HSHS Athletes Advantage Sports Medicine and HSHS Medical Group offering free school physicals for students entering 10th through 12th grade

Ensure your athletes are ready for the upcoming sports seasons by registering your son or daughter for free sports physicals offered by HSHS Athletes Advantage Sports Medicine and HSHS Medical Group.  The sports physicals are offered for students entering 10th grade through 12th grade. Sports physicals will not address chronic issues, medications, or immunizations.

A variety of dates and locations are available throughout the HSHS Southern Illinois Division, in O’Fallon, Breese, Greenville and Highland.  Each of these will be from 5 to 8 p.m.

• Wednesday, June 12 at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s HealthPlex in Breese.

• Monday, June 24 at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Specialty Clinics in Highland.

• Monday, July 8 at HSHS Holy Family Hospital’s Specialty Clinics in Greenville.

• Tuesday, July 23 at HSHS Medical Group Primary & Specialty Care – O’Fallon at 670 Pierce Blvd.

• Tuesday, August 6 at HSHS Medical Group Primary & Specialty Care – O’Fallon at 670 Pierce Blvd.

Online registration is required and opens May 6. Spots are limited, so make your appointment early. To register, visit athletesadvantage.hshs.org/sports.  For more information, contact Jamie Wagner, manager, at (618) 526-5628 or email jamie.wagner@hshs.org.

Renovations and New Entrance Unveiled at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s O’Fallon Medical Building

New patient-friendly spaces, new signage and even a new entrance were recently unveiled at the HSHS St. Elizabeth’s O’Fallon Medical Building at 1512. N. Green Mount Road.

Often referred to as simply “the UrgiCare” building, it’s important to note that the full name of the building is HSHS St. Elizabeth’s O’Fallon Medical Building, and that there are many additional services housed in the facility located just across the street from the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. 

Along with St. Elizabeth’s UrgiCare services, the building houses several physician offices and independent health care services and the HSHS outpatient services of Imaging, Laboratory and Physical Therapy.

As of May 4, patients who are familiar with the facility will notice that the previous entryway now leads solely into HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine O’Fallon. This space has also recently received a facelift for updated accommodations in the waiting area and expanded examination areas. Signage above this entrance was added to note the HSHS Medical Group.

For patients visiting the facility for UrgiCare, Imaging, Lab and Physical Therapy services, the new entrance is to the right, at the ‘L’ of the building. Currently, directional signage is posted to further assist patients to the correct entry. 

The renovations included upgrades in furniture and a new layout for the waiting and registration areas. The overall goal of the renovations, according to the hospital, was to increase patient flow, help to reduce wait times and increase privacy for patients registering for services. It’s a continuation of many ongoing patient-friendly amenities St. Elizabeth’s has added. 

UrgiCare is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to provide immediate care for patients with minor illnesses and injuries. Patients can see a nurse practitioner, get basic labs and imaging procedures, often in less time than an emergency room visit. 

Another time saving amenity for non-emergent patients was introduce late last year. The new Save My Spot option allows patients planning to go to UrgiCare to decrease wait time through an online reservation/appointment scheduling tool. 

“HSHS St. Elizabeth’s is privileged to offer this added service and upgraded accommodations to improve patient experience for our always-on-the-go patients and families,” said Sara Fishbein, BSN, RN, Assistant Manager of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s UrgiCare. 

Patients can reserve their appointment time and view their position in the queue. Plus, real-time status updates about wait times are available.

How to know when to go to UrgiCare?

If you’re like most people, you sometimes find yourself needing minor medical care at the most inconvenient times, or when your doctor is booked and can’t see you for several days. Some illnesses or injuries shouldn’t wait, but they don’t seem to be serious enough to go to the ER but how do you know where to go for treatment.

Because urgent care facilities focus on minor illnesses and injuries, patients can be treated more quickly and frees up hospital ER rooms to focus on the more acute cases. Having both options available allows patients to get the high-quality care needed.

Patients experiencing symptoms of a stroke like symptoms, chest pain, or other time-critical, life-threatening medical emergencies should call 9-1-1 and go to their closest emergency room. The local EMS agencies provide excellent care and hospitals, like St. Elizabeth’s, continually work with these and other medical colleagues to streamline transportation, rapid diagnosis and immediate care to administer medical treatment sooner when every second counts.

When to go to
urgent care:

• Seasonal allergies

• Sinus infection

• Cold, flu, sore throat, earache

• Minor lacerations

• Minor back pain

• Mild skin infections

• Minor sprains

• Urinary tract infections

When to go to the ER:

• Life threatening

• Chest pain

• Difficulty breathing

• Obvious fractures

• Severe bleeding

• Pregnancy complications

• Stroke

• Change in mental state

• Severe pain/laceration

• Head injuries

• Abdominal pain

Acting F.A.S.T. during stroke can save life and function

Stroke is currently the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with a stroke occurring every 40 seconds, yet 80 percent of strokes are preventable. 

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot, or bursts or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it and brain cells die. 

“During National Stroke Awareness Month, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital along with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association encourages everyone to learn the warning signs and symptoms of stroke. Knowing how spot a stroke and acting FAST can save a life,” notes Misty Dickey, BSN, RN, CEN, Stroke Facilitator for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

The acronym F.A.S.T. teaches people to recognize a stroke and what to do if one occurs:

F – Face Drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? 

A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T- Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Additional stroke signs include: Sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Studies show that patients who arrive in the Emergency Room within the first three hours of their first symptoms, have better outcomes and less disability than those that delayed care.

 “The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly, so patients should ALWAYS call 9-1-1 if a stroke is suspected.  Immediate treatment and early intervention may minimize the long-term effects of stroke,” shared Dickey. 

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital serves as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital and offers a stroke telemedicine program, which connects stroke patients at St. Elizabeth’s to world-class neurologists using an audio and video connection through a telemedicine robot. When potential stroke patients arrive at St. Elizabeth’s, they receive appropriate treatments immediately to ensure the best outcomes possible. St. Elizabeth’s also has an Intensivist-led Critical Care Department and an Acute Rehabilitation Unit to provide region-leading care to maximize each patient’s recovery capabilities. 

Dickey also stresses the importance of understanding that while stroke risks vary by age, they can happen to anyone.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2009, 34 percent of people hospitalized for stroke were less than 65 years old.  

According to the American Stroke Association, risk factors for developing a stroke include the following: 

Age – The chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, many people under 65 also have strokes.

Heredity (Family History) – Your stroke risk may be greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke. 

Race – African-Americans have a much higher risk of death from a stroke than Caucasians do. This is partly because African-Americans commonly have higher risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Gender – Each year, women have more strokes than men, and stroke kills more women than men. History of preeclampsia/eclampsia or gestational diabetes, smoking and post-menopausal hormone therapy may pose special stroke risks for women. Be sure to discuss your specific risks with your doctor.

Prior Stroke, TIA or Heart Attack – The risk of stroke for someone who has already had one is many times more than that of a person who has not. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke. A person who has had one or more TIAs is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke. TIAs should be considered a medical emergency and followed up immediately with a health care professional. If you have had a heart attack, you are at higher risk of having a stroke.

To learn more about St. Elizabeth’s Stroke Telemedicine Program, visit www.steliz.org/stroke or to learn more about St. Elizabeth’s Stroke Support Group call 618-234-2120, ext. 52004. An online private support group is also available through Facebook. To join, simply log in to Facebook and search “Stroke & Recovery Support Group at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s,” then request to join the group. 

Local hospitals’ quality projects showcased at State Capitol

Shown at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association’s (IHA)
Quality Advocacy Showcase in the Illinois State Capitol April 3 with Senator Christopher Belt of the 57th District is Kimberly
Rickhoff, RN, assistant nurse manager of Telemetry B Unit at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, who highlighted infection prevention process to reduce Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection rates.
(Submitted Photo)

A number of quality improvement initiatives undertaken by HSHS Southern Illinois Division (SID) hospitals were on display in the State Capitol earlier this month as part of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association’s (IHA) Quality Advocacy Showcase. These clinical leaders met with legislators to share how their initiatives have benefited patients, families and communities while reducing health care costs. 

The HSHS Southern Illinois Division includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland. 

HSHS leaders were among over 100 hospital and health system leaders from across Illinois who met with legislators about their efforts to improve patient care and safety. In sum, 90 hospitals and health systems showcased their improvement projects at the event.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital highlighted their infection prevention process to reduce Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection rates through appropriate testing. A multidisciplinary team instituted intervention including a Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) tick sheet to guide bedside nursing; secondary review by Infection Prevention and Pharmacy on a daily basis; Infectious Disease consults as needed; and having the ordering physician or nurse practitioner determine when to test for C. diff. 

Other HSHS Southern Illinois Division hospitals showcased the positive impact of their individual quality initiatives:

• HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital shared their social determinants of health initiative to increase screening for colon cancer, a highly treated cancer when caught early.

• HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese shared their infection prevention initiative to reduce surgical site infections by deploying an infection control risk assessment at every level of facility construction projects.

• HSHS Holy Family Hospital shared their proactive approach to decreasing patient harm events through their “Stop the Line/Good Catch Program.”

• HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland highlighted their care coordination process where they screen all patients on admission to assess if the patient qualifies for end-of-life care or requires an acute care admission.

IHA’s Quality Advocacy Showcase, in its fourth year, visually demonstrates the work of physicians, nurses, quality improvement leaders and hospital administrators to develop and implement solutions to improve care. IHA produced one 30-by-42-inch poster per hospital or health system project for the event.

“The Showcase gives hospital leaders and frontline staff an important opportunity to share their efforts to advance quality care,” said IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi. “It’s essential that policymakers and elected officials see how Illinois hospitals are doing more to serve their patients and communities—through innovation and practical strategies that improve outcomes.”

Last year, St. Elizabeth’s was also awarded an ‘A’ rating from The Leapfrog Group’s fall 2018 Hospital Safety Guide for their committed to providing quality patient care and proactively implementing initiatives to continue to elevate their quality and patient safety processes. Only 43 hospitals in Illinois received an ‘A’ safety grade.

Holistic Journey serves community with massage and positive energy

The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined owner Jennifer
Deschene as she opens her massage and wellness business, Holistic
Journey, on March 20. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Holistic Journey opened its doors in January and owner Jennifer Deschene is ready to serve the O’Fallon community with massage therapy and positive energy. 

Deschene first started her business out of her Belleville home in January 2010. At the same time, she was working as a contractor out of Scott Air Force Base. 

“After a year I was ready to transition into a store front,” Deschene said. “I started off in downtown on Main Street in Belleville.”

A few years passed and Deschene decided to close her store because of overhead costs and begin massage therapy school in Swansea. 

“That’s when it all came together for me,” she said. “I could use all of what I had learned from having this business that was promoting health and wellness and different complimentary therapies like reiki and put it altogether with massage.” 

Deschene said her business primarily centers around massage therapy with various techniques from Swedish to deep tissue and also what she likes to call “integrative.” 

“I love Myofascial release,” she said. “It is working with fascial to release restriction that has built up over a long period of time. It is also similar trigger point work.” 

Deschene’s love of body work came about after she sustained a hip injury during active duty.  

“My own personal experience has really guided my interest level and taking better care of myself has helped me understand the approach with other people that are dealing with pain and restriction of motion.”

Deschene entered the Army Reserves out of Belleville in 1998, having been activated right after September 11, 2001. Her injury occurred during a stateside activation to Virginia where she was a transportation coordinator. It was there that she tore cartilage in her hip while carrying heavy equipment on her back, an event that led to chronic back pain. 

“Unfortunately, the military didn’t find it and diagnose it,” she said of her injury. “I had to find out backwards many years later.” 

Deschene said she turned to massage therapy and reiki for relief. 

“It wasn’t one of those things that became very regular for me until 2006 but I did try it and reiki,” she said. 

Deschene described reiki as working with the energy system of the body. “It’s very subtle but it can have a calming effect.” 

Reiki, a form of alternative medicine, also promotes oxygenation of the tissue and is complementary of massage therapy. 

Deschene said she moved herself and her son to O’Fallon in part due to the school system. She worked in a chiropractor’s office while steadily growing clientele for her business. 

After finally opening her business in January, Deschene said she joined the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce. 

While Holistic Journey primarily focuses on massage, she also plans on offering reiki classes where people can learn to do it for themselves. She also plans on offering guided meditation classes. 

Deschene said an ideal client at Holistic Journey is “pretty much anybody that wants to take care of themselves a little bit better.” 

“I do like to see people that are willing to really improve their lives and their health and wellness overall,” she said. 

For more information about her services and classes, visit https://www.facebook.com/HolisticJourney9/.

Prenatal and Infant Loss Memorial Services offered locally through Share Program

Jessie Mesa, RN and Share Coordinator for HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital stands with Reverend Ralph Williams and Father Linus Umoren during a recent Share Memorial Service for
families affected by the loss of a child. (Submitted Photo)

HSHS St. Elizbeth’s Hospital recently held a memorial service for parents and family members who have experienced prenatal and infant loss. These commemorative services will be held quarterly to offer comfort, closure and hope to families.

The service was held at Lake View Memorial Gardens in Fairview Heights, which generously donated the location for St. Elizabeth’s memorial stone. The stone is inscribed with the following message: “An angel opened the book of life and recorded my baby’s birth, then whispered as she closed the book, too beautiful for earth,” and “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.” 

“With one in four pregnancies ending in loss, we are pleased to be able to offer special memorial services to area families,” said Jessie Mesa, RN, Share Coordinator for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “Even though early pregnancy loss is common, the feelings bereaved parents experience after the death of a baby can be overwhelming and intense, as the death of a baby at any stage is very real. Parents not only begin a journey of recovering physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, and our hope is that these memorial services will help in this process.” 

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s Share Memorial Stone, now located at Lake View Memorial
Gardens, serves as a place of remembrance and hope for families navigating the loss of a child. (Submitted Photo)

“We sincerely thank Lake View Memorial Gardens for their donation to St. Elizabeth’s Share Program to help our grieving families on their healing journey,” noted Reverend Ralph Williams, of the Spiritual Care Department at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. 

Each year there are 900,000 early pregnancy losses, over 26,000 stillbirths, and approximately 19,000 neonatal deaths in the United States. Too often, the grief and loss felt by parents may not be understood or accepted by society. Parents are often expected to simply pick up the pieces and move on – back to “normal” life. Even close friends and family sometimes struggle to understand the depth of emotions bereaved parents may experience which can both strain relationships and unnecessarily prolong the grief process.

St. Elizabeth’s partners with Share, a national pregnancy and infant loss support organization, to best assist families as they navigate losing a child. Share provides support toward positive resolution of grief experienced at the time of/or following the death of a baby. This support encompasses emotional, physical, spiritual and social healing, as well as sustaining the family unit. 

To learn more about support services through Share, visit www.nationalshare.org or contact St. Elizabeth’s Share Coordinator at 618-234-2120, ext. 31254.   

Rock Steady Boxing O’Fallon – Fight Parkinson’s

O’Fallon, IL. – The month of April was designated Parkinson’s Awareness Month by the United States Senate in 2010. This year, the Parkinson’s Foundation’s theme is “Start a Conversation.” It is a call to action that urges people to talk about Parkinson’s with their loved ones, friends, neighbors, care team and community. 

Rock Steady Boxing O’Fallon, located at 629 West Highway 50 in O’Fallon is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 9 a.m. until noon to welcome all families who have been touched by Parkinson’s disease. Rock Steady Boxing is an exercise program for people at all levels of Parkinson’s to help manage their symptoms, maintain and maximize their level of fitness and help them stay as active as possible, thereby slowing the progression symptoms. “This program gives hope to all who participate and a sense of camaraderie,” said Steve Stephens, a coach at Rock Steady who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly 30 years ago. “We encourage all who have been affected by Parkinson’s disease to come and see what we are all about. It will change your life.” 

An estimated on million people in the U.S. live with Parkinson’s disease and every year 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD. The importance of National Parkinson’s Awareness Month is to help people learn more about the symptoms, causes and treatments of the disease.

For more information, call Rock Steady Boxing O’Fallon, Inc. at (618) 589-9080 or visit the website at www.rsbofallon.com.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to host baby safety class focused on safe sleep

Lori Winkler, Injury Prevention Nurse Coordinator for Safe Kids St. Louis at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital (Submitted Photo)

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and the Pregnancy Care Center are hosting a baby safety course on Monday, April 22, presented by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon.

Lori Winkler, Injury Prevention Nurse Coordinator for Safe Kids St. Louis at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, said the two-hour baby safety class teaches caregivers the importance of safe sleep for infants. 

Winkler said while the class is primarily for underserved populations, anybody can register for the class. Winkler said the class is targeted toward prenatal mothers who are preparing for the arrival of their child as well as fathers, grandparents and infant guardians. 

At the class, caregivers will receive a bag of safety items, a folder with educational information about caring for your infant and a Pack ’n Play (some restrictions apply).

The baby safety class is funded through a grant Cardinal Glennon has from Kohl’s Cars and is free to all of the mothers and caregivers attending. 

“I do these classes all over Missouri, St. Clair County and Madison County,” Winkler said. “I like to get [mothers] in the pre-natal stage because we like for them to be prepared instead of when they are in the hospital and saying how they don’t have a car seat or that the baby would have to sleep with them,” Winkler said. 

Per guidelines for sleep safety for infants, Winkler said babies should never sleep in a bed with an individual. She noted Pack ’n Plays are the “gold standard recommendation” for sleeping infants. 

“With a Pack ’n Play, it will fit in the same room as parents,” Winkler said. She said the baby should be in the same room with its parents for the first six month of life up to the first year. 

“Never are they to be in the same bed with anyone,” she stressed. 

“A lot of parents will get bassinets but the problem there is that the bassinets are only going to last that mom for about the first couple of months and then the baby gets too big for it,” she said. “The peak time when babies are at most risk for dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is two to four months.”

Winkler said in some households, babies may outgrow their safe sleep environment at a critical age and with limited resources available — babies may wind up in the bed with a parent. 

Another benefit to Pack ’n Plays, according to Winkler, is that they are portable. 

Because a lot of parents are moving from place to place or have another family member watching their baby, Pack ’n Plays offer flexibility. 

Winkler said those attending the baby safety classes may vary from first time parents to those on government assistance with limited resources available to them. 

“I will never turn someone away that states they do not have a safe place for their baby to sleep,” Winkler said. 

Winkler said infant mortality rate is very high nationwide. “Nationwide, about 3600 babies will die under the age of one year old from a sleep related death,” she said. Sleep related deaths includes SIDS and also accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed. 

“About 1575 babies will have the cause of death listed as SIDS — that means over 2000 of these babies are dying from something that is preventable,” Winkler said. “That’s suffocation.” 

The baby safety classes also focus on child passenger safety, poison prevention, home safety and gun safety. 

“If anyone has a firearm and does not have a lock, we have gun locks available that we will provide them at no cost,” she said. 

Winkler said an important takeaway from the baby safety class that all parents should know is that infants should always sleep alone, on their backs, in an approved sleep environment. 

The baby safety class, in partnership with St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, will take place April 22 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Belleville Health Center fourth floor education room at 180 S. Third Street. 

Registration is required by April 11. You can sign up at the Pregnancy Care Center or call 314-268-2700 ext. 1309 and leave name and phone number to confirm your reservation. 

Get paid to start your health care career

Lleyna Gorka, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s Patient Care Tech program facilitator congratulates Cailey Smotts for completing the training program. 
(Submitted Photo)

Paid Advertisement

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health care occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Health care occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups but the costs of getting trained for clinical care positions may be higher than some can afford. HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital looked at this issue and developed a new program to create a bridge into the industry. 

The hospital’s new Patient Care Tech (PCT) program began as an opportunity for current colleagues to train on-the-job to open additional job paths within the hospital and HSHS system. Its start-up success has led to opening up the application process to the public. 

The PCT program is an 8-week paid training program that combines classroom education with hands-on clinical experience. The program consists of two classroom days every week for four weeks. Time is also spent working on a hospital unit for the first four weeks, followed by a four-week internship supported by preceptors. 

Some patient care technician programs require students to pay for the program, which could be cost prohibitive to some who are working full-time already and may not have the means or time. St. Elizabeth’s program is somewhat unique because participants learn on the job and, upon successful completion of the program objectives, have a position at the hospital. 

“The initial idea was to have a mechanism for our internal colleagues, who already had the heart and compassion for clinical care, with on-the-job training to provide the next steps towards a fulfilling career in hands-on patient care as a patient care tech,” said Regina Peterson, DNP, RN, Division Director Clinical Education and Professional Development, SID Float Pool and SID RN Residency. 

The first cohort of the PCT program started in January and the students celebrated their transition ceremony, a form of a graduation for the participants, on March 19, 2019 to celebrate the completion of the program. 

“If it wasn’t for the PCT program, I would not be here with you today,” said Cailey Smotts at the transition ceremony. A member of the first PCT cohort, Smotts worked in many health-related fields including in a pharmacy, a physical therapy clinic, as medic in the army and currently as an EMT but her previous experiences, though valuable, didn’t translate a into the necessary certification to get hired as a clinical nurse assistant or other patient care positions.  

“The first cohort was composed of beautiful people from many different backgrounds who came together to build a small family,” Smotts said. “St. Elizabeth’s Hospital made it apparent to us quickly that we were not part of something ordinary or small, but rather we were joining a family that had a larger mission.”

Program facilitator Lleyna Gorka, RN, BSN, shared that many of the first cohort had the passion for caring and this gave them the opportunity to bring their joy and mission-driven personality to a higher level of care. Members included current employees from Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services and other clinical support departments within the hospital. 

“It’s a paid opportunity to learn,” said Gorka. “This program provides experiences, tools and onsite training to enhance skills students may have gathered from past positions and give them added support to grow in the clinical care field. I’m truly proud of the first group and very excited to continue to grow the program.” 

“With St. Elizabeth’s PCT program, we are instilling not just the clinical skills but the culture and tradition that comes with the long history of service that St. Elizabeth’s has,” she added. 

The second cohort will start in April 2019. Applications are currently being accepted for the next cohort of the PCT program. Applications are available online at www.hshscareers.jobs. To learn more about the program email Gorka at Lleyna.Gorka@hshs.org or call 618-234-2120, ext. 12548. 

Stop the Bleed: The simple step to save a life

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s EMS System Outreach team members conducted a Stop the Bleed training program at the East Belleville YMCA on March 3, 2019.  The attendees learned the importance of direct pressure and tourniquet use in order to save a life by stopping critical bleeding.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Emergency Medical Services has adopted a national campaign and is bringing education to the public to be prepared to help someone in a bleeding emergency. 

Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and call-to-action. It is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Brad Perry, EMT-P and Manager of Emergency Services at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, said when people experience physical trauma, often they bleed to death versus dying of their injuries. This is an outcome that has been learned through recent war and events like the Boston Marathon bombing.

“With the increase of trauma due to gunshots, explosions and so forth, we are realizing that a lot of people could survive these devastations by simply stopping the bleeding.”

Perry said the campaign and educational program really expanded after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. 

“What we found out was that the marathon bombing happened in an area that was densely populated with people who knew first aid,” he said. “People jumped right in and started to control the bleeding of the injured. Due to these actions, there were a lot of survivors – many ended up needing prosthetic legs or were maimed but yet, they survived.” 

Perry said Stop the Bleed has only grown and expanded since its induction – it began with educating trained professionals, then moved toward schools and now – the general public. 

“It’s almost to a point where if you don’t carry a tourniquet in your purse or briefcase, you should,” Perry said. “The push is to make this a routine part of first aid that everybody should know.” 

Perry said it’s especially important to educate the general public because of the increase amount of mass casualty events. 

As bystanders are always the first on the scene of a trauma, Perry said it’s important to learn the steps to stopping a bleed. 

After a bystander calls 911, they should: 

1) Apply Pressure with Hands

• Expose to find where the bleeding is coming from and apply firm, steady pressure to the bleeding site with both hands if possible

2) Apply Dressing and Press

• Expose to find where the bleeding is coming from and apply firm, steady pressure to the bleeding site with bandages or clothing

3) Apply Tourniquet(s) 

• If the bleeding doesn’t stop, place a tourniquet as high on the extremity as possible above the wound. The tourniquet may be applied and secured over clothing. 

Perry said a lot of people are intimidated by tourniquets because they think they can do more damage with them but “this is life over limb.” It is important to note that advancements in prosthetics have lessened the stigma around them from in the past.

“Yes, they could lose a limb from a tourniquet, but they could also die,” he said.

In April 2018, St. Elizabeth’s was recognized by the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) as a Region 4 EMS System Resource Hospital. 

“We are now a resource for the public and our EMS partners for anything related to emergency field care,” Perry said. “Bringing Stop the Bleed education is one of many ways we strive to be the health and wellness destination for our region.”

“Having everyone know CPR has really become routine and lives are being saved but people bleeding due to trauma has gotten a lot of attention lately,” Perry said. “In our eyes, it is one of those things where one person can actually save a life by themselves.” 

St. Elizabeth’s has two outreach educators for the Stop the Bleed program. Perry said they will go to places such as the YMCA, the library or “any group of people that want to learn.” If an organization is interested in scheduling a Stop the Bleed presentation, they can contact Perry at Brad.Perry@hshs.org. The program is a 90-minute course including a formal presentation and hands-on practice of direct pressure application, wound packing, and use of a tourniquet.

Despite concerns, measure to tax vaping products the same as tobacco products moves forward

By Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network

Lawmakers plan further discussions on whether vaping products that contain nicotine should be taxed the same as other tobacco products in Illinois.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, got Senate Bill 1124 got out of committee Tuesday after he said there’d be an amendment to address concerns raised by opponents.

The measure would wrap electronic cigarettes, also known as vape products, into the Tobacco Products Tax Act of 1995.

Danne Reinke, from the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, testified in opposition to the bill Tuesday. He said the measure would tax vaping products at 36 percent. He said consumers can use vaping products to help quit smoking cigarettes.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue said: “E-cigarettes and vapor products are currently assessed the general merchandise rate of 6.25 percent.”

“Is bad public policy,” Reinke said. “[Vaping is] the leading cessation product.”

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, also had concerns about the measure.

“My biggest problem is taxing it as something it’s not,” Hutchinson said. “At its core, they’re not tobacco products. To tax them as something they’re not, it misses the opportunity. I’m not opposed to taxation, but we need to taxing it as it actually is.”

Link said he’s open to continued conversation about the issue, but said there are real concerns.

“We have an epidemic going on,” Link said. “In our schools, we’re having a total epidemic with it. We got to look at this in a different manner.”

“I’ve seen plenty of people who do stop smoking with vape products, but I also know we have a fear of the rising use among kids, so it’s complicated and I get that, but they’re not tobacco products so it’s hard for me to make that jump,” Hutchinson said.

Link said also has another bill, Senate Bill 1864, he got out of committee with the promise for amendments. That measure would add e-cigarettes and vaporizers into the Smoke Free Illinois Act, which bans smoking in places of public accommodation.

Colorectal Cancer: Preventable and Treatable

Dr. Deirdre Hart

While colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in men and in women, but the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined it is most important to know that it is preventable and highly treatable if detected early.  

Dr. Deirdre Hart, colon and rectal surgeon with Lincoln Surgical Associates, Ltd. and on staff at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, said there are risk factors people should be aware of when it comes to colorectal cancer including genetics, family history, excessive alcohol and tobacco use and increasing age. 

“Part of the problem with colon and rectal cancer is you tend to be asymptomatic until you reach the later stages and have problems with obstruction or being blocked up or bleeding,” Hart said. Hart works on the entire colon and also performs colonoscopy procedures. 

Hart shared some signs and symptoms that may represent colorectal cancer are changes in bowel habits, changes in stool frequency or stool size, bloody stool, fatigue or unexplained weight loss.

“The guidelines for screening have recently changed,” Hart said. “It’s now recommended you undergo screening at the age of 45, which is different than age 50 that everybody is used to.” According to Hart, if you have a first degree relative (parents or siblings) that has had colon cancer, it is recommended that you start screening at age 40 or 10 years before that person was diagnosed.  “If you had a family member diagnosed at age 40, you would want to start at age 30.” 

Hart said while there are several methods of colon screening, “the gold standard is colonoscopy.”

“The goal with a colonoscopy is to find polyps before they become cancer,” she said. “Most colon cancer starts as polyps and over several years change into colon cancer.” There is a spectrum of different types of polyps and they can change into colon cancer at different rates depending on the type.

“If we do take out polyps during a colonoscopy, we let the pathologist look at them and that helps determine when you need your next colonoscopy,” Hart said. If polyps are too big to be taken out during a colonoscopy, it could mean that a section of the colon would be removed during a separate surgical procedure. 

“For most colon cancer, once we have a diagnosis, we do imaging studies to make sure it hasn’t spread outside the colon,” she said. “If it hasn’t, the primary treatment is surgery. For rectal cancer, sometimes we recommend chemotherapy and radiation before surgery, depending on the imaging findings.” 

“Generally, people aren’t great at screening for colon cancer,” Hart said. “A significant portion of the population does not get a screening in any form at the recommended intervals. We are finding cancer at a later stage because they were not worked up until they had problems.” 

Hart said over the past several years, colon cancer incidences have actually decreased, but screening is still not taking place as much as it needs to. 

“I think it’s up to both the general population and the medical community to work together to help increase the screenings that we do,” Hart said. 

Colorectal Cancer Awareness month is observed nationally every March to challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths, raising awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support. 

“I think there are a lot of people that put it off and don’t want to be screened because they don’t feel like they have any symptoms,” she said. “That’s why I think it’s important for people to know that we want you to get screened when you’re not having any problems to prevent you from having problems.”

Hart said individuals with no polyps or family history of colon cancer may receive a colonoscopy every 10 years, but that interval can be shortened after discussion between a patient and their doctor. 

“In the older population, the incidences are going down and screenings play into that,” she said. “In the younger age group, we are seeing an increase of colon and rectal cancers and I think that does have to do with diet and environmental factors.” 

Hart said herself and gastroenterologists at St. Elizabeth’s are working to try and screen as many people as possible, and she encourages an open dialogue between patients and physicians about scheduling a colonoscopy. 

To further educate the general public, Dr. Hart is speaking on colorectal cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms, plus current screening methods and treatment on Thursday, March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in St. Elizabeth’s boardroom. Seating is limited and RSVP’s are required. To register, email stemarketing@HSHS.org. 

Oasis cuts ribbon on O’Fallon-Shiloh operation

SHILOH – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined Oasis as they celebrated their open house at the Shiloh Senior Center located at 7 Park Drive in Shiloh, IL. The festivities began on Friday, February 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by the open house. Participants enjoyed class demonstrations, health screenings, entertainment, and refreshments. The mission of Oasis is to enrich the lives of older adults. 

  “We are pleased to work closely with community leaders as we expand quality programming,” stated Paul Weiss, President of Oasis. “These rich offerings in the Shiloh-O’Fallon area will provide older adults with exciting educational, health and wellness, and social connection opportunities.”

Oasis is a pioneer in the field of healthy aging, empowering adults to lead healthy lives. Whether a retired baby boomer or someone simply interested in maintaining an active lifestyle, adults now have greater access to quality programs in art, entertainment, health and wellness, history, technology and more. To register for the FREE Aging Mastery Program at the Shiloh Senior Center or to learn more about Oasis, call 314.862.4859 ext. 24 or visit stloasis.org.

Opposition flips, Illinois House passes Tobacco 21 law

By Cole Lauterbach, Illinois News Network

Illinois is one step closer to becoming the eighth state to raise the legal age for buying and using tobacco and vaping products to 21.

House Representatives passed the bill Tuesday afternoon. State Rep. Camille Lilly, the Oak Park Democrat who sponsored the bill, said Medicaid in Illinois spends about $2 billion a year for treatment of tobacco-related diseases.

“It is important that we move forward here in the state of Illinois and give our youth a living chance,” she said.

After previously opposing the change, Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said his teenage daughter changed his mind.

“She said ‘You guys need to do something,’ and I said ‘Caroline, I’m doing something. I’m changing my mind and I will be voting for this bill,’ ” he said.

Others were still skeptical, saying that people who are legally able to vote for president should be able to make the decision whether or not to use tobacco products.

“I think there’s a point at which you have to say you’re either an adult or you’re not,” said state Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville.

Republican Toni McCombie said the law is likely to have unintended consequences.

“We have got to quit chipping away at our personal liberties and our tax bases,” she said.

Estimates on the bill say the state would lose up to $40 million per year in tobacco tax revenue, but Lilly said that estimate isn’t accurate because it assumes everyone would suddenly abide by the law.

Seven states have set the legal age for purchasing and using tobacco and other nicotine products at 21.

In Illinois, 38 municipalities had already raised the minimum age to 21, Lilly said.

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar bill in 2018. He said that raising the age people can purchase tobacco products would push residents to buy from non-licensed vendors or stores in neighboring states.

“Since no neighboring state has raised the age for purchasing tobacco products, local businesses and the State will see decreased revenue while public health impacts continue,” he said at the time.

A number of public health organizations supported the bill.

“Research shows that Tobacco 21 laws can make a tremendous impact on the health of our communities as well as reduce healthcare costs from tobacco-related diseases,” said Kathy Drea from the Lung Association. “This law is proven to protect children, reduce smoking rates, save on healthcare costs and save lives. In fact, Chicago saw a 36 percent decline in the use of tobacco products among teens after passing Tobacco 21 in 2016.”

E-cigarette maker JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns said the company supported the change.

Memorial East will host Picky Eaters versus Problem Feeders

SHILOH –  A program to assist parents and caregivers regarding troubles feeding children ages 18 months to seven years will be held Tuesday, March 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Memorial Hospital East, Community Conference Room, second floor, 1404 Cross Street, Shiloh,

Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders will be presented by Rosanna Harmon, occupational therapist, with Memorial’s Rehab Services Department will present tips and techniques to assist providing optimum nutrition for younger children.

This program is free but registration is required: call toll free (833) 607-3627 or visit www.mymemorialnetwork.com/events