Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

Whooping Cough Outbreak

Ringgold County Public Health has confirmed 2 cases of pertussis or whooping cough within the county.  Pertussis is a bacterial disease that causes severe spells of coughing.  It can occur at any age, but it is most common in infants less than a year of age.  Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and sometimes death.  Pertussis can be difficult to diagnosis in teens and adults because their symptoms often look like a cold with a nagging cough.  Those who are vaccinated or have a history of pertussis may have milder symptoms.

Pertussis is treated with an appropriate antibiotic if given early in the illness.  After 5 days of antibiotics, an infected person can no longer spread the disease.  It is also considered no longer contagious if the individual infected with pertussis has been coughing for 3 weeks or longer.

Pertussis may be prevented through routine immunizations.  “Cases like this that occur in an unvaccinated population remind us of the importance of routine childhood and adult vaccinations,” states Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, Ringgold County Public Health Nurse Administrator.  Vaccination can be given as soon as 6-8 weeks of age.  “Medical care providers are encouraging any family members/friends/daycare providers who will be around a newborn baby to check their immunization status to make sure they have received proper vaccinations.  It’s our best way to protect these precious ones,” states Fletchall.

Contact Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN at Ringgold County Public Health for additional information.

119 South Fillmore St.

Mount Ayr, IA  50854

Phone 641-464-0691

Senior Life Solutions Receives Program of the Year Award

Pictured left to right: Grace Warin, Office Coordinator; Deb Robertson, Program Director; Lynsey Perry, West Regional Director; and Becky Hunter, Licensed Independent Social Worker.

Launched in October of 2014, the Senior Life Solutions program at Ringgold County Hospital (RCH) received the 2015 Program of the Year award. Representatives from Psychiatric Medical Care presented the Senior Life Solutions staff with the award on Tuesday, December 8. The company runs programs across the country to help people over age 65 deal with emotional or behavioral issues.

“The staff excels at compliance, care and community” boasts Lynsey Perry, Regional Director for Psychiatric Medical Care. “Additionally, they’re exceptionally passionate, and just wonderful people who love the work they do.”

Debra Robertson, RN, CCM, the Senior Life Solutions Director at RCH was excited to receive the award. “Our team is focused on doing all we can to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve and to encourage them to be more independent in their own lives,” says Robertson.

2015 Senior Life Solutions Program of the YearOffering the Senior Life Solutions program allows Ringgold County Hospital to help patients and their families work through some of the difficult transitions in life. Gordon Winkler, CEO at RCH was ecstatic, “I couldn’t be more proud to learn they received this award.” Click here to learn more about Senior Life Solutions.

Find additional pictures from the award ceremony on our Facebook page.

Replacing Worn-out Joints

Dave Gourley at work

Dave Gourley at work

You could describe Dave Gourley as “active.” He has a full-time job with Ringgold County Secondary Roads, a part-time job assisting a local farmer, and his own 200-acre farm to manage. The 56-year old also has a wife, three children and six grandchildren. So he’s on the go most of the time. “My hobby is work!” he says. So when a “dull throbbing pain” took over his attempts to sleep, and his days were spent limping and dragging his leg around, he knew something needed to be done. After a  referral from his physician Dwain Crain, D.O., Dave met with Shehada Homedan, M.D., Ringgold County Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon. “He said the meniscus, the pad between the ball and the socket in my hip, was just plain worn out. And he recommended a new kind of replacement surgery, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing,” said Dave. Designed for younger, active people, Dave’s surgery was in November 2012, and was the first of its kind performed at RCH.

Dave Gourley

Dave Gourley is back
to work after his second
successful hip replacement

His recovery was long and Dave was anxious to be off his crutches and cleared to go back to work. During this time, he spent hours working with Ruth Smith, PT, in the Physical Therapy department of the hospital. “Actually, the physical therapy begins before the surgery,” he explained. “I started doing specific exercises to build up my leg, hip, and buttocks muscles beforehand. And then I was back at it right after surgery. Ruth was just great. She explained everything, wrote it down, and even provided pictures so I’d know what to do at home. She was very encouraging – although she did get a little stern with me when she needed to.” Dr. Homedan had advised Dave that it would be about two years before he completely forgot about the surgery and recovery process. So he was dismayed when, two years later, his second hip required the same treatment. “I thought, why me? But I realized that it was just something that happens. I’m very active, and I just wore them out.” Knowing what to expect, Dave started seriously exercising to prepare for the surgery. He recovered more quickly and was able to return to work sooner.

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Homedan, the surgical staff and the nursing staff,” said Dave. “People in this community ought to be so proud. With the staff and the doctors, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. I’ve got nothing against Des Moines, but the fact that I was having the surgeries at home meant so much. It was comforting, and in my opinion, that helps with recovery.”

Dave’s shoulder bothers him from an old high-school wrestling injury. And his knee “sounds like it has gravel in it.” But he knows he can continue to get quality care at Ringgold County Hospital. He jokes, “As long as they keep making replacement parts, I know I’ll be ok!”

6 Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is often unpredictable, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some of those same behaviors can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

  1. Get regular cancer screenings.
    Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and are easier to treat.
  2. Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
    Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and
    pancreatic cancer.
  3. Exercise regularly.
    Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrium, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
    Studies show that eating a lot of different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish or poultry is linked with a lower risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, eating more processed and red meat is linked with a higher risk of developing
    certain cancers.
  5. Avoid tobacco.
    Tobacco use in the US is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths – about 480,000 early deaths each year. About 80%
    of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use.
  6. Limit alcohol.
    Research has shown that alcohol can increase your risk for certain kinds of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectal cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk.

Habits of Healthy Families

  • Don’t go hungry. To stay at a healthy weight, you have to eat, not starve yourself. If you don’t fuel up regularly, you’ll become insatiably hungry, causing the “hunger” hormone, ghrelin, to spike. Then you may eat more than you need.
  • Automate lunch and breakfast. Don’t risk making bad, spur-of-the-moment grabs. Have staples on hand that are healthy and filling like oatmeal and soup.
  • Exercise 20 minutes a day, at home. An hour can be hard to dedicate to exercise, but almost every day, we can find 20 minutes to jump rope, do crunches, or take a walk.
  • Be the food decider in the house. If you don’t buy chips and cookies, both children and adults will find something healthier to eat when they’re hungry.
  • Eat dinner together every night. This simple ritual improves not just kids’ eating habits, but their grades and willingness to open up to you too.
  • Play together every day. The key is to carve out a reliable pocket of time when you can get active as a family. Have a dance party, a game of soccer, or shoot hoops before dinner.
  • Tell your little ones a bedtime story. Or talk to older kids about their day. It keeps you in touch.
  • Make sure you have a bedtime routine. A good night’s sleep keeps you young. And not getting enough sleep can be a contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Bond in bed. Having regular sex can add an extra three years to your life expectancy. So strengthen your relationship and your health!

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