Lose with Me!

August 15th, 2014

Want to lose some weight? Don’t go it alone, let HealthSteps, an award winning health education and exercise program, help you. Join them for Lose with Me! a 12-week session focused on helping you obtain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Classes are taught by Jennifer Smith and include goal setting to get you started, exercise planning to get you moving, nutrition education to ensure you eat well, food journaling to keep you on track, and peer support to keep you motivated! If you’re looking to lose weight as a part of building a healthier lifestyle for you and/or your family then, Lose with Me! is the program for you!

Class Time: Wednesdays, 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
September 17 – December 3
Location: Saint Hyacinth Conference Room, 96 Campus Ave., 2nd Floor
Cost: $99
Registration Required 777-8898

HealthSteps is part of the Prevention & Wellness Services offered through St. Mary’s Health System.

Call today and start your way to a new healthy lifestyle in which you will feel better, have more energy, meet great people, and enjoy exercise even more! For more information or to register, call HealthSteps at 777-8898 or visit them on the web at: www.stmarysmaine.com

Instructor Jennifer SmithJennifer Smith holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine with a concentration in nutrition and a minor in education, and is a nationally certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, speed coach, and tobacco cessation helper. Jennifer will help you review your eating behaviors and will instruct you as to how your eating habits affect your metabolism. She will teach you the skills you need including reading food labels, meal planning, portion control, and more to keep you eating healthy beyond the 12-week program. She’ll also help you to identify your barriers to exercise, to brainstorm strategies to overcome such obstacles, and to set goals beyond the 12-week program.

Back-to-School Sleep Routine by Jennifer Radel

August 15th, 2014

The lazy days of summer are coming to a close. School will be starting soon and it will be “early to bed, early to rise” once again. I think I can speak for most parents when I say that getting the kids back into the school year routine is challenging at best making mornings in particular, miserable. This year I vowed to make it easier for all of us. I’m fortunate enough that I work in healthcare and have access to the experts. I solicited some advice from sleep and behavioral medicine specialist, Thaddeus Shattuck, MD from St. Mary’s Center for Sleep Disorders.

First of all, how much sleep do children need? “While every child is different,” says Dr. Shattuck, “generally speaking, children between the ages of 5 and 12 should get somewhere around 10 to 11 hours of sleep, ages 12 to18, about 8.5 to 9.5 hours sleep.”

If your kids are used staying up until 9:00pm in the summer, don’t expect them to suddenly fall asleep at 8pm. A simple hour change can translate into sleepless nights. We all know a child who is not well rested will have difficulty learning and adjusting to a new teacher and classroom routine.

Dr. Shattuck suggests gradually setting back bed time. Put your kids to bed 15 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 15 minutes earlier each morning. Ideally you’d like them adjusted to their schedule a week before the start of school.

Practicing good sleep hygiene is also helpful. Start winding down after dinner. Taking a bath, reading a book, and listening to soothing music will help make the transition from busy day to restful night easier. Then, make sure your child’s room is cool, quiet and dark or dimly lit at bedtime.

“Turn off all your electronics an hour before bedtime,” says Dr. Shattuck. “Light from a tablet, laptop, or smart phone is at the blue end of the color spectrum. This color is common in daylight, but not at night. Using these devices before bed can disrupt your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock. Don’t leave these devices charging next to your bed either. Even small amounts of that light can trick your brain into thinking it’s morning and wake you from a peaceful sleep.”

In a nutshell, the key to a good night’s sleep is having a bedtime routine and keeping it year round. “Whether it is summer, Christmas vacation, or the weekend, maintaining the nighttime
ritual is best for your child,” says Dr. Shattuck. “You can still have the occasional late night to watch the fireworks or tell ghost stories by the campfire, but try to get back on track after that.”
Something to keep in mind for next summer!

Now, off to complete my back-to-school shopping list.


Dr. Thaddeus Shattuck is the Medical Director at the Center for Sleep Disorders at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. He earned his master’s degree in Public Health from The Dartmouth Institute and his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. He completed his fellowship in Sleep Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Shattuck is the president of the Maine Sleep Society and a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is board certified in Sleep Medicine and Psychiatry.

Jennifer Radel has been the Community Relations Manager at St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston, Maine for eight years.  On a daily basis she gets to work with some of the best health care providers in the State of Maine, and routinely picks their brains for the best ways to keep her family and friends healthy. Jennifer is a mom of two boys and wife who volunteers with several community groups. She is on the Board of Directors for Literacy Volunteers-Androscoggin. Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, Jennifer spent nearly 15 years working in television, mainly as a news producer in upstate New York and Portland, Maine. During that time she received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence among other awards for journalism.


The 4-1-1 on Sun Protection

July 18th, 2014

Many Mainers endure the harsh winters because the summers are extraordinary here. The icy winter is a mere memory and “mud season” has subsided. For these precious few months we strip ourselves of our wooly layers and muck boots. Boating, hiking, camping, and swimming are often the order of the day. All this outdoor fun is wonderfully rejuvenating for body, mind, and spirit. However, all that time in the sun can have a detrimental effect on unprotected skin including: burning, premature aging, and development of pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions.

Sunscreens and sunblocks are a known, effective means of reducing exposure to UV rays. Visit any drug store and there is veritable mountain of choices using terms such as “SPF,” “sunblock,” “sunscreen,” “broad spectrum,” “water-resistant,” etc. So, what’s it all mean? Here’s the 4-1-1 on sun protection:

SPF refers to the Sun Protective Factor of sunscreen, essentially its ability to block UVB rays, not UVA. However, the SPF numbers can be confusing. A lotion with an SPF of 30 does not have twice the amount of protective power than SPF 15. In actuality, a lotion with an SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks approximately 97%, while SPF 50 blocks approximately 98%.

Sunscreens vs. Sunblock
While sunscreen and sunblock both protect against sun damage, these terms are not interchangeable.

Sunscreen provides a colorless layer on the skin that absorbs most (but not all!) of the harmful UV rays. The lotion needs time to seep into your skin to form that protective layer so it must be applied 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. After about 1 ½ to 2 hours of being outdoors, you’ll want to reapply.

In June 2012, the FDA established a new standard for new labeling sunscreen to include “Broad Spectrum.” “Broad Spectrum” means its ability to absorb both UVB and UVA rays. Combine that with an SPF 15 (or higher) and you will be protected from sunburn, and, when used as directed, will reduce your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Sunscreen not labeled “Broad Spectrum” or that has an SPF value lower than15 will only prevent sunburn.

Sunblock, often made from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, does what its name describes. It is physical barrier that blocks UV rays from being absorbed by the skin. While sunblock offers better protection against the sun, it leaves an opaque layer of lotion on the skin – not a look most beach-goers are going for but a great option for very young children or those with significant risk for skin cancer.

Water Resistant
The FDA requires sunscreen manufacturers to let consumers know how long they will have the SPF protection printed on the label while swimming or perspiring. Two times are permitted based on current testing methods: 40 minutes or 80 minutes. This is what is considered “water resistant.”

The best protection is to use these products in conjunction with the proper clothing: wide brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants. Keeping out of the sun altogether is another option. Not ideal given our short Maine summers, but better that the consequences: sun damage or, worse, skin cancer.

The Clinic at WalMart will be open this July 4th

July 3rd, 2014

A reminder this holiday, the Clinic at Walmart provides walk-in care for your non-emergency care. These can be conditions like common colds, sore throats, ear aches, etc…

Clinic Hours:

Friday, July 4th – 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Saturday – 8:00 am to 6 pm

Sunday – 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

The clinic is located at 100 Mount Auburn Avenue in Auburn. The number is 330-3900.

Hospitalists at St. Mary’s Recognized for Quality of Care

June 10th, 2014
Dr Pena and Karen Richardson-1sm

Left to right: Karen Richardson, Hospitalist RN and Chief Hospitalist Dr. Amber Pena

Congratulations to the team of Sound Physicians hospitalists at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. These specialists have been recognized for providing exceptional clinical care and patient experience to hospitalized patients. At their recent annual meeting, Sound Physicians presented St. Mary’s hospitalists awards for the Highest Performing Hospital in the Atlantic Region and the Most Improved Hospitalist Team in the Atlantic Region. These awards were based upon performance on a number of quality/safety outcome measures from core measures performance, length of stay and patient experience scores. Accepting the awards were Chief Hospitalist Dr. Amber Peña and Karen Richardson, Hospitalist RN.

Sound Physicians is a leading hospitalist organization that provides care to patients while they are in the hospital at St. Mary’s and for more than 100 hospitals nationwide. The hospitalists at St Mary’s are committed to improve the quality and reduce the cost of care in our community. They work closely with a patient’s primary care provider to establish a seamless transition in care from hospital to home.

St. Mary’s Primary Care Practices Earn National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

June 2nd, 2014

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that all 10 Primary Care practices at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center have received recognition from the Patients-Centered Medical Home 2011 (PCMH 2011) program for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships.

The patient-centered medical home is a model of care emphasizing care coordination and communication to transform primary care into “what patients want it to be.” Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and improve patients’ and providers’ reported experiences of care. The PCMH identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their persona clinicians, instead of treating patient care as the sum of several episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is tended to by clinician-led care teams, who provide for all the patient’s health care needs and coordinate treatments across the health care system. Medical home clinicians demonstrate the benchmarks of patient-centered care, including open scheduling, expanded hours and appropriate use of proven health information systems.

“We are proud that practices within the St. Mary’s Provider Network have been recognized with this prestigious NCQA status since 2011.” said Doug Miller, Director of Operations for St. Mary’s Provider Network. “It demonstrates the commitment on the part of our providers and staff to deliver the highest level of care to our patients and creating long-lasting healthcare partnerships with them.”

“The patient-centered medical home raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology, and partnership between clinicians and patients, said NCQA President Margaret E. Kane. “PCMH recognition shows that St. Mary’s primary care practices have the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time.”

To receive recognition, which is valid every three years, the practices demonstrated the ability to meet the programs key elements embodying characteristics of the medical home. The standards are aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-

Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

St. Mary’s primary care practices met key program components in the following areas:
· Written standards for patient access and continuity of care
· Use of patient feedback materials
· Appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information
· Responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care for individual patients and for the entire patient population
· Adaptation to patients cultural and linguistic needs
· Use of information technology for prescription, test, and referral tracking and coordination with other health care providers
· Use of evidence-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions
· Measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance

To make an appointment with a St. Mary’s provider recognized by the NCQA, please call the Physician Referral Line at 777-8899 or visit www.stmarysmaine.com.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredit and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers, and researchers.

National Cancer Survivors Day® Observed Sunday, June 1

May 23rd, 2014

Noreen LaBatt National Cancer Survivors Day® (NCSD) is Sunday, June 1, 2014. This 27th annual celebration of life will be held in hundreds of communities worldwide. Cancer survivors, caregivers, family members, friends, and healthcare professionals will unite to show that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive, and even inspiring.

The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in collaboration with Central Maine Medical Center, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and the Lakes Region Oncology Nursing Society is hosting the Hollywood-themed event, featuring keynote speaker Noreen Labatt, a full-time Mom who turned her cancer experience into a life-affirming comedy act. There will be activities for cancer survivors and caregivers of all ages including reiki, self-massage, mindfulness meditation, healthy cooking demonstrations, opportunities for photographs, frame-making, music and more. Light refreshments will be served. The event takes place on Sunday, June 1st, 2014, at The Dempsey Center, 29, Lowell St., Lewiston, Maine from noon – 3pm. Reservations are requested – contact The Dempsey Center at 795-8250. This local event is part of a worldwide celebration coordinated by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation and supported nationally by Coping® with Cancer magazine.

“Come walk the red carpet at the Hollywood inspired event and learn how surviving cancer is more than just living. It’s an attitude about life and living each day to the fullest,” says Maureen Higgins, Cancer Health Outreach Educator for The Dempsey Center. “You will find our community’s NCSD event filled with joy, camaraderie, hope, compassion, faith, and love as we honor cancer survivors for their strength and courage. Come listen to inspiring speakers, connect with others, enjoy some music and participate in a variety of wellness activities.”

Anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life, is a cancer survivor, according to the NCSD Foundation. Nearly 14 million Americans are now living with and beyond a diagnosis of cancer. In the United States, men have a slightly less than 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the risk is a little more than 1 in 3. Learning about this disease is crucial, because many forms of cancer can be prevented and most cured if detected early.

Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in longer survival, and therefore, a growing number of cancer survivors. However, a cancer diagnosis can leave a host of problems in its wake. Physical, financial, and emotional hardships often persist after diagnosis and treatment. Survivors may face many challenges, such as limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, financial hardships, difficulty finding employment, psychosocial struggles, and a lack of understanding from family and friends. In light of these difficulties, our community needs to focus on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.

“Despite these challenges, cancer survivors live full, productive lives and serve as an inspiration to all of us. Whether in Hollywood or in Maine, they are the true stars.” says Jen Hazen, Oncology Nurse Navigator, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

This year’s local National Cancer Survivors Day celebration of life will be held in our community at
WHERE: The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, 29 Lowell St., Lewiston, Maine
WHEN: June 1, 2014, noon – 3pm.
RSVP: 795-8250
Visit NCSD.org for more information about National Cancer Survivors Day.

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion Recognized as an Innovative Leader in Long-Term Care

May 19th, 2014

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion is the proud recipient of the 2014 Innovation of the Year Award from LeadingAge Maine/New Hampshire. D’Youville Pavilion was chosen for its development and implementation of a specialized staff education program on its new state-of-the-art Specialty Care Rehab Suite.

The CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited Suite was designed as a 12-bed rehabilitation unit specializing in the treatment of individuals with medically-complex conditions and is a companion program to their successful Transitional Rehabilitation Center, which is also CARF accredited. In an effort to prepare staff for a more acute patient population, d’Youville Pavilion’s nursing leadership team, nurse educators and other colleagues created a nursing competencies curriculum that engaged best practices from across the field of post-acute care. Part of the goal for developing this educational program was to incorporate new and innovative training models into practice that can serve as a template and be replicated throughout the facility. This effort would ensure quality outcomes for patients and residents. In addition to being part of a hospital-based health system, the field of rehabilitation and nursing care is constantly evolving and the patient populations are presenting with more complicated diagnoses than we have seen in previous generations. In order to ensure the best possible treatment of patients and residents, the facility recognized the need for an enhanced educational training program.

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, a 210-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitative nursing canter, is the flagship component of the elder care services offered through St. Mary’s Health System. With a state-of-the-art rehab center, specialized memory impairment unit, skilled and long term care, d’Youville Pavilion provides residents with the most advanced technology and skilled nursing care in the region. More importantly, they offer respect, care, and compassion to every resident.

LeadingAge Maine/New Hampshire also recognized St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion with the 2012 Innovation Award. Other accolades include recognition from the AHCA for safely reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs, the Maine Health Care Association’s (MHCA) Celebrating Excellence in Quality Award, the MHCA’s Celebrating Excellence in Innovation Award, and the Dorland Health Silver Crown Award Honorable Mention. For more information, please visit www.stmarysmaine.com and click on “Senior Health.”

St. Mary’s Welcomes a New Provider and Physiatry Service

May 19th, 2014

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center introduces a new Physiatry practice. This is a new service was created based on a significant need within Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, and other departments to treat back and neck pain. At the helm of the practice is Stephan Bamberger, MD. Dr. Bamberger provides alternative, non-opiate management of pain through Interventional Pain Management. Some of the procedures he will perform include: facet joint injections, epidural injections, nerve blocks spinal cord stimulation, advanced radio frequency ablation, and vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty.

Dr. Bamberger is a graduate of Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and a Diplomate with the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He joins St. Mary’s after 20 years of private group practice with Medical Rehabilitation Associates.
St. Mary’s Physiatry Service is located at Auburn Medical Office Building, 15 Gracelawn Avenue, in Auburn. Dr. Bamberger is seeing patients on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. For appointment information or an appointment by referral, please call 333-4799.

Stephan Bamberger, MD

Stephan Bamberger, MD

Chest Pain: Treatment and Care in an Emergency

May 9th, 2014

The right decisions can save a life a life in an emergency. Come and learn more about: chest pain symptoms, what happens after you dial 9-1-1, heart attack vs. chest pain, ER chest pain treatment, and cardiac rehab information. Plus, tour of our Emergency Department, learn the basics of CPR and exercises for heart health, watch demonstrations of a personal emergency response device and an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
The presenters will be Chris Bowe, MD, Medical Director of St. Mary’s Emergency Department, an accredited Chest Pain Center, and Daphne Russell, AS, EMT-P, CP, Prevention and Wellness Coordinator with United Ambulance.
The event will be held on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at 5:30 pm in the Lepage Conference Center at 99 Campus Avenue in Lewiston.  Paramedic Transporting Patient by GurneyTo reserve a spot, please call 777-8593.