Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

Meeting Goals with Coaching

health-coaching-barberLinda Barber is no stranger to Ringgold County Hospital. She’s now retired, but for 23 years she was the front desk receptionist and the first person many patients met when they came to the hospital. There have been a lot of changes at RCH since she retired, including the addition of a Health Coach in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. Linda has been working with coach Leslie Dredge-Murphy, RN for almost a year.
“As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been overweight,” said Linda. “I’ve tried just about everything over the years, and I just couldn’t get a handle on it.”

Leslie suggested she keep a journal of everything she eats each day as well as tracking her daily exercise. “I’d never done that before. I bring in my journals every week when we meet so she can see what I’m doing. She keeps me accountable.” It’s working. Slowly and steadily Linda is losing weight and meeting her goals. She currently weighs less than she has in many years. When asked what the real secrets to her success are, she said simply, “Journaling, accountability, and exercise.” She exercises twice a day and averages 6,000 steps each day. “I’m on a low-carb diet, but I eat what I want,” she explained. “I just keep track of it now in my journal. Dieting alone just didn’t work for me. It’s the exercise that’s making the big difference.”

Because she’s retired, she has the time to exercise in the morning and again in the afternoon. Instead of the 4:30 wake-up call she was accustomed to when she was working, she now takes it easy and stays in bed until 5:30. “I have so much more energy now. I don’t get winded when I’m walking anymore,” she said. Linda is a real advocate for the health coaching program and Leslie Dredge-Murphy in particular. “I would definitely recommend her – in fact I already have! She’s been very good for me. I don’t want to quit!” She added that she really appreciates what the hospital is doing by providing this service. “We have a weight loss group that meets once a month and more people are becoming involved. With more encouragement, it makes it even better for everyone!”With two sons and their families nearby, a new house under construction, and plenty of friends and activities, Linda’s new-found energy is helping her stay active.

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If you, or someone you know, is interested in health coaching services through RCH’s Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, call 641-464-4534 for an appointment. The service is free to Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.

Back to School Safety Reminders

RCH Newsletter August 2016

Summertime offers a nice reprieve from the constant shuffling of papers, carpools and heavy backpacks of the school year. But once fall rolls around again, parents and kids have a lot to juggle.  As your children march out the door on that first day of school – and every day – there is really only one priority: Nothing is more important than making sure they get home safely.

Lighten the Load

When you move your child’s backpack after he or she drops it at the door, does it feel like it contains 40 pounds of rocks? Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, like back and shoulder pain, and poor posture. The American Chiropractic Association recommends a backpack weigh no more than 10 percent of a child’s weight.

Remember: A roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack. Using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.

Help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it’s not essential, leave it at home.

Travel safely

Some 25 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus. Designed for safety, school buses are the safest way to get to and from school. Riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in the family vehicle and 10 times safer than walking.

While school buses are, by far, the safest way for students to travel, children need to do their part to stay alert and aware of their surroundings to prevent injury. The National Safety Council urges parents to teach their children safety rules for getting on and off the bus, and for exercising good behavior while riding. When waiting for the bus, children need to stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing. While on the bus, they need to stay in their seats and keep the aisle clear of books and bags. After a long day at school, it’s important that they pay attention when getting off the bus at home– especially if they need to cross the street in front of the bus.

Watch your head

Every three minutes a child in the U.S. is treated for a sports-related concussion. Don’t think it’s just football players – or boys – who bang their heads. An estimated 3.8 million athletes a year suffer concussion, though the majority are underreported and underdiagnosed, according to the Brain Trauma Foundation. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school athletes, but they are significant and on the rise in younger athletes.

If your child gets hit on the head, do not assume he just had his bell rung, or she was just dinged. Concussions are very serious and always require medical attention. Signs and symptoms of concussion include:

• Confusion

• Forgetfulness

• Glassy eyes

• Disorientation

• Clumsiness or poor balance

• Slowed speech

• Changes in mood, behavior or personality

Research indicates most children and teens who have a concussion feel better within a couple of weeks. However, for some, symptoms may last for months or longer and can lead to short- and long-term problems affecting how they think, act, learn and feel.

Following a concussion, athletes of all ages are advised to undergo a series of steps before returning to play: rest, then light exercise and sport-specific training. Only then should they be cleared to resume contact drills.

Heads Up

The National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking – specifically walking while texting. According to a study by The Nielsen Company, kids age 13 to 17 send more than 3,400 texts a month. That’s seven messages every hour they are awake.

Before your children head out, remind them of these year-round safety tips:• Never walk while texting or talking on the phone.

• If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk.

• Never cross the street while using an electronic device

• Do not walk with headphones on.

• Be aware of the surroundings.

• Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available; if a child must walk on the street, he or she should face oncoming traffic.

• Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street.

• Cross only at crosswalks.

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Five Summer Reminders

Bug Bites

Bug bites can be annoying and itchy. They can also seriously affect your children if they bring an infectious disease like West Nile or Lyme disease. Prevent bug bites and infection this summer by avoiding buggy situations, using a good bug repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves when in buggy areas.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that can be life threatening. In heat stroke, the body’s core temperature rises. Much like a fever, extremely high body temperatures can lead to permanent damage. Some signs of heat stroke include:
• confusion
• short, rapid breathing
• stopping sweating
• a fast pulse
If your child has these signs, call 911 immediately.

RCH Newsletter July 2016Food Poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 76 million people suffer from food poisoning. Summertime is full of picnics, and picnics bring food out into the open where it can stay warm too long. So if you take a tip from our Health Coach and go on a picnic with your children, avoid an outbreak of food poisoning by following simple guidelines about food safety and food handling. Keep perishable food cold and covered. Common sense will prevent you and your friends and families from coming down with a food-borne illness.

Eye Damage

UV rays in sunlight can damage your children’s eyes. If they are out in the sunlight in the summertime, get them to wear sunglasses that filter out UV light. Otherwise, sunglasses are opening up their pupils by making things darker, which actually lets in more UV rays, not less. Be sure their sunglasses filter out 100 percent of UV light and try your best to have them wear them, especially around water, which can reflect a tremendous about of light to their eyes.

Sunburn

Once your baby reaches 6 months of age, it’s time to introduce sunscreens. Choose a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that offers a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Look at the active ingredients; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are good choices, because these physical filters don’t rely on absorption of chemicals and are less apt to cause a skin reaction. Continue to cover your baby with a hat and protective clothing. Use sunscreen on all exposed areas, such as the back of the hands, face, ears and neck. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and reapply it every two hours or more frequently if you take your baby into the pool or if he or she is sweating. Also continue to seek shade, schedule outdoor playtime before 10 AM or after 4 PM and keep covering young children with hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible. For added protection, look for special clothing marked with an ultraviolet protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, which will allow only 1/30th of the sun’s rays to reach the skin.

Recognize the Signs of Dehydration

RCH Newsletter July 2016 WaterThe best cure for dehydration, especially in children, is prevention. Keep your children hydrated! They get enough water through drinking and eating. Total water intake for the day (all liquids and foods, including water, milk, soup, etc.) should be about half a gallon. When dehydration gets bad enough to cause symptoms, water might not be enough to make them feel better. Watch for these signs that children need additional help:
• dry mouth and tongue
• no tears when crying
• no wet diapers for 3 hours or more
• sunken abdomen, eyes, or cheeks
• high fever
• listlessness or irritability
• skin that does not flatten when pinched and released

Dehydration occurs when the body has lost too much fluid and electrolytes (the salts potassium and sodium). Dehydration is particularly dangerous for children, who can die from it within a matter of days. Although water is extremely important in preventing dehydration, it does not contain electrolytes. To maintain electrolyte levels, you could have broth or soups, which contain sodium, and fruit juices, soft fruits, or vegetables, which contain potassium. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, can help restore electrolytes. For children, doctors often recommend a special re-hydration solution that contains the nutrients they need. You can buy this solution in the grocery store without a prescription. Examples include Pedialyte, Ceralyte, and Infalyte. Untreated, dehydration may lead to shock. If a person with dehydration has a low blood pressure or very rapid pulse, the victim may need to get intravenous fluids. Call 911 for a dehydrated victim suffering from confusion, dizziness, or weakness.

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Rising to the challenge

Dr. Wehling and Melissa Friedrick

Ed Wehling, D.O. and Melissa Friedrich, CRNA

Dr. Ed Wehling and his family are enjoying life in a rural setting while he performs surgeries and treats patients in the same community. When he arrived in Mt. Ayr a couple of years ago, his goal was to provide the people of Ringgold County the option to stay in town instead of traveling to Des Moines for many surgical procedures. He’s pleased with the response. “We seem to have educated patients on what we can do,” he said. “They’ve been very receptive. It’s been great to be able to bring a few new services to the community and keep people from traveling long distances.”

He performs a wide variety of vascular surgeries, including minimally invasive procedures, rather than making surgical incisions. He’s also performed several thoracic procedures in the lungs that have had very good outcomes. One of the most common conditions he treats includes gastric reflux disease and hiatal hernias. “We’re taking care of three to five a month here now,” he said. “The procedure corrects the effects of stomach acid going up into the throat which causes discomfort and can be pre-cancerous.”

With the goal of taking care of people close to home, his team has been able to do many dermatological procedures too. “Now we can treat skin cancers and do biopsies right here. In the past, a patient would have had to go to Des Moines for anything beyond a simple freezing.” Of course, not all surgeries can be planned and scheduled in advance. Traumas and emergencies always take precedence. According to Dr. Wehling, they’ve expanded their trauma capabilities and can keep someone in town who otherwise would have been transported to another facility. “We keep them in a situation where they feel safe.
It’s really important.”

Dr. Wehling hasn’t been surprised by his team’s success, but he commented that it has been a change for the people who have “grown up” in this facility. “Previously, patients that had some of these issues
wouldn’t even be referred here, because we couldn’t have helped them. Unless you can serve them, you don’t see them.” He applauds the surgical staff. “They’ve risen to the challenge and our patients benefit. They can take advantage of this efficiently run facility, which also has lower infection rates than a big-city surgical center. We’re very busy. We do six to nine surgeries a day of varying intensity. We’re able to do that because the staff is so efficient.” Dr. Wehling can’t say enough good things about the surgical team, although he thinks some have been astonished by what they’ve been able to accomplish.
“They have embraced our new capabilities as a challenge, and they have risen to the challenge.”

Join Dr. Wehling for a free educational seminar on Thursday, June 30, at 5:00 p.m. in the Hospital Cafeteria to learn more about the surgical and testing capabilities at Ringgold County Hospital. The program is free, and dinner will be provided, but please call 641-464-4401 by Monday, June 27 to reserve your place.

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