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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 www.pvhme.org/surgery 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.

Gym open to the public

Years ago, Rachael Keller was referred to the PVH Independent Gym program by her physician, Dr. Carl Alessi. Rachael has enjoyed the gym experience so much that she has returned three days a week for 13 years and claims, “This gym has kept me going!”

In the past, the gym program was only open to people who had a medical referral from their doctor, but now PVH is pleased to announce that the Community Fitness Center has opened to the public! The facility is located at the Penobscot Valley Hospital Rehabilitation & Wellness Center on 37 Main Street in Lincoln.

The Community Fitness Center is an air-conditioned, well-maintained space where participants can feel safely monitored throughout their exercise program. This is a welcoming, easy-going gym experience available for teenagers and adults. The Community Fitness Center is a place to become healthy and happy.
a. Equipment includes:
· Full spectrum of cardio exercise equipment
· Universal free weight machines
· Free weights
· Stability and therapy balls
· Space dedicated for floor stretches and core strengthening
· Showers and changing rooms
b. Availability:
· Full access to all areas Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 4-8pm, currently closed Thursday evenings. During this time, you may access the PT Gym and can utilize special machines that target trouble spots that are often only available during physical therapy sessions.
· Fitness Room available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7am-8pm and Thursdays 7am to 5:30pm. Cardio, core and weight equipment are available in this room.
The most important benefit of the Community Fitness Center is staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There is no better way to spend $25 a month than on your own health.
Long time gym member Diane Edes states, “I enjoy the social interaction and have access to a variety of exercise equipment here.”

Keller adds, “It’s a wonderful place to have in our community. It is a very well run facility where you can improve your health and socialize at the same time.”
The public is invited to a free open house on Thursday, April 16 from 4-6pm with light refreshments, giveaways and tours at the Community Fitness Center. Staff can be reached at (207) 794-7228 or view the website for more information at www.pvhme.org/gym

Rachael Keller demonstrates the use of parallel bars to assist with squats and Diane Edes performs a lumbar alternating arm and leg lift on an exercise ball at the PVH Community Fitness Center. The space is now open to the public for gym

memberships.

C. difficile infects many in U.S.

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) caused almost half a million infections among patients in the United States in a single year, according to a study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Approximately 29,000 patients died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis of C. difficile. Of those, about 15,000 deaths were estimated to be directly attributable to C. difficile infections, making C. difficile a very important cause of infectious disease death in the United States. More than 80 percent of the deaths associated with C. difficile occurred among Americans aged 65 years or older. C. difficile causes an inflammation of the colon and deadly diarrhea.

Previous studies indicate that C. difficile has become the most common microbial cause of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals and costs up to $4.8 billion each year in excess health care costs for acute care facilities alone. The new study found that 1 out of every 5 patients with a healthcare-associated C. difficile infection experienced a recurrence of the infection and 1 out of every 9 patients aged 65 or older with a healthcare-associated C. difficile infection died within 30 days of diagnosis.

“C. difficile infections cause immense suffering and death for thousands of Americans each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “These infections can be prevented by improving antibiotic prescribing and by improving infection control in the health care system. CDC hopes to ramp up prevention of this deadly infection by supporting State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs in all 50 states.”

Patients at Highest Risk

Patients who take antibiotics are most at risk for developing C. difficile infections. More than half of all hospitalized patients will get an antibiotic at some point during their hospital stay, but studies have shown that 30 percent to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are unnecessary or incorrect. When a person takes broad-spectrum antibiotics, beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the human gut and protect against infection can be suppressed for several weeks to months. During this time, patients can get sick from C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread person to person. Unnecessary antibiotic use and poor infection control may increase the spread of C. difficile within a facility and from facility to facility when infected patients transfer, such as from a hospital to a nursing home.

Older Americans are especially vulnerable to this deadly diarrheal infection. The CDC study released today found that 1 out of every 3 C. difficile infections occurs in patients 65 years or older and 2 out of every 3 healthcare-associated C. difficile infections occur in patients 65 years or older. More than 100,000 C. difficile infections develop among residents of U.S. nursing homes each year. Women and Caucasian people are at increased risk of C. difficile infection.

Approximately two-thirds of the C. difficile infections were found to be associated with an inpatient stay in a health care facility, but only 24 percent of the total cases occurred among patients while they were hospitalized. Almost as many cases occurred in nursing homes as in hospitals, and the remainder of the healthcare-associated cases occurred among patients who were recently discharged from a health care facility.

Improving Antibiotic Use Critical for Preventing C. difficile

Although more than 150,000 of the half a million infections in the new study were community-associated and thus had no documented inpatient health care exposure, a separate recent CDC study found that 82 percent of patients with community-associated C. difficile infections reported exposure to outpatient health care settings such as doctor’s or dentist’s offices in the 12 weeks before their diagnosis; this finding underscores the need for improved antibiotic use and infection control in these settings as well. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily in outpatient settings for upper respiratory infections like cough and cold illness, most of which are caused by viruses.

Another recent CDC study showed that a 30 percent decrease in the use of antibiotics linked to C. difficile infections in hospitals could reduce the deadly infections by more than 25 percent in hospitalized and recently discharged patients. A new retrospective study from a Canadian hospital found that a 10 percent decrease in overall antibiotic use across different wards was associated with a 34 percent decrease in C. difficile infections. A third CDC study among patients without a recent hospitalization or nursing home stay (i.e., community-associated cases) found that a 10 percent reduction in the use of all antibiotics in outpatient settings could reduce C. difficile infections by 16 percent. In England in recent years, the number of C. difficile infections has been reduced by well over 60 percent, largely due to improvements in antibiotic prescribing.

To help hospitals develop antibiotic prescribing improvement programs (also called “antibiotic stewardship” programs), CDC has developed several tools, including a list of Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs and an accompanying checklist. CDC is also working with states to improve outpatient prescribing and implement stewardship across the continuum of care and has provided a variety of resources through the Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work and Get Smart for Healthcare campaigns.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed a toolkit to help hospitals implement antibiotic stewardship programs to reduce C. difficile infections. This toolkit was created as part of AHRQ’s Healthcare-Associated Infections Program, which conducts research and implementation projects to prevent HAIs. Preventing all forms of HAIs contributes to reducing C. difficile infections by reducing the need for antibiotic use.

“AHRQ’s HAI Program funds projects that generate new scientific knowledge and, like the work on C. difficile, make this knowledge practical and approachable so clinicians on the front lines of care can prevent infections and make care safer for their patients,” said AHRQ Director Richard Kronick, Ph.D.

Preventing C. difficile Is a National Priority

Based on the National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination, new 2020 national reduction targets are being established for C. difficile, and all hospitals participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program have been reporting C. difficile infection data to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network since 2013. Those baseline data will allow continued surveillance for C. difficile infections to monitor progress in prevention.

“CMS invests in structured learning and improvement opportunities for hospitals and communities through Quality Improvement Organizations,” said CMS Acting Principal Deputy Director Patrick Conway, M.D. “The Quality Innovation Networks systematically support clinicians in the sharing of best practices in antibiotic stewardship and prevention of C. difficile.”

The State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs that would be supported by the funding proposed in CDC’s FY 16 budget would work with health care facilities in all 50 states to detect and prevent both C. difficile infections and antibiotic-resistant organisms. The FY 16 budget would also accelerate efforts to improve antibiotic stewardship in inpatient and outpatient settings. During the next five years, CDC’s efforts to combat C. difficile infections and antibiotic resistance under the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria will enhance national capabilities for antibiotic stewardship, outbreak surveillance, and antibiotic resistance prevention. These efforts hold the potential to cut the incidence of C. difficile infections in half.

Note: The data reported are from 2011 and represent the largest, longitudinal, U.S. population-based surveillance for C. difficile infection to date, including laboratory-based surveillance across diverse U.S. geographic locations. 

Lee Academy students learn chemistry first hand (2)

On Thursday, March 19, eight students from Lee Academy visited Penobscot Valley Hospital to tour the laboratory and emergency rooms. During their field trip, students discussed healthcare in their home countries of China, Serbia, Taiwan, and Vietnam and how their healthcare systems compare to the United States. They were very impressed with all of the specialties provided here and how quickly services can be obtained.
 
In the PVH Laboratory, medical technologist Luann McPhail demonstrated blood draws and the different tubes used for various tests. The group continued from the phlebotomy room into the Lab with medical technologist Nicole Piche where she explained the inside workings of the Dimension analyzer which tests liver and kidney functions, thyroid levels and lipids. Students saw the equipment in action and watched different chemicals and reagents combine to perform blood testing.
 
Fourth year Lee Academy student Cookie Chen helped translate equipment names and processes to her fellow students, including information about tele-medicine in the emergency department and how we can consult with specialists electronically. The students said tele-medicine services are available mostly in the larger hospitals in China, and they were very impressed that smaller facilities in the U.S. use these services for patient care.
 
“Everyone here has a big smile on their face,” said Lee Academy student, Qingyun Tang, from China. “They not only cure patient’s body, they also care about patient’s mind.”
 
Lin Phan from Vietnam added, “This was very helpful to me to broaden my knowledge about American life.”
 
While none of the students felt a career as nurse or surgeon was for them, they did leave with a greater understanding of American healthcare and what to expect if they need services from our facility. Staff at PVH thoroughly enjoyed discussions with the group and remind the community that tours are available for students and can be scheduled by calling the Marketing Department at (207) 794-7324. On Thursday, March 19, eight students from Lee Academy visited Penobscot Valley Hospital to tour the laboratory and emergency rooms. During their field trip, students discussed healthcare in their home countries of China, Serbia, Taiwan, and Vietnam and how their healthcare systems compare to the United States. They were very impressed with all of the specialties provided here and how quickly services can be obtained.
In the PVH Laboratory, medical technologist Luann McPhail demonstrated blood draws and the different tubes used for various tests. The group continued from the phlebotomy room into the Lab with medical technologist Nicole Piche where she explained the inside workings of the Dimension analyzer which tests liver and kidney functions, thyroid levels and lipids. Students saw the equipment in action and watched different chemicals and reagents combine to perform blood testing.
Fourth year Lee Academy student Cookie Chen helped translate equipment names and processes to her fellow students, including information about tele-medicine in the emergency department and how we can consult with specialists electronically. The students said tele-medicine services are available mostly in the larger hospitals in China, and they were very impressed that smaller facilities in the U.S. use these services for patient care.
“Everyone here has a big smile on their face,” said Lee Academy student, Qingyun Tang, from China. “They not only cure patient’s body, they also care about patient’s mind.”
Lin Phan from Vietnam added, “This was very helpful to me to broaden my knowledge about American life.”
While none of the students felt a career as nurse or surgeon was for them, they did leave with a greater understanding of American healthcare and what to expect if they need services from our facility. Staff at PVH thoroughly enjoyed discussions with the group and remind the community that tours are available for students and can be scheduled by calling the Marketing Department at (207) 794-7324.

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