Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Named as a Top Agency of the 2016 HomeCare Elite

July 20th, 2017

Members of the award-winning HomeCare department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital include (front row) Kellie Christensen, Rhonda Gorden, Ricole Potts, Jenny Roby, Kalyn Anderson, Shelly Hammen, and Genni Hoyle. Not pictured are Michelle Shaver, Holly Wuebker, Darci Peterson, Holly Hildreth and Nancy Corey.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital today announced that it has been named a Top Agency of the 2016 HomeCare Elite®, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. For more than ten years, HomeCare Elite has annually identified the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies and highlights the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall.  This is the fifth time that Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Homecare has been recognized.

The ranking is developed by ABILITY® Network, a leading information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare; and sponsored by DecisionHealth, publisher of: Home Health Line, The Complete Home Health ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Coding Manual and The Home Health Coding Center.

“Improving quality of care and the patient experience continue to underpin a rapidly evolving healthcare environment,” said Christine Lang, Senior Director, Product Management, for ABILITY Network. “At the same time tracking, measuring and interpreting data that support these efforts is becoming more complex. The 2016 HomeCare Elite winners have demonstrated the highest-quality care in their communities, which is a remarkable achievement. We congratulate [Insert company name] on being one of the top home care agencies in the country.”

“Stewart Memorial Community Hospital HomeCare provides high quality, individualized patient care.  We are honored to be recognized among the top performing home health agencies in the country,” shares Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH. “We credit the commitment of our compassionate caregivers whose dedication has made it possible to continue bringing quality health care home to our community.”

“We are proud to recognize the HomeCare Elite agencies for demonstrating a commitment to improving quality patient care at low costs. The clinical best practices and data tracking skills these agencies have implemented can position them for future success in government programs such as value-based purchasing and star ratings,” said Marci Heydt, Senior Content Manager, DecisionHealth.

Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, best practice (process measure) implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS®), quality improvement and consistency, and financial performance. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least one outcome in Home Health Compare. Out of 9,406 agencies considered, 2,353 are recognized on the 2016 HomeCare Elite winners list overall.

The entire list of 2016 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the ABILITY Network website at abilitynetwork.com/homecare-elite.

For more information about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital HomeCare, please visit www.stewartmemorial.org.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to host Lunch Connection on “Simple Game Plan for Healthy Results”

July 13th, 2017

Registered dietitian Maurine Thieszen and Megan Huster, RN, will present a program on “Simple Game Plan for Healthy Results” on Thursday, August 3rd at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at noon. Call 712-464-4214 to reserve your seat.

Come join us for a lunch connection at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital on Thursday, August 3, 12 noon. Maurine Thieszen, RD, LD, CDE, and Megan Huster, RN, will discuss a  “Simple Game Plan for Healthy Results.” They will present a program with great tips like how to fill up on fiber, being choosy about fats, icy treats, sneaking exercise into daily activities, and three easy ways to kick start weight loss.

Lunch Connection is held in the Lower Level Conference Room at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.  Cost of $5 includes program and lunch. The menu will include balsamic chicken breast, fresh seasoned green beans, grilled corn salad, and chilled melon medley for dessert.

Call Jennifer Snyder at 712-464-4214 to make reservations by Thursday, July 27.  To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org. Find us on Facebook at smchlakecity.

Physical therapy gets Rowen back on his feet

July 10th, 2017

Twenty year old farm hand Dustin Rowen was cleaning out a grain bin when the auger guard plate got caught. In a hurry, he kicked the plate to attempt to loosen it without shutting off the equipment, and the auger caught the back of his pants. With his leg caught, he was dragged toward the center of the bin until his leg jammed the machine, breaking belts in the auger along with his ankle.

He was found 30 minutes later with severe injuries to both legs and his hand from where he’d tried to move the auger off of his body. Emergency services arrived and worked to free Dustin. He was transported to a hospital where his injuries were thoroughly cleaned.  A boot was put on his left leg to support his ankle while the achilles tendon healed. Surgery was performed on his right leg to stabilize the ankle and repair tissue. He recovered, bed-ridden, in the hospital for two weeks.

He was then transferred to a specialty facility for plastic surgery and bone reconstruction. “We wanted to save my right leg at all costs. To repair the artery in my ankle they took a muscle from my abdomen during a twelve-hour surgery. They also took skin grafts from my upper thigh to replace the damaged area around my ankle.” After three weeks of recovering in a hospital room, Dustin was able to return to his home north of Lake City.

For two months he could not stand longer than 20 minutes for fear of blood clots. Then he had to learn to walk again. Dustin began utilizing the physical therapy (PT) department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in October 2014. Having PT services close to home made it easier for Dustin to come to appointments three times a week for almost a year.

“In April 2015, I had a setback with the hardware,” Dustin says. His body began to reject the two plates, eight screws, and two pins used to reconstruct his ankle. Infection set in, and his surgeon removed all the hardware.  After the six week recovery, Dustin started physical therapy at SMCH again, beginning at square one. The partnership with his physical therapist was important says Dustin, “We worked on regaining the motion and strength. At the end, I was able to run up and down stairs.”

While Dustin was participating in drills with his National Guard unit in June 2016, his ankle suddenly locked up and wouldn’t support any weight. He was brought to the emergency room at SMCH where he was cared for by Dr. Susan Hornback and her team.  “She ordered blood tests and an MRI that confirmed that I had a staph infection,” Dustin says

Dr. Hornback communicated with Dustin’s surgeon in Omaha who recommended immediate surgery. She coordinated transportation for him to get to the surgery center at University of Nebraska Medical Center as quickly as possible. “Dustin was very stoic, I knew he was in quite a bit of pain. We kept him comfortable and began the transfer process,” recalls Dr. Hornback. Dustin’s surgeon cleaned the infection and ten days after his return home, Dustin began his third round with SMCH’s physical therapy.  Physical therapist Laura Hejtmanek’s expertise has brought him to the point where he no longer needs walking aids. Each session, lasting about an hour, consists of several exercises which Dustin attempts to duplicate at home to gain more ground.

“Dustin is an ideal patient. He wants to be able to do everything he did before the accident and is willing to do the work required to get there.  Attitude is everything. Despite the setbacks, he comes back and does the work necessary,” Laura comments.

Sixteen surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy later, Dustin walks with a limp, but he’s quick to grin. “It’s been a long road to recovery and there have been bumps along the way, but with the help of knowledgeable and caring experts and my family and friends, I feel stronger than ever and hopeful for the future.”

FAQ – Everything You Need to Know About SMCH Homecare & Hospice Partnership with UnityPoint At Home

July 6th, 2017

Click the link below to read more about the SMCH Homecare and Hospice enhanced partnership with UnityPoint At Home:

FAQ Homecare Partnership

2017 Summer Health Care Connection Now Available

July 5th, 2017

To view the summer edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

Summer 2017 Newsletter

 

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Home Care Enters Enhanced Partnership with UnityPoint At Home

July 5th, 2017

The home care and hospice service line at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) has entered into an enhanced partnership with UnityPoint at Home. SMCH has been a rural affiliate of UnityPoint Health since 2012. “As providers of healthcare, our goal is to always provide the best care possible to every patient, every time. Our home care and hospice team is an extraordinary group focused on patient care and they do their jobs very well,” comments Cindy Carstens, chief executive officer of SMCH. Carstens points out that rural hospitals are impacted by the unintended consequences caused by governmental policies. “As critical access hospitals navigate the ever-changing regulations, we need to find a partner to help us to continue to thrive. Our partner for home care and hospice services will be the UnityPoint at Home team.”

While there will be a shift in administrative responsibilities, Carstens shares that SMCH patients can expect to receive the same level of high quality care from the staff they currently see. “We value the relationships our patients have with our home care team, and we are focused on minimizing any disruption to our patients. We expect the transition to be very smooth as both organizations approach the transition with patient care top of mind,” states Carstens.

Details of the agreement are in the discussion phase as the letter of intent for SMCH home care to become UnityPoint at Home was signed on June 15th. The signed letter gives the green light for further discussion and identifies the expectations for each party. “The process takes time and by taking it slow, we can help our employees achieve satisfaction with the agreement. We want to ensure that the partnership is collaborative and our team is able to maintain their connection with SMCH while providing care under the leadership of UnityPoint at Home,” says Carstens. The process could take until May 2018.

The hospital’s affiliation with UnityPoint Health has continued to strengthen since partnering five years ago. “We chose UnityPoint at Home because our standards and philosophy on community and patient care aligned. We envision this collaboration to be as smooth and successful as our past experiences,” says Carstens.

About UnityPoint at Home

UnityPoint at Home provides home health care services in communities across Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Part of UnityPoint Health, one of the nation’s largest non-denominational health systems, UnityPoint at Home works together with its affiliated physicians and hospitals to coordinate the services, support and education necessary to continue care at home. Services include adult and pediatric nursing, rehabilitation therapy, personal care and home support, infusion therapy, specialty therapy, palliative care, hospice and home medical equipment. For more information, visit unitypointathome.org.

The Road to Recovery is A Team Effort at SMCH

June 22nd, 2017

David Hayes wears many hats. He’s a machine operator for a custom truck body manufacturer. He’s a published author with two novels under his belt and a third on the way. He’s a husband, father and grandfather. The 65 year old also volunteers at the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad as a train conductor. He’s a busy guy.

When he fought an upper respiratory illness he couldn’t seem to shake, he made an appointment to see physician assistant Megan Grodahl at McCrary Rost Clinic. “I hadn’t seen a doctor for anything for twelve years. I hadn’t had regular checkups. Why bother if I’m not sick?” recalls the Lohrville resident.

Megan had a complete blood workup done on David, including a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. The PSA test can detect high levels of prostate-specific antigen that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, many other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate, can also increase PSA levels. Therefore, determining what a high PSA score means can be complicated. Normal levels for a man are 0-4.0 ng/mL. David’s PSA level was 213 ng/mL. “Megan didn’t waste any time when she saw the results,” says David.

She referred David to an oncology specialist who performed a biopsy, taking twelve tissue samples localized to the prostate gland. Eleven of the twelve samples had cancerous cells. David’s oncologist recommended prostate removal.

Surgery was performed on July 8th. He began radiation therapy in September, five days a week for seven weeks. While he tires more easily, David says the prognosis is very positive.

Throughout his treatment, David has relied on the team approach to his health care. “With Megan there was no such thing as a dumb question or any reason to be embarrassed. She took the time to explain. I always felt like it was okay to ask if something was normal. If she didn’t know the answer right away, Megan was not afraid to dig for the answers.”

Preventative care is now firmly on this conductor’s schedule. Annual visits to his medical provider to ensure all the screenings are checked is a top priority. “You have to have a team approach to your health. You’re responsible for making your provider aware of what’s going on in your own body and for following her recommendations,” says David. “I can’t thank Megan enough for her expertise and knowledge.”

Partnership Safeguards Baby’s Health

June 19th, 2017

Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-C, (left) recommended her partner, Dr. Susan Hornback, (right) to Laurie and Scott Kluver when Laurie was expecting Bradek.

Despite having a medical condition that could have made achieving pregnancy difficult, Laurie and Scott Kluver of Sac City were filled with joy each time a pregnancy test came back positive. “I only have one fallopian tube, not two like most women,” shares Laurie. A fallopian tube provides a route for a woman’s egg to go from the ovary to the uterus. If the egg is fertilized, it continues to develop until the birth of the baby. One challenge Laurie and Scott faced was finding a medical provider to deliver their third baby. “We doctored in another town for our first two boys, and needed to find someone new when that doctor stopped delivering babies,” recalls Laurie who lives in Sac City.

The Kluvers sought input from friends and family. After careful consideration, they turned to Stephanie Bellcock, Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, for their care at the Lake View McCrary Rost Clinic. “We are very grateful for the thorough care she provides. When one child is sick, she gives us pointers on what to watch for in our other boys which is very helpful,” says Scott, a Sac City native. When the Kluvers, who met as students at UNI, became pregnant with their third child, Stephanie recommended they partner with her teammate, Dr. Susan Hornback in Lake City. “When we first met with Dr. Hornback at the Lake City McCrary Rost Clinic, I remember her sharing in our excitement. I loved going to my check-ups because she always made me feel like I was her top priority,” recalls Laurie.

When their baby was ready to enter the world, the Kluvers share that their birthing experience was top-notch. “The teamwork among each department we interacted with was seamless. The nurses, doctors, and aides were all on the same page with my care.”

While the hours after their son’s birth were precious and filled with all the emotions that come with the arrival of a new baby, there was one area of concern as the Kluvers prepared to leave Stewart Memorial Hospital and take baby Bradek home. “He had jaundice because of a high level of bilirubin,” shares Laurie.

“Bilirubin is created during the normal process of red blood cells breaking down. Usually, it passes through the liver and is then released into the intestine as bile. The body of a newborn produces a higher amount of bilirubin because they have more red blood cells. If the levels are too high, and not treated, the baby can suffer severe health issues,” says Dr. Hornback. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 95% of infants with high levels of bilirubin fully recover with treatment. However, if newborns are not treated, they can become deaf, suffer from cerebral palsy, or an intellectual disability.

Lab tests revealed Bradek needed a higher level of care and was taken to SMCH’s partner hospital, Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. “Dr. Hornback personally called us to share his lab results and explain what the next steps were,” remembers Laurie.

As Bradek received specialized care to decrease the amount of bilirubin in his bloodstream with the use of special lights, the Kluvers felt well cared for. “Dr. Hornback and Stephanie Bellcock both called to check on us, our baby’s progress and offer reassurance. The personal calls meant a lot to us,” says Scott. After a two day stay, Bradek’s bilirubin level dropped to a normal range, and he was able to go home from the hospital.

As Bradek approaches his first birthday on July 12th, the Kluver family could not be happier with his progress and healthcare. “It’s comforting to know that the medical team we count on always goes the extra mile for our family. Whether it’s accommodating our schedule, helping us gain a better understanding of a health issue, or making us feel like family, we are grateful for the care we receive,” says Laurie.

Eischeid Joins SMCH Foundation Board

June 6th, 2017

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) announces Gary Eischeid joining the hospital foundation board of directors. The foundation was established in January 2016 for the purpose of inspiring giving to support to the hospital. “I’ve had positive experiences with the health care team at SMCH and I am honored to serve on the board,” shares Eischeid who resides in Lake View with his wife Regina.

Eischeid brings over twenty-five years of leadership to the board. He served in various military command positions and retired in 2006 as Brigadier General. His military career earned him many awards and commendations. One highlight of his military career involved simultaneously leading 25,000 soldiers in various locations in the United States and South Korea to execute all logistics and transportation needs.

Eischeid is the current vice president of logistics for Landus Cooperative and previously served as the general manger of POET Biorefining in Gowrie, Ia. “We are pleased with Gary’s decision to join the foundation board,” says Mary Ludwig, director of marketing and development at SMCH. “His leadership and past experience are attributes that will help the foundation grow and achieve goals.”

Eischeid fills the vacancy of Seth McCaulley who resigned from the board after moving out of the area. During the first year of operation, the foundation board established policy and bylaws. In 2017, the focus is creating a strategic plan. Eischeid joins fellow board members Jo Grodahl, Chuck Schmitt, Marci Duncan, Amy Schumacher, Faye Huster, and Marcie Boerner, as well as SMCH staff Cindy Carstens, CEO, Jim Henkenius, CFO and Mary Ludwig, director of marketing, development and volunteers.

“It’s exciting to be a part of a board where I can offer insight to strategy, policy and continuous improvement,” shares Eischeid. The board recently participated in a two day strategic planning session and established goals that align with the goals of the organization. “Our vision is to transform our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences. The Foundation goals will support SMCH in achieving this important vision. The end result will be charitable giving that represents an investment in improving the health of our communities,” shares Carstens.

SMCH Family Care Team provides Comfort to Laboring Mom

June 6th, 2017

Tillie Lynn Reynolds sits on an examining table in a room at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City. The happy ten month old baby is content to tear the paper protective sheet as Dr. Derek Duncan performs a well child exam. Reassured that Tillie’s heart and lungs sound good, her parents, Sarah Jo and Adam smile and answer questions about her teeth, sleeping patterns and how close she is to walking. Big brother Ty, who is two and a half, busily explores the room.

Before the couple moved to their farm between Rockwell City and Lake City, they had lived for a time in Ames. When Sarah Jo became pregnant with Ty, the decision was made to seek care locally. After their move, Sarah’s second pregnancy had her asking family and friends for recommendations. She was told the obstetric team of Dr. Duncan and Dr. Susan Hornback at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital would be a great fit for her. “For us, the proximity of care was huge. We would be able to do all our OB visits and deliver our baby close to home. I’d heard that SMCH had received national recognition and that was comforting to know.”

The Lake City hospital earned two prestigious awards in 2016 from Press Ganey, based on its high patient satisfaction ratings. Cindy Carstens, CEO, explains, “We conduct nurse shift change at the bedside to keep patients informed about their plan of care, and we use transition coaches to educate patients about their stay and current health issues. We also reduce anxiety through the implementation of our planning for discharge approach which brings together many departments to ensure all of the patients’ needs are met during their stay and after they go home.”

During her pregnancy, Sarah Jo commends the clinic nurses in Dr. Duncan’s office. “They were really informative and answered any questions I had.”

When Sarah Jo’s delivery date neared, Dr. Duncan recommended inducing her labor. During Ty’s birth, the delivery of the over eight pound baby was difficult, leading to a longer recovery. To avoid that, Dr. Duncan measured her abdomen at an appointment a week or so prior to her due date, and recommended that an induction be scheduled. “While we almost always prefer a labor to start spontaneously, sometimes getting labor started with an induction is indicated based on the individual situation,” notes Dr. Duncan. A few days later, on July 19, 2016, Sarah Jo and Adam arrived at the hospital for the delivery.

While mom and baby were closely monitored, Sarah Jo’s water was broken in order to start labor. She was also injected with a synthetic hormone, pitocin, to cause contractions. Additionally, she was given an epidural to decrease pain from the contractions. Sarah Jo recalls, “Everyone in the delivery room was so calm. The timing of everything was perfect – the epidural had time to take effect and the pain was a lot less than during Ty’s birth. When I was ready, I pushed for about an hour until Tillie was born at 12:05 pm.”

Sarah Jo appreciates the care the nursing staff provided during her labor and to her nine pound, 4 ounce, 21.5 inch baby girl, especially registered nurse Ashley Mork. “She was amazing! She could tell by my reactions what I was feeling. She was very in tune with what my body was going through. She kept her composure and kept me calm.”

Sarah Jo enthused about the care she and Tillie received after the birth. “We stayed for two nights and the nurses were great, day and night. They always introduced themselves, and anything I needed was brought quickly.”

The family went home where the baby and her brother are growing and thriving. “Overall, it was a wonderful experience to give birth at SMCH,” says Sarah Jo. “It’s comforting to know we will use the clinic and hospital for years to come. The staff is so great to work with. They work with my schedule for appointments and are so personable with my kids. They don’t make me feel like I’m bringing in a circus with my busy toddler and growing baby. They take it in stride, and I know I can trust these knowledgeable professionals.”

“New Healthcare Initiatives: Transitional and Chronic Care Management” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

June 1st, 2017

Tom Davis, Katie Riehl and Sonya Dunn, transition health coaches at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, described their roles at the hospital and explained how the health coach program will soon be utilized at McCrary Rost Clinic at a recent Lunch Connection.

Sonya Dunn, Tom Davis, and Katie Riehl, RNs and transitional health coaches at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), spoke to nearly 40 people at SMCH’s “Lunch Connection” event. Their program addressed “New Healthcare Initiatives: Transitional and Chronic Care Management.”

Zacharina Winker, director of nursing at SMCH introduced the topic by explaining that the Transition Health Coaches program has been in place at SMCH since 2012. Recognizing that 80 percent of health management occurs in the home due to shortened hospital stays, while a patient retains only 10 percent of discharge instructions, SMCH recognized a gap that needed to be filled in order to keep patients well. The program has seen success in reducing readmission rates and increasing patient knowledge of health conditions. The hospital has determined that expanding the program from two to three health coaches will enable it to further its reach with utilization in McCrary Rost Clinic.

Sonya identified the role of the transitional health coach as providing support to the patient for self-management of health conditions, bridging the gap between the health care provider and the patient, helping the patient navigate a complex healthcare system; and providing emotional support to the patient. Currently, a patient in the hospital can expect to see any of the three transitional health coaches as they accompany medical providers on their rounds. Additionally, the health coach will conduct a personal interview with the patient to help identify barriers to effective self-management. For 30 days after discharge, the patient is considered “in transition” and the health coaches will follow up by phone to make sure the patient is seeing success in recovery.

The coaches described the Chronic Care Management program the Lake City hospital is designing for its clinics. In this program, the reach of the health coaches extends beyond the 30 days after discharge timeframe. Patients who utilize the program will gain extra information and accountability as they learn to manage chronic conditions. At this time, all the health coaches are working towards or have completed the extensive health coach certification. The hospital is developing policies, processes and educational tools for the program that will soon be implemented in the clinics.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held August 3, 2017.

Lake City Nurse Named One of Iowa’s 100 Great Nurses

May 31st, 2017

Iowa’s 100 Great Nurses were recently recognized at a ceremony in Des Moines and a Lake City nurse was included in the elite group. Kathy Collins, Quality and Utilization Management Director at Stewart MemorialCommunity Hospital in Lake City, was nominated by her peers for the award.

Initiated in 2005 by the University of Iowa School of Nursing, the 100 Great Iowa Nurses program identifies 100 outstanding nurses every year whose courage, competence, and commitment to patients and the nursing profession stand out above all others. These nurses go above and beyond to contribute significantly to the profession of nursing. Each year, the 100 Great Iowa Nurses program asks for patients, coworkers, friends, and family members to nominate an outstanding nurse for recognition. After undergoing a two-part review process, 100 Great Iowa Nurses are honored each year at a ceremony created for the state of Iowa by nurse and community leaders.

Kathy’s nursing career has spanned over four decades. She was hired for her first certified nursing assistant job when she was 14. “At first I took the job as a way to earn a little money. In 1968 I was paid 50 cents an hour and thought that was great! Then I found out I liked doing the job.”

She earned her nursing degree from the Nebraska Methodist School of Nursing. After graduation Kathy’s first nursing position was at Cass County Hospital for a short time before accepting a position at Audubon County Hospital where she was a night floor nurse. “In those days we did everything – we took care of patients admitted to the hospital, we worked the emergency room, and we worked in obstetrics.”

In 1975, Kathy joined the nursing staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH). Through the years, she’s worked in nearly every capacity as a nurse at the hospital. “I’ve worked in the ER, the intensive care unit, the inpatient floor, as house supervisor, and I’ve helped in OB. For many years I worked in infection control. Now I’m the Quality/Utilization Management Director at the hospital.”

A complex job, the Quality Director coordinates all quality initiatives for the whole facility, not just the nursing department. She is also the patient experience coordinator and manages the patient experience improvement teams. “I monitor the patient experience results from surveys and coordinate efforts for improvement.” Another hat Kathy wears is in utilization management. She contacts insurance companies to get authorization for hospital stays. She monitors those stays and utilizes Medicare guidelines to determine the patient receives the right level of care and appropriate services.

Since her first days in nursing, Kathy has seen many changes in medicine. “With the advent of managed care organizations, the level of documentation has expanded. The technology used in healthcare has increased,” she observes. “Patients have to be much sicker to be admitted to the hospital now. For surgical patients, we used to admit them the afternoon before the procedure. We’d then keep them for two nights for a minor procedure. There is constant change in patient care.”

As she looks back, Kathy fondly remembers her favorite aspects of her career. “I really enjoyed working the 3:00-11:00 pm shift on the patient floor and in the ER because of the excellent mentors I had during those years. One time in the ER, a trauma involving a child arrived. It was difficult, especially since my daughter was about the same age. We did everything we could for the patient and afterward, Dr. Paul Ferguson wrote a letter to our adminstration and the director of nursing about how well the staff worked together that night. If he hadn’t pointed out the positive aspects in the difficult situation, I wouldn’t have worked in the ER again.” Other mentors include Dr. Dale Christensen, Dr. Cesar Cardenas, Dr. Yotin Keonin, Dr. James Comstock, Dr. Paul Knouf, Mary Fay, RN, Katie Owens, RN, Virginia Curry, RN, and CEO Cindy Carstens.

As she prepares to retire in June, Kathy looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and extended family, reading and flower gardening. “I have been so fortunate to have had such a long career at a facility that has always been progressive, family oriented and supportive.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital announces Board Changes

May 23rd, 2017

Shelia Berger

Deb Lightner

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Board of Directors announces the retirement of long-time board member Deb Lightner. After serving 12 years, Lightner recalls many accomplishments, and highlights a few specific achievements. “One area I am most proud of is the shift in culture at SMCH. The board supported, encouraged and participated in efforts to elevate the hospital from good to great. We focused on quality measures and increasing our commitment to every patient having an exceptional experience,” notes Lightner. She continues, “Our medical team, support staff and leadership did an outstanding job of educating peers about the purpose behind every effort. Whether it was increasing hand hygiene or reducing medication errors, the staff worked hard to meet goals because they want to do the right thing.”

Another highlight is the partnership and affiliation with UnityPoint. “The board studied this opportunity for quite some time to make sure the relationship would be a good fit,” recalls Lightner. “We gained many benefits by linking with UnityPoint to benefit patients, like access to more specialists and group purchasing cost savings. We were also able to remain independent with our own board of directors and decision makers. It’s been positive all around,” says Lightner.

Lightner says she has gained great appreciation of having access to local health care. One particular experience she will always remember is the care a friend received. “My friend was terminally ill and spent a lot of time at the hospital,” recalls Lightner. She visited her friend frequently as she fought breast cancer. Her friend received follow-up surveys in the mail for the opportunity to give input on how she felt about the care she received. “I vividly remember her sharing with me that there wasn’t one person she could single out to recognize for giving her great care because they were all great!” says Lightner. That remark struck home for Lightner. “It connected, for me, that this is why we have strived for every patient to have an exceptional experience, every time. You never know who is going to need care. Maybe yourself, or a family member or a friend. I’m grateful to the SMCH team for being there for my friend.”

Replacing Lightner on the board is Shelia Berger of Lohrville, who has been involved with the organization for over 30 years. When the hospice volunteer program started at SMCH, Shelia attended the very first volunteer training and continues serving in that role. She also volunteers in the hospital gift shoppe each month. In addition to volunteering at SMCH, Shelia was employed as a certified nursing assistant at the hospital for over five years.

Shelia’s volunteerism stretches beyond SMCH. In her community of Lohrville, she was a volunteer EMT for the ambulance service for twenty years, served on the library board for over fifteen years, and is currently on the housing board. She also helps children in need by serving as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, a role she has done for the past nine years and earned her state recognition. In 2013, she received the Governor’s Volunteer Award from Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. Shelia was honored with a Length of Service Award by the Iowa Child Advocacy board.

While giving of her time is important to Berger, she also devotes time to a small group of important young people, her grandkids. She and husband, Joe, have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Berger says she is eager to learn more about how her past experiences can help SMCH continue to be successful. “The hospital is a big asset to the region and it benefits so many people. Whether it’s for health care, employment or a service, the impact SMCH has is tremendous. I’m honored to be a part of the board that will help SMCH grow,” she comments.

DAISY Award Presented to SMCH Nurses

May 15th, 2017

McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Lisa McGuire, LPN, and Stewart Memorial Community Hospital nurse Carmen Ludwig, LPN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing.

Delivering compassionate patient care and great clinical skills are the qualities that recently earned two Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) nurses the DAISY Award. The award, which was established in 1999 and stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, is in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. During his lengthy hospital stay, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion Patrick received from his nurses. The DAISY award was established to say thank you to nurses across the nation by honoring the work they do at the bedside, funding research, and honoring nursing faculty.

Nine nurses from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City and McCrary Rost Clinics were nominated for the award and the award went to Lisa McGuire, LPN, and Carmen Ludwig, LPN. McGuire has worked at the Lake City clinic since 2014. She was nominated by a patient who said, “She intuitively knew what I needed without having to be asked. I thank Lisa for her quick response to get us help and for supporting us through the difficult situation. She was the rock that I needed when I felt like the world was crashing around me.”

A nurse at SMCH since 1983, Ludwig was nominated by a co-worker who had observed, “I have seen over the years what Carmen has done for so many patients, but this last year was someone she cared for so close to her heart. Carmen did so many things for Jo that were selfless and always wanted to make Jo feel special. She provided great comfort for John and the boys. They knew that she was giving her care and making her time meaningful and was there for them too to answer those questions they were thinking but afraid to ask. Carmen was so strong, and it was so awesome to see her do again what comes to her so naturally – to see the needs of others and do what she can to provide that care as a nurse and yet be a friend.”

Other nominees include cardiac rehab and diabetes educator Megan Huster, RN, clinic nurse Brianne Francis, RN, and inpatient nurses Sue Aber, RN, Laura Roberts, RN, Hailey Wilhelm, RN, Kathy Holm, RN, and Samantha Small, LPN.

Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH, says nurses, like the ones nominated at SMCH, are surprised when they receive the DAISY Award. “Most nurses do not believe they are doing ‘anything special’ and they are just ‘doing their job.’ That’s why at every DAISY Award presentation, we ask each nurse to pause for a minute and realize how very special they are and how they make the world a better place by ‘just doing their jobs,’” noted Jones. Today, a nurse’s job may entail saving a patient’s life, applying training and skill to a complex medical procedure, or offering comfort to a patient or family member to make them feel better. “Every day, nurses are making a positive difference in a patient’s and family’s life. Nurses make the world a better place and they are special because they are a nurse,” added Jones.

Nurses are nominated by patients, families, colleagues, physicians, or other staff. The criteria focuses on the compassionate care and memorable moment’s nurses provide their patients as well as great clinical skill. As of May 2017 nearly 2,000 healthcare organizations worldwide honor their nurses with The DAISY Award.

Learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at www.stewartmemorial.org or learn more about the DAISY award at www.daisyfoundation.org

SMCH to host Fun Run

May 8th, 2017

Runners and walkers of all ages enjoyed the annual Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Fun Run in 2016. Registration is now open for the June 24th event in Lake City.

Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and walk or run the Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and will be held Saturday, June 24, 2017.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square in Lake City.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

A returning event for 2017 will be the Kids Dash for children aged 9 and under. This free dash will take place at 8:15. Runners will sign up on the day of the event. A t-shirt is not included.

     Pre-registration for the Fun Run/Walk prior to June 5 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants. Registration after June 6 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

      Awards will be given to the overall winner and the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10 an under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-65; 66 and over; and pre-registered youngest and oldest. Men and women will be in separate classes.

      For more information and a registration form, contact Casey Wetter at 712-464-4182 or 712-464-3171 or request email registration at cwetter@stewartmemorial.org or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity.

Click here for the 2017 Registration Form: Fun Run Brochure

Mother’s Day Shines Light on Family’s New Arrival

May 8th, 2017

Patrick and Ashley Thieszen appreciated the comfort and compassion during Ashley’s labor and delivery at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Evelyn Ashley Thieszen was born February 7, 2017 and the family will celebrate their first Mother’s Day on May 14.

As Mother’s Day nears, first time mom Ashley Thieszen approaches the holiday with a new perspective. She and her husband, Patrick, welcomed their first child on February 7, 2017 after 17 hours of labor at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH).

“My water broke at home at 12:15 a.m. on Tuesday,” Ashley recalls. “We went to the hospital where they told me I was dilated one centimeter. They put monitors on me to see if I was having contractions. I was, but I didn’t feel them yet.”

During labor Ashley developed high blood pressure. “The nurses kept me very comfortable. They adjusted the bed and kept a close eye on me.” The labor and delivery bed Ashley used was one of two new beds donated to the hospital by the SMCH Auxiliary.

The beds feature simple operation, mobility and an ergonomic design that provides safety to both mom and nurses. “Both beds have calf supports which are wonderful for moms who have epidurals,” says OB director Jenni Macke, RN. “Calf supports are not only comfortable for moms and allow side lying positions for birth, but also save nurses from injury.”

Nurse anesthetist Perry Henely administered an epidural to help Ashley with any pain. An epidural is medication that is delivered through a thin, flexible tube inserted into the membrane surrounding the spinal cord. “I have scoliosis, so it can be tricky to find the right spot for the injection. Perry did a great job and kept me as comfortable as could be,” comments Ashley.

“For the longest time I was stuck at four centimeters,” remembers Ashley. “The nurses kept me company. They reduced any stimuli to help with my blood pressure and educated me about all the procedures that could take place. They adjusted the bed so I could sit upright. Because of that, within 20 minutes, I was in active labor.”

Evelyn Ashley Thieszen was born at 7:56 pm on February 7, 2017. “The nursing shift change happens at 7:00 pm,” says Ashley. “Several of the nurses who’d spent the day with me stayed past their shift end to see Evelyn born. It made me feel good, knowing they cared enough to see it through with me.”

Board certified family physician Susan Hornback delivered the six pound, six ounce baby girl. “She was really encouraging. She gave clear directions and made me feel like I was doing it right,” Ashley says.

Ashley appreciates how good the food tasted and the gift of the sleep sack they received from the hospital. “Evelyn sleeps in her sleep sack every night. It makes us feel more secure that she’s as safe as possible.” The sleep sack swaddles Evelyn and makes her feel snug, warm and safe. “Our department supports all SIDS prevention tips through education and the use of the Halo Sleepsacks. Pillows, stuffed animals, loose bedding (quilts, blankets, comforters) and even bumper pads can be hazardous to an infant. We want parents to use their free gift Halo Sleepsack at home just as they saw it used in the hospital,” says Jenni.

The new parents took their bundle of joy home a few days later and dove into parenthood. Patrick mentions how helpful the prenatal classes they took during the pregnancy were in their comfort level. “We learned about bathing, diapering, swaddling and infant and child CPR. The tour of the obstetrics department made us more comfortable too. Thanks to the classes, we were prepared to be parents.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Membership Drive Underway

April 20th, 2017

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary membership drive is now underway.  The SMCH Auxiliary is a group of dedicated volunteers who join together to support the needs of SMCH. The annual membership is $2, or become a lifetime member for $100.  The Auxiliary funds projects and purchases used to help the hospital serve patients.  Volunteers are able to work in the Gift Shoppe, make bake sale items and help with other fund raisers such as the $6 jewelry sale.  Members participate in community events such as Table A Fare and Trivia Night.  The Auxiliary has monthly meetings with innovative and educational programs. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please consider joining the Auxiliary. Membership cards are available at SMCH registration desks, hospital Gift Shoppe, Community Pharmacies or can be mailed to you upon request.  To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-4183.

Click here to access the membership form. Membership Drive card 2017-18. Print it, fill it out and mail it to: Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Attention: Danielle Evans, 1301 W. Main, Lake City, IA 51449

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Honors Auxiliary Volunteers

April 6th, 2017
Check presentation

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary presented a check to the hospital for $67,000 to help fund the Patient Centered Healing Environment project which will improve patient areas in the Lake City, Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie medical clinics. Pictured are auxiliary vice president Marie Schwarm, SMCH Volunteer Coordinator Danielle Evans, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers Mary Ludwig, CEO Cindy Carstens, and Auxiliary president Toni Kerns.

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary was honored Tuesday for their service and commitment to the award winning hospital. Nearly sixty SMCH Auxiliary members attended the annual event. The Volunteer Appreciation luncheon was themed “You are T-Riffic” to parallel the new Auxiliary T-shirt fundraiser. SMCH President and CEO Cindy Carstens welcomed guests and thanked them for their volunteer service. “For your dedication to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, our patients and team, we are very grateful and we thank you. Your compassion, support and generosity provides us with the opportunity to offer excellent medical care and service to our communities. You so generously give of your time and talents and today we are honored to celebrate you, our volunteers,” stated Carstens.

The keynote address highlighted the Auxiliary’s achievements and how they have impacted the organization. Carsten’s recognized the volunteers for their contributions that have led to more than three-quarters of a million dollars for the hospital in its 58 year history. The dollars have been used to purchase a variety of equipment for patient care including EKG machines, digital x-ray machines, labor and delivery beds, and a blanket warmer.

Carstens also thanked the Auxiliary volunteers for their 2016 efforts in raising $67,000 for the hospital. Through proceeds from several events, such as Trivia Night, Table A Fare, linen sales, book sales and Gift Shoppe sales, the Auxiliary is funding the Patient Centered Healing Environment project. This three year project will improve areas used most by patients. Funds are designated to improve patient areas in Lake City, Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie medical clinics. Patients will benefit from more comfortable registration areas, larger restrooms, softer lighting, updated flooring and wall covering, and additional signage to share important health information.

The luncheon concluded with entertainment provided by the South Central Calhoun High School speech team. Jordan Ludwig, Seth Stamp, and Katherine Folsom each presented an engaging speech. To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary or to become a member, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-3171

Spring 2017 Health Care Connection Now Available

April 4th, 2017

Spring 2017 newsletterTo view the spring edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

Spring 2017 newsletter

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to Host Free Family Easter Fun

March 28th, 2017
emporary tattoos, games, crafts and snacks will be available at the Family Easter Fun event, hosted by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View, on Saturday, April 15th at Speaker Park shelter house in Lake View. At last year’s event, players in an Easter-themed Minute to Win It game moved Easter eggs from one bowl to the other using a spoon and no hands.

Temporary tattoos, games, crafts and snacks will be available at the Family Easter Fun event, hosted by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View, on Saturday, April 15th at Speaker Park shelter house in Lake View. At last year’s event, players in an Easter-themed Minute to Win It game moved Easter eggs from one bowl to the other using a spoon and no hands.

The snow has melted, flowers will soon be growing and birds will be making their spring migration. Easter is just around the corner.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View will host a family Easter Fun event on Saturday, April 15th at Speaker Park Shelter House in Lake View, immediately following the Blackhawk Men’s Club Easter Egg Hunt which starts at 9:30 a.m.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Many activities are planned for families attending including games, crafts, and temporary tattoos. Free snacks will also be available, and an Easter prize drawing will be held.

SMCH Installs Medication Disposal Kiosk

March 23rd, 2017

MedDrop box smallTo combat the increase of opioid use among Calhoun County residents, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has installed a medication disposal kiosk in its Lake City clinic.

The kiosk provides a simple, effortless and cost-free way for individuals to safely dispose of medicines that are no longer needed. Community members can bring unused, expired or unwanted controlled, non-controlled, and over the counter medications, including pet medications, to the registration area of McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City. The kiosk features a one-way medicine drop with a locking drop door and triple-locked front door access. The container is compliant with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The drugs are securely collected and shipped for incineration, keeping citizens safe from inadvertant drug ingestion and contaminated drinking water resulting from flushing, trashing, or tossing of expired or unused prescription drugs.

In 2016 the Centers for Disease Control reported 78 U.S. lives are claimed by drug overdoses, led by opioids (pain killers) every day. While Iowa’s prescription drug abuse rate is lower than the U.S. average, opioid abuse is one of the fastest growing forms of substance abuse in the U.S. & Iowa. The need for the kiosks in Iowa is evident. According to the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, opioid-related emergency department visits are on the rise. Patients who reported abusing non-heroin opioids accounted for nine percent of all visits. The types of medicines abused included pain relievers, stimulants, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants and sedatives.

The kiosk is available during clinic hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am -5:30 pm, and offers one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else. Jane Moeller, pharmacy director at SMCH says, “In the past, we could accept only noncntrolled drugs in our disposal unit. With this secure kiosk, we are able accept controlled substances like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, tramadol, and lorazepam. This will increase the safety of our patients and their families by reducing accessibility to unused drugs and provide an avenue to rid of drugs without contaminating our water supply.”

SCC Art Students Enhance Patient Rooms at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

March 20th, 2017
Art teacher Jenny Bonnall gives Keely Hammen pointers about blending colors on her tile.

Art teacher Jenny Bonnall gives Keely Hammen pointers about blending colors on her tile.

Alexander Campbell chose an apple theme for his ceiling tile.

Alexander Campbell chose an apple theme for his ceiling tile.

Whether you’re ill or recovering from surgery, the scenery in a hospital room rarely changes. Ms. Jenny Bonnall and her Advanced Painting students at South Central Calhoun High School are working to change that for the patients at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH).

Zacharina Winker, director of nursing, and Jill Webb, Med Surg/ICU manager at SMCH, approached the art teacher about collaborating on the project. “We know the view gets pretty stagnant for patients as they heal in their hospital beds, especially for patients who stay for an extended period,” says Zacharina. “We wanted to brighten the rooms and thought the art students might like to tackle the project.”

“At first, we thought about requesting specific colors and themes, but in the end, we knew the kids would do a great job and we didn’t want to limit them,” says Jill.

Ms. Bonnall comments, “The students were enthusiastic right away. All the students in the Advanced Painting course were on board. I had students in other classes volunteer too.”

Madison Neal created sun rays shining on a beautiful flower for her theme.

Madison Neal created sun rays shining on a beautiful flower for her theme.

Keely Hammen thought dinosaurs would cheer up young patients at the hospital.

Keely Hammen thought dinosaurs would cheer up young patients at the hospital.

The project offered an opportunity for the students to think about theme. Ms. Bonnall says, “We talked about joyful themes. As a patient in the hospital, what would make you happy to look at? We also talked about the age of patients – from young to old, what makes us feel joy?”

The students responded with a variety of ideas, from rural scenes and dinosaurs to sunsets and cityscapes. Colors are rich and vibrant. Keely Hammen says, “My theme is dinosaurs. I thought about little kids being in the hospital and I want my painting to help them feel less nervous about being there.”

Students talked about their personal experience with hospital rooms. “I had to have my appendix out last year,” says Serena Smith. “It was definitely not fun!”

Justin Dick and Serena Smith blend colors to create a sunset.

Justin Dick and Serena Smith blend colors to create a sunset.

 Jerika Mesik chose to paint a rainbow on her ceiling tile.

Jerika Mesik chose to paint a rainbow on her ceiling tile.

The team at SMCH is thrilled with the results. Zacharina says, “Patients are going to be happy to see the tiles above their heads. It’s wonderful to see the students so wholeheartedly embrace this community project. We are really grateful to Ms. Bonnall and her students for putting a personal touch to our rooms.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Creates $19,788,552 Impact on Local Economy

March 6th, 2017

In all, Iowa’s Health Care Sector Provides Nearly 325,000 Jobs Across State

Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

DES MOINES – Stewart Memorial Community Hospital generates 404 jobs that add $19,788,552 to Calhoun County’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association.  In addition, Stewart Memorial’s employees by themselves spend $2,431,832 on retail sales and contribute $145,910 in state sales tax revenue.

“As an organization, our vision is to transform our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences. This community transformation is also achieved through the economic impact that is generated by our organization through jobs and funds that are put back into our local communities. The data provided shows how our employees and their families impact the economy in a very real way, assuring that other small businesses in our communities thrive. In addition, having a hospital and healthcare organization that is committed to providing quality healthcare to our communities we can further contribute to economic development by attracting new businesses to locate in our county,” says Cindy Carstens, CEO.

The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector.  The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.

The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 72,008 people and create another 55,492 jobs outside the hospital sector.  As an income source, hospitals provide $4.5 billion in salaries and benefits and generate another $2.3 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, Iowa’s healgb th care sector, which includes offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $16.6 billion to the state economy while directly and indirectly providing 324,977 jobs, or about one-fifth of the state’s total non-farm employment.

“Through the many changes in health care, there is one certainty: That hospitals and health care are vital to Iowa’s economy,” said IHA president and CEO Kirk Norris. “With nearly 325,000 jobs, health care is one of Iowa’s largest employers, and hospitals remain, by far, the biggest contributor to that number. In Iowa cities and counties, hospitals are uniformly among the largest employers.

“As our political leaders in Washington, DC and Des Moines consider legislation and regulations that impact hospitals and health care, they need to keep these facts in mind. As providers of high-quality, low-cost health care, good jobs and economic stability, there is no replacement for community hospitals.”

The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences.  All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.

SMCH Seeks Nominations for Extraordinary Nurses

March 6th, 2017
Stewart Memorial Community Hospital nurse Sara Thorkildsen, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Holly Wuebker, RN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet in 2016 celebrating exemplary nursing.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital nurse Sara Thorkildsen, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Holly Wuebker, RN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet in 2016 celebrating exemplary nursing.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are seeking nominations for outstanding nurses. In partnership with the DAISY Foundation, SMCH has made a tradition of recognizing nurses who, by virtue of their exemplary work, rise above and beyond.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will present the Daisy Award to an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond providing excellent every day care to patients and families. Award recipients are nominated by peers, physicians, patients, and families and other staff.  Nurses eligible for nomination include those working at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital as well as nurses at McCrary Rost Clinic. Nomination forms are available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Business Office, Outpatient registration; all McCrary-Rost Clinics and on our website at www.stewartmemorial.org.  All nomination forms are due May 1st to Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer or Jodi Henkenius, Administrative Assistant.  Nomination forms can be mailed to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital * Attn: Kari Jones * 1301 West Main St * Lake City, IA * 51449.

Click here for the nomination form. Nomination form.

Telehealth Facilitates New Services at SMCH

February 28th, 2017

Neurologist Dr. Babak Rezaei will begin seeing patients at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City via secure online video streaming.

For patients in rural health settings, the past expectation has been to have to travel a distance to see some specialists. Stewart Memorial Community has begun to implement telehealth in its emergency department and in clinic settings to increase access to specialty care for its patients.

According to HealthIT.gov, “The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.”

In the fall of 2015, a Community Needs Assessment survey was distributed throughout the communities served by SMCH. CEO of SMCH Cindy Carstens comments, “Responses from the surveys clearly requested we bring in more specialists. 42% of the responses stated the service they needed was not available at SMCH with 76% stating the specialist for their specific condition was not available at SMCH. We will be expanding the use of telehealth as we continue to recruit more specialists. To meet the needs of the patients they serve, medical providers are finding that doing an exam or consultation in this format allows them to see more patients as their time is not spent driving to clinic locations.”

Secure online video streaming uses a computer monitor with a camera attached to it, allowing patients and the consulting specialist to talk face to face. The session is not recorded. The encounter is noted in the patient’s electronic health record stating it was conducted using the telemedicine/telehealth system. Carstens describes the equipment that will be utilized at SMCH, “The more specialized systems actually have stethoscopes attached to them so the provider can hear the heart and lung sounds through the computer. There are many other attachments that allow providers to examine physical symptoms. At SMCH we have recently purchased our own system that we will gradually implement in the hospital to do possible consults with the surgeons and other specialists.”

While a major benefit to patients is the convenience of seeing a specialist at the local clinic, the advantages impact health outcomes. Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH says, “Patients can be diagnosed and treated earlier which can contribute to improved outcomes and less costly treatments. Studies have shown patients with telemedicine-supported ICUs and ERs experience reduced mortality rates, reduced complications and reduced hospital stays.”

Telemedicine/telehealth is just one of the many ways SMCH is working to provide patients with coordinated care. The initial phase of the project will start in the clinics in 2017 with continued expansion as specialists are obtained.

Board certified neurologist Babak Rezaei, M.D. will begin seeing patients at McCrary Rost Clinic Lake City via telehealth. He started with UnityPoint Clinic Neurology in early September 2014. He received his medical degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. He completed a neurology residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and a neurophysiology fellowship at NYU in New York City. Patients will initally see Dr. Rezaei at his practice in Fort Dodge, but all follow-up visits will be held at the Lake City site.

Coordination of Care Saves Life of Lake View Patient

February 27th, 2017
When what he thought was food poisoning didn’t get better, Charlie Bohm turned to trusted medical experts at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital who removed his gallbladder and set him on the road to recovery.

When what he thought was food poisoning didn’t get better, Charlie Bohm turned to trusted medical experts at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital who removed his gallbladder and set him on the road to recovery.

At 12:30 AM on July 4th, 2016, Charlie Bohm’s eyes snapped open. He felt awful. His stomach hurt, and he needed to get to the bathroom quickly.

Recalling a bout of food poisoning he’d had the year before, Charlie thought his symptoms were the same. The Lake View native, who works as a drag line operator at a gravel pit operation, decided to tough it out for a couple of days before making an appointment at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake View on July 8.

Rochelle Guess, certified family nurse practitioner, saw Charlie in the clinic. A blood test revealed a high white blood count indicating infection. Suspecting a gallbladder issue, she sent Charlie to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City for an MRI.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a radiologic test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases, MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.

When the MRI confirmed Charlie was suffering from acute calculous cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder, Dr. Susan Hornback admitted him to inpatient care at the hospital.

The gallbladder is part of the gastrointestinal system in the body. It functions as a resevoir for bile which helps digest fatty foods. Bile can also form stones. Gallstones can become stuck in the bile duct causing bile to build up which then inflames the walls of the gallbladder.

The first method of treatment in Charlie’s case was to administer IV antibiotics and pain medicine in an effort to reduce the infection and make Charlie more comfortable. He recalls sleeping a lot for the first two days of his hospital stay. Dr. Hornback explains, “Surgery works best for a patient’s recovery when he is stable and the acute inflammation has subsided. We always take the conservative route – see if the body will heal itself with the least invasion.”

When the antibiotics didn’t affect the white blood count as much as desired, it was determined that removal of the gallbladder was the best option in Charlie’s case.

Dr. Marc Miller, general surgeon, scheduled the surgery on Monday, July 11. Charlie recalls, “Dr. Miller had a surgery to do in Manning on Monday morning. Then he got called in to perform an emergency surgery in Carroll. While I was waiting, the surgery staff kept me well informed about what was going on, and that helped to ease my anxiety about the delay.”

When Charlie awoke, he was told Dr. Miller had performed the surgery laparascopically. During laparascopic surgery, otherwise known as minimally invasive surgery, small incisions are made through which plastic tubes, or ports, are passed. A small camera is sent through the port and the surgeon views the area on a video screen. He then passes the instruments through the ports and removes the gallbladder. The small incisions made in laparascopic surgeries lead to less discomfort for the patient, quicker recovery and less scarring.

Although Charlie never felt sick prior to the onset on July 4th, his gallbladder was in bad shape. “Dr. Miller told me it was one of the worst ones he’d ever seen. It had gangrene!”

Charlie was impressed with the level of communication by the staff. He says, “Everything went really smoothly. Each phase along the way, everybody knew what was going on and made the transition very easy.”

“We have a good system at SMCH,” says Dr. Hornback. “Rochelle, Dr. Miller and I worked together closely to ensure Charlie’s outcome would be the best for him. Three heads are better than one, ensuring all the bases are covered. There is continuous dialogue among everyone involved in the patient’s care. It’s a good partnership.”

After surgery, Charlie spent several days in the hospital recuperating. His children, Stuart, Scott and Staci, found it convenient to stop and check in with their dad. Having family close by made the ten day stay a little easier. “I had excellent care,” he says, “I can’t say enough about the nurses, aides and everyone involved in my care. It makes the mending period a lot easier when you have people who care.”

He was visited by the transition coaches during his stay. The transition coach program at SMCH consists of specially trained registered nurses who help manage the care of patients. Their role includes patient education, communication with all involved in the patient’s care, and coordinating follow up care. “They talked to me about my diet after surgery and gave me a packet of information about what to avoid, letting me know it would be some trial and error.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends patients who’ve had their gallbladders removed avoid high-fat foods, fried and greasy foods, and fatty sauces and gravies. “Increase the fiber in your diet. This can help normalize bowel movements. Add soluble fiber, such as oats and barley, to your diet. But be sure to increase the amount of fiber slowly, such as over several weeks, because too much fiber at first can make gas and cramping worse. Eat smaller, more-frequent meals. This may ensure a better mix with available bile. A healthy meal should include small amounts of lean protein, such as poultry, fish or fat-free dairy, along with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.”

While Charlie also utilizes medical services at the VA for scheduled procedures, he chose SMCH during his time of need. He feels confident that the care he received during his illness and after surgery was top-notch. “I’ve doctored here all my life,” he says. “When you get good care, that’s where you’re going to go.”

SMCH Auxiliary Trivia Night Fundraiser a Success

February 21st, 2017
Team Clue (Shelle Kent, Trenton Klocke, Stacy Bartles, Malory Klocke, Wade Voith, Karie Knouf, Gabe Knouf, and Dave Dawson) earned best dressed team and tied for the most points scored. They earned bragging rights when they defeated the Rockwell City Rotary team in a round of sudden death Dead or Alive questions.

Team Clue (Shelle Kent, Trenton Klocke, Stacy Bartles, Malory Klocke, Wade Voith, Karie Knouf, Gabe Knouf, and Dave Dawson) earned best dressed team and tied for the most points scored. They earned bragging rights when they defeated the Rockwell City Rotary team in a round of sudden death Dead or Alive questions.

The Rockwell City Rotary battled for first place but walked away with second place after an intense Dead or Alive tie-breaking session (left to right): Alyson Dietrich, Lowell Stoolman, Rev. Chad Dietrich, Peggy Stoolman, Grant Grodahl, Megan Grodahl and Jake Grodahl.

The Rockwell City Rotary battled for first place but walked away with second place after an intense Dead or Alive tie-breaking session (left to right): Alyson Dietrich, Lowell Stoolman, Rev. Chad Dietrich, Peggy Stoolman, Grant Grodahl, Megan Grodahl and Jake Grodahl.

It came down to the wire between two teams at the 4th annual Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Trivia Night fundraiser. Jo Grodahl’s Rockwell City Rotary team and Wade Voith’s team tied for first. A game of “Dead or Alive” led Voith’s team to a victory. While only one team can claim first place and bragging rights for the year, every team shares in the fun of the annual fundraiser. “This event is our primary fundraiser to help support our Patient Centered Healing Environment project. The funds will be used to transform areas used most by patients in the medical clinics,” says Mary Ludwig, director of marketing, development, and volunteers at SMCH. Over thirty teams competed in the event, held at Opportunity Living in Lake City on February 4th. Brad “Big Daddy” Addison served as the Quiz Master, adding fun and humor to the night’s festivities.

In addition to trivia, teams participated in “Dead or Alive” and “Heads or Tails,” trying to guess if a famous figure is still alive and if a question is true or false. Teams also earned points by decorating their tables, dressing alike, and playing Name That Tune. Organizers of the event, SMCH Auxiliary Members Toni Kerns, Jan Dougherty, Marci Duncan, Marie Schwarm, Mary Ludwig, Danielle Evans, and Mary Sporleder were pleased to see a lot of team spirit. “Many teams dressed in costume including the games Clue, Guess Who?, The Price is Right, and Magic 8 Ball, sports fans, farmers, cowboys, and Iowa and Iowa State Fans,” says Ludwig.

The combination of ticket sales, a live auction of donated items, and sponsors helped the hospital raise over $55,000, which is an increase of 37% over 2016. “We are very appreciative of everyone that participated, contributed with a donation or sponsored the event. Their generosity directly improves the quality of care we are able to provide to patients. As a private, not-for-profit provider of healthcare, every donation makes a difference,” says Ludwig.

Funds from the event are designated to improve areas in Lake City, Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie. Patients will benefit from more comfortable registration areas, larger restrooms, softer  lighting, updated flooring and wall covering, and additional signage to  share important health information. “We are grateful for the support and partnership we receive from the people in the communities we serve,” says Ludwig. Photos from the event can be found on the hospital’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity. Trivia Night 2018 will be held on Saturday, February 3rd.

Certificate of Need Ensures Access to Health Care Services

February 15th, 2017
Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is one of 118 Iowa community hospitals offering a broad range of health care services to local and area patients.  Our team is committed to our mission of providing quality health and wellness for you and your family. For this reason, we are concerned about a discussion happening at the state level at the capitol.  We want you to be aware of this potential threat that could negatively impact healthcare in Iowa.

As you may know, Iowa has one of the highest quality, lowest cost health care systems in the United States. And at the heart of that system are over one-hundred community hospitals that stand ready, day and night, to serve everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. A significant reason for health care excellence in Iowa has been state oversight of institutional health care services through the Certificate of Need law.

Iowa’s Certificate of Need regulations were first enacted in 1977 for the express purpose of providing for the orderly and economical development of health care services, thereby avoiding unnecessary duplication of services, controlling the growth of overall health care costs and ensuring the stability of community hospitals. Since that time, these regulations have been re-examined multiple times and each time the same conclusion was reached: Iowa needs Certificate of Need.

As the name implies, Certificate of Need ensures that new medical services are truly needed at the community level. This is important because new facilities (including nursing homes, ambulatory surgical centers and hospitals, among others) must have sufficient patient volumes to support proficiency among medical staff and ensure high-quality care. The same applies to existing facilities, yet without Certificate of Need, new, for-profit facilities would spring up all over the state and deplete patient volumes across the board.

Not only would this compromise the quality of care for everyone, but these new facilities would target lucrative lines of medical service while not providing emergency care, charity care and other unprofitable services that are at the core of the community hospital mission. If Iowa’s community hospitals are left with only unprofitable services and only care for complicated patients who are on Medicaid or uninsured, their ability to survive and continue providing high-quality, community-focused care to everyone will be jeopardized.

In fact, repeal of the law in other states has led to hospitals closing. Furthermore, nearly all of these states have instituted a different review process that is highly politicized.

One of Iowa’s greatest strengths is its health care system. Not only do Iowa’s health care providers deliver excellent, accessible and efficient care, but health care employs more than 200,000 people, injecting some $11 billion into the state’s economy. More than 71,000 of these workers are employed by hospitals, which alone have an economic impact of $4.3 billion.

Certificate of Need, which exists in 36 states, not only ensures the stability of these major employers and economic engines, but it also supports the collaborative spirit that fosters communication and cooperation among Iowa health care providers, which, again, leads to better health care for everyone.

Today, with the uncertainties surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Iowa’s Medicaid program and even Medicare, the constancy of Certificate of Need is more important than ever. During this time of significant change in the health care industry, the stability provided by this law allows hospitals to more confidently plan and respond to the needs of the communities they serve.

In all parts of the state, Iowans depend on their community hospitals being there all day, every day. That level of access and preparedness is jeopardized by those who would significantly change or repeal Certificate of Need.

Cindy Carstens, CEO

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight?

February 13th, 2017
Maurine Thieszen, RD, LD, CDE will facilitate a new weight loss program at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. She will host a free information session on Tuesday, February 28 at 4:30 pm at the hospital’s lower level Conference Center.

Maurine Thieszen, RD, LD, CDE will facilitate a new weight loss program at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. She will host a free information session on Tuesday, February 28 at 4:30 pm at the hospital’s lower level Conference Center.

Do you actually need to eat more if you want to lose weight and keep it off?  That’s the basis of the Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight? weight loss program, which is starting soon at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Developed by the doctors who wrote The New York Times bestseller The Full Plate Diet, the program is designed to help you discover how to enjoy a full plate of food and still lose weight.  The key is eating more foods that are naturally rich in fiber because they are low in calories and keep you feeling full for hours. Co-author Dr. Diana Fleming says most people need to eat at least three times more natural, fiber-rich foods than they currently eat.  These are foods such as black beans, apples, oatmeal, carrots, and almonds.  There are literally thousands of natural, fiber-rich foods around the world and many can be found at your local grocery store.  Research shows that eating more of these foods can help you lose weight and help prevent heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Maurine Thieszen, a registered dietitian at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will faciliate the program. She says the goal of the program is to introduce easy, simple steps that participants can start taking at their very next meal, whether at home or in a restaurant. “Many people are amazed at how easy it is to get started and make it a part of their everyday life. This is not a fad diet,” she says.

According to Dr. Fleming, “The problem for most people isn’t figuring out how to lose weight quickly, it’s how to keep it off long-term.”  Research shows 8 out of 10 people who lose weight will gain it all back within a year. This program reveals the tools that can help you keep the weight off for good.

The program will:

• Give you a simple eating plan you can enjoy as part of your everyday life

• Free you to eat more food while cutting the calories in half

• Show you how to rev up your weight loss and lose weight twice as fast

• Empower you to escape the yo-yo dieting trap

• Help you discover the 10 weight loss tools successful losers use

According to Thieszen, this program is for anyone who is actively trying to lose weight or even just thinking about it.  “The way the program is designed creates a fun and friendly atmosphere.  There are no pills or supplements to buy, and you won’t be required to weigh yourself during the program.  Just come, relax and surprise yourself with many new ideas you can try at your very next meal,” says the registered dietitian.

To learn more about Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight? there is a free 45-minute Information Session on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 4:30 pm at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

For more information or to RSVP call Maurine Thieszen at 712-464-4249 or email mthieszen@stewartmemorial.org. (RSVP not required—just suggested by noon Tuesday, Feb. 28!)

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to host Lunch Connection on “Choose Wisely: Antibiotic or Not?”

February 9th, 2017
NicoleKock final cmyk

Dr. Margaret Vitiritto, Nicole Kock and Kelly Hays will present an educational program on “Choose Wisely: Antibiotic or Not?” at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection on Thursday, March 2nd at noon. Reserve your seat by February 23rd.

Margaret10 Kelly HaysCome join us for a lunch connection at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital on Thursday, March 2, 12 noon. Dr. Margaret Vitiritto, pharmacist Nicole Kock, and SMCH Lab Director Kelly Hays will discuss “Choose Wisely: Antibiotic or Not?” They will present a program that touches on several topics related to best practices with antibiotics, such as how antibiotics work, the differences between viruses and bacteria, how they are each diagnosed and treated and how antibiotics can interact with other medications.

Lunch Connection is held in the Lower Level Conference Room at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.  Cost of $5 includes program and lunch. The menu will include oriental chicken salad, a fruit cup and ginger cheesecake dessert.

Call Jennifer Snyder at 712-464-4214 to make reservations by Thursday, February 23rd.  To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org. Find us on Facebook at smchlakecity.

SMCH Hosts URMED Student

January 24th, 2017

Christian_KladstrupChristian Kladstrup is on a journey. He is seeking the right path as he decides his place in the medical field. The junior biology major from Buena Vista University (BVU) recently spent several days with nurses and medical providers at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to observe different aspects of medicine as part of BVU’s Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education and Development program (URMED). 

The program provides three pre-med students each year the opportunity to intern at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (BVRMC) in Storm Lake and three other area hospitals during the college’s January interim. Each student receives a $3,000 stipend to help with costs associated with applying to medical school.

Christian’s journey began when he was only seven years old. His mother, who is a nurse, had an anaphylactic reaction in 2004. She was in a coma and spent time in several hospitals. She emerged from the coma with neurological problems, and young Christian became interested in providing care to patients from that experience.

The URMED program has given Christian the chance to observe in the clinic setting as well as the hospital. He has shadowed nurses, family practice physicians and surgeons. He says his favorite area has been the emergency department. “It’s unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen. However, in the ER you don’t get to form long-lasting relationships with patients like in a family practice,” he remarks. “In a rural hospital, though, you often get to wear both hats, covering ER and providing care in the clinic setting.”

Christian says, “It’s been an awesome experience. I’m thankful to BVU, BVRMC and SMCH for allowing me to observe so many different aspects of medicine. From nursing to emergency medicine to surgery, it’s been helpful to see how each step works in the entire spectrum.”

The next steps in Christian’s journey are to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in April. He will then apply to medical schools this summer. He says the process can be lengthy. “I will write basic applications and the schools will then request a second application which is primarily essay questions. In the fall they will then conduct interviews for potential students.” He should know where he will study medicine by early spring his senior year.

SMCH’s role in the program benefits both the student and the hospital’s efforts to recruit high quality medical providers. SMCH CEO Cindy Carstens comments, “As it becomes more difficult to attract providers to the rural setting I feel that by our participation in the URMED program there is a greater opportunity in the future to recruit individuals similar to Christian to our organization. These individuals are familiar with the rural lifestyle and have a greater connection and desire to provide medical care in this type of setting. The ability to showcase our organization, our culture and the exceptional experiences our patients have may make a lasting impact in the future as these students determine where they may wish to practice.”

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

January 23rd, 2017

Patient Rights and Responsibilities brochure rev 11-16_Page_1Please click on the link below to read Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s

Patient Rights and Responsibilities brochure.

 

Fall 2016 Health Care Connection Now Available

January 11th, 2017

fall-2016-newsletter_page_01To view the fall edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

fall-2016-newsletter

2017 New Year Baby Arrives at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 5th, 2017
Pictured are grandmother Suzi Brehmer holding big brother Mark, Jordan and Rebecca Shaw with New Year Baby Holly Marie with the basket of gifts from employees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Holly was the New Year Baby, born on January 4th, 2017 in Lake City.

Pictured are grandmother Suzi Brehmer holding big brother Mark, Jordan and Rebecca Shaw with New Year Baby Holly Marie with the basket of gifts from employees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Holly was the New Year Baby, born on January 4th, 2017 in Lake City.

The first baby of 2017 at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City has arrived. Holly Marie Shaw was born to Rebecca and Jordan Shaw of Rolfe, Iowa. The New Year baby entered the world at 4:34 PM on Wednesday, January 4th, weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounces and is 20 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Susan Hornback, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician. Holly Marie was welcomed by big brother Mark, age 3, and her grandparents Pat and Andy Rose, Jeff and Suzi Brehmer, and Steve and Carolyn Shaw.

To celebrate the birth of the New Year baby, the family was given a basket full of gifts. Items included diapers, and baby wipes all donated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Gas Relief Drops, Saline Spray, Vitamin D Supplement and Desitin from Community Pharmacy.

Gifts given by SMCH employees included a sleeper from the Radiology Department, a book from Joanne Bean, a sleep bag from Mary Reiter, a board book from Maurine Thieszen, a gift certificate to Lake City Food Center from Dr. Susan Hornback and Danni Anderson, a changing mat and burp cloth from the Housekeeping Department, baby lotion and Peek a Blocks from Amy Vote, a board book and a hooded towel from Cyd Hatfield, a pull toy and board book from Cindy Carstens, diapers, a bib and a Snap-Lock Caterpillar from Laura Smith, a photo album and a book from Casey Wetter, a Happy Lights Bear from Pam Hospelhorn, handmade baby booties from Carmen Schamel, a giant teddy bear from Jenni Macke, and crib sheets, a blanket buddy, a laundry basket and a handmade hat from Jennifer Snyder.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Learns About Radon Awareness

January 4th, 2017
Shelly Schossow presented "Radon Awarenss" to SMCH Auxiliary meeting attendees on January 3rd. She explained the dangers of radon and how homeowners can test for the radioactive gas.

Shelly Schossow presented “Radon Awareness” to SMCH Auxiliary meeting attendees on January 3rd. She explained the dangers of radon and how homeowners can test for the radioactive gas.

In observance of Radon Awareness month in January, Shelly Schossow, Environmental Health at Calhoun County Public Health, presented a program on “Radon Awareness” at the January 3rd Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary meeting.

She defined radon as radioactive gas originating from the decay of natural uranium that exists in most soils and enters homes through cracks, around pipes, through sump pumps and drain tiles, and between the floor and wall joints in basements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a recommended radon level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Homes that test over 4pCi/L are recommended for mitigation. Iowa has the highest percentage of homes above that level in the U.S.

Shelly explained the danger of radon to her audience. “While it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.” As radon decays, it releases radioactive particles that damage the lining of the lungs. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated 15,000 to 22,000 Americans die from radon-related lung cancer each year.

Testing is the only way to know if a home has elevated radon levels. Radon test kits are available at Calhoun County Public Health. The $6 short term kit should be placed in the lowest utilized level of the home, typically a finished basement, avoiding high humidity areas, for three to seven days. Then it should be mailed in for testing. A long term kit is available and tests the home’s radon levels for one year and accurately measures radon levels during seasonal fluctuations.

If high levels of radon are detected, mitigation systems are recommended. The purpose of mitigation systems is to reduce radon concentrations by ventilating the area. Sometimes, less expensive techniques, like sealing sump pump openings are used. A typical mitigation sytem involves installing a three to four inch PVC pipe extending from the basement floor through the roof with a fan to supply suction, thus disbursing dangerous radon gas outside of the home.

For more information about radon testing or to purchase a testing kit, contact Calhoun County Public Health at 712-297-8323.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Implements SIM Initiative

December 28th, 2016
The Calhoun County SIM committee meets at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to to help individuals in Calhoun county with medical challenges. Representatives from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are: (left to right) Zacharina Winker, Director of Nursing; Sonya Dunn, Health Coach; Brooke Minnehan and Kathy Collins, Quality Directors; Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer; Jenni Macke, OB Manager; Michelle Shaver, Social Workers; and Shelly Hammen, Homecare Supervisor. Also included is Kristy Vogel, Public Health Care Coordinator at Calhoun County Public Health (fourth from right).

The Calhoun County SIM committee meets at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to to help individuals in Calhoun county with medical challenges. Representatives from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are: (left to right) Zacharina Winker, Director of Nursing; Sonya Dunn, Health Coach; Brooke Minnehan and Kathy Collins, Quality Directors; Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer; Jenni Macke, OB Manager; Michelle Shaver, Social Workers; and Shelly Hammen, Homecare Supervisor. Also included is Kristy Vogel, Public Health Care Coordinator at Calhoun County Public Health (fourth from right).

In an era of rising medical costs, the Affordable Care Act has attempted to reform the healthcare system in the United States.  While promoting readily available, quality care, it also seeks to reduce healthcare spending through its State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) has made strides toward providing quality health and wellness for its patients at a local level. Efforts are led by the SIM committee at SMCH. Comprised of representatives from Calhoun County Public Health and Social Services, an SMCH social worker, SMCH’s director of nursing, McCrary Rost Clinic nursing staff, SMCH transition health coaches, Community Pharmacy staff, SMCH Quality Director and SMCH Chief Nursing Officer, the SIM committee meets twice monthly to identify patients in need and to follow up on previously identified patients. Quality Director Kathy Collins says, “We focus on patients we identify as having needs, such as transportation to a health care appointment, ability to pay for medications, need for mental health follow up, or home care needs that are not usually paid for by most insurances.”

The SIM initiative is impacting individuals facing challenges in Calhoun county through a variety of resources. In one case, a patient with transportation issues was assisted by Calhoun County Public Health to enable them to attend post hospital treatment and appointments. Other patients weren’t using medications they couldn’t afford. Transition health coaches worked with the patients’ pharmacists to get medications with coupons or changed to a drug that was covered for payment. In another situation, a child’s car seat was deemed unsafe and a replacement car seat was obtained through Public Health. Additionally, Community Pharmacy assisted patients in obtaining no cost glucometers and testing supplies.

The SIM committee’s approach to providing services to patients in need reflects the goals of the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act is a complex piece of legislation. With the SIM initiative, we are putting it to practical use. Providing resources to our patients leads to better health and that’s the right way to approach our hospital’s mission of providing quality health care and wellness to our patients and families,” says Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH.

The Affordable Care Act created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) with the goal of supporting “innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care.” CMMI awarded Iowa a $43.1 million federal grant over a four year period to support a statewide health system transformation. Iowa is one of only 11 states to receive this SIM testing grant.

According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa will use the SIM grant to spearhead efforts to improve population health, improve patient care, and reduce health care cost trends. It will equip communities to address population needs by collaborating with payers, providers and public health entities. These communities will endeavor to focus on prevention, disease management, and patient value. The overall goal is to improve whole-community health.

“The SIM committee initiative at SMCH derives from our vision of ‘Transforming our communities by providing coordinated care.’  This work continues through our partnerships with all entities, including Public Health, in our communities. When we work through barriers to wellness, we find that only together can we provide truly coordinated, exceptional care. The benefits to our patients when we collaborate are endless,” says Kari Jones.

New Service for Women Offered at McCrary Rost Clinic

December 22nd, 2016
Abbie Brooks (right) relied on the advice of physician assistant Megan Grodahl, (left) to help her find the right birth control solution. Along with her partners at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City, Lake View, Rockwell City and Gowrie, Danni Anderson, PA-C, Susan Hornback, DO, Derek Duncan, DO, Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-C, Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C, and Barb Weber, ARNP-C, Megan is specially trained to insert the birth control implant Nexplanon. The highly effective birth control prevents pregnancy for three years.

Abbie Brooks (right) relied on the advice of physician assistant Megan Grodahl, (left) to help her find the right birth control solution. Along with her partners at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City, Lake View, Rockwell City and Gowrie, Danni Anderson, PA-C, Susan Hornback, DO, Derek Duncan, DO, Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-C, Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C, and Barb Weber, ARNP-C, Megan is specially trained to insert the birth control implant Nexplanon. The highly effective birth control prevents pregnancy for three years.

Women seeking solutions to birth control now have another option locally. Seven medical providers with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital were recently trained on administering the birth control implant Nexplanon. The new service provided the answers when Lake View resident Abbie Brooks sought advice from the medical providers at McCrary Rost Clinic about birth control.

The busy 19 year old is a full-time student who hopes to be acccepted into DMACC’s nursing program. She dreams of being a post partum nurse working with new moms and babies. When she isn’t studying, she is working weekends. Even though she loves to work with children and hopes to have a baby someday, Abbie says she just doesn’t have the time to start a family right now.

She visited with advanced registered nurse Stephanie Bellcock at the Lake View clinic. “I explained that I’ve tried taking birth control pills and I hated that. Taking pills makes me gag, and I didn’t always remember to take the pill at the same time every day.”

Next, she tried the patch, a small, square patch that looks like a plastic bandage. It sticks to the skin and gradually releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. It is replaced once per week. However, Abbie experienced side effects. “I had horrible headaches with the patch. I experiemented with wearing it for different lengths of time. It stopped my menstrual cycle, but it caused a discharge,” she says.

Friends and family recommended she talk to her medical provider about a birth control implant. Stephanie explained how Nexplanon works. It is a flexible plastic rod, about the size of a matchstick, that releases a progestin hormone for up to three years. The hormone stops the release of an egg from the ovary, thickens the mucus in the cervix, and changes the lining of the uterus. It is inserted by a specially trained professional in a minor surgical procedure just under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. While it must be removed after three years, a new implant can be inserted if continued birth control is desired. Highly effective, less than one pregnancy occurred per 100 women who use Nexplanon for one year. It has a higher rate of protection than the pill, the patch or condoms.

Because Stephanie was preparing for maternity leave, she referred Abbie to one of her McCrary Rost Clinic partners, certified physician assistant Megan Grodahl. Abbie met with Megan for a birth control consult. “We discussed the pros and cons of the different types of birth control,” explains Megan. “In many consults, if the patient chooses Nexplanon, we are able to do the procedure the very same day, depending on my schedule and the patient’s current form of birth control.”

Megan adds, “I recommend the implant to many of my patients because it is highly effective and patient’s seem to report fewer side effects when compared to other birth control options. Similar to other progestin-only options, Nexplanon’s most common side effect is a change in your normal menstrual bleeding pattern, whether that be irregular bleeding or complete absence of bleeding while in use. However, Nexplanon proves to be superior as patients report significantly less weight gain and much quicker return in fertility, especially when compared to Depo-Provera, the injection. Other reported side effects include headache, acne, depressed mood, redness or bruising of the insertion site, or the site may be tender for 24 hours. Another unique perk to Nexplanon is that you are protected against unwanted pregnancy for three years making it the only other long acting reversible birth control option next to the IUD, intrauterine device, a more invasive implant.”

Abbie says, “Megan explained the procedure so I knew exactly what to expect when I scheduled it. First she cleaned and numbed my upper arm. She measured the distance very specifically. Then she used a special syringe to insert the implant. I felt some pressure during the procedure, but it was painless and very easy.”

While the implant can be removed at any time by a medical professional, Abbie is confident she’s found the right solution. She declares, “I’ve experienced no side effects. I’ve had no problems whatsoever – no headaches or cramps. It’s a relief to know my future is protected and I don’t have to worry.”

Grateful Heart Brings Christmas Early At SMCH

December 20th, 2016
Melanie and Peter Farley generously donated their second Nu-Step machine to the Cardiac Rehab department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Megan Huster, RN, and the cardiac rehab team at SMCH has helped keep Peter motivated to exercise and strengthen his heart.

Melanie and Peter Farley generously donated their second Nu-Step machine to the Cardiac Rehab department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Megan Huster, RN, and the cardiac rehab team at SMCH has helped keep Peter motivated to exercise and strengthen his heart.

Peter Farley has a special place in his heart for the team at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City. The healthcare team has helped him overcome health challenges over the years, including a heart attack. Following his heart attack, the Lake City resident enrolled in the cardiac rehabilitation program at SMCH to strengthen his heart. “I come to Cardiac Rehab for a few reasons,” says Farley. “The program keeps me committed to regular exercise, and it provides an opportunity to meet other people who are also in the program. We have an informal support group that keeps each of us going,” notes Farley.

Also keeping him motivated is the sleek new Nu Step machine he donated to the cardiac rehab department. For the second time, he saw a need to improve the equipment in the department and generously donated the machine. He donated the first Nu Step in 2014 and then decided to donate a second one. “Using the Nu Step is very helpful to patients. Having two machines available allows more people to benefit from the equipment during their time at cardiac rehab. I’ve had a positive experience with the program and want others to benefit as well,” shares Farley. “We are very grateful for his continued generosity and support of our cardiac rehab department,” says Megan Huster, RN and director of the department. “His kindness benefits many and we are very appreciative.”

Exercise on the Nu Step is just a part of the cardiac rehab team’s goals for Peter. They also monitor his health during each session by checking his blood pressure and encourage healthy eating. “I take comfort in knowing professionals are here to help if something happens during exercise. I know I’m in the right spot. The team approach to make sure I’m receiving the best care is reassuring,” says Farley.

At the same time, the cardiac team is assured they can give every patient the benefit of using the Nu Step, thanks to Peter’s generosity. “A healthy future is the best Christmas gift we can give each patient and Peter is helping us make that possible,” adds Huster.

For more information about Cardiac Rehab services available at SMCH, contact Megan Huster, RN, at 712-464-4118 or Bev Watters, RN, at 712-464-3171, ext. 6283.

Pain Clinic Makes All the Difference to Ham Radio Buff

December 14th, 2016

george-riedell

Perry Henely, CRNA

Perry Henely, CRNA

Jeremy Johnson, CRNA

Jeremy Johnson, CRNA

A self-proclaimed student of electronics and technology, George Riedell, who has been a licensed amateur (ham) radio enthusiast for 25 years, will happily discuss frequency, the differences between AM and FM, and the physical challenges of erecting an antenna. Two years ago, the physical aspect of his hobby became nearly impossible. The Lake View computer tech ruptured a disc in his spine while trying to exercise. At first, George was prescribed pain medications to ease the pain. “I could barely move. I hadn’t been very active and my body was letting me know,” he recalls. An MRI later revealed a collapsed disc was compacting nerves and causing a lot of pain.

His doctor informed George at least two epidural injections would be needed to decrease the inflam-mation in the area around the affected disc which would increase his comfort and ability to move. “When deciding where to have the procedure done, SMCH always came up as the cream of the crop. I asked my doctor for a referral to the team at SMCH.”

George was no stranger to the certified nurse anesthetists at SMCH, Perry Henely and Jeremy Johnson. For other past surgeries Perry Henely was in charge of his pain management. “I was extremely nervous. I hadn’t slept or eaten well, and I’m not too fond of needles… or surgery. I was stressed!” says George. “But Perry gave me something to calm me down before the procedure. It helped tremendously!”

“When a patient is extremely anxious before surgery, blood pressure can be raised, breathing is altered, even sweating and nausea can play a factor. The patient definitely doesn’t want to sit still either, which is vital during an epidural. Anxiety can definitely hinder recovery,” says Perry. “Helping a patient relax is only beneficial. The first way we do that is to have a conversation with the patient and communicate what he can expect during the procedure and what the end result will be. Many times that conversation is enough to allay the concerns he may have. However, sometimes we do administer something to help the patient relax, as in George’s case.”

When George arrived for the first epidural, he was impressed with the staff. “Everyone was extremely professional. They took really good care of me and made me feel like everything was going to be okay.”

Perry met with George and explained the procedure. The area of the injection would be numbed. A needle would be inserted into his back through which medicine would travel into the affected area to decrease the swelling and pressure on the nerves and relieve the pain he was feeling. He would then be watched for 15-20 minutes before he was released to go home. “I saw improvement right away. In fact, it was over six months before I felt the need to get the second epidural.”

Today, George is able to enjoy the hobby he’s passionate about. While many ham radio operators set up an area indoors, George often prefers outdoor spaces, regularly utilizing parks at Black Hawk Lake in Lake View where he experiments with his radio equipment and communicates with people around the world. He says his back feels better with continued exercise and movement. “I appreciate the knowledge and compassion of the staff at SMCH. They go the extra mile to make patients more comfortable.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Receives 2017 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics

December 7th, 2016
Members of the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital obstetrics department were honored to receive the Women’s Choice as one of America’s best hospitals to receive obstetric care. Staff shown with the award are (seated) Katie Riehl, Lara Cornelius, (standing) Jenni Macke, Ashley Mork, Director of Nursing Zacharina Winker, Laura Roberts, Megan Grodahl, PA-C, and Dr. Derek Duncan.

Members of the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital obstetrics department were honored to receive the Women’s Choice as one of America’s best hospitals to receive obstetric care. Staff shown with the award are (seated) Katie Riehl, Lara Cornelius, (standing) Jenni Macke, Ashley Mork, Director of Nursing Zacharina Winker, Laura Roberts, Megan Grodahl, PA-C, and Dr. Derek Duncan.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) recently earned the 2017 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics. This places SMCH among the top 15 percent of hospitals considered the best in which to have a baby. Approximately 400 hospitals nationwide met the award’s robust evidence-based criteria that consider female patient satisfaction data, clinical excellence and feedback from women about what they want from a hospital.

“We are pleased to receive this award,” said Jenni Macke, SMCH Manager of Obstetrics. “Birth is a celebration of life and our staff understands and anticipates the needs of moms-to-be. We partner with them to support their birthing choices and women can trust that our caring hands will deliver their miracles in a healing, family-centered environment.”

SMCH is known for its family focus, which encourages family members to participate in the birthing process. As part of this approach, exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact are promoted, enhancing the bond between mother and child.

“New moms have many choices when it comes to having their baby, so choosing the best birthing experience is right up there with choosing the best doctor. We’ve made it easy for moms to select a proven hospital to deliver an outstanding experience,” says Delia Passi, CEO and Founder of the Women’s Choice Award.

In 2015, the hospital’s auxiliary raised funds to purchase two new labor and delivery beds for the obstetrics department. The new beds are designed with the safety of expectant moms in mind. Ergonomic features of the new beds help the mom with multiple positions for comfort during labor and delivery. “The dollars raised by the Auxiliary represent a commitment to provide an exceptional experience for moms and babies,” says Macke. “We are grateful to the Auxiliary for its efforts in ensuring our patients continue to receive the best care possible.”

According to the Women’s Choice Award organization, award winners offer exceptional obstetric services which ranked above the national average for patient safety. The scoring process is also unique in that it is the only national list that is evidence-based and focuses on female patient satisfaction. Awarded hospitals ranked above the national average for patient recommendations, as indicated by the data reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys. Additional considerations included having a NICU on-site and a low early elective delivery ranking.

SMCH has been serving the patients since 1962. To learn more, visit www.stewartmemorial.org, call 712-464-3171 or follow us Facebook.

The Women’s Choice Award® sets the standard for helping women make smart choices through education, empowerment, and validation. Awards are determined by evidence-based research and identify the brands, products and services most recommended and trusted by women. Visit www.WomensChoiceAward.com to learn more. For information about the 2016 America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics, visit http://www.womenschoiceaward.com/awarded/best-hospitals/obstetrics/.

It’s not too late to vaccinate – Get your flu vaccine today!

December 5th, 2016

When you see signs reading “Get Your Flu Vaccine,” you might ask “Isn’t it too late to get vaccinated?” No, it’s not too late! CDC recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season. While the sooner you get vaccinated the more likely you are to be protected against the flu when activity picks up in your community, vaccination into December and beyond can be beneficial during most flu seasons. View CDC’s influenza summary map for a weekly update on flu activity in the United States.

“Flu season most often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Dan Jernigan, Director of the Influenza Division at CDC. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.” It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, so it’s best to get vaccinated early.

For millions of people every season, the flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. Millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu each year.

There is a vaccine that can help prevent flu. While the vaccine varies in how well it works, there are many studies that show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) and not the nasal spray flu vaccine. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) is not recommended for use this season because of concerns about effectiveness.

“We are looking into the situation with the hopes that the nasal spray flu vaccine will once again be an option for some people,” says Dr. Jernigan. “In the meantime, this flu season, CDC recommends the flu shot and not the nasal spray flu vaccine.” Flu shots work and can keep you from getting sick!

The 2016-2017 U.S. flu vaccines have been updated for this season. To learn more about the vaccine options available this season, visit Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. People at high risk include pregnant women, children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, people 65 year of age and older, and people who have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

For those at high risk of serious flu complications, getting a flu vaccine is especially important. It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including children younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine. To learn more about high risk conditions, visit People at High Risk of Developing Flu– Related Complications.

Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously also may need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses.

“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” says Dr. Jernigan. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.

Flu vaccines are offered at Community Pharmacy in Lake City, Lake View, Rockwell City, and Gowrie. Stop in and get one, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. For more information about the seriousness of the flu and the benefits of flu vaccination, talk to your doctor or other health care professional, visit www.cdc.gov/flu, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Receives Two Prestigious Patient Experience Awards

November 15th, 2016
CEO of Press Ganey Patrick T. Ryan presented two awards to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in recognition of exemplary achievement in patient care.  Pictured are (left to right) Kathy Collins, RN, Lara Cornelius, RN, Patrick T. Ryan, CEO Cindy Carstens, and Carmen Ludwig, LPN. The group received the prestigious Pinnacle of Excellence Award in addition to the Guardian of Excellence Award during the 2016 Press Ganey National Client Conference in Orlando, Florida.

CEO of Press Ganey Patrick T. Ryan presented two awards to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in recognition of exemplary achievement in patient care. Pictured are (left to right) Kathy Collins, RN, Lara Cornelius, RN, Patrick T. Ryan, CEO Cindy Carstens, and Carmen Ludwig, LPN. The group received the prestigious Pinnacle of Excellence Award in addition to the Guardian of Excellence Award during the 2016 Press Ganey National Client Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is pleased to announce it has been named a 2016 Pinnacle of Excellence Award® winner and a 2016 Guardian of Excellence Award® winner by Press Ganey. “The award is very humbling and we are grateful. The recognition is based on survey feedback from the patients we served for inpatient care. This prestigious recognition reflects the quality of care our entire team provides for our patients,” says Cindy Carstens, CEO of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.  

The Press Ganey Pinnacle of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing clients from health care organizations nationwide on the basis of extraordinary achievement and consistently high levels of excellence for at least three years in patient experience.  

The second award, the Guardian of Excellence Award, recognizes top-performing health care organizations that have consistently achieved the 95th percentile or above of performance in patient experience. The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year. 

“We are proud to partner with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital,” said Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. “These awards are a testament of their determination to reduce patient suffering and deliver more patient-centered care. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is transforming the industry standard with their continued focus on providing high-quality care in the communities they serve.”

Carstens shares “At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, we understand our patients’ health is their most valuable asset, and their well-being is of utmost importance. Through several initiatives, our team delivers modern medical treatment and exceptional patient care. We conduct nurse shift change at the bedside to keep patients informed about their plan of care, and we use transition coaches to educate patients about their stay and current health issues. We also reduce anxiety through the implementation of our planning for discharge approach which brings together many departments to ensure all of the patients’ needs are met during their stay and after they go home”.  

According to Carstens, the award represents an important recognition from the industry’s leader in measuring, understanding, and improving the patient experience. “This great achievement is only possible through tremendous teamwork and the unwavering commitment from every teammate to provide each patient with extraordinary care,” notes Carstens. “Our employees from every department can take pride in earning this prominent distinction together.”

The award was presented November 3 during the Press Ganey National Client Conference in Orlando, Fla. Accepting the award was Cindy Carstens, CEO, Kathy Collins, Director of Quality, Lara Cornelius, RN and Carmen Ludwig, LPN. 

About Press Ganey 

Press Ganey is a leading provider of patient experience measurement, performance analytics and strategic advisory solutions for health care organizations across the continuum of care. With over 30 years of experience, Press Ganey is recognized as a pioneer and thought leader in patient experience measurement and performance improvement solutions. Our mission is to help health care organizations reduce patient suffering and improve clinical quality, safety and the patient experience. As of January 1, 2016, Press Ganey served more than 26,000 health care facilities. For more information, visit www.pressganey.com.

“Aging Gracefully” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

November 3rd, 2016
Stephanie Bellcock presented “Aging Gracefully” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Stephanie Bellcock presented “Aging Gracefully” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Stephanie Bellcock, Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), spoke to over 60 people at SMCH’s “Lunch Connection” event. Her program addressed “Aging Gracefully.”

Betty Friedan said, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Stephanie began her presentation on an optimistic note that though everyone ages, steps can be taken to ensure the process is gradual. She explain that as bodies age, weight gain can become a frustration. Metabolism changes due to muscle mass changes. Physical activity and portion control at meals can help reduce weight.

She recommended to her audience to know their numbers. Understanding cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body mass index and waist circumference and how those numbers impacts their health will lead to more control over their overall health. She also discussed important health screenings like colonoscopy, mammogram, pap smear and PSA screening. She encouraged smokers to quit and everyone to use sunscreen regularly. She talked about supplements like calcium and vitamin D but cautioned listeners to discuss with their primary healthcare provider how supplements may interact with their current medications. Stephanie also explained the importance of getting vaccinations for influenza, pneumoccoal, shingles and TDAP (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis or whooping cough).

Additionally, Stephanie received certification from the North American Menopause Society in 2016. Her training enables her to help patients who are experiencing symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, insomnia, frequent urination, decreased sex drive, and mood swings. She explained that a simple saliva test can help to pinpoint hormonal needs for women whose estrogen and progesterone hormone levels have changed.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held March 2, 2017. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Fall Fun and Education the Focus at SMCH’s Open House

October 13th, 2016
Pictured is Ricole and Brynn Potts who showed off her cute costume at the 2015 Fall Open House at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. This year’s event will take place on October 27th from 4:00 to 7:00 with fun for the whole family.

Pictured is Ricole and Brynn Potts who showed off her cute costume at the 2015 Fall Open House at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. This year’s event will take place on October 27th from 4:00 to 7:00 with fun for the whole family.

The leaves on the trees are turning colors and harvest is starting, indicating fall is in full swing.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) and Calhoun County Public Health will partner to host a Fall Open House on Thursday, October 27 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at SMCH.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Children and adults are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Many activities are planned for families attending including a photo booth; carriage rides, pumpkin ring toss, temporary tattoos, and crafts. Several family-focused vendors will be on hand, including Calhoun County Ambulance, Headstart, New Opportunities and Lake City Union Church. Families that visit each vendor will have a chance for a drawing for prizes. Free appetizers will also be available in the Junction Cafeteria. Additional services on hand will be the flu shot clinic and free blood pressure checks. Also, the SMCH Gift Shoppe will be open.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to host Lunch Connection on “Aging Gracefully”

October 13th, 2016
Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-C

Stephanie Bellcock will present an educational program on “Aging Gracefully” at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection on Thursday, November 3rd at noon. Reserve your seat by October 27th.

Come join us for a lunch connection at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital on Thursday, November 3, 12 noon. Certified advanced nurse practitioner Stephanie Bellcock will discuss “Aging Gracefully.” Stephanie will present a program that touches on several topics, such as vaccinations and screenings, skin care, vitamins, nutrition and hormone therapy.

Lunch Connection is held in the Lower Level Conference Room at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.  Cost of $5 includes program and lunch. The menu will include chicken pot pie soup, breadstick, pumpkin spice bundt cake for dessert, and hot apple cider.

Call Jennifer Snyder at 712-464-4214 to make reservations by Thursday, October 27th.  To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org. Find us on Facebook at smchlakecity.

Communities rally around King, family says 5-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia in February

October 11th, 2016

By Erin Sommers, Graphic-Advocate Editor

Emma King, 5, plays at a relative's house in Lake City Sept. 14. King was diagnosed in February with leukemia. GRAPHIC-ADVOCATE PHOTO/ERIN SOMMERS

Emma King, 5, plays at a relative’s house in Lake City Sept. 14. King was diagnosed in February with leukemia. GRAPHIC-ADVOCATE PHOTO/ERIN SOMMERS

Emma King’s story is the kind that doctors use to remind parents to trust their instincts.

In February, Emma, who lives in Coon Rapids, had visited Dr. Susan Hornback at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital a few times. Emma had stomach aches and a few other worrisome, but not necessarily serious, symptoms, Hornback and Emma’s mother, Jenni King, said.

“The most common cause of abdominal pain in children is constipation,” Hornback said last week.

But Hornback took King’s concerns seriously. The two women work together at the hospital, where King works in the radiology department.

“When the mom is persistent and says something’s not right, you really have to listen,” Hornback said.

As King tells the story, Hornback met with King and Emma late one afternoon, and then decided to refer the girl to a gastroenterologist. To speed up the process, King said, Hornback ordered a full blood panel – a series of blood tests to check a variety of health measures. Hornback had done that before, and the tests came back normal.

Hornback left the office, asking her staff to call her about the blood tests. King and Emma left, too, heading home. King’s cell phone rang as she drove – it was Hornback’s partner, who said Emma’s white blood was abnormally high – so high, King said, Emma shouldn’t have been running around and laughing, as she had been at the office.

Hornback gave King two options: return to Lake City and get Emma admitted to the hospital there, through the emergency room, or head straight to Des Moines, to Blank Children’s Hospital. Hornback had called ahead to the hospital and spoken with an oncologist there, who cleared the way for the Kings to bypass the local hospital and meet with a specialist as soon as possible.

King called her husband, Matt, and told him to start packing a bag, because they needed to head to Des Moines. She said she didn’t go in to details just then.

The next few days were a whirlwind. Doctors diagnosed Emma with leukemia and quickly plotted a course of treatment. They were able to catch the disease much earlier than with most patients, probably only six to eight weeks after it began. Emma hadn’t displayed any of the classic symptoms of leukeumia, King said.

Emma’s prognosis is good – she faces about 2.5 years of treatment, after which 97 percent of patients reach the five-year mark cancer free. For now, Emma and King head to Blank Children’s Hospital each Monday, most weeks for chemotherapy. Emma also gets routine spinal punctures.

“They check the fluid (in her spine),” King said. “Leukemia cells like to hide.”

Doctors also then flush out any potential cancerous cells in her spine with chemotherapy.

As treatment has progressed, Emma has had fewer reactions requiring hospitalization. And most days, Emma seems like any other kindergartner. A student at Coon Rapids, Emma said she enjoys kindergarten, especially lunch. Mashed potatoes is one of her favorite school lunch items, she said, while learning to read is a classroom favorite. Her favorite books, she said, are about Clifford the Big Red Dog.

“I miss school a lot” when she goes to Des Moines for treatment, she said. She keeps King close for the treatment itself. “I just sit on my mom’s lap and squeeze her hand when it hurts.”

Emma’s doctors encouraged King to let Emma attend school, as long as she’s feeling up to it.

“I very much trust the oncology team,” King said. “They said, ‘Let her be a kid. Don’t put her in a bubble.’”

King did provide hand sanitizer, in bulk, to Emma’s kindergarten teacher, and offered to bring more when the initial supply runs out.

The idea of two more years of treatment is exhausting, King said, but she focuses on the end result.

“I’ll have a healthy kid,” she said. “I’m very thankful she won’t remember the majority of it. It will be a blip on the radar.”

These days, King said she finds herself reaching out to moms whose children have been newly diagnosed, offering them comfort and encouragement. She has benefitted from the support of friends and family – her parents in Lake City help watch her son, who is 2, when she has to take Emma to a doctor appointment. Friends also organized a large fundraiser last spring and started an online fundraising account to help with medical costs.

Stewart Memorial has been helpful, too, allowing her to adjust her work schedule around Emma’s appointments and needs. The routine of work “helps me deal with it some days,” she added.

In the days following Emma’s diagnosis, King was inundated with phone calls, text messages and emails from friends and family members hoping for more information. She started a Facebook page, where she posts updates. The ability to update via social media can be a double-edged sword, she said. While she appreciates not having to update people individually, if she doesn’t update frequently, people start asking her for updates. No news, she said, is usually good news.

September marks Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, which wasn’t on King’s radar until Emma’s diagnosis.

“Before this, I knew nothing about how common it was,” King said. “And only 4 percent of (cancer research) funding goes to it.”

In the future, King said she would like to be able to support organizations such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, which either help fund pediatric cancer research or help families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.

October is National Physical Therapy Month – Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Physical Therapy Expands Services to SCC Sports

October 4th, 2016

jill-birks-with-playerSouth Central Calhoun Community Schools sports bring the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) service communities together in their passionate support of the teams and athletes.  Participation in athletics provides youth the opportunity to develop health and fitness habits for a lifetime.  Participation in sports however can come with bumps and bruises.  Because SMCH is committed to transforming our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences, the hospital’s Rehab Services Department have long partnered with SCC athletic department to provide community services.

Physical therapist Jill Birks has been a familiar face to the SCC football team. On Friday nights, for the last seven years, she helps care for any Titan injuries. “I truly enjoy being a part of the TITAN team. Being on the sidelines is the best seat in the house!” enthuses Jill.

Jill’s sideline experience and passion for athletes’ care prompted her to facilitate a concussion prevention and management program between SMCH and area schools five years ago.  Each spring, SCC and SE Valley middle school and high school students have the opportunity to participate in baseline ImPACT testing. In 2016 alone, Jill administered 265 baseline ImPACT tests to SCC and SE Valley students.  “Concussion education and management is a passion of mine.  Having the athletes tested prior to injury, to establish that baseline, is the first step in concussion management. Follow up with a medical provider educated in the interpretation of the follow-up ImPACT test is the next step.  Educating the coaches, parents and athletes in the proper return to sport is of utmost importance. The ISHAA and the IGHASU have protocols that must be followed for a safe return to sport,” Jill notes.

ImPACT is a computerized test SMCH implemented five years go as part of the new concussion program.  The ImPACT test evaluates the brain’s memory, reaction time, speed and concentration. Baseline tests are completed before an injury occurs so a student’s normal skills are known.  Then, if the student would have a possible concussion injury, a post injury ImPACT test would be administered by a medical provider and those results compared to the student’s baseline results. This allows a better assessment of the student’s status. 

SMCH expanded their Rehabilitation Services staff in 2016 by adding physical therapists, Luke Larson and Branden Roberts, who share Jill’s passion for athletes’ care.  Their enthusiasm, combined with SMCH’s dedication to community health, has allowed for the expansion of services provided to SCC athletics. Beginning this fall, Branden and Luke are available to SCC athletes via their coach’s referral before school, twice a week, free of charge, at the high school. They provide basic injury assessment and treatment to help prevent minor injuries from becoming more serious.  Basic therapy treatment includes teaching the athlete therapeutic techniques and exercise programs specifically designed to address injury. Athletes then complete their treatment programs at home as prescribed by the therapist to be effective. If a basic physical therapy treatment is not successful, then the parents/guardian of the athlete would be contacted to discuss more extensive physical therapy treatment options for the injury. 

SMCH is committed to providing exceptional care to the surrounding communities and supporting individuals in developing habits for lifelong health and wellness. SMCH celebrates National Physical Therapy Month in October and thanks our dedicated physical therapists for their commitment to providing knowledgeable and compassionate care to our patients. To learn more about the services offered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Rehabiliation Services, call 712-464-4244.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Earns Top Work Places 2016 Award

September 26th, 2016

twp_top150_desmoinesregister_portrait_2016_awThe goal and desire of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is to be the best place for patients to receive care, the best place for employees to work, and the best place for physicians to practice. The effort SMCH has put forth to accomplish that goal is now recognized. For the fifth time in six years, the Lake City hospital has earned a spot on the Des Moines Register Top Work Places list.

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.  Over the past year, more than 6,000 organizations and two million employees in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees. Through its workplace improvement offerings, WorkplaceDynamics  provides solutions, training and tools to help clients improve their workplace.

This is the sixth year the Des Moines Register has identified top work places in Iowa. They collaborate with Workplace Dynamics to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Companies were either contacted by Workplace Dynamics to participate in the survey process or nominated to participate by an employee. SMCH was able to achieve a 79% response rate of employees who participated in the survey, which was a 4% increase from 2015.

“Being a top workplace for us is directly related to our employees loving what they do, where they work and who they work with.  Being nominated five times over the past six years has a significant impact on us as an organization.  It tells me that our priorities are in the right place – and that starts with our people.  By focusing on our leaders and staff, they are able to focus their attention on delivering high quality patient care to every patient we serve,” comments Holly Espenhover, Chief People Officer at SMCH.

“It is an honor for SMCH and our employees to be recognized as a Top Work place again this year,” says Cindy Carstens, Chief Executive Officer. “Our organization’s #1 priority from our strategic plan is to recruit and retain high performing providers and staff. In hiring the very best people and providing a great place for them to work allows our employees to provide an exceptional experience to the people we serve. Their genuine commitment and passion to provide that exceptional experience ensures quality health and wellness for all of the families in our communities.StewartEmployees2015

August is National Breastfeeding Month

August 25th, 2016

Lactation specialistsStewart Memorial Community Hospital is celebrating August as National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding your baby has many benefits for both mom and baby. In addition to giving baby the nutrition needed to protect from illness and encourage growth, breastfeeding helps mom lose the baby weight, strengthens her bones, and reduces ovarian and breast cancer. The physical closeness during nursing helps form the emotional bond that is important for their relationship and psychological growth. Lactation specialists at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital educate families about the benefits of breastfeeding babies. In addition, they provide a a support system that is necessary for everyone to be successful by encouraging the mom and family. At SMCH the lactation specialists meet with each new mom to teach how to feed baby, demonstrate how to hold baby, how to operate breast pumps, how to store the milk, and answer any questions They help women experiencing breastfeeding problems, such as latching difficulties, painful nursing, and low milk production. A lactation consultant also helps babies who aren’t gaining enough weight. The lactation specialists at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are pictured: (left to right) Katie Barkmeier, RN, Katie Pudenz, RN, and Andreau Kramer, LPN. For more information about breastfeeding and to ask questions, call 712-464-4203.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Wins a Studer Group Excellence in Patient Care Award

August 12th, 2016
Pictured are SMCH staff members who accepted the Excellence in Patient Care award at the Studer Group’s What’s Right in Health Care conference: (left to right) Cindy Carstens, CEO, director of nursing Zacharina Winker, RN, and transition coach Sonya Dunn, RN.

Pictured are SMCH staff members who accepted the Excellence in Patient Care award at the Studer Group’s What’s Right in Health Care conference: (left to right) Cindy Carstens, CEO, director of nursing Zacharina Winker, RN, and transition coach Sonya Dunn, RN.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) earned an Excellence in Patient Care award from  Studer Group, a Huron Healthcare solution. Studer Group is an outcomes-based healthcare performance improvement firm that works with healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, and beyond, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial results.

SMCH is being recognized for exemplary results related to their overall hospital rating as measured by the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey. Organizations receiving this award achieved a ranking at or above the 90th percentile for patients discharged in 2015 as measured by the HCAHPS patient experience survey required by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This means patients gave the hospital a rank of 9 or 10 on their patient satisfaction survey after receiving care at SMCH.

“This recognition is a true validation of the hard work all of the employees at SMCH do to provide quality care with compassion to the patients we serve, which is the mission of our organization. Every department in the hospital played a key role in the patient perception of care they received, whether it is from the cleanliness of the hospital or the communication of key information provided by the care givers. The achievement of being recognized is a result of the team effort that is displayed daily by our employees,”  says Cindy Carstens, CEO.

This marks the third time the Lake City hospital has been recognized for outstanding patient care from the Studer Group. In 2013, the hospital received two other Excellence in Patient Care awards. The first award recognized the Emergency Department at SMCH. The second award was for overall high quality of patient care. Additionally, the hospital received a Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals for obstetrics earlier this year. “These awards illustrates our organization’s consistency in striving for high quality patient care,” notes Carstens.

Excellence in Patient Care awards are presented annually to a select group of organizations from Studer Group’s partner-base of hospitals, health systems and physician organizations. To be eligible for an award, an organization must demonstrate outstanding performance and achievement in patient care, employee engagement or physician engagement.

The awards were presented at What’s Right in Health Care®, an annual healthcare best practices conference, which took place Aug. 2-4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois and attracted administrative and clinical healthcare professionals from the U.S., Canada and Australia. What’s Right in Health Care® aimed to improve healthcare for patients, physicians and staff through peer-to-peer sharing of leading practices. Presenters shared the strategies and tactics contributing to their top results in areas such as patient safety, emergency department wait times and employee satisfaction.

Summer 2016 Health Care Connection Now Available

August 8th, 2016

summer-2016-newsletter_page_01To view the summer edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

Summer 2016 newsletter

“No Falls This Fall” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

August 4th, 2016
Maurine Thieszen and Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C presented “No Falls This Fall” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Maurine Thieszen and Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C presented “No Falls This Fall” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Tonja Petersen-Anderson,  and Maurine Thieszen, dietitian, diabetes educator and certified Tai Chi instructor at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) spoke to nearly 70 people at SMCH’s “Lunch Connection” event. Their program addressed “No Falls This Fall”

Tonja’s research revealed that one in three U.S. adults fall each year with a cumulative cost of $55 billion in medical cost. The average medical cost of a fall is $35,000. Falls account for 70% of accidental death in people older than 75 years of age.  Among the causes for falls are medications, decreased eyesight, arthritis, and chronic diseases that can cause loss of balance. She said that exercise is the biggest factor in preventing falls, along with change made in the home like no wax floors, getting rid of throw rugs, and installing handrails and higher toilets. She urged attendees to be sure to tell their medical providers if they fall and discuss medications they are using.

Maurine described tai chi as “meditation in motion.” Originating in China as a martial art, tai chi is becoming more widely known for its value in treating and preventing many health problems. An exercise program for all ages and fitness levels, she noted that tai chi can even be adapted for people confined to wheelchairs. With a new tai chi class being offered at SMCH in August, she encouraged those wishing to sign up, to check with their medical providers before beginning any exercise program. “Because of tai chi’s excellent safety record, chance are that you’ll be encouraged to try it!” says Maurine. Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention class will be offered starting August 23, 2016 at SMCH. The cost for 26 sessions is $50.00. Call 712-464-4249 to register.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held November 3, 2016. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Learn more about the Well Child Care Program at McCrary Rost Clinic

August 1st, 2016

To read about the Well Child Care Program, a partnership between Calhoun County Public Health and McCrary Rost Clinic, click here: Well Child Care brochure

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital announces participation in Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative

July 27th, 2016
Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer, and Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital discuss the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative that will introduce changes at McCrary Rost Clinic to improve healthcare and reduce costs.

Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer, and Cindy Carstens, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital discuss the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative that will introduce changes at McCrary Rost Clinic to improve healthcare and reduce costs.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) will be implementing changes in its clinics as part of the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) as a member of the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). “This change is reflective of our committment to quality health care for the communities we serve,” says Cindy Carstens, SMCH CEO.

The IHC and its partners will receive up to $32.5 million during the four-year initiative to provide technical assistance support to help equip clinicians in six states – Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota – with tools, information, and network support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and spend health care dollars more wisely, according to the IHC.

TCPI is designed to help clinicians achieve large-scale quality improvement transformation.  The initiative is one part of a strategy advanced by the Affordable Care Act to strengthen the quality of patient care and spend health care dollars more wisely. Since the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched numerous programs and models to help health providers achieve large-scale transformation. Programs like the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) are striving to help clinicians and hospitals move from volume-based towards patient-centered quality health care services. SMCH has been a member of HEN since 2011 and has worked toward goals like reducing readmissions for patients for the same health issue, curtailing surgical site infections, decreasing falls and immobility, lowering catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and lessening adverse drug events.

Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH comments, “SMCH has seen tremendous success with the HEN.  Improvements in quality have been noted in medication errors, readmissions, falls and early OB deliveries.  With the success of the HEN program, we are determined to see the same progress from TCPI.  Quality measures will center around improvement in diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension and many more areas in our McCrary Rost Clinics.  The vision of SMCH/McCrary Rost Clinics ‘transforming our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences’ will drive the TCPI movement in our clinics. While this work is never easy, it will continue to be our #1 objective, to provide quality health and wellness for the communities we serve.”

TCPI aims for improved patient care in a number of ways: to build the evidence based on practice transformation so that effective solutions can be scaled, improve health outcomes for millions of patients, reduce unnecesssary hospitalizations, sustain efficient care delivery by reducing unnecessary testing and procedures, and transition 75% of practices completing the program to participate in alternative payment models. SMCH has begun efforts in the core measures, among those are patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart failure, low back pain, children with upper respiratory infection, and all-cause 30-day readmission rates.

TCPI is one of the largest federal investments uniquely designed to support clinician practices through nationwide, collaborative, and peer-based learning networks that facilitate large-scale practice transformation. SMCH CEO Cindy Carstens says, “As a provider of health care to the communities we serve, we are seeking to develop methods that will improve health care and reduce costs. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges TCPI will bring. Our staff are committed to creating and implementing changes that have proven to be best for our patients. It’s the right way to provide care to our patients.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital announces Board Changes

July 11th, 2016
Theresa Hildreth

Theresa Hildreth

Mary Warner

Mary Warner

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Board of Directors announces the retirement of long-time board member Mary Warner. After serving 11 years on the SMCH board, Warner remembers a highlight of participating in a hospital board convention in San Diego, California. “Ed Maahs was interim CEO shortly after I came on board, and he recommended I attend the convention. I met a lot of other people who served at hospitals in the same situation as SMCH. We recognized the good things that were happening across the country, and we understood that we were all facing some of the same challenges.”

The former owner of Alliance Insurance and Real Estate retired in 2015. She recently recuperated from knee surgery and is currently utilizing the Rehab Services department at SMCH for physical therapy. “Knowing I wouldn’t be able to commit the time needed, I decided to step down from the Board. Plus, bringing on a new person infuses new ideas and new energy.

Stepping into Warner’s shoes on the SMCH board is Rockwell City resident Theresa Hildreth. She says, “I’m very pleased to be involved in the healthcare realm again as a board member at SMCH. I recently attended an orientation day with Heather Cain, Cindy Carstens and the administrative team and I look forward to working with these caring professionals and the rest of the SMCH Board.”

Theresa wears many hats in her professional and personal life. She and husband, Tom Hildreth, operate Martin Hildreth Company, Inc. of Rockwell City, an underground installer of utilities. Theresa is the office manager and financial officer of the four generation family business. She also serves as the Administrative Director of the Rockwell City Chamber & Development. During the past two Iowa legislative sessions Theresa has served as a clerk in the Iowa Senate at the State Capital to Senator Kraayenbrink(2015) and Senator Zumbach(2016). Theresa currently serves on the Board of Directors at Opportunity Living and is president of the Rockwell City Rotary Club.

Her most important job is that as grandmother to 9 grandchildren. Theresa is a member of St. Francis Catholic Church and the Rockwell City Chamber. In her leisure she enjoys motorcycle riding and travel.

She looks forward to serving on the SMCH Board of Directors. She comments, “Mary (Warner) leaves great footprints for me to fill and I appreciate the opportunity to follow in those footprints. We are truly blessed to have such a fine healthcare facility in Calhoun County as a major healthcare provider and major employer. Their commitment to quality health and wellness for you and your family is evident as I encounter this dynamic team.”

Jefferson couple finds reassurance and calm in the delivery room at SMCH

July 5th, 2016
Dr. Susan Hornback, assisted by Danni Anderson, PA-C, delivered Evelynn Marie on March 11, 2016. Her parents, Dawn and Garrett Tingwald, make their home in Jefferson.

Dr. Susan Hornback, assisted by Danni Anderson, PA-C, delivered Evelynn Marie on March 11, 2016. Her parents, Dawn and Garrett Tingwald, make their home in Jefferson.

Dawn Tingwald knows a thing or two about medicine. In fact, she recently earned a master’s degree in the family nurse practitioner program at Clarkson College. As she worked toward her degree, she completed clinical rotations at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) and spent time with the medical providers on staff. When she found out she was pregnant, she knew right away she wanted board certified family physician Dr. Susan Hornback for obstetric care.

With her husband, Garrett, Dawn lives and works in Jefferson as a nurse at the hospital, and Garrett farms near Woodward. Dawn and Garrett didn’t mind the drive to Lake City for her checkups. “During my clinicals at SMCH for my registered nurse degree, my bachelor of science in nursing degree, and for my master’s, I always found it to be a pleasant atmosphere. For my women’s health rotation, I enjoyed working with Dr. Hornback. I watched her and Dr. Duncan in emergent OB situations, and they always remained calm and caring.”

Knowing the providers to whom they were entrusting their health needs was important to the couple. “I liked the fact there are only a few providers who will potentially deliver my baby, whereas at a larger facility there could be any number of strangers who are with you in the delivery room. It’s harder to trust someone you don’t know. The continuity of care at SMCH means I know who is going to be there to help me,” she says.

All of Dawn’s prenatal appointments were with Dr. Hornback, but when her water broke in the evening on March 10th, Dr. Derek Duncan was the obstetric provider on call. “He communicated with Dr. Hornback via telephone, and together they came up with a plan.”

While at home, Dawn had a few contractions, but they had stopped by the time she and Garrett arrived at the hospital. Discussion began about using the hormone pitocin to induce labor. “We talked about the risks of delaying induction and of starting it too soon. Dr. Duncan listened to our requests, we reached a compromise and started the induction a little sooner,” recalls Dawn.

Dawn was kept as comfortable as possible. “I was given an epidural injection before the labor became too strong. I was comfortable – even able to nap for a time until the contractions ramped up.”

Dr. Hornback arrived on March 11 to deliver Dawn’s baby, assisted by certified physician assistant Danni Anderson. “The delivery was going well until Dr. Hornback asked me to only push every other contraction and for the nurse to give me oxygen. Because of my medical knowledge, I knew there was an emergency developing. I tuned in to the monitors and understood the concern that the baby’s heart rate dropped and took longer to come back to normal during contractions. However, Dr. Hornback and her team were calm throughout all of it. Garrett couldn’t detect any hint of alarm or concern from them. Because of the way they were reacting, I was able to stay calm and focused.”

When Evelynn Marie was born at 2:48 p.m. on March 11, her hand was by her face, causing the difficulty. But the healthy 7 pound, 10 ounce baby lost no time in snuggling with her mother who comments, “After delivery we were allowed skin-to-skin contact. Essentially, the medical team gave us time to begin nursing and bonding.”

Dr. Hornback explains the team’s philosophy, “Dr. Duncan and I trained at the same medical school. We are both very patient and conservative when it comes to delivering babies. These babies come when they are ready. We intervene as little as possible and don’t induce unless it is absolutely necessary.”

“I appreciate Dr. Duncan’s and Dr. Hornback’s hands-off approach unless intervention is necessary,” Dawn says. The calm, reassuring atmosphere made for a wonderful beginning for the bright-eyed healthy baby and her parents.

To make an appointment to see Dr. Derek Duncan or Dr. Susan Hornback, call 712-464-7907. For more information about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, visit its website at www.stewartmemorial.org or follow us on Facebook.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Receives 2016 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics

June 24th, 2016
Members of the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital obstetrics department were honored to receive the Women’s Choice as one of America’s best hospitals to receive obstetric care. Nursing staff shown with the award are (left to right) Katie Barkmeier, Shelly Weston, Jenni Macke, Ann Sandvig, Katie Pudenz, Director of Nursing Zacharina Winker, Ashley Mork, and Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer. Not pictured are Traci Winans, Sue Aber, Sara Thorkildsen, Dr. Derek Duncan, Dr. Susan Hornback and Danni Anderson, PA-C.

Members of the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital obstetrics department were honored to receive the Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals to receive obstetric care. Nursing staff shown with the award are (left to right) Katie Barkmeier, Shelly Weston, Jenni Macke, Ann Sandvig, Katie Pudenz, Director of Nursing Zacharina Winker, Ashley Mork, and Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer. Not pictured are Traci Winans, Sue Aber, Sara Thorkildsen, Dr. Derek Duncan, Dr. Susan Hornback and Danni Anderson, PA-C.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) recently received a 2016 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics, placing it among the top 15 percent of hospitals considered the best in which to have a baby. Approximately 400 hospitals nationwide met the award’s robust evidence-based criteria that consider female patient satisfaction data, clinical excellence and feedback from women about what they want from a hospital.

“We are pleased to receive this award,” said Jenni Macke, SMCH Manager of Obstetrics. “Birth is a celebration of life and our staff understands and anticipates the needs of moms-to-be. We partner with them to support their birthing choices and women can trust that our caring hands will deliver their miracles in a healing, family-centered environment.”

SMCH increased its number of deliveries by 10% from 2014 to 2015 and is known for its family focus, which encourages family members to participate in the birthing process. As part of this approach, exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact are promoted enhancing the bond between mother and child.

“New moms have many choices when it comes to having their baby, so choosing the best birthing experience is right up there with choosing the best doctor. We’ve made it easy for moms to select a proven hospital to deliver an outstanding experience,” says Delia Passi, CEO and Founder of the Women’s Choice Award.

In 2015, the hospital’s auxiliary raised funds to purchase two new labor and delivery beds for the obstetrics department. The new beds are designed with the safety of expectant moms in mind. Ergonomic features of the new beds help the mom with multiple positions for comfort during labor and delivery. “The dollars raised by the Auxiliary represent a commitment to provide an exceptional experience for moms and babies,” says Macke. “We are grateful to the Auxiliary for its efforts in ensuring our patients continue to receive the best care possible.”

According to the Women’s Choice Award organization, award winners offer exceptional obstetric services which ranked above the national average for patient safety. The scoring process is also unique in that it is the only national list that is evidence-based and focuses on female patient satisfaction. Awarded hospitals ranked above the national average for patient recommendations, as indicated by the data reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys. Additional considerations included having a NICU on-site and a low early elective delivery ranking.

SMCH has been serving the patients since 1962. To learn more, visit www.stewartmemorial.org, call 712-464-3171 or follow us Facebook.

The Women’s Choice Award® sets the standard for helping women make smart choices through education, empowerment, and validation. Awards are determined by evidence-based research and identify the brands, products and services most recommended and trusted by women. Visit www.WomensChoiceAward.com to learn more. For information about the 2016 America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics, visit http://www.womenschoiceaward.com/awarded/best-hospitals/obstetrics/.

New CEO Announced for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

June 21st, 2016

Cindy CarstensThe Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Board of Directors announces Cindy Carstens as Chief Executive Officer. Carstens began her career with SMCH eight years ago as vice president of nursing and ancillary services, and was named chief operating officer in 2015. Carstens brings more than 35 years of health care experience to the Lake City hospital with strengths in operations, project integration, patient safety, and quality. Rev. Chad Dietrich, chairman of the board, says Carstens is an excellent leader for SMCH. “Her profound knowledge of health care, executive leadership, and focus on providing quality care aligns with the strategic focus of our hospital,” comments Dietrich.

In her current role, Carstens created many initiatives that improved collaboration in healthcare. She was instrumental in the creation of the SMCH Patient Family Advisory Council; a group of former patient, family members of patients, hospital staff, physicians, and administrative leaders committed to finding opportunities to improve the patient and family experience. Carstens further impacted patient care by collaborating with partners in Calhoun County in three key areas. One is addressing the need for mental health services in Calhoun County, second is through the work of the disaster coalition, and lastly by conducting the Community Health Needs Assessment which led to the development of community teams to address priority areas identified in the assessment.

Mike Dewerff, President and CEO, UnityPoint Health Fort Dodge, shared, “We are pleased to add Cindy to our regional health care leadership team. As we continue to focus on the best outcomes for patients, building partnerships and delivery exceptional patient experiences while strategically ensuring the long-term viability of health care in our region, we couldn’t be happier to have Cindy and Stewart Memorial as a part of the UnityPoint Health Fort Dodge team.”

Carstens, a Farnhamville native, will begin her role as CEO at SMCH on July 16. Prior to joining the team at SMCH in 2008, Carstens served as the director of nursing for Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, IA. She earned her Associate Degree of Nursing from Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Cindy is a Top 100 Nurses recipient in Iowa, member of the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders and Rockwell City Rotary. She currently serves on the Iowa Central Nursing Advisory Committee, Calhoun County Board of Health, Calhoun County Disaster Coalition, Calhoun County Mental Health Task Force, Service Share Risk Management Committee, and Iowa Hospital Advocacy Committee. Carstens is a member of the Iowa BE Chapter of TTT. This volunteer group focuses on raising funds to send 4th grade girls to camp and scholarships for graduating senior high girls.

Carstens and her husband Alan, a farmer, live in Gowrie, and have three grown children: Matt, Jenni, and Curtis and seven grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, shopping, camping, and attending her grandchildren’s events.

“Simple Gardening, Simple Meals” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

June 2nd, 2016

Adam CaseyAdam Nockels, owner of Raccoon Ridge Farm, a community supported agriculture organic farm,  and Casey Wetter, dietitian at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) spoke to nearly 50 people at SMCH’s “Lunch Connection” event. Their program addressed “Simple Gardening, Simple Meals.”

Adam began the program by encouraging guests to buy their produce locally, if possible. He said the freshness of buying from a farmers market or from a personal garden increases nutrient benefit of the food. As an organic farmer, he gave tips about how to increase yield. Compost should always be used to introduce microorganisms, bacteria and other nutrients to the soil. To control weeds he said there are three rules: weed early, weed often, and weed shallow, and he demonstrated several tools he uses on his farm for weed control. He encouraged the used of landscape fabric as a method to beat weeds and heat the soil for increased late summer crop harvest. Adam’s final topic addressed pest control. If insects are seen in the garden, he pleaded with guests not to spray. Instead they should research the pest on the internet or contact the extension office to find solutions. He suggested using a floating row cover to isolate the plant from its environment during the early part of the season.

Casey discussed the newest recommendations for daily consumption of vegetables and fruits. An adult on a 2,000 calorie per day diet should eat two to two and one-half cups of vegetables each day and two cups of fruit each day. She recommended patronising local farmers markets as well since the availability of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables that are available lead to greater consumption. She said, “Shop at the farmers’ market before you do your weekly grocery shopping at the store. Since it is hard to predict what will be at the market, shop there first and buy anything that wasn’t available at the grocery store.” She suggested asking questions of the vendor about ways to prepare unfamiliar produce in a way to find a new favorite. Casey then demonstrated and provided samples to the guests of a few simple recipes.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held August 4, 2016. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital inks extended deal with Dr. Susan Hornback

June 1st, 2016
Dr. Susan Hornback signs a contract with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, committing ten years to caring for patients in Lake City and surrounding communities as SMCH board chair Rev. Chad Dietrich looks on.

Dr. Susan Hornback signs a contract with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, committing ten years to caring for patients in Lake City and surrounding communities as SMCH board chair Rev. Chad Dietrich looks on.

As the ink dries on a new contract with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Dr. Susan Hornback and her family are packing their bags to move to Lake City. “Our family is excited to be a more active part of the Lake City community and our move here opens the door for that to happen,” says Dr. Hornback, who has practiced medicine at SMCH since 2009.

The family’s move to Lake City comes as Dr. Hornback signs a new contract with the hospital. “In the new agreement, Dr. Hornback has signed a ten year commitment to provide care to patients at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital,” says Rev. Chad Dietrich, SMCH board chairman. “We are grateful for her long term investment in the patients we serve and our area communities,” notes Rev. Dietrich.

Dr. Hornback specializes in family care, obstetrics and women’s health. She is also Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Hornback began her career in the medical field very early in life. “My first experience caring for people was working in a medical clinic as a certified medical assistant and then I went on to become a registered nurse,” recalls Hornback. After eight years of serving in a nursing role in Des Moines, she went to medical school and earned her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center. She completed her residency at Iowa Lutheran Family Medicine in Des Moines. Dr. Hornback says practicing medicine in a rural setting is rewarding, “I think it’s very beneficial for a physician to get to know the families they provide medical care for and establish life-long relationships,” says Hornback.

Tara Mencias, MD will provide services in Lake City

May 25th, 2016

Mencias,T_J_715AMES, Iowa – McFarland Clinic is pleased to announce Tara Mencias, MD, will partner with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to offer care.

Dr. Mencias is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders – particularly related to the nerves, muscles, bones and brain – that may produce temporary or permanent impairment.

Dr. Mencias will provide the following services: electrodiagnostic medicine, botulinum toxin and phenol injections for spasticity management, amputee/prosthetic care, post-stroke care and functional assessments and trigger point, peripheral joint and bursal injections for musculoskeletal pain and osteoarthritis. She will see patients at McCrary Rost Clinic Lake City on the second Wednesday afternoon of the month.

Dr. Mencias completed Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency and her Medical Degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Dr. Mencias completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Northern Illinois University in Oak Park.

For more information call the McFarland Clinic Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department at 515-239-4435.

CEO of SMCH Resigns

May 18th, 2016

Cain Headshot Tan 2013Heather Cain, CEO of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinics in Lake City, has submitted her resignation. “I have not arrived at this decision lightly, but as a result of thoughtful consideration of what is best for my family, as we will be looking to relocate to Boone, Iowa, with my fiancé Greg and have the children begin school there this fall. Please know I am not leaving to take another position, but rather will be focusing on getting my family established and settled before considering future employment.”

Heather reflects on her time at SMCH by sharing, “My experience working as a part of the leadership team at Stewart Memorial has been very special to me.  I value the experience I have gained and treasure the relationships I have formed and the friendships that will live on always.  Lake City has been a very welcoming place for the kids and me, and we have been brought into the Stewart Memorial family with open arms.  I am very proud to have been a part of this community, this organization and this health system. I am also proud of the work that we have accomplished in the two and a half years that I have been blessed to lead this team.”

Under Cain’s direction, the organization achieved great results. The hospital received national recognition including the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Patient Safety, Studer Group Excellence in Patient Care Award for Room Cleanliness, and Des Moines Register Top Workplace in Iowa, two consecutive years. Cain also led efforts to create a new mission and vision statement for the organization, as well as a three year strategic plan.

Cain will remain at SMCH through mid-July. The search for a new CEO will be led by the SMCH Board of Directors.

SMCH to host Fun Run

May 17th, 2016
From the big smiles on their faces participants in the 2015 Fun Run had a great time pushing the last few feet to the finish line.

From the big smiles on their faces participants in the 2015 Fun Run had a great time pushing the last few feet to the finish line.

Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and walk or run the  Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and will be held Saturday, June 25, 2016.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square in Lake City.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

A new event for 2016 will be the Kids Dash for children aged 9 and under. This free dash will take place at 8:15. Runners will sign up on the day of the event. A t-shirt is not included.

Pre-registration for the Fun Run/Walk prior to May 31 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants. Registration after June 1 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

Awards will be given to the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10-12; 13-15; 16-19 and to overall male and female winners.  Men and women will be in separate classes.

For more information and a registration form, contact Casey Wetter at 712-464-4182 or 712-464-3171 or request email registration at cwetter@stewartmemorial.org or click here to open and print the registration form: Fun Run Brochure

DAISY Award Presented to SMCH Nurses

May 12th, 2016
Stewart Memorial Community Hospital nurse Sara Thorkildsen, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Holly Wuebker, RN, and were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital nurse Sara Thorkildsen, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Holly Wuebker, RN, and were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing.

Delivering compassionate patient care and great clinical skills are the qualities that recently earned two Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) nurses the DAISY Award. The award, which was established in 1999 and stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, is in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. During his lengthy hospital stay, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion Patrick received from his nurses. The DAISY award was established to say thank you to nurses across the nation by honoring the work they do at the bedside, funding research, and honoring nursing faculty.

Eight nurses from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City and McCrary Rost Clinics were nominated for the award and the award went to Holly Wuebker, RN, and Sara Thorkildsen, RN. Wuebker has worked in Homecare/Hospice since 2001. She was nominated by a co-worker who said, “Holly frequently goes above and beyond for her patients without expecting anything from them. She recently was taking care of a hospice patient whose condition was very poor. The family chose to stay with the patient around the clock. Knowing this, Holly bought them a pizza for lunch. They could then continue to spend quality time with their loved one, and take care of themselves as well.” A nurse at SMCH since 2014, Thorkildsen was nominated by the husband of an obstetrics patient who had observed, “Sara not only provided first hand perspective to my wife from her experiences as a mother, more importantly, she was able to connect with my wife and was focused on providing the best experience for us following our wishes. Like a great coach, she was able to keep my wife focused on her goals that she had previously set while also challenging her in ways that kept her determined and able to push beyond what she thought she could handle.” Other nominees include inpatient nurse and student-nurse instructor Ashley Duncan, RN, inpatient nurses Tami Fredericks, RN, Kathy Holm, RN, Carmen Ludwig, LPN, Katie Riehl, RN, and cardiac rehab nurse Megan Huster, RN.

Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer at SMCH, says nurses, like the ones nominated at SMCH, are surprised when they receive the DAISY Award. “Most nurses do not believe they are doing ‘anything special’ and they are just ‘doing their job.’ That’s why at every DAISY Award presentation, we ask each nurse to pause for a minute and realize how very special they are and how they make the world a better place by ‘just doing their jobs,’” noted Jones. Today, a nurse’s job may entail saving a patient’s life, applying training and skill to a complex medical procedure, or offering comfort to a patient or family member to make them feel better. “Every day, nurses are making a positive difference in a patient’s and family’s life. Nurses make the world a better place and they are special because they are a nurse,” added Jones.

Nurses are nominated by patients, families, colleagues, physicians, or other staff. The criteria focuses on the compassionate care and memorable moment’s nurses provide their patients as well as great clinical skill. As of May 2016 over 2,200 healthcare organizations worldwide honor their nurses with The DAISY Award.

Learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at www.stewartmemorial.org or learn more about the DAISY award at www.daisyfoundation.org

Mayoral Proclamation Issued to Recognize Nursing Staff as part of National Nurses Week May 6- 12

May 10th, 2016
Pictured are staff members at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital witnessing the signing of the nurses week proclamation by Mayor Tyler Holm: (left to right) Cindy Carstens, Dewey Snyder, Holly Espenhover, Bev Watters, Linda Rath, Dave Anderson, Megan Huster, Kim Anderson, Luke Winkelman, Courtni McLaughlin, Jodi Henkenius, Tina Snyder, Jill Webb, Carmen Schamel, Deb Trost, Kathy Collins, Mayor Holm, Darci Peterson, Amy Schumacher, Tonia McDonough, Haley Wilhelm, Sherry Lampe, Katie Barkmeier, Shelly Hammen, Deb Harms, Jenny Roby, Sue Sievers, Jenni Hoyle, Jess Drees, Brianne Francis, Holly Hildreth, Joanne Bean, and Casey Wetter.

Pictured are staff members at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital witnessing the signing of the nurses week proclamation by Mayor Tyler Holm: (left to right) Cindy Carstens, Dewey Snyder, Holly Espenhover, Bev Watters, Linda Rath, Dave Anderson, Megan Huster, Kim Anderson, Luke Winkelman, Courtni McLaughlin, Jodi Henkenius, Tina Snyder, Jill Webb, Carmen Schamel, Deb Trost, Kathy Collins, Mayor Holm, Darci Peterson, Amy Schumacher, Tonia McDonough, Haley Wilhelm, Sherry Lampe, Katie Barkmeier, Shelly Hammen, Deb Harms, Jenny Roby, Sue Sievers, Jenni Hoyle, Jess Drees, Brianne Francis, Holly Hildreth, Joanne Bean, and Casey Wetter.

Lake City Mayor Tyler Holm has joined with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in recognizing May 6‐12 as National Nurses Week.

The mayor issued a formal proclamation honoring the hospital’s nursing staff and encouraging “the residents of this community to celebrate nursing’s accomplishments and efforts to improve our health care system and show our appreciation for the nation’s nurses not just during this week, but at every opportunity throughout the year.”

The private, non‐profit hospital, founded 55 years ago, employs 94 highly trained nurses in all areas of medicine.  The proclamation noted that nearly 3.1 million nurses comprise the country’s largest health care profession.

SMCH Donates to Gowrie Fire Station

May 4th, 2016

Gowrie clinic donation[1]Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy are pleased to have donated $1,000 to the Gowrie Fire Department to support the building of its new fire station. Pictured are (left to right) Cindy Carstens, chief operating officer at SMCH, Darcy Adams, Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, Terra Barrett, Dr. Adam Swisher, Jessica McGuire, Fire Chief Greg Benson, Autumn Grell, Rochelle Guess, FNP-C, Tayler Rasch, Shelly Nelson, Sarah Sage, and Julie Mosher.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Membership Drive Underway

April 28th, 2016

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary membership drive is now underway.  The SMCH Auxiliary is a group of dedicated volunteers who join together to support the needs of SMCH. The annual membership is $2, or become a lifetime member for $100.  The Auxiliary funds projects and purchases used to help the hospital serve patients.  Volunteers are able to work in the Gift Shoppe, make bake sale items and help with other fund raisers such as the $5 jewelry sale.  Members participate in community events such as Table A Fare and Trivia Night.  The Auxiliary has monthly meetings with innovative and educational programs. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please consider joining the Auxiliary. Membership cards are available at SMCH registration desks, Community Pharmacies or can be mailed to you upon request.  To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-4183.

Volunteers Honored for “Making Care Brighter” at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

April 28th, 2016
Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary President Mary Sporleder (far right) presents the Auxiliary’s annual contribution to the hospital during their appreciation luncheon. Pictured with Mary is (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Coordinator, Cindy Carstens, Chief Operating Officer, and Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary President Mary Sporleder (far right) presents the Auxiliary’s annual contribution to the hospital during their appreciation luncheon. Pictured with Mary is (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Coordinator, Cindy Carstens, Chief Operating Officer, and Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers.

Auxiliary members were honored in April for their service and commitment to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City. Nearly seventy SMCH Auxiliary members attended the annual Volunteer Appreciation event hosted by the hospital at the Lake City community building. SMCH Chief Operating Officer, Cindy Carstens, welcomed guests to the event and gave the invocation. The luncheon was served by SMCH administration and staff. Carstens expressed her appreciation to the volunteers by stating, “for your service to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, our patients and staff, we are very grateful and we thank you. Your kindness, support and generosity equips us with the ability to provide excellent health care and service to our communities. You so generously give your time and talents, and today we are honored to celebrate you, our volunteers.”

The keynote address focused on the hospital’s 2015 achievements. The “Year in Review” was presented by Carstens. It highlighted several initiatives the hospital is working on, employees recognized for exceptional work, and awards earned by the hospital. Carstens   also thanked the Auxiliary volunteers for their efforts in raising $60,000 for the hospital. Through proceeds from several events, such as Trivia Night, Table A Fare, linen sales, book sales and Gift Shoppe sales, the Auxiliary is funding three new EKG machines for their medical clinics in Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie. The donation will also fund two labor and delivery beds for the hospital’s obstetrics department.

Following lunch, entertainment was provided by South Central Calhoun Speech participants Seth Stamp and Trenton Dick. Their performance was exceptional and left the audience laughing.

Each Auxilian attending received an adult coloring book to thank them for brightening health care through the contributions they make at SMCH. To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary or to become a member, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-3171.

Volunteers Honored for “Making Care Brighter” at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

April 21st, 2016
Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary President Mary Sporleder (far right) presents the Auxiliary’s annual contribution to the hospital during their appreciation luncheon. Pictured with Mary is (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Coordinator, Cindy Carstens, Chief Operating Officer, and Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary President Mary Sporleder (far right) presents the Auxiliary’s annual contribution to the hospital during their appreciation luncheon. Pictured with Mary is (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Coordinator, Cindy Carstens, Chief Operating Officer, and Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers.

Auxiliary members were honored in April for their service and commitment to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City. Nearly seventy SMCH Auxiliary members attended the annual Volunteer Appreciation event hosted by the hospital at the Lake City community building. SMCH Chief Operating Officer, Cindy Carstens, welcomed guests to the event and gave the invocation. The luncheon was served by SMCH administration and staff. Carstens expressed her appreciation to the volunteers by stating, “for your service to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, our patients and staff, we are very grateful and we thank you. Your kindness, support and generosity equips us with the ability to provide excellent health care and service to our communities. You so generously give your time and talents, and today we are honored to celebrate you, our volunteers.”

The keynote address focused on the hospital’s 2015 achievements. The “Year in Review” was presented by Carstens. It highlighted several initiatives the hospital is working on, employees recognized for exceptional work, and awards earned by the hospital. Carstens also thanked the Auxiliary volunteers for their efforts in raising $60,000 for the hospital. Through proceeds from several events, such as Trivia Night, Table A Fare, linen sales, book sales and Gift Shoppe sales, the Auxiliary is funding three new EKG machines for their medical clinics in Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie. The donation will also fund two labor and delivery beds for the hospital’s obstetrics department.

Following lunch, entertainment was provided by South Central Calhoun Speech participants Seth Stamp and Trenton Dick. Their performance was exceptional and left the audience laughing.

Each Auxilian attending received an adult coloring book to thank them for brightening health care through the contributions they make at SMCH. To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary or to become a member, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-3171 or visit the hospital website at www.stewartmemorial.org to learn more.

SMCH Recognizes National Volunteer Week

April 11th, 2016
Pictured are: (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Volunteer Coordinator at SMCH, Toni Kerns, SMCH Auxiliary President, Tyler Holm, Lake City Mayor, Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers at SMCH

Pictured are: (left to right) Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Volunteer Coordinator at SMCH, Toni Kerns, SMCH Auxiliary President, Tyler Holm, Lake City Mayor, Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers at SMCH

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016 is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

This tribute inspires volunteers to take action and encourage individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change, discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

National Volunteer Week, was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. National Volunteer Week is not only our moment in time to celebrate our Stewart Memorial Community Hospital volunteers, but to share ideas, practices, and stories wherever they happen, and to re-imagine the notion of citizenship for the 21st century. SMCH thanks the many volunteers who make a difference! Toni Kerns, SMCH Auxiliary President, Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers at SMCH, Danielle Evans, Auxiliary Volunteer Coordinator at SMCH, met with Tyler Holm, Lake City Mayor, to sign the national volunteer week proclamation. The national proclamation encourages volunteers to stay connected with service organizations like the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary.

To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-3171 or visit the hospital website at www.stewartmemoral.org to learn more.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Membership Drive Underway

April 6th, 2016

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary membership drive is now underway. The SMCH Auxiliary is a group of dedicated volunteers who join together to support the needs of SMCH. The annual membership is $2, or become a lifetime member for $100. The Auxiliary funds projects and purchases used to help the hospital serve patients. Volunteers are able to work in the Gift Shoppe, make bake sale items and help with other fund raisers such as the $5 jewelry sale. Members participate in community events such as Table A Fare and Trivia Night. The Auxiliary has monthly meetings with innovative and educational programs. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please consider joining the Auxiliary. Membership cards are available at SMCH registration desks, Community Pharmacies or can be mailed to you upon request. To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary, call Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at 712-464-4183.

Click here to open the 2016 membership cards. Print and fill it out and mail to: Danielle Evans at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, 1301 W. Main, Lake City, IA 51449.

McCrary Rost Clinic Extends Hours to Serve Patients

March 30th, 2016
Yvonne Doty visits with board certified doctor of osteopathic medicine Margaret Vitiritto during an appointment at McCrary Rost Clinic. The clinic’s Lake City location now has extended hours, scheduling appointments from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Dr. Vitiritto sees patients until 7:00 pm on Thursdays in Lake City.

Yvonne Doty visits with board certified doctor of osteopathic medicine Margaret Vitiritto during an appointment at McCrary Rost Clinic. The clinic’s Lake City location now has extended hours, scheduling appointments from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Dr. Vitiritto sees patients until 7:00 pm on Thursdays in Lake City.

McCrary Rost Clinic announces it will be providing extended hours for patients who need to see a medical provider beyond regular business hours. “A community needs assessment survey was released last summer where 26% of the respondents stated they could not take time off from work to be able to visit their doctor, 6% stated time of service was more convenient at other organizations, and 9.62% wanted access to urgent care. At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital we are trying to develop hours to meet the needs of those individuals,” says Cindy Carstens, chief operating officer at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH).

To accommodate community requests, McCrary Rost Clinic Lake City will schedule appointments from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. On Thursdays the hours will extend to 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

McCrary Rost Clinic Rockwell City will schedule appointments 7:40 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday patients will be seen from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Kari Jones, chief nursing officer at SMCH says, “The McCrary Rost Clinic is very excited to offer additional patient access.  We have been listening to our patients and realize more access to providers is needed.  Our additional hours will help meet the needs of the patients we serve.  This additional access into the evenings on Thursday helps us to live our mission of ‘Transforming our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences.’”

SMCH Prepares for Spring Farming with HazMat Training

March 24th, 2016
Shelly Weston, RN (left) and Amy Gray, RN (right) worked to decontaminate Steve O’Connor, Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, during a HazMat drill at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Steve played the role of a patient covered in insecticide and the nurses donned HazMat gear to protect themselves while caring for their patient.

Shelly Weston, RN (left) and Amy Gray, RN (right) worked to decontaminate Steve O’Connor, Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, during a HazMat drill at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Steve played the role of a patient covered in insecticide and the nurses donned HazMat gear to protect themselves while caring for their patient.

With the arrival of farming season, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital partnered with Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to simulate a situation where a person doused with farm chemicals entered the Emergency Department at the Lake City hospital. Calhoun County EMA coordinator Steve O’Connor played the victim in a recent HazMat Training session at SMCH.

Deb Legore, emergency department director at SMCH, describes the situtation, “The patient presented at the outpatient registration desk covered in white powder that represented insecticide. To prevent further contamination of the hospital, he was asked to enter the ambulance garage where the HazMat shower is located.”

Several staff were on hand to participate in the drill, including nurses and maintenance staff. “The role of maintenance staff is to get equipment needed ready to utilize,” explains Tony Snyder, director of facilities at SMCH. “Our help in these situations allows the nurses to prepare to care for patients.”

Preparing to care for patients involved donning the HazMat suit for two of the nurses who participated in the drill. Shelly Weston and Amy Gray put on suits that included a full mask, hood and respirator. Legore says, “A nurse’s natural inclination can work against her in a situation involving farm chemicals. It’s a nurse’s first reaction to help the patient immediately. However, fumes from harsh chemicals can also overwhelm medical staff. The drill reinforces that staff must protect themselves first before they can properly care for the patient.”

While the nurses felt pressure to hurry with the protective gear, the time from when the patient presented at the outpatient registration desk to when he was decontaminated and brought into the emergency room for treatment was a mere ten minutes. “The primary purpose of the drill was to succeed in decontaminating the patient while protecting the staff members. The drill went well and further familiarized our staff with the equipment,” Legore notes.

Drills are conducted twice a year to reiterate the training nursing and emergency medical services staff have received, including HazMat Awareness and HazMat Operations.

“March Off the Pounds” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

March 9th, 2016
Dr. Margaret Vitiritto presented “10 Commandments of Weight Loss” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Dr. Margaret Vitiritto presented “10 Commandments of Weight Loss” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Dr. Margaret Vitiritto spoke to nearly 50 people at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s (SMCH) “Lunch Connection” event. Her program addressed the “10 Commandments of Weight Loss.”

She described the steps her audience needs to take to be successful if they want to lose weight. Along with drinking 8 glasses of water each day and watching calorie intake, she recommends understanding the triggers that cause a person to eat food that is unhealthy. “Food becomes a way we cope,” she says. “Am I bored? Am I stressed? It’s important to start setting boundaries for yourself.” She also says movement is key to weight loss. It’s recommended that 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week will lead to smaller waistlines. Dr. Vitiritto told her audience to build up to that time  frame for safe and successful results.

Dr. Vitiritto emphasized the importance of partnering with your medical provider to devise a weight loss plan. Losing weight can help patients who have cardiac issues, diabetes and cancer become healthier. Working with your medical provider is crucial to approaching diet and exercise and lead to positive results. She also suggested that patients seek a support system in their weight loss journey. Working with family members to help achieve goals is an important step in the process.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held June 2, 2016.

SMCH Seeks Nominations for Extraordinary Nurses

February 24th, 2016
McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Amy Schumacher, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Windy Goodwin, RN, and were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing in 2015.

McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Amy Schumacher, RN, and SMCH Homecare/Hospice nurse Windy Goodwin, RN, and were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing in 2015.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are seeking nominations for outstanding nurses. In partnership with the DAISY Foundation, SMCH has made a tradition of recognizing nurses who, by virtue of their exemplary work, rise above and beyond. 

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will present the Daisy Award to an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond providing excellent every day care to patients and families. Award recipients are nominated by peers, physicians, patients, and families and other staff.  Nurses eligible for nomination include those working at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital as well as nurses at McCrary Rost Clinic. Nomination forms are available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Business Office, Outpatient registration; all McCrary-Rost Clinics and below (please click on the link and print the nomination form).  All nomination forms are due April 12th to Kari Jones, Chief Nursing Officer or Jodi Henkenius, Administrative Assistant.  Nomination forms can be mailed to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital * Attn: Kari Jones * 1301 West Main St * Lake City, IA * 51449.

Nomination form

The Road to Recovery is Team Effort at SMCH

February 17th, 2016
Peter Farley has a new swing in his step thanks to the Nu Step machine he donated to the Cardiac Rehab department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and nurses Bev Watters and Megan Huster who guided Peter on his path to better health.

Peter Farley has a new swing in his step thanks to the Nu Step machine he donated to the Cardiac Rehab department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and nurses Bev Watters and Megan Huster who guided Peter on his path to better health.

Peter Farley can’t say enough good things about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s (SMCH) Cardiac Rehab and physical therapy services. In January 2015 he needed surgery due to complications from a hip replacement. During that surgery, which took place in Des Moines, he had a minor heart attack. His recovery was lengthy, with a two-week stay in the recovery center and then a two-week intesive therapy where he learned to walk again.

When Peter was able to come home to Lake City, he still needed physical therapy to strengthen his leg. “I worked with Bob Arnold, physical therapist at Stewart,” he recalls. “We set goals like being able to drive my car, golf, and return to my hobbies.”

Because of his heart attack, Peter also needed two stents placed in his arteries to assist his heart’s function of pumping blood. To strengthen his heart, Peter enrolled in cardiac rehab at SMCH because of the convenience of being in a program close to home.

Each session is beneficial. Peter’s blood pressure is checked, and he exercises on one of several available machines. The Cardiac Rehab staff works with Peter to set goals for his recovery.  “I like the exercise and the feeling of regaining flexibility. My blood pressure is improving, I’m losing weight, and I’m staying active,” Peter says.

In addition to helping Peter reach his exercise goals, the Cardiac Rehab staff set up consulting sessions with nutritionist Maurine Theiszen, pharmacist Marti Huser, and social worker Michelle Shaver. Megan Huster, R.N. explains, “Cardiac Rehab is a team effort. Getting a patient healthy involves not only addressing the immediate cause of the cardiac event, but encompasses all aspects of a patient’s well-being. The nutritionist discusses what types of foods to eat or avoid, how often to eat, and provides recipes. The pharmacist provides patients with information and answers questions about the medicines they are taking. Because of the life-changing event, we have the patient talk to our social worker.”

“The staff in Cardiac Rehab have people skills and are great motivators,” says Peter. “I like the people who utilize the service along with me, and I really enjoy the interaction with the staff. They are propelling me to better fitness!”

Peter believes in the benefits of cardiac rehab so strongly that he recently made a generous donation to the program. “The SMCH Auxiliary bought a piece of equipment for Rehab Services department which had difficulty finding space for the large piece. It was placed in Cardiac Rehab for a time and I enjoyed using the updated machine,” Peter says. “When Rehab Services found a place for it, I had to use an older machine. So I decided that I could do something to help, and I bought a new Nu Step for Cardiac Rehab.” Peter uses the Nu Step each time he attends Cardiac Rehab to get stronger to return to his hobbies and to his love of playing golf.

For more information about Cardiac Rehab services available at SMCH, contact Megan Huster, RN, at 712-464-4118 or Bev Watters, RN, at 712-464-3171, ext. 6283.

Coordination of Care Saves Life of 24 Year Old

January 28th, 2016
Pictured are Mick Monahan and the friends who saved his life when he suddenly collapsed during a party at a farm west of Lake City (left to right) Adam Reynolds, Mick, Colby Davis, and Daniel Smith.

Pictured are Mick Monahan and the friends who saved his life when he suddenly collapsed during a party at a farm west of Lake City (left to right) Adam Reynolds, Mick, Colby Davis, and Daniel Smith.

As Mick Monahan celebrated at his best friend’s bachelor party on a farm west of Lake City on a Sunday afternoon, he became light headed. “I thought I was coming down with something,” remembers the 24 year old livestock farmer. Earlier that day, he felt tired, nearly exhausted, when helping put chairs away after service at St. Mary’s church. Despite not feeling 100%, Mick arrived at the party honoring Daniel Smith. After visiting with friends briefly, he suddenly collapsed. When his buddies Adam Reynolds and Colby Davis couldn’t find a pulse, they started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Daniel called 911. “It felt like everything was in fast-forward,” says Daniel.

Mick remained unresponsive and the young men continued CPR. When Calhoun County EMS arrived, they assessed Mick. While time seemed to stand still for Mick’s friends, Heather Olberding and Nicole Winter reached the group within minutes. They used a monitor defribrillator and shocked Mick’s heart.

The defribillator was one of eight units placed in ambulances in Lohrville, Farnhamville, Lake City, Rockwell City and Manson and in the emergency department at SMCH, as part of a project in 2013. Calhoun County EMS received funding from the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors for each $40,000 unit. The monitor defribillator gives feedback on the cardiopulmonary rescusitation as it’s being performed. The data is then later analyzed for quality improvement, training and review.  “The monitor provided real-time feedback while CPR was being performed to maximize appropriate rate and depth of compressions.  It also provided the defibrillation that basically restarted Mick’s heart,” explains Kerrie Hull, Calhoun County Emergency Service coordinator.

The ambulance crew loaded Mick and were en route to Lake City eleven minutes after they were dispatched. They brought him to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Within five minutes of Mick’s arrival to the hospital an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart, was administered. Dr. Susan Hornback and certified physician assistant Danni Anderson were the medical providers in the emergency department that day. Dr. Hornback says, “When we looked at the EKG, the delta wave showed Wolff-Parkinson-White.”

Mayo Clinic defines Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome as an extra electrical pathway that exists between a heart’s upper and lower chambers and causes a rapid heartbeat. Mick’s heartbeat was too fast, essentially becoming a quiver rather than a beat, and stopped pumping blood.

The team at SMCH stabilized Mick and conducted a CT scan to check for head injury after Mick’s fall. They communicated with LifeFlight and the medical providers in Des Moines. Commenting on the textbook string of events that led to Mick’s recovery, Dr. Hornback says, “It happened just like it should. That day was a beautiful example of perfect coordination of care.”

After receiving word of Mick’s collapse, Jerome and Dorene Monahan, Mick’s parents, and his sister, Jamie, rushed to the Lake City hospital. “Initially, we were told that Mick had had a seizure. While we were concerned, we didn’t think it was critical,” recalls Dorene. When they were only a mile away, they got a call explaining that the helicopter would arrive in five minutes. Suddenly, the situation became more frightening.

“When we arrived at the ER, everyone from the bachelor party was there. Some were visibly upset. Danni met with us right away and explained what was happening. She told us he was stable and sedated and they were preparing him for transport,” says Jerome.

With so many people in the ER waiting room, anxious for word about Mick, Heather Cain, SMCH CEO, met with the family and friends and coordinated efforts to help them get through the difficult situation. She says, “I received a call from our team saying they needed all hands on deck to help with communication to the family.  I was grateful to be here to assure Mick’s family and friends that he was in great hands and our team was giving him the best possible care.”

When the helicopter arrived 34 minutes after Mick reached SMCH, he was airlifted to Des Moines. “It was amazing how smoothly the transfers went between the EMS, SMCH, LifeFlight and the hospital in Des Moines! Everyone was prepared, informed and ready for the situation,” exclaims Mick.

Mick’s cardiologist chose to treat Mick with radiofrequency catheter ablation. Thin, flexible tubes (catheters) were threaded through blood vessels to his heart. Electrodes at the catheter tips were heated to destroy (ablate) the extra electrical pathway causing his condition. When the first attempt was partially successful, a second procedure was scheduled after his six-week checkup.

Following surgery, Mick is feeling better and very grateful. “The reason I’m still here is that my friends reacted. Even though none of them are trained in CPR, other than what they’d seen on TV, they didn’t let that stop them. Everything they did counted.”

SMCH announces inauguration of Foundation Board

January 14th, 2016
The newly formed Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Foundation board members are: (left to right) Seth McCaulley, Heather Cain, Chuck Schmitt, Mary Ludwig, Amy Schumacher, Jo Grodahl, Faye Huster, and Marcie Boerner.

The newly formed Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Foundation board members are: (left to right) Seth McCaulley, Heather Cain, Chuck Schmitt, Mary Ludwig, Amy Schumacher, Jo Grodahl, Faye Huster, and Marcie Boerner. Missing from the photo is Marci Duncan.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) announces the start of the SMCH Foundation. After a year of planning, the inaugural foundation board of directors met for their first meeting on January 13, 2016. “Our first meeting served as an orientation for the new board members, and an opportunity to learn about each other,” notes Mary Ludwig, director of marketing, development, and volunteers.

Ludwig says the board will spend the next few meetings establishing policy and planning the future of the foundation. “We are essentially building the foundation blocks for the successful establishment of this fundraising vehicle well into the future,” comments Ludwig.

Board members were selected through an application process, which started last summer. “Our goal was to identify board members that brought different strengths to the board and represented communities served by our organization.” Board members are Seth McCaulley, Chuck Schmitt, Marci Duncan, Amy Schumacher, Faye Huster, Marcie Boerner, Heather Cain, Mary Ludwig, and Jo Grodahl.

The board will work to establish goals that align with the goals of the organization. “Our vision is to transform our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences. The Foundation goals will support SMCH in achieving this important vision. The end result will be charitable giving that represents an investment in improving the health of our communities,” shares Heather Cain, CEO.

The foundation board will also work collaboratively with the SMCH Auxiliary. “Our Auxiliary has been the backbone of fundraising for SMCH for over 50 years. The Auxiliary will continue to play an integral role in raising funds to support our endeavors through their traditional fundraisers like the $5 Jewelry Sale, Trivia Night and Table A Fare,” notes Ludwig. Ludwig says that while the Auxiliary has focused on fundraising through events, the foundation will focus on fundraising through annual campaigns and planned giving.

The need for community support stems from a variety of factors. Hospitals are facing declining reimbursements which leads to negative operating margins, capital needs to invest in patient care exceeds the budget, and SMCH does not generate county tax revenue to support the hospital financially. “There are 42 hospitals in the state that do levy taxes from the communities they support.  This generates an additional $300,000 to $2.3 million in revenue for each of these hospitals to reinvest into their organizations and infrastructure. It makes a difference. And unlike the schools and county, SMCH does not garner this support in the form of taxes from the communities we serve. This further supports the need to generate community support through a foundation to allow us to accomplish our mission of providing quality health and wellness to you and your family,” says Cain.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic Welcome Margaret Vitiritto, D.O.

January 5th, 2016

Margaret10The providers and staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are pleased to welcome Dr. Margaret Vitiritto. Dr. Vitiritto has always been fascinated with science and getting to know people. She believes family medicine is about more than taking care of the body; it’s about treating the whole person and family.

An Iowa native, Dr. Vitiritto earned her bachelor degree from the University of Arizona in religious studies and political science. She then earned her juris doctor degree from Drake University School of Law. “I really enjoy writing and public speaking, so law seemed like a good fit.” She practiced law in Arizona, but she was always interested in medicine. She pursued that degree, achieving her doctor of osteopathic medicine from Des Moines University. She completed her residency at Mercy Family Medicine Residency Program.

Dr. Vitiritto has practiced medicine at Mercy Clinics in Des Moines, enjoying the variety and challenge that family medicine brings. She’s also worked at Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center, utilizing her passion for bariatric medicine which is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity. “I’ve worked with all ages from adolescents to geriatric patients to explore treatment options for obesity.” She’s excited to continue to provide that service to her patients.

Dr. Vitiritto joins Dr. Adam Swisher, Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C, and Rochelle Guess, FNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic, Gowrie, and the medical providers in Lake City. “I chose SMCH because I want to be an active part of the community and to challenge myself professionally. My husband and I are also excited to raise our daughter in a friendly smaller town,” she comments.

Dr. Vitiritto and her husband, Al, have a two year old daughter, Anna. Al is a professor with a PhD in anatomy and enjoys teaching. Together they love to spend time with family, gardening, and traveling internationally, especially to Canada and England where they can visit relatives.

2016 New Year Baby Arrives at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 5th, 2016
Pictured are Jenni Macke, OB nurse supervisor, Mariah, Jeremy, Summer, Tiffany, Paxxton Lee and Quinton Peterson and Dr. Derek Duncan. Paxxton was the New Year Baby, born on January 1st, 2016 in Lake City.

Pictured are Jenni Macke, OB nurse supervisor, Mariah, Jeremy, Summer, Tiffany, Paxxton Lee and Quinton Peterson and Dr. Derek Duncan. Paxxton was the New Year Baby, born on January 1st, 2016 in Lake City.

The first baby of 2016 at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City has arrived. Paxxton Lee Peterson was born to Tiffany Peterson of Lake City, IA. The New Year baby entered the world at 4:39 PM on Friday, January 1st, weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces and is 20.5 inches long. He was delivered by Dr. Derek Duncan, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician. Paxxton Lee was welcomed by big brothers Quinton, age 9, and Jeremy, age 6 and big sisters Mariah, age 5, and Summer, age 2.

To celebrate the birth of the New Year baby, the family was given a basket full of gifts. Items included diapers, and baby wipes all donated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Gifts given by SMCH employees included a blanket and book from Pam Hospelhorn, a book and bathtime toys from Casey Wetter, a stuffed elephant from Jenni Macke, a monster bib and burp cloth from Tonya Germann, a fleece blanket from Carmen Ludwig, receiving blankets from Sue Aber, a crocheted giraffe hat from Carmen Schamel, a tag blanket from Lisa Wiederin, a laundry basket from Mary Ludwig, ibuprophen and acetaminiophen from Community Pharmacy, and a baby book, blankets and pants from the SMCH Auxiliary Gift Shoppe.

New Mission and Vision Statements at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital drive change

December 23rd, 2015

StewartEmployees2015Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) recently unveiled new mission and vision statements which summarize the hospital’s goals and objectives. Every three years, the administrative team, board of directors, and medical staff re-examine the organization’s long-term goals. The first step was conducting a community needs assessment to collect data about what the public needs from SMCH, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy. The team then met in September at a strategic planning retreat. “This was no small task. We worked on a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of our organization. We reviewed where we are today and identified strategic challenges and opportunities,” recalls SMCH CEO Heather Cain. “We identified our top priorities and action steps for the next three years and drafted our new mission and vision statements. These will help guide decisions in a meaningful way for the next three years.”

A mission statement focuses on the present, defining the purpose and primary objective of the hospital. SMCH’s new mission statement is “Committed to quality health and wellness for you and your family.” “The key words here are health and wellness,” says Cain. “We want to help everyone we serve lead a higher quality of life.”

A vision statement looks to the future and is a source of inspiration and motivation. It describes how SMCH hopes to effect change. As it looks to the future of healthcare, SMCH seeks to “Transform our communities by providing coordinated care and exceptional experiences.” Cain explains, “Our communities consist not only of our patients, but also our employees and medical providers. We want to be an exceptional place to work and practice medicine and to give our patients an amazing experience when they use our services. At SMCH, we are driven to be more community-focused, proactive and engaged.”

With the mission and vision statements top of mind, the team also identified three top priorities for the organization. The first priority is to recruit and retain high performing providers and staff. Efforts will be made toward provider and employee talent management and implementing a competitive total rewards program. The second priority will be to build the new care model to improve quality, efficiency and coordination. SMCH will work toward this goal by ensuring quality throughout the organization, develop a team-based practice and coordination of care and service. The third priority is to build a unity culture and educate the community on who SMCH is. This will be achieved through education for employees and the community, and for the current organization to be viewed as one organization versus separate hospital, clinic and pharmacy.

“Healthcare is changing in that reimbursement is going toward a quality, rather than quantity, model. While SMCH is currently not being reimbursed that way, we are looking to the future to provide health care that improves the quality of life for our communities. We wish to be transparent about the direction our organization is heading so the communities we serve will support us and be fully engaged,” concludes Cain.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Employees Donate to the Food Pantry

December 16th, 2015
gift of xmas 2015 copy

(l to r) – Pictured are Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees preparing to deliver food and other items to the food pantry: (left to right) Linda Rath and Bethany Morrow.

In an effort to provide relief for families in need, employees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital contributed non-perishable foods and household items to the Lake City food pantry.  Linda Rath and Bethany Morrow, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees, spearheaded this collection drive.  “It was heartwarming to see employees drop off bags and boxes of food.  The food pantry is utilized by many families each month and the pantry’s shelves needed to be stocked. This is a great way for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to give back to the community during the holiday season,” noted Rath.   

Veterans Day: Honoring America’s Veterans Includes Meeting their Unique Needs Stewart Memorial Community Hospice delivering Veteran-centric care to those who served our country

November 10th, 2015

WHV_notagline_level1_cmyk(Alexandria, Va) – Many Americans do not realize that 1 in 4 of all deaths in the U.S. are Veterans.  As the nation honors these American heroes for their military service on Veterans Day, November 11, it’s important to remember that they also deserve recognition and compassionate care when dealing with a serious illness.

As a We Honor Veterans program facilitator, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is providing specialized care to Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs created We Honor Veterans to empower hospice and other healthcare providers across America to meet the unique needs of seriously ill Veterans and their families.

“Through We Honor Veterans we are taking a giant step forward in helping healthcare professionals and volunteers understand and serve Veterans at the end of life,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “It is time that we step up and acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve.” 

SMCH Hospice implemented the program in 2012 and has served area veterans in various ways. “Participating in the WHV program these past three years has brought both appreciation for our local Vets and taught us how to honor them in effective ways,” says Linda Luhring, social worker at SMCH.

Within the WHV program, there are four levels of distinction that SMCH can earn based on its involvement with veteran education and its interaction with the veterans and their family members that they are caring for. The goal of these levels is to ensure the very best care is being provided to those who have served our country.

Currently, SMCH Hospice has completed the requirements for levels one and two, while continuing to work on level three.  To date we have had five pinning ceremonies to honor hospice patients and thank them for their services. We have reached out to over ten local Veteran and Hospice organizations to educate and encourage involvement in the WHV program.  We work closely with nursing homes to both identify and honor patients for their services while helping staff and families to encourage their Veterans to talk about service experiences,” explains Luhring.

As we celebrate our nation’s heroes this Veterans Day – and every day of the year – we must not forget that it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home.

Learn more at www.WeHonorVeterans.org or call SMCH Hospice at 712-464-4201.

Fall 2015 Health Care Connection Now Available

November 4th, 2015

Fall 2015-1To view the fall edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

Fall 2015

Fall Fun and Education the Focus at SMCH’s Open House

October 19th, 2015
Pictured is Lisa Wiederin providing a prize to one of the SMCH Fall Open House attendees in 2014 after he played the bean bag toss.

Pictured is Lisa Wiederin providing a prize to one of the SMCH Fall Open House attendees in 2014 after he played the bean bag toss.

The leaves on the trees are turning colors and harvest is starting, indicating fall is in full swing.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) and Calhoun County Public health will partner to host a Fall Open House on Thursday, October 22 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at SMCH.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Children and adults are encouraged to wear their Halloween costume. Many activities are planned for families attending including “Pumpkin Patch Photos” by Tony Evans Photography (Download free photo from Tony’s Flickr website); hay rides, pumpkin ring toss, face painting, and crafts. Several family-focused vendors will be on hand, including Children and Families of Iowa, New Opportunities and Proteus. Families that visit each vendor will have a chance for a drawing for prizes. Free appetizers will also be available in the Junction Cafeteria. Additional services on hand will be the flu shot clinic and free blood pressure checks. The radiology department is also hosting an open house for community members to check out the new 3D mammography equipment recently acquired by the hospital.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Earns Top Work Places 2015 Award

October 5th, 2015

TWP_TOP150_DesMoinesRegister_Portrait_2015_AWThe goal and desire of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is to be the best place for patients to receive care, the best place for employees to work, and the best place for physicians to practice. The effort SMCH has put forth to accomplish that goal is now recognized. For the fourth time in five years, the Lake City hospital has earned a spot on the Des Moines Register Top Work Places list.

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.  Over the past year, more than 5,000 organizations and 1 in every 88 employees in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees. Through its workplace improvement offerings, WorkplaceDynamics  provides solutions, training and tools to help clients improve their workplace.

This is the fifth year the Des Moines Register has identified top work places in Iowa. They collaborate with Workplace Dynamics to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Companies were either contacted by Workplace Dynamics to participate in the survey process or nominated to participate by an employee. To be eligible to compete for the award, a certain percentage of employees need to respond to the survey. We have been participating in this survey since 2011 to gauge how our employees feel about our organization.  Our people are our number one asset and their voices are vital in how we move forward.  Hearing directly from them that they feel this is a great place to work is confirmation that we have highly satisfied employees,” comments Holly Espenhover, Chief People Officer at SMCH.

The pursuit of excellence not only positively effects employee satisfaction, but patient care as well. “In 2015, we have retained 93% of our workforce which means we have people who are knowledgeable in what they do, understand how to deliver high quality patient care, and ultimately enjoy being a part of our SMCH family,” says Espenhover.

StewartEmployees2015“Ranking in the top 22 for mid-size employers in Iowa is a great achievement,” says Heather Cain, Chief Executive Officer.  “Our culture begins with our people.  Hiring the very best people and providing a great place to work ensures every patient has the highest quality health care experience every time.  I am grateful to all of our SMCH employees for their service to our mission. Their genuine passion to give outstanding care to our patients and positive attitude is what makes SMCH an amazing place,” says Cain.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Launches Patient and Family Advisory Council

October 5th, 2015
Members of the council pictured are: (front row, left to right) Kim Anderson, CEO Heather Cain, Pam Reece, Carolyn Johnson, (back row) Megan Snyder, PharmD, Dave Linder, Valerie Mapel, LPN, Mark Mapel, Toni Kerns, and Zacharina Winker, director of nursing. Not pictured are: Linda Bettin, Dr. Cesar Cardenas and Dwight Dial.

Members of the council pictured are: (front row, left to right) Kim Anderson, CEO Heather Cain, Pam Reece, Carolyn Johnson, (back row) Megan Snyder, PharmD, Dave Linder, Valerie Mapel, LPN, Mark Mapel, Toni Kerns, and Zacharina Winker, director of nursing. Not pictured are: Linda Bettin, Dr. Cesar Cardenas and Dwight Dial.

The newly formed Patient and Family Advisory Council at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital met for an orientation dinner on September 30th. Chief Executive Officer Heather Cain welcomed the group by explaining the purpose of the council, “Your role is to help our organization see things through the patient’s eyes, giving us valuable input and perspective to deliver quality healthcare to our patients.” The purpose of the group is to give patients and families a voice in their health care. It is a collaboration amongst the patients, families and healthcare providers in policy and program development.

Kathy Collins, director of quality at SMCH, encouraged the group to ask the “why” behind the processes that are in place, “When you ask why things are done the way they are, you can initiate change, making things better for our patients.” A prime example is the change currently happening in the clinic where a scheduler is taking patient phone calls and making the appointment for that patient. The scheduler also does the lab or radiology registration there and the patient does not have to go back out to clinic registration desk before going to lab or radiology anymore. This will be implemented in the other pods in the near future as we develop the process in pod B first.

Cindy Carstens, chief operating officer at SMCH, says, “Our goal was to create a group diverse in age and experiences, who are willing to share their stories and the stories of others in a collaborative effort to improve our processes. We’re all working for the good of the people we serve.” The members of the council will serve as liasions between the hospital and clinic and the communities served. Citizens are encouraged to share their stories, positive and negative, with members of the council to help improve processes.

New 3D Mammography Now Available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

September 24th, 2015

Technology offers better chance to diagnose breast cancer earlier

The radiology technicians at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are excited to begin using the new technology that can detect 41% more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40%. Pictured left to right are Marilyn Mumm, Jenni King and radiology director Mary Reiter.

The radiology technicians at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are excited to begin using the new technology that can detect 41% more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40%. Pictured left to right are Marilyn Mumm, Jenni King and radiology director Mary Reiter.

The image on the left is an example of 2D mammography while the image on the right depicts a 3D tomosynthesis image. The white squares indicate the area that was diagnosed as being breast cancer. Using breast tomosynthesis technology at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will benefit patients by diagnosing them earlier and more accurately.

The image on the left is an example of 2D mammography while the image on the right depicts a 3D tomosynthesis image. The white squares indicate the area that was diagnosed as being breast cancer. Using breast tomosynthesis technology at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will benefit patients by diagnosing them earlier and more accurately.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is excited to offer 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) for breast cancer screening. Breast tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.

“We believe breast tomosynthesis will benefit all screening and diagnostic mammography patients, and is especially valuable for women receiving a baseline screening, those who have dense breast tissue and/or women with a personal history of breast cancer,” explains Mary Reiter, radiology director at SMCH.

The center’s Selenia® Dimensions® breast tomosynthesis system is made by Hologic, a world leader in digital mammography. The Selenia Dimensions system offers exceptionally sharp breast images, an advanced ergonomic design providing more patient comfort, and the ground-breaking tomosynthesis platform designed to deliver superior screening and diagnostic performance for all breast types.

Breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis when combined with a conventional 2D mammography has a 40% higher invasive cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone. Tomosynthesis technology gives radiologists increased confidence with up to a 40% reduction in recall rates.

The tomosynthesis screening experience is similar to a traditional mammogram.  During a tomosynthesis exam, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles.  These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

By offering women the latest and more accurate technology in mammography, SMCH expects to increase the number of area women who will be routinely screened. Mary Reiter, director of radiology, says, “Knowing that patients are getting the latest echnology and their exams are top quality will be an incentive for patients to get their screenings done.” According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.  Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.

SMCH is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering breast tomosynthesis digital mammography, SMCH provides the latest in imaging technology. If you would like to schedule a mammogram or have questions about this important breast health procedure, please call 712-464-4207.

Simple Test Leads to Life Balance for Patient

September 17th, 2015
When Linda Bettin retired from medical practice, she turned to Barb Weber, ARNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic Rockwell City for her care. Barb worked with Linda to balance Linda’s hormone levels as she experienced menopause symptoms, making Linda more comfortable and able to enjoy her daily activities.

When Linda Bettin retired from medical practice, she turned to Barb Weber, ARNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic Rockwell City for her care. Barb worked with Linda to balance Linda’s hormone levels as she experienced menopause symptoms, making Linda more comfortable and able to enjoy her daily activities.

Linda Bettin admires the clematis vine growing on the arbor in her yard, excitedly noting the buds that will soon bloom. She proudly points out distinctive plants in each of the flower beds she tends, giving a bit of the history and planning of each one. She understands the benefits each plant brings to the garden.

While the retired physician assistant enjoys gardening, her lifelong passion has always been women’s health. She spearheaded efforts at McCrary Rost Clinic during her tenure there to educate women about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), attending and presenting at professional conferences on the subject. She worked with female patients to navigate through menopause and relieve many of the symptoms.

Over the years, Linda helped many patients with menopause symptoms. When she retired, she turned to Barb Weber, ARNP-C, at McCrary Rost Clinic Rockwell City for help in managing her HRT. Prior to her visit with Barb, Linda experienced hot flashes, weight gain and anxiety. “I’ve known Barb for many years. I was her medical provider when she had her baby! I’ve always been impressed by her abilities. I knew Barb was knowledgeable and supportive of HRT and that she was willing to think outside the box. ”

The Merck Manuals, one of the world’s most widely used medical information resources, define hormones as “chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body (target site). In essence, hormones serve as messengers, controlling and coordinating activities throughout the body.” According to the Hormone Health Network, “Hormones regulate menstruation, fertility, menopause, and sex drive (libido). The main hormones affecting the menstrual cycle and fertility are produced by glands in the brain and by the ovaries.”

Linda’s experience with HRT began when she started her practice as a nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant during the 1980s. “In the old days, female medical issues were simply not discussed. Women felt embarrassed talking about hot flashes and night sweats. Thankfully, times have changed and people are more open about their symptoms. That’s great because people need to be educated. Women no longer have to suffer as they once did. There is help available,” Linda says.

During her thirties, Linda began experiencing symptoms herself as she began perimenopause, the time period during which a woman’s body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility (menopause). Menopause is defined as the cessation of menses for 12 months or more. She explains that imbalances in a woman’s hormone levels, most often estrogen and progesterone, cause symptoms associated with menopause. Those imbalances can also cause thyroid issues, bladder function, memory, osteoporosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Linda concedes that in the past HRT has been controversial. In an article written for publication on www.webmd.com, R. Morgan Griffin explains that doctors had been prescribing HRT, usually a combination of estrogen and progestin, to patients during and after menopause to ease symptoms like emotional stability, lethargy, depression, headaches, weight gain, insomnia, and hot flashes, in addition to other symptoms like joint or back pain, anxiety, dry skin, vaginal dryness, decreased sexual desire and decreased sexual activity for decades. In 2002 the Women’s Health Initiative published a study on the use of artificial estrogen that seemed to show that hormone replacement therapy actually had life-threatening risks such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Many medical providers and patients ceased using HRT, but Griffin writes, “All along HRT remained an important treatment for menopause symptoms like hot flashes. And now, a number of recent studies show that hormone replacement therapy may have protective benefits for women who are early in menopause. Increasing numbers of researchers say there should be a place for hormone replacement therapy as a preventive treatment for limited periods as it may help prevent disease in younger women around the age of menopause.”

“We have evidence that hormone therapy can prevent heart disease, hip fractures, and osteoporosis, and that it cuts the risk of developing diabetes by 30% in younger women,” says Shelley R. Salpeter, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. In one recent study, Salpeter and her colleagues found that HRT reduced the number of heart attacks and cardiac deaths by 32% in women who were 60 or younger (or women who had been through menopause less than 10 years ago). In older women, hormone replacement therapy seemed to increase cardiac events in the first year, and then began to reduce them after two years.

Regulating Linda’s hormone levels was Barb’s focus for her patient. She first tested Linda’s hormone levels via salivary hormone testing. This simple test requires the patient to collect saliva samples from one to four times a day, depending on what is being tested. This painless test is conveniently done in the patient’s home and accurately measures active hormone levels. The basic collection looks at estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol levels. “Additional saliva samples can be obtained to gain greater knowledge of the adrenal glands by testing cortisol levels up to four times a day,” says Weber.

Some providers test hormone levels by obtaining blood samples instead of saliva tests. Barb feels that saliva testing has been established as one of the best methods for accurately assessing the amount of “free” hormones, otherwise known as your active hormones. The results of these tests help guide the provider in prescribing appropriate hormone therapy. “Hormones and hormone reception sites fit like a lock and key. Once the ideal ratio of progesterone and estrogen has been achieved your own hormones can work together to create a sense of balance within yourself,” explains Barb.

Much like planting her flower beds by keeping in mind the benefits each plant brings to the health of the bed and aesthetic value, Barb and Linda work together to maintain the balance in Linda’s hormone levels, ensuring Linda continues to have fewer hot flashes, sleeps better, decreases anxiety and avoid other issues associated with menopause. Linda recommends Barb as a provider because of how she relates to her patients, “Barb listens to her patients and uses best practices to solve issues. She looks at the individual’s needs and is willing to try different approaches to find solutions.”

2015 5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile Registration Now Available

August 31st, 2015
The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s 5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile is fun for all ages. Pictured are Holly Wuebker and her daughters Landrey and Kenley who participated in the race last year.

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s 5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile is fun for all ages. Pictured are Holly Wuebker and her daughters Landrey and Kenley who participated in the race in 2013.

Crisp autumn days are ahead, perfect for taking a walk or going for an exhilarating run. Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) of Lake City, Iowa as it hosts its 5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile event on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at Twin Lakes Bible Camp. The race starts at 9:00 am with a light breakfast provided to participants after the event. Awards will be given to top 5K run and 1 mile walk finishers.

Entries registered prior to September 1 will be $20. Entries received September 1 until 8:45 am the day of the race will be $25. Children 13 and under can participate for free. Long sleeve t-shirts will be given to all pre-registered paying participants. T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will be available at a later date. To register, click here: Pumpkin Dash Registration form. Mail it, along with payment, to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Casey Wetter, Box 114, Lake City, IA 51449. For more information or to register by phone, call  Casey Wetter at 712-464-4182.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Wins Studer Group’s Excellence in Patient Care Award

August 12th, 2015
McCrary Rost Clinic recently received the prestigious Excellence in Patient Care award at the Studer Group’s What’s Right in Health Care conference in Chicago. Pictured with the award are: (left to right)Quint Studer, founder of the Studer Group, Purchasing Director at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Bethany Morrow, Amy Schumacher, RN, SMCH CEO Heather Cain, Jan Knickerbocker, RN, Studer coach, and B.G. Porter, President, Studer Group.

McCrary Rost Clinic recently received the prestigious Excellence in Patient Care award at the Studer Group’s What’s Right in Health Care conference in Chicago. Pictured with the award are: (left to right)Quint Studer, founder of the Studer Group, Purchasing Director at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Bethany Morrow, Amy Schumacher, RN, SMCH CEO Heather Cain, Jan Knickerbocker, RN, Studer coach, and B.G. Porter, President, Studer Group.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital was chosen to receive the Excellence in Patient Care award given by outcomes firm Studer Group®, a Huron Healthcare solution. The organization received the award at Studer Group’s 13th annual What’s Right in Health Care® conference for their achievement across all CG CAHPS composites.

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) program is a multi-year initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support and promote the assessment of consumers’ experiences with health care. A goal of the CAHPS program is to generate tools and resources that sponsors can use to produce understandable and usable comparative information for both patients and health care providers.

The CG CAHPS surveys consumers on their experience specifically on access to care, communication and quality of providers and staff. SMCH consistently earns high scores in several categories. The questions that garnered the highest scores in 2014 are: 88.9% of respondents said their provider saw them within 15 minutes of their appointment times, 94.8% said someone followed up with test results, 93.9% said their providers explained in a way they understood, 94% said their providers spent enough time with them, and 95.3% of those surveyed were pleased with the office staff quality.

“Our team of medical providers and all clinic staff participate in delivering quality, compassionate care to every patient and family member each and every day. We are pleased to be recognized for the commitment the team has made to healthcare and our patients,” says Jeanette Sargent, vice president of clinics.

The Excellence in Patient Care awards are given to select organizations that are coached by Studer Group based on various categories. To be eligible for an award, an organization must demonstrate outstanding performance in patient care. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital was selected for achieving significant improvement and/or achievement across all CG CAHPS composites during 2014.

SMCH CEO Heather Cain says, “We are extremely proud of the hard work of our medical providers and the care teams that surround them in acheiving this recognition.  This award validates that working together as a team our patients recognize our committment to providing the highest quality patient experience in our clinics for every patient, every time.”

“The Patient Portal” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

August 7th, 2015
Kari Jones presented “The Patient Portal” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Kari Jones presented “The Patient Portal” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Kari Jones, RN, Director of Nursing at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) spoke to over 30 people at the August “Lunch Connection” event. Her program explained the MyUnityPoint patient internet portal and how patients can sign up for the service.

Kari explained that SMCH’s affiliation with UnityPoint Health system gives patients secured access to their health records that are stored electronically via their computers or smartphones. A patient can view test results, review medical  history like vitals and immunizations, refill prescriptions, read messages from the healthcare team and review the health summary from their visit. Additionally, patients can view upcoming appointments, view their medication lists and request medication refills.

During the visit in the clinic or a hospital stay, a patient that is not yet signed up for MyUnityPoint will be given an activation code. This code will allow the patient to log in to chart.myunitypoint.org. A username and password will then be created. The patient will need to be 18 or older and be a patient of UnityPoint Health system or its affiliates.

“While patients are in the hospital, we walk them through the log in and creation of their username and password. Patients using our outpatient services are given an activation code and instructions to help them, but we’re happy to help them get through the process,” explains Kari.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held November 5, 2015.

SMCH HomeCare Shines In Star Ratings from Medicare

August 5th, 2015
The highly rated SMCH HomeCare team: (front row) Ricole Potts, RN, Michelle Shaver, LISW, Holly Wuebker, RN, Genni Hoyle, Windy Goodwin, RN, (back row) Kellie Christensen, Kari Jones, RN, Darci Peterson, RN, Shelly Hammen, RN, Kari Sharkey, Rhonda Gorden and Nancy Corey. Missing from photo are Jenny Roby, RN, and Holly Hildreth.

The highly rated SMCH HomeCare team: (front row) Ricole Potts, RN, Michelle Shaver, LISW, Holly Wuebker, RN, Genni Hoyle, Windy Goodwin, RN, (back row) Kellie Christensen, Kari Jones, RN, Darci Peterson, RN, Shelly Hammen, RN, Kari Sharkey, Rhonda Gorden and Nancy Corey. Missing from photo are Jenny Roby, RN, and Holly Hildreth.

A patient who is acutely ill or recovering from illness or surgery can rely on Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s HomeCare services for help. The certified nursing staff provide skilled nursing care, hospice, wound, skin and ostomy care, speech, occupational and physical therapy, nutritional supervision, social services, health maintenance and homemaker services. Past patients who have received surveys from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been so satisfied with their care that they are giving SMCH’s HomeCare services high marks.

Kari Jones, Director of Nursing at SMCH states, “SMCH HomeCare works hard to provide individualized care for our patients.  Our staff get to know patients and strive to provide excellent care to every patient every time.”

CMS recently posted the first star ratings to Home Health Compare, which are based on nine of 29 quality measures publicly reported by home health agencies for calendar year 2014. Medicare-certified agencies that reported data for at least five of the nine measures during the 12-month reporting period received a star rating. Some of those measures include: how often the home health team checked patients for pain and how often that pain was treated, how often the team included treatments to prevent bed sores in the plan of care, and how often the team taught patients or their family caregivers about their prescriptions. SMCH scored 100% in all four measures.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s HomeCare department received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, making them a leader in their service area. A 4- or 5-star rating means that the agency performed better than other agencies on the 9 measured care practices and outcomes. Across the country, most agencies fall “in the middle” with 3 or 3-1/2 stars. HomeCare Supervisor Shelly Hammen, RN, says, “The SMCH Homecare staff provides individuals and their families with professional healthcare services in their own home with emphasis placed on promoting, maintaining or restoring their health with a personal touch.”

For more information about the homecare services offered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, call 800-262-2614, extension 4201 or visit www.stewartmemorial.org.

LifeFlight Partnership with SMCH Reduces Transport Time

July 22nd, 2015

LifeFlightStewart Memorial Community Hospital understands that minutes matter in an emergency. That’s why it has partnered with UnityPoint Health’s LifeFlight team, in addition to the specially trained nurses and physicians who staff its Emergency Department. The Emergency Room team is prepared, day and night, to respond to all conditions, from minor injuries to life-threatening emergencies. Ground transportation is provided by Calhoun County Emergency Services, but at times, air transportation is necessary to get patients the care they need.

Cindy Carstens, vice president of nursing and ancillary services, explains, “UnityPoint Health LifeFlight has strategically placed a helicopter in their northern territory to help decrease air transport times by half. Prior to the start up of the Fort Dodge program, air transport services were mainly coming from Des Moines or Knoxville. Our focus at SMCH is to provide the best patient experience possible. Ensuring the fastest access to specialized care equates to quality patient care.”

Since 1979 UnityPoint Health LifeFlight has been providing quality, rapid air transport for critically-ill and injured patients. LifeFlight transports patients between hospitals if specialized medical or surgical treatment is needed. As experienced transport clinicians, LifeFlight’s medical personnel are trained in critical care, advanced life support, pediatric and neonatal advanced life support and advance airway management. Flight crews are nationally certified nurses and paramedics who operate independently off aggressive patient care guidelines to ensure rapid stabilization and transport of patients. The team has a close working relationship with the medical directors and trauma surgeons and consult with them as needed.

Kari Jones, Director of Nursing, says, “Stewart Memorial Emergency staff understands a visit to our Emergency Department is an unexpected crisis for patients and their families. Their time and quality of care are both very valuable to us. Caring for our patients in the timeliest manner is of utmost importance to our staff.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is a Level IV Trauma Center and certified by the Iowa Department of Public Health. For more information, please visit www.stewartmemorial.org or call 712-464-4106.

SMCH Auxiliary Announces Project Funding

July 9th, 2015
Certified respiratory therapist Tammie Riedell (right) explains how new EKG machines will improve patient care to SMCH Auxiliary president Mary Sporleder.

Certified respiratory therapist Tammie Riedell (right) explains how new EKG machines will improve patient care to SMCH Auxiliary president Mary Sporleder.

Patients who are experiencing heart trouble and moms delivering babies will benefit from the funding the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary has committed to donating. The Auxiliary announced the projects identified for funding in 2015-2016 are for three electrocardiogram (EKG) machines and one Labor and Delivery bed for the obstetric department.

The Auxiliary Executive Committee of Mary Sporleder, Carol Dickkut, Marci Duncan and Jan Dougherty pledged to raise $41,000 by April 1, 2016 to cover the cost of the equipment. The new EKG machines will serve the hospital’s McCrary Rost Clinics in Lake View, Gowrie and Rockwell City. The three new EKG machines, which cost $24,000, will be the same quality as the two new EKG machines that are being installed at SMCH this month.

An EKG machine is used to check for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. An EKG shows the heart’s electrical activity as line tracings on paper which a doctor can then use to evaluate the heart’s activity. A primary benefit of the new EKG machines is that the equipment will synchronize with the hospital’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) to provide accurate documentation of the test. This streamlines the process of care for the patients by allowing all clinics to conduct an EKG and store the information in the same way because the EKG results are automatically stored in the patient’s electronic chart. The chart is accessible to other hospitals within our system to be read if the patient needs specialty care, at Iowa Heart in Fort Dodge for instance, based on the EKG results. This helps ensure quality of care because the patient only has to have an EKG one time, and not repeat the test if transferred or sent to SMCH from one of the McCrary Rost Clinic locations. Another benefit is the EKG results are also more secure because the test is locked in the patient electronic chart and only accessible by authorized staff.

The advantage of an additional Labor and Delivery bed for the obstetrics department is better patient care. The number of babies born at SMCH has steadily increased the last three years. From 2013 to 2014 SMCH saw a 12% increase. By replacing a traditional hospital bed in the OB unit with an Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Post Partum (LPRD) bed, it will help alleviate the need for new moms to transfer rooms after delivery. The cost of the new bed is around $17,000.

Since the SMCH Auxiliary was formed in 1962, over $800,000 has been donated to the hospital. A variety of fundraisers, including the popular Trivia Night, are set to take place to help raise funds. For more information about the Auxiliary, you can learn more by calling Mary Ludwig or Danielle Evans at SMCH or a member of the Auxiliary Executive committee.

SMCH Earns 5-Star Rating in Patient Experience

July 6th, 2015

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital can add being awarded a five-star rating from Medicare to its list of accomplishments in 2015 as reported on the official government website for Medicare at www.medicare.com/hospitalcompare. Hospital Compare gathers information from patient surveys about the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals. Patients can use the Hospital Compare website to find hospitals and compare the quality of their care. “As one of only eleven hospitals in the state to receive a rating of five stars, our entire team is very proud of these results demonstrating the high quality of care and patient experience we deliver at Stewart Memorial,” says Heather Cain, CEO at SMCH.

HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a national survey that asks patients about their experiences during their recent hospital stays. The results are used to compare hospitals based on eleven important hospital quality topics. Star ratings enable consumers to more quickly and easily assess the patient experience of care information. More stars indicate better quality care. A five star rating is the highest rating. HCAHPS star ratings, like the HCAHPS measures on which they are based, are updated quarterly.

Kathy Collins, Quality Director at SMCH says, “Stewart Memorial strives to provide the absolute best care for every patient and in every encounter. This is exhibited in the five-star rating we have received from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

Eleven areas of the patient care experience are addressed in the surveys: nurse communication, doctor communication, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, care transition, cleanliness of hospital environment, quietness of hospital environment, overall rating of hospital, and willingness to recommend hospital. The HCAHPS summary star rating combines all 11 HCAHPS star ratings into a single, comprehensive metric.

“The new star rating system provides a very convenient and familiar way for our patients to validate that they have chosen a health care provider who delivers a quality experience.  It’s the same manner in which most of us choose a restaurant, airline or hotel today.  We believe this new era of transparency in the health care industry will ensure that patients receive the highest level of care available,” says Cain.

For more information about the services offered at 5-star rated Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, call 800-262-2614.

Summer 2015 Health Care Connection Now Available

July 6th, 2015

Summer 2015To view the summer edition of the Health Care Connection, please click on the link below.

Summer 2015

Lake View Mayor Lowers the Gavel on Pain

July 6th, 2015

John WestergaardJohn Westergaard was in a lot of pain. The Lake View mayor suffered a car accident twelve years ago, undergoing surgery two years later when rods and screws were inserted into his vertebrae.

As a corn and soybean seed salesman, he was used to experiencing pain loading and unloading bags of seed for his customers each spring. What had formerly been a 2-3 week job each year became a 3 month long ordeal in the spring of 2014. The former Marine suffered crippling pain. “I was coming home at night and just lying on the floor. I was taking lots of medication and sleeping as much as possible to try to escape from it,” remembers John. The pain forced John to retire from his sales job.

After six months of living with constant pain, he was given a referral by his medical provider and made an appointment with Trevor Capron, certified registered nurse anesthetist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH). “He spent more time talking to me, explaining the procedure, than it took to actually do the epidural steroid injection.”

According to the Mayfield Brain and Spine Clinic, “An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. ESI may be performed to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the spinal nerve through the epidural space, the area between the protective covering of the spinal cord and vertebrae.”

The Mayo Clinic explains how the injection works, “ESIs contain drugs that mimic the effects of the hormones cortisone and hydrocortisone. When injected near irritated nerves in your spine, these drugs may temporarily reduce inflammation and help relieve pain.”

Certified registered nurse anesthetist at SMCH, Perry Henely, explains, “While the effects of the injection may be temporary – providing relief from pain for one week up to one year – an epidural can be very beneficial for a patient during an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. Importantly, an injection can provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative stretching and exercise program. If the initial injection is effective for a patient, he or she may have up to three in a one-year period.”

After receiving the injection, John felt his pain was cut in half. The avid woodworker and model train enthusiast returned to the activities he loved. “I’m able to stand for longer periods, and my mobility is much better.” Though he is careful to rest often and avoid doing more than he can handle, John is quick to grin, “I don’t have much quit in me!”

To learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Pain Management, call 712-464-4250. A referral from your medical provider is necessary for this service.

SMCH Seeks Input on Community Health Needs

July 1st, 2015

In an effort to better understand the health needs of the communities served by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), hospital officials are conducting a short survey. “The survey can be taken on-line or filled out on paper and returned to Stewart Memorial,” stated Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH. The ten question survey is designed to pin point the concerns people have about their personal health, the health of their family and their community. One goal of the survey is to discover what barriers people face in becoming healthier.

Results from the Community Health Needs Assessment survey will pave the way for developing a Health Improvement Plan (CHNA HIP). The plan will include developing a community health profile, building community collaboration, developing a health improvement plan, and evaluating the outcome. This plan will compliment the plan already developed by Calhoun County Public Health.

Everyone in the SMCH service area is invited to participate in the survey. The survey can be found on the hospital website at www.stewartmemorial.org. on the left hand side tab or on-line you may access it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCDX7G3. Surveys need to be completed by August 31, 2015. Results of the survey will be posted on the hospital website when they are completed.

SMCH Seeks Applications for Patient and Family Advisory Council Members

June 27th, 2015
Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (right) describes the Patient and Family Advisory Council to SMCH Auxiliary member Pat Albright (left). SMCH is currently seeking members for the newly formed council.

Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (right) describes the Patient and Family Advisory Council to SMCH Auxiliary member Pat Albright (left). SMCH is currently seeking members for the newly formed council.

Enhancing the patient experience is about focusing on healthcare through the eyes of others. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is seeking volunteers who are interested in working with patients and families to engage them in helping to make SMCH’s care the best it can be. To do this, SMCH is now creating a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) and is recruiting members. The rewards of participating on the PFAC will be many, from meeting new friends to hearing the voice of others, and making an impact on the care of patients. It’s your opportunity to make a difference and enhance the patient experience.

“As an organization, we constantly work to improve services. In forming the PFAC, we believe the patient’s voice can help us understand from their perspective which processes and tools can facilitate improved patient centered care. Our goal is to create a council that embodies partnership and communication. The council will be reflective of the diverse communities we serve – diversity in terms of income level, racial and ethnic makeup, health status and religion to name a few. The council will be composed of patients, family members and/or friends of patients and community leaders, as well as health care professionals,” says Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH.

The mission of PFAC is dedicated to strengthening collaboration between patients and family members and the healthcare team, by being involved in decision making. The Council is committed to creating an environment of safety, dignity, respect and honesty, in delivering the highest standards of comprehensive and compassionate healthcare.

The PFAC will be comprised of patients and family members, SMCH, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy staff. This group will plan and develop truly responsive services. Members should be willing to make a commitment to meeting with SMCH leaders, physicians and staff, work as a team, share experiences, provide honest feedback, respect the perspective of others, meet with other patients and families, work on program development projects and other projects outside the monthly meeting, educate the leadership and staff, and work to enhance the patient and family experience. Members should plan to participate in meetings lasting two to three hours and attend PFAC orientation programs. Additionally, members will engage in additional work outside the meetings for program development and to meet with patients and families about their experiences.

Anyone who is passionate about working to improve SMCH is welcome to apply to be on this volunteer council. Applications are available at SMCH, McCrary Rost Clinic locations in Lake City, Lake View, Rockwell City and Gowrie.

Please tell us about your interest in engaging patients and families to improve patient care

Please tell us your name and the best ways to reach you?

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Is it ok to share your contact information (address, telephone number and email address) with other members of the council?

1. Why are you interested in volunteering your time to work on patient safety and quality improvement in our hospital?

2. What do you think patients and families will bring to our hospital's efforts to improve safety and quality?

3. Have you been involved with or have you seen events at our hospital that have put patients at risk for being harmed? If so, please tell us about this.

4. What more could we do as a hospital community to deliver better service to the patients and families who come to use for their health care. Are there particular patient groups or kinds of patients that you are particularly concerned about?

5. Are there any particular issues or priorities that you think the Patient and Family Advisory Council should work on?

6. Are you active in community organizations, such as churches, schools or volunteer groups? If so, please tell us which ones.

7. Would you be comfortable participating in a group where there could be suggestions and complaints about hospital policies or hospital staff members?

8. Why would you like to be a member of the PFAC?

9. What issues would you like to see the council address?

10.If you have participated in any organizations or committees, please share some examples (these may be from work, community or church).

11. We believe that the attributes of a good PFAC member include being a good listener, having excellent communication skills, working collaboratively and demonstrating confidentiality. Do you believe that you have these attributes and why?

Please specify times when you are able to attend meetings:
Daytime: (7am-5pm)Evening: (5pm-8pm)Weekends: (Sat/Sun)

Lake View Mayor Lowers the Gavel on Pain

June 25th, 2015
An epidural steroid injection he received at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital made it possible for John Westergaard to manage his back pain and allowed him to return to his favorite hobbies which include woodworking.

An epidural steroid injection he received at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital made it possible for John Westergaard to manage his back pain and allowed him to return to his favorite hobbies which include woodworking.

Perry Henely, CRNA

Perry Henely, CRNA

Trevor Capron, CRNA

Trevor Capron, CRNA

John Westergaard was in a lot of pain. The Lake View mayor suffered a car accident twelve years ago, undergoing surgery two years later when rods and screws were inserted into his vertebrae.

As a corn and soybean seed salesman, he was used to experiencing pain loading and unloading bags of seed for his customers each spring. What had formerly been a 2-3 week job each year became a 3 month long ordeal in the spring of 2014. The former Marine suffered crippling pain. “I was coming home at night and just lying on the floor. I was taking lots of medication and sleeping as much as possible to try to escape from it,” remembers John. The pain forced John to retire from his sales job.

After six months of living with constant pain, he was given a referral by his medical provider and made an appointment with Trevor Capron, certified registered nurse anesthetist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH). “He spent more time talking to me, explaining the procedure, than it took to actually do the epidural steroid injection.”

According to the Mayfield Brain and Spine Clinic, “An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. ESI may be performed to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the spinal nerve through the epidural space, the area between the protective covering of the spinal cord and vertebrae.”

The Mayo Clinic explains how the injection works, “ESIs contain drugs that mimic the effects of the hormones cortisone and hydrocortisone. When injected near irritated nerves in your spine, these drugs may temporarily reduce inflammation and help relieve pain.”

Certified registered nurse anesthetist at SMCH, Perry Henely, explains, “While the effects of the injection may be temporary – providing relief from pain for one week up to one year – an epidural can be very beneficial for a patient during an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. Importantly, an injection can provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative stretching and exercise program. If the initial injection is effective for a patient, he or she may have up to three in a one-year period.”

After receiving the injection, John felt his pain was cut in half. The avid woodworker and model train enthusiast returned to the activities he loved. “I’m able to stand for longer periods, and my mobility is much better.” Though he is careful to rest often and avoid doing more than he can handle, John is quick to grin, “I don’t have much quit in me!”

To learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Pain Management, call 712-464-4250. A referral from your medical provider is necessary for this service.

SMCH Acquires New CT Scanner

June 23rd, 2015

IMG_5705Certified radiology technologists Jenni King and Marilyn Mumm demonstrate the new computed tomography (CT) scanner recently acquired by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Director of Radiology Mary Reiter explains, “A CT scan is a diagnostic medical test that, like traditional x-rays, produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. The cross-sectional images generated during a CT scan can be reformatted in multiple planes, and can even generate three-dimensional images. CT images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels typically provide greater detail than traditional x-rays, particularly of soft tissues and blood vessels.” The hospital purchased the scanner which will provide a quality exam while reducing the dosage of radiation to the patient. All of the radiology technologists employed by the hospital received extensive training pertaining to the use of the CT scanner.

For more information about the radiology services available at SMCH, call the Radiology department at 712-464-4207.

Team Effort Kicks Cancer for Lake View Boy

June 9th, 2015
Dr. Susan Hornback and Mark Mogensen, PA-C, provided outstanding care for Emmett Lahr when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Dr. Susan Hornback and Mark Mogensen, PA-C, provided outstanding care for Emmett Lahr when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Two and a half year old Emmett woke his parents up in the middle of the night to go potty in 2013. Ecstatic with his potty training progress, Cora and Scott Lahr gave their youngest son high fives as they took him to the bathroom. Excitement turned to confusion as their toddler struggled to urinate and started crying. “He said he had to go, but then there would be very little urine,” explains Cora.

She and Scott reached out to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) for answers. “We had recently moved back to Lake View after living in Des Moines for 12 years and SMCH is the hospital we trusted for our family when we returned,” says Cora. A urine test revealed Emmett had bladder infection and he started an antibiotic. “The next day, Emmett was still struggling. We worked with Mark Mogensen at the Lake View McCrary Rost Clinic and he ran blood tests which all came back normal. We started a different antibiotic in hopes of good results,” recalls Cora.

When Emmett still did not improve, Mogensen, a certified physician assistant, recommended Emmett be hospitalized for further evaluation. “In Lake City, Dr. Hornback ordered x-rays which revealed Emmett’s colon was backed up with stool and the process to clean out his bowels was started. We were really impressed with the care we received from Dr. Hornback and Mr. Mogensen. Their level of compassion is remarkable,” notes Cora. “

While Emmett’s constipation was relieved, he still struggled to urinate. Dr. Hornback suggested Emmett receive specialty care at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. “As young parents, we appreciated Dr. Hornback’s fortitude to find answers for Emmett,” recalls Cora.

“Quality health care is our top priority for our patients. If we are unable to solve a patients issues, we reach out to our trusted partners,” notes Dr. Hornback.

Additional tests revealed the source of Emmett’s trouble. A tumor the size of a tangerine was sitting in his bladder. He had stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma (pronounced rab-doh-my-oh-sar-coma), which is cancer of the bladder. “The doctors believed he would need an operation so we headed to Iowa City for surgery,” says Cora. The team of specialized surgeons was able to remove most of the tumor. “We were able to come home the day before Thanksgiving. We were counting all of our blessings and extremely thankful for the great team of medical providers that got us to this point,” notes Cora.

In December, Emmett started his 48-week treatment plan to become cancer free. “We did a lot of traveling back and forth to Des Moines for his chemotherapy and radiation. While we had to have most of his care at Blank, I commend the communication between Mogensen, Hornback and the team at Blank. When we were able to use SMCH and McCrary Rost Clinic, they were well informed of how Emmett was doing. The excellent communication made our care easier because everyone was on the same page,” notes Cora.

During his off weeks of chemo treatment or when his port needed to be flushed, Cora trusted the staff at SMCH. “Emmett would need lab work to see where his blood counts were at and it was very convenient to go to SMCH for those tests. It saved us time on the road,” says Cora. “In addition to benefiting from the convenience of our local clinic, we felt the care and compassion of the staff. On numerous occasions, Mr. Mogensen would call us and check in on how Emmett was doing. It’s comforting and reassuring to know our local medical team cares so much about their patients,” says Cora.

“A cancer diagnosis is a very scary and challenging time for patients. As a medical provider, I want to do all I can to help reduce their anxiety and answer questions. Caring for a patient with a serious diagnosis takes an entire team and I’m honored to be a part of that team,” says Mogensen.

In October of 2013 Emmett had his last chemo treatment. “It was a long journey and we learned so much about the unwavering strength and support of our family, friends, community and local medical team,” notes Cora. Emmett completed begindergarten this year at East Sac County School and is ready for a summer filled with his favorite activities instead of doctor appointments. “Emmett is thrilled to spend his afternoons casting his fishing pole along side his brothers again!”

“A New Era in Pharmacy” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

June 4th, 2015
Jane Moeller presented “A New Era in Pharmacy” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Jane Moeller presented “A New Era in Pharmacy” to an audience at the Lunch Connection held at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) welcomed nearly 40 people at the June “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured registered pharmacist Jane Moeller who spoke on “A New Era in Pharmacy.”

Jane described the new era in pharmacy as changing to a patient-centered care pharmacy. Because the current model of retail pharmacies cannot survive on reduced reimbursement for provided services, changes are necessary. “The patient-centered care pharmacy promotes health, wellness, and disease prevention to improve overall  patient care,” she explained.

Changes in the future of pharmacy include new programs like Medication Therapy Management (MTM) or Complete Medication Review (CMR) in which the pharmacist performs an in-depth analysis of the patient’s medicine. Improvement in communications between the retail pharmacy and hospital discharge medication changes will reduce confusion for patients who receive a new medicine while in the hospital that replaces a previous prescription. Another service involves pharmacists providing health assessments in the community at health fairs, businesses or meetings. Pharmacists can now administer certain vaccines, like shingles, in the pharmacy. Medication synchronization (med sync) programs are increasing in pharmacies. These are programs that would enable the pharmacy to give all the patient’s medicines in one visit instead of having to wait until the prescription is due. Also, patients may begin to receive check-up calls from pharmacy staff to ensure the medicine is working well and to answer questions about side effects or other concerns.

The anticipated results from such programs are beneficial. The programs seek to decrease medication-related adverse effects. Pharmacists are able to adjust or stop ineffective drug therapies. Coaching patients when prescriptions are picked up leads to better adherence, which means patients are taking their prescriptions as directed. Finally, the programs seek to increase patients’ knowledge of their medications and lead to healthier outcomes.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held August 6, 2015.

Community Pharmacy Offers Medication Therapy Management

June 4th, 2015
Megan Snyder, PharmD, and Jane Moeller, RPh, flank Carol Laidler who utilized the Medication Therapy Management service at Community Pharmacy. Working with Carol and her medical provider, the pharmacists found alternative medications to eliminate Carol’s stomach pain.

Megan Snyder, PharmD, and Jane Moeller, RPh, flank Carol Laidler who utilized the Medication Therapy Management service at Community Pharmacy. Working with Carol and her medical provider, the pharmacists found alternative medications to eliminate Carol’s stomach pain.

In January 2015 Carol Laidler was suffering from stomach pain. A diagnosis of Type II diabetes had previously been controlled through diet and exercise, but the disease intensified, causing her to begin taking medicine. She experienced an upset stomach but didn’t become overly concerned. Then her triglyceride (a type of fat found in the blood which convert to energy between meals) levels went haywire, Carol was prescribed another medication to control them. Additionally, she was taking potassium to rectify a deficiency in her system. The three medications interacted and caused Carol to have intense stomach pain.

She contacted registered pharmacist Jane Moeller at Community Pharmacy and asked her to evaluate her medications. Community Pharmacy offers a new service to patients called Medication Therapy Management (MTM). Carol met with Jane and Megan Snyder, PharmD. They went over Carol’s health profile, analyzing all her health issues and the medications she takes to control them. The results were changes in Carol’s medication. The medicine she takes for her triglycerides was swapped for a different prescription, the medicine she takes for her potassium was changed to a more easily swallowed tablet, and the medicine she takes for diabetes was changed to a time-release version. Carol’s stomach pain disappeared. “The medical providers know your health issues. The pharmacists know the drugs. They all have to work together to make a person healthy,” says Laidler.

Jane Moeller attributes the changes in the services pharmacies offers to the changing attitudes of Americans. “We are showing more interest in maintaining our health. In a national survey, 80% of responses indicated Americans expect to be more active in managing their health than ever before. At Community Pharmacy we are responding to that expectation and providing the MTM program.”

The MTM program the patient’s healthcare team which includes the patient, their medical provider and the pharmacist. “It’s all about the patient and healthy outcomes. After analyzing the patient’s medical profile and medications used to control chronic conditions, we send our suggestions for any changes in medications to the patient’s medical provider.  Together, the team decides on the best option,” explains Moeller. “So begins a new era in pharmacy – helping patients to better utilize their medications and to enjoy a healthier life.”

The cost of the program is covered on the Medicare Part D Plan. “Every insurance plan has different criteria. Check with your insurance company to find out if MTM is a covered service,” advises Moeller. “If it is not covered under Medicare, this service is available for a fee.”

To learn more about Medication Therapy Management or to set an appointment, call  Community Pharmacy at 712-464-7281.

DAISY Award Presented to SMCH Nurses

May 26th, 2015
Daisy Award winners Amy Schumacher, RN, and Windy Goodwin, RN, were honored at a luncheon at SMCH. The luncheon celebrated the contributions the nursing staff at McCrary Rost Clinic and SMCH have made in the excellent care our patients receive.

Daisy Award winners Amy Schumacher, RN, and Windy Goodwin, RN, were honored at a luncheon at SMCH. The luncheon celebrated the contributions the nursing staff at McCrary Rost Clinic and SMCH have made in the excellent care our patients receive.

Delivering compassionate patient care and great clinical skills are the qualities that recently earned two Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) nurses the DAISY Award. The award, which was established in 1999 and stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, is in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. During his lengthy hospital stay, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion Patrick received from his nurses. The DAISY award was established to say thank you to nurses across the nation by honoring the work they do at the bedside, funding research, and honoring nursing faculty.

Ten nurses from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City and McCrary Rost Clinics were nominated for the award and the award went to Windy Goodwin, RN, and Amy Schumacher, RN. Goodwin has worked in Homecare/Hospice since 2012. She was nominated by a patient’s family member for many reasons, stating, “In mid 2012 we all decided it was time to put Mom on hospice care. Windy treated my mom just like it was her own. She treated the whole family with such great respect, it was so comforting knowing that there are such great people out there in the world still.” A nurse at McCrary Rost Clinic since 2010, Schumacher was nominated by a co-worker who had observed, “I have witnessed her so many times comforting patients that are dealing with the death of a loved one, young or old! She always knows what to say at the right time and she knows when not to say anything. Recently, I heard her have a 15-20 minute conversation with a patient who lost her young son who had major health problems his entire life. Amy was comforting the mother with the kindest, most understanding words. And when Amy said, ‘I know,’ the mother knew – Amy did know.” Other nominees include Quality/Infection Prevention nurse Kiana Lamphier, RN, transition coaches Brooke Minnehan, RN and Zacharina Winker, RN, inpatient nurses Kathy Holm, RN, Renee Bronzynski, RN, Jenni Macke, RN, and Carmen Ludwig, LPN and clinic nurse/business office Joann Wiederin, RN.

Cindy Carstens is the Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH and says nurses, like the ones nominated at SMCH, are surprised when they receive the DAISY Award. “Most nurses do not believe they are doing ‘anything special’ and they are just ‘doing their job.’ That’s why at every DAISY Award presentation, we ask each nurse to pause for a minute and realize how very special they are and how they make the world a better place by ‘just doing their jobs,’” noted Carstens. Today, a nurse’s job may entail saving a patient’s life, applying training and skill to a complex medical procedure, or offering comfort to a patient or family member to make them feel better. “Every day, nurses are making a positive difference in a patient’s and family’s life. Nurses make the world a better place and they are special because they are a nurse,” added Carstens.

Nurses are nominated by patients, families, colleagues, physicians, or other staff. The criteria focuses on the compassionate care and memorable moment’s nurses provide their patients as well as great clinical skill. As of April 2015 over 1,900 healthcare organizations worldwide honor their nurses with The DAISY Award.

Learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at www.stewartmemorial.org or learn more about the DAISY award at www.daisyfoundation.org

SMCH to host Fun Run

May 26th, 2015
Participants at the 2014 Fun Run get ready for the start.

Participants at the 2014 Fun Run get ready for the start.

Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and walk or run the  Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and will be held Saturday, June 27, 2015.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square in Lake City.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

     Pre-registration prior to May 30 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants.   Registration after May 31 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

      Awards will be given to the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10 and under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-65; 66 and over.  Men and women will be in separate classes.

      For more information and a registration form, contact Casey Wetter at 712-464-4182 or 712-464-3171 or request email registration at cwetter@stewartmemorial.org or log onto our website at www.stewartmemorial.org or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity.

Click here to register for the event: Fun Run brochure (2)

Lymphedema Treatment Puts Spring into Lake City Woman’s Step

May 6th, 2015
Bob Dickkut, physical therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is trained by Laura Hejtmanek in wrapping the legs of his wife, Carol, which helps treat her lymphedema.

Bob Dickkut, physical therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is trained by Laura Hejtmanek in wrapping the legs of his wife, Carol, which helps treat her lymphedema.

Carol Dickkut and her husband Bob, a physical therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, are active in their retirement. Carol substitute teaches and Bob fills in part time at the hospital. Their schedules leave them lots of time to spend with their family and each other, in addition to volunteer work, reading, and golf. The fun-loving pair excitedly plan get-away trips with friends and family.

Enjoying each moment life has to offer was a lesson learned after health issues for Carol began. In September 2012, Carol opted to have her ovaries removed as a preventative measure after discovering she was at high risk for developing ovarian cancer. At that time, lymph nodes were also removed. After microscopic testing of the removed organs, it was revealed that she had stage 2 ovarian cancer. Additionally, after this second ordeal with cancer, the first occurring in 1984 when a mastectomy was performed after Carol discovered a lump in her breast, she decided to have her other breast removed in 2013 for preventative measures.

Nearly three months after her chemotherapy ended, Carol noticed her left foot and ankle was swollen. An ultrasound scan was prescribed to check for blood clots. When none were found, Carol and her oncologist opted to do nothing and see if the swelling resolved itself. In 2014 she saw her surgical oncologist who, after seeing the swelling had not reduced, ordered another ultrasound. Again finding no blood clots, Carol received a prescription for lymphedema treatment.

Lymphedema is defined as swelling that results from the inability of the lymphatic system to remove water and protein from the tissues of certain parts of the body.  It can affect the arms, legs, trunk/abdomen, head and neck, or external genitalia.  Lymphedema will continue to progress if it is left untreated, and there is no cure.

Causes of lymphedema include surgery and/or radiation therapy for various cancers, especially with lymph node removal or damage; infection, trauma, deep vein thrombosis, chronic venous insufficiency, heredity, or parasites (usually in developing countries). In Carol’s case, the removal of lymph nodes during her surgery in 2012 is the likely cause.

Laura Hejtmanek, a physical therapist on the team at SMCH, graduated from Des Moines University in 2006 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT).  She began working at SMCH in 2012 and recently became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) through the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy, a member of the North American Lymphedema Education Association (NALEA).  “I’ve been very excited to begin a lymphedema treatment program here at SMCH to bring a new level of specialized care to the area,” she says.

Prior to treatment Carol had difficulty finding shoes that would fit. Her feet and legs felt heavy and the swelling was noticeable. Treatment can help reduce the swelling and maintain swelling reduction. Methods of treatment can include manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, skin care, therapeutic exercise, and compression garment fitting. For Carol, treatment meant undergoing daily manual lymph drainage followed by daily wrapping with compression bandages on her affected limb by Laura every day for two weeks. The goal was to reduce the swelling by at least 60 percent and allow Carol to move on to wearing specially fitted compression garments all day. At night she wears a custom fitted night sleeve to help manage the swelling. “I feel fortunate that I sought and received treatment before the condition got too bad. The best thing about treatment is that I now have a choice of shoes and a lightness in my step! Maybe Bob and I can enjoy dancing during our next vacation!” Carol says with a twinkle in her eye.

To learn more about lymphedema treatment at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, please contact Laura Hejtmanek at 712-464-4244. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital requires all patients coming to physical therapy have a referral from a medical provider.  The State of Iowa does have Direct Access to PT.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic Welcome Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C

April 16th, 2015

The providers and staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are pleased to welcome Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Tonja Petersen-Anderson. Tonja enjoys the variety of medical opportunities offered in a family practice and is excited to join our team. Whether she’s working with women’s health, pediatrics or geriatrics, she enjoys helping others.

Tonja’s attraction to medicine began at a young age, “My brother was born with a hole in his heart. He had two open heart surgeries when he was very young. Seeing how he was cared for made an impact on me.” A native of Nebraska, Tonja received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Creighton University. She earned her Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Clarkson College in Omaha. Her past medical experience includes employment as a campus health aid at Creighton University, a registered nurse at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, and an advanced registered nurse practioner at Trimark Physicians Group in Pocahontas and Laurens.

Tonja has had over 24 years of medical experience which includes critical care,  emergency care, and family practice. Tonja joins the medical providers at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City and Adam Swisher, D.O., Rochelle Guess, FNP-C, and Kari Swisher, ARNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie. For appointments, please call: Lake City Clinic at 712-464-7907, or Gowrie Clinic at 515-352-3891.

Tonja Anderson-Peterson, ARNP-C joins SMCH and McCrary Rost Clinic

Tonja Petersen-Anderson, ARNP-C joins SMCH and McCrary Rost Clinic

Tonja is married to George Anderson and they have three daughters, Emma, Olivia and Julia. She enjoys spending time with her family, polishing her photography skills and doing needle work.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to Host Free Family Easter Fun

March 23rd, 2015
Face painting, games, crafts and snacks will be available at the Family Easter Fun event, hosted by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View, on Saturday, April 4th at Speaker Park shelter house in Lake View.

Face painting, games, crafts and snacks will be available at the Family Easter Fun event, hosted by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View, on Saturday, April 4th at Speaker Park shelter house in Lake View.

The snow has melted, flowers will soon be growing and birds will be making their spring migration. Easter is just around the corner.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View will host a family Easter Fun event on Saturday, April 4th at Speaker Park Shelter House in Lake View, immediately following the Blackhawk Men’s Club Easter Egg Hunt which starts at 9:30 a.m.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Many activities are planned for families attending including games, crafts, and face painting. Free snacks will also be available, and an Easter prize drawing will be held.

“More Living, Less Pain” presented at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Educational Luncheon

March 5th, 2015
Board certified physician, Dr. Adam Swisher described the benefits of osteopathic manipulation to a large group attending Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection.

Board certified physician, Dr. Adam Swisher described the benefits of osteopathic manipulation to a large group attending Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection.

Trevor Capron, certified registered nurse anesthetist, educated the group about the types of treatment he can administer to reduce chronic pain.

Trevor Capron, certified registered nurse anesthetist, educated the group about the types of treatment he can administer to reduce chronic pain.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) welcomed over fifty people at the March “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured Dr. Adam Swisher and certified registered nurse anesthetist Trevor Capron who spoke on “More Living, Less Pain.”

Dr. Swisher, a board certified doctor of osteopathic medicine, focused on avoiding long-term medications for chronic pain by using osteophathic manipulation. Much as a chiropractor adjusts the spine, osteopathic manipulation seeks to properly align the body’s bones which affects the muscles, which in turn, impacts the nerves, lessening the pain. The process seeks to correct what is causing pain, including colic with infants, migraines, and conditions like fibromyalgia, by working on the structure of the body. Dr. Swisher, who works at McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie, works closely with the physical and occupational therapy departments at SMCH to maintain proper alignment and stretch muscles.

Trevor Capron, CRNA, then spoke about procedures used to manage chronic pain. He said a combination of physical therapy, injections and diet was the key to feeling better. Many in the audience were surprised to learn that tomato-based foods are known to bring on pain in some patients. Trevor described the types of treatment that he can perform to reduce chronic pain, including trigger point injections, epidural injections and nerve blocks, which are all offered at SMCH.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held June 4th, 2015. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic Welcome Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-C

March 5th, 2015

Stephanie Bellcock, ARNP-CThe providers and staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are pleased to welcome Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Stephanie Bellcock. Stephanie enjoys the variety of medical opportunities offered in a family practice and is excited to join our team. Whether she’s working with women’s health, pediatrics or geriatrics, she enjoys helping others.

Growing up in the area, Stephanie started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from South Dakota State University. Her past medical experience includes employment as a registered nurse in the critical care unit at Alegent Health in Council Bluffs and at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake where she worked in the emergency department and intensive care unit. “I was responsible for triage and initial assessment of patients in the Emergency Department, as well as implementation, education and evaluation of patient care,” she explains.

After earning her Master of Science in Nursing, she practiced Family Medicine at Pocahontas Unity Point Clinic. She worked with patients of all ages, diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses. “It is important to coordinate care with other medical professionals to ensure that high quality and collaborative care is delivered to all patients,” notes Stephanie.

With over 14 years of medical experience which includes long-term care, emergency care, critical care, and general medical-surgical care, Stephanie explains her attraction to medicine, “I love the family aspect – caring for individuals and their family as a whole. The responsibility of having a family’s trust that I can care for their medical needs is one I find to be very important.”

Stephanie joins Barb Weber, ARNP-C, and Rochelle Guess, F.N.P.-C, at McCrary Rost Clinic, Rockwell City, Mark Mogensen, P.A.-C and Rochelle Guess at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake View and the medical providers in Lake City. For appointments, please call: Lake City Clinic at 712-464-7907, Lake View Clinic at 712-665-8555, or Rockwell City Clinic at 712-297-8989.

Stephanie and her husband Justin, along with their two daughters, Brylie and Bristol, enjoy spending time as a family boating and cheering on the ISU Cyclones!

Family Finds Comfort and Safety During Delivery at SMCH

March 4th, 2015
Dr. Derek Duncan, Glenna, Ruth and Adam Nockels and Dr. Susan Hornback revisit the day Ruth was born in a delivery room at SMCH nearly a year ago.

Dr. Derek Duncan, Glenna, Ruth and Adam Nockels and Dr. Susan Hornback revisit the day Ruth was born in a delivery room at SMCH nearly a year ago.

After enduring the heartbreak of two miscarriages, Glenna and Adam Nockels who live near Carroll, took the advice of their doctor who suspected the miscarriages were caused by a chromosome mutation that increased the risk for blood clots. Glenna began a regimen of blood thinners and folic acid and became pregnant for the third time.

By her account, Glenna’s pregnancy was smooth, a relief to the psychotherapist and her husband who raises naturally grown, chemical free fruits and vegetables. Throughout the pregnancy she and Adam had devised a birth plan documenting their preferences for such things as how to manage labor pain. The couple wanted a natural labor, without medicine to relieve pain or induce labor. When her original physician was not very receptive to their wishes, the Nockels opted to look elsewhere for prenatal care. “I received recommendations from family members for Dr. Susan Hornback, a board certified family and obstetric provider at Stewart Memorial Commnity Hospital in Lake City. Adam’s mom even checked www.healthgrades.com which is a website that helps consumers choose a doctor, dentist and hospital facilities.” Dr. Hornback received high marks from her patients in terms of the level of trust they had in her medical decisions and how well she listens to her patients.

At 28 weeks into her pregnancy, Glenna met with Dr. Hornback. “I was nervous about changing doctors this far into my pregancy, but she was very reassuring. She was open to our birth plan and our preferences. She tried to find a balance with what was medically safe and my needs as her patient.” One necessary compromise addressed Glenna’s fear of needles. “I wasn’t crazy about the idea of an IV. But Dr. Hornback explained that it was hospital policy for OB patients to have an IV because of the risks that exist during delivery. I appreciated that she took my concerns seriously and educated me about the necessity.” During the first visit Dr. Hornback helped manage Glenna’s anxiety by being compassionate and understanding. “She made us feel very comfortable and very confident in her skills,” remembers Glenna. “After that conversation we felt we were in the right place.”

During the pregnancy, Glenna was impressed by Dr. Hornback’s availability. “At our prenatal visits, she took the time to answer our questions, not just relying on her nurse to answer them, though her staff was very knowledgeable,” recalls Glenna. The couple communicated their wishes on the birth plan to a very receptive Dr. Hornback. Included on the plan were their wishes to not be medicated or be offered pain medication during delivery as Glenna desired to use deep breathing and mindfulness to help manage pain. Additionally, the couple wanted to delay cutting the umbilical cord for a few minutes after giving birth. A new study suggests that waiting a few minutes to cut the umbilical cord can help newborns receive an influx of nutrients from the cord blood that can benefit their health even months later.

At 2:00 am on Monday, April 7, 2014, Glenna started to feel contractions. The couple decided to drive to the Lake City hospital at 6:30 am as soon as the contractions were five minutes apart. After checking Glenna’s labor progression and knowing they wanted to labor at home where she was most comfortable, the OB staff at SMCH advised the couple to go home where they spent the remainder of the day until 5:30 pm. “We returned to the hospital around 5:30 when my contractions were consistently five minutes apart. The nurses evaluated my progress and monitored the health of the baby. My water broke around 7:30 and in just 15 minutes I was ready to push. The nurses really helped keep me motivated and comfortable with helpful suggestions for managing my pain and staying focused. I was so relieved to know I had their support all the way.”

Throughout the delivery, Glenna vividly remembers the obstetric nurse who was at her side. “It was chaotic with lots going on, but nobody acted stressed. Tracie Winans was in control the whole time. She was very respectful and encouraging. I remember her telling me I only have to get through one contraction at a time,” Glenna smiles. “She made the whole process very manageable.” Additionally, Adam was impressed by the professionalism of Jenni Macke, director of OB at SMCH.

An initial hesitation for the Nockels in choosing SMCH was that the obstetric doctors work on a rotating schedule. It was not guaranteed that Dr. Hornback would be able to help with the delivery. However, when Dr. Derek Duncan was called in to help on Dr. Hornback’s day off, any anxiety the Nockels’ had disappeared. “Dr. Duncan was extremely calm and very reassuring. He knew our birth plan. It had been well communicated to the entire team,” comments Glenna. “There was great teamwork between the two physicians. He was on the phone with Dr. Hornback, working with her from a distance.”

Dr. Hornback was traveling to get to the hospital in time for the delivery. But when she was told Glenna had delivered, she turned around and went home, knowing this family was in capable hands. She explains, “With the partners I have in Dr. Duncan and Dr. Adam Swisher, I never have to worry about my moms. Our practices are so similar I know our patients are getting awesome care. We are all huge proponents of natural care with as little intervention as possible while still making the experience the safest and most comfortable as we can.”

At 9:16 pm, Dr. Duncan announced to Adam and Glenna that their baby girl, Ruth Elsie, was born. Taking advantage of the first few minutes with skin-to-skin contact between the baby and the mother, vitals were taken at that time. According to the International Breastfeeding Center, “There are now a multitude of studies that show that mothers and babies should be together, skin to skin (baby naked, not wrapped in a blanket) immediately after birth, as well as later. The baby is happier, the baby’s temperature, heart and breathing rates are more stable and more normal, and the baby’s blood sugar is more elevated. Not only that, skin to skin contact immediately after birth allows the baby to be colonized by the same bacteria as the mother. This, plus breastfeeding, are thought to be important in the prevention of allergic diseases.” When all the blood had left the umbilical cord, Dr. Duncan gave the tools to Adam to allow him to cut his baby’s cord. A few minutes later, the OB staff made use of the Panda Warmer to take her weight and clean her. The healthy baby girl began nursing in the first hour after her birth.

The Nockels were impressed with the lactation support at SMCH. Sara Thorkildsen, RN, worked with Glenna and Ruth during their stay in the hospital, to help with breastfeeding. At their one week checkup, they met with Andreau Kramer, LPN and certified lactation consultant. “I found Andreau to be very encouraging. She was always available when I had questions. I met with her twice and she was able to correct Ruth’s latch and help me nurse comfortably. Now we have been successfully nursing for ten months and so grateful we had her encouragement to keep going during the more difficult start!” says Glenna.

One important attraction to switching doctors for the Nockels was that they could continue seeing Dr. Hornback after Ruth’s birth. “Our initial physician worked strictly with obstetric patients. Dr. Hornback, on the other hand, works in family medicine, making it possible for us to continue as her patients. We’re very comfortable with her and trust her medical expertise in the care of our family,” comments Glenna. “Dr. Hornback and staff supported what I wanted in the most positive way while keeping me and my baby safe. They empowered me to make decisions regarding my care.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Receives Statewide Award for Patient Safety Achievements

March 4th, 2015
Brooke Minnehan, RN, answers a patient’s questions and educates her about her health concerns. The transition coach program has reduced the number of hospital readmissions and ensures continuity of care across the continuum of health care services.

Brooke Minnehan, RN, answers a patient’s questions and educates her about her health concerns. The transition coach program has reduced the number of hospital readmissions and ensures continuity of care across the continuum of health care services.

Outstanding work in care transitions at Stewart Memorial Hospital has garnered the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative’s (IHC) Patient Safety Grand Prize award.  The 2015 IHC Patient Safety Awards were recently announced and will be featured at the statewide Patient Safety Conference on March 12 at The Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona.

This award is presented to healthcare providers and/or healthcare organizations who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and achievement in patient safety.  The Patient Safety Award aims to raise the standard of healthcare in Iowa by promoting a culture of continuous improvement in quality, safety, and value.

This award honors patient safety champions that support the following initiatives: improve patient safety; reduce the risk of harm; and keep patients at the center of care.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital developed a transition coach project to share patient information across the care continuum and created a team which includes the quality advisor, director of nursing, health coaches, and clinic nursing supervisor, emergency room nurses and home care nurses.  A key component to their success was establishing a dedicated transition nurse who coordinates care and looks at discharge barriers from admission and involves the patient and family in the discharge process.  Handover to home care or nursing home is more concise and continuity of care visits coordinated by the transition nurse

Kari Jones, Director of Nursing, comments, “This award is fantastic recognition and we are honored to have been chosen amongst all the great work being done through the IHC. Across the continuum of care, including the SMCH Emergency Room, the Inpatient units, Homecare, the McCrary Rost Clinics and the Community Pharmacies, the care of our patients is better streamlined and coordinated through our efforts this last year. We have seen wonderful improvement in this collaboration with the role of our transition coaches, Brooke Minnehan, RN, and Zacharina Winker, RN. Collaboration across the continuum of care, with our patients at the center, was our goal at SMCH. Hard work by all involved made this a reality.”

“We’re very proud of the work being done in Iowa,” said Dr. Tom Evans, President and CEO of IHC.  “Patient safety is about eliminating unintended consequences of medical care.  This award allows us to highlight some of the best efforts in our state as we work toward our vision of delivering the most effective and efficient health care in the nation.”

The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) is a provider-led and patient-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a culture of continuous improvement in healthcare. IHC’s mission is exceptional healthcare in Iowa.  IHC plays a unique role in putting healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and hospital executives) in a leadership position to drive clinical improvements and accelerate change.  By encouraging communication, collaboration and transparency, IHC ultimately raises the quality, patient safety and value of healthcare in Iowa.

You Can Help Prevent Measles in Calhoun County

February 9th, 2015

The United States is currently experiencing a large, multi-state outbreak of measles linked to an amusement park in California. More than 100 people from 14 states in the U.S. (AZ, CA, CO, IL, MI, MN, NE, NY, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, WA) have been confirmed as having measles. As of Feb 2 there are no confirmed measles cases in Iowa.

“This national measles outbreak has brought the protection provided by vaccinations back into the spotlight,” said Calhoun County Public Health Director Jane Condon. “It’s always important to keep your vaccinations up-to-date, but during times like this, when we know a virus is circulating in many states, it’s especially critical to check with your health care provider to be sure you and your family’s vaccinations are current.” The best way to prevent measles is to get the measles-mumps-rubella shot (called MMR). Two doses of MMR will provide more than 99 percent of people lifelong protection against measles.

Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose should be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered as soon as 28 days later (however the second dose is usually administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, persons who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements have received two doses of MMR vaccine.

It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine, or have a laboratory test proving that they are immune and are protected. It is assumed that persons born in the U.S. prior to 1957 were likely infected with the measles virus and therefore have presumptive immunity. In addition, two doses of MMR is recommended for adults of all ages who work or volunteer in health care facilities, travel internationally, or are students in a post-secondary institution, if they do not have laboratory proof of immunity.

Giving vaccines to those who may have already had measles or may have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or history of illness, the easiest, quickest and most appropriate thing to do is to vaccinate the individual.

Measles starts with a high fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Three to seven days after the fever, a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It usually starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash can last for a week, and coughing can last for 10 days.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases on earth; this is why Calhoun County Public Health and local public health agencies statewide work with the Iowa Department of Public Health to immediately alert the public about possible exposure to measles if a person is confirmed to have this disease. If a resident of Calhoun County would have measles, all residents would be notified of places, times and locations where they could have been exposed, as well as locations of emergency vaccination clinics.

You can learn more about measles by visiting http://bit.ly/15LPJhS.

 

School – Level Vaccination Rate Data Release

Media Talking Points

2.12.15

 

95.08 percent of students at Iowa schools have a valid Certificate of Immunization and have received all of the required vaccine by Iowa law.

 

  • The rates released represent a snapshot in time.
    • Schools are notified of students that are non-compliant with Iowa immunization law and work with those students to bring them into compliance.
    • The ‘unimmunized’ rate includes medical and religious exemptions, as well as provisional vaccination status.
      • A provisional Certificate of Immunization may be issued if a student has received at least one dose of each of the required vaccines or is a transfer student from another school system. Provisional enrollment allows the student time to receive the required vaccines. The amount of time allowed for provisional enrollment shall be as soon as medically feasible, but shall not exceed 60 calendar days.
      • Provisional vaccination means, for instance, one dose of a recommended two dose-regimen has been received. In the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, for example, one dose still provides 95 percent protection against the virus.

 

  • I thought students were required to be vaccinated to go to school?
    • Students are required to comply with Iowa law. It is the responsibility of the admitting official of a licensed child care center or elementary or secondary school to ensure children have a valid Certificate of Immunization, Certificate of Immunization Exemption, or Provisional Certificate of immunization on file for each student.
    • Students not compliant with these requirements shall be excluded from the facility.

 

  • Should I be worried that not all the students in my school are vaccinated?
    • While students in Iowa schools have high immunization rates, there are students not fully immunized. Unimmunized students may result in pockets of children which may be susceptible to disease outbreaks. Achieving high immunization rates is the best way to protect all children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

 

  • What is the bottom line on these rates? Just how ‘dangerous’ is the vaccination status in these schools?
    • 08 percent of students at Iowa schools have a valid Certificate of Immunization and have received all of the required vaccine by Iowa law. Students with Provisional Certificates of Immunization, Certificates of Immunization Exemption (Medical/Religious) are compliant with the law and may have received some doses of these vaccines, but are not included in the listed percentage of students fully vaccinated.

 

SMCH Seeks Nominations for Extraordinary Nurses

January 29th, 2015
SMCH nurse Emily Mason, RN, and McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Tayler Rasch, RN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing in 2014.

SMCH nurse Emily Mason, RN, and McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Tayler Rasch, RN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing in 2014.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are seeking nominations for outstanding nurses. In partnership with the DAISY Foundation, SMCH has made a tradition of recognizing nurses who, by virtue of their exemplary work, rise above and beyond.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will present the Daisy Award to an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond providing excellent every day care to patients and families. Award recipients are nominated by peers, physicians, patients, and families and other staff.  Nurses eligible for nomination include those working at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital as well as nurses at McCrary Rost Clinic. Nomination forms are available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Business Office, Outpatient registration; all McCrary-Rost Clinics and on our website at www.stewartmemorial.org.  All nomination forms are due April 10th to Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing or Jodi Henkenius, Administrative Assistant.  Nomination forms can be mailed to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital * Attn: Cindy Carstens * 1301 West Main St * Lake City, IA * 51449.

To nominate an extraordinary nurse, click here to open the Nomination form. Fill it out and send it to: Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Attn: Cindy Carstens, 1301 West Main St., Lake City, IA 51449.

Trivia Night Promises to Break Winter Blahs!

January 26th, 2015
Written by Carol Dickkut, Auxiliary Member

Trivia Night banner

Dressed as the Blues Brothers, the 2014 First Place trivia team was all smiles. Pictured here is (back row) John and Kim Olson, Daryl Winter, and John Panning. Front row is Marilyn Gillespie, Donetta Stewart, Sally Winter, and Judy Panning. Tickets for the 2015 Trivia Night fundraiser are on sale now. Learn more on the SMCH Facebook page, under the event tab, www.Facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity

Dressed as the Blues Brothers, the 2014 First Place trivia team was all smiles. Pictured here is (back row) John and Kim Olson, Daryl Winter, and John Panning. Front row is Marilyn Gillespie, Donetta Stewart, Sally Winter, and Judy Panning. Tickets for the 2015 Trivia Night fundraiser are on sale now. Learn more on the SMCH Facebook page, under the event tab, www.Facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary is hosting its second annual Trivia Night fund-raising competition on Saturday evening, February 7, at the Opportunity Living gymnasium. It involves tables of up to eight people putting their heads together to answer any little detail, from the number of flowers on an Oreo cookie, to how long is a furlong, to which Triple Crown horse race has the longest track.

Judging from what I’ve heard about last year’s event, you don’t want to miss it. As Linda Norgrant put it, “It was a LOT of fun!” Each table can choose a theme which can be something as simple as wearing a hat or scarf to something as exotic as a table full of ladies in pink wigs! Teams can consist of all women, all men, or a mix – anything goes. You can put together your own team, or you can ask to be placed with a table that has open spots.

Entertainment will be provided by Big Daddy Addy. Included in the $20 ticket price is a buffet of multiple appetizers and table snacks, something to please all. A cash bar is also available. Doors open at 5:45 pm, with games commencing at 7:00 pm. Join us for a night of fun, laughter, and community. Prizes are awarded for top winners and even a prize for the “worst losers”!

Proceeds this year will benefit the Rehabilitation Department at SMCH. Get your ticket for the premier event of the year – SMCH Auxiliary’s Trivia Night on Saturday, February 7th – for a night of fun and laughter by calling: Mary Ludwig (712) 464-4117, Lee Vogt (712) 464-8925, Carol Dickkut (712) 464-3798, Jan Dougherty (712) 464-3728,Marci Duncan (712) 464-3670, Mary Sporleder (712) 464-9991 or Marie Schwarm (920) 213-9018. Be prepared to have a great time and support your local hospital!

Learn more on the SMCH Facebook page, under the event tab, www.Facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity

 

2015 New Year Baby Arrives at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 26th, 2015
Pictured are (front, left to right) Morgan, Lucas, Beth, Lea Mae, Dan, Lindsay and Brooke Rose, (back row)Dr. Derek Duncan, Dr. Susan Hornback, and Heather Cain, CEO at SMCH, with a basket of gifts from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and its employees. Lea Mae is the 2015 New Year Baby in Lake City.

Pictured are (front, left to right) Morgan, Lucas, Beth, Lea Mae, Dan, Lindsay and Brooke Rose, (back row)Dr. Derek Duncan, Dr. Susan Hornback, and Heather Cain, CEO at SMCH, with a basket of gifts from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and its employees. Lea Mae is the 2015 New Year Baby in Lake City.

After a busy November and December in the OB department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital where the hospital saw a 12% increase in births during 2014, the first baby of 2015 took her time to arrive. Lea Mae Rosa was born to parents Beth and Dan Rosa of Pomeroy, IA. The New Year baby entered the world at 6:47 AM on Sunday, January 18th, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and is 19 inches long. Dr. Susan Hornback, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician was Beth’s primary care provider during her pregnancy and Lea Mae was delivered by Dr. Derek Duncan, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician. Lea Mae was welcomed by big sisters Morgan, who will be 11 on February 9th, Lindsay, age 9, and Brooke, age 2, and big brother Lucas, age 6.

To celebrate the birth of the New Year baby, the family was given a basket full of gifts. Items included diapers and baby wipes donated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Gifts given by SMCH employees included a blanket and rattle from Pam Hospelhorn; pacifiers, pacifier cloth, and burp cloths from Mary Seil and the SMCH Housekeeping Dept.; a rattle and book from Casey Wetter; board books from Deb Dunn; cradle sheet and blanket from Danielle Evans; flannel blankets and a Johnson’s gift set from Heather Cain; a hat and crib sheet from Lisa Wiederin; a stuffed elephant from Jenni Macke; washcloths & bath toy, fresh food feeders, diaper bag dispenser and books from Holly Wuebker; Ibuprophen and Acetaminiophen from Community Pharmacy; laundry basket and blanket from Maurine Theiszen; hand & foot print kit and tub toys from Carmen Ludwig; and a stuffed animal, baby book, and car seat cover from SMCH Auxiliary Gift Shoppe

New Blanket Warmer Provides Comfort to SMCH Patients

January 13th, 2015
blanket warmer

Donald Johnson receives a warm blanket from registered nurse Amy Gray, increasing his comfort during his stay at Stewart Memorial Communnity Hospital. The new blanket warmer at the hospital was made possible by a grant from the Calhoun County Community Foundation and funds raised by the SMCH Auxiliary through events.

With the official start of winter, a new piece of equipment at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is receiving rave reviews from patients. This past summer, SMCH purchased and installed a large capacity blanket warmer specifically for patients hospitalized. The warmer is located in the in-patient wing, which allows the SMCH nursing staff to quickly take a warm blanket to a patient.

Donald Johnson, of Lake City, says the warm blankets were comforting during his hospital stay at SMCH. “When you do not feel good, a warm blanket can really make a difference,” notes Johnson who says the SMCH nursing staff brought him several warm blankets each day. Johnson shared that he suffered from hypothermia when he was younger, and since then, he feels he gets cold quickly. “When I have a warm blanket on, I’m not chilled anymore and that’s a great feeling!”

The blanket warmer, which is the size of a typical refrigerator, was made possible by a grant from the Calhoun County Community Foundation and funds raised by the SMCH Auxiliary through events.  “SMCH is grateful for the opportunity to purchase needed equipment to benefit patients. This was made possible by the funding from the foundation and the hard work of our Auxiliary volunteers. We greatly appreciate the support and commitment from these partners,” notes Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers.

We Honor Veterans – Lake City Community Hospice Partners with the VA Honoring CW Daiker

January 6th, 2015
Pictured are (from left) George Sorenson, Sharon Pudenz, Tricia Anderson, CW Daiker, Rodney Daiker, Glenna Daiker, Denise Ulven, and Tim Pogeler during a We Honor Veterans ceremony sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Hospice, the Veteran’s Administrations and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Pictured are (from left) George Sorenson, Sharon Pudenz, Tricia Anderson, CW Daiker, Rodney Daiker, Glenna Daiker, Denise Ulven, and Tim Pogeler during a We Honor Veterans ceremony sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Hospice, the Veteran’s Administrations and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

An Auburn Veteran was recently honored for his service through a partnership formed between Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Hospice, the Veteran’s Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The national program, We Honor Veterans (WHV) is designed to honor, care and educate veterans, families and friends.

One of the activities promoted by this partnership is a pinning ceremony. On December 30, 2014, long-time Auburn resident and Veteran of the Korean Conflict, C.W. Daiker, was pinned by Tim Pogeler, commander of the American Legion Post 31. Daiker was a member of the Eighth Infantry and served 18 months in Korea. A highlight of his service was his dog, Spitz, that he adopted during his time in Korea. His family, along with SMCH staff and Legion members gathered for the presentation of an American flag pin by Tim Pogeler and George Sorenson, both long-term members of the American Legion Post 31.

The pinning ceremony was meant to publicly thank C.W. for his service to our country. “The ceremony also gave him an opportunity to share part of his story. By doing so, it is hoped that a sense of meaning and purpose is gained. Certainly all present were impacted by C.W’.s strength, grace and humor,” said Linda Luhring, Hospice social worker.

SMCH will continue to provide education to community groups, volunteers and staff in an effort to promote wider understanding of veterans’ issues and needs. In addition, SMCH Hospice will continue to determine a patient’s military history in order to provide comprehensive services. The pinnings are now a standard part of services with additional ceremonies planned.

SMCH Auxiliary Meeting Cancelled

January 5th, 2015

Due to extreme cold temperatures and predicted bad weather, the SMCH Auxiliary meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 6th is cancelled. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 3rd at 9:30.

Emergency Department Earns Prestigious Award

December 17th, 2014
ER award adjutsted

The hard-working ER staff pose with their award: (from left) Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, Lisa Miller, RN, Deb Legore, RN, Director of ER/Trauma, Katie Nelson, RN, Toni Pfrimmer, RN, Dr. David Frate, Tami Fredericks, RN, Jessica Drees, RN, Kari Jones, RN, Director of Nursing, and Amy Gray, RN.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is proud to announce it has been named a 2014 Guardian of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey Associates, Inc. The Guardian of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing facilities that consistently achieved the 95th percentile of performance in Patient Experience.

The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year.

Press Ganey is the nation’s leading health care performance improvement company and partners with more than 11,000 health care facilities, including more than half of all U.S. hospitals, to reduce suffering and improve the patient experience.

“We are proud to partner with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital,” said Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. “The award is a testament to the organization’s commitment to deliver more patient-centered care. By achieving and sustaining this level of excellence, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is benefiting patients and helping advance the quality of health care.”

According to Heather Cain, CEO, the award represents an important recognition from the industry’s leader in measuring, understanding and improving the patient experience. “We are honored to receive this recognition as the voice of our customers acknowledging the consistently high quality patient experience we deliver in our emergency department. The world class service delivered by our health care team sets Stewart Memorial apart from others.  We are proud to deliver this high quality health care to the communities we serve.”

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.

Recognized as a leader in performance improvement for nearly 30 years, Press Ganey partners with more than 11,000 health care organizations worldwide to create and sustain high-performing organizations, and, ultimately, improve the overall health care experience. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to help clients operate efficiently, improve quality, increase market share and optimize reimbursement. Press Ganey works with clients from across the continuum of care – hospitals, medical practices, home care agencies and other providers – including more than 50% of all U.S. hospitals. For more information, visit www.pressganey.com.

Gregg Ready for Christmas Glitz Thanks to Superior Communication at SMCH

December 15th, 2014

Carolyn Gregg (seated) holds the special patient gown nurses made for her during her hospital stay. She is surrounded by the caring staff who helped her recover from a long illness: (from left) Dr. Susan Hornback, Ashley Duncan, RN, Windy Goodwin, RN, Dr. Marc Miller, Lori Winterboer, CNA, Brooke Minnehan, RN, and Jenny Roby, RN.

CarolynGregg-data

A sparkling smile, bubbly personality and glitzy garments distinguish Carolyn Gregg of Lake City, Ia. She wears her love for life and people on her sleeve – most likely trimmed in glitzy rhinestones. She’s the kind of gal that’s hard to get down. “I love to help others feel better about them selves,” exclaims Gregg, who retired as a Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics after 27 years with the company.  “I had the opportunity to meet the Mary Kay on several occasions in her home,” smiles Gregg. Her other passion is her family: husband Gary, and her sons; Jeff and his wife Luann, and Jerry and his wife Rayett, as well as their five grandchildren.

In her 72 years, there have been times when even the most dazzling dress, paired with the perfect shade of lipstick, couldn’t mask her health ailments. “I’ve overcome many health issues and I always rallied back to good health,” notes Gregg. In January of this year, the Wall Lake native’s health took a turn for the worse. “I’ve dealt with diverticulitis for many years, but I’ve managed the condition and live a normal life,” says Gregg. Diverticulitis is when small pouches of diverticula, which can form in the lining of your digestive system, become inflamed or infected. This causes severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and noticeable bowel changes. According to Harvard Medical School, about one-third of all Americans will develop the condition by age 60, and two-thirds will have it by age 85. When Carolyn experienced severe pain, she visited her primary care provider Nancy Flink, a certified physician assistant with McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City. “Nancy ordered lab work, and a Computed Tomography or CT scan performed at SMCH. The tests showed I had an infection brewing. I was admitted to SMCH to start a strong antibiotic given through an IV to fight the infected diverticula and the abscess attached to my bladder,” recounts Gregg.

She was relieved to know her pain was caused by a familiar condition and not something new, however, fighting the infection took her on an unanticipated journey. “We tried several different antibiotics and nothing worked as well as we had hoped for. I was discouraged and felt hopeless,” says Gregg. At SMCH, the entire team of care professionals is dedicated to each patient’s well being and health care experience. “The nurses and aides knew I was experiencing some depression over my on-going illness and they went the extra mile to cheer me up,” exclaims Gregg. The SMCH nursing staff, familiar with Gregg’s love of “bling,” made her a special hospital gown decorated with rhinestones and donned her with a tiara to be queen for a day at SMCH. “This fun-loving gesture lifted my spirits beyond measure!”

The next move was surgery to get Carolyn back to good health. “Dr. Marc Miller performed surgery to remove 12 inches of my colon. He surgically created an ileostomy which is an opening into the small intestine through the abdomen and therefore a pouch was put in place to collect the stool” states Gregg. After recovering from the major surgery, Carolyn was ready for the second surgery to complete the process of her bowel reversal. This step allowed Carolyn to end the use of a colostomy bag to collect her bowel movements.  “I give a lot of credit to the SMCH Homecare Department for my care and the next seven weeks of healing following the first surgery. The nurses and aides were extremely caring and knowledgeable through that recovery times at home. They treated me like a family member. Tests were taken and I had healed well enough to do the second surgery, the bowel reversal.”

On March 27th, Carolyn was admitted to SMCH for her second surgery. “I’m grateful for the skill and expertise Dr. Miller brings to SMCH. This allowed me to have the surgery done in my community where family and friends are close by,” remarks Gregg. After a successful surgery, she spent two weeks recovering at SMCH. “I look back at my hospitalization in Lake City and realize all of the small things that made a big difference, an oversized shower chair, made-to-order meals, and the pampering added value to my stay. SMCH is on the cutting edge of excellence in patient care! I really felt spoiled,” exclaims Gregg.

Besides a glitzy hospital gown, and extraordinary hospitality, Gregg believes the communication at SMCH between all parties involved in her care made her lengthy hospitalization a great experience. “When the nurses changed shifts, they handed over my care from one nurse to the next at my bed side. This kept me informed of my care and I could be part of the conversations between nurses about my care. I felt valued and my anxiety was reduced.”

During her hospitalization and up until the day she was discharged, on April 15th, she marveled at the communication process used at SMCH.  In addition to the care provided by the SMCH Nursing Services department, Gregg worked with the Transition Coaches. The coaches, Registered Nurses Brooke Minnehan and Zacharina Winker, focus on improving the wellness of patients by providing education and coordination of care.

The coaches’ overall goal is to help patients return to good health and keep them healthy. This is accomplished through a process focused on communication. “The team effort, which works across the health care system, ensures patients receive the right care at the right time. A transition coach assists patients in managing their health care and act on the patient’s behalf. The goal is to enhance the quality of care patients receive by helping them find their way through a complex health care system,” notes Kari Jones, Director of Nursing.

Gregg concurs with the advantage of having the Transition Coach Service. “At the onset of my hospitalization, I was immediately connected with Brooke and Zacharina. They helped with questions I had to answer when I was admitted and not feeling well which made the admitting process so simple. Every time my doctors came to my room, they were with them. I felt well informed with the transition coaches helping to explain everything and answer any questions,” states Gregg. The communication continued when Gregg was discharged. “They followed me through my care, the communication was superb, and reduced my anxiety. It was the utmost comfort to me and my family. When Gary was there, they would check with him and follow up answering any questions he had about my health. The coaches are an invaluable asset, you never feel alone,” remarks Gregg.

Gregg continues to grow stronger each day and is now able to look forward to activities she has enjoyed for many years. “I feel blessed to have the experience I did. For the first time in three years, we are traveling again!” beams Gregg. She’s also taking steps to get back into her volunteer role at SMCH in the hospital gift shop overseeing her favorite section of the shop – the bling jewelry!

 

Loving Tree is a Long Tradition at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

December 4th, 2014
Windy Goodwin, RN, Hospice nurse at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and Jean Schumacher admire the Loving Tree at the hospital entrance. Jean has contributed to the Loving Tree since it began in the late 1980s.

Windy Goodwin, RN, Hospice nurse at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and Jean Schumacher admire the Loving Tree at the hospital entrance. Jean has contributed to the Loving Tree since it began in the late 1980s.

Jean Schumacher pauses on her way into Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to admire the Community Hospice Loving Tree at the main entrance. She spies an ornament she purchased in memory of Julitta O’Tool, her mother who passed away this year. She smiles as she remembers fondly, “Mom and Dad really showed us kids how to love and to cherish memories.”

Marilyn Willis, the founder of the Community Hospice Program, and Norene Bauman, a Hospice nurse, initiated the Loving Tree back in the late 1980s to remember anyone who had died, not just hospice patients. “The original concept was to have a tradition to honor those who passed with a Memorial Tree. The Loving Tree, with its wooden hearts, was a memorial to insure that our special loved ones were not forgotten at Christmas.”

 Nancy Corey, Hospice aide at SMCH, who was asked to help coordinate the Loving Tree Program more than twenty years ago, states that the original ornaments were plywood hearts, stained and hung with burgundy ribbon made by a gentleman from Manson. Dorothy Stotts, of Lake City, would then paint the name of the loved one on the back of each heart. There have been four generations of ornaments starting with the wooden hearts, to a bisque heart, the bisque angel, and this year the Loving Memory metal angel.

As with the original wooden hearts, each angel ornament is printed with the name of a loved one who family or friends wish to remember during the Christmas season. The Loving Trees is on display in the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital lobby and in the McCrary-Rost Clinic lobby through the month of December. After Christmas, donors may pick up their Keepsake Angels.

For Jean, cherishing the memories of family members and friends she’s lost over the years is very important. “While I think of them every day, it’s especially important to keep those memories with us at Christmas time.” Donating to the Loving Tree at SMCH is one way Jean is able to remember her loved ones. “I’ve donated for years, starting with my husband Duane who passed away in 1988. As time goes on, sadly, I add to my list of angels, but it’s important to remember the impact of those people on my life. After their passing, the sad memories fade a little and the more important, special memories come forward. These ornaments are a special tribute to those memories.”

To contribute to the Loving Tree, please send your name, address, the name you’d like printed on the ornament and your $10 donation payable to Stewart Memorial Community Hospice, PO Box 114, Lake City, IA 51449, or download the order form at www.stewartmemorial.org/loving-tree-angels-downloadable-order-form and mail it with your donation to the address above.

Loving Tree Angels Downloadable Order Form

December 4th, 2014

Tap here to access the Loving Tree flyer Downloadable order form.

Calhoun County Continues Ebola Preparation with State, Federal Partners

December 2nd, 2014
Kiana Lamphier, RN, Infection Control, and Deb Legore, RN, Director of Emergency Services, assist Tami Fredericks, RN. Tami received training in donning the layers of protective equipment that medical professionals are required to use when caring for a patient infected with the ebola virus.

Kiana Lamphier, RN, Infection Control, and Deb Legore, RN, Director of Emergency Services, assist Tami Fredericks, RN. Tami received training in donning the layers of protective equipment that medical professionals are required to use when caring for a patient infected with the ebola virus.

Calhoun County continues to work with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remain up-to-date on preparations for a possible Ebola case in Iowa. “The likelihood of an Ebola case in our county is extremely low,” said Kiana Lamphier, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Infection Control nurse. “Even so, our preparedness activity regarding this health issue helps us prepare for any future outbreaks of more common diseases.” There are currently no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Iowa; in addition, no individuals currently under Ebola-related health orders have any symptoms of Ebola.

The federal government is working closely with states, and states in turn with local public health agencies, to track travelers returning from Ebola-affected West African countries. All of these travelers are routed to one of five screening airports, and then these protocols are followed:

  • Well travelers are allowed to go on to their final destination.
  • The CDC then notifies the receiving state of that traveler’s final destination.
  • If, for instance, the final destination is Iowa, IDPH contacts local public health officials to conduct a risk assessment of the individual and issue appropriate health orders.
  • Local public health officials notify key partners that an order exists in the service area; however, no details regarding the types of orders, numbers, or patient identifiers are given. This is required by Iowa law to prohibit potential identification of an individual.

Iowa public health orders are consistent with current national guidelines, are part of the standard practice of public health, and have been used in the past with outbreaks of SARS, measles, tuberculosis, and during the 2006 H1N1 influenza pandemic. In regard to the Ebola virus, public health orders are based on a risk assessment (low, some, or high).

  • Low Risk – individual is ordered to take their temperature and notify local public health of the results twice daily. The individual is allowed to go about normal activities.
  • Some Risk – individual is ordered to home quarantine; this allows for outdoor, non-congregate activities and requires the individual to take their temperature twice daily with local public health observing.
  • High Risk – individual is ordered to home quarantine, additional activity is limited and the individual must take their temperature twice daily with local public health observing.

These orders are issued to ensure an early as possible warning of the appearance of symptoms which allows time to arrange for appropriate transport and care of patients. This will ensure that no exposure to unprotected and unprepared healthcare workers occurs.

“We know there continues to be much interest in the possibility of Ebola occurring in Iowa,” said Lamphier. “We are confident we are prepared for the highly unlikely possibility of a case in Iowa. The precautions being taken by public health in Iowa and CDC regarding health orders help ensure the public and our health care providers are safe and the health of the community is protected.”

For more information on Ebola, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/EHI/Issue.aspx?issue=Ebola Outbreak or www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Preventative Medicine

November 6th, 2014
Board certified physician, Dr. David Frate discussed aspects of staying healthy to a large group attending Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection.

Board certified physician, Dr. David Frate discussed aspects of staying healthy to a large group attending Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Lunch Connection.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) welcomed over sixty people at the November “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured Dr. David Frate who spoke on “Preventative Medicine: Checking the Boxes for a Quality Life.”

Dr. Frate, board certified in family and internal medicine, discussed several ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. He recommended balancing healthy eating, advocating the government’s My Plate program which seeks to remind people to make healthier food choices. Along with a balanced diet, he also recommended physical activity, building up to 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Illness prevention was another area Dr. Frate addressed. He recommends the following immunizations: influenza, pneumonia, shingles and pertussis. Influenza hospitalizes 200,000 people each year. The fatality rate is 23,600 with 90% of that amount being 65 years of age or older. The pneumonia vaccine is administered one time for adults over 65. Shingles, an extremely painful condition, occurs when the chicken pox virus is reactivated. The one-time vaccine reduces the risk of acquiring shingles by 51 percent. Pertussis, or whooping cough, starts as the common cold, developing into a cough that lasts for weeks or even months. The immunization that helps prevent pertussis is called Tdap and protects against tetanus and diptheria. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “One dose of Tdap is also recommended for adults 19 years of age and older who did not get Tdap as an adolescent.” A booster shot should then be administered every ten years to protect against tetanus and diptheria.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held March 5th, 2015.

Calhoun County Prepared for Infectious Diseases, Even Ebola

October 20th, 2014

Ebola can be scary and it is understandable that Calhoun County residents may be concerned a case of Ebola could occur here as it has in other states; however, there is a world of difference between the U.S. and the parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The U.S., Iowa, and Calhoun County have a strong health care system and public health professionals who handle very contagious illnesses every day, even diseases like Ebola, and are prepared to respond should it become necessary.

Calhoun County residents can be confident in our hospital system, which has facilities and proper protective equipment and protocols in place for individuals who contract very contagious diseases,” says Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing at SMCH and representative with the Calhoun County Healthcare Coalition. The coalition is led by officials from the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, Calhoun County Emergency Medical Services, Calhoun County Environmental Health, County Public Health and Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.  “Our hospital and staff are well trained and ready for any public health threat, should the need arise,” points out Carstens.

It’s important to remember Ebola is not a virus spread through the air, and is only contagious if the infected person is having active symptoms. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated.

The Calhoun County Healthcare Coalition has been and will continue to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure we are ready to respond should the need arise. IDPH has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and local public health agencies in the following ways:

  • Enhancing surveillance and laboratory testing capacity in states to detect cases.
  • Developing guidance and tools for health departments to conduct public health investigations.
  • Providing recommendations for healthcare infection control and other measures to prevent disease spread.
  • Disseminating up-to-date information to the general public, international travelers, and public health partners.

For the latest information regarding Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov. or the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Iowa Department of Public Health website at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/

Fall Fun and Education the Focus at SMCH’s Open House

October 16th, 2014
SMCH’s Fall Open House attendees in 2013 included Brockelyn and her mother, Danni Anderson, certified physician’s assistant at SMCH. Dressed in her Halloween finery, Brockelyn  is pictured with the pumpkin she won at the Pumpkin Ring Toss.

SMCH’s Fall Open House attendees in 2013 included Brockelyn and her mother, Danni Anderson, certified physician’s assistant at SMCH. Dressed in her Halloween finery, Brockelyn is pictured with the pumpkin she won at the Pumpkin Ring Toss.

The leaves on the trees are turning colors and harvest is starting, indicating fall is in full swing.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) and Calhoun County Public health will partner to host a Fall Open House on Thursday, October 23 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at SMCH.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Children and adults are encouraged to wear their Halloween costume. Many activities are planned for families attending including “Pumpkin Patch Photos” by Tony Evans Photography (Download free photo from Tony’s Flickr website); horse drawn carriage rides, pumpkin ring toss, face painting, and crafts. New this year, several family-focused vendors will be on hand, including ISU Extension, Children and Families of Iowa, and New Opportunities. Families that visit each vendor will have a chance for a drawing for prizes. Free appetizers will also be available in the Junction Cafeteria. Additional services on hand will be the flu shot clinic, free blood pressure checks and Caring Hands Closet will be open.

CDC releases new pneumococcal vaccine recommendations for adults

October 13th, 2014

On September 19, the CDC released new pneumococcal vaccination recommendations for the adult population.  Adults 65 years of age or older are now recommended to receive a single pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar-13®), followed by the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23, Pneumovax®23) 6-12 months later.  For adults who previously received a dose of PPSV23 on or after turning 65 years of age, the PCV13 is recommended to be administered at least 1 year after the PPSV23. An adult annual flu shot visit provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of pneumococcal vaccination.  Whenever possible, provide all necessary vaccines at a single visit. The following is a link to help answer your questions regarding pneumococcal vaccination recommendations.

fs-pneumo-hcp

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Earns Top Work Places 2014 Award

September 25th, 2014

TWP_TOP100_DesMoinesRegister_Portrait_2014_AWSMCH_Photos_2_Page_001_Image_0001The goal and desire of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is to be the best place for patients to receive care, the best place for employees to work, and the best place for physicians to practice. The effort SMCH has put forth to accomplish that goal is now recognized. For the third time in four years, the Lake City hospital has earned a spot on the Des Moines Register Top Work Places list.

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.  Over the past year, more than 5,000 organizations and 1 in every 88 employees in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees. Through its workplace improvement offerings, WorkplaceDynamics  provides solutions, training and tools to help clients improve their workplace.

This is the fourth year the Des Moines Register has identified top work places in Iowa. They collaborate with Workplace Dynamics to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Companies were either contacted by Workplace Dynamics to participate in the survey process or nominated to participate by an employee. To be eligible to compete for the award, a certain percentage of employees need to respond to the survey. “The response rate of our employees was well over the required 40%. We achieved an 87% response rate and we are very pleased with that,” says Bill Albright, vice president of Human Resources.

The pursuit of excellence not only positively effects employee satisfaction, but patient care as well. “Satisfied employees do a better job of taking care of patients, and we want our employees to know they are valued here,” Albright says. Low employee turnover reflects the job satisfaction many employees find at SMCH. “Of our 226 full and part-time employees, more than 20 have over 20 years of service and 53 employees have more than 20 years of service at SMCH,” notes Albright.

‘Ranking in the top 20 for mid-size employers in Iowa is a great achievement,” says Heather Cain, Chief Executive Officer.  “Our culture begins with our people.  Hiring the very best people and providing a great place to work ensures every patient has the highest quality health care experience every time.  I am grateful to all of our SMCH employees for their service to our mission. Their genuine passion to give outstanding care to our patients and positive attitude is what makes SMCH an amazing place,” says Cain.

Hospice Volunteer of the Year Award Presented to Marilyn Willis

September 17th, 2014
Hospice Volunteer of the Year Marilyn Willis in a photo from her time as Hospice Coordinator at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Hospice Volunteer of the Year Marilyn Willis in a photo from her time as Hospice Coordinator at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Marilyn Willis has been selected to receive the annual Hospice Volunteer of the Year Award presented by Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Iowa.  She was honored at a presentation on Friday, September 5 in Altoona, IA. Marilyn, who started the hospice program in Lake City in 1983, has been an active volunteer since her retirement in 1999.

 Marilyn first saw an article in the Des Moines Register about a state hospice meeting in Des Moines in 1980.  At that time hospices were led by volunteers with about eight programs in the state. In 1982 Marilyn scheduled a town meeting in Lake City.  There was interest, but not enough to start a hospice program until Marilyn recruited Norene Bauman to assist.  During these years, Marilyn worked as a part-time registered nurse in intensive care at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH).  In early 1983 another public meeting was held generating a lot of support.  Marilyn visited other hospices in the state to review their programs.  In the fall of 1983, Marilyn trained the first group of 35 hospice volunteers (many of whom volunteer to this day).

The Hospice Committee, feeling the need to be part of a larger organization, approached SMCH for support. The hospital advertised for the position of Hospice Coordinator. Marilyn was hired as the first salaried part-time coordinator. The rest of Community Hospice was volunteer.  Dr. Dale Christensen was a strong supporter and the first medical director for the hospice program. The first four patients were seen in January 1984. The program grew stronger as SMCH established its home care nursing program and trained nurses for hospice care.

 In the 1990s, as more hospices became Medicare certified, Marilyn lobbied for certification for the SMCH program. Financial support for hospice came from donations and SMCH.  With help from other hospices who were already certified, Marilyn drafted the policies and procedures. The program was first surveyed and accredited in 1994.  Marilyn served as coordinator until August 1999, when she retired.  Marilyn has remained an invaluable active hospice volunteer ever since.

We honor Marilyn and her selfless, long term contributions with gratitude and admiration.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Earns Recognition from Iowa Health Collaborative

September 4th, 2014
Pictured (left to right) are Cindy Carstens, SMCH Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, Kari Jones, RN, Director of Nursing, Shelly Weston, RN, House supervisor, Jenni Macke, RN, Manager of Obstetrics, Callie Hanlon, RN, Brooke Minnehan, RN, and Kathy Collins, RN, Director of Quality. OB staff not pictured: Sue Aber, RN, April Kaufman, RN, Katie Riehl, RN, Sara Thorkildsen, RN, Tracie Winans, RN, and Lindsey Handlos, RN.

Pictured (left to right) are Cindy Carstens, SMCH Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, Kari Jones, RN, Director of Nursing, Shelly Weston, RN, House supervisor, Jenni Macke, RN, Manager of Obstetrics, Callie Hanlon, RN, Brooke Minnehan, RN, and Kathy Collins, RN, Director of Quality. OB staff not pictured: Sue Aber, RN, April Kaufman, RN, Katie Riehl, RN, Sara Thorkildsen, RN, Tracie Winans, RN, and Lindsey Handlos, RN.

The Iowa Health Collaborative presented Stewart Memorial Commiunity Hospital (SMCH) with a banner for exceptional work in the area of reducing Early Elective Deliveries. IHC develop the Early Elective Deliveries recognition program to celebrate the success of participating hospitals in reducing Early Elective Deliveries and implementing hard-stop policies.Hospitals that received recognition had sustained high performance over the course of the initiative in reducing Early Elective Deliveries and improving patient safety outcomes.

SMCH’s policy, created to be a double check system to prevent any elective birth prior to 39 weeks, was a joint effort between hospital administration, OB nursing staff and medical staff. Members of SMCH’s medical staff that deliver babies include Dr. Derek Duncan, Dr. Susan Hornback, and Dr. Adam Swisher.

The Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) was designed to help identify solutions to reduce hospital acquired conditions and readmissions and spread them to hospitals and other health care providers. HEN reported 29 out of 76 hospitals qualified to receive a banner, and data shows that SMCH had no early elective deliveries since September of 2012.

Early elective deliveries  are induced or cesarean section deliveries after 37 completed weeks but before 39 completed weeks of gestation, when not medically necessary. Delivery at 37 or 38 weeks was widely considered not a risk — but it is a risk. Infant mortality is at least 50 percent higher for babies at 37 or 38 weeks than at 39 or 40 (at 41 weeks the rate rises again). These babies are also more likely to suffer breathing, feeding and developmental problems.

“Giving our mothers and newborns a strong start is a priority at SMCH,” says Jenni Macke, Manager of Obstetrics. “We are proud to receive recognition from the Iowa Health Collaborative for working to educate our expectant parents and prevent the issues so prevalent in early elective deliveries.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Wins Studer Group’s Excellence in Patient Care Award

August 27th, 2014
Pictured are (left to right): Kyla Mohr, Sara Holst, Shirley Naughton, Scott De Vries, Cynthia Dencklau, Jeff Sievers, Tina Thomas, Jessica Pickering, Linda Ringgenberg, Emily Hildreth, Jeanie Fiala, and Sarah Carstens.

Pictured are (left to right): Kyla Mohr, Sara Holst, Shirley Naughton, Scott De Vries, Cynthia Dencklau, Jeff Sievers, Tina Thomas, Jessica Pickering, Linda Ringgenberg, Emily Hildreth, Jeanie Fiala, and Sarah Carstens.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital was chosen to receive an Excellence in Patient Care award given by outcomes firm Studer Group®. The organization received the award in Chicago last month at Studer Group’s 12th annual What’s Right in Health Care® conference for their exemplary “Room was always clean’’ results on the HCAHPS patient survey.

The Excellence in Patient Care awards are given to select organizations that are coached by Studer Group based on various categories. To be eligible for an award, an organization must demonstrate outstanding performance in patient care. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is being recognized for their “room cleanliness” HCAHPS composite score for July 2012 through June 2013.

Shirley Naughton, housekeeping department supervisor at SMCH, says, “I want to thank the nursing staff as their work also has an impact on the perception patients have on the cleanliness of their room and bathroom. We have a wonderful staff throughout the entire facility that assists in maintaining cleanliness throughout.”

Following the award presentation in Chicago, SMCH’s housekeeping department was honored with a reception for their work leading to the hospital receiving the award. CEO Heather Cain explained that cleanliness increases patients’ feelings of safety and comfort, along with reducing the number of patient readmissions for hospital acquired infections. For the celebration, Heather gave each member of housekeeping a “Lifesaver Sash’’ to relay the importance of the work they do for patient care.

About Stewart Memorial Community Hospital:

Receiving the award from the Studer Group, in addition to ranking second on the Becker’s Hospital Review list of the 49 cleanest hospital in the U.S. in 2013 and 23rd place in 2012, attests to the high quality of care standards held by SMCH. Having a clean room to recuperate in while ill or after surgery is crucial to the health of the patient. “Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) occur when patients seek medical care for a health condition, and an infection results from this care. According to Iowa Department of Public Health healthcare acquired infections affect 5% to 10% of hospitalized patients, causing nearly two million infections and 90,000 deaths, and cost $4.5 to $5.7 billion each year. Cleanliness directly impacts patient outcomes. Our housekeeping department does a phenomenal job setting and maintaining the highest possible standard,” says Kathy Collins, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

About Studer Group®:

A recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Studer Group is an outcomes-based healthcare performance improvement firm that works with healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, and beyond, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial results. Working together, we help to get the foundation right so organizations can build a sustainable culture that promotes accountability, fosters innovation, and consistently delivers a great patient experience and the best quality outcomes over time. To learn more about Studer Group, visit studergroup.com.

SMCH Offers Lunch Connection Focusing on Farmer’s Market Recipes

August 11th, 2014
Toni Kerns visits with SMCH dietitian Maurine Thieszen as she samples the Farmer’s Market Stir-Fry the Thieszen and co-presenter Casey Wetter prepared for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s recent Lunch Connection that taught attendees how to make the most of area Farmer’s Markets.

Toni Kerns visits with SMCH dietitian Maurine Thieszen as she samples the Farmer’s Market Stir-Fry the Thieszen and co-presenter Casey Wetter prepared for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s recent Lunch Connection that taught attendees how to make the most of area Farmer’s Markets.

Using produce from your local farmers market to create tasty summer recipes was the focus of a recent Lunch Connection event at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City. Nearly 60 people filled the conference center at the hospital to watch SMCH Dietitians Maurine Thieszen and Casey Wetter cook up several delicious dishes. “We focused on ingredients that you can buy locally and incorporate into a recipe that’s fairly simple to make,” notes Thieszen. The pair prepared Farmer’s Market Stir-Fry, Green Beans with Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette, Crisp Tuna Cabbage Salad, and MMM…Soup (Mango, Melon, Mint). After the dishes were prepared, participants sampled the food. The recipes featured during the event can be found on the hospitals website at www.stewartmemorial.org under the News & Updates section.

Those attending also learned helpful tips for shopping at a Farmer’s Market. Wetter explained that shoppers should ask vendors if they have a recipe when you buy produce that is more unique, such as fingerling potatoes, Chinese okra, or spaghetti squash. She also says to plan ahead to pay with cash, bring your own reusable tote bags (be sure to buy heavy produce, like potatoes first), and look for bargains in the vegetable sections. “It’s also a good idea to get to the market early when there is the best selection available,” points out Wetter.

During the Lunch Connection, participants also learned about Raccoon Ridge Farm, which is a fruit and vegetable farm located west of Lake City offering Community Supported Agriculture to the area. The farm is operated by Adam Nockels. Nockels provided fresh produce for the event which was displayed at each table. Produce included purple green beans (which actually turn green when cooked), several varieties of tomatoes, onions, herbs, different squash and cucumbers.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held November 6, 2014 and is, as always, open to the public. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Farmers’ Market Stir-Fry

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

Teriyaki Sauce

• 1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium recommended

• 3/4 cup water

• 1 tbsp peeled & freshly grated ginger

• 2 tbsp honey

Stir Fry

• 3 – 4 servings of brown rice

• 2 to 3 tbsp oil

• 2 to 3 cups of sliced veggies, onions and/or meat or seafood

• Optional: side of pineapple or mango

Instructions

1. Start the rice according to directions on the package.

2. To make the sauce combine the next four ingredients (soy sauce, water, ginger & honey) in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and then keep on a low simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.

3. Chop the veggies, and meat/seafood.

4. In a wok or saute pan heat the oil over medium heat then add the veggies and meat/seafood. If using mushrooms, add them towards the end since they don’t take as long to cook.

5. Once the vegetables are soft and the meat is cooked through, add the sauce that you have been keeping warm.

6. Serve over the cooked rice, garnish with green onions and a side of freshly sliced pineapple or mango. Enjoy!

Source: 100daysofrealfood.com

Farmers’ Market Potato Salad

1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3/4 cup diced zucchini

2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Place corn and potatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Place mixture in a large bowl. Combine tarragon and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle potato mixture with dressing~ toss gently to coat.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and zucchini to pan; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini mixture and tomatoes to potato mixture; toss gently to combine.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup).

Source: Cooking Light, June 2010

Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 8

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/4 cup fresh lime juice1

/2 medium red cabbage (about 1-1/2 pounds), cored and shredded

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large carrots (about 1/2 pound), grated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, oil, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add the cabbage and carrots and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 45 minutes. Fold in the cilantro before serving.

Source: Real Simple, June 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

16 jumbo pasta shells

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, grated

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 pound spinach

1 tablespoon basil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 pound ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well then toss with oil in a large bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put spinach into a large skillet and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of water. Cover and cook over medium low heat, tossing occasionally, until just wilted; drain well. When cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove any excess water. Chop spinach and transfer to a large bowl. Add garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, egg and basil to make the filling. Spread a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the shells in a single layer. Fill each shell with spinach mixture and arrange in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over and around the stuffed shells and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover with foil and bake until hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Green Beans with Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette

Serves 8

3/4 cup pecans

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the green beans and pecans and toss to combine.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Toast the pecans, cook the green beans, and make the vinaigrette up to a day in advance. Store the pecans at room temperature and refrigerate the beans and vinaigrette separately.

Source: Real Simple, June 2010

Crisp Tuna-Cabbage Salad

Makes 2 1-cup servings

One 5-ounce can tuna, drained

2 cups finely chopped green or red cabbage, from about 4 ounces or 1/4 of a small head of cabbage

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shred the tuna with a fork and mix thoroughly with the cabbage. Stir in the mayonnaise, and yogurt. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Eat immediately or else refrigerate for up to two days.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Granita:Salad:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil(about 2 pounds)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces seeded peeled heirloom tomato

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Small fresh basil leaves (optional)

1. To prepare granita, place first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Place tomato mixture in an 8-inch square baking dish; cover and freeze until firm, stirring twice during the first 2 hours. Remove mixture from freezer; scrape entire mixture with a fork until fluffy.

2. To prepare salad, divide tomato slices evenly among 6 plates. Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons granita. Sprinkle with basil leaves, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings.

Source: Cooking Light, August 2010

BLT Bread Salad

6 ounces French bread baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

6 cups torn romaine lettuce

4 slices hickory-smoked bacon

1-1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Layer bread on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until toasted.

3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir oil into bacon drippings in pan; remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, pepper, and salt.

4. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions in a large bowl; drizzle with vinaigrette. Add bread; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups).

MMM… Soup (Mango-Melon-Mint)

Serves 4

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

2 cups cantaloupe, peeled seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Puree all ingredients in food processor or blender and chill for 2 to 3 hours. Pour into glass bowls, garnish with mint leaves, and serve.

Source: Saturday Evening Post, July/August 2010

Ophthalmologist Ryan D. Vincent, M.D. Joins Wolfe Eye Clinic

July 30th, 2014

Ryan D. Vincent, M.D., Ophthalmologist

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is pleased to welcome Wolfe Eye Clinic’s Ryan D. Vincent, M.D. to its staff.  Dr. Vincent will provide cataract surgery and treatment of other ocular disorders.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Vincent join the practice,” said Wolfe Eye Clinic surgeon Louis J. Scallon, M.D.  “I am confidant that he will be an asset to the communities he visits and will provide high quality eye care with caring service.”

Dr. Vincent received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Master of Science degree in Anatomy at Colorado State University.  He then earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Denver, Colorado.  Next, he completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, School of Medicine where he was Chief Resident.  Finally, he completed a Clinical Glaucoma Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

“I am excited to join Wolfe Eye Clinic, and serve patients in the Lake City area through our outreach clinic at SMCH,” states Vincent.  “Because of the numerous sub-specialties throughout the group, I feel that together we can provide the most comprehensive eye care using the technology and compassion Wolfe Eye Clinic is known for.”

Dr. Vincent is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Glaucoma Society and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  He has published numerous articles and scientific papers and authored book chapters.  Dr. Vincent has also presented on a variety of topics around the country and enjoys taking part in research studies.

Dr. Vincent will see patients in Lake City on the fourth Wednesday of each month. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Vincent, please call Wolfe Eye Clinic at 800-542-7956. In medical practice since 1919, Wolfe Eye Clinic is a recognized regional diagnostic and surgical center offering a very broad range of professional care services in the specialties of ophthalmology and otolaryngology.  For more information on the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, pediatric eye conditions, LASIK laser vision correction and other ocular diseases, please call 1-800-542-7956.  Visit Wolfe Eye Clinic online at www.wolfeeyeclinic.com.

Dr. David Frate Granted the Hospice Medical Director Certified™ (HMDC™) Credential

July 30th, 2014

DrFrate4 copyDavid Frate, D.O., HMDC, board certified internal and family medicine physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, was recently granted the Hospice Medical Director Certified credential by the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board. Dr. Frate was recognized for his commitment to improving the quality of life by displaying professional competency in the hospice industry.

Hospice practice includes patient care, medication management, performance improvement, engagement in interdisciplinary group (IDG) activities, and much more. Professional certification affirms a knowledge and experience base for hospice practitioners to display commitment to their career, dedication to patient and family care, and the sustainability of the hospice organization and industry. The HMDC designation is granted for six years and is renewed through continued validation of knowledge and re-examination.

Dr. Frate practices Internal Medicine and Family Medicine in Lake City. Following four years in the Navy, Dr. Frate attended George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and then went on to medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lake Erie, PA. He completed four years of residency in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. Dr. Frate and his wife Wendy have four children. His hobbies include running, fishing and cheering on his alma mater, the George Mason Patriots.

The Hospice Medical Director Certification Board (HMDCB) is a not-for-profit certifying body established to design, implement, and evaluate a certification program for hospice medical directors and other physicians who provide hospice care for patients. HMDCB is solely responsible for the development, administration and evaluation of the certification program. The mission of HMDCB is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life by promoting the excellence and professional competency of hospice medical directors.

Information about the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board including a directory of certified hospice physicians is available at www.HMDCB.org.

Summer 2014 Health Care Connection

July 28th, 2014

Summer 2014 NewsletterTo view the Summer Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

Summer 2014 Newsletter

Health Care Changes Bring SMCH & Local Business Leaders Together

July 17th, 2014

SMCH invited local business leaders to attend a community roundtable discussion on creating better health care for communities. Participants pictured are: Opportunity Living’s Dave Liner, Kelly Feldman, Tracey Toms, and Dave Staver, SMCH CEO Heather Cain, and Twilight Acre’s Gina Anderson and Sylvia Bardow.

Local business leaders are putting their heads together to find ways to collaborate and navigate the changing world of health care. Gathering at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City on July 15th, they participated in a community roundtable discussion to talk about ways to create better health among the population and better health care for communities. “There is immense value in strategically collaborating with area businesses to find efficiencies. This gives everyone involved the opportunity to use resources where they are needed most,” explains Heather Cain, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital CEO.

The forum, hosted at SMCH, was presented by the Iowa Hospital Association. It  partnered with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and the Iowa Business Council for a panel presentation titled Living and Working Well: Together. Following the presentation, local leaders discussed a variety of health and workplace related issues including the structure of an Accountable Care Organization, health care reimbursement, insurance, availability of specialty medical services, and access to wellness activities and initiatives. “If we, as a community, are going to manage the cost of health care for the benefit of our patients, we need to engage the patients in their health care. It’s the right thing to do,”noted Cain during the group discussion.

Kirk Norris, President and CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association explained that Iowa hospitals are committed to the “Triple Aim” which consists of finding ways to lower costs through efficiency and improve quality for patients which will hopefully lead to better health for populations served. Cain pointed out to those attending “If we collaborate together to help each other navigate the changes in health care, even though it is challenging, there is opportunity to help create a more sustainable health care system.”

Cain says SMCH will continue to partner with communities and the Iowa Hospital Association to offer similar education and discussion opportunities in the future.

Quality Care Saves Life of Rockwell City man

July 11th, 2014

Soaking up the sun from the bow of his boat while listening to waves splash against the port, Phil Hammen can cast away the hard times he’s weathered in the past year. In a three month span, Hammen lost his mother and brother and then was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. “It was a very dark time in my life,” remembers Hammen, a Rockwell City, Iowa native who enjoys family time boating on Twin Lakes. “When I’m on the water with my family, it makes me feel like I don’t have a care in the world. Life is perfect.”

Feeling “perfect” was hard to muster for Hammen earlier this year. After he faced the death of his two family members, Hammen started to have pain in his stomach. He made an appointment at McCrary-Rost Clinic and he was treated for an ulcer. “When a patient presents with vague symptoms, my first approach is to treat it in the least invasive way possible. Our goal as a medical team is to provide quality care to our patients, and part of that process is protecting the patient’s health,” says Barb Weber, Board Certified Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ARNP-C) with McCrary Rost Clinic in Rockwell City.

A few weeks later, Hammen’s stomach still bothered him despite taking his prescription for an ulcer. Hammen scheduled a follow up appointment with Barb Weber, ARNP-C. “After visiting at length with Barb about my condition, she recommended I have an ultrasound,” recalls Hammen. The test provided a view of Hammen’s abdominal organs including his kidneys to see if something more serious was the cause of his stomach pain. “An ultrasound is a non-invasive test, meaning the patient does not have to have any type of incisions to be examined. It’s virtually a painless way to get a look inside a patient,” states Barb Weber, ARNP-C. The ultrasound was performed by a certified sonographer at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City. When the results came back, Barb Weber shared the news with Hammen during his appointment.

“I was shocked to hear the news she gave me. I wasn’t expecting bad news from the test,” recalls Hammen. “I remember being stunned and the care and concern Barb showed me while she explained what our next steps would be.”

A computed tomography scan, also known as a CT scan, confirmed Barb Weber’s suspicion. Hammen’s left kidney had a mass on it the size of a golf ball. “While the news was scary, I took comfort in the care I received from the medical team. They kept me informed and answered my questions,” says Hammen.

“At SMCH we believe it is essential for our medical providers, nurses and support staff to work together as a team. This helps the process of patients receiving the right care as quickly as possible,” states Dr. David Frate, Board Certified Family and Internal Physician at McCrary Rost Clinic Lake City.

The next step was to schedule Hammen to see a specialist in Des Moines. There, a surgeon confirmed the mass was cancerous, and he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. On March 6th, a successful surgery removed the mass.  Renal cell carcinoma, or RCC, is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for about 9 out of 10 kidney cancers, according to the American Cancer Association.  While the cancer is common, it can go undiagnosed because the cancer can grow quite large without causing any pain or other problems. Each year, nearly 14,000 people die from the disease. Barb Weber points out that RCC is resistant to the most common treatment of cancer, chemotherapy. Hammen credits Barb Weber, ARNP-C and SMCH with saving his life. “Quality health care is an expectation for every patient, every time. We want the best possible outcome for each of our patients, no matter how big or small their health care need is,” states Barb Weber.

At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Heather Cain, CEO says quality care is measured by the voices of patients. “The phrase ‘quality care’ is defined at SMCH as patients getting the health care services they need, when they need them, in the right way, to achieve the best possible results. This means we strive to provide the care patients need to stay healthy and recommend appropriate tests and procedures to achieve that.”

This philosophy at SMCH is reflected in the voice of patients served. Patient satisfaction survey results show SMCH ranks above other hospitals in Iowa in the categories of  Room and Bathroom Always Clean, Overall Hospital Rating, and Definitely Recommend Hospital (see graph at bottom right). These results are reported on the website www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare. Cain says, “At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, we differentiate ourselves from our competition in the service and quality we deliver to our patients, and the voices of our customers support this. Our goal is to provide the highest quality health care experience to our patients.  Every patient… every time.”  Hammen is one of the voices represented in the results reported by patients through their satisfaction survey.

For Hammen, he says giving a voice to the care he received is important. “What saved my life is the thorough care I received. The medical staff took the time to address my health concerns and helped me through a difficult time. Saying thank you seems insufficient for what they did. I know the medical team feels they are just ‘doing their job,’ but they went above and beyond in my book, and I am very grateful.”

Summer Safety Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

July 1st, 2014

Read about Summer Safety Tips for kids and families from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Receives Governor’s Volunteer Award

June 23rd, 2014

Pictured are Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad presenting the Volunteer Award to Deb Harms and Duane Snyder who representated Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at the June 12th award ceremony.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) of Lake City, Iowa received a 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Award from Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds during a special recognition ceremony held June 12 in Storm Lake.

SMCH was honored with a  group Volunteer Award by the Iowa Department of Transportation for cleaning and maintaining Highway 175 in Lake City.

“It’s always a great pleasure for me to honor and recognize the volunteers who accomplish extraordinary things through service to help their communities, fellow citizens, and the great state of Iowa,” said Governor Branstad.  “These dedicated volunteers lead by example—not only encouraging the people they help, but motivating others to serve as well.  I sincerely thank them all for their dedication and efforts.”

“The Governor and I are strong believers that our community volunteers, charitable nonprofits, and faith-based institutions are often best equipped to provide long-term solutions to the challenges we face,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds.  “Some of our most promising and cost-effective solutions to literacy, disaster response, drop-out prevention, and community development are fueled by tapping into our best assets—our people and our volunteer spirit.”

The Governor’s Volunteer Awards (GVA) program was created in 1982, with inaugural awards presented in 1983.  What began as a small program for state government agencies, has expanded over the years and now provides all Iowa nonprofit, charitable, and government organizations with an easy way to honor their volunteers with a prestigious state-level award.  Hundreds of volunteers are recognized each year with awards in one of four categories: Individual, Group, Length of Service or Disaster Volunteer.

Recipients of the Governor’s Volunteer Award do not necessarily need to live in Iowa, but their service must have benefited Iowans or an Iowa organization.  Award criteria include an individual or group who has:

  • demonstrated exceptional commitment to volunteerism by helping with a special project or ongoing activities
  • demonstrated exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in their service to others
  • made an outstanding contribution to state or community through volunteer service

The Governor’s Volunteer Award program is coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and the Governor’s Office.  For more information, visit www.volunteeriowa.org/awards or call 515.725.3094.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on How the New Transition Coaches at SMCH Ensure Quality Care

June 5th, 2014

(Left to right) Brooke Minnehan, RN, Zacharina Winker, RN, and Kari Jones, RN, explain the benefits of the new transition coaches program at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) welcomed nearly forty people at the June “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured speakers on “A Smooth Transition: How Our New Transition Coaches Ensure Quality Care.”

Kari Jones, Director of Nursing at SMCH, addressed the group. She said there were several reasons why SMCH began the transition coach program. “We wanted to reduce the 30 day readmission rate, which means that patients are not returning to the hospital for the same condition within a month’s time. We wanted to increase education and communication for the patient. Another goal was to reduce medication errors for our patients. Finally, we felt the need for an increase of follow-up appointments being made before the patient leaves the hospital.”

Zacharina Winker, RN, and Brooke Minnehan, RN, the new transition coaches at SMCH explained the duties they have fulfilled on a daily basis since the program began in October 2013. They meet the patient in the ER or clinic settings, asking questions to get the patient’s health history. They explain the medical provider’s plan for the patient’s recovery, working closely with the provider on updates and changes to the plan. They educate the patient about the condition for which the hospitalization is taking place, plus any other contributing factors, in addition to changes in medications. They work to provide patients with follow-up appointments to specialists, services, or their primary medical provider. They also follow up with the patient after discharge about how the medications are working, if there’s any pain, if follow-up appointments were kept and if there are any questions to be answered.

The three nurses agreed that the main goal of the transition coaches are to get patients well and help them manage their health and be able to stay home. Jones explained that the program has been successful, “Last year, for our 30 day readmission rate we had a high of 13%. Since we began the program that rate has been reduced to 3-4%. Medication errors have also been reduced substantially because our transition coaches are handling the education piece, allowing our floor nurses to concentrate on reducing errors. Our patient satisfaction results, based on surveys of our patients, indicate that our customers are very happy with our transition care, earning us a consistent 99th percentile rating in that area.”

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held August 7, 2014. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Spring 2014 edition

May 9th, 2014

To view the Spring Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

Spring 2014

Harkin Aide to Visit Calhoun County as Part of ‘In the Footsteps of History’ Tour-Will see impact of federal investments on patient care, infrastructure at Stewart Memorial Hospital

May 8th, 2014

Laura Sands, aide to Senator Tom Harkin, visited SMCH as part of a summer tour highlighting Harkin’s partnership with Iowa communities throughout the years. Pictured (left to right) are Bethany Morrow, Purchasing Director, Jim Henkenius, CFO, Jane Moeller, Pharmacy Director, Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteers, Heather Cain, CEO, Laura Sands, aide to Senator Harkin, Mary Reiter, Director of Radiology, Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, and Bill Albright, Vice President of Human Resources.

DES MOINES – Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) aide, Laura Sands, visited Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City on Thursday, May 8, as part of a summer tour highlighting Harkin’s partnership with Iowa communities through the years. The “In the Footsteps of History” tour will include all Iowa counties and feature local projects aimed at keeping Iowa communities healthy and safe, keeping communities thriving through targeted education, research, and economic development projects and promoting local agriculture and conservation, while mitigating disasters.

Sands met with SMCH administrators to discuss how federal funding secured by Harkin has impacted the facility and helped to improve patient care, followed by a tour of the hospital. In 2012, SMCH received $50,000 to help pay for patient lift equipment, and in 2010 received $89,400 to purchase a mammography machine as part of a community facility grant program that Harkin fought to include in the 2008 farm bill as then-Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. In 2008, the hospital received a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guaranteed loan of $57,615 and a grant of $12,385 to repair a portion of the roof.

“Ensuring Iowans have access to quality, affordable health care is critical—particularly for those in rural areas, who may find this care out of reach,” said Harkin. “I am pleased that Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is equipped with the equipment and facilities to care for Calhoun County residents and promote wellness in the area.”

Heather Cain, SMCH CEO noted, “We are grateful for the work Senator Harkin has done to ensure that quality health care is close to home for Iowa families. His efforts has allowed SMCH to receive funds that directly impact patient care.”

SMCH to host Fun Run

May 8th, 2014

From the big smiles on their faces participants in the 2013 Fun Run had a great time pushing the last few feet to the finish line.

Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and walk or run the  Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and will be held Saturday, June 28, 2014.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square in Lake City.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

Pre-registration prior to Friday, May 30 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants.   Registration after June 1 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

Awards will be given to the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10 and under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-65; 66 and over.  Men and women will be in separate classes.

For more information and a registration form, contact SMCH Human Resources Department at 712-464-4224 or request email registration at balbright@stewartmemorial.org or log onto our website at www.stewartmemorial.org or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity.

Fun Run Registration Form

 

Mother’s Day Bittersweet for New Mom

May 8th, 2014

Pam & Vivian Speck and Dr. Swisher

Planning for a new baby is an exciting time for a family. Decorating the nursery, buying sleepers, and preparing for changes a baby brings all add to the miracle of the joyous celebration. For many families, pregnancies go smoothly and the baby’s delivery are cherished memories. For Pam and Roland Speck of Dayton, Iowa, bringing their miracles into the world proved to be a difficult journey.

The couple spent four years trying to get pregnant. After in-vitro fertilization, Pam became pregnant with twins. The pregnancy was complicated. Pre-term labor began at 22 weeks and Pam developed preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is defined as high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both mother and baby. Pam’s twins, Alyssa and Chloe, were delivered via cesarean section at 36 weeks in 2006.

In 2011 Roland was diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.” Roland and Pam attacked the cancer aggressively. He received regular infusions of chemotherapy at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

During those dark days the couple discussed having another baby. “I had wanted another child for a very long time,” remembers Pam. “We knew, in all likelihood, I would be a single parent. We had our twins, who are wonderful. But I also felt the need for another child who would be something positive to focus on in the days ahead.”

After discovering she was pregnant, Pam consulted with Dr. Adam Swisher, board certified family medicine and obstetrics physician with McCrary Rost Clinic. Her hopes for a smooth pregnancy this time were quickly dismissed. “I had high blood pressure and developed gestational diabetes. After several stress tests at SMCH, Dr. Swisher advised bed rest. However, with taking care of Roland, the twins, and our animals, we modified that as much as possible.”

During Pam’s pregnancy, Roland’s condition deteriorated, and he spent more and more time in the hospital. “Everyone on the staff were incredibly compassionate, anticipating our every need. They even knew our favorite drinks,” remembers Pam. “Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. There were multiple instances when Rollie was having trouble getting around and Dr. Swisher personally helped him out to the car. The day of my c-section he made a point to have a chair brought in for Rollie so he would not have to sit on the rolling stool. Basically, I consider Dr. Swisher to be not only an outstanding physician, but an outstanding human being. He treats the whole person, and does so with unmatched skill and compassion.”

“Caring for the whole family strengthens the patient-doctor relationship,” says Dr. Swisher. “We took care of Pam, Rollie and the girls, really getting to know the whole family and providing, not only the day-to-day health care, but the intangible assistance that only comes from understanding the patient’s needs outside of the examination room.”

At 37 weeks, on Roland’s last “good” day, Pam delivered a baby girl, Vivian, on September 24, 2013. Twenty-four hours after meeting his newborn daughter, Roland’s illness forced him to be hospitalized. “When Vivian was two days old, we were told the cancer spread to his liver and his time was short. That was a very difficult day,” recalls Pam. “I was emotional and hormonal and became hysterical. It was the worst day of my life. Nurses Lisa Miller and Regina Rhea, came to Rollie’s room and talked to me, helping me to stay calm. They kept me sane.”

“Caring for the whole family involves working to ensure healthy beginnings, in addition to making a patient comfortable in the last stage of life and every health need in between,” says Dr. Swisher. “Our staff works and trains diligently to give the best quality care possible.”

“Dr. Swisher, the OB nursing staff and hospice staff were incredibly sensitive to the situation. With the birth of the twins and Rollie’s cancer, we’ve sought care at larger hospitals, but the nursing staff at SMCH was the best we’ve ever encountered,” says Pam. “They were kind, compassionate and incredibly skilled. Our entire family sees Dr. Swisher and I’d not trust my children’s well being with anyone else. He managed Rollie’s care for the last 2 years of his life and was always willing to look into new treatments. He did everything possible to give him the best quality of life. He showed a tremendous amount of compassion when it was time to discuss end of life decisions.”

“I chose to practice family medicine because of the broad spectrum of care family medicine covers. I am able to care for patients during every stage of life,” notes Dr. Swisher. “The Speck family’s situation encompassed every aspect of health care – from the hope of a new beginning to the close of a final chapter. Family medicine, rather than a specialized practice, appealed to me as a physician as it affords diverse opportunities for providing excellent care.”

Roland died on November 10, 2013. In the months since Roland’s death, Pam reveals she feels as if she’s in a trance. The baby, though, has been her miracle, a salve that helps her in her grief, “How can I go to a dark place, looking at Vivian’s face?” she asks. She cuddles her cooing five month old, who falls asleep with her tiny fist clutching her daddy’s wedding ring.

DAISY Award Presented to SMCH Nurses

May 7th, 2014

SMCH nurse Emily Mason, RN, and McCrary Rost Clinic nurse Tayler Rasch, RN, were presented the Daisy Award at a banquet celebrating exemplary nursing.

Delivering compassionate patient care and great clinical skills are the qualities that recently earned two Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) nurses the DAISY Award. The award, which was established in 1999 and stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, is in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. During his lengthy hospital stay, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion Patrick received from his nurses. The DAISY award was established to say thank you to nurses across the nation by honoring the work they do at the bedside, funding research, and honoring nursing faculty.

Eleven nurses from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City and McCrary Rost Clinics were nominated for the award and the award went to Tayler Rasch, RN, and Emily Mason, RN. Rasch has worked at Gowrie McCrary-Rost Clinic since 2012. She was nominated by a patient for many reasons, stating, “She showed tremendous compassion when my husband was taken by ambulance to the hospital, both towards him and myself. I was incredibly stressed out and worried, and the kindness she showed meant the world to me.” A nurse at SMCH since 2012, Mason was nominated by a co-worker who had observed, “She demonstrates her clinical skills with professionalism and is able to display her passion for nursing just by walking into a patient room. A short time after she was hired at SMCH, during the night shift, Emily was found sitting at a confused patient’s bedside, holding their hand and trying to keep them from being so frightened.” Other nominees include clinic nurse Valerie Mapel, LPN, nurse practioner Barb Weber, ARNP-C, clinic nursing supervisor and health coach Kristy Vogel, RN, OB and hospital nurse Tracie Winans, RN, and hospital nurses: Katie Nelson, RN, Tami Rozenboom, RN, Kathy Holm, RN, Toni Pfrimmer, RN, and Carmen Ludwig, LPN.

Cindy Carstens is the Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH and says nurses, like the ones nominated at SMCH, are surprised when they receive the DAISY Award. “Most nurses do not believe they are doing ‘anything special’ and they are just ‘doing their job.’ That’s why at every DAISY Award presentation, we ask each nurse to pause for a minute and realize how very special they are and how they make the world a better place by ‘just doing their jobs,’” noted Carstens. Today, a nurse’s job may entail saving a patients life, applying training and skill to a complex medical procedure, or offering comfort to a patient or family member to make them feel better. “Every day, nurses are making a positive difference in a patients and family’s life. Nurses make the world a better place and they are special because they are a nurse,” added Carstens.

Nurses are nominated by patients, families, colleagues, physicians, or other staff. The criteria focuses on the compassionate care and memorable moment’s nurses provide their patients as well as great clinical skill. As of April 2014 nearly 1,700 healthcare organizations in eleven countries honor their nurses with The DAISY Award.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Celebrates Employee Accomplishments

April 29th, 2014

Danni Anderson, P.A.-C. is presented the Rising Star award by Heather Cain, CEO

Toni Kerns receives the Auxiliary Shining Star award from Heather Cain, CEO

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital recently recognized their employees for their accomplishments during 2013 at its Rewards and Recognition Banquet. The Florence Nightingale award was given to Kari Jones, Director of Nursing. The Auxiliary Shining Star award recipient was volunteer Toni Kerns. Danni Anderson, P.A.-C. was given the Rising Star award.  The Golden Pillar award, which is given to a department that exemplifies the standards of behavior at SMCH, was given to all of the departments that contribute to inpatient care, leading to SMCH receiving national recognition for high scores in patient satisfaction: nursing service, pharmacy, business office, maintenance, housekeeping, purchasing, lab, emergency service, nutritition services, physical therapy, and radiology. Dr. David Frate was awarded Physician of the Year. The Champion of Standards award, given to an individual who exemplifies the standards of behavior at SMCH, was given to Holly Wuebker, RN, Homecare.

2013 Physician of the Year, Dr. David Frate (left) is presented his award and Golden Stethoscope by Heather Cain, CEO.

Representing the departments earning the Golden Pillar award for outstanding patient care were (left to right) Kari Jones, Nursing Service; Dr. David Frate, Emergency Service; Jane Janssen, Purchasing; Michael Fiala, Laboratory; Kerri Shipley, Business Office; Mike Case, Nutrition Services; Bob Arnold, Physical Therapy; Megan Snyder; Pharmacy; Jennifer King, Radiology; and Mike Collins, Maintenance.

Recognition was also given to employees for reaching milestones. Completing 40 Years of service are Judy Hendricks, Clinic Business Office, and Bob Dickkut, Physical Therapy. Recognition for 35 years of employment goes to Luanne Redenius, CMA, June Urelius, Nursing Service Unit Secretary, and Maurine Thieszen, Dietitian. For 30 years of service the following are recognized: Carmen Ludwig, LPN, Deb Trost, Finance, and Donna Westcott, Clinic Business. In the 25 year category, SMCH honored Brenda Buss, Business Office, Lori Lasher, Nursing Service Secretary, Jenni Macke, RN, Mel Alcox, EMT, and Deb Perepeluk, Nursing Assistant.  Kim Anderson, Nutrition Services, Cindy Blair, RN, Deb Daniel, Pharmacy, Deb Harms, Nutrition Services, and Doreen Mohr, Housekeeping was recognized for 20 years of service. Completing 15 years of employment are Nancy Flink, P.A.-C., and Leon Hendricks, Emergency Services.  Recognition for 10 years of employment went to Bob Arnold, Physical Therapy, and Perry Henely, Anesthesia. The final group to be honored is 5 year employees which include Renee Bronzynski, RN, Cindy Carstens, Administration, Michael Case, Nutrition Services, Kimberly Conley, RN, Kay Crabb, Physical Therapy, Afton Daniel, Radiology, Christi Fredericks, Business Office, Jenna Haye, Pharmacy, Kari Jones, RN, Mary Ludwig, Marketing, Marilyn Mumm, Radiology, Michelle Pedersen, Nursing Service Unit Secretary, Jenny Roby, Homecare/Hospice, Danelle Ruthart, Homecare/Hospice, Kari Sharkey, Homecare/Hospice, Michelle Shaver, Social Services, and Carmon Slininger, Clinic Nursing .

Kari Jones (right), Director of Nursing, is presented with the Florence Nightingale award by Heather Cain, CEO (left).

Holly Wuebker, RN, Homecare, is presented the Champion of Standards award by Heather Cain, CEO.

Bill Albright, Vice President of Human Resources at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital says, “We are so proud to be able to pause and recognize our employees for the outstanding service they give to our patients and our organization.  It is through their dedicated service that we remain the best place for our employees to work, patients to receive their care and physicians to practice medicine.”

Lake City Mayor Signs Proclamation for National Volunteer Week

April 9th, 2014

Pictured are: (seated) Lake City Mayor Gary Fahan, (standing left to right) Darlene Nicholson, Lee Vogt, SMCH Auxiliary Assistant, Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteer Services; Mary Sporleder, Auxiliary President, Marilynn Collis, Dian Richardson, and Virginia Sheffield, Auxiliary Past-President.

National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership.  At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City, over 140 people volunteer for the hospital through the Auxiliary.  National Volunteer Week, April 6-12 is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change-discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.  The week draws the support and endorsement of the President and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.  Lake City Mayor Gary Fahan signed a proclamation recognizing National Volunteer Week in Lake City with members of the SMCH Auxiliary.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Honors Auxiliary Support with a “Sweet” Luncheon

April 7th, 2014

Officers installed for 2014-2016 terms for the SMCH Auxiliary are (left to right) Mary Sporleder, President, Carol Dickkut, Vice President, Jan Dougherty, Secretary and Marci Duncan, Treasurer

On her last official day as Auxiliary President, Virginia Sheffield, right , presents a check for $33,000 to SMCH President and CEO, Heather Cain.

Auxiliary members were honored Tuesday for their service and commitment to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City with a chocolate themed luncheon. Over seventy SMCH Auxiliary members attended the annual Volunteer Appreciation event hosted by the hospital at the Lake City community building. SMCH President and CEO Heather Cain welcomed guests to the event and thanked them for their volunteer service. “For your service to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, our patients and staff, we are very grateful and we thank you. Your kindness, support and generosity equips us with the ability to provide excellence in medical care and service to our communities. You so generously give of your time and talents and today we are honored to celebrate you, our volunteers,” stated Cain.

The keynote address focused on the hospitals 2013 achievements. The “Year in Review” was presented by Cain and highlighted several awards the hospital earned in 2013. These included the 2nd Cleanest Hospital in the Nation award from Becker’s Hospital Review, Des Moines Register Top 100 Work Places, and two Excellence in Patient Care awards from the nationally recognized outcomes firm Studer Group®. New programs designed to improve patient care were also noted, including the new Transition Coach and Health Coach programs. Cain also thanked the Auxiliary volunteers for their efforts in raising $33,000 for the hospital. Through proceeds from several events, such as the 2013 Red Dress Revue, Table A Fare, sheet sale and gift shoppe sales, the Auxiliary is funding a blanket warmer for hospital patients and digital x-ray equipment in the outlying clinics.

Auxiliary President, Virginia Sheffield, led the Installation of Officers ceremony for the 2014-2016 terms. The new officers are Mary Sporleder, President, Carol Dickkut, Vice President, Marci Duncan, Treasurer, and Jan Dougherty, Secretary. The group also thanked Virginia Sheffield for serving as President for the past two years. The luncheon concluded with a sweet A cappella melody from the South Central Calhoun High School Boys Quartet of Jace Neubaum, Jacob Clark, Colin Brown, and Ryan Nicholson.

Each Auxilian attending received a king sized SMCH chocolate candy bar as their party favor and to thank them for the sweet contributions they make throughout the year to the organization. To learn more about the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary or to become a member, call Mary Ludwig or Lee Vogt at 712-464-3171 or visit the hospital website at www.stewartmemoral.org .

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to Host Free Family Easter Fun

April 2nd, 2014

Face painting, games, crafts and snacks will be available at the Family Easter Fun event, hosted by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View, on Saturday, April 19th at Speaker Park shelter house in Lake View.

The snow is melting, flowers will soon be growing and birds will be making their spring migration. Easter is just around the corner.  In appreciation of your support and patronage throughout the year, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy Lake View will host a family Easter Fun event on Saturday, April 19th at Speaker Park Shelter House in Lake View, immediately following the Blackhawk Men’s Club Easter Egg Hunt which starts at 9:30 a.m.

Gather the entire family and come enjoy this free event. Many activities are planned for families attending including games, crafts, and face painting. Free snacks will also be available, and an Easter prize drawing will be held.

Routine Screening Saves Life of Rockwell City man

March 25th, 2014

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Dr. Derek Duncan, board certified family physican, recommends patients over 50, like John Van Ness, have a colonscopy screening done.

Like many people who generally feel in good health, John Van Ness put off getting a colonoscopy even after he celebrated his 50th birthday. “I knew that after age 50 I should have the screening, but every time I scheduled it, something would come up,” recalls Van Ness who is a licensed counselor and social worker and counsel’s inmates at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City. “On some levels, I am a very private person and the thought of feeling exposed, literally, did not appeal to me, so I pushed it off my “to do” list,” admits Van Ness. He also acknowledges his own fear of knowing the test results because of his family history. “My mom had colon cancer and she had to have part of her colon removed because of it. In some respects, I was afraid of having to admit that I wasn’t bullet proof.”

Last fall, Van Ness says the recommendation from his doctor, Dr. Derek Duncan, to get a colonoscopy started to sink in. “I scheduled the procedure at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City. Unfortunately, I had to cancel because I got sick,” notes Van Ness. He did not call and reschedule the colonoscopy. He felt fine and did not have any symptoms that his colon was unhealthy. “One afternoon, I received a phone call from my medical providers nurse. She reminded me that I needed to have a screening colonoscopy done.” This time, he committed to a date and the procedure was performed by Dr. Derek Duncan, a board certified family practice physician with McCrary Rost clinic who is also trained to perform colonoscopies. “I appreciate Dr. Duncan’s staff reaching out to me and encouraging me to be proactive with my health.”

The procedure went smoothly. “The prep work for the procedure isn’t as bad as some people say and the colonoscopy itself is painless because you are put under anesthesia,” recalls Van Ness. After the colonoscopy, Dr. Duncan visited with Van Ness and his wife in one of the private SMCH patient recovery rooms where Van Ness was resting. “He thanked my wife for encouraging me to have the colonoscopy done. The news was shocking.”  Dr. Duncan found a dozen different polyps in Van Ness’ colon. “Some of the polyps had grown quite large, despite the patient having no symptoms, and were pre-cancerous,” notes Dr. Duncan who has performed colonoscopies at SMCH for the last seven years. Dr. Duncan says Van Ness came in for his colonoscopy before it was too late. “Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if it is caught early. Having a screening colonoscopy at the age of 50 is in the best interest of patients’ health,” notes Dr. Duncan. If you have a family history of colon cancer, talk to your medical provider about the appropriate age for a screening colonoscopy.

For Van Ness, the results of his colonoscopy served as a wake up call. “I now tell all of my friends to get the screening done. It is worth the time and effort. I am very fortunate to be the patient of a doctor who collaborates with me to be proactive with my health and it saved my life.”

New Electronic Health Record System is EPIC change for SMCH

March 20th, 2014

Jim Henkenius, CFO, and Sherry Lampe, Clinical Nurse IT Director, provide training and support for staff in preparation of the March 29th go-live date for the new electronic health records launch.

A new computer software system will help patients receive better health care. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is joining a network of over 350 healthcare locations, many of them Unity Point affiliates, across the midwest in implementing a new electronic health record system called EPIC. SMCH will launch the new system on March 29th. The new computer charting system will provide an up-to-date electronic medical record of patient medical information that can be accessed wherever a patient receives medical care within the network of hospitals and clinics on the EPIC system.

Electronic medical records will make the care patients receive at SMCH even better. First, current medical information will be at the medical provider’s fingertips – no matter if care originates at SMCH or at another Unity Point affiliated hospital, McCrary Rost clinics, or even one of SMCH’s Unity Point Health affiliates. Second, health information can be more efficiently shared between areas of the hospital that are involved in the patient’s care. Third, bar-code scanning technology will continue to be used for medications in order to better monitor safety in reducing and preventing medical or medication errors. Lastly, privacy and security of medical records will be improved.

Sherry Lampe, Clinical Nurse IT Director at SMCH, describes the equipment upgrades and staff training required prior to the go live date, “Training has been very intense for the last two months and the staff has worked very hard at learning the EPIC system. We are all very anxious to get started. We have added computers to each patient room along with several new mobile computers.”

In the near future, SMCH will offer an additional benefit which is a free, privacy-protected website for patients and care givers. The web-based portal called MyUnityPoint will help patients keep track of their personal medical history and test results. Registered users will be able to review lab and radiology results, their personal medical history such as their vitals, immunizations and providers seen. Additionally, patients will be able to request and keep track of clinic appointments, request prescription renewals, view current and past prescriptions, and send messages to and from their health care team.

Initial visits to the hospital and clinics will require registration staff to input information into the new system for the first time. Patients are asked to bring their insurance cards and one form of identification, such as a driver’s license. They may also be asked to provide their social security number. “The process of putting in a patient’s information does take time. We want to thank our patients in advance for their patience as we transition to the new system,” says Jim Henkenius, CFO.

Greater access to your records for you and your doctor, enhanced safety, and ultimately improved services at SMCH are benefits of the new technology. “Our goals are to continue to improve the quality of health care we offer,” says Henkenius. “Coordinating care for our patients, regardless of geographic location, equates to improving the quality of patient care.”

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Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on The New World of Quality Health Care

March 6th, 2014

Heather Cain, CEO at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, describes how quality health care organizations are moving to a new focus on providing value in patient care.

Over forty-five people gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) to attend the March “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured a speaker on “The New World of Quality Health Care – How It Affects You.”

Heather Cain, CEO at SMCH, addressed the group, describing how quality health care is moving to a new model of patient care. “At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital we are shifting the focus from high volumes of patients, tests and procedures to giving world class quality of care. Quality care means patients always leave a hospital stay feeling better. That means we’re concentrating on reducing the numbers of hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, falls, and readmissions.” Health care will move away from “sick care” and more to a focus on wellness and prevention. The industry will concentrate on reducing hospitalizations and emergency department visits by increasing wellness screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies and utilizing health coaches to help patients manage chronic illnesses.

Another element to quality health care is using technology in new ways. “SMCH will be implementing a new method of charting patient health histories at the end of March. We will begin using the electronic health record called EPIC that over 350 medical locations in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin have adopted,” says Cain. “EPIC will result in better patient care, reduce costs, and increase the value of the health care provided.”

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held June 5, 2014. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Prevention is Key to Heart Health

February 20th, 2014

Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, Megan Huster, RN, and Bev Watters, RN, check Kathi Knauss’ readings during a stress test.

Despite a little pain in her back, Kathy Knauss spent the day enjoying one of her favorite hobbies on a beautiful afternoon last summer. “I golfed in an 18 hole best ball tournament at Twin Lakes that day,” recalls Knauss, who lives in Lake City along with her husband Jim. To ease the pain, Kathy took a few pain relievers but the pain did not subside and as the golf tournament continued she joked to her friends that she was probably having a heart attack. By the end of the day, Kathy’s pain was no laughing matter. “I simply did not feel good. I was slightly nauseous, and I had a very restless night,” recalls Knauss.

During the night Knauss recalled the pain she suffered eleven years ago when she had a blockage in her left iliac artery, which is in your leg, which resulted in surgery to put in a stent. “This pain was very different, so I was in denial that it was related to a heart attack,” states Knauss who made healthy life-style changes after her first scare at age 47. “I believed I made all of the right choices many years ago to improve my heart health and I felt healthy. I walk daily, take an aspirin, keep my blood pressure and cholesterol under control and I quit smoking,” says Knauss.

After a night of no sleep and aggravating pain, Knauss made an a appointment to see Dr. David Frate, a board certified family and internal medicine provider at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City. “I told him my symptoms and he did an EKG,” remembers Knauss. An EKG (electrocardiogram) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. Moments later, she was taken by ambulance to the cardiac catheterization lab at Unity Point Health Fort Dodge where physicians with Iowa Heart Center performed surgery to put three stents in Knauss. “I had mild damage to my heart due to the heart attack. I had 100% blockage in one artery and 70% in another,” says Knauss. “I can not stress the importance of knowing your body. It is essential to understand when something is just not right and reporting this to your health care provider.  Kathy saved her own life by doing this,” notes Dr. Frate.

After recovering from surgery, Knauss returned to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital for Cardiac Rehab. “It’s a real benefit to me as a patient to have cardiac rehab services close to home. The nurses, Bev Watters and Megan Huster, eased my fears about being able to be active again.” Knauss completed cardiac rehab in October and is now working on staying healthy. “I’ve worked my way back to being active, and I now watch my sodium intake as well. What I learned from this is that we should all be aware of changes and listen to our body. Don’t delay getting treatment; it could save your life.” Dr. Frate couldn’t agree more. “I am so happy for Kathy and her family that she is doing so well after her coronary intervention. Prevention is the key for Coronary Artery Disease.  Talk to your healthcare provider on healthy lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications, exercise and smoking cessation,” says Dr. Frate.

With a healthy outlook on life, Knauss is looking forward to two things this spring: golf and celebrating her 60th birthday. “I got a second chance in life, it’s worth celebrating!”

The Daisy Award for an Extraordinary Nurse at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

February 17th, 2014

Daisy Award nominees were honored at a luncheon at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. They were: Shelly Weston, Shelly Hammen, Toni Pfrimmer, Ricole Kraft, Kathy Holm, Jess Drees, Carmen Ludwig, Megan Huster, Jenni Macke, Kathy Collins, Deb Legore, Sue Janssen, Cindy Blair and Brenda Korleski. Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Daisy Award: Jess Drees and Brenda Korleski!

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will present the Daisy Award to an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond providing excellent every day care to patients and families.  Award recipients are nominated by peers, physicians, patients, and families and other staff.  Nurses eligible for nomination include those working at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital as well as nurses in the clinic setting.  Nomination forms are available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Business Office, Outpatient registration; all McCrary-Rost Clinics and by clicking here: Nomination form.  All nomination forms are due April 4th to Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing or Jodi Henkenius, Administrative Assistant.  Nomination forms can be mailed to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital * Attn: Cindy Carstens * 1301 West Main St * Lake City, IA * 51449.

The Road to Recovery is Team Effort at SMCH

February 13th, 2014

Steve Shipley (center on treadmill) is pictured with the team that helped his recovery after a heart attack in 2013: (from left) Megan Snyder, PharmD, Marti Huser, RPh, Casey Wetter, RD, LD, Michelle Shaver, LISW, Megan Huster, RN, and Bev Watters, RN.

After suffering a heart attack last summer, Steve Shipley of Lake City discovered that making a full recovery requires a team effort. Steve’s heart attack didn’t happen like in the movies. It wasn’t sudden and intense. According to the American Heart Association, “Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Some signs that a heart attack is happening are chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, and other signs like breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness.”

An avid golfer, the 47 year old remembers the attack occurring in three distinct instances. “It happened over a couple of weeks. I felt pain – like someone pressing a knuckle hard into my back between my shoulder blades. The first time was after doing some physical activity. I thought I’d pulled a muscle. A couple weeks later I was walking and felt the same pain. The third time I felt it I was lying on the couch.” When Steve attended his daughter Lauren’s swim meet he didn’t feel well and felt something was wrong. Later that night he woke up with severe pain and tingling in his jaw. The next morning Steve went to work as a customer care representative at Culligan and made an appointment to see his medical provider.

At his appointment, his doctor drew blood to check stress on his heart. When the results came back, Steve was taken to the emergency room and then taken by ambulance to a heart center in Des Moines. Surgery was performed, inserting a stent into his right coronary artery which was 100% blocked. After his medication was regulated, Steve was released, but his recovery was just beginning.

“I was given some options about where I could do Cardiac Rehab,” recalls Steve. “I chose Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab department, mainly because of the convenience. I live in Lake City, so I knew it would be easy to get to my appointments.”

The staff at SMCH helped Steve set goals for his physical activity. “They understood that at my age I could afford to be more aggressive. I wanted to push the exercise and they helped me gauge the amount of physical activity I could handle without concern.”

In addition to helping Steve reach his exercise goals, the Cardiac Rehab staff set up consulting sessions with nutritionist Casey Wetter, pharmacist Marti Huser, RPh, and social worker Michelle Shaver. Megan Huster, R.N. explains, “Cardiac Rehab is a team effort. Getting a patient healthy involves not only addressing the immediate cause of the heart attack, but encompasses all aspects of a patient’s well-being. The nutritionist discusses what types of foods to eat or avoid, how often to eat, and provides recipes. The pharmacist provides the patient with information about the medicines he’s taking. Because of the life-changing event, we have the patient talk to our social worker. ”

After completing Cardiac Rehab, Steve, his wife Kerri and daughter Lauren, have made lifestyle changes. “We don’t eat out as much as we used to. We make healthier choices and plan meals more. I exercise more, mostly walking and running outside when possible, and I include some weight training in my program.”

“Looking back, I chose SMCH because of its convenient location. But after experiencing the program and witnessing how much the staff really care about their patients, I would choose SMCH based on their reputation for excellent patient care,” commends Steve.

Trivia Night Fundraiser for Patient Equipment a Success

February 12th, 2014

Front row (l-r) : Marylyn Gillespie, Donetta Stewart, Sally Winter and Judy Panning.
Back row (l-r): John Olson, Kim Olson, Daryl Winter, and John Panning.

Knowing the answer to how many flowers are on an Oreo cookie and how many shapes are in the Animal Crackers cookie zoo brought home a victory for the winning team at the inaugural Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Auxiliary Trivia Night. With three rounds of ten questions each, the team of Marylyn Gillespie, Donetta Stewart, Sally and Daryl Winter, John and Kim Olson, and John and Judy Panning earned the highest number of points and bragging rights as the first team to win Trivia Night. “The event was put together in hopes of raising money for a good cause while having a little fun testing people’s knowledge,” remarks Mary Ludwig, director of marketing and development at SMCH. Twenty-four teams competed in the event which was held at Opportunity Living in Lake City on February 8th. Brad “Big Daddy” Addison of Lake City served as the Quiz Master and added humor to the night’s festivities.

In addition to trivia, teams participated in two games; “Dead or Alive” and “Heads or Tails.” The winners of those two games were Marie Schwarm of Lake City and Jenny Stock of Lake View. Teams could also earn points by decorating their tables, dressing alike, and singing Karaoke. Organizers of the event, SMCH Auxiliary Members Jan Dougherty, Marci Duncan, Mary Ludwig, Virginia Sheffield, Mary Sporleder and Lee Vogt were pleased to see a lot of team spirit. “Many teams arrived dressed in costume including the Blues Brothers, Hillbillies, Iowa Hawkeye Fans, an Olympic team, Corn Heads, and TV characters from the shows Duck Dynasty and Bones,” says Ludwig.

The combination of ticket sales, a live auction of donated items, and sponsors helped the hospital raise over $21,000. “We are very appreciative of everyone that participated, contributed with a donation or sponsored the event. Their generosity directly improves the quality of care we are able to give patients at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. As a private, not-for-profit hospital, every donation makes a difference,” says Ludwig. 2014 sponsors include the estate of Dorothy Brown, Johnson Financial Strategies Group/ Wells Fargo Advisors, Iowa Savings Bank, Mid Iowa Insurance, Shady Oaks Care Center, Bruning Oil Company, Carroll Broadcasting, Casey’s, Family First Dental, Lightner Farms, NEW Cooperative, Macke Motors, Alliance Realty of Rockwell City, SMCH administration, Marjorie Steinkamp memorial, Wellendorf ENT, Western Iowa Surgery, Auburn Feed Center, Breda Feed and Grain, Marjorie Bauman, Capri Theater, Clayton and Marilyn Corey, Virginia and Henry Sheffield in memory of Virginia Curry, Evapco, Jimmy Fergason, Gemberling Excavation, Glenda Gentry, Leah and Kelli Glasgo, Graphic Edge, Joe’s Tire and Auto, Jeff Kruse, Opportunity Living, Chuck and Linda Schmitt, Security Savings Bank and Renee Stauter.

Funds from the event will pay for two projects that will benefit patients directly. The first is a blanket warmer for the in-patient unit at SMCH.  The blanket warmer will be located near the nurse’s station so nursing staff can easily bring a warm blanket to patients. The second project is upgrading x-ray equipment in McCrary Rost Clinic in Rockwell City, Gowrie and Lake View. By installing digital x-ray technology, patients will get test results sooner. “Trivia Night was a lot of fun and proceeds from it are impacting the lives of those we serve. We are so grateful for the support and partnership we receive from the communities to which we provide health care,” says Ludwig. Photos from the event can be found on the hospital’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity

Grandparent Basics Class Offered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 28th, 2014

Are you a Grandmother (or Grandfather) that was excited to babysit your new grandbaby, but after you received your instructions from your daughter or daughter-in-law you said, “Boy, has raising a baby really changed!” Do you know what the Period of Purple Cry is? Have you read about the 2011 crib safety guidelines?

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) and Calhoun County Department of Health are holding a free class for you through their Caring Hands Closet program. The class is free and open to the public. Grandparenting Class 101 will be held on Feb 5th at 6:30pm in the Lower Level Conference Room at SMCH in Lake City.

Topics that will be addressed during the class are: feeding guidelines, prevention of Positional Plagiocephaly (tummy time), SIDS, car seat basics, immunizations, jaundice, medication safety, and advancements in disposable and cloth diapers.

This class is no charge and all grandparents, soon to be grandparents, or parents wanting the information to share with a grandparent or caregiver are welcome. For more information please contact Calhoun County Public Health at 712-297-8323.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Supports Pool Project in Gowrie

January 23rd, 2014

Pictured from left to right are Jeanette Sargent, vice president of growth at SMCH, Susan Swaroff, Samantha VanHorn, CMA, and Rochelle Guess, FNP-C, at McCrary Rost Clinic, Rhonda Gustafson, Pharm.D. at Community Pharmacy, Mindy Swieter, Gowrie Pool fundraising committtee chair, Heather Cain, CEO at SMCH, Olivia Simonson, LPN, Dr. Adam Swisher, Sheryl Sandstrom, and Tayler Rasch, RN, at McCrary Rost Clinic.

As providers of health care services, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy are supporting the Pool Project in Gowrie. Work on the pool included making the facility compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, replacing the filtration system and other piping, remodeling the bath house, and adding some small fun water features. Supporting endeavors that promote wellness initiatives, like physical activity, is something the hospital, clinic and pharmacy embraces. “At SMCH, we have formed a Community Health Needs Assessment committee and we focus on initiatives to improve employee wellness as well as wellness in the communities we serve. It’s an honor to support the Gowrie Pool Project and help encourage physical activity,” says Mary Ludwig, Director of Development and Marketing for SMCH.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Supports Pier 25 Playland Project in Lake View

January 15th, 2014

Pictured in the photo from left to right are Pier 25 Playland Project committee members Eva Thompson, Reka Bohm, Jessica Carpenter, Ronda Bohm and Tiffany Mogensen; and Community Pharmacy and McCrary Rost employees Bryan Thompson, Brenda Kropf, Mark Mogensen, P.A.-C., Vicky Higgins, Norma Wessling, and Jessica Meredith, and Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing and Development at SMCH.

As providers of health care services, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, McCrary Rost Clinic and Community Pharmacy are supporting the Pier 25 Playland Project in Lake View. The project goal is to update the playground equipment located in Lake View’s Speaker Park and encourage more physical activity among the community’s youth. Supporting endeavors that promote wellness initiatives, like physical activity, is something the hospital, clinic and pharmacy embraces. “At SMCH, we have formed a Community Health Needs Assessment committee and we focus on initiatives to improve employee wellness as well as wellness in the communities we serve. It’s an honor to support the Pier 25 Playland Project in Lake View and help encourage physical activity,” says Mary Ludwig, Director of Development and Marketing for SMCH.

Auxiliary Meeting for January 7th is Cancelled

January 6th, 2014

Due to the extreme cold, the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 7th is cancelled.

2014 New Year Baby Arrives at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 2nd, 2014

Pictured are Allison, Kelli, holding Ava Lou, Chad and Caitlin Stokes with a basket of gifts from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and its employees. Ava was the New Year Baby, born on January 1st, 2014 in Lake City.

The first baby of 2014 at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City has arrived. Ava Lou Stokes was born to parents Kelli and Chad Stokes of Lake City, IA. The New Year baby entered the world at 11:48 PM on Wednesday, January 1st, weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces and is 20.5 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Pablo Amado, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician. Ava Lou was welcomed by big sisters Caitlin, who will be 11 on January 8th, and Allison, age 9, and grandparents Lloyd and Nancy Corey and Jim and Nancy Gebhart, all of Lake City.

To celebrate the birth of the New Year baby, the family was given a basket full of gifts. Items included diapers, baby wash and baby wipes all donated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Gifts given by SMCH employees included a book and Tooth Fairy pillow from Jenni Macke, a laundry basket from Mary Ludwig, a hand crocheted baby hat from Julie Wilson, a sleeper outfit from Ashley Smith, a hand crocheted baby hat from Carmen Schamel, a teething toy and baby on board sign from Lee Vogt, a free sitting and 8×10 portrait from Sherry Lampe, a Huggable Friend from Casey Wetter, a TWIG, GRASS, socks, blanket and hair bow from Holly Wuebker, a blanket from Maurine Thieszen, and a blanket and baby wash from Sheila Remsburg. The SMCH Auxiliary donated a plush teddy bear.

 

Baby Wishes Come True for Fonda Couple

December 23rd, 2013

Pictured are (left to right) Bob and big brother Hayden Stauter, Dr. Derek Duncan, board certified family practice physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, and baby Hanna and her mom Jessica Stauter.

For two years, Bob and Jessica Stauter wished to start a family. The rural Fonda couple wished so much that after trying on their own, they began consulting with multiple physicians. Bob and Jessica tried several cycles of fertility treatments without success. A treatment cycle includes ovulation induction, cycle monitoring, triggering ovulation, and the determination of pregnancy with a blood test.

When the fertility treatments didn’t work, the Stauters decided to take a break from the highs and lows of hope and frustration. “We were trying different treatments to get pregnant, but nothing was working,” recalls Jessica. But the couple still desired to have a child of their own, so they made an appointment with Dr. Derek Duncan, a board certified family physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City. Dr. Duncan had other suggestions for the couple, including seeing a specialist in infertility in Des Moines. They opted to try artifical insemination. “After 12 to 14 weeks, Dr. Duncan determined the pregnancy was nonviable,” explains Jessica.

In spite of their disappointment, the desire to start a family was strong for the Stauters. “We took another break from the fertility treatments for a time, but then went back on. During the part of the cycle where we were on a break, we found out we were pregnant,” remembers Jessica. The mom-to-be was thrilled with the news their wish was finally coming true.

The pregnancy went well. During each check-up appointment, Dr. Duncan closely monitored Jessica and the baby. The delivery of Hayden Stauter on September 9, 2011, however, proved challenging. “I had to have an emergency cesarean section. Because of complications during delivery, Hayden had a phnemothorax (collapsed lung) and had to be transferred to a Des Moines hospital by helicopter for specialized pediatric care,” says Jessica.

At that stressful time, the Stauters credit Dr. Duncan with keeping Bob calm. “Dr. Duncan was in complete control. He moved fast when the situation required it, and he kept me informed the whole time. I felt like I knew what was going on before it happened,” says Bob. The couple also commends the surgical staff for their skills and the personal level of comfort they provided during the c-section.

“I was separated from the Hayden for five days, because I needed to stay in Lake City to recover from surgery,” notes Jessica. During that time, she says the staff was diligent about keeping her informed of newborn son’s status. “They were so emotionally tied, on a personal level, with what was happening to me and my family. I felt the whole staff really cared about us. When I was finally being discharged so I could go see my baby, Dr. Duncan himself picked my presciption up from Community Pharmacy and brought it to me!”

Hayden recovered and has grown to be a happy and healthy boy. His parents decided to give him a younger sibling. This time, they were able to get pregnant without the help of fertility medicines. After an uncomplicated c-section delivery, little sister Hanna was born on September 19, 2013. “She’s a great baby – so healthy, happy and laid-back! She was sleeping through the night at two weeks old!” claims her mother.

Follow-up care for her children has been wonderful. Jessica, who makes most of the appointments for her family, is impressed by Dr. Duncan’s staff, Andreau Kramer, LPN, and Amy Vote, CMA. “Dr. Duncan’s nurses care for our whole family. They know we have to travel to get to our appointments. They are receptive to our needs and are considerate of our time, accommodating our schedule as much as possible. We feel they are an extension of our family because they know what is needed to make our experiences in their office the best possible.”

“Wishing to start a family was a big decision. Growing our family with a second child was an even bigger one. But deciding to continue with Dr. Duncan was easy. We wouldn’t go anywhere else!” exclaims Jessica.

For more information about the Obstetric team of physicians or OB services at SMCH call 1-800-560-7500.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Employees Donate to the Food Pantry

December 17th, 2013

(l to r) – Pictured are Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees preparing to deliver food and other items to the food pantry: (left to right) Linda Rath, Bethany Morrow and Sheila Remsburg.

In an effort to provide relief for families in need, employees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital contributed non-perishable foods and household items to the Lake City food pantry.  Linda Rath, Bethany Morrow and Sheila Remsburg, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees, spearheaded this collection drive.  “It was heartwarming to see employees drop off bags and boxes of food.  The food pantry is utilized by 60-80 families per month and the pantry’s shelves needed to be stocked. This is a great way for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to give back to the community during the holiday season,” noted Rath.

Digital Mammography Receives High Marks at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

December 10th, 2013

The radiology staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital includes (left to right) Deb Dunn, Afton Daniel, Marilyn Mumm, Mary Reiter, Jennifer King and Pat Koster.

Women getting their yearly mammogram at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City can be assured they are getting a quality exam. The SMCH Radiology department recently passed their annual state inspection with flying colors. The department received a deficiency free inspection. Each year, the work of the department is scrutinized by state inspectors. The inspection involves reviewing randomly selected patient records to make sure quality work is being performed when patients get a mammogram. “They carefully review records to make sure all of the required information is in the record, and that the digital images we take are excellent,” says Mary Reiter, Director of Imaging Services. The requirements that have to be met are set by the Mammography Quality Standards Act, which was put in place in 1990 to ensure women receive quality mammograms. The staff is also required to meet certain criteria. “To earn the certification, our technologists have to complete 200 mammograms every two years, have fifteen hours of continuing education, and eight hours of training in how to operate our digital mammography machine,” says Reiter.

All of the technologists in the radiology department are also certified to perform mammograms. “My staff is certified by the MQSA to perform mammograms, which means they meet all of the requirements and guidelines required by the state of Iowa. I am very proud to offer high quality mammograms to women by well trained staff. It’s a real benefit to women in the communities we serve,” states Reiter.

All five technologists are also registered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.  The registry is not mandated, but Reiter says the additional training results in better patient care. “Our staff is highly trained in how to perform a mammogram exam, the mammogram process, and the physics of the digital mammography machine,” notes Reiter. All mammograms performed at SMCH are sent electronically to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines and ready by board certified mammography Radiologists,” says Reiter.

Digital Mammograms appointments are available each weekday at SMCH in Lake City from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm. No referral is necessary. Please call 712-464-4207 for an appointment or more information.

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Fall Edition

December 2nd, 2013

To view the Fall Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

Fall 2013

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Wins Studer Group’s Excellence in Patient Care Awards

November 14th, 2013

Pictured are SMCH staff members who accepted the Excellence in Patient Care award at the Studer Group’s What’s Right in Health Care conference: (left to right) Quint Studer, founder of the Studer Group, Dr. David Frate, Deb Legore, RN, ER/Trauma Director, Shelly Weston, RN, Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director, Kari Jones, RN, Director of Nursing, Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, Bill Albright, Vice President of Human Resources, Jan Knickerbocker, RN, Studer coach, and B.G. Porter, President, Studer Group.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has been chosen to receive two Excellence in Patient Care awards. The double honor is being given by the nationally recognized outcomes firm Studer Group®. The Lake City hospital earned the awards based on patient satisfaction surveys filled out by patients that received care at the hospital.

The first award recognizes the Emergency Department at SMCH. According to survey results, patients ranked their care in the Emergency Department a 9 or 10, meaning they received outstanding care. The award is also based on achievement, improvement and overall outstanding performance. The accomplishment is based on comparing results from the fourth quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2011 to same time period in 2011 and 2012.

The second award is for an “overall rating” of patient care at the hospital. This means patients gave the hospital a rank of 9 or 10 on their patient satisfaction survey after receiving care at SMCH.  The Overall Achievement award is based on scores given by patients from the third quarter of 2011 through the second quarter of 2012. “This recognition is a true validation of the hard work all of the employees at SMCH do to provide quality care with compassion to the patients we serve, which is the mission of the organization. Every department in the hospital played a key role in the patient perception of care they received, whether it is from the cleanliness of the hospital or the communication of key information provided by the care givers. The achievement of being recognized in two areas is a result of the team effort that is displayed daily by our employees,” says Cindy Carstens, interim CEO and vice president of nursing and ancillary services.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s outstanding results in both categories ranked them among the highest from a database of over 850 organizations coached by Studer Group. Jan Knickerbocker, Studer Group Coach, recognizes the SMCH Senior Leadership’s vision and focus as the driver for the employees’ success in caring for their community with the highest quality.  The hospital was presented with the award at the 11th annual What’s Right in Health Care® conference on October 21.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Offers Education Program on Diabetes

November 6th, 2013

Diabetes educators at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Maurine Thieszen, RD, LD, CDE (left) and Megan Huster, RN, (right) will be offering an educational program and risk assessment on Tuesday, November 19th at 5:00 pm in the hospital’s Conference Center.

Diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, is a disease that affects 8.3% of the population of the United States. While 18.8 million people are diagnosed as having the disease, 7 million are undiagnosed. In addition, 79 million people are prediabetic, which means “blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.”

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. In Type 2 diabetes, there is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly.

Diabetes educator, Maurine Thieszen, RD, LD, CDE, describes those who are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, “You are at risk for getting diabetes if you have someone in your family with diabetes, weigh too much, do not get enough physical activity, or are Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska native, African American, Asian American or Pacific islander.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is offering an educational program and risk assessment to the public on Tuesday, November 19th at 5:00 pm in the Conference Center. Light refreshments will be offered.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Navigate Your Numbers and What is a Health Coach?

November 6th, 2013

Speaking at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s “Lunch Connection,” Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, encourages attendees to know their numbers for cholesterol, glucose, waist circumference, BMI, and blood pressure.

Kristy Vogel, RN, describes how a health coach can help patients by offering one-on-one, personalized support.

Over fifty people gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) to attend the November “Lunch Connection” event. The program featured two speakers on “Navigate Your Numbers” and “What is a Health Coach?”

Kari Swisher, Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), began the program by explaining what lab wellness numbers mean to the patient. She described cholesterol and ways to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body. She also discussed ways to reduce blood pressure and how to watch for the warning signs of diabetes. She encouraged the audience to begin healthy diets, increase exercise, and get yearly physicals.

Kristy Vogel, registered nurse and Health Coach at SMCH and McCrary Rost Clinics, spoke about the Health Coach program that was initiated this year. She introduced the five health coaches on staff. Kristy described the goal of the program as helping the patient navigate the health care system and to help the patient manage his own health care and to act on his behalf.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held in March 2014.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Earns Top Work Places 2013 Award

November 6th, 2013

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital earned a spot on the Des Moines Register’s Top Work Places list in 2013. Pictured are representatives of many of the departments at SMCH who find satisfaction in their jobs and provide excellent patient care.

The goal and desire of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is to be the best place for patients to receive care, the best place for employees to work, and the best place for physicians to practice. The effort SMCH has put forth to accomplish that goal is now recognized. For the second time in three years, the Lake City hospital has earned a spot on the Des Moines Register Top Work Places list.

The award is a result of surveys filled out by hospital employees which included comments such as, “At SMCH, what is found most meaningful about working at the organization is getting to practice my chosen profession in a supportive environment,” and “…while working as a team to provide the best patient care we can.” The 2013 list of Top Work Places was published in the Des Moines Register in September. “From the survey many positive comments were made regarding why our employees love their jobs. These comments came from new employees as well as those who have been here many years. Ranking in the top 20 for mid-size employers in Iowa is a great achievement,” says Cindy Carstens, interim Chief Executive Officer.

This is the third year the Des Moines Register has identified top work places in Iowa. They collaborate with Workplace Dynamics to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Companies were either contacted by Workplace Dynamics to participate in the survey process or nominated to participate by an employee. To be eligible to compete for the award, a certain percentage of employees need to respond to the survey. “The response rate of our employees was well over the required 40%. We achieved a 70% response rate and we are very pleased with that,” says Bill Albright, vice president of Human Resources.

The survey asked employees to rate statements that have a high correlation to how they feel about their workplace on a seven-point scale. The statements address fair pay, feeling genuinely appreciated, and how well their manager listens to them. “A key to an organization’s success is its ability to adapt to a changing external environment. As it gets tougher and tougher to respond to those changes, employees are key assets and play an important role in our success. Without our employees we would not be able to adapt to the changes healthcare is experiencing and provide the quality care we do at SMCH,” notes Carstens. Survey comments from employees reflect that sentiment, “As a team we are constantly improving our services and how we respond to our patients. Senior managers at SMCH are futuristic and appreciate the value of good employees. SMCH is ahead of the pack, not in the middle or the end when keeping up on new laws and regulations.”

The pursuit of excellence not only positively effects employee satisfaction, but patient care as well. “Satisfied employees do a better job of taking care of patients, and we want our employees to know they are valued here,” Albright says. Low employee turnover reflects the job satisfaction many employees find at SMCH. “Of our 270 full and part-time employees, more than 20 have over 30 years of service and 58 employees have more than 20 years of service at SMCH,” notes Albright.

“I am grateful to all of our SMCH employees for their service to our mission. Their genuine passion to give outstanding care to our patients and positive attitude is what makes SMCH an amazing place,” says Carstens. “It is an immense honor to be a part of this team and help create a wonderful place for employees to fulfill their passion of taking care of others”.

Mammogram Saves Life of Lake View Resident

October 29th, 2013

Mary Reiter, Radiology department manager at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, and Mona Pugh, two-time cancer survivor, stand next to the mammography machine that helped detect a life-threatening lump in Mona’s breast in 2000.

The importance of scheduling a routine mammogram every year after a woman’s fortieth birthday took on new significance to Lake View resident Mona Pugh in 2000. “I had been having mammograms regularly. That year I received a call from the radiology department to let me know the exam found a suspicious pea-sized mass close to the chest wall in my left breast. A self breast exam wouldn’t have detected it.” Soon after the mammogram, a biopsy determined the mass was cancerous.

Together with her husband of 56 years, Kenneth, and their four children, Mona decided to have a mastectomy. Dr. Yotin Keonin performed the surgery and successfully removed the cancer. No radiation therapy or chemotherapy was required.

Mona spoke about the great amount of support she received at the time, most notably from her husband Kenneth and the rest of her family. However, she pointed out that being told you have cancer isn’t like it is on TV, cold and clinical. “Everyone was supportive. Shortly after my surgery, two women came to my room and spoke with me about breast cancer support.”

She credits her faith with helping her through that difficult time, “You need your faith. I knew God was there and He took care of it.”

During a self breast exam in 2008, Mona detected another lump, which when removed, was found to be cancerous as well. She then opted for radiation. Her advice is: “Check your body. Know when differences occur. Don’t wait to get yourself checked.”

Digital mammograms are done Monday through Friday and no referral is necessary. Simply call 712-464-4207 to make an appointment. Extended hours are offered for convenient appointment times from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm each weekday.

Knowledge and Health Screenings are Key to Cancer Battle

October 3rd, 2013

Surrounded by photos of family, Carol Dickkut recalls her year of battling ovarian cancer.

Carol Dickkut had plans for retirement. After 22 years of teaching middle school science, she was eager to be able to sleep in every morning, take care of her home, iron her husband’s shirts, and read as much and as long as she wanted. She couldn’t wait to be able to spend more time with her grandchildren, who she says are her main hobby.

She’d had some health issues in the past, but nothing she thought that would interfere with her future. In 1984, when Carol was 35 years old, she found a lump in her breast. A biopsy revealed the lump was cancerous. A mastectomy was done, removing one of her breasts. Reconstruction surgery occurred a year later and she was able to move on with her life, without requiring chemotherapy.

Carol and her husband Bob, who met at the University of Iowa while each was pursuing a degree in physical therapy, married and had two children, Chad and Brooke. When Bob began working as a physical therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), Carol found work at the local nursing home before going back to college to get her teaching degree. Their children grew up and had children of their own – Chad had two daughters and Brooke had a daughter and son, who are Carol’s darlings.

When her daughter Brooke went to see her health care provider in Des Moines last August, she was asked about her family’s health history. When she revealed her mother Carol’s experience with breast cancer at 35, Brooke was informed that her mother might be at risk for having a predisposition to cancer which can be passed from generation to generation. Brooke was encouraged to contact Carol about being genetically tested. The testing is known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing.

The National Cancer Institute explains, “BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA and, therefore, play a role in ensuring the stability of the cell’s genetic material. When either of these genes is mutated, DNA damage may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer. Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer. Several different tests are available, including tests that look for a known mutation in one of the genes (i.e., a mutation that has already been identified in another family member) and tests that check for all possible mutations in both genes. DNA (from a blood or saliva sample) is needed for mutation testing. The sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.”

Compelled to take action with this new information, Carol began researching the testing. She combed the internet for information and found a provider in Des Moines who specializes in BRCA testing and counseling. She decided to proceed. When she received the results, she discovered that she was positive for the gene mutation. In other words, she was at high risk for ovarian cancer and additional breast cancer. Carol alerted all of her family members who were at risk for the gene mutation and encouraged them to be tested.  At least six of those relatives were also positive for the BRCA 1 gene.

As a preventative measure, with no indications of problems, Carol opted to have her ovaries removed in September 2012. After microscopic testing of the removed organs, it was revealed that she had stage 2 ovarian cancer. After the surgery, Carol’s oncologist, Dr. Dan Buroker, started chemotherapy  which was mostly conducted at SMCH. Together, they decided on an aggressive treatment plan in which Carol would receive weekly infusions. “I remember going to my first appointment with Dr. Buroker. I brought in photos of my four grandchildren. I told him that these were the reasons I had for prolonging my life. Being able to watch these four people grow up were what I had to live for,” recalls Carol.

Because her doctor was confident in her recovery, Carol again decided to be proactive. Knowing that because of her first episode of breast cancer she had a 50% chance of cancer in her other breast, she opted to have a second mastectomy in August 2013. She will finish with reconstruction in December of this year. Her future is promising, “In my partnership with Dr. Buroker, we have a watch and wait attitude. I will have periodic CT scans and blood work every three months,” says Carol, running fingers through hair that’s grown back curlier than before.

Though her past year has been challenging, Carol’s message is clear, “Take ownership of your own health. Be proactive and educate yourself. Knowledge is power. Push for tests and treatments. Know your family history. Talk with your provider and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” she pauses as she looks at a piece of cherished artwork from a young granddaughter taped to the wall. “Losing your hair is nothing. It’s not important. Life is what’s important. See joy in every little thing. Be grateful.”

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013 over 39,000 women will die from breast cancer – the second leading cause of death in women. However, since 1989 death rates have been declining, believed to be the result of earlier detection through screenings, such as digital mammograms, and improved treatment. “The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms. Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis (outlook) of a woman with this disease.” It is recommended that women over the age of 40 have a mammogram each year.

For more information about the digital mammography services available at SMCH, call the Radiology department at 712-464-4207.

Comfort for Babies and Parents is Focus for SMCH

October 3rd, 2013

Jenni Macke, obstetrics nurse at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, checks Graysen Mark’s weight in the new Panda Warmer purchased by the SMCH Auxiliary, as his parents, Alissa and Corey Blair look on.

When Alissa and Corey Blair of Lake City began planning for their third child, little did they know that Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s (SMCH) obstetrics team and auxiliary  were planning for his arrival as well. In 2012 the hospital identified a need for new technology in the OB department, namely a Panda Warmer that would replace an existing, outdated baby warmer.

The Panda Warmer features an integrated system that is less invasive for newborns. The system includes integrated resuscitation, heart rate monitors, oxygen saturation monitors, a weight scale, and a heat profile that keeps babies warm, but medical staff cool as the baby is checked over for the first time after delivery. Graysen Mark Blair, born on September 16, 2013, was the first baby to utilize the Panda Warmer.

The hospital’s auxiliary took on the challenge of raising $15,000 to purchase the warmer by contributing monies raised in 2013 from the SMCH Gift Shoppe’s sales, bake sales, uniform sales, and from their annual Red Dress event. “With the support of donors, families delivering their baby at SMCH will receive outstanding care,” says Mary Ludwig, Director of Development, Marketing and Volunteers. “While every parent dreams of a smooth labor and delivery, complications can happen. With a Panda Warmer, our medical staff is able to give newborns the care they need while maintaining a family centered environment in the labor and delivery room.”

The Blairs, who are parents to Autumn, 3, and Caidah, 1-1/2, were very pleased with the prenatal care they received from Dr. Susan Hornback and the rest of the obstetrics staff. “They were very proactive about the needs of the parents and the babies in their care, often anticipating what I needed. They explained every process along the way. We did cord blood banking, which is the process of preserving blood from the umbilical cord and placenta after birth to be used for stem cell transplants, and the staff researched it really well and knew exactly what to do,” remarks Alissa. “After Graysen was born it felt like he had four extra mothers (in the nursing staff) taking care of him so I could rest.”

The new mother of three raved about her stay in the hospital, “The birthing suites are amazing! There are amenities available that you didn’t even think you’d need, including a jacuzzi tub! My comfort was key. I felt well taken care of. The dietary department was awesome as well! They were very accommodating and the food was great!”

“We chose to come to SMCH, not only because it’s close to home, but because it has an outstanding reputation for care. Corey and I were both born at SMCH as well, so it’s even more special to us to deliver our child there. The Panda Warmer was impressive. It’s wonderful to have technology available here that you might expect to see in a city hospital. SMCH really cares about its parents and babies!” enthuses Alissa.

For more information about the Obstetric team of physicians or OB services at SMCH call 1-800-560-7500.

Mammogram Saves Life of Lake View Resident

October 1st, 2013

Mary Reiter, Radiology department manager at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, and Mona Pugh, two-time cancer survivor, stand next to the mammography machine that helped detect a life-threatening lump in Mona’s breast in 2000.

The importance of scheduling a routine mammogram every year after a woman’s fortieth birthday took on new significance to Lake View resident Mona Pugh in 2000. “I had been having mammograms regularly. That year I received a call from the radiology department to let me know the exam found a suspicious pea-sized mass close to the chest wall in my left breast. A self breast exam wouldn’t have detected it.” Soon after the mammogram, a biopsy determined the mass was cancerous.

Together with her husband of 56 years, Kenneth, and their four children, Mona decided to have a mastectomy. Dr. Yotin Keonin performed the surgery and successfully removed the cancer. No radiation therapy or chemotherapy was required.

Mona spoke about the great amount of support she received at the time, most notably from her husband Kenneth and the rest of her family. However, she pointed out that being told you have cancer isn’t like it is on TV, cold and clinical. “Everyone was supportive. Shortly after my surgery, two women came to my room and spoke with me about breast cancer support.”

She credits her faith with helping her through that difficult time, “You need your faith. I knew God was there and He took care of it.”

During a self breast exam in 2008, Mona detected another lump, which when removed, was found to be cancerous as well. She then opted for radiation. Her advice is: “Check your body. Know when differences occur. Don’t wait to get yourself checked.”

Digital mammograms are done Monday through Friday and no referral is necessary. Simply call 712-464-4207 to make an appointment. Extended hours are offered for convenient appointment times from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm each weekday.

Jefferson Couple Discovers First Class OB Care at SMCH

September 16th, 2013

Pictured are big sister Paisley, Dax, baby Stella and Nicole Lautner with Dr. Adam Swisher who provided excellent care to the family before, during and after Stella’s delivery.

When Dax Lautner made an appointment with Dr. Adam Swisher at the McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie, he didn’t imagine the Dr. Swisher would be the physician that brought his daughter into the world. “At the time, I needed a physician that could help me get my cholesterol under control,” recalls Dax, a farmer in Jefferson. Over the course of his medical appointments, Dax says he really got to know Dr. Swisher. “Like a lot of guys my age, I’m not a big fan of going to the doctor, but Dr. Swisher has changed that. He’s down to earth and easy to talk to,” notes Dax.

When Dax and his wife Nicole discovered they were expecting their second child, Dax recommended they go to Dr. Swisher for their care. “It’s not typical for Dax to make the call on who we go to,” jokes Nicole who owns and operates the Xpressions salon in Gowrie. “But he was convinced that Dr. Swisher was the right choice for us,” says Nicole.

As her pregnancy progressed, Nicole saw Dr. Swisher, a board-certified family practice and obstetric physician, at the Gowrie McCrary Rost Clinic. “It was very convenient to have my care here and the staff is excellent,” notes Nicole. For the most part, Nicole’s pregnancy was routine. “There was only one time when I had a scare. I was not feeling well and was afraid I would become dehydrated. Dr. Swisher made time to see me that same day and thoroughly evaluate my symptoms. Two days later, he called me at home to make sure I was doing okay. It was a nice surprise and really confirmed the reason’s why we chose Dr. Swisher,” states Nicole. “In healthcare, and OB, it is important to have a personalized relationship with your patients. The job of the physician goes beyond the clinic and hospital.  Though healthcare is becoming less personalized we pride ourselves on patient focused care encompassing all facets of health,” noted Dr. Swisher, who has practiced in Gowrie for over two years now along with Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, and Rochelle Guess, FNP-C.

Just after the 4th of July, Dax and Nicole welcomed their new baby girl. Stella Frances was born weighing 6lbs, 9oz and was 18 inches long. She joins big sister Paisley, 4. “My labor and delivery at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital went really well. I especially liked having the option to get a continuous epidural to keep me comfortable and control my pain,” recalls Nicole. “A continuous epidural is the administration of medication through a catheter that is placed in the epidural space and attached to a pump that gives a regulated dose of medication at a scheduled interval. By using a continuous epidural, there is better pain control during the labor process.  Pregnancy, and especially labor, is a difficult time in a woman’s life.  We want to make this a positive experience in all facets.  The continuous epidural is a new resource we now have available as an option for laboring mothers at Stewart Memorial to help make their experience the best possible,” says Dr. Swisher.

Besides controlled pain, Nicole says there were other perks. “My favorite part about the Lake City hospital is all of the pampering. I am usually the one pampering other people in my salon, so it was nice to get the royal treatment,” beams Nicole. SMCH offers many amenities to laboring mothers like spacious labor and delivery suites, whirlpool tubs, room-service dining, and personalized care and attention. “By going to SMCH, I feel like we had it all. We like the friendliness of a small community without sacrificing anything. We benefited from the modern technology, skilled medical staff and one-on-one attention. We really can’t ask for anything more,” reflects Nicole. “If I could get this same pampering at home everyday, life would be amazing!” jokes Nicole.

While Dax isn’t committing to room service meals or a new whirlpool tub at home for his growing family of girls, he says they have become loyal fans of Dr. Swisher. “When you get the kind of care we have experienced, there’s no reason to waiver. We are really satisfied with the care we receive,” states Dax

New CEO Announced for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

September 10th, 2013

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Board of Directors announces Heather Cain as Chief Executive Officer. Cain brings more than 15 years of experience to the Lake City hospital with strengths in strategic leadership, business development and project management. Chuck Schmitt, chairman of the board, says Cain is an excellent fit for SMCH. “Her depth of knowledge of rural health care markets, executive leadership, and focus on providing first-class patient care parallels the focus of our hospital,” comments Schmitt.

In her current role as a critical access hospital Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Cain improved the hospital’s consumer and physician satisfaction scores and reduced expenses. She also served in a key role during a $3.5 million dollar construction project renovating the hospital’s outpatient areas. Other notable career accomplishments include creating a new revenue stream by adding orthopaedic services, implementing electronic health record, and leading Rural Health Clinic Medicare certification. “My background is in the areas of expanding and improving patient care, financial management, and building growth. I am also passionate about creating and sustaining a great place for employees to work. SMCH has a solid reputation and firm foundation to build upon. I am looking forward to joining the team that has made SMCH successful,” says Cain.

Sue Thompson, President and CEO, UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge shared, “We are delighted to add Heather to our regional health care leadership team. As we continue to look at ways to better coordinate patient care while ensuring the long-term viability of health care in our region, we couldn’t be happier to have Heather and Stewart Memorial as a part of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge team.”

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Cain is the recipient of the Iowa Hospital Association Young Executive Achievement Award (October 2010). She is also a member of the Iowa Hospital Association Council for Health Information, Heath Care Financial Management Association and the Medical Group Management Association. Her background includes several community volunteer positions as well, including the Albia Chamber of Commerce, PEO and Rotary.

Cain will join SMCH following 16 years as CFO and Chief Information Officer with Monroe County Hospital and Clinics in Albia, IA. She also spent two years as a senior auditor for Coopers and Lybrand in Minneapolis, MN. She earned her bachelors of business administration (BBA) degree in accounting from the University of Iowa and is currently pursuing her Masters in Healthcare Administration through Des Moines University.

Cain will begin her role as CEO at SMCH on January 6. Heather will be relocating from rural Albia to the Lake City area.  Heather has two children, 10-year-old daughter, Emily and 7-year-old son, Jay.

New Knee Eases Harvest for Farmer

August 22nd, 2013

Bill Williams considers himself lucky after surviving two farm accidents and a cancer scare. With getting a new knee at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Bill’s luck continues.

Bill Williams might just be the luckiest guy around. In his 81 years, he has survived two farm accidents and a cancer scare. The Calhoun County farmer, who is also a veteran, was born and raised in Lake City where he lives today. “My wife Pat and I moved off the farm about twenty years ago, but I still help on the farm most days,” says Bill who now looks to his son Scott to oversee the day-to-day farm operations.

Over the years, farm life has had its up and downs, including two farm accidents. “The first accident left me with a crushed hip,” recalls Bill. “It was Valentines Day and a pallet of beans fell on me,” notes Bill who had his hip repaired at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH). After recovery and physical therapy, Bill was back in the tractor seat in time for spring planting that year. The second farm accident left him with a crushed ankle. “A tractor backed over my foot,” he explains. Bill again relied on the expert surgical team at SMCH to get him back up and running. “I considered myself lucky and I’m thankful for the great care at SMCH. They’ve kept me going,” he notes.

After surviving a heart attack and a colon cancer scare at the age of 65, Bill didn’t know if he had used up all of his luck. “But I got lucky again!” grins Bill. When his knee pain wouldn’t go away, he knew surgery was the answer. “I’ve had a little knee ache for many years, but I’ve always gotten by with an occasional cortisone shot to reduce the pain,” states Bill. After putting the surgery off for a few years, Bill knew it was time to take action. “I made up my mind to get it done and made the call to SMCH. It was easy to schedule and I got it done when it was most convenient for me.”

To prepare Bill for the surgery, he attended the SMCH Joint Camp. “The camp is designed to give patients a time to learn about the procedure they will have, meet our surgery staff, ask questions, fill out the necessary forms, and become acquainted with other staff that will take care of them following their surgery. For example, the physical therapy department and home care department is part of our joint camp,” says Bonnie Herrin, Surgical Services Director at SMCH.  Despite Bill’s past number of surgeries, he says he learned a lot at the camp. “Preparing for the knee surgery was different than my other procedures at SMCH because it wasn’t an emergency. It was nice to go through the camp and learn things that I needed to know,” recalls Bill.

In June, with most of the crop in the field, Bill arrived at SMCH for his new knee. “We now use OrthoAlign ® which assists with achieving a great fit for a new knee”, says Herrin. His procedure went smoothly. “Dr. Thomas Dulaney performed the surgery and it went just as planned,” notes Bill. Following the surgery, Bill spent a week at SMCH on skilled care. Skilled care is a program offered at SMCH for patients that need extended care following a surgery or major illness. “The time went by quickly and I was well taken care of,” he recalls.

Eight weeks later, Bill is back in the tractor, but not pushing his luck too hard. “I am following doctor’s orders. I am careful about how much weight I lift and I keep up on my strength building exercises.” And with any luck, Bill says he will be running full steam, pain free, when harvest arrives this fall.

Hospital Employees Help Kids Back to School

August 22nd, 2013

SSC Elementary Principal Nicole McChesney accepts a donation of school supplies from the employees of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. This is the third year Laboratory Director Patrick Sampson has coordinated the school supply drive.

The cost of getting your child ready to go back to school can add up in a hurry. From gym shoes to backpacks and activity fees to lunch money, it’s easy to spend a considerable amount of money. To help families not able to afford their child’s back to school items, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees collected backpacks full of school supplies. Laboratory Director Patrick Sampson, who coordinated the drive, says hospital employees were very generous. “Our employees gave 15 full backpacks with many additional supplies,” says Sampson. The backpacks were donated to the South Central Calhoun school district. School officials then distributed the supplies. “The donation is a real relief to many families and they are very appreciative of the hospital employees’ generosity,” says Nicole McChesney, SCC Elementary Principal. In addition to giving school supplies, money was donated to purchase Titan apparel. “We have specific days when students are encouraged to wear Titan colors and we are grateful to have donated clothing to give to children that simply can’t afford extras,” notes McChesney. This is the third year SMCH employees have donated school supplies to the school district.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Provides Community Benefit

August 14th, 2013

Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services and Interim CEO

Over 200,000 in Uncompensated Care and Health Care Services Given Annually

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) provides $329,951 in community benefits to Calhoun County and the surrounding area, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services.  That amount, based on 2012 figures, includes $202,561 in uncompensated care and $127, 390 in free or discounted community benefits that SMCH specifically implemented to help Calhoun County residents.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care.  Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

The results for SMCH are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2012 valued at nearly $1.6 billion, including more than $641 million in charity care.  All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.

“Upon completion of our Community Needs Assessment our community benefit programs focus on promoting healthy behaviors in adults, children and individuals with chronic disease,” says Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services and Interim CEO.  Carstens goes on to say “As our Community Health Mission Statement states; SMCH is committed to building a wellness culture through educational opportunities, wellness activities, and support for self-improvement through healthy lifestyle choices. The goals of our programs are to decrease the risk of disease and to enhance the quality of life of our employees and our community.”  Carstens says this is being accomplished through the hospitals partnership with Calhoun County Public Health and key programs they jointly provided to the area.

The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions.  Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.

But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is being affected as hospitals  recover from the economic downturn as well as manage huge losses inflicted upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid, totaling more than $274 million (a 5.1 percent increase over last year’s report).  More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid.  Hospitals serving small, rural communities and counties are particularly dependent on the programs. SMCH lost $661,744 to Medicaid in 2012.  More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid.

Iowa hospitals, which employ more than 70,000 people continue to implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of identified populations and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve.  By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Commonwealth Fund.

“High quality care is the focus at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Through our participation in the Partnership for Patients developed by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, our focus is on implementing quality processes that will result in healthier people and healthier communities,” notes Carstens. “Our focus is on preventing potential complications during a hospitalization and as they transition their care from one setting to another. The result we will see is a decrease in readmissions. The economic impact will result in an average decrease of healthcare costs of $11,000 to $20,000 per potential readmission.”

These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.

SMCH Encourages Healthy Eating During Library Story Hour

August 13th, 2013

Kari Swisher, Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with the Gowrie McCrary Rost Clinic, reads the book I Will Never Not Ever Not Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child during children’s story hour at the Gowrie Library.

If you have kids that are picky eaters, there is a children’s story book that might help encourage your child to eat different foods. Kari Swisher, Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with the Gowrie McCrary Rost Clinic, recently read the book during children’s story hour at the Gowrie Library. Children listening were introduced to a character in Lauren Child’s book I Will Never Not Ever Not Eat a Tomato.  The book character comes up with a way to encourage a younger sibling to eat her vegetables.

In an effort to promote wellness this summer, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has partnered with area libraries to read the book to children, talk with them about healthy nutrition choices and offer healthy snacks during story hour. After the reading, the book was donated to the Gowrie library by SMCH.

SMCH initiated a wellness program for its employees in January 2013. Events have included wellness lab drawings, highway clean-up day, and a 100-mile walking challenge. Lunch and learn programs have been held on topics like the new health coach program offered by the hospital, fad diets, Couch to 5K and a spiritual forum. SMCH hopes to encourage more community participation by welcoming the public to attend the monthly Wellness Lunch and Learn events. The next “Bring Your Own Lunch and Learn” will be Tuesday, August 20th. Linda Luhring, social worker, will present a program on stress management. The program will be offered at 11:45 pm and again at 12:15 pm in the SMCH Private Dining Room.

To learn more about the wellness program available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, please call 712-464-3171.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Joint Pain Solutions

August 6th, 2013

Speaking at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s “Lunch Connection,” Lee Hieb, orthopaedic and spine surgeon recommends to attendees to cut gluten out of their diet to improve joint pain. She also states that increasing intake of vitamin D to 10,000 mg per day will improve bone and immune systems.

Over sixty people gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) to attend the August “Lunch Connection” event. The program focused on “Knuckles, Knees & Hips – Oh Ouch!”

Lee Hieb, orthopaedic and spine surgeon at SMCH, presented the program. She described two causes for joint pain. One is trauma to the joints as a result from high impact sports. She recommends losing weight, exercise, particularly cycling and swimming are effective, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. She says a second cause of arthritis is disease. Dr. Hieb attributes gluten to be a leading cause for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and recommends a gluten-free diet to combat arthritis and other associated problems like diabetes, bowel disease and allergies. In addition to diet, Dr. Hieb advises patients to stop smoking, increase vitamin D intake to 10,000 mg per day, and begin a strength training regimen.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held on November 5 with Kari Swisher, ARNP-C, who will present “Navigate Your Numbers” and Kristin Vogel, R.N.,  who will explain “What is a Health Coach?”

5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile Registration Now Available

August 5th, 2013

5K Pumpkin Dash and Monster Mile!

Race/Walk date is Saturday, September 28th 2013 at Twin Lakes. The race begins at 9:00 a.m.

Registration for this event is now in progress.Click here for the registration form: Pumpkin Dash Registration form-remember to register by September 1st for a $5 discount!

Coach Brian Knapp from South Central Calhoun School and SMCH physical therapist Jill Birks provided informative handouts at a recent lunch and lunch program about “Couch to 5K.” The handouts contain great information for anyone who wants to begin training for this event.

Couch to 5K – Coach Knapp

Running Gear – Jill Birks

SMCH Donates Books to Area Libraries to Promote Wellness

July 24th, 2013

Children at the Lake View Public Library ask Mark Mogensen, P.A.-C. questions about healthy snack choices after listening to the story.

Jenni Macke, R.N. reads a book donated to the Lake City Public Library by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Afterward, the children were provided healthy snacks furnished by the hospital’s dietary department.

Are there certain foods that you know you don’t like? Maybe you’ve tried them and decided they weren’t to your taste. Or maybe you just didn’t like the looks of them. Children attending story hour at the Lake City, Lake View and Gowrie Public Libraries were introduced to a character in Lauren Child’s book I Will Never Not Ever Not Eat a Tomato who comes up with a way to encourage a younger sibling to eat her vegetables. Jenni Macke, R.N., Mark Mogensen P.A.-C. and Kari Jones, R.N. read the book that was donated to each library by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH). Afterward they talked to the children about healthy nutrition choices as part of a wellness program. During storytime the children were given healthy snacks to eat, prepared by SMCH.

Wellness means overall well-being. It incorporates the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Each aspect of wellness can affect overall quality of life, so it is important to consider all aspects of health.

SMCH initiated a wellness program for its employees in January 2013. The events planned for the year have included wellness lab drawings, highway clean-up day, and a 100-mile walking challenge. Lunch and learn programs have been held on topics like the new health coach program offered by the hospital, fad diets and Couch to 5K with future events planned including a spiritual forum and a stress management presentation. SMCH hopes to encourage more community participation by welcoming the public to attend the monthly Lunch and Learn events.

To learn more about the wellness program available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, please call 712-464-3171.

Concussion Testing Makes ImPACT on Athletes

July 16th, 2013

Kyler and Coach Bryan Case encourage student athletes to complete a cognitive evaluation, such as ImPACT, to provide medical providers a baseline in the event of a concussion. Dr. David Frate and Dr. Adam Swisher, physicians at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are trained in the administration and interpretation of the test.

Under the bright Friday night lights, football field goal posts glow against the dark October sky. The grass, illuminated to an unnatural green, almost hurts your eyes. The hometown crowd cheers for a victory and then takes in a collective gasp as one of the players takes a sharp hit and goes down. They applaud as the football player gets up, but his coaches and medical personnel take action when they see he’s unsteady on his feet.

On October 12, 2012, Kyler Case, son of South Central Calhoun’s football coach, Bryan Case, was playing a regular season varsity game during his junior year. During the last play of the game, the Titans were running an option play. The quarterback pitched the ball to Case who cut left, spun and was hit from behind by a linebacker on the opposing team. The opponent’s helmet knocked against the Titan running back’s helmet and neck. “I remember feeling dizzy, but I don’t really remember walking to the sideline,” recalls Kyler.

Jill Birks, the team’s athletic trainer and a physical therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH),and Coach Case noticed his son’s wobbly gait. “Initially, Kyler waved Jill off, claiming he was okay as he’s apt to do. But she tested him and said it was likely that he’d suffered a concussion,” remembers Coach Case.

A concussion is a brain injury. It occurs when the head or body experiences a bump, blow, or jolt, which causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. It changes the way the brain normally works, leading to symptoms like headaches, nausea, confusion and dizziness. An athlete who suffers a concussion does not always lose consciousness. In fact, loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10% of concussions. Once a concussion is suspected, it is recommended the athlete be evaluated within the first 2 days of the concussion if possible.

Although most athletes recover from concussion, some experience severe cognitive difficulties like short-term memory loss, problem solving and general academic problems. For this reason, it is important to watch for changes in how the child is feeling or acting for several days after a concussion.

In the United States, approximately 300,000 student athletes experience a sports-related concussion annually. Coach Case verifies concussions are common injuries in contact sports, “We see a few concussions each year, not only in football, but in basketball, volleyball and wrestling as well. In my 20 years of coaching football, I’ve seen perhaps four to five instances of major concussions, with somewhat less serious injuries occurring every season.”

Because of the seriousness of such injuries, the Iowa Legislature passed a law in 2011 protecting students in grades 7-12 who participate in extracurricular interscholastic activities. The law states, “A child must be immediately removed from participation (practice or competition) if his/her coach or a contest official observes signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or brain injury.” The law also states the injuries must be evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and other brain injuries. Written clearance from the licensed healthcare provider before returning to the activity is also required.

Cognitive evaluation is performed using the ImPACT testing. The ImPACT test is an additional assessment tool in the comprehensive evaluation of concussions. The ImPACT test allows the physician to analyze how the brain is functioning compared to their baseline.  This individualizes the test to each athlete. Dr. David Frate and Dr. Adam Swisher, SMCH/McCrary Rost physicians, are trained in the administration and interpretation of the ImPACT test which is a computerized neurocognitive assessment tool.

Evaluating a patient who may have suffered a brain injury is aided by a baseline ImPACT test. The computerized test, which measures memory and reaction time, is offered by SMCH, free of charge to students in grades 6-12.  In the last two years, area schools participated in the program, and over 500 students were tested. “In 2011 SMCH purchased 300 tests. The next year, Calhoun County Public Health covered the cost of concussion education and testing for students using the Iowa Department of Public Health Love Our Kids – Child Injury Prevention Project Funds,” explains Birks who says that students are to be tested every 2 years to maintain an up-to-date baseline score.

After Kyler’s initial sideline evaluation, he was evaluated by Dr. Frate.  He underwent a comprehensive concussion evaluation. Dr. Frate analyzed Kyler’s post concussion test,which is a service patients pay for, against his baseline test. Results revealed Kyler did not have any cognitive decline after his concussion.  “As a parent, safety is the utmost concern when it comes to your child. As a coach, of course you want your athletes performing to the best of their ability. Their health is much more important than the game,” says Coach Case.

The SMCH concussion program follows a step-wise approach to return to activity, starting with symptom free at rest, and then gradually increasing activity as long as symptoms are resolved.

“We are extremely proud to offer this comprehensive evaluation and treatment for concussions. I cannot stress the importance of the initial recognition of a concussion enough. Concussion recognition, evaluation and management are instrumental in the athlete’s recovery. The goal is complete recovery of the athlete, most importantly for their academic success. Every athlete’s injury is different and so is their recovery,” states Dr. Frate.

To learn more about ImPACT testing and other services offered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, call 712-464-3171.

New Health Coach Service Offered at SMCH

July 10th, 2013

Pictured are SMCH Health Coaches Tayler Rasch, RN, Kristy Vogel, RN, and Megan Huster, RN.

Have you ever tried to lose weight, only to find the pounds creeping back on? Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure and need direction on the next steps to managing your condition? Or has a family member been diagnosed with a chronic condition like Alzheimers and, as the primary care-giver, you need answers to your many questions? At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City, we provide specially trained staff to coach you through your questions and help you make healthcare decisions.

“Our goal is to connect with patients on a personal level. We assist patients with the tools and resources they need to be successful with their health care. Sometimes it’s just making that phone call, providing support to patients, and listening to their concerns regarding their health care. A health coach helps patients establish goals and gain access to resources to help them accomplish their goals,” says Kristy Vogel, RN, one of McCrary Rost Clinic’s health coaches. Vogel, along with Tayler Rasch, RN, and Megan Huster, RN, recently completed training offered by the Iowa Chronic Care Consortium to become a Clinical Health Coach.

The new free service is available to any patient. “We help chronic care patients like those diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure, and assist patients in meeting their healthcare goals. We also help patients navigate the changing complex healthcare system,” explains Vogel.

“We saw a need to provide patient centered care and enhanced self-management support,” says Jeanette Sargent, director of clinic operations at McCrary Rost Clinc. “Helping patients successfully manage their chronic conditions is what the health coaching program is all about. The training our nurses received helped them build their coaching skills and be able to communicate with patients more effectively.”

To learn more about the health coaching services available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, please call Kristy Vogel at 712-464-3194, ext. 4229, Megan Huster at 712-464-4118, or Tayler Rasch at 515-352-3891.

McCrary Rost Clinic Provides Experience to Student Nurse Practitioner

July 3rd, 2013

Pictured left to right: Erin Eide is pursuing a degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. To complete her degree, she is completing a clinic rotation with Rochelle Guess, FNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie.

Students earning a degree in advanced nursing have the opportunity to learn first hand what it is like to work in medicine. This is accomplished through clinical rotations. Erin Eide of Rolland, IA is pursuing her Masters in Nursing degree through Clarkson College. Her goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner, focusing on family medicine. For one of her clinic rotations, Eide has paired up with Rochelle Guess, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie. “I am learning a lot from Ms. Guess. Her depth of knowledge and patient care abilities are skills I admire and am learning from. It’s a great opportunity to gain knowledge from her,” noted Eide.  The Webster City, IA native started her clinic rotation with Guess in June and will complete it in early August.

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Summer Edition

July 3rd, 2013

To view the Fall Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

Summer New 2013 final

SMCH Dedicates Lobby in Memory of Evert Baumann

June 24th, 2013

Members of the Evert Baumann family, community members and hospital employees gathered on Saturday, June 22nd at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City to dedicate the main hospital lobby in memory of Evert Baumann. Evert was a long-time supporter of the hospital. He served on the committee that helped raise funds for the hospital when it was built over fifty years ago and served as a board member on the SMCH Board of Directors. He was later employed by the hospital for three years, serving as the Resource Development Director.

His love for the hospital was reflected in financial plans he made designating SMCH as a beneficiary. Mr. Baumann made a gift of over $55,000 to SMCH at the time of his death through a life insurance policy. He passed away August 14, 2011 at the age of 88 at SMCH. The Baumann family selected the beautification of the hospital lobby the project to benefit from the gift. “Evert had many fond memories of the hospital and the quality of care the hospital offers. Creating a welcoming and comfortable space for family to gather in is a project he would be proud of,” notes Rich Baumann, son of Evert.

The lobby, which is now “The Evert Baumann Memorial Lobby” received a total facelift, giving the lobby a fresh, new look. “We are grateful for the generosity of Evert Baumann for making these improvements possible. Our hospital lobby is not only the first area that greets patients and hospital visitors but it is a space a patient’s family uses to gather when they have a loved one in the hospital. We appreciate the Baumann family’s generosity to create this beautiful room,” stated Mary Ludwig, Director of Development, Marketing and Volunteers. Improvements include fresh paint, new carpet, lighting fixtures, furniture, tables, and a television. Pictures of the lobby transformation can be seen on the hospitals Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity under photos.

We Honor Veterans – Lake City Community Hospice Partners with the VA Honoring Gerald Dial

June 13th, 2013

Pictured are Gerald Dial receiving his pin from his brother Barney Dial during a We Honor Veterans ceremony sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Hospice, the Veteran’s Administrations and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

A Lake City Veteran was recently honored for his service through a new partnership formed between Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Hospice, the Veteran’s Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The national program, We Honor Veterans (WHV) is designed to honor, care and educate veterans, families and friends.

One of the activities promoted by this partnership is a pinning ceremony. On Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, long-time Lake City resident and veteran of World War II, Gerald Dial, became the first to be pinned. Dial, 87, was a pilot flying 35 missions in a B17G out of Italy from September 1944 through June 1945. His family, along with SMCH staff and Legion members gathered at his home following the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Lake City Cemetery. Dial was presented with an American flag pin by his brother, Barney Dial, and Lake City mayor Gary Fahan, both long-term members of the American Legion Post 31.

The pinning ceremony was meant to publicly thank Gerald for his service to our country. “The ceremony also gave him an opportunity to share part of his story. By doing so, it is hoped that a sense of meaning and purpose is gained. Certainly all present were impacted by Gerald’s strength, grace and humor,” said Linda Luhring, Hospice social worker.

SMCH will continue to provide education to community groups, volunteers and staff in an effort to promote wider understanding of veterans’ issues and needs. In addition, the agency will continue to determine a patient’s military history in order to provide comprehensive services. The pinnings are now a standard part of services with additional ceremonies planned.

During Gerald’s pinning, Mayor Fahan expressed the gratitude of those gathered, “On behalf of us all, please accept our thanks and know your service to the nation is deeply appreciated.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Pelvic Health Solutions

June 6th, 2013

Speaking at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s “Lunch Connection,” Josh Smith, board certified general surgeon, describes how a hysterectomy performed laparscopically reduces the hospital stay and shortens recovery time.

Over forty people gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to attend the June “Lunch Connection” event. The program focused on Pelvic Health Solutions – Be Your Best.

Josh Smith, doctor of osteopathic medicine with Western Iowa Surgery, presented the program. He discussed health concerns for women, including urinary incontinence, heavy periods, and uterine fibroids, along with what can be done to treat each.  He described how the use of surgical mesh is a safe surgical option for incontinence. Additionally, he talked about ablation and hysterectomy as a common solution for women who suffer from heavy or painful periods. Dr. Smith performs many of these procedures at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in their state-of-the-art surgical center.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held on August 6th with Dr. Lee Hieb who will present “Knuckles, Knees & Hips – Oh Ouch!”

May 2013 Champions of Standards Announced

May 23rd, 2013

J Maulsby is presented the Champion of Standards award by CEO Leah Glasgo, FACHE.

J Maulsby was nominated by a co-worker who worked with J to find a solution in making a patient more comfortable. Below is what was written on J’s nomination.

“A couple of months ago we had a patient in the hospital who was trying to read her daily devotions. She said she was so weak that it was hard for her to hang onto even her light booklet and wished we had some kind of bookstand that patients could use so they wouldn’t have to hold onto them when they were like her. I told her I appreciated her suggestion and that I would begin to see what we could find that might work, other than pulling the bedside table to a place where she could place the booklet on her lap and lean it against the table. I visited with J about possibly making something for this very use. We brainstormed and then both left it at that for a few weeks, agreeing we would try to come up with some kind of inexpensive idea that we could use in the hospital. Today, J came to me after lunch and asked if I had “a minute,” that he had something he wanted to show me on the computer. J had found a device online for the very thing we were trying to decide how to make! It wasn’t priced to bad at $10.00 each, however J then went to Bethany in purchasing and found something even BETTER that was priced LOWER! He printed it off, found out from Bethany she orders from this company all the time and that there would be no shipping charge involved! He showed it to me and then took it to Jim and soon was back to let me know they had APPROVED it and they were going to order not just 2 or 3 but 5 of them for our patients! J had also visited with Shirley Naughton and found out that she approved that they would be able to be cleaned by her staff without difficulty, thus eliminating the spread of any germs between patients. Now our patients will have the option to request a “book holder” for their use while at SMCH. This will especially be vital for our chemo patients who are hospitalized.  J went above and beyond to help find this solution to a patient’s request. This is what I call TEAMWORK! Thank you J for all your assistance in making this request a reality.”

 

Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, presents Kim Kramer with the Champion of Standards award.

Kim Kramer received two nomations for Champion of Standards.

Nominations #1: “We hear all the time from our patients how great Kim is. He always goes the extra mile.  We know how busy they are in pharmacy but Kim always has time for their questions or concerns.  On several occasions Kim would open the pharmacy on weekends when a patient needed their meds.  ~ Jill Birks and Patrice Claiborne

Standards of Behavior exemplified:

Communication: Kim always makes time to answer people’s questions and concerns.

Compassion: He cares about his patients.

Efficiency: He is super busy but always makes time.

Appearance: He always looks very professional.

Customer Service: Kim always goes the extra mile.

Attitude: He is very friendly and kind to people.”

Nomination #2: A patient’s comment was passed along by Bob Dickkut to Kim and Jane Moeller nominated him.  

“The patient was talking about the fact that Dr. Pecholt wouldn’t be up in Rockwell City and how she was very discouraged about that, but she went on to say that as long as they didn’t get rid of their pharmacist it would be okay.  She just didn’t know what she would do without Kim because he was so good at explaining things and taking care of her (and others.)  She went on to say how he was out to the hospital one Sunday when Peg was working and saw her in the room (inpatient at the time) and ended up sitting and visiting with her for over an hour.

Standards of Behavior exemplified:

Compassion:  Extra step of visiting with patient in the hospital.”

 

Holly Espenhover receives the Champion of Standards award from CEO Leah Glasgo, FACHE.

Holly Espenhover was nominated by the Community Needs Wellness Team of Cindy Carstens, Kathy Collins, Casey Wetter, Maurine Thieszen, Megan Huster and Jim Henkenius. This is what they had to say about Holly, “Holly has been outstanding as we have worked toward the Wellness Program for Stewart Memorial employees.  She has researched various avenues, opportunities and resources for our group to make the wellness program successful.  She has applied and successfully obtained grant funding to assist with the Stewart Memorial Wellness project.

Her work on this project has motivated other employees to participate and she has found many great activities for them to participate in.  Her passion and excitement for this wellness program has been contagious.  She has helped our program overcome many barriers as we move forward.

Efficiency:  Always well organized and detailed.

Communication:  Has done an exceptional job planning and sharing of information through out the entire process

Customer Service:  Holly displays all of these traits not only with this  committee but with all projects she is involved in

Attitude:  Positive, bubbly, motivating.  She shows her appreciation to each member of the committee and each volunteer assisting us

Ownership and Accountability:  She owns this project and is determined to make it a success and a program we can roll out to the community and businesses.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Hosts Appreciation Dinner in Honor of EMS Week

May 23rd, 2013

Dr. David Frate, Emergency Medical Director at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, conveyed his gratitude to the group of highly trained and compassionate EMTs who attended an Appreciation Dinner held at the hospital on May 22.

Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH, thanks the dinner’s attendees for their excellent patient care.

When lights on the ambulance are flashing, sirens are wailing and Emergency Medical Services Professionals are working to save a life, expressions of gratitude are sometimes left unspoken amidst the worry and chaos of an emergency situation. During National EMS Week, May 19-25, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital voiced that gratitude during an Appreciation Dinner it hosted for area emergency medical staff on May 22.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, “National Emergency Medical Services Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s ‘front line.’”

The Lake City Ambulance Service consists of 21 members, including drivers, EMTs, paramedics, and registered nurses. The service is owned by the City of Lake City and through a partnership is operated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. It responds to 911 calls and does inter-facility transfers. It also provides personnel for events such as high school sports and Western Days activities. The ambulance service provides services at the critical care level, and carries state of the art equipment in the ambulances. The service provides paramedic coverage to patients in all areas around Lake City, responding to approximately 400 calls per year.  The ambulance service and Emergency Department at SMCH work together and share staff to offer a seamless continuum of care.

After the meal, David Frate, D.O., spoke to the attendees, “Thank you for your hard work, care and compassion that makes our communities safer.” Dr. Frate serves as the Calhoun County Emergency Medical Director. He expressed pride in working with a group that is well trained and is known for its effectiveness, “We have an unbelievable reputation with the flight paramedics with whom we partner. They know the patient will be taken care of and things will be done right.”

Cindy Carstens, SMCH Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services, also spoke to the group, commending them for their care and compassion while being first on the scene at an emergency, “You are a ray of hope to the patient. You start the healing process, not only in the physical sense, but also in the mental and emotional.”

Carstens assured the group of EMTs how SMCH’s new affiliation with UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) will lead to better patient care. “By partnering with hospitals like UnityPoint Health Fort Dodge (formerly Trinity Regional Health Center) and UnityPoint Health Des Moines (formerly Iowa Methodist Medical Center), we have better access to patient card records.”

Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director at SMCH, concluded the evening by adding his thanks to the assembled group, “Thank you for making a difference in so many lives. SMCH supports you and is grateful for your service.”

SMCH Fun Run Set for June 29

May 13th, 2013

Participants in the 2012 SMCH Fun Run ready themselves for the starting gun. Registration for the 2013 event for $10 extends to May 31. After that date until the day of the event, June 29, registration will be $15.

Click here to for the Fun Run entry form!

Join Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and walk or run the 29th Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and will be held Saturday, June 29, 2013.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square in Lake City.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

Pre-registration prior to Friday, May 31 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants.   Registration after June 1 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

Awards will be given to the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10 and under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-65; 66 and over.  Men and women will be in separate classes.

For more information and a registration form, contact SMCH Human Resources Department at 712-464-4224 or request email registration at balbright@stewartmemorial.org.

Super Salad Showdown Earns nearly $300 for Relay for Life

May 2nd, 2013

Candy Morrow displays the suncatcher she won with her Frito Corn Salad.

Connie Picht is pictured with her delicious Taco Salad recipe that won her the prize at the Rockwell City clinic’s competition.

On April 25th, 2013, competitors gathered to help raise money for the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Relay for Life Team. Each participant submitted a favorite salad dish for judging. Diners paid a $5 fee and received samples from all twelve dishes, along with one ticket with which they voted for their favorite. Approximately 50 people were fed, raising almost $300 for the team. After the votes were counted and demands for recounts were satisfied, Candy Morrow with her “Frito Corn Salad” recipe was determined to be the winner at the hospital event. During the Rockwell City clinic’s competition, Connie Picht’s Taco Salad was declared the winner.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Click here for this year’s recipes: Super Salad Showdown Recipes

Family Goes the Distance for Quality Care

April 30th, 2013

Nick Tielbur, Gennifer Hill and big sister Autumn are pictured with daughter Ellie and Dr. Derek Duncan, board certified family care and obstetric physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, who provided Ellie’s prenatal care and delivery.

When Gennifer Hill and Nick Tielbur knew they were going to expand their family, they knew exactly where they wanted to deliver their baby. “Hands down, we knew that Dr. Derek Duncan and the staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital was the right choice for us,” notes Gennifer who lives in Early, Ia. While the location of the hospital is not the closest for her, she says the drive is worth it. “The individualized care we receive here is top notch and that’s important when you are pregnant,” explains Gennifer, a busy mother of four who grew up near Early.

While the decision to deliver at SMCH was an easy one, how she discovered the hospital is unique. “It was actually through my sister that I knew about Dr. Derek Duncan and Stewart Memorial Community Hospital,” says Gennifer. In 2007 her sister Gina moved from Florida to Iowa in hopes of receiving better medical care during her pregnancy. “My sister had many difficulties during her pregnancy and she was not getting the care she needed in Florida. She moved back home and chose Dr. Duncan and SMCH for her care, which went really well,” recalls Gennifer who had a chance to tour the SMCH OB delivery suites while visiting her sister who delivered a healthy baby boy.

For Gennifer, her pregnancy was relatively routine. “With my daughter Ellie, I was a high risk pregnancy, so Dr. Duncan was very thorough during my appointments. He often used the portable ultrasound machine during my examinations to make sure the baby was thriving. That was very reassuring,” recalls Gennifer. “The benefit to expecting mothers is that I can assess the baby at various times during the pregnancy to make sure there are no obvious medical complications,” states Dr. Duncan, a board certified family care and obstetric physician who has delivered babies at SMCH for over five years.

On February 15th, Gennifer and Nick welcomed a healthy baby girl to their family. Ellie weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 1Ž2 inches long. “She’s very healthy and a happy baby!” exclaims Gennifer. She joins her big sister Autumn, seventeen months, who was also born at SMCH under the care of Dr. Duncan in 2011 as well as sister Paige, 12 and brother Brenden, 6.

During the deliveries of her two children at SMCH, Nick and Gennifer say their experience was exceptional. “The atmosphere is wonderful in the OB Labor and Delivery suites and the nurses are fantastic!” notes Gennifer. In addition to giving the staff and accommodations high marks, Gennfier says she appreciates having help just a phone call away. “No matter what time of day it is, we can call the OB department with our questions. Even though I’ve been a mom for a many years, I still will have questions and the staff is always helpful,” notes Gennifer. “Parenting isn’t an exact science, but we know exactly who to call when we have questions or need great healthcare.”

For more information about the Obstetric team of physicians or OB services at SMCH call 1-800-560-7500

Family Goes the Distance for Quality Care

April 25th, 2013

Nick Tielbur, Gennifer Hill and big sister Autumn are pictured with daughter Ellie and Dr. Derek Duncan, board certified family care and obstetric physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, who provided Ellie’s prenatal care and delivery.

When Gennifer Hill and Nick Tielbur knew they were going to expand their family, they knew exactly where they wanted to deliver their baby. “Hands down, we knew that Dr. Derek Duncan and the staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital was the right choice for us,” notes Gennifer who lives in Early, Ia. While the location of the hospital is not the closest for her, she says the drive is worth it. “The individualized care we receive here is top notch and that’s important when you are pregnant,” explains Gennifer, a busy mother of four who grew up near Early.

While the decision to deliver at SMCH was an easy one, how she discovered the hospital is unique. “It was actually through my sister that I knew about Dr. Derek Duncan and Stewart Memorial Community Hospital,” says Gennifer. In 2007 her sister Gina moved from Florida to Iowa in hopes of receiving better medical care during her pregnancy. “My sister had many difficulties during her pregnancy and she was not getting the care she needed in Florida. She moved back home and chose Dr. Duncan and SMCH for her care, which went really well,” recalls Gennifer who had a chance to tour the SMCH OB delivery suites while visiting her sister who delivered a healthy baby boy.

For Gennifer, her pregnancy was relatively routine. “With my daughter Ellie, I was a high risk pregnancy, so Dr. Duncan was very thorough during my appointments. He often used the portable ultrasound machine during my examinations to make sure the baby was thriving. That was very reassuring,” recalls Gennifer. “The benefit to expecting mothers is that I can assess the baby at various times during the pregnancy to make sure there are no obvious medical complications,” states Dr. Duncan, a board certified family care and obstetric physician who has delivered babies at SMCH for over five years.

On February 15th, Gennifer and Nick welcomed a healthy baby girl to their family. Ellie weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 1Ž2 inches long. “She’s very healthy and a happy baby!” exclaims Gennifer. She joins her big sister Autumn, seventeen months, who was also born at SMCH under the care of Dr. Duncan in 2011 as well as sister Paige, 12 and brother Brenden, 6.

During the deliveries of her two children at SMCH, Nick and Gennifer say their experience was exceptional. “The atmosphere is wonderful in the OB Labor and Delivery suites and the nurses are fantastic!” notes Gennifer. In addition to giving the staff and accommodations high marks, Gennfier says she appreciates having help just a phone call away. “No matter what time of day it is, we can call the OB department with our questions. Even though I’ve been a mom for a many years, I still will have questions and the staff is always helpful,” notes Gennifer. “Parenting isn’t an exact science, but we know exactly who to call when we have questions or need great healthcare.”

For more information about the Obstetric team of physicians or OB services at SMCH call 1-800-560-7500 or log on to their website at www.stewartmemorial.org

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Emergency Services Adds Top-of-the-Line Ambulance

April 18th, 2013

Patients being transferred between facilities, using Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s ambulance service will ride in style in the new Mercedes Benz Sprinter.

The new ambulance features increased head room and safety features for crew members.

Choosing a new car or truck requires a lot of thought and planning. Engine size, safety ratings, color and all the bells and whistles are important considerations. Those questions are especially important when choosing a new ambulance.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City recently acquired a new ambulance to replace a 13 year old unit which had 150,000 miles. The ambulance services and estimated 400 calls each year, which totals an average of 35,000 miles annually.

There are several upgrades to the new Mercedes Benz Sprinter. “This particular ambulance contains several features that made it attractive to us,” says Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director at SMCH. “For the comfort and safety of the staff, forward facing seats with shoulder harnesses are installed. It was designed specifically to have the state of the art equipment we use installed. Also, the new ambulance features 74 inches of vertical space. This means our staff can stand upright whereas with the old unit we had to crouch while caring for the patient. It also boasts a smoother, quieter ride which results in more comfort for our patients and staff.”

Funding for the new ambulance came from sources outside of the hospital. “The ambulance commission agreed to purchase this new transport ambulance for our service,” says Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO of SMCH. “They used reserved funds from the city of Lake City and the funds from Calhoun county designated for Emergency Medical Services through Stewart Memorial.”

The new ambulance will be used primarily for inter-facility transfers. It does, however, have the same functionality as the larger ambulance, so it can be used for calls as well.

Great Care is the Foundation for Architect’s Birth Experience

April 18th, 2013

Seth, Angela and Emma McCaulley are pictured with Dr. Susan Hornback and Dr. Adam Swisher who helped the couple with Emma’s delivery.

When Angela McCaulley packed her bags and left the big city of Minneapolis, MN to attend Iowa State University and pursue her dream of designing office buildings, she didn’t dream that she’d be building the next phase of her life in small town Iowa. But that’s exactly what happened. While earning a degree in architecture, she met and fell in love with Seth McCaulley, a Lake City, IA farm boy who was studying Ag Business at ISU.

Fast forward five years. The McCaulley’s are settled in their home in Lake City, Seth is the Lake City branch manager for Iowa Savings Bank, Angela is working on a large design project for a Fort Dodge company and their first child is on the way. “We chose Stewart Memorial Community Hospital for our obstetric care because it is our first choice for healthcare. The staff treats you like family and our physician, Dr. Susan Hornback, is wonderful,” notes Angela.

Angela’s pregnancy was wonderful as well. “I didn’t have any complications or morning sickness. It was a very easy pregnancy,” recalls Angela. At 39 weeks, just a week shy of her due date, Angela went into labor. “We were at the Lake City fireman’s appreciation dinner and she started to feel contractions,” recalls Seth, who is also a volunteer fire fighter in Lake City. As the night progressed, the contractions grew closer and the couple headed to SMCH where Dr. Adam Swisher, one of the five board-certified family practice and obstetrics physicians at SMCH, was the physician on-call. “Dr. Swisher has a great bedside manner and he made us feel at ease right away,” recalls Angela. Dr. Swisher determined Angela was in active labor and she was admitted to the hospital to deliver her first child. “My pain was eased with an epidural so I could get some rest before the last stages of labor,” notes Angela.

As the sun began to rise on a cool October morning, Dr. Susan Hornback, Angela’s primary care physician, arrived and joined Dr. Swisher in Angela’s labor and delivery suite. “It was a great team effort. Dr. Swisher and Dr. Hornback were very good at explaining what would be happening next and communicating with the nursing staff as my labor progressed,” says Angela. At 8:47 am on October 30, 2012, Emma Irene, who is named after two great grandmas, was born weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches long.

As first time parents, the McCaulleys realized the importance of learning a few tips on how to care for their new bundle of joy. “The OB nursing staff, who are very attentive, took time to show us things that we weren’t familiar with doing as new parents, like trimming a baby’s fingernails, giving her a bath, breastfeeding instructions, and car seat safety,” says Seth, who says he also enjoyed the perks SMCH provides to patients. “The meal service and extra sleeping accommodations are really nice,” he noted.

After the birth of Emma, the McCaulley’s were excited to share their news with family including Angela’s sister who still lives near Minneapolis. “She couldn’t believe the great care we received compared to her delivery experience at a larger hospital. We are really fortunate to have physicians and nurses that deliver great care and a hospital with top-notch facilities in Lake City,” says Angela who is now designing her days around her new “boss” Emma.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Celebrates Employee Accomplishments

April 17th, 2013

The Florence Nightingale award winners are (left to right): Lisa Miller, RN, Julie Mosher, RN, Kari Jones, RN, and Jenni Macke, RN

Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO of SMCH, presents Zeta Bradley with the Auxiliary Shining Star award

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital recently recognized their employees for their accomplishments during 2012 at its Rewards and Recognition Banquet. The Florence Nightingale award was given to DAISY award nominees Lisa Miller, RN, Julie Mosher, RN, Kari Jones, RN and Jenni Macke, RN. The Auxiliary Shining Star award recipient was volunteer Zeta Bradley. The Auxiliary also presented the hospital with a donation of $32,500. Dr. Adam Swisher was given the Rising Star award.  The Golden Pillar award, which is given to a department that exemplifies the standards of behavior at SMCH, was given to the housekeeping department which helped SMCH attain a high national ranking for cleanliness. Dr. Susan Hornback was awarded Physician of the Year. The Champion of Standards award, given to an individual who exemplifies the standards of behavior at SMCH, was given to Kristi Jacobson, Pharm. D, Community Pharmacy.

 

SMCH Board President Chuck Schmitt is presented with a check for $32,500 from Auxiliary president Virginia Sheffield and Leah Glasgo, FACHE

Bill Albright, vice president of Human Resources, presents Dr. Adam Swisher with the Rising Star Award

Recognition was also given to employees for reaching milestones. Completing 40 Years of service is Kathy Holm, RN, Hospital Nursing Service, and Sheila Remsburg, Human Resources. Recognition for 30 years of employment goes to Valerie Mapel, LPN, Clinic Nursing. In the 25 year category, SMCH honored Nancy Corey, CNA, Homecare/Hospice, Brenda Kropf, RT, Lake View Clinic Lab, Kathryn Pogeler, CNA, Surgery, Tammie Riedell, LPN, CRT, RCP, Respiratory Therapy, Bryan Thompson, R.Ph., Lake View Pharmacy, Terri Vote, CRT, RCP, Respiratory Therapy, Sue Sievers, Dietary, and Jim Daisy, Maintenance.  Jill Birks, M.P.T., A.T.C., Physical therapy was recognized for 20 years of service. Completing 15 years of employment is Pat Koster, RN, Radiology, and Lisa Poppen-Findley, M.S., OTR/L, Occupational Therapy.  Recognition for 10 years of employment went to Carol Gower, Clinic Nursing, Deb Hildreth, Lake City Pharmacy, Jane Moeller, R.Ph., Pharmacy Director, Matt Ringgenberg, P.S., Emergency Services Director, and Tina Snyder, OR Secretary. The final group to be honored is 5 year employees which include Ashley Gorden, RN, Hospital Nursing Service, Amy Gray, RN, Hospital Nursing Service, Derek Duncan, D.O., Ellen Frank, Administrative Assistant, Megan Huster, RN, Cardiac Rehab and Diebetes Nurse Educator, Kim Kramer, R.Ph., Rockwell City Pharmacy manager, and Nicholle Miller, EMT .

 

The Golden Pillar award was given to the Housekeeping department at SMCH: (left to right) Bliss Habben, Jane Janssen, Tina Thomas, Lois Skinner, Leanna Powell, Linda Ringgenberg, Sara Holst, Shirley Naughton, Shirley Luth and Scott DeVries

2011 Physician of the Year Dr. David Frate (left) and Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO (right) present Dr. Susan Hornback (center) with the 2012 Physician of the Year award

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital CEO Leah Glasgo says dedicated employees are a key component of the organization. “The families we serve can take comfort in knowing that our healthcare team which is providing for their needs, is backed by years of service with our hospital. Our employees have shown our patients year after year that they are dedicated to our mission of providing excellent care to every patient, every time. We are blessed to have highly-trained, compassionate employees caring for our patients at Stewart Memorial,” commented Glasgo.

Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO, presents the Champion of Standards award to Kristi Jacobson, Pharm.D.

SMCH Invites You to a Book Signing

April 17th, 2013

Dr. Lee Hieb, Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon

The public is invited to attend a book signing at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Gift Shoppe on Tuesday, May 7th from 4:00-6:00 pm. Dr. Lee Hieb, Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon, will be signing copies of her recently published book “Tales from the Surgeons’ Lounge and Collected Works.” Cost of the book is $10. Refreshments will be available. Registration for door prizes and Shoppe discounts are encouraged. Bring your friends and see our new remodeling!

Comfort is Key When Considering Obstetric Service

April 11th, 2013

Pictured are Dr. Araceli Amador with baby Mia Rodriguez and her mother Veronica Rosa at a well-baby check-up.

When a family realizes they will soon welcome another child, being comfortable with their choice of medical provider is very important. Aside from the usual physical and emotional changes of a pregnancy, knowing they can readily have their questions answered is something that many patients take for granted. For Veronica Rosa and Adrian Rodriguez of Carroll, communication with their doctor used to be a challenge.

“I was born in El Salvador and my husband Adrian was native to Cuba,” said Veronica. “I am bilingual, but Adrian finds speaking in English more challenging.” The couple, who had been living in Omaha, moved to Carroll in 2011 when they were hired at Farmland.

The couple are parents to Jacob, a busy two year old, and were expecting another child so they began the search for an obstetrics physician. A relative recommended they see Dr. Araceli Amador, a board certified family physician at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), who is fluent in English and Spanish.

“Not only was it a relief for Adrian to be able to ask questions and be given answers he could understand, but I was really happy with the time Dr. Amador spent caring for me and my baby,” explained Veronica.

Veronica’s pregancy was normal and she enjoyed the time preparing for the birth of her baby girl, Mia Naomi Rodriguez, who was born October 25, 2012 at SMCH in Lake City. “When I had Jacob in Omaha several doctors in that clinic saw me throughout my pregnancy, so I didn’t really know who would actually deliver the baby. It was hard to build a relationship with the person I’d have to trust to help me have the baby. Dr. Amador, who had seen me the entire time during my pregnancy, knew my history and was able to explain everything that was happening to me and my husband.”

Her labor and delivery went well with some key differences from her experience with her first child. “During my labor with Jacob, I was left alone much of the time. My experience at SMCH could not have been more different. The nurses were wonderful! They were checking on me constantly, trying to make me more comfortable,” stated Veronica.

Receiving quality care after the birth was equally important to the family. “Mia is really healthy! She is growing and thriving, gaining weight at each check-up. However, sometimes Adrian and I have questions or concerns and Dr. Amador always takes the time to answer them. She is very thorough. It’s wonderful to be able to communicate easily with a doctor that is as caring as she is,” said Veronica.

Delivering Full Term baby was a Full Time Job for Local Mom

April 9th, 2013

Jessica and Brinker Heinrichs are pictured with Dr. Pablo Amador in the labor and delivery suite where Brinker was born. Jessica credits Dr. Amador for Brinker’s survival during a complicated pregnancy.

For some mothers, carrying a child full-term is very routine and not complicated. But for Jessica Heinrichs of Yetter, IA reaching her 40th week of pregnancy was a difficult task. “As a nurse, I know the importance of having a full-term baby,” says Jessica who is a Licensed Practical Nurse for Dr. Tracey Wellendorf in his E.N.T. practice.

The complications began just eleven weeks into her pregnancy. “I started to have serious cramping,” she recalls.  Jessica immediately called her physician, Dr. Pablo Amador, a board certified family care and obstetric physician with Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. “If it wasn’t for Dr. Amador, our son wouldn’t be here today,” notes Jessica, who also has a three year old daughter, Mikelle, with her husband Matthew. After some testing, Dr. Amador determined that Jessica wasn’t producing enough progesterone to maintain her pregnancy full term. “Dr. Amador started me on progesterone shots and gave me reassurance that everything would be okay. Dr. Amador is very diligent in the care he gives and as a mom, that’s comforting,” says Jessica.

“Progesterone is a hormone that plays a key role when a woman is pregnant,” says Dr.Amador, who sees patients in Rockwell City and Lake City. According to the March of Dimes, recent studies show that for some women, especially if they have a short cervix or if they already had a preterm birth, being given progesterone during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of having a premature baby.

While the progesterone shots gave Jessica hope of having a full-term baby, her challenges were not over. At 23 weeks, she started having severe back pain which she thought might be pre-term back labor. “I went to the Emergency Room at Stewart Memorial Hospital and Dr. Adam Swisher was on-call,” recalls Jessica. Dr. Swisher, a board certified family care and obstetrics physician, determined the pain was caused by a kidney stone. “Dr. Swisher called Dr. Amador and he came in, even though it was the middle of the night,” says Jessica.

At 37 weeks, just three weeks shy of the full-term 40 week mark, Jessica delivered a healthy baby boy at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Brinker Robert was born September 23rd weighing 6 pounds and 6 ounces and 19 inches long. “My stay in the Labor and Delivery suites could not have been more perfect,” notes Jessica. “The nurses are great at giving moms lots of personalize care and attention, as well as education on how to care for a newborn. I really appreciated all of their care, concern and help,” states Jessica who is thrilled to be the mother of two healthy children.

First Time Mom Gives Local Care High Marks

April 2nd, 2013

Pictured are Leanna Powell, Ryleigh Bacon and Dr. Adam Swisher at McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie.

When a young woman discovers she is pregnant lots of questions race through her mind. Not least of these thoughts are “Who will my doctor be?” and “Where will I deliver my baby?” For Leanna Powell of Gowrie, those questions were a little complicated.

“I grew up in Fort Dodge and was initially interested in seeing a doctor there.” However, Powell who had moved to Gowrie and worked in the housekeeping department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City, had ties to McCrary Rost Clinic and Dr. Adam Swisher. “I had worked at the daycare center in Gowrie and had cared for Dr. Swisher’s children. I was comfortable with him, so it was easy to start going to the clinic for my check-ups.”

Her experience with Dr. Swisher, a certified family practice and obstetrics physician, and the staff at the clinic was very positive. “Everyone at McCrary Rost Clinic was so nice!” Powell enthused. “I received very personalized, one-on-one care. My questions were answered and any concern I had was attended to. I felt the staff was more than capable of caring for me and my baby.” Dr. Adam Swisher and Kari Swisher ARNP-C joined Rochelle Guess, FNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic in 2011. Dr. Swisher added obstetrics to the family practice services available in Gowrie.

Working for the hospital that was recognized as the nation’s 23rd cleanest hospital in 2012 eased Powell’s mind about the safety of her delivery. “I knew there was little risk of a hospital acquired infection. The labor and delivery suites are extremely clean and comfortable. They’re decorated to feel more like home and the whirlpool tub was wonderful!”

Her baby girl, Ryleigh Lynn Bacon, was born on November 17th, 2012, weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces and 19 inches in length. Powell laughs, “Ryleigh’s dad, Cyle Bacon, was nervous, but Dr. Swisher wasn’t! He handled everything so well, encouraging me and calming Cyle. Also, the nurses were great! The whole staff worked together to make the experience as easy as possible.”

Powell readily returned to McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie for Ryleigh’s after care and Well Baby check-ups. “She’s growing so fast! She’s really healthy and happy! I’m so glad I chose Dr. Swisher and the clinic in Gowrie! I feel it was the best choice for me and my baby!”

Lake City Mayor Signs Proclamation for National Volunteer Week

April 1st, 2013

Pictured are: (l to r: Marci Duncan, Auxiliary Treasurer; Ellen Frank, SMCH Volunteer Gift Shoppe Director; Zeta Bradley, Shining Star Volunteer Honoree; Mary Sporleder, Auxiliary Vice President; Lake City Mayor Gary Fahan; Mary Ludwig, Director of Marketing, Development and Volunteer Services; Darlene Nicholson, Shining Star Volunteer Honoree; Lee Vogt, Auxiliary Assistant; Virginia Sheffield, Auxiliary President.

National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership.  At Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City, over 140 people volunteer for the hospital through the Auxiliary.  National Volunteer Week, April 21-27 is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change-discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.  The week draws the support and endorsement of the President and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.  Lake City Mayor Gary Fahan signed a proclamation recognizing National Volunteer Week in Lake City with members of the SMCH Auxiliary.

First Time Mom Gives Local Care High Marks

April 1st, 2013

Pictured are Leanna Powell, Ryleigh Bacon and Dr. Adam Swisher at McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie.

When a young woman discovers she is pregnant lots of questions race through her mind. Not least of these thoughts are “Who will my doctor be?” and “Where will I deliver my baby?” For Leanna Powell of Gowrie, those questions were a little complicated.

“I grew up in Fort Dodge and was initially interested in seeing a doctor there.” However, Powell who had moved to Gowrie and worked in the housekeeping department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City, had ties to McCrary Rost Clinic and Dr. Adam Swisher. “I had worked at the daycare center in Gowrie and had cared for Dr. Swisher’s children. I was comfortable with him, so it was easy to start going to the clinic for my check-ups.”

Her experience with Dr. Swisher, a certified family practice and obstetrics physician, and the staff at the clinic was very positive. “Everyone at McCrary Rost Clinic was so nice!” Powell enthused. “I received very personalized, one-on-one care. My questions were answered and any concern I had was attended to. I felt the staff was more than capable of caring for me and my baby.” Dr. Adam Swisher and Kari Swisher ARNP-C joined Rochelle Guess, FNP-C at McCrary Rost Clinic in 2011. Dr. Swisher added obstetrics to the family practice services available in Gowrie.

Working for the hospital that was recognized as the nation’s 23rd cleanest hospital in 2012 eased Powell’s mind about the safety of her delivery. “I knew there was little risk of a hospital acquired infection. The labor and delivery suites are extremely clean and comfortable. They’re decorated to feel more like home and the whirlpool tub was wonderful!”

Her baby girl, Ryleigh Lynn Bacon, was born on November 17th, 2012, weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces and 19 inches in length. Powell laughs, “Ryleigh’s dad, Cyle Bacon, was nervous, but Dr. Swisher wasn’t! He handled everything so well, encouraging me and calming Cyle. Also, the nurses were great! The whole staff worked together to make the experience as easy as possible.”

Powell readily returned to McCrary Rost Clinic in Gowrie for Ryleigh’s after care and Well Baby check-ups. “She’s growing so fast! She’s really healthy and happy! I’m so glad I chose Dr. Swisher and the clinic in Gowrie! I feel it was the best choice for me and my baby!”

Colonoscopy Results are Music to Band Teacher’s Ears

March 13th, 2013

Pictured are Dave and Susan Swaroff who strongly recommend scheduling a colonoscopy at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

A routine test in 2011 was out of tune for Southeast Webster Grand middle school band teacher, Dave Swaroff. “During an appointment with Dr. Stephen Piercy, urologist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH), he recommended that I should have a colonoscopy done.”

The American Cancer Society defines colonoscopy as “an exam that lets a doctor closely look at the inside of the entire colon and rectum. The doctor is looking for polyps or signs of cancer. Polyps are small growths that over time can become cancer. The doctor uses a thin (about the thickness of a finger), flexible, hollow, lighted tube called a colonoscope that has a tiny video camera on the end. The colonoscope is gently eased inside the colon and sends pictures to a TV screen. Small amounts of air are puffed into the colon to keep it open and let the doctor see clearly. The exam itself takes about 30 minutes.”

Dave, who was 58 at the time, scheduled his colonoscopy with Dr. Derek Duncan, board certified family practice physician at SMCH, who performed the screening in late 2011. He prepared for what he thought would be a routine exam by fasting and taking a stong laxative to prep or clean the colon. After arriving at the hospital, Dave was checked in and prepped, at which time he was completely sedated, which made the experience an easier process. When he woke up Dr. Duncan discussed the results with him, “The doctor told me he’d found and removed polyps. One of the polyps was very large and close to being cancer,” he related.

Six months later, Swaroff was scheduled for a follow-up colonoscopy.  Again he prepared for the exam, but with a feeling of apprehension, “Fortunately, nothing grew back. It was a huge relief,” Dave said.

The trumpet player for the Fort Dodge Symphony, the Karl L. King Municipal Band and Jive for Five Brass, in addition to other groups he contributes his musical talents, definitely recommends having a colonoscopy as a screening for colon cancer, “You can’t feel any growth or any symptoms. I value my health a great deal. Putting off having the exam done makes no sense,” expressed Dave.

Your doctor decides how often you need this test, usually once every 10 years, depending on your personal risk for colon cancer. It’s important for you to talk with your doctor to understand your risk for colon cancer, the guidelines you should follow for testing, and whether you need to start having the tests at age 50 or earlier.

To learn more about colonoscopies and other services offered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, log onto our website at www.stewartmemorial.org, or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity, or call McCrary Rost Clinic at 712-464-7907 for an appointment to discuss having a colonoscopy with Dr. Duncan.

Medicaid Expansion Highlights Hospital Economic Impact. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Adds $17 Million, 338 Jobs to Local Economy.

March 13th, 2013

As Iowa lawmakers continue to debate expanding Iowa’s Medicaid program to cover more low-income residents, one aspect of the debate is the economic impact of expansion on both the state and its community hospitals.

“We can’t ignore the fact that Medicaid expansion would bring as much as $600 million a year to Iowa’s economy,” said Iowa Hospital Association President and CEO Kirk Norris.  “That is a huge influx of dollars that would spread across the state.  It’s not unlike a major business choosing to relocate to Iowa, but the impact is much broader and beneficial to far more Iowans.”

“In terms of overall impact, there is no bigger economic issue in Iowa than Medicaid expansion.”

By insuring as many as 150,000 low-income Iowans, Medicaid expansion would also help alleviate the growing amount of charity care and bad debt among Iowa hospitals.  In recent years, charity care and bad debt (also known together as uncompensated care) have grown 10 percent annually.  In 2012, Iowa hospitals provided more than $1 billion in uncompensated care, primarily to uninsured patients.

“Uncompensated care will always be part of the hospital financial picture, but the growth we are seeing as more and more people find themselves unable to afford insurance is unsustainable,” said Norris.  “It impacts the ability of hospitals to maintain services, modernize facilities and pay competitive wages.  Medicaid expansion would make a real difference in this regard.”

Expansion will also help Iowa hospitals remain key drivers of Iowa’s economy.

Iowa community hospitals generate more than 133,000 jobs that add nearly $6.2 billion to the state’s economy, according to IHA’s latest Iowa hospital economic impact report.  In addition, Iowa hospital employees by themselves spend $1.8 billion on retail sales and contribute nearly $106 million in state sales tax revenue.

“In most Iowa counties, hospitals are among the three or four largest employers, but it’s more than just providing jobs,” said Norris.  “People are often unaware of the broader contribution that hospitals make to their local economies, the significance of hospital purchases with local businesses and the impact of their employees’ spending for the entire region.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) generates 338 jobs that add nearly $17 million to Calhoun County’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association.  In addition, SMCH employees by themselves spend $1.9 million on retail sales and contribute over $118,000 in state sales tax revenue.

Leah Glasgo, FACHE, CEO at SMCH said, “There is no doubt there is a connection between Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s viability and the viability of our local communities. We are grateful for the group of talented employees that have dedicated their careers to providing high quality care here in our hospital, clinics and pharmacies.  We see this impacts our economy in a very real way, therefore we need to continue to lobby for payment for care provided to those without insurance.  This is a real problem here in our community hospital that can’t be ignored. SMCH provided over $1.2 million in uncompensated care or bad debt in 2012, an increase of 45% over the prior year.”

The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector.  The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.

The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 71,169 people and create another 62,198 jobs outside the hospital sector.  As an income source, hospitals provide more than $4 billion in salaries and benefits and generate another $2.2 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes employed clinicians, long-term care services and assisted living centers, pharmacies and other medical and health services, directly and indirectly provides 321,355 Iowa jobs, or more than one-fifth of the state’s total employment.

Complete information from the study, including economic impact data for each of Iowa’s hospitals, is available on the IHA website at www.ihaonline.org.

The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences.  All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.

Caring Hands Closet Nurturing Class Canceled for March 13th

March 13th, 2013

Due to the possibility of bad weather, the Caring Hands Closet nurturing class is canceled for this evening. The next class will be held March 27th at 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Center. Any questions, call 712-297-0303.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Coaching Your Own Health

March 6th, 2013

Mark Mogensen, certified Physican Assistant with McCrary-Rost Clinic Lake View, is shown talking about Coaching Your Own Health.

Nearly fifty people gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to attend the March “Lunch Connection” event. The program focused on Coaching Your Own Health.

Mark Mogensen, certified Physican Assistant with McCrary-Rost Clinic Lake View, presented the program. He discussed several health concerns, including Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, Cancer and Diabetes and what is done to screen and treat each disorder.  He encouraged attendees to take control of their own health issues and be proactive by having their blood pressure checked, scheduling mammograms and colonoscopies and having their blood drawn to check their lipid panels, in addition to several other screenings and vaccinations.

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held on June 6th with Dr. Josh Smith who will present “Pelvic Health Solutions – Feel Your Best”.

Cardiac Rehab Gets Life Back on the Right Track

February 27th, 2013

Pictured on the treadmill is Bill DeVries, along with the crew that keeps his heart health on the right track, left to right, Cardiac Rehab nurse Megan Huster, RN, Bill’s wife Doneta DeVries, and Cardiac Rehab nurse Bev Watters, RN.

Bill DeVries is used to hard work. The Lake City grain farmer was accustomed to getting up early, putting in a day of long hours in the tractor, taking walks with his wife, Doneta, and going to bed after the 10:00 news. On August 23, 2011, Bill’s schedule abruptly changed. “It was a really hot day. I was helping a neighbor cut silage. I walked to the top of the pile and couldn’t catch my breath. When I got down I still couldn’t breath very well.” An hour later he went home, showered and rested. When he still had trouble breathing, Doneta drove him to the emergency room at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH).

Several tests were conducted, including an EKG, blood work and X-ray. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. Since Bill was still having trouble breathing, he was admitted for observation. During the admitting process, Bill’s heart stopped and he passed out. A defibrillator was quickly administered and his heart started. Bill was experiencing ventricular fibrillation (V-fib), a disorganized heart rhythm that does not produce a pulse.

Bill was then transported to a heart center where it was determined that he was having a full blown heart attack. A coronary stent was inserted into his heart to keep the arteries open. A triple bypass surgery was planned for five  to six weeks later, after the stent had time to heal. He was also connected to a monitor which would reveal information about his heart’s behavior. Three weeks later, Bill had an event serious enough that he returned to the heart center to undergo the triple bypass.

After a month of healing from the surgery, Bill entered Phase 2 of his recovery which included Cardiac Rehab on November 1. He began attending Cardiac Rehab sessions three times a week at SMCH. “Patients are hooked up to a monitor in the beginning. They will start with stretching, light weights and a step machine. Over time, the length of time, endurance and resistance will be increased,” explained David Frate, D.O., SMCH Cardiac Rehab Medical Director.

“It was hard work. I felt weak and tired in the beginning,” said Bill, recalling the early days of his rehab. “But the cardiac rehab nurses, Megan Huster and Bev Watters, were great! They encouraged me to do my best, even when it was so hard.”

After eight weeks Bill entered Phase 3. He no longer was required to be hooked to the monitor, but his blood pressure and heart rate were checked. He purchased a punch card and voluntarily attends twice a week. “I found that having the punch card encourages me to go regularly. It’s not just about the time I spend in the cardiac rehab room, the staff truly want to help me live a healthier lifestyle, giving me recipes and articles to read,” said Bill.

Bill and Doneta are very grateful to have SMCH in their community. Doneta remarked, “We feel blessed that the hospital and all its services are so close. Bill goes to cardiac rehab here. He gets his blood work here that he can take to any specialist he needs to see at the heart center. Of course, having the emergency room services were crucial to saving his life. They say your life can change in a heartbeat. Well, ours changed in the lack of a heartbeat.”

As for Bill, all his hard work in cardiac rehab has paid off. He has cut down his sodium intake, reduced the amount of food he eats, and increased the quality of his diet. He takes beta blockers and is on an aspirin regimen, along with blood pressure medicines. He has also changed his priorities. He centers on the important things in life, like family and friends, reducing the amount of stress he tried to manage before. This spring will find him happily hard at work in the fields near Lake City once again.

Aspirin Advantages for Your Health

February 25th, 2013

By Mark Mogensen, PA-C

We have all heard “an apple a day will keep the doctor away”, but what about adding an aspirin to that daily regimen? For some people, taking an aspirin a day can be life saving and improve their health.

“Aspirin inhibits platelets so that they are unable to form a clot,” says Mark Mogensen, Certified Physician Assistant. “One of the dangers of blood clots is that clots that form in the brain or heart and can cause a stroke or heart attack. Taking aspirin can help decrease the risk of a clot forming,” says Mogensen who practices at the McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake View. On the downside, aspirin may cause abnormal bleeding. “The biggest risk for bleeding is in the gastrointestinal tract from the stomach or small, large intestine,” says Mogensen. People who should not take an aspirin a day include anyone that has had a serious gastrointestinal bleed. They may not benefit from taking aspirin due to the risk of a recurrent bleed.

To determine if you are a candidate for benefiting from an aspirin a day regimen, Mogensen says to consider several factors. “It has been shown that people who have already had a heart attack or stroke will benefit from taking a daily aspirin of 81-325mg. Depending on what medications someone is already taking, their doctor should make the appropriate decision on what strength of aspirin to take,” says Mogensen. “Taking a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack may be beneficial if the patient’s coronary heart disease risk is moderate to severe of having a heart attack in the next 10 years,” notes Mogensen. This is calculated with the patient’s risk factors of a blood pressure reading, smoking history, age, gender, whether the patient has coronary heart disease or diabetes and total cholesterol. Cholesterol goals are individualized depending on the patients 10 year risk of developing coronary heart disease.

If you are over the age of 20, Mogensen says you should know your cholesterol number. “Cholesterol testing should start at 20 or sooner if there is a family history of coronary heart disease or if the individual is overweight. Direction in repeat testing with normal tests should be determined by the individual’s doctor and how the individual maintains his or her lifestyle.”

Individuals with normal cholesterol levels that have strong family history should be screened with particle testing, a test that counts the individual bad cholesterol, and also determine how big or small the person’s cholesterol is. This usually requires the blood to be sent to a specialty lab and analyzed. There are other tests that may be required to determine if a patient, with a strong family history, is at risk for developing coronary artery disease then just normal cholesterol, particle, and cholesterol size testing.

“I encourage people to get regular cholesterol checks, blood pressure checks, maintain a healthy lifestyle though diet and exercise,” says Mogensen. Talk with your doctor to review your medications, your coronary heart disease risk, and your risk of developing side effects from a daily aspirin, before taking aspirin on a regular basis.

SMCH Red Dress Revue “Painted the Town Red”

February 13th, 2013

Angie and Seth McCaulley are all smiles as they display the “Three Blind Mice Red Velvet Cheesecake” they won during the Dessert Auction.

Guests “Painted the Town Red” at the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary 2nd Annual Red Dress Revue event held on Saturday, February 9th. The fundraiser was held in Lake City at Opportunity Living and featured entertainment by “A Touch of Broadway.” “Guests were really impressed and kept entertained with the talent of this singing group,” says Marci Duncan of Lake City who co-chaired the Red Dress event.

In addition to the entertainment, there was a hors d’oeuvres buffet and a live dessert auction of over 25 decadent desserts ranging from croquembouche, to carrot cake to rhubarb berry pie. Many of the desserts were homemade by SMCH employees. Auctioneer Barney Dial’s skills helped to create the fun and excitement at the highly competitive dessert auction. The dessert that brought the highest bid was made by the SMCH Radiology Department’s Marilyn Mumm with her strawberry cheesecake torte. It sold for $500.00.  All together, the desserts raised $3,715.00

Along with great food and entertainment, guests were also able to have their pictures taken by professional photographer Tony Evans.

Due to the generosity of those attending the Red Dress Revue and participating in the dessert auction, as well as the sponsors, the Auxiliary raised over $10,000.

All of the funds raised will help babies born at SMCH. The proceeds are designated for projects supported the SMCH Auxiliary which includes purchasing a “Panda Warmer” for the Obstetrics Department in 2013. This piece of equipment is designed specifically for newborns to stay warm and content as doctors and nurses provide the immediate care needed following birth. The cost of the warmer is about $15,000.

Sponsors of the event include:  Shady Oaks, Johnson Financial Strategies Group, Iowa Savings Bank, Naomi Streeter, Bruning Oil Company, Carroll Broadcasting Company, Casey’s, LaMair-Mulock-Condon Co., Macke Motors, Mid-Iowa Insurance, NEW Cooperative, Poet Biorefining, Auburn Feed Center, Bowie International, Breda Feed and Grain, Cleaning Specialists, Inc., Evapco, Graphic Edge, Iowa Heart Center, Martin Brothers, Opportunity Living and Western Iowa Surgery.

The Daisy Award for an Extraordinary Nurse at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

February 11th, 2013

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital will present the Daisy Award to an Extraordinary Nurse who goes above and beyond providing excellent ever day beside care to patients and families.  Award recipients are nominated by peers, physicians, patients and families and other staff.  Registered nurses eligible for nomination include those working at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in OR, HomeCare and hospital as well as nurses in the clinic setting.  Nomination forms are available at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Business Office, Outpatient registration; all McCrary-Rost Clinics and on our website www.stewartmemorial.org.  All nomination forms are due April 8th to Cindy Carstens, Vice President of Nursing or Jodi Henkenius, Administrative Assistant.  Nomination forms can be mailed to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital * Attn: Cindy Carstens * 1301 West Main St * Lake City, IA * 51449.

Click here for the nomination form: Nomination form

Crock-pot Cook-off Fundraiser for Relay for Life Earns $300

February 5th, 2013

On January 17, 2013, competitors gathered to help raise money for the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Relay for Life Team. Each participant submitted a favorite crock-pot dish for judging. Diners paid a $5 fee and received samples from all twelve dishes, along with one ticket with which they voted for their favorite. Nearly 60 people were fed, raising almost $300 for the team. After the votes were counted and demands for recounts were satisfied, Lee Vogt with her “Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti” recipe was determined to be the winner. Several competitors vowed to return next year with dishes that were “bigger, stronger, faster – guaranteed winners!”

In addition to the event in Lake City, staff at McCrary Rost Clinic in Rockwell City joined the fun by holding their own competition. The winner of their event was Amy Carlson’s “Caramel Apple Dessert.”

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Click here for this year’s recipes: Crock-pot recipes

New Equipment Saves Mayor’s Heart

January 31st, 2013

Pictured are Donny Hobbs and Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital with the CO2 monitor that was instrumental in saving the life of the 31 year old father of four.

What began as an ordinary day for Donny Hobbs nearly ended in tragedy for him and his family. The 31-year old mayor of Lohrville spent November 12, 2012 as he normally would. He went to his job as a technical designer at Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in Lake City. After work he attended to his mayoral duties, conducting two consecutive meetings that evening. He returned home to his wife, Shannon, who teaches part-time in the Paton-Churdan school district. Donny looked in on his sleeping children: three-year old triplets Anastasia, Catarina and Bridget, and one-and-a-half year old Ean. After visiting with Shannon, he sat down at the piano to practice some music for Sunday’s service at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lohrville and the Union Church in Lake City, where Donny plays the organ. He started to feel ill and sat down to watch TV, mentioning to Shannon that he felt light-headed and dizzy.

Having just completed her EMT (emergency medical technician) training, Shannon quickly took his blood pressure and pulse. Realizing that something was wrong, Shannon called 911 for emergency services.  By the time she got the phone Donny passed out and she started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She soon had help from several area firemen and other EMTs who relieved her CPR efforts. They also hooked up the automated external defibrillator (AED) which they used to shock Donny four times in an effort to get his heart started and to stay in rhythm.

The Lake City ambulance team also responded to the call, arriving after the Lohrville crew. “As we were walking up to the house, we could hear their team communicating to each other. There were 15 to 25 people in that house, all doing the job. Their level of training meant Donny was getting good care,” said Matt Ringgenberg, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) Emergency Services Director. The paramedics applied their new Lifepak 15 defibrillator, shocking one more time, stabilizing Donny enough to be loaded and transported to SMCH.

In the ER the emergency staff implemented the new CO2 monitoring technology that was purchased through donations made to the hospital during the hospital’s 50th year Gala Celebration, the Emergency Room Campaign and from a grant from the Calhoun County Community Foundation. “The CO2 monitor expedited his treatment and gave feedback about his resuscitation until his care was transferred to a heart center. Because of the compatibility between the ambulance and the ER we were able to show the cardiologist exactly what was happening in his heart from the time it was attached to him to the moment we came through their doors,” explained Ringgenberg.

Donny’s time at the heart center resulted in a defibrillator implant in his chest which monitors his heart rate and will shock his heart if necessary, and four new medications, including an aspirin regimen and two blood pressure medications. “I don’t remember much about my experience. From the time I passed out, I woke up in the hospital two days later.” However, Donny’s wife Shannon remembers the experience vividly, “She says she still has a hard time getting to sleep sometimes. She wants to reach over and check to see if I’m still okay,” said Donny.

On the other hand, Donny sleeps well at night, secure in the knowledge that he and his wife chose their hometown well. “The training of the EMTs and the new equipment in the ambulance and hospital emergency room all came together for a good outcome for which I’m grateful. I’m not really surprised by how well it went. Being involved in the community, I know about the great way that small towns work. From the EMTs working to save my life, to people volunteering to watch the kids while Shannon spent time at the emergency room and the heart center, people living in our small towns banded together to make sure me and my family were taken care of.”

The new equipment was installed in the ambulance and SMCH Emergency Room last fall. Over 200 patients per month rely on the ER at SMCH when immediate care is needed.

Solutions to Snoring

January 23rd, 2013

(L-R) Teri Vote, Certified Respiratory Therapist at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City visits with a patient in one of their sleep rooms where a sleep study is conducted.

By Mark Mogensen, PA-C

If the sound of your spouse snoring is keeping you awake at night, a simple test might lead to a better night’s sleep for both of you. Snoring is a common symptom that could indicate serious problems. “Snoring may be caused by parts of the mouth and throat dropping into the airway and blocking off the flow of air. This can result in a condition called sleep apnea,” says Mark Mogensen, Certified Physician Assistant.

If you do have sleep apnea, you are not alone. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than 12 million people in the U.S. have sleep apnea. Of the total, more than half are overweight. Those figures also estimate that one in 25 middle-aged men and one in 50 middle-aged women have sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea main symptoms are loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and tiredness. BMI of greater than 30, Neck size of 16 inches in women and 17 inches in men, may be associated with sleep apnea.  “Other symptoms include waking up often to urinate, waking up choking or gasping, attention problems, or morning headache. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consult a medical professional, “ says Mogensen who sees patients at the McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake View.

Complications of sleep apnea include high blood pressure or heart problems, daytime fatigue, complications with certain medications and anesthesia, and liver problems.

“To determine if you have sleep apnea your doctor will order a sleep study. This requires an overnight stay at the hospital in a special sleep room,” notes Mogensen.  While you are asleep, your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels will be monitored.

To treat sleep apnea, a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask is placed over your nose while you sleep. This allows for your upper airway passages to keep open, thus preventing apnea and snoring.

Things you can do to reduce apnea is to sleep on your side, avoid alcohol and sedative medications, and lose weight if necessary.  To learn more about sleep studies log onto http://www.stewartmemorial.org/medical-services/sleep-studies or call your medical provider.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Recognizes Rev. Betty Weidert’s Years of Service

January 23rd, 2013

Pictured are Kari Jones, Director of Nursing, Rev. Betty Weidert, and Michelle Shaver, Social Worker. Kari and Michelle presented a plaque to Rev. Weidert during a reception honoring her for her years of service as Hospice Chaplain.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital held a reception on January 23, 2013, honoring Reverend Betty Weidert for her 15 years of service as Hospice Chaplain. Rev. Weidert joined the Hospice team in 1997, serving patients in the Hospice program.  During the reception she was presented with a plaque designating her as an honorary lifetime member of the Hospice team by Kari Jones, Director of Nursing, and Michelle Shaver, Social Worker.

Rev. Weidert and her husband, Gerry, will be moving to Illinois to care for their eight month old grandson after her retirement from the Union Church in Lake City in May. Anita Bain of Rockwell City assumed Rev. Weidert’s duties January 1st as Hospice Chaplain for SMCH.

SMCH Red Dress Revue will “Paint the Town Red”

January 8th, 2013

You won’t have to travel far to beat the winter blues in February. The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary will warm hearts by “Painting the Town Red” with their 2nd Annual Red Dress event on Saturday, February 9th.  The fundraiser will be held in Lake City at Opportunity Living and feature entertainment by “A Touch of Broadway”. “Guests were really impressed with the talent of this singing group two years ago at our first Red Dress event, so they are back by popular demand,” says Marci Duncan of Lake City who is co-chairing the Red Dress event.

(left to right) Jan Dougherty and her daughter Darcy Maulsby greeted guests at the first SMCH Auxiliary Red Dress event. The 2nd annual Red Dress event will be held February 9th in Lake City.

Tickets for the event are currently on sale and those attending are in for a real treat of a night. “In addition to entertainment, we will have a hors d’oeuvres buffet and a live dessert auction of over 25 decadent desserts,” notes Duncan. Many of the desserts are homemade by SMCH employees. “Whether you love chocolate, cheesecake or key lime, there will be something for everyone to bid on. It’s going to be fun to see which dessert takes the highest bid!” exclaims Duncan.

All of the funds raised will help babies born at SMCH. The proceeds are designated for projects supported by the SMCH Auxiliary which includes purchasing a “Panda Warmer” for the Obstetrics Department in 2013. This piece of equipment is designed specifically for newborns to stay warm and content as doctors and nurses provide the immediate care needed following birth. The cost of the warmer is about $15,000.

Tickets for the Red Dress Revue are on sale now for $20 and can be purchased at SMCH by calling Lee Vogt at 712-464-4183. They are also available by contacting one of the committee members: Marci Duncan at 712-464-3670, Jeannie Capron at 319-480-2158, or Mary Sporleder at 712-464-9991. You can also follow the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMCHLakeCity under the events tab or log onto the hospital website at www.stewartmemorial.org for information.

2013 New Year Baby Arrives at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

January 7th, 2013

Aaron, Kenley and Holly Wuebker welcome Landrey Jo to their family. Landrey Jo was the first baby born in 2013 at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City.

A few days into the New Year, the first baby of 2013 at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City arrived. Landrey Jo Wuebker was born to parents Holly and Aaron Wuebker of Rockwell City, IA. “It was an awesome experience at SMCH. I’m not just saying that because I work here,” said Holly who is a HomeCare nurse, “I had an easy labor and delivery with great nurses and doctor. We wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

The New Year baby entered the world at 9:26 AM on Thursday, January 3rd, weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces and is 21 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Susan Hornback, Board Certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician. Landrey Jo was welcomed by big sister Kenley and grandparents Ken and Kelli Heim of Jolley and Glenn and Andrea Wuebker of Rockwell City.

To celebrate the birth of the New Year baby, the family was given a basket full of gifts. Items included a SMCH re-useable tote bag, diapers, baby wash, baby lotion, baby wipes, and umbrella, all donated by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.

Gifts given by SMCH employees included a board book from Sheila Remsburg, a one-piece jumpsuit from Ashley Smith, a plush ball and wooden puzzle from Jenni Macke, a stack and teethe toy from Maurine Thieszen, a baby memory book from Carol Gower, a hooded bath towel, bibs and teething ring from Pam Hildren, a receiving blanket and car seat cover from Bonnie Goreham and a mini-wrap blanket from Jennifer Snyder. The SMCH Auxiliary donated a singing teddy bear and photo holder.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Mammography Receives High Marks

December 19th, 2012

Pictured are board certified mammographers at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital: (left to right) Marilyn Mumm, Mary Reiter, Pat Koster and Afton Daniel. Not pictured is Jenni King.

Getting a mammogram is an important step in the early detection of cancer. Knowing that your provider has passed an important inspection by the FDA leads to the peace of mind that high standards are being met. Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) has been notified that it has passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection with no deficiencies.

MQSA became legislation in 1992. Administered by the FDA, it established national standards for accreditation, certification and inspection of mammography facilities in the U.S. Because of these standards, millions of women who receive mammograms in the U.S. each year can be confident they are receiving high-quality, consistent and reliable breast imaging at mammography facilities across the country.

With a total of 73 years of experience, the five mammographers on staff at SMCH are all registered and board certified with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. In addition, SMCH offers digital technology and all staff have advanced training in its use. All mammograms are interpreted at Mercy Medical Center by mammography certified radiologists.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Employees Donate to the Food Pantry

December 18th, 2012

Pictured are Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees preparing to deliver food and other items to the food pantry: (left to right) Bethany Morrow, Linda Rath and Sheila Remsburg.

As tough economic times continue, many area families are left with minimal resources to provide food for their families. In an effort to provide some relief for those less fortunate, employees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital contributed non-perishable foods to the Lake City food pantry.  Linda Rath, Bethany Morrow and Sheila Remsburg, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees, spearheaded this collection drive.  “It was heartwarming to see employees drop off bags and boxes of food.  The food pantry is utilized by 60-80 families per month and the pantry’s shelves needed to be stocked. This is a great way for Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to give back to the community during the holiday season,” noted Rath.

Infusion Therapy is Compassionate Care Close to Home

December 4th, 2012

Lake City native Jane Dial and Dr. Dan Buroker, Oncologist, advocate the Infusion Therapy services at SMCH.

How often do women try on a pair of jeans and they feel more snug than usual?  Typically it’s not something to get extremely worried about, but for Jane Dial, something told her otherwise. “I wasn’t having any pain, but I felt different. It’s hard to explain, but I had a gut feeling that I should have a check up,” recalls Dial who was born and raised in Lake City.  An appointment with Nancy Flink, Certified Physician Assistant at McCrary Rost Clinic, revealed Dial had ovarian cancer. “She recommended I see Dr. Marc Miller, a general and cancer surgeon (surgical oncologist) at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. He confirmed the cancer and told me it was stage three,” says Dial who has worked at SMCH as the Dietary Supervisor for more than 26 years.

The grandmother of seven didn’t have much time to mentally process the diagnosis. Dr. Miller moved quickly to get Dial into surgery and remove the cancer. “In two weeks, I was diagnosed and had surgery at SMCH to remove my appendix, right ovary and omentum, (which is a fold of the tissue lining the abdomen that surrounds the organs),” says Dial. Following surgery, Dial underwent chemotherapy. “I had chemotherapy from June 2011 to December 2011, once every three weeks,” recalls Dial. For the chemo, Dial came to the Infusion Room at SMCH, which was added to the hospital in 2000. The spacious room is full of natural light and modern touches, like comfortable recliners and your own television. “Coming to SMCH for my chemo was the best part of my fight against cancer,” says Dial. “In an imperfect situation, the care I received at SMCH was perfect. The room is very pleasant, you have the option to have a private room and the staff is excellent,” says Dial.

After a two month break from chemo, Dial had a second surgery to remove more of the cancer, followed by more chemo. Once again, Dial chose to have her treatment at SMCH. From March 2012 through August of 2012, she received chemo in the hospital’s infusion room. Through her journey, she says having services close to home is a blessing. “The oncologist I see is Dr. Dan Buroker and he comes to SMCH on a regular basis. When you are fighting cancer, it’s a real benefit to be able to see a doctor close to home, not travel and be with family. It’s very convenient to have oncology appointments at SMCH,” notes Dial. Dr. Buroker says patients can often have chemotherapy close to home. “In many cases, patients fighting cancer can be treated at their local hospital for their chemotherapy and follow up doctor visits,” says Dr. Buroker, a second generation physician who sees patients at SMCH the 1st and 3rd Wednesday each month. “There are many health benefits to patients being able to receive care in an environment they are comfortable in and can be supported by family and friends,” notes Dr. Buroker.

After two series of chemo treatments, Dial is on the road to recovery. “At my appointment in mid-September, my cancer was under control. I’m not cancer-free, but my numbers are moving in the right direction and my next appointment isn’t until December,” says Dial. With her cancer stable, she says she feels she has her life back. “With cancer, you’re not always sure what the next week or month will bring, so it’s hard to plan a future. Now, with the help of treatment, a great healthcare team, friends and family, I feel like I can look forward to the future again.”

Kris Hare Honored for 20 Years at McCrary Rost Clinic

November 29th, 2012

McCrary-Rost Clinic director Jeanette Sargent congratulates Kris Hare on 20 years of service.

Kris Hare was recently honored for reaching her twentieth anniversary with McCrary Rost Clinic. Her history with the clinic goes back even farther than 20 years though. Through the years she’s held several roles. “I started working in October 1972 as a medical nurse aid for Dr. Comstock. I worked with his nurse to keep the exam rooms filled.” After that Les Newhouse joined the medical provider staff as the first Physician Assistant and Hare became his nurse. In 1979 she joined the business office staff when the clinic was in the downtown location. “I also filled in as a medical assistant as needed.” She is proud to have worked with the original McCrary-Rost medical providers, Drs. Christensen, Comstock, Keonin and Cardenas. When the Lake View and Gowrie clinic locations opened, Hare served as the office manager. In 1990 Hare took a two year break, rejoining the clinic staff in December 1992. By that time the Lake City clinic had moved to its current location. Currently Hare serves as an assistant to the Regional Clinic Director, Jeanette Sargent in addition to loading data into the electronic medical documents (EMD). “I really enjoy working with the doctors and the patients. This is a great place to work!”

Congratulations Kris on your years of service!

August 2012 Champion of Standards Announced

November 26th, 2012

CEO Leah Glasgo presents Kristi Jacobson with the Champion of Standards award

Kristi Jacobson was nominated by a patient who came into the pharmacy for assistance when she couldn’t speak. Below is what the patient wrote regarding her interaction with Kristi that day.

“Awakened with no voice due to a pit caught in my throat the day before.  Unable to use the phone, I drove to the Community Pharmacy for help. Kristi Jacobson immediately suggested I see my doctor and made the phone call for me without hesitation.”

The patient stated that she was, “…overwhelmed by the concern and caring, compassion with so much empathy to my situation. In 1 hour I was back to the Community Pharmacy for meds.”

The patient went on to list Kristi’s actions as 100% on SMCH’s Standards of Behavior under, Safety, Communication, Compassion, Efficiency, Appearance, Customer Service and Attitude. Under Ownership and Accountability the patient wrote, “Entire staff is my extended family – thanks to all.”

At the end of her card she says, “I didn’t know about Champions until yesterday – God Bless.”

Kristi’s compassion and caring for each individual patient continually goes above and beyond SMCH’s Standards of Behavior. In doing this she creates an experience for our patients that they are willing to take the extra time to share. Kristi is a true Champion of Standards.  Congratulations!

August 2012 Golden Pillar Award given to Laboratory

November 26th, 2012

Patrick Sampson, Alisa Godfrey, Becky Mohr, Tammy Fredericksen, Pixie Hepp and Pam Hospelhorn proudly display their Golden Pillar Award.

The laboratory staff is always looking for ways to meet their goals which affect the organizational goals. Recently, the laboratory staff wanted to install a customer service window which has always been a negative for customer service for its patients. Patients arriving to the laboratory waiting room were shut off from the lab, lab sometimes would not be notified of a patient’s arrival and since they could not see their waiting room patients would wait, causing a decrease in the quality of care the department had. The laboratory staffs’ idea was to turn one of our doorways into a window. At the time, all spending was put on hold and only absolutely necessary expenses were authorized. But this didn’t stop the laboratory – they felt that the door to customer service window was so important that they started brainstorming ways to generate their own funds for the project.

The laboratory contacted Polymer Technologies/CardioChek who had done previous studies with the department to see if they wanted to do another study – they did. So the laboratory helped this company perform their studies and in return generated over $3000 to cover the expenses for the customer service window. In addition to this, they also are having a divider (similar to the ER waiting area) installed between drawing chairs in the draw room, removing the outdated wallpaper and painting, installing a new wood grain vinyl floor, and purchasing 2 new tall stainless steel trash bins. They came up with all these ideas and the way to fund the project when money was tight – all to improve the patient’s experience in their laboratory. The laboratory shows great dedication to improving customer service for all patients.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Named Iowa Rural Health Champion

November 26th, 2012

SMCH employees are presented a certificate naming Stewart Memorial Community Hospital an Iowa Rural Health Champion, along with a bouquet of flowers and cakes from the Iowa Rural Health Association. Pictured are (from left): Sherry Lampe, Jeanette Sargent, Holly Espenhover, Jim Henkenius, Jennifer Brockman, Kathy Collins, Susan Brown – Iowa Department of Public Health, Leah Glasgo, CEO, Mary Ludwig, Sarah Cottington – Telligen Iowa REC, and Bill Albright

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) was named Iowa Rural Health Champion on National Rural Health Day, November 15, 2012, by the Iowa Rural Health Association (IRHA).

IRHA is a nonprofit membership organization of individuals and organizations dedicated to ensuring optimal health for all Iowans, particularly those in rural areas. As the voice for rural health in the state, the IRHA brings attention to the issues that affect rural health providers and helps address those issues by providing educational opportunities, facilitating information sharing, and engaging in advocacy activities.

A nomination submitted by Sarah Cottington with Telligen Iowa REC, which aids hospitals and clinincs in the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) along with addressing meaningful use criteria, stated, “SMCH is dedicated to patient safety and quality health care. The hospital has had bar coded medication administration for ten years and CPOE (Computerized Provider Order Entry) for the past year and a half. SMCH is continually seeking to improve and in the summer of 2011, participated in the IDPH Rural FLEX HIT grant regarding CPOE. The hospital estimates the time for a medication order to be processed from onset to administration has gone from 60 minutes with a paper-based order to 30 minutes with CPOE. Because Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is a leader within Iowa Rural Critical Access Hospitals with patient safety, quality healthcare, EHR Implementation and Meaningful Use, it is my privilege to nominate the hospital for this distinguished honor.”

Sherry Lampe, Clinical Nurse IT Director at SMCH explained, “Meaningful Use is a government mandate which requires hospitals and providers to comply with specific criteria and to report their statistics to the government. The criteria needs to be continually met or the hospital risks losing money. The main goal of meaningful use is being able to exchange a patient’s health information, wherever they may be. For example, if a patient is on vacation in another state, the doctor in that state would be able to access the patient’s medical record here. Not everything is in place to do that at the state level yet, but it is projected to be ready within the next couple of years. SMCH providers and staff have done an outstanding job adapting to the many changes.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Success Highlighted at State and National Levels

November 7th, 2012

Jennifer Brockman, Infection Preventionist and Kathy Collins, UM/CQI Director at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital report that SMCH has gained ground in its readmission rates and will be featured at state and national levels.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) is constantly seeking to improve processes and outcomes for patients. In its quest to become the “best rural hospital in the nation” it has partnered with the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) to seek out areas of improvement and ways to measure those areas. Recently, Karilynne Lenning with the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative informed SMCH that it would be highlighted during a webinar given to a national audience of directors of HEN projects, moderated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Lenning explained, “Stewart Memorial was selected because you are consistently reporting on all 10 focus areas both outcome and process measures. You are engaged as a team in the HEN initiatives, and as a result, your data is showing improvement.”

Areas of focus that SMCH seeks to reduce include: readmissions for patients for the same health issue, surgical site infections, falls and immobility, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and adverse drug events. Jennifer Brockman, Infection Preventionist at SMCH, said, “At SMCH, we are actively engaged in working toward improving our patient care. Our HEN team attends the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative’s Learning Communities (seminars) and HEN Team meetings, and implements LEAN concepts (process improvement techniques). Due to these efforts, our numbers are improving.”

Additionally, the Iowa Department of Public Health will be using SMCH’s readmission data as a community success story for the national rural health day celebration website. Gloria Vermie, Iowa Department of Public Health, remarked, “Using the data from SMCH shows how our hospitals are making tremendous gains as a result of their efforts to reduce preventable readmissions.”

Brockman continues, “The ultimate goal is very patient-centered: better care, more satisfied patients and improved health care outcomes. We are proud of our accomplishments and the opportunity to be recognized for our efforts.”

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Fall Edition

October 29th, 2012

To view the Fall Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

FNL_StewartMemorial_Fall12

Steroid Injections at SMCH are Safe

October 18th, 2012

Healthcare officials at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City are stressing to their patients and the community that their hospital has NOT put any patients at risk of contracting fungal meningitis from steroid injections. National attention has heightened as the number of people sickened by tainted steroids has grown to 15 states. Stewart Memorial has never purchased steroids from the company that has been identified by the CDC as the source of the contaminated injections. The New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts has recalled the tainted steroids on September 26th and expanded their recall of their products on October 6th.

“Our patients can be assured that the epidural steroid injections or joint injections they received here are safe,” says Leah Glasgo, CEO. “Our hospital pharmacy purchases products manufactured by Pfizer, Inc which has no association with the recalled steroids,” notes Glasgo.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified all the facilities that use tainted samples, a list of which is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis-facilities-map.html. “At Stewart Memorial, the health and safety of our patients is our utmost priority. Our medical and pharmacy staff is up to date on safety recommendations and policy,” continued Glasgo. “We thank our patients and the communities we serve for choosing SMCH hospital as their trusted healthcare provider,” says Glasgo. You can find more information about SMCH on their website at www.stewartmemorial.org or follow them on Facebook.

Donations make new Emergency Room Equipment possible at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

September 17th, 2012

Deb Legore, Registered Nurse and Trauma Care Coordinator at SMCH displays the new equipment in the Emergency Room. The total cost of the equipment was paid for through donations.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, patients receiving emergency medical care at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) will be treated with the latest in medical technology. A fundraising campaign raised money for three key pieces of equipment for the Emergency Room (ER). A vital signs monitor, a monitor defibrillator and a rapid infuser.

“Each month, more than 200 patients need immediate medical attention and come to the ER at SMCH in Lake City for treatment,” says Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director at SMCH. The care patients need ranges from the treatment of minor irritations such as a bug bite to very serious situations, including a heart attack or stroke. The new equipment will help patients in a variety of circumstances.

Deb Legore, Registered Nurse and Trauma Care Coordinator says the improved equipment helps deliver better care. “The vital signs monitor is used on virtually every patient in the ER and gives medical staff the first snapshot of a patient’s health condition. The vital signs monitor delivers quick and accurate results of a patient’s pulse, blood pressure, oxygen level, respirations and temperature,” notes Legore. The new monitor will replace the existing 11-year-old monitor.  The second piece of equipment is the monitor defibrillator, which is needed an average of 20 times each month for patients suffering from a variety of cardiac-related problems. By replacing the 10-year-old defibrillator currently used, many benefits will be realized. “For patients, benefits include decreased time in getting vital test results,” says Legore. Another life-saving advantage of the new defibrillator is the complete vital signs monitoring capabilities. “In an instant, ER staff will know a patient’s heart rate and rhythm, pulse, blood pressure, oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels,” says Ringgenberg who is also a paramedic specialist at SMCH. Patients in need of a pacemaker also benefit from the new equipment because it will be capable of functioning as a temporary pacemaker until a permanent one can be implanted. The last piece of equipment is the rapid infuser, which delivers life-saving fluids to patients. Whether it’s a trauma that caused blood loss or blood loss from intestinal bleeding, having a baby, a complicated surgery or a case of hypothermia, the rapid infuser can make the difference between life and death. The rapid infuser gives patients the fluids they need in less than one minute.

Matt Ringgenberg, Emergency Services Director at SMCH

Campaign donations, which include a $5,000 grant from the Calhoun County Community Foundation, will cover the $47,000 price tag of purchasing the three pieces of equipment. “I’m very grateful to all of our donors who ultimately are helping our hospital give better patient care. Our goal is to give all of our patients excellent care, and part of that commitment is providing the latest in medical technology,” says Leah Glasgo, CEO. “The ER medical staff are prepared to handle any medical emergency that comes through the door, and with modern technology at their fingertips, they can offer even better care,” notes Glasgo.

SMCH Seeks Input on Community Health Needs

September 6th, 2012

In an effort to better understand the health needs of the communities served by Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, hospital officials are conducting a short survey. “The survey can be taken on-line or filled out on paper and returned to Stewart Memorial,” stated Leah Glasgo, CEO. The ten question survey is designed to pin point the concerns people have about their personal health, the health of their family and their community. One goal of the survey is to discover what barriers people face in becoming healthier.

Results from the Community Health Needs Assessment survey will pave the way for developing a Health Improvement Plan (CHNA HIP). The plan will include developing a community health profile, building community collaboration, developing a health improvement plan, and evaluating the outcome. This plan will compliment the plan already developed by Calhoun County Public Health.

Everyone in the SMCH service area is invited to participate in the survey. The survey can be found on the hospital website at www.stewartmemorial.org. on the left hand side tab or on-line you may access it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RXS67RD. Surveys need to be completed by October 1, 2012. Results of the survey will be posted on the hospital website when they are completed

Hospital Employees Help Kids Back to School

September 4th, 2012

SSC Elementary Principal Nicole McChesney accepts a donation of school supplies from the employees of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. This is the 2nd year Laboratory Director Patrick Sampson has coordinated the school supply drive which benefits three school districts.

The cost of getting your child ready to go back to school can add up in a hurry. From gym shoes to backpacks and activity fees to lunch money, it’s easy to spend a considerable amount of money. To help families not able to afford their child’s back to school items, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital employees collected backpacks full of school supplies. Laboratory Director Patrick Sampson, who coordinated the drive, says hospital employees were very generous. “Our employees gave 20 full backpacks with many additional supplies,” says Sampson. The backpacks were donated to the East Sac County school district, Prairie-Valley Community School District, and the South Central Calhoun school district. School officials then distributed the supplies. “The donation is a real relief to many families and they are very appreciative of the hospital employees’ generosity,” says Nicole McChesney, SCC Elementary Principal. In addition to giving school supplies, money was donated to purchase Titan apparel. “We have specific days when students are encouraged to wear Titan colors and we are grateful to have donated clothing to give to children that simply can’t afford extras,” notes McChesney. This is the 2nd year SMCH employees have donated school supplies to the three school districts

SMCH Plans “Fabulous Fall Fashions to Accessorize Your Home and You”

August 23rd, 2012

Ellen Frank and Carolyn Gregg display some of the items available at the Gift Shoppe.

The Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shoppe is offering a free event featuring fall fashions, accessories and home décor in September. The volunteer Gift Shoppe committee is committed to offering fun events featuring fresh ideas for staff and guests.  The gift shoppe is an integral part of the hospital Auxiliary fundraising efforts which financially support the hospital.  Gift Shoppe committee members are Carolyn Gregg, Sheila Remsburg, Jeannie Capron and Ellen Frank.  In addition to offering fun specials and sales, the committee plans several special events at the shoppe during the year.

On Wednesday and Thursday, September 5th and 6th, the Gift Shoppe will be sponsoring one such event: a fun come-and-go event called “Fabulous Fall Fashions to Accessorize Your Home and You.”  This will be held in the hospital’s main lobby and the gift shoppe.  Scarf tying demonstrations and accessorizing tips will be given by Carolyn Gregg in the lobby throughout the two hour time of fun, food and fellowship.  Free samples can also be enjoyed in the gift shoppe.   Participants are encouraged to bring  friends and join in the unveiling of new merchandise for the fall season.  Pre-registration for this event is required by calling Ellen at 464-4221 by Tuesday, September 4th.  We appreciate the support for our staff, guests and the many communities SMCH serves.

Donation from Roller Family Fills Need at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital

August 7th, 2012

Pictured with their donation of a toy chest and toys to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital’s Hospice Family Room are (front) Quinn Roller, (back, left to right) Michelle, Mike and Kathy Roller.

A recent donation to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital from the family of Jess Roller will fill a need for families using the hospital’s private Hospice Suite. While his grandpa was in hospice, four-year-old Quinn Roller, along with his parents, Mike and Kathy Roller, and his aunt Michelle Roller, often visited. While the grown-ups talked, there didn’t seem to be much for a busy preschooler to do. “There weren’t many toys or games,” noted Mike, “so we thought we could do something about that.” After Jess passed away on February 12, 2012, the family commissioned Gary Warner to build an oak toy chest in his honor to be placed in the Hospice Family Room.

In addition to the chest, area businesses donated toys to fill it. Schenkelberg Implement of Sac City, Haley Equipment of Rockwell City and Manson Red Power of Manson each supplied toys for children and grandchildren of hospice patients.

Kari Jones, Director of Homecare, Hospice, and the Infusion Room, said a plaque will be affixed to the toy chest that reads “In Memory of Jess Roller – The Roller Family.” She commented, “It fulfilled a great need in the hospice family room to make kids more comfortable. It was such a fitting memorial because Jess was enormously fond of his grandson. Stewart Memorial appreciates the gift immensely.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital provides an Educational Luncheon on Rx for Good Health

August 7th, 2012

Guest speakers, Kristi Jacobson, R.Ph., Community Pharmacy Manager, and Jane Moeller, R.Ph. Director of Community Pharmacies, detail the importance of reading the labels of medicines to Lunch Connection attendees.

Over fifty women gathered at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital to attend the August “Lunch Connection” event. The program, “Rx for Good Health,” focused on a number of pharmacy topics.

Guest speakers, Jane Moeller, R.Ph., Director of Community Pharmacies, and Kristi Jacobson, R.Ph., Community Pharmacy Manager, addressed several topics of interest to prescription users. Those topics included common pharmacy questions, the new Rx Advantage program offered by Community Pharmacy for the uninsured, how to dispose of unwanted medication, risky herb-drug combinations, and upcoming changes in the pharmaceutical industry. The pairalso discussed vitamins and dietary supplements and the importance of reading labels to insure the product will not negatively interact with prescriptions. Moeller also warned attendees about the dangers of energy drinks saying, “Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine – approximately six times the amount of a cup of coffee – and can actually lead to dehydration and other physical problems.”

The “Lunch Connection” is held four times at year at Stewart Memorial. The next session will be held on November 6th with Bonnie Herrin, R.N., Director of Surgical Services at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, discussing “Surgery 101”. To learn more about the services Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has to offer, visit us at www.stewartmemorial.org.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital partners with University of Iowa School of Medicine

July 12th, 2012

(Lake City) In an effort to enhance the education of medical students, Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) participates in a partnership with the University of Iowa’s school of medicine. The program, which is in place in over 20 different hospitals across the state, is designed to allow students to observe in real-life medical situations.

During the eight-week session beginning in May, Darin Larson, native of Vincent, Iowa, shadowed several of SMCH’s medical providers. He spent time in the emergency room and the surgical suite, along with the clinics in Lake City, Rockwell City, Lake View and Gowrie.

With his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, plus one year of medical school under his belt, Larson expressed his appreciation for the experience, “It was especially interesting to study the different styles of each of the doctors in how they dealt with their patients.”

Larson says his experience at SMCH has persuaded him to lean towards specializing in the area of surgery, possibly anesthesiology, orthopaedic surgery or general surgery. “The surgical experiences were great! The whole experience was excellent. I was treated well. The smaller hospital atmosphere was an interesting change of pace from the larger hospital experience I’d had previously.” After completing his eight weeks of job shadowing at SMCH, Larson will complete three more years of medical school along with his residency.


Protect Your Child’s Skin this Summer – Mark Mogensen, PA-C, Offers Tips for Families

July 2nd, 2012

Mark Mogensen, PA-C, visits with two of his patients, Emerson and Tristin Ludwig, about the importance of using sunscreen.

With the official arrival of the summer season, parents need to take caution to protect their child’s skin. “Sun protection is critical for all age groups, but especially for the pediatric age group,” says Mark Mogensen, Certified Physician Assistant with McCrary Rost Clinic Lake View. He says studies have shown the amount of sun exposure during this period is related to subsequent risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.

To protect your child, Mogensen says sunscreen lotions and creams can easily be applied and may be the best choice for persons with dry skin. Sprays and aerosols are useful for hard-to-reach areas or large body surface areas. He also notes that sunscreen sticks and waxes are a good choice for the face and around the eyes. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests that when using SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15, a fair-skinned person who normally sunburns in 20 minutes of midday sun expose may tolerate 15 times 20 minutes (300 minutes) without burning.

It’s important to note that doubling the SPF does not imply doubling of UV blockage. A SPF of 15 blocks out 94% of UVB rays, and SPF 30 blocks out almost 97% of UVB rays. That doesn’t mean anything higher than SPF 30 is useless. There was a study done using SPF 50 vs. SPF 85 on snow skiers faces in Vail, Colorado. The skiers showed less redness, if any, on the SPF 85 side of the face when comparing the SPF 50 side.

AAD recommends a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) and daily use of a SPF 30 sunscreen. Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and sun-protective clothing are alternatives that easily shield skin from the effects of ultra violet rays. Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure and then re-applied 15-20 minutes after the first sun exposure. Continue applying every 2 hours of exposure, or after significant sweating or water exposure. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, so make sure that you use 2-3 tablespoons of sunscreen to rub in or spray the area and rub in, and then repeat. Also, remember to use sunscreen all year. More than half of UV radiation occurs in non-summer months and even on cloudy days up to 80% of UV radiation is unfiltered through the clouds.

PABA is an effective UVB filter, but is associated with an increased risk of allergic reaction. So if you or your child has skin allergies, look for the PABA-free sunscreens. If you are worried about Vitamin D deficiency (our skin makes Vitamin D from the sun’s ultra violet rays) start a Vitamin D3 supplement of 1000 IU a day, but limit it at 2000 IU daily to avoid toxicity.

There are safety concerns regarding the use of DEET, (insect repellant). The American Academy of Pediatrics continue to endorse the use of DEET on infants and children older than 2 months, limiting the application to once daily and to concentrations no greater than 30%. Some sunscreens that contain DEET can increase the absorption of DEET into the body risking toxicity.

Consumer Reports recommends All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30, Banana Boat Clear Ultra Mist Sport Performance Active Dry Protect SPF 30, Coppertone Sport High Performance Ultra Sweat proof SPF 30. Eco, Blue Lizard, Hawaiian Tropic, Dermatone, Aveeno, all SPF 30, were tested and had lower scores. The SPF 40-50 that were recommended, are No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50. Other sunscreens tested were Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50, La Roche-Posey SPF 40, and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist SPF 45. The SPF 50 Plus sunscreen that is recommended is Coppertone Oil Free Foaming SPF 75+. Others tested were Coppertone UltraGuard Continuous Spray SPF 70+, Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 60+, and Banana Boat Kids SPF 50+.

“The most important thing about using sunscreen is using enough of it and continuing to reapply sunscreen at appropriate times,” notes Mogensen. Using sunscreen daily decreases the risk of skin cancer and skin aging. A good representation of skin aging can be found at the New England Journal of Medicine online at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMicm1104059.

Mogensen says to remember to monitor your skin for any changes and use ABCDE for skin spots/lesions. A for Asymmetry – one half of the skin abnormality is different than the other half. B for Border Irregularity – the edges are uneven or blurred. C for Color – The color is uneven with shades of brown, tan, and black are present. D is for Diameter – the size is greater than a pencil eraser. E is for Evolves – the skin is changing and growing rapidly. If there’s any concern, see your doctor.

Mark Mogensen PA-C

McCrary-Rost Clinic

Lake View, IA

712-665-8555

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Summer Edition

June 21st, 2012

To view the Summer Edition of the SMCH Healthcare Connection, please open the following PDF.

SMCH HealthCare Connection – Summer Edition

“Big Daddy” Counting Blessings on Father’s Day

June 13th, 2012

The Addison family. Bailey, Brad “Big Daddy Addy”, Kelly, Dylan and Kenzie.

(Lake City,IA) If things are supposed to happen in 3’s, the Addison family of Lanesboro, IA has fulfilled their requirement for family emergencies. In the last 12 months, the Addison family has survived two traumatic accidents involving their children and one serious heart condition. “Through it all, we’ve held together as a family. We found strength in each other,” says Brad Addison, also known as “Big Daddy Addy”, who is the father of three children Bailey, Dylan, and Kenzie.

The series of events, which brought the Addison family to the emergency room at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital each time, started in 2010 when Addison woke up experiencing chest pain. “I thought “this is it”, I’m having a heart attack,” recalls Addison. His wife Kelly brought him to the Lake City ER where the ER medical team quickly accessed him. “I was relieved to find out it wasn’t a heart attack, but it was still a very serious situation,” says Addison. He was diagnosed with Atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular and often rapid heart rate. It commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. Before his condition was controlled with medication, Addison needed emergency medical care two more times. “What I appreciate most about the ER at SMCH is that it is close to home and the care is top notch”.

While medication and a new healthy lifestyle is keeping Addison’s heart in good working order, nothing could prepare his heart for the devastating phone call he received the morning of January 4th. “My phone rang and it was the Lake City police chief telling me our oldest daughter Bailey had been in a bad car accident and I needed to get to the ER at SMCH,” says Addison. “My heart just dropped, and I was scared,” states Addison, fighting back the overwhelming emotions as he recalls the events of that cold and icy day.

His daughter Bailey was driving to work in Lake City when she hit an icy patch and lost control of her vehicle. Her car rolled and landed in a ditch. Her seatbelt saved her life, but her injuries were severe. “When my wife and I arrived at the ER at SMCH, it was very surreal,” says Addison. “An entire team of doctors and nurses were working on her”. Twenty-one year old Bailey had two major injuries, a fractured pelvis and a broken clavicle, or collar bone. “The injuries required two major surgeries and she was life flighted to Mercy Des Moines,” says Addison. Bailey spent three months recuperating at home after her surgeries. Through Physical Therapy, she has regained movement and is back to work.

Just as the Addison family got back on their feet, another accident sent the family back to the ER. This time, their 16 year old son Dylan, needed emergency care. Just days before the school year ended, Dylan crashed his dirt bike while riding on a trail. “The motorcycle flipped and it landed on top of him,” Addison says. While his injuries required immediate care, Addison says his son was able to go home that day. “He left with his arm in a sling and high hopes of healing before football practice season starts,” says Addison.

As Father’s Day approaches, Addison says he is counting his blessings. “Sometimes it takes events like these to make you realize what matters most,” says Addison. On Father’s Day, he says the family will be enjoying one of life’s most precious gifts, which is time together. “We will be together as a family and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”

Dr. Emil Pecholt joins SMCH

May 21st, 2012

Dr. Emil Pecholt, Family Practice, is accepting new patients in Lake City and Rockwell City.

The physicians and staff at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital are pleased to welcome and introduce Dr. Emil Pecholt. Dr. Pecholt joins the staff at the Lake City and Rockwell City McCrary Rost Clinics.

 The Minnesota native offers the full spectrum of family care including pediatrics, sports medicine, adult medicine, geriatric medicine, nursing home care and Occupational Health services. “I’ve always had a strong desire to help others and make a difference,” says Pecholt. Dr. Pecholt grew up in Minnesota and has over twenty years of experience. “I’ve always worked in rural areas and find that it is very rewarding. I have the opportunity to really get to know patients, which is a great benefit to me as a physician,” noted Pecholt. “What I also admire about rural medicine is the effort the entire staff gives to provide great patient care, which is very evident at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic.”

 Dr. Pecholt earned his Doctor of Osteopathy degree from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, MO and completed his residency in Family Practice at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, IA. He is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Pecholt is also a current member of the American Osteopathic Association and the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Society.

 Dr. Pecholt and his wife of thirty-three years are the parents of five children and two, soon to be four, grandchildren. In his free time, Dr. Pecholt enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest technology gadgets, fishing, nature walks and gardening.

 Dr. Pecholt is accepting new patients at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City and Rockwell City. For appointments, please call the Lake City clinic at 712-464-7907  or the Rockwell City clinic at 712-297-8989.

DAISY Award Presented to SMCH Nurse

May 21st, 2012

 

Julie Mosher, RN was awarded the 2012 DAISY Award at SMCH. Mosher has worked at SMCH since 2005 and is the Surgery Center Supervisor. Mosher was nominated by a patient’s family member for many reasons including her “warm, caring compassion shown to a patient”. Mosher (center) is pictured with Leah Marxen, CEO and Cindy Carstens, VP of Nursing and Ancillary Services.

DAISY Award nominees at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (left to right) include Lisa Miller, RN and Emergency Room nurse, Julie Mosher, (award winner) RN and Surgery Center Supervisor, Kari Jones, RN and Director of Homecare and Hospice, and Jenni Macke, RN and Director of Obstetrics.

(Lake City, IA) Delivering compassionate patient care and great clinical skills are the qualities that recently earned a Lake City nurse the DAISY Award. The award, which was established in 1999 and stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, is in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. During his lengthy hospital stay, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion Patrick received from his nurses. The DAISY award was established to say thank you to nurses across the nation by honoring the work they do at the bedside, funding research, and honoring nursing faculty.

 Four nurses from Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City were nominated for the award and the award went to Julie Mosher, RN. Mosher has worked at SMCH since 2005 and is the Surgery Center Supervisor. Mosher was nominated by a patient’s family member for many reasons including her “warm, caring compassion shown to a patient”. Other nominees include Kari Jones, RN and Director of Homecare and Hospice, Jenni Macke, RN and Director of Obstetrics, and Lisa Miller, RN and Emergency Room nurse.

 Cindy Carstens is the Vice President of Nursing and Ancillary Services at SMCH and says nurses, like the ones nominated at SMCH, are surprised when they receive the DAISY Award. “Most nurses do not believe they are doing “anything special” and they are just “doing their job”. That’s why at every DAISY Award presentation, we ask each nurse to pause for a minute and realize how very special they are and how they make the world a better place by “just doing their jobs”, noted Carstens. Today, a nurse’s job may entail saving a patients life, applying training and skill to a complex medical procedure, or offering comfort to a patient or family member to make them feel better. “Every day, nurses are making a positive difference in a patients and family’s life. Nurses make the world a better place and they are special because they are a nurse,” added Carstens.

 Nurses are nominated by patients, families, colleagues, physicians, or other staff. The criteria focuses on the compassionate care and memorable moment’s nurses provide their patients as well as great clinical skill. As of December 2011 over one-thousand healthcare organizations honor their nurses with The DAISY Award. Some 20,000 nurses have received it to date and 130,000 nurses’ stories have been written in DAISY nominations.

 Learn more about Stewart Memorial Community Hospital at www.stewartmemorail.org or learn more about the DAISY award at www.daisyfoundation.org

Mothers Day Miracle at SMCH

May 21st, 2012

Local Family Celebrates Mother’s Day Miracle

The Noble family will celebrate a Mother’s Day miracle this year. Pictured left to right is Ben holding 2 year old Zetta and Erica holding four-month-old Elijah.

 (Lake City,IA) Families across the nation will soon be celebrating the one day set aside each year to honor mothers. In many homes, gifts will be given, special dinners will be prepared and moms will celebrate the joys of being a mother. The Noble family ofCarroll,Iawill be counting their blessings of becoming the parents of Elijah Carl. Their son was born in January at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) inLakeCityand it’s a miracle that he is here today. “My pregnancy was pretty uneventful and the day I went into labor was also routine,” recalls Erica Noble. When labor pains started, Erica and her husband Ben made the trip from their home in Carroll toLakeCityand checked into the hospital to have their bundle of joy. Little did they know the shocking news they would learn later that day.

 After several hours of labor, Elijah Carl was born, weighing a healthy seven pounds and three ounces. But seconds after his birth, Dr. Susan Hornback, a board certified Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician at Stewart Memorial, discovered his umbilical cord had not only one, but two knots in it. “Only 1% of all pregnancies have one knot in the umbilical cord. A double knot is even rarer,” says Dr. Hornback. The team ofOBnurses and Dr. Hornback were able to examine Elijah quickly and give him the immediate medical care he needed. While the knot was alarming, Dr. Hornback’s thorough knowledge of newborn care and focus on delivering great patient care made a tense situation less stressful for the Nobles. “She was able to answer all of our questions,” recalls Erica Noble.

 While Elijah’s prognosis was good, knots in umbilical cords are a cause for concern. “Knots in cords can cause fetal distress and sometimes death,” notes Dr. Hornback who has more than seven years of experience in obstetric care. Dr. Hornback says when a knot in the umbilical cord or “supply line” tightens; it can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply and result in stillbirth. The tightening of the knot can happen while the baby is still developing inside the mother or during labor. “This is just one of the many reasons that mothers need to get pre-natal care so their baby has the best opportunity to have a healthy future,” notes Dr. Hornback.

 For the Noble family, the scary realization of what “could have been” struck close to home. Erica and Ben both have siblings that lost children in infancy. “It really is a miracle to have a healthy child and feel life’s breath of your face everyday,” says Erica. “I’m grateful for the wonderful care we received at Stewart Memorial and the chance to be parents again,” says Ben Noble. The Nobles, who are the parents of Elijah and 2-year-old Zetta, say they hope the miracle of Elijah won’t be their last. “We realize that a double knotted umbilical cord is very rare and hope to have more children in the future. While growing our family, our experience has been very positive with all of the care we’ve received at SMCH,” noted Erica. “Mothers day is always special, but this year will be extra special knowing what a miracle it is to have Elijah in our lives”.

 For more information about StewartMemorialCommunityHospitaland Dr. Susan Hornback, go to www.stewartmemorial.org

SMCH Fun Run Set for June 30th

May 15th, 2012

Fun RUN Registration Form CLICK HERE

SMCH Fun Run Set for June 30th inLakeCity

     We are celebrating our 50th year atStewartMemorialCommunityHospital and the 28th Annual 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. This Fun Run/Walk is sponsored byStewartMemorialCommunityHospital and will be held Saturday, June 30, 2012.  Race time will be 8:30 a.m. starting at the west side of the city square inLakeCity.  In the interest of safety, roller blades/roller skates will not be allowed.

     Pre-registration prior to Friday, May 25 – entry fee $10.00.  T-shirts will be given to all registered participants.   Registration after May 26 until 8:15 a.m. day of race – entry fee $15.00.   XXL t-shirts will be available – add $1.00 to entry fee.     Adult and Youth Size T-shirts will be ordered for late registrations and will not be given out on race day.  Bottled water will be furnished by SMCH following the race.

      Awards will be given to the top 2 finishers in the following classes:  wheelchair event; 10 and under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-65; 66 and over.  Men and women will be in separate classes.

      For more information and a registration form, contact SMCH Human Resources Department at 712-464-4224 or request email registration at balbright@stewartmemorial.org.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Recognizes Employees for Years of Service

April 12th, 2012