine.

“Heidi is a dedicated nurse who strives for self improvement while delivering the highest level of care making her a valuable member of our team. She is routinely found rounding in the department and uses down time to focus on quality care initiatives. She shows extraordinary compassion and respect for her patients and their families. Heidi is a strong advocate for teamwork and collaboration throughout all disciplines. She is a forward thinker and is able to predict not only patient care needs but also those of the organization,” adds Vanadestine.

Earlier this year, Huntington was also presented with a Shining Star award at the PVH Employee Recognition Dinner in recognition for the excellent care she provides in the emergency department. 

Auxiliary donates to Good Samaritan Agency

by Jan Davis, PVH Auxiliary President

June 1 - Penobscot Valley Hospital Auxiliary members donated many infant supplies and handmade goods to the Good Samaritan Agency in Bangor on May 21. The Auxiliary would like to thank the many area crafters who gave of their time and talents to support this program over the years. (Left to right) Debbie Giguere (executive director of Good Samaritan Agency), Jan Davis (PVH Auxiliary president), Savannah Flag (student), Bethany Wood (student), Kylie Plummer (student), Florence Alessi (PVH Auxiliary member and baby bag program chair).

PVH welcomes new surgeon

May 18 - Penobscot Valley Hospital welcomed David Rideout, MD, FACS to Penobscot General Surgery on May 15. Dr. Rideout is a leader in minimally invasive surgery and has a special interest in cancer prevention, screening and treatment. He also has expertise in surgical program development, establishment of protocols, compliance and education.

Dr. Rideout has over 20 years of experience in general surgery and holds an extensive list of training, internships and residencies, including: a surgical internship at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario; general surgery residency at Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, NS, Canada; fellowship in general thoracic surgery at Ottawa Heart Institute in Ottawa, Canada; and a second fellowship in general thoracic surgery at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, England.

“With the unexpected departure of general surgeon Samer Sbayi, MD, PVH quickly put together a recruitment committee and developed an extensive practice profile detailing specific background and experience requirements needed from a recruit,” explains PVH chief executive officer Gary Poquette, FACHE. “Dr. Rideout met the precise needs of our profile and now brings a wealth of experience to Penobscot General Surgery. Partnered with general surgeon Glenn Deyo, MD, Penobscot General Surgery is now the most experienced general surgery practice north of Bangor.”

Dr. Rideout grew up in Fort Fairfield and most recently has resided in Greenville. He is a Registered Maine Guide and his hobbies include fly fishing, travel, flying (private pilot with instrument rating), volunteer pilot for Northern Wings, cooking, carpentry, snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, SCUBA, camping, and is a black belt in Karate. Ask your primary care provider for a referral to Dr. Rideout for your general surgical needs. Visit for more information.  

National Nursing Week at PVH

by Monica Vanadestine, Chief Nursing Officer

May 5 — We all know that nursing professionals have the responsibility of being altruistic. This means that we have the ethical obligation to serve others without self-interest. The nurse that is altruistic will make decisions that are in the best interest of the patient. By doing so, they are being a true patient advocate and are practicing good nursing ethics.

The theme for National Nursing Week 2015 is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” which runs from May 6-12. In celebration of National Nurses’ Day on May 6, we will be providing breakfast and lunch for the dedicated nursing staff at PVH.

A nurses’ primary commitment is to the patient. Each day, the nurses at Penobscot Valley Hospital advocate for their patients. They practice with compassion and respect. Our nurses at PVH are dedicated to promoting health and safety, preserving integrity, and collaborating with other professions in order to provide quality care to all of our patients.

Nurses continue to score in the top five most trusted professions, for many reasons including:

· Nurses are leading efforts on three top quality priorities: patient safety, care coordination and patient/family engagement.
Up to 20 percent of Medicare patients are re-admitted to hospitals, often because of inadequate care coordination. Medicare now is paying for certain care coordination services, recognizing that the quality of transitional care provided by RNs is crucial to reducing re-admissions.
· Nurses provide education, guidance and resources to individuals and/or families managing chronic conditions or an illness. RNs help them understand discharge and care plans, medication regimens, appointment follow-ups, referrals and equipment needs.

· Nurses are working on national health care quality panels to incorporate nursing performance measures for specific federal public reporting and performance-based payment (i.e., accountability) programs.

At PVH, several nurses were recognized for their efforts at the May 1 PVH Employee Recognition Dinner. Those receiving awards included:
- Lisa White, RN – Customer Service Quality Award
o Peers nominated Lisa for this award as she has been instrumental in developing Quality Improvement initiatives in her department, especially in decreasing the incidence of patient falls by 50% over the last three years.
- Karen Marquis, CNA – Customer Service Quality Award
o Staff recognized Karen as a strong supporter of our no-lift culture. She provides safe patient handling education during orientation and serves as a resource to all clinical staff.
- Bryan Pelkey, RN – Rookie of the Year
o PVH recognized Bryan early during his rotations as having the potential to be a strong, compassionate nurse and we did not hesitate to hire him.
- Mandy Blessard, RN – Shining Star
o Staff nominated Mandy for always coming to work with a positive attitude and providing quality care to her patients.
- Heidi Huntington, RN – Shining Star
o PVH is proud to have Heidi in our emergency department, serving as a mentor to peers and leading the area’s quality improvement efforts. She possesses clinical and leadership skills that are well regarded by physicians, managers and co-workers. Additionally, PVH has nominated Heidi for the Maine Hospital Association’s Caregiver of the Year Award.
- Patrick Stanley, RN – Shining Star
o Peers recognize Patrick as always being in a good mood and instantly improving morale through his positive attitude and entertaining jokes. He always puts his patients first whether it is holding the hand of a terminally ill patient or putting a watchful eye on someone needing extra attention.

All PVH registered nurses, certified nursing aids and surgical technicians will be recognized on National Nursing Day, May 6, with a special breakfast and lunch celebration. Join us in thanking all of our nurses for the dedicated patient care they provide day in and day out. 

PVH Nursing staff were recognized earlier this year for their efforts in quality improvement to enhance patient safety and reduce falls. (L to R) Kathy Laird, Olivia Perez Zamora, Morgan Russell, Lisa White, (back) Jessica McDonald, Monica Vanadestine, Karen Marquis, and Andrea Munson.

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