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Activity Assistant Joins RCH Team

Marj Comer, CNA

Marj Comer is the new Activity Assistant for Ringgold County Hospital. A Certified Nursing Assistant, Marj has more than 30 years of experience working with patients in nursing homes, at their homes, and in hospice care. She started at RCH on June 19 and is excited about her new position. She’s currently fulfilling her CNA responsibilities and assisting nurses with both acute and skilled care patients. “We’ve been so busy! We’re still in the planning stages for my role as Activity Assistant.” Once her job takes shape, she’ll be caring for a wide variety of patients who need different levels of care. “They’re here from a week to four or five weeks,” she explained. “I’ll get to know them and will provide daily activities. We’ll spend time one-on one. We might go for a walk outside, do a puzzle, or listen to music, for example. We’ll actually have a calendar set up for them before they get here!”

Molly Kayser, RN, Nurse Manager adds that the nursing staff at RCH has been working on creating activities for their patients, and when they approached Marj, they knew they’d found the perfect person for the job. “Everyone had seen her work. She’s really able to connect and build relationships with patients. They’re here with us for a while, and it’s important.” Marj admits that it’s her favorite part of the job. “I enjoy working with people! It’s personally satisfying. I like to make them feel at home.”

What’s For Dinner?

Malinda Swank, CDM, CFPP (left) and Katie Routh, RD, LD are proud of the restaurant-quality food served at RCH

Ringgold County Hospital patients now can choose what’s for dinner, and lunch, and breakfast! With a new “Room Service” approach to meals, patients can order from a menu, and their selections are delivered to them, just like in a first-class hotel. Dietitian Katie Routh explained that before this change, people in the hospital and their visiting family members were served a pre-planned menu each day and their meals were delivered at a set time. “Now we have a “restaurant” menu. They can choose what they want, and what time they want it delivered.”

The menus were created by the dietary staff in-house. They started from scratch with traditional favorites like roast beef and meat loaf. They added more exotic options like chicken Alfredo and baked salmon while still keeping all the meals as healthy as possible. “Some things are not allowed on cardiac diets or renal diets,” said Katie. “We keep diabetic diets low in carbohydrates. In the process of patients making choices, we’re helping them manage what they eat.”

Implementing the new approach has taken a team effort. The hospital’s dietary, nursing, and medical staff all work together to ensure it runs smoothly. “The timing of meal deliveries needs to be coordinated with medication timing, for example,” said Katie. There’s a significant upside for RCH patients. “It’s one of the few things they can control while they’re hospitalized. People want to feel that they have choices,” she added. Another, perhaps unintended benefit is the amount of food that is no longer wasted.

Katie and her team are getting really good feedback. “We’ve asked patients what they think, and we’re using the suggestions we get. We’re constantly reviewing the menus, tweaking recipes and planning future menu changes. It’s kind of fun!” Patients are weighing in and loving the new approach. “I had to stay for a while at the hospital and I enjoyed the new room service menu!” said a recent patient. “I had something different every day. It was cool to see that I had many choices to choose from on my diet plan. You could order anything at any time of the day.” One lesson learned is that people staying in the hospital want comfort food to make them feel better. The top two most requested menu items are roast beef and meat loaf.

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Financial Assistance Program for Seniors

The Solution Options for Seniors Program (SOS) is now providing financial assistance which can help seniors with an unexpected critical life need, like plumbing, major appliance repair or automobile repair. Click here for more information and download the application.

RCH Now Offers 3D Mammography

Kelsey Mullins, RT (R)(CT)(M) and Shelly Shields, RT (R)(CT)(MR) showcase the GeniusTM 3D MammographyTM unit

The Genius 3D Mammography exam is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection. It is performed in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. Then a computer uses these images to produce a 3D image of the breast tissue, providing greater detail for the radiologist.

There are many benefits of 3D mammography including earlier and easier detection. With conventional mammography the radiologist is viewing the breast tissue in a flat image. Sometimes this tissue appears overlapped, making it difficult to see all the individual structures. With 3D mammography, the doctor can now see the different structures as well as the location, size and shape of any abnormal tissue, such as small cancers. The Hologic Genius 3D Mammography exam also reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D mammography alone.  In the past, if the radiologist saw an area that was questionable, the patient would be asked to return for additional imaging. By being able to see the breast tissue in smaller, thinner sections, the “second look” might not be necessary.

Very low X-ray energy is used during a 3D exam. This means the amount of radiation is below the recommended guidelines of the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is just slightly higher than digital 2D mammography alone. Breast Tomosynthesis (3D mammography) is approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). A 3D mammography exam is an optional addition to a traditional 2D digital mammography exam. Click here to print and read the full article.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Imaging Department at 641-464-4400.

Making Good Health a Priority

When you first talk to Katie Willcox, D.O., you quickly realize that caring really is her calling. The newest member of the RCH and Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic staff starts work on July 17, but her desire to help people and improve their health goes back to her middle school days. “My mother was a physical therapist,” said Dr. Willcox. “I spent a lot of time with her in nursing homes when I was growing up. I saw the difference between unhealthy 60-year olds and 90-year olds doing great. There are not a lot of careers where you can change an entire life for people. With good health, you can make a big difference for a long period of time. It made me decide to do what I’m doing.”

Dr. Willcox is an Iowa native, having grown up in LeClaire in the Quad City area. She went to the University of Iowa for undergrad, A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine for medical school, and just finished her residency at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, MO. She’s a family practitioner and is excited to face the challenges and enjoy the variety that she’ll see every day. “I was torn between pediatrics, geriatrics, and women’s health,” admits Dr. Willcox. “I love family practice because I don’t have to choose. I can help people at all stages of life.” She’ll be providing pre-natal care up to 36 weeks as well.

Her training in Kirksville at Medical School and her Residency prepared her for rural medicine. “I interviewed for a position in Des Moines,” she said. “I realized I didn’t want to work in the city. It just wasn’t for me. In Des Moines, Each department was down the hall, or across the street. I felt more like I was referring patients, rather than treating them.” So, she’s trained to do it all, and is excited to get started at Ringgold County Hospital and the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. “I spent time here in April with Dr. Ricker, and just loved it. The people on staff were so incredibly nice and welcoming, and the patients were wonderful. I can’t wait to get started!”

Dr. Willcox and her husband Jason are living in Winterset with their three girls aged fourteen, five, and two. Her parents and siblings are still living in LeClaire, and they visit often. “It’s an easy drive!”

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