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Neighbors helping neighbors

RCH Newsletter July 2015-web

Members of the RCH nursing staff take great pride in the personal care they provide each patient. From left, back row: Melanie Staver, Heather McLain, Dawn White, and Laura Greenwell. Front row: Barb Adams and Denise Coleman.

“You have the Power!” It’s a reminder that all of us have the power, and the responsibility, to do our best when it comes to our health and wellness. Although there are things that are out of our control, like hereditary factors or accidents, there are many things we can do to stay healthy.

“You have a Partner!” Just like those familiar wedding vows, “In sickness and in health,” you are fortunate to have a partner in Ringgold County Hospital. The staff is dedicated to providing the best possible care when patients are sick. They’re also dedicated to providing the best preventative and follow-up care to keep people healthy.

It’s a true partnership between hospital staff and area residents. “We know that patients have a choice when it comes to deciding who provides their outpatient health care,” said Carrie Main, director of health information systems. “We want folks to rely on RCH because it’s convenient, friendly, and like many know; our patients will get top-quality services like medical imaging, physical therapy, cardiac rehab, lab work and other services from highly trained professionals. We’re truly neighbors helping neighbors.”

“What’s awesome about working here at RCH (in my hometown) is that there is nothing better than being able to care for people that you know and care about,” said Martha Ricker, RN, surgery patient care manager. “Our patients are sometimes people that I’ve known since I was a kid, and many who knew my mom. She cared for so many people during her 40 year career as a nurse here at RCH. These are the people that we see at the grocery store, or at a ball game, or community gathering. It just doesn’t get any better for me than to be able to provide the best care to every single person who walks through our door.”

According to Martha, the nursing staff does a great job telling patients what to expect and preparing them for their surgery or procedure. “It helps put patients at ease. The great thing about our team in the OR is that we all love our jobs. We love taking care of our patients and we work very well together.”

Heather McLain, RN, the hospitals’ utilization review officer agrees. “Taking care of so many in the community who impacted my formative years (teachers, coaches, church leaders, veterans, and elders) is an honor and a privilege. I am proud to live and work with those whose reach extends beyond the hospital – to the community they love and serve.”

Barb Adams is a nurse in the Emergency Room and in the medical surgical department. “I’ve always been a people person,” she said. “I love working with people. I have always felt rewarded being able to help people through their toughest times.”

“Being able to provide quality emergency and acute medical care to patients in Ringgold County is a source of pride for me,” added Denise Coleman, RN, and patient care manager. “Having the variety of services available in rural Iowa that we do here at RCH makes even the toughest medical journey easier to travel.”

To learn more about all the healthcare services provided at Ringgold County Hospital and the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, stop by any time. Or visit with us during our Open House on Thursday, July 30 from 5:00–7:00 p.m.

It’s a partnership. Help us help you!

Being involved with your own healthcare is the best way to ensure a quality health outcome:

  • Do your best to get well and stay healthy, with healthy habits, such as exercising, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet.
  • Tell your health care providers the information they need to know, and clearly communicate what you want and need.
  • Be involved with your health care providers when making your health care decisions.
  • Work with health care providers in developing and carrying out treatment plans you all agree upon.
  • Avoid knowingly spreading disease.
  • Recognize the risks and limits of science of medical care and that health care providers are human and can make mistakes.
  • Be aware of a health care provider’s need to fairly provide care to other patients and the community.
  • Learn about your health plan coverage and health plan options (when available) including all covered benefits, the limits, what isn’t covered, the rules regarding use of information, and how to appeal coverage decisions.
  • Show respect for other patients and health workers.
  • Make a good-faith effort to pay your health care bills.
  • Follow procedures of the health plans and health care providers.
  • Report wrongdoing and fraud to the right resources or legal authorities.

For more information visit the Office for Civil Rights – HIPAA website – www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa

Smooth sailing now for author Mary Martsching

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Since her surgery at RCH last year, Mary Martsching has been back at work researching and writing novels for children and teens.

For someone born and raised in landlocked Iowa, Mary Martsching has an unusual fascination with lighthouses. She’s an author with three published books, and lighthouses feature prominently in all of them. “I’m a Christian,” she said. “And lighthouses symbolize Christ, the light of the world. They’re beacons of hope and safety.”

Like a sailor depending on a lighthouse for safety, Mary has learned to depend on Ringgold County Hospital to keep her safe and healthy. Her story began in 2014. She had a routine colonoscopy, and a benign polyp was found. There was no real cause for concern, except that she was experiencing flare-ups of diverticulitis. Her symptoms included terrible chills, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. She’d go to sleep and wake up sweating profusely. By late summer, the bouts were worse and more frequent, so her primary care provider at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, Marcy Gregg, ARNP, ordered a CT scan.

The test revealed that she had inflamed pockets in her colon and needed to be hospitalized immediately. She had sepsis, which is a potentially life threatening complication of an infection. Colon surgery was required, but she had to get healthy before they could operate. Antibiotics cured her infection and surgery was scheduled.
“Dr. Wehling talked to me about what needed to happen,” said Mary. “He drew me a picture of my colon and showed me exactly what was going on, and what he was going to do. He is a teacher. It was just incredible.”

“Dr. Wehling said, ‘I would never recommend surgery as a first option. But after several bouts of diverticulitis and a severe infection, you need to do it.’ He explained how he would perform laparoscopic surgery to remove the infected section of my colon and crimp it back together.”

During surgery, Dr. Wehling found additional pockets of infection. “It’s no wonder I was so sick!” she added. During her recovery time in the hospital, Dr. Wehling came in to check on her every day. “He has trained his surgical staff to come in every day too,” she added. “And everyone had read the notes in my chart, and knew all about me.”

Her opinion of the RCH nursing staff is as high as that of the surgical staff. “The nurses were top notch. I was in acute care after the surgery. They were so caring and knowledgeable. The whole staff at RCH is a team.”

“We are so blessed having this surgeon here. We don’t have to travel to Des Moines for these surgeries. But what I really liked about Dr. Wehling is this: when he first met me, he pulled up a chair and just talked to me. He’s so approachable and personal. He didn’t use a lot of big terminology to explain things. I just knew I could trust him. I’m really thankful.”

A brief bout of pneumonia landed her back in the hospital last November, but she recovered and was home before Thanksgiving. For Mary Martsching, it’s been smooth sailing since then.

Feathers, and pollen, and cats: Oh my!

RCH Newsletter May 2015-web

Jodie Wurster can enjoy the outdoors after receiving Immunotherapy from the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic.

Throughout the year, for virtually her entire life, Jodie Wurster has suffered from allergies. It was pollen and mold in the spring; trees in the summer; ragweed, clover and hay in the fall; and feathers and cats year round. Her symptoms weren’t life threatening, but they certainly were aggravating. Sinus issues and itching, watery eyes along with constant sneezing made her pretty miserable. “I couldn’t enjoy being on the golf course. There were times I just had to give up and go inside,” she said.

This insurance company owner and active mother of three high-school boys didn’t want to spend her life indoors. But before visiting the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, she didn’t understand her options for Immunotherapy (IT). “I went in for a regular doctor’s appointment last year,” she explained. “And I was given a form to fill out describing my seasonal allergies. After reviewing it, I was immediately referred to the allergist.”

After some very simple tests, it was clear exactly what Jodie is allergic to. Her personal Immunotherapy regimen was created specifically for her and her allergies to make her tolerant to allergens she was sensitive to. With IT treatment, over time, about 85% of people become symptom free. “I started my IT in April last year,” she continued. “By June, I was able to attend my son’s baseball game down by the river surrounded by cottonwood trees. And I was perfectly fine!”

Immunotherapy isn’t a quick fix. It can take up to two years of treatments for a patient to become completely immune to their allergies. “I had two shots every other day for a whole year,” said Jodie. “Now I’m on maintenance until the end of May. At that point, I’ll be retested, and I shouldn’t show any signs of allergies at all!”

Is the effort worth the results? Only an allergy sufferer can truly understand. But for Jodie, it’s absolutely been worth it. “I am so much better; I would recommend it to anyone. One of my sons has seasonal allergies and as soon as I’m finished, we’re going to start him on a regimen. It’s so effective. Why suffer if you don’t have to?”

For more information on allergies and immunotherapy, contact the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic.

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy (IT) is the only disease-modifying allergy treatment that safely, over time, induces the body’s immune cells to decrease or even prevent symptoms. Clinical studies show that 85% of patients who receive IT will eventually become symptom free. This happens because IT stimulates a transformation in the body’s immune cells (T cells) from being promoters of allergic reaction to cells that counter the allergic inflammatory process.

Oral antihistamines and nasal steroids offer temporary relief and in some cases, are enough when allergy symptoms are minimal. However, in many cases people who suffer from allergies remain symptomatic and suffer despite taking them repeatedly. Immunotherapy can be a long-term solution.

Consider these points while deciding whether IT is right for you:

  • IT is a long-term solution for allergic rhinitis.
  • IT is highly effective when the treatment course of approximately 2-5 years is properly completed. Allergy symptom relief usually occurs within the first year. At three years, patients often experience substantial relief and IT discontinuation can be discussed.
  • Allergy symptom relief lasts up to 12 years.
  • IT is cost effective.
  • The IT course of treatment is covered by most insurance carriers.

Patients suffering from seasonal allergies are getting remarkable results with Immunotherapy at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. Of the 99 patients receiving IT to date, 100% have reported symptom improvement or relief.

Success story: Marie Still

RCH Newsletter April 2015-webFor most people over the age of one, walking is a pretty simple activity. It’s so basic we don’t even think about it. We just get up and go. But for some, like Marie Still, walking became so difficult and painful that she elected to have her knees replaced. Her first total knee replacement surgery was six years ago, and her recovery was long and hard. After her second knee surgery this past January, she was better prepared by doing “before surgery” exercises recommended by the Physical Therapy department at Ringgold County Hospital.

“This time I got along so much better than the first one,” said Marie. “I went into it knowing what to expect. When you make the choice to do it you need to know that in the long run, it’s going to be worth it.”

Marie’s total knee replacement surgery was performed by Shehada Homedan, MD, the orthopedic surgeon at Ringgold County Hospital. “I was fully confident in Dr. Homedan. He has wonderful skills. I was his first patient in Mt. Ayr when I had my knee replaced in January 2009. I wanted to have him do it the second time. He’s an excellent surgeon, and I want matching knees!”

The Physical Therapists at RCH were her rehab team both in the hospital and as an out-patient after she had been discharged. “The Physical Therapy department at RCH is top-notch,” said Marie. “Honestly, I don’t think you can get better care anywhere. I’m so thankful that they are here.”

The therapists don’t waste any time getting patients into a rehabilitation routine. Immediately after her surgery, she was doing exercises in her hospital room. During her three-day hospital stay, she had morning and afternoon therapy sessions, with specific goals to work on. After she was discharged, she came back to the hospital three days a week to continue her rehabilitation. Even when she was at home, she had a list of activities, exercises and goals to be accomplished each day.

“A good attitude is so important,” said Marie. “Recovery takes time. I really trust and admire the professional and knowledgeable physical therapy staff at RCH.”

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