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From Romania Cristina Rusu, a new internist at Geneva General Hospital thrilled to work in the Finger Lakes, a place she says reminds her of her native Romania

GVhealthnews.com

October 2017 • Issue 146

CAREGIVER IN CHIEF They are mostly women (66 percent) who are married and have a job. And they spend on average 20 hours a week providing care. Is there anyone caring for them?

Bicyclist Deaths Rise Fatal crashes jumped 12 percent in 2015, report says; men — not kids — are commonly the victim

What to Do When Your Kids Need a Therapist

6

Things You Should Know About The Flu

Rochester’s Healthcare Newspaper

When You Wake Up Blind Worker from the Archdiocese of Rochester — who one day woke up blind — talks about his experience and how he found help in a local program

We speak with UR Medicine pediatrician Cynthia Rand

Rock the Ruck! Want to burn three times more calories than walking? Local group offers weighted backpack ‘rucking’ events

Turnips + Greens Some things are just better together: Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, wine and cheese. Another remarkable duo? Turnips and their nutritious greens. Find out why

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How to Find a Better Medicare Prescription Drug Plan


America’s New Dads Are Older Than Ever Average age of new fathers has risen to 31, study finds

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ew dads may sport a few more gray hairs than in years past, a U.S. study finds. The average age of new fathers has risen in recent decades, research shows, raising questions about the possible social and public health impact. The study, which analyzed federal birth records, found that fathers of newborns are now 3.5 years older, on average, than their counterparts in the early 1970s. And the percentage of births to fathers older than 40 has more than doubled — from about 4 percent in 1972, to 9 percent in 2015. The pattern is not surprising, since it parallels what’s been seen among U.S. women. But much less research has explored the changing demographics of American fathers, according to senior researcher, physician Michael Eisenberg. “I think it’s important for us to pay attention to these demographic shifts and what their implications could be for society,” said Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology at Stanford University in California. On one hand, he said, older fathers are more likely to have kids affected by certain health conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia. Plus, couples who wait to start

a family will likely have fewer kids, Eisenberg noted. And that could mean a shrinking pool of working people supporting older, retired Americans. “I’m not trying to sound alarmist,” Eisenberg stressed. “But these are issues to think about.” The aging of U.S. parents also has potential benefits, though. Older dads, Eisenberg said, tend to have better jobs, more stability, and be more involved in their children’s lives. Does that mean the trend in fathers’ ages will translate into growing ranks of involved, caring dads? “That’s a hard question to answer,” said Richard Gallagher, an associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU Langone Child Study Center, in New York City. It is true that men who are more-educated and in stable relationships tend to become fathers relatively later, said Gallagher, who was not involved in the study. “And from a psychological perspective,” he said, “older parents are likely to be more mature and less impulsive in their behavior.” But, Gallagher noted, age alone does not guarantee good parenting skills. “Older age does not mean everything will work out well,” he said. Surveys do show that “older”

The average age of new fathers jumped to 31 years of age in 2015 compared to 27 in 1972. dads — those aged 35 to 44 — are more likely to be living with their kids, and therefore more involved in raising them, according to Eisenberg’s team. And there’s evidence that kids benefit from fathers’ involvement, Gallagher said: On average, they tend to do better at school, and have more self-esteem and better emotional regulation. Having two involved parents “is like a double-dose of caring,” Gallagher said. The findings, published online Aug. 30 in the journal Human Reproduction, are based on records for nearly 169 million U.S. births over the past four decades. In 1972, fathers of newborns were just over 27 years old, on average. By 2015, that average age stood at 31, the researchers reported. The pattern was seen among

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fathers of all races and ethnicities, though the average age varied. By 2015, Asian men were the oldest (34 to 36 years), and black, Hispanic and Native American men were the youngest (29 to 30 years). Few men older than 50 are becoming new fathers; they account for 0.9 percent of all births, the study found. But that is up from 0.5 percent in the 1970s. Since men have a much longer reproductive life than women do, there is no clear definition of what an “older father” is, Eisenberg said. “The oldest father on record was 96 years old,” he noted, referring to a man in India who had children with a wife in her 50s. However, men do have their own biological clock of sorts. Their fertility declines with age, Eisenberg said, as does their sperm quality.


U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall But more cases are expected as baby boomers age, report says

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ore Americans are surviving cancer than ever before, but as the population ages, even more will develop the disease. That’s the good and bad news from the 2017 Cancer Progress Report from the American Association for Cancer Research, released in September. According to the report, the cancer death rate dropped 35 percent among children and 25 percent among adults from 1991 to 2014. That translates to slightly more than 2 million fewer cancer deaths. On the flip side, new cancer diagnoses are predicted to rise from nearly 1.7 million this year to 2.3 million in 2030, said the association’s president, physician Michael Caligiuri. And this year alone, more than 600,000 Americans are predicted to die from cancer, according to the report. Caligiuri said the increase in cancer cases is simply a consequence of more people living longer. As the report noted, 53 percent of U.S. cancer diagnoses occur among those

aged 65 and older, and that population segment is expected to grow from about 49 million in 2016 to just over 74 million in 2030. “The longer people live, the higher the incidences of cancer are going to be,” Caligiuri said. “The longer you live, the more likely are the chances for serious genetic mutations that cause cancer, and the weaker your system is in repairing your DNA when you do have those genetic changes,” he explained. Dr. Anthony D’Amico is a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He said, “The most likely explanation for the progress in cancer survival is a combination of advances in cancer treatment coupled with early detection through screening.” The AACR report noted that death rates for many of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States — including breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer — have been declining for more than a decade. But deaths from other forms of cancer — brain, liver and uterine cancer — have been increasing.

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icyclist deaths on U.S. roadways are up significantly, and men — not kids — are commonly the victims, a new report finds. Biking deaths rose 12 percent in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. This jump was the largest among any group that uses roadways. Historically, most fatal bicycle crashes involved children and teens. Now, 85 percent of bicyclists killed on the road are men, the report said. And of the 818 bicyclists killed in 2015, the average age was 45. “We need to ensure that bicyclists and motorists can share roads safely,” said Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, which funded the report. “Unfortunately, bicyclists are vulnerable and much more susceptible to serious injury or death when

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Excellus BCBS Donating $55,000 to Local Nonproftis Organizations in the six-county Finger Lakes region are invited to apply by Oct. 10 for an award of up to $4,000 each

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onprofit organizations in the Finger Lakes and Utica/North Country regions of Upstate New York can apply for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award grants that total $55,000. Nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations in Excellus BCBS’s six-county Finger Lakes region and 14-county Utica/North Country region are invited to apply for awards of up to $4,000 each. Excellus BCBS’s six-county Finger Lakes region includes:  Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties.  Excellus BCBS expects to issue a total of $165,000 in Community Health Awards by the end of 2017. Earlier this year, the health plan awarded $110,000 in grants to 36 nonprofits from throughout its entire Snow 31-county upstate New York operating area. “Excellus BCBS supports the Community Health Awards because of the potential to improve the health of so many people in our communities, whether they’re inner city students overcome by trauma, refugees growing their own food at an urban farm, or rural teenagers looking for a safe and educational after-school program,” said Holly Snow, director, community health engagement, Excellus BCBS. The award can be used for programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population. For the fall 2017 awards, Excellus BCBS will also consider funding nonprofits that are pursuing a new or innovative approach to improving community health. “It can be hard for a small nonprofit to find the funds needed to try an innovative idea,” Snow said. “We’re hopeful that our Community Health Awards will provide at least one nonprofit with the support needed to launch a fresh approach to a critical health problem.” The deadline to submit an application to be considered for an Excellus BCBS Community Health Award is Tuesday, Oct. 10. For additional information and the online application, go to excellusbcbs.com/community. 

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HEALTH EVENTS

Oct. 15

Physician to speak at vegan dinner in Brighton Physician Ted D. Barnett, a diagnostic and interventional radiologist with Borg and Ide Imaging and the founder and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, is the guest speaker at the Oct. 15 vegan dinner sponsored by Rochester Area Vegan Society. The physician will speak on “Early Results from Rochester Lifestyle Medicine: Reversing Disease and Improving Quality of Life.” The event, at Brighton Town Park Lodge, 777 Westfall Road, will start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Dinner is a vegan potluck. Vegan means no animal products (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products or honey). Bring a dish with enough to serve a crowd, and a serving utensil; also bring a place setting for your own dinner. Help is available to non-vegetarians or others uncertain about how to make or bring a vegan dish; by calling 585-234-8750. Cost is $3 for non-members. For more information, visit rochesterveg. org.

Oct. 21

Cancer Resource sponsors walkathon, 5K This annual event is a community-wide fundraiser designed to help Ithaca-based Cancer Resource Center provide support and assistance to families and individuals who have been affected by cancer. One hundred percent of all funds raised remain in the community. The event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in Ithaca’s Cass Park. Registration opens at 9 a.m. There will be zumba, live entertainment, prizes and a pancake breakfast. Online registration is available at gvgb. co/WalkRun2017.

Oct. 21, 22

New Moon Psychic Festival held in Webster The New Moon Psychic Festival & Holistic Healing Expo, now in its 16th year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at The Damascus Shrine Center, 979 Bay Road Webster. The expo brings together an array of holistic healers, psychics and metaphysical and wellness-minded vendors — all focused on healing. Have a question about your future? One of the many psychics may help you. Lingering health issues that have left your doctors stumped? Perhaps a holistic healer holds the key. The New Moon Expo is open to

everyone interested in living their best life yet. Organizers invite you to stop in, look around and discover what works for you. This year’s expo carries a special focus on breast cancer awareness, healing and survival. According to the organization, Rev. Barbara Konish in 1989 was the first to promote this event in Rochester. “Her dedication to spreading love, compassion and total mindbody-health is what helped holistic wellness traction in mainstream society,” states the organization in a news release. ”It’s now common to see many time-tested ancient traditions such as acupuncture, reiki, essential oils and Eastern remedies with Western medicine.” For more information and a list of participants and activities, visit: www.NewMoonForYou.com or find the group on Facebook (New Moon Expo).

Oct. 27

UofR to host annual nursing summit Building on the success of its inaugural event, the University of Rochester School of Nursing will once again bring together leading voices in nursing education and practice from around the country to speak at the 2017 Doctor of Nursing Practice Summit. Focusing on the impact and value of DNP education, the summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27, in Helen Wood Hall in the school of nursing,  The development and implementation of the DNP degree, a practice doctorate, was a response to national concerns about the quality of care, patient safety and the growing expectation related to the educational preparation of health care providers. As clinicians and leaders, DNP-prepared nurses are well-positioned to accelerate the translation of emerging evidence to improve the outcomes of care, challenge conventional approached to health care delivery, and develop solutions to practice problems. The University of Rochester School of Nursing convened the first DNP Summit last year to discuss the value and contribution possibilities of DNP-prepared nurses, drawing more than 100 attendees to the allday event. “The changing demands of today’s complex health care environment require that nurses have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible,” said Lydia Rotondo, director of the UR School of Nursing’s DNP program. Guest speakers include Mary Terhaar, the Arline H. and Curtis F. Garvin Professor in Nursing Excellence and associate dean of academic affairs at Case Western Reserve University, who will give the keynote address, and Kate FitzPatrick, senior

vice president and chief nursing officer at the University of Vermont Medical Center and associate dean for interprofessional practice at the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences. For more information, call 585275-0446 or son.rochester.edu.

Nov. 7

Hearing loss group announces events Hearing Loss Association of America Rochester Chapter invites anyone interested in hearing loss to any or all of several events on Tuesday, Nov 7. All programs are held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, East Avenue at Westminster Road, Rochester, across from the George Eastman Museum. • 10 a.m. —“Hearing Other People’s Experiences” (HOPE) in the church vestry room. At this round table discussion group, prospective or new hearing aid users can share their experiences and questions. Retired audiologist Joseph Kozelsky facilitates. • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Program begins at noon. “CenterStage Theatre at the JCC: Bringing a World of Theater to Rochester...Taking Rochester Theater to the World.” JCC Center Stage Theatre just celebrated its 40th year of theater at the Rochester Jewish Community Center. Ralph Meranto, artistic director and producer at CenterStage, will review the theater’s mission to entertain, enlighten and educate the Greater Rochester community by providing quality theater that is both relevant to the Jewish experience and has universal appeal. For two years, the theater has provided open captioning of performances for people with hearing loss, a huge benefit for those with difficulty understanding dialog from the stage. • 7 to 9 p.m. — Program begins at 8 p.m. — “Hearing Loss Association: Goals and Strategies.” Peter Fackler, past president of the HLAA Rochester Chapter and currently serving on the organization’s national board of directors, reports on the activities of the national group as it advocates for people with hearing loss. He will review the relationship among the local chapters across the country and HLAA’s national office. All HLAA programs are free. Anyone interested in hearing loss is welcome. For more information, view the organization’s website at hlaa-rochester-ny.org or telephone 585-266-7890.

Nov. 14

Fibromyalgia group holds holiday meeting The New Fibromyalgia Support Group is organizing a holiday social event from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 14, at Westside YMCA 920 Elmgrove Road, Gates. This is the group’s last meeting of the year. Participants will have the opportunity to connect and talk, and are asked to bring a dish to pass for this party. There will not be a speaker at this meeting. Reservations are required. Call 585-752-1562 and leave a voice mail with your name, and phone number.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017


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Healthcare in a Minute Call today for a consultation:

By George W. Chapman

Hospitals Fail to Meet Expectations

A report published by Kaufman, Hall and Associates revealed only 8 percent of 125 healthcare organizations surveyed met consumer expectations. The report found that while almost all organizations say improving the patient experience is a high priority, just 30 percent have the capability to do so. Only 15 percent are making a concerted effort to improve patient access with diverse locations and digital connectivity and less than 10 percent see price transparency as a high priority. The managing director of Kaufman concluded that in the age of Netflix and Amazon, consumers expect a lot more from their providers and “consumerism” should be a core capability as it will be a key to long term sustainability. (In fairness to healthcare organizations, they are highly regulated and have nowhere near the access to capital that Amazon and Netflix have.)

Obesity Progress

After several years of rapid increases, national obesity levels have leveled off in 2015 and 2016. Industry observers worry that the relatively “good” news may cause policy makers to become complacent and ease up on the accelerator. Colorado had the lowest obesity rate at 22 percent while West Virginia had the highest rate at 38 percent. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight. The highest concentration of obesity is in southeastern states.

ER Usage

Most payers and regulators have historically placed a lot of blame for our high cost of care on unnecessary or avoidable emergency room visits. A recent study published in the International Journal for Quality in Healthcare has debunked the myth that too many people use emergency rooms needlessly. Researchers studied 115,000 records representing 424 million visits over a five-year period and concluded just 3 percent of the total ER visits were “avoidable.” A number of these visits were

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This the lawsuit, SALES PERSON: RUN DATE: 09/14/17 need to focus on access to dental CA-OWNLOCAL is far preferable to family caregivers the pharmacy chains are in cahoots PUBLICATION: SIZE: 4.94X5 PROOFmanager DUE: 09/11/17 11:59:55 and mental conditions after normal as well. Washington also empowers with the pharmacy benefits business hours. home health aides CORRECTIONS to provide more BY:___ Express Scripts. PUBLICATION: CA-OWNLOCAL PROOF O.K. BY:___________________________ O.K. WITH care. Through its “No Wrong Door   PLEASE READ CAREFULLY • SUBMIT CORRECTIONS ONLINE Program,” highly trained staff either Physicians Treat All the Same Aetna and Apple answer your questions or direct Historically, government plans The health insurance and conyou to the right place. Washington CA-00040348 (100%) like Medicaid and Medicare have sumer technology giants are considprovides more housing alternatives not paid physicians as well as most ering making the Apple watch availADVERTISER: DR. STEVEN SADLON PROOF CREATED AT: 9/8/2017 10:21:10 AM to nursing homes than most states. private payers. (Although in recent able to Aetna’s 23 million members. Nationwide, about 52 of 1,000 people SALES PERSON: CA09 NEXT RUN DATE: 09/14/17 years private payers have tended to Aetna already subsidizes the cost of over 75 reside in an assisted living faSIZE:to4.94X5 PROOF drop their rates closer Medicare an Apple watch for its 50,000 em- DUE: 09/11/17 11:59:55 cility. In Washington, it’s double that. rates.) It would seem that peopleCA-OWNLOCAL ployees. This may be just a marketing PUBLICATION:   with poorer paying plans might ploy by Aetna to attract younger tech receive less or worse care than people savvy members since most studies of with better paying plans. While “you wearable fitness devices are inconget what you pay for” is true in most clusive when it comes to showing industries, it is not in healthcare. any improvement in the health of the George W. Chapman The vast majority of physicians treat device wearer. Proponents feel that is a healthcare busithe patient, not their insurance plan. anything that makes people more ness consultant who While your plan may not pay for health conscious is a good thing works exclusively a certain test or procedure, it is of while critics are concerned about the with physicians, hosno concern to the physician who is invasion of privacy and the potential pitals and healthcare going to do what is best for you in nefarious use of data derived by the organizations. He ophis/her clinical judgment. A recent insurer. erates GW Chapman study proves this, even if in a round  Consulting based in about way. The study was published Aging Syracuse. Email him in the Journal of the AMA Internal The state of Washington leads at gwc@gwchapmanMedicine. It found no difference the country when it comes to helping consulting.com. in the rates that low-value services its seniors “age in place,” according were provided to Medicaid-covered patients versus commercial/ private-covered patients. Physicians tend to order the same low-value (almost useless) tests and services indiscriminately. Also, it does not appear that Medicaid patients are forced to see “lower quality” providers. While the bad news is providers are still ordering “low-value” tests and services, the good news is that none of us are being discriminated against because of our health plan. Just about all providers make it clear up front what insurances they accept, so once you’re in the exam room your insurance is moot.

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October 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5


FDA OKs 1st Gene Therapy for Use in U.S. It transforms a patient’s immune system cells to fight a form of leukemia

T

he U.S. Food and Drug Administration broke new ground in cancer care recently by approving the first gene therapy for patients in the United States. Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) genetically tweaks a patient’s own immune system cells into what scientists call “a living drug” to battle a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The immunotherapy now can be used in children and young adults with B-cell ALL that will not respond to other therapies, the FDA announced. The announcement will “change the face of modern medicine and drug development,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at a news briefing. “Gene therapy products are now being studied in many diseases and conditions, including genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS,” Gottlieb added. ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood in which the body makes abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, about 3,100 patients aged 20 and younger are diagnosed with ALL each year. About 15 percent to 20 percent of patients with B-cell ALL have cancer that either did not respond to treatment or has recurred, the FDA says. It’s these patients for whom Kymriah is intended. In the treatment, doctors collect the patient’s own T-cells — one of the immune system’s main cell types — and genetically reprogram them to target and attack leukemia cells. They are then reintroduced back into the patient to do battle against the tumor. Kenneth Anderson is president of the American Society of Hematology, which focuses on blood cancers. In a statement, he said that the recent approval “marks an important shift in the blood cancer treatment paradigm. We now have proof that it is possible to eradicate cancer by harnessing the power of a patient’s own immune system. This is a potentially curative therapy in patients whose leukemia is unresponsive to other treatments.” The FDA based its decision on a clinical trial involving 63 patients with B-cell ALL. After three months of treatment, 83 percent of the patients remained cancer-free. Gottlieb said the FDA approval was expedited, coming just seven months after the agency received the initial application. However, Kymriah comes with the potential for severe side effects. The worst is cytokine release syndrome, a common immunotherapy complication that causes potentially life-threatening fever and flu-like symptoms. The therapy also can cause neurological events, serious infections, low blood pressure and acute kidney injury.

Page 6

Meet

Your Doctor

By Chris Motola

Cristina Rusu, M.D. New internist at Geneva General Hospital thrilled to work in the Finger Lakes, a place she says reminds her of her native Romania Q: You just recently finished your residency, correct? A: Yes, that’s correct. I finished my medical schooling in Romania then I worked there for a year. I was doing something else, like rehab medicine. In the meantime, my husband was preparing for his exams to get into the American medical world and he made it. He’s a psychiatrist now. So I quit my job there and I followed him, and here I am. I finished my training at Unity Hospital in June and took a job in Geneva. I live in Victor, so Geneva was a nice option for me, less of a drive. But I also enjoy the Finger Lakes region. We like wine, so why not? Q: You’re at Geneva Hospital now? A: Yes, but I’m with the outpatient office, so I’m not in the hospital. Q: Since you’ve just recently come through medical education, what kinds of trends and strategies do you see emerging within healthcare? A: I guess we have a challenge now with following insurance companies’ rules. It can make it a bit challenging to practice medicine with someone whispering over your shoulder. The older generation of doctors, I think, had a bit more autonomy. Now, you’re told you have to do something because it’s the cheapest. I have some boundaries that I wish I could break, but it’s not really possible. Otherwise, I think the training is still the same. You have to put

the patient first. Q: What kinds of patients are you starting to see in Geneva? A: It’s a variety. I started working for the past month and I’ve already seen a lot. I don’t think I’ll be bored here. It keeps me reading all the time, which is helpful, because things change so fast. Q: How does your experience with the American system compare to the Romanian one? A: I think it’s much better [here] because they have access to more tests. In a way, it’s good, in a way it’s bad. It’s good, because if you’re in doubt, you can always send the patient to get more tests. It’s bad because I think you can end up forgetting to use your clinical skills. But I think the care here is a little better because they have access to more. Q: What kind of impact do you want to have on your patients and community? A: I’m always a very open, happy person. I want patients to see me as a friend as well as their doctor. I want them to feel OK with me, and feel like they can be truth-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

ful with me. And I will always do my best to help in any way that I can. So even though people are usually not happy when they’re coming to see me, I want to bring some joy to the experience. I want them to feel like they can trust me to work in their best interest. Q: Given that it’s not usually the happiest time of their life, how do you go about helping a patient’s emotional state? A: We all have health troubles, so nobody can completely get away from that. It’s all about trying to work with each other to improve whatever we can and then it is what it is. Sometimes it’s just sitting and listening. I think listening is probably the best thing you can do sometimes. Q: How hard a transition was it from Romania to the Finger Lakes? A: It wasn’t really that hard at all. It actually reminds me a lot of the farm where I was raised. Both my parents were in the wine industry, so they took care of vintages. So I’m still surrounded by a lot of wineries and good wine just like I was at home. So it doesn’t feel like much of a transition at all. Q: What is your schedule like at Geneva? A: I’m here five days a week. Wednesdays only in the morning. I see a variety of issues, but I’m particularly interested in musculoskeletal pathologies. I read a lot about that. That’s one of my favorite parts of medicine. I’m working on getting a certification for joint pathologies. So osteoarthritis, for example. I’ll be able to do injections for knees, ankle, carpal tunnel. I’m still in the process of training, but should be ready to do that starting in January. But I see pretty much all the conditions encountered in internal medicine: diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, bone issues. Q: Anything interesting emerging from your study and reading on arthritis? A: I take a special interest in rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve taken part in some studies that involve biologic agents. So that’s what I intend to focus on more in the future. Q: Do you see yourself doing private practice at some point, or do you prefer working for a hospital ? A: No, I think I like the hospital a lot. You get the opporunity to know a lot of people from other fields. I don’t see myself working in private practice ever, honestly.

Lifelines

Name: Cristina Rusu, M.D. Position: Internist at Geneva General Hospital Hometown: Onesti, Romania Education: Dimitrie Cantemir National College; Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy; Unity Health System (residency, 2014 to 2017); Behavioral Medical Surgical Unit, Strong Memorial Hospital (2012-2014) Affiliations: Rochester Regional Health System Organizations: American Medical Association; American College of Physicians Family: Married; one dog, one cat Hobbies: Hiking, rafting, seeing live comedy


Silvia Sorensen is the University of Rochester researcher and director of Project REBUILD, a free program for people 60 or over who are bothered by a vision loss that cannot be restored. Dave Divers of Rochester is a graduate of the program, someone who lost his vision overnight.

When You Wake Up Blind

Landscaper from the Archdiocese of Rochester — who one day woke up blind — talks about his experience and how he found help in a local program, Project REBUILD By John Addyman

D

ave Divers is a good person. Fair-minded. Organized. Family-oriented. Particular. Great sense of humor. Very attuned to the good people around him, and someone who is a student of the rhythms of life. And he has lost his sight. Employed as a landscaper for the Archdiocese of Rochester, Divers, 60, was in Home Depot one evening three years ago, picking up stuff for the next day’s work. He got home, played with the computer a little and went to bed. “I woke up the next morning and I felt real dizzy,” Divers remembers. “I almost fainted, and fell back on the bed. My wife, Tami, looked at me and said, ‘Something is going on.’ I felt like there was something going on with my brain. I couldn’t gather up stuff. I bumped into a couple of things. I just couldn’t ‘get it.” Divers will tell you he is a very conscientious person. “I was weighing it out that morning. I was saying to myself, ‘I’m not me.’ “My wife...a good girl. We’ve been together for 40 years, knowing each other, loving each other. She said, ‘I think we should go to the doctor.’” He ended up at Strong Memorial and the news was harsh: he’d had a stoke, and the father of three, grandfather of five boys, had lost his vision. “They couldn’t do a reversal on me,” he said. “Too much time

had passed. I’m lucky I woke up that morning.” One of the understandable outcomes of a sudden loss of vision is depression. It can take many forms and be debilitating. Director Silvia Sorensen, director of Project REBUILD, an outreach research effort by the University of Rochester, the Flaum Eye Institute and the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and her team have developed some teaching and mechanisms to help people cope with vision loss and turn a corner in their lives. Dave Divers felt that loss vividly. “It’s hard for me to define depression,” he said. “I think fear jumped into my heart before anything.” He thought about his five grandsons. “The fear part came. I enjoyed being with them and doing things with them and started thinking, ‘That’s not going to happen.’ I thought about work: you have to see to work. “That depression part…when I woke up, I was 57, and I sat on the edge of the bed and I sponged out. I sponged like a little baby. I was so scared for awhile.” The tears subsided, but the questions mounted — what kind of life would he have? Early on, two significant things happened, and both needed acceptance from Divers to understand and process. “I’m not totally blind,” he said, October 2017 •

but he needs a special cane and can’t see more than vague images. “When I woke up in the hospital, and they were telling me the vision was part of my stroke, my doctor told me, and I hear it now, but then, I didn’t understand. He said, ‘If there was a stroke that you could pick out, It would have been the one I had.’ “I didn’t understand that,” said Divers. “Pain is pain. I’m not going to pick a stroke for anyone. My father was a stroke victim. It became hard for him to take care of himself. I can take care of myself, I don’t have the fear of not being able to take care of me. I know some people have paralysis. I hear what the doctor was saying now; I didn’t really hear it then.” The second significant thing was a referral to Project REBUILD from his niece. “When REBUILD contacted me, I was desperate to try anything,” Divers said. “When you come to the doctor in my situation, you think he’s going to have the answer. You think he’s going to say, ‘Here’s what you’re going to do and you’re going to get your sight back.’ You look for that. I looked for that. “Then comes the realization. I have two good doctors. Good people. They talked to me and Project REBUILD. I just needed something else, I just needed someone to say, ‘Hey listen, it’s going to be OK.’” He got active again, playing beep baseball sponsored by the Asso-

ciation for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Divers loved watching his kids and grandkids play sports — he was an umpire and game official for baseball and basketball in Section V sports and NCAA Division III colleges for 20 years. Beep baseball uses a softball-size ball that beeps and is played on a special field. “They use me as the slugger,” Divers admits. “I’m competitive. If I swing and miss I tell the pitcher he’s not putting the ball in the right spot; he tells me my swing is not consistent.” Project REBUILD starts with four classes that teach skills and resources, then follows up with six in-house sessions of “resilience-building training.” “When they came to my house, that got me going, gave me a sense of going on to the next level,” Divers said. “I said, ‘OK, let me get out on my own.’ Kelly, my coach, came to the house, was really professional, I really liked her. We talked a lot, went over a lot. “I like to go to the mall. I hadn’t left the house yet. Finally, I walked around the block. One time, someone called me from across the street. I didn’t know who they were. They saw my cane. I felt real uncomfortable with that.” But then his sister told Divers about a blind man who takes the train into Manhattan every day. “After talking to my sister about that guy I decided, if he can do it, I can do it. I don’t need to stay in this house anymore. I’m not going to lock myself up. I’m not going to put that prison in me. I’m not going to be locked in. I have a lot of things to look forward to — I just have to learn to deal with it. “It’s tough,” Divers said, learning to anticipate and plan ahead to do things he never thought twice about. But he is back to doing them now, and his old habits of always being prepared are certainly helping. Plus, he’s got a great attitude and a strong support system. Now he gets to the mall. And Walmart (which was like an endless maze for him in the beginning — “Just horrible,” he said). And he rides the bus, timing the route on his smartphone and reminding his driver gently that his stop is coming up. “It’s a tough road,” he said. “Project REBUILD made it a lot easier. The coaches are almost like your cheerleaders. They follow up. Then I have something to say. It’s like going back to the bench and high-fiving everybody. I can’t wait to tell Kelly I did something.” Dave Divers has worked hard not to relinquish something that is in his heart. “My sister said, ‘Dave, you’re the patriarch of the family. It seems like you know a little bit about everything.’ Dave and wife Tami still live in the same house, but on a given night, there could be kids, sisters, spouses or grandsons staying the night. “I make sure I know where everyone is sleeping,” he said. “I tell everyone, ‘Don’t move your bed, because I’m coming right there if there’s an emergency, and don’t put anything in front of the windows.” Dad is still dad.

See related story on next page

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7


Project

REBUILD

Join us on Tuesday, October 3rd for three sessions: Support session: H.O.P.E., Hearing Other Peoples’ Experiences 10:15 AM -11:00 AM.

Retired audiologist and hearing aid user Joseph Kozelsky MS, CCC/A, moderates a question and answer group where prospective or new hearing aid users can share their hearing loss journeys and learn from others.

Program helps people who have visual problems that can’t be corrected

Daytime Meeting 11:00 AM -1:00 PM.

By John Addyman

Program begins at noon.

Hands-on Demonstration of Assistive Listening Devices (ADLs)

As a new community service, HLAA-R is offering a once-monthly “Device Demonstration Center” at Lifespan, 1900 S Clinton Ave. The Center will be open the third Thursday of the month from 10AM - 2PM. It is free and open to all. The Center is strictly a demonstration center; nothing is for sale. The October monthly program meeting will provide an overview of the devices available at the Center. Several will be on hand for people to try.

Evening Meeting 7:00-9:00 PM. Program begins at 8:00 PM.

Acoustic Neuroma Panel discussion

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor growing on the auditory nerve. Ceci McCurdy started the local Acoustic Neuroma support group. She and her fellow panelists will discuss the condition, treatment options, and life as an AN patient. The Hearing Loss Association of America opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy.

That’s what an organ donor is to someone waiting for a transplant—forever appreciated for giving the ultimate gift. Live life to the fullest. Help others do the same. Join the donor registry at www.PassLifeOn.org

H

ere’s the good news: if you’re 60 or over, you probably have years and years of good health ahead of you. But here’s a bit of sad news: a little more than one in eight of your friends and family members will suffer significant vision loss — and the number increases with age. What if the person affected is you? Losing your sight is a blow. It can come quickly, or take time — the dying of the light. What that does to your psyche, your soul, can adversely affect how you live. There are four main reasons your vision may deteriorate: • Cataract — when the lens in your eye becomes foggy or opaque and your vision blurs. This is correctible for many, but not all. • Diabetic retinopathy — if you have diabetes, you’re at higher risk of blindness. Retinopathy causes large blind spots in your vision. • Glaucoma — is damage to your optic nerve because of increased pressure within your eye. You lose your peripheral vision and end up with tunnel vision and can become blind. It is treatable when caught early. • Macular degeneration — is the leading cause of blindness in older adults. It occurs when the retina

inside your eye becomes damaged. Most people with this condition have the “dry” form of it, where the retina layer thins; in the “wet” version, there’s bleeding inside your eye. This condition takes away your central vision. Accidents or stroke can also take your vision away. There are two types of people with vision problems — those who know they have a problem and those who Sorensen don’t know yet. Silvia Sorensen is an associate professor at the Warner School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester. She has several active research projects focusing on the effects of vision loss. And she has some advice and an offer to help. “The first thing someone should do if they feel they have vision problems is go to their optometrist,” she said. “Most people have an optome-

trist. They should go to their optometrist and have their vision checked and see if there’s a correction that’s possible: that’s the first step. “If they find they have a vision loss that can’t be corrected [after a diagnosis by an ophthalmologist], that’s the population we’re aiming for in Project REBUILD: people who have visual problems that can’t be corrected. They need to explore the medical options first, but can also call us for support in the emotional fallout of that. “A lot of times, people who realize they have a disease that will bring with it visual loss in the future get very upset. It’s like a cancer diagnosis, in that you’re faced with a very different future than what you were expecting, and you have to cope with that and adjust to that. It takes awhile for people to go through that process.” Knowing you’re going to lose your sight can bring on a level of depression that takes the life out of you, changes you in significant ways. About 30 percent of the people who have vision loss suffer depression or depression symptoms, directly affecting their quality of life. Project REBUILD is an outreach research effort by the University of Rochester, the Flaum Eye Institute and the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Sorensen is the

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Are You or a Loved One Bothered by Vision Loss that can’t be corrected? Over age 60?

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017


project director at the UofR. Simply put, Project REBUILD helps people 60 years of age and older to cope with vision loss, teaches them how to get back much of their lives and stay independent. And it’s a free service, through a grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. When you sign up for REBUILD, you’ll attend four vision education classes. “The charge of REBUILD is to help older adults with vision loss get some skills and some exposure to resources that will help them reduce some depression symptoms or prevent depression,” Sorensen said. “What we try to do is expose people in four classes to all the different resources and knowledge they need to cope with the vision loss.” Her research shows that people who lose their vision and don’t get the kind of help REBUILD offers can suffer deepening depression. A crucial part of REBUILD is six personal, in-home sessions where a resilience-building coach works with the visually impaired person, one-onone. Sorensen stresses the emphasis here is to build problem-solving skills. “We start with pretty straightforward kinds of problems like, ‘I would like to learn about the news every day but I can no longer read the paper. What can I do?’ We teach people to define their problem really well. “For example, if someone says, ‘I’m lonely,’ that is very ill-defined. We try to get them to define a problem to say something like, ‘Well, I don’t see my friends enough.’ Then we try to help them set a goal. For one person, the goal might be, ‘I want to see my friends twice a week.’ For another person, the goal might be, ‘I want to see my friend once a month.’ It’s the person’s own goals that are important. “Then we help them brainstorm different solutions on how they can meet that goal,” said Sorensen. “So, one person might say, ‘My friends meet every week at this pub. I’d like to get there.’ So then we try to brainstorm different ways to get there. One could be, someone picks you up, another one could be, you take a cab, another one could be, you take a bus, or you take a cab one way and somebody takes you home the other way. There are different solutions.” At the end of the sessions, the resilience coaches give homework. “Now that you’ve worked through this problem, why don’t you take this action plan that we’ve developed and try it out — spend the next week trying to put this into action and see if it works, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll explore why not and figure out what does work,” Sorensen said. The coaching is all done in the home. “We also try to think about problems that might come up in the future,” she said. “So, let’s say somebody says, ‘I know I can’t live in this house much longer and I need to think about alternatives,’ so then we help them do that. There’s a real emphasis on building resilience, which is why we call it Project REBUILD.” More than 100 Rochester area people have been helped through REBUILD. Do you know someone who might benefit from this? You can reach Project REBUILD at 585-3718173.

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects people with sight to those who need help in seeing. Using a real-time video chat, volunteers read whatever is put in front of the screen.

Technology Helps People with Visual Impairment By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

I

n addition to reading Braille documents, people with visual impairment have many technological choices for accessing written words, from apps and software that read aloud text online to scanners that can read menus, signs and more. “Having the ability to read information is a tremendous breakthrough for those who are visually impaired,” said Ann K. Parsons, owner of Portal Tutoring in Rochester. “It’s incredible.” Parsons is visually impaired. When she was growing up, she owned very few books, since she had to either obtain Braille books or obtain a reader to help. The volume of audio book titles now on CD or stored on thumb drives makes it much easier to get audible materials. But more recent innovations have help make more written words accessible. Parsons mentioned Be My Eyes. It’s a free app on the iOS (the Android version is coming) that connects people with sight to those who need help in seeing. Using a real-time video chat, volunteers read whatever is put in front of the screen. Users find it helpful for sorting through cans in the pantry, reading websites that screen readers can’t, or finding a dropped object. The app selects volunteers only during their daytime hours; however, users may use it whenever they would like for as long as they would like at no charge. Parsons said that KNFB Reader is quite popular on the Android and iOS platforms. Users take a picture with a smartphone and it reads text aloud. Parsons uses that herself, and also uses a traditional reader on her computer that works with a scanner. Built-in phone apps that read books aloud have found a niche with commuters, fitness buffs and people with visual impairment. “I’ve spent my whole life hearing books read aloud and now people who are sighted are enjoying them as well,” Parsons said. Since apps like these are common on smartphones, it makes accessibility ubiquitous. Parsons thinks that electronic Braille readers will continue to advance. These readers create Braille text of what’s on the screen by raising and lowering pins electronically. Chelsea Hale, teacher for the visually impaired and orientation October 2017 •

and mobility instructor with the NYS Association for the Educations and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (NYSAER) in Darien Center, said that JAWS screen reading software is pretty popular. While technology helps in some ways, it can have its drawbacks. Recent developments in web design feature graphics-heavy sites that require users to scroll down before they find text. Sites designed like this make it more difficult for people to navigate with screen readers. Displaying important information such as phone numbers and names in a graphic usually makes it impossible for a screen reader to relate that information verbally. National Federation of the Blind states that 2.3 percent of the US population is visually impaired. That amounts to 387,900 New Yorkers, according to NFB. Businesses that make it hard to read text through screen readers miss a sizable market share that will only grow as the baby boomers age and experience age-related vision loss. Lisa Helen Hoffman of Rochester owns LHH Consulting, which provides consulting and training for people with visual impairment. Hoffman, who has visual impairment, prefers Braille to many of the phone apps offered now because smartphones have few tactile but-

tons, unlike flip phones that offered buttons. “I have a scanner app for my phone, but I really don’t use it,” she said. “It was a waste of money. My problem is I need to learn it. If there was a Braille manual, I could read it and understand.” She said that many people easily pick up on adaptive technology and others, like herself, don’t. “There are no guideposts, just swiping,” she said. Hoffman said that she has the BlindSquare app, which was designed to help people with visual impairment navigate using GPS technology. “I haven’t figured out how to get really specific with it, but it has a look around feature that will tell you addresses you’re going by and the next street you’re coming to,” she said. She uses Voiceover, an iOS app that verbalizes what appears on the screen, but she would prefer buttons. They allow her to follow a phone tree, which is next to impossible since she can’t use the dial-by-voice feature. She does like to use the voice-totext feature on her phone. And the fact that she can call the Apple help desk if she loses track of where she is on her phone.

KNFB Reader is another app that can help the visually impaired. Users take a picture with a smartphone and it reads text aloud. IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

Making New Friends: It’s Never Too Late

Q

uestion: I’ve been divorced for about a year now, and struggle with loneliness. I miss the friends we shared as a couple, but I’m just not comfortable socializing with these couples anymore. I’m 57, and it feels awkward to try to make friends at my age. Any advice for me? Answer: It’s unfortunate, but what you are experiencing often happens in the aftermath of a separation or divorce, especially if it was acrimonious. Friends’ loyalties can be split and, just as you feel uncomfortable relating to your former “couple” friends, some couples may feel uncomfortable relating to a now-single friend. So how do you meet new people and cultivate friendships as an adult? Here are a few tips: First, be your own best friend. Taking care of yourself matters. Loving yourself shows. The better you feel about yourself, the better friends you’ll meet. Positive people appreciate and gravitate to other healthy,

positive people. Do what you like doing. You won’t make friends sitting alone at home. Get out of the house and do those things you enjoy, whether it’s going to the gym, walking your dog, learning to dance, joining a book club or any number of activities that are fun and active. You’ll meet people who share your interests and love of life. Friendships will likely follow. Consider a support group. It’s not uncommon for new friendships to be borne out of compassion and empathy. A divorce or grief support group will put you in touch with others facing similar challenges. A friend of mine met her second husband in a divorce support group. She shared, “We got to know each other as friends first, and have remained ‘best friends’ throughout our marriage. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Say “yes” to invitations and opportunities to be with people. Circulating at parties, neighborhood meetings,

s d i K Corner

Back-to-School Worries for Parents?

work events, etc., is one of the easiest ways to make new friends. You’ll be out and about with people with whom you share something in common. Show up and don’t be shy about extending or accepting an invitation to get together. It could be a cup of coffee, drinks after work or a walk in the park or along the canal. Don’t overlook your family. My sister is my best friend, and she helped me re-establish a network of friends after my divorce. I had gone into the proverbial “cave” and lost contact with practically everyone. Her friends became my friends, and now, years later, I enjoy the company of her friends, as well as my own. Rekindle relationships with old friends. Sometimes old friends drift apart when you get married. That’s not unusual. New priorities take over and establishing a new married life together requires time and focus. But now, when you’re looking to find new friendships, consider reconnecting with old friends. They were an important part of your life at one point, and may still have lots to offer. Pick up the phone. Give a “singles” event a try. Many divorced or widowed women and men find fun and friendship in community activities organized just for singles. It could be a hike, bike ride, dinner club or dance. These opportunities are often included in community calendars online or in your local newspaper. Volunteer or join a cause. Supporting an organization or cause you believe in will put you in contact with

people working toward a common goal. Community gardens, political parties, hospitals, museums, animal shelters and many other organizations often need volunteers. Strong connections can be made when you work alongside others who want to make the world a better place. Join an online community of people who share your interests. Social networking sites can be a safe and satisfying way to meet people. One popular site is www.meetup.com, which facilitates group meetings in cities and towns locally and around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as nature, music, hiking, books, movies, health, pets, careers and hobbies. Good friendships make life better. The company of someone who makes you laugh, who provides a shoulder to lean on when you need one, and who is just plain fun to hang out with is vitally important to health and happiness, whether you live alone or not. So, if you feel your social network is too small, remember you can always meet new people, make new friends and nurture existing ones. It’s never too late.

ous conditions despite the small risk for them.” As more children have access to the internet and social media, many parents also expressed concerns about their children’s safety online. Experts have raised concerns about how cyberbullying may impact children’s mental health, with anxiety, depression and even suicide being linked to this type of harassment. Vulnerability to online predators is also a risk. “Parents should regularly discuss internet safety with their children

and teens and ways to prevent problems,” Freed says. “Simple effective strategies may include not providing personal identifying information on social media, chat platforms, or in shared gaming environments.” Motor vehicle accidents — which are the leading cause of death for children aged 2-14 — were also of great concern to all groups of parents. In 2015, more than 650 children died and more than 120,000 were injured in crashes. See the full report may be viewed at http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys

National sample shows 1 in 3 parents are very concerned with bullying, cyberbullying

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ullying and cyberbullying top parents’ list of worries when it comes to their children’s health, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. Close behind are internet safety and stress, motor vehicle accidents and school violence. But worries differed among racial groups, with African-American parents saying they were most concerned about racial inequities and school violence affecting their children. The report is based on responses from 2,051 adults — including 1,505 parents of children age 0-18 — from a nationally representative household survey. Page 10

“Adults across the country recognized bullying, including cyberbullying, as the leading health problem for U.S. children,” says physician Gary Freed, a Mott professor of pediatrics and the poll’s co-director. This is the 11th year the Mott Poll has surveyed a national sample of adults on the top 10 health concerns rated as a “big problem” for children and teens. For the first time, this year parents were also asked to rate health concerns for their own children. “When it came to their own kids, parents’ biggest child health concerns depended on their children’s ages,” Freed says. “For example, for parents of children ages 0-5, cancer was rated as a top health concern even though pediatric cancer is quite rare. Parents may have concerns about very seri-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of “Live Alone and Thrive,” empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon. For information or to contact Voelckers, call 585-6247887 or email: gvoelckers@rochester. rr.com.


Rock the Ruck! Want to burn three times more calories than walking? Local group offers weighted backpack ‘rucking’ events By Kyra Mancine

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ave you ever seen photos of soldiers hiking with a heavy backpack? That backpack is known as a “ruck” and can have as much as 200 pounds in it. Military members carry these rucks through a variety of terrain and locales. Known as “rucking,” this type of military training is meant to build strength, stamina and character. Think you’re up for the challenge? Locally, you can experience a modified version of what Special Forces and Green Berets go through, but the weight is reduced so all ages and fitness levels can participate.

The health benefits Hiking with added weight can be intense. Besides being a great way to blast calories, rucking is good for your endurance, posture and can even help alleviate back pain. The weighted backpack requires back muscles to work harder to keep your torso upright. In addition, rucking has a lower chance of injury than running, and is easier on the knees. Ruckers start with lower weights and work their way up. “ I got involved [with rucking] through a friend who had been rucking for almost a year,” said Erin Bardwell, of Scottsville. “I was uncertain about it at first but after my first event, I was hooked! I enjoy rucking because it gives me the opportunity to be outside, with good-natured people who like to have fun and help push each other.”

walking or hiking shoes, workout clothes, socks, a water bottle (keeping hydrated is very important) and weights to add to your ruck. For weights, you can use weight plates or take bricks and duct tape them together. Other things to consider bringing include a waterproof bag for inside your ruck (to store your phone, keys, ID and a shirt to change into), a power bar, cash, a headlamp and reflective tape.

What to expect Rucking is a social activity where you will share the experience with others. There may be some newbies, as well as others experienced with rucking. Start with smaller weights. You can work up to heavier weights as your fitness level and rucking experience increases. The ruck starts with warm up

exercises and ends with food, drinks and camaraderie. During the event, you may encounter obstacles such as doing lunges across a bridge. The group travels in a loop nine to 10plus miles, participating in challenges as you hike and stopping along the way at breweries (for water or a beverage of your choice). One of the rules is that your “ruck never touches the ground.” Sometimes ruckers even carry other members. As far as how much weight to carry, this is up to you. The GoRuck. com website recommends 10 lbs if you weigh under 150 lbs. and 20 lbs. if you weigh over 150 lbs. Some new members chose to not carry weight at all and just shadow along. There is typically someone with a medical background in the mix and, if for any reason you want to drop out, there is someone to make sure you find your way safely back to the starting point.

Local History Shawn Hodge, founder of the Canandaigua Brewery Ruck group, first participated in rucking as part of one of the national Go Ruck events in 2016. That event was a grueling introduction to the sport. Wanting to create something shorter, less intimidating but still challenging (and closer to home), he started the 9- 10-mile brewery loop ruck in Canandaigua in June 2016. The group started out with about seven members consistently participating. Since then, it has grown in popularity, with as many as two-dozen members joining in and close to 100 members in the Facebook group. “We push people outside their comfort zone,” said Hodge. “Grab a ruck sack, some water, and try it! We’re always looking for new people. Rucking is about making memories through the muck and mud as we work through obstacles. Some challenges are physical, carrying canoes, logs, ladders, things we find in the woods, and some are mental. The important thing is that we work together and don’t quit. It’s supposed to be a good time.”

How to get started You will need a ruck (backpack),

Ruck members embark on their journey. The hikes are organized locally by member of the Canandaigua Brewery Ruck.

Upcoming Rucks (offered monthly, all year) Beehive Brew Pub parking lot, 20 Pleasant St., Canandaigua • 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6 • 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 3 The ruck ends from 7:30 to 11 p.m., based on how fast the group is and how many stops they make (including the post ruck meal). Ruck events are free, other than the cost for October 2017 •

food/drinks. Those who can’t make the 5 p.m. time, can join the group further along the route. For additional dates and information: Search for Canandaigua Brewery Ruck Group on Facebook Learn more/find sponsored events: www.goruck.com.

6 Out of 7 Teens Slip Up on Contact Lens Guidelines: CDC

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bout six out of seven U.S. teens with contact lenses use them improperly, upping their odds for serious eye infections, government health officials say. Surveying 12- to 17-year-old contact lens wearers last year, researchers found 85 percent admit to at least one risky habit that could threaten their vision. These include sleeping, napping or swimming with their contacts in; reusing solution; rinsing lenses in tap water; or not replacing lenses and storage cases as recommended, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. About 3.6 million adolescents in the United States wear contact lenses, the CDC said. Outbreaks of serious eye infections are rare in this country. But they occur most often in people who don’t take proper care of their contacts. Of teens under 18 who wear contacts, an estimated 3 million weren’t completely following care guidelines, the survey revealed. This was also true of 81 percent of young adults (18 to 24). Adults 25 and older reported even worse habits, with 87 percent admitting to at least one lapse. “Encouraging adolescents to adopt healthy contact lens wear and care habits might help them maintain healthy habits into adulthood,” said the researchers led by ophthalmologist Jennifer Cope. “There is room for improvement in order to prevent potentially serious outcomes including blindness.” Avoid sleeping or napping while wearing contact lenses to prevent infections. The study authors said that sleeping in contacts boosts the risk of eye infections by as much as eight times. Cleaning your contact lenses properly and regularly visiting an eye-care provider are essential for preventing lens-related eye infections, the study authors said. Specifically, they advised replacing contact lenses as often as recommended by an eye doctor and replacing the case at least every 3 months. Also, remember to remove them before swimming or showering. Andrew Pucker, an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, said slip-ups in care often occur while traveling. “Being prepared when traveling is key to eye safety,” said Pucker. Pack travel-sized supplies, and think about your destination, he advised.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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SmartBites

The skinny on healthy eating

pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until turnips are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and stir in greens. Cook for two minutes and then add garlic and Fresno pepper (if using). Cook for another two to three minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces by three-fourths. Turn off heat, blend in honey, and serve.

Turnips + Greens = Nutritional Powerhouse

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ome things are just better together: Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, wine and cheese. Another remarkable duo? Turnips and their nutritious greens. On its own, a turnip is a decent source of several key nutrients. But when considered with its greens, it turns from a decent source into a downright amazing one. We’re talking superfood status. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to eat everything at the same time to reap all the benefits, but you do need to “heed the greens.” Why eat a turnip? The low-calorie root — only 30 per cooked cup — is a treasure trove of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. Standout nutrients include vitamin C (about 40 percent of our daily needs) and fiber (around 3 grams). Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is a tissue-builder, immune-booster and workhorse scavenger of harmful free radicals—age-accelerating agents that have been linked to inflammation, certain cancers and other chronic diseases. Fiber is good for bowel health, helps control blood sugar

levels, lowers cholesterol levels, and keeps us feeling fuller longer. Another reason to eat this slightly peppery bulb? As a member of the nutritious cruciferous family, turnips are loaded with unique sulfur-containing compounds that may help the body fight cancer. Why eat a turnip’s greens? The leafy greens, much like kale and beet greens, rock with vitamins A, K and C — all mighty antioxidants that burst with a variety of other health benefits. Vitamin A is essential for growth and healthy vision; vitamin K helps maintain strong bones and regulates normal blood clotting; and vitamin C’s merits are listed above. One cup of cooked greens also provides a decent amount of fiber (5 grams) and folate, an important B vitamin that helps form red blood cells and produce DNA. Another reason to eat the greens? They offer up some calcium — about 20 percent of our daily needs in one cooked cup. Calcium helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, and also plays a major role in the regulation of heart rate and rhythm.

Helpful tips: Braised Turnips with Wilted Greens Adapted from Cooking Light

6 small (or 3 medium) turnips, trimmed and peeled 1 bunch turnip greens (from above bulbs or purchased separately) 1 tablespoon olive oil 3/4 cup water or salt-reduced stock 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Fresno pepper, slivered (optional) 1 teaspoon honey Cut turnips into bite-size chunks. Wash and coarsely chop or tear the greens. Remove the stems if they are tough. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turnips and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add water or stock, vinegar, salt and

Choose small to medium size turnips that are heavy for their size: the smaller the bulb, the sweeter the flavor. Look for greens that are crisp and deep green in color. If you buy turnips with their greens attached, remove them from the root when you get home. Store roots and greens in separate plastic bags and place in the refrigerator. Greens should last about four days; roots will keep for about two weeks, sometimes longer.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

nist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

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(585) 697-6606 | Irondequoit Page 12

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017


Plant-Based Diet Supports Good Health Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, eating more plants may benefit your health, say experts By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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any Americans don’t eat enough whole fruits, vegetables and grains. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention’s Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults, New Yorkers’ fruit and vegetable consumption has decreased. From 2000 to 2009 (the most recent statistics the CDC offers on the topic), the percent of adults 18 and older who eat fruit two or more times a day plunged from 38.9 to 40.7. Those who eat vegetables three or more times a day decreased from 27.7 percent to 24.7 percent. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, eating more plants may benefit your health. “They help you reduce your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, lower risk of cancer, improve your immune system with vitamins and minerals, and ultimately, they can create weight loss,” said. Christina Ganzon, a registered dietitian with Finger Lakes Health. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in calories. Preparation methods such as frying add calories, as does flavoring with butter or sugar. Whole fruits and vegetables also provide fiber. While it’s easy to get stuck in a food jag and eat the same fruits and vegetables over and over, Ganzon

advises patients to “eat the rainbow” so they consume a variety of produce to consume a wide spectrum of nutrients. Eating a plant-based diet carries a few caveats. Most people ramping up their plant intake find that they’re eating a lot more fiber than normal. Ganzon said that drinking enough water can help the bowels work better. She said that some people switching to a plant-based diet find they’re hungry sooner than when they ate more meat; however, eating nuts, beans and seeds can help them with satiety and increase their intake of protein, another challenge to focusing on produce. For people not eating vegan, cheese and eggs can help maintain sufficient protein intake. Soy-based protein powder and other sources of soy can help with protein intake. Limiting meat intake makes it harder to get B vitamins; however, dark, leafy greens such as spinach can provide these and supplementation can also help. While eating vegetarian or vegan sounds like it deserves a halo of healthfulness, it’s possible to eat a very unhealthful diet that’s technically vegetarian or vegan. For example, French fries made with vegetable oil are vegan, but not nutritious. Some people choose vegetarian

6,900 JOBS

or vegan foods that are highly processed. Some of these foods contain lots of sugar, such as soy-based protein bars that are little better than candy bars. “It is easy to gain weight if you reach for processed foods that are vegetarian,” Ganzon said. “More important than a plant-based diet is one-ingredient foods that aren’t processed.” Stephanie Frackenpohl, assistant manager at Lori’s Natural Foods Center in Rochester and 11-year vegan, said that eating foods as close to their natural state is the best way to go. To make this easier, she cuts up raw vegetables ahead of time, among other food preparation steps that enable her to grab food-to-go during a busy week. She likes to add vegetables to a fruit smoothies, make a meal out of a vegetable stir-fry, and use cauliflower in place of rice. Frackenpohl encourages clients to increase their vegetable intake by incorporating a “Meatless Monday” into their week, snacking on vegetables instead of processed foods, and trying new vegetables. Peruse the produce section as well as frozen foods case to find veggies and fruits you haven’t tried. Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, popcorn, whole oats offer more nutrition than highly pro-

Stephanie Frackenpohl, assistant manager at Lori’s Natural Foods Center in Rochester and 11-year vegan. She is shown making vegan s’mores with her children for a treat. cessed grains such as white flour. Cindy Fiege, certified herbalist, Nature’s Sunshine certified In.Form coach and owner of Harmony Health Store, LLC, in Spencerport, likes making a plant-based protein shake in morning to eat more protein. Lunch is a salad full of crunchy vegetables. Vegetables predominate at dinner, too. “Focus more on half your plate to be filled with vegetables, one-quarter with protein and one-quarter a carbohydrate, like brown rice,” Fiege said. “Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ How true is that?”

AND A $770 MILLION IMPACT TO THE UPSTATE ECONOMY

Across upstate New York, our nonprofit health plan and parent company employ about 5,400 people in dozens of locations. We indirectly create more than 1,500 additional jobs through our purchases from regional vendors. We’re a major purchaser of services that go beyond the $5 billion in medical benefits we pay out annually. Together, our companies’ economic impact on upstate communities amounted to more than $770 million in 2016. Whether measured in jobs or dollars, we contribute in substantial ways to our local economy. We’re neighbors helping neighbors build healthier communities.

A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

October 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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What to Do When Your Kids Need a Therapist If your child displays troubling symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help, an expert says By Christine Green

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any children and teens deal with mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, but parents aren’t always sure when to seek help. Jennifer King, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Brockport Marriage and Family Therapy, tells In Good Health that signs of distress include isolation, change in sleep, eating and patterns of behavior, themes in conversation (morbid, negative, fatalistic, self-defeating), or self-harm. Other indications of distress may include participation in risk-taking behaviors or loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. If your child displays troubling symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help. Parents and doctors agree that parents should start by contacting their insurance company. Most insurance companies have lists of therapists that accept their coverage. The next step according to King is to take this list to a trusted pediatrician or school counselor and ask if they have any feedback or suggestions.

How do I Start?

Once you cull your list of providers it is time to start making phone calls. A mother who works as a billing analyst in Greece who sought therapy for her depressed teen three years ago, says that parents should immediately verify coverage with the provider’s office as she unfortunately found that some therapists that previously accepted her insurance had changed their coverage policies. For privacy reason this mother wanted to be identified only as “Jane”. Leigh Zimmerman, school psychologist at Oneonta City School District and formerly at Oliver Middle School in Brockport, notes that parents should then ask about the child’s specific Zimmerman problem or concern and if the therapist has experience with this issue. David Comisar, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Rochester, says that another important question to ask a provider is if they work with both the parent and child or only with the child. King has seen how a child’s mental health Page 14

troubles can affect the whole family, so the possibility of family counseling is something to discuss during the initial interview. Both Comisar and King further suggest that parents ask about therapeutic approaches such as art, play or music therapy. Zimmerman reminds parents not to forget about practical concerns such as availability. For example: do they see patients on nights and weekends? How available are they by phone between sessions if a problem arises? King recommends asking if the provider is comfortable with collaborating with other adults on the child’s care team like their pediatrician and school counselor. If you want a specific type of counseling that fits with your religious beliefs, for instance, make sure to bring that up in the interview, too. Finally, consider how comfortable you are talking with them. Zimmerman tells parents to “pay attention to how they feel about the conversation. Feeling comfortable with the therapist is a big part of fit.”

a kid who digs their heels in. He can often convince a resistant child to go to their appointments.

Participating in their own care

If You Need a Psychiatrist

Once you’ve found a provider the

next step is to help your child understand the importance of going to their appointments. Kids can often be resistant to therapy, so King suggests telling your child, “let’s at least give it a try.” This type of trial approach “gives the child a little bit of control over the whole process. This is what this is all about: control over the self, control over one’s behaviors, and thoughts.” Avoid telling your child that they are sick or unwell which can make them feel even more resistant to therapy. Instead try telling them that the family as a whole could use some help and this is one step toward creating more harmony in the household. Jane also wants parents to keep in mind that going to counseling is hard even for adults, so be patient with your child as they navigate this new territory. Letting kids know that you understand how difficult this process is can go a long way toward convincing them to participate in their own care. Pediatrician Mark Klier of Ogden Pediatrics in Chili tells parents to ask a doctor or other trusted professional to help explain to your child the importance of giving therapy a chance. He advises to never force or threaten

What’s Next?

Once therapy starts, professionals suggest giving it at least four to six sessions before determining whether or not there is a positive connection between patient and therapist. But if after this time your child still doesn’t feel comfortable with their therapist don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. “If they don’t connect, you’ve got nothing,” says a mother who prefers to be identified as “Kathy.” A Rochester-area mom, Kathy has been helping her 17-year-old son through his anxiety for several years. Another thing to be aware of is that there may be some conversations between the therapist and the child that might remain private. At the first appointment the therapist will discuss their disclosure procedures and any laws pertaining to privacy and safety. These policies will vary depending on age, and there may be forms to sign. If your pediatrician or therapist recommends visiting a psychiatrist for further evaluation, call your insurance again for a list of providers. Klier warns that there are “frequently long delays, longer than there should be” when it comes to finding a child psychiatrist in Rochester. If you have trouble getting an appointment, ask your doctor if they can call the psychiatric office directly. It is also important to note that it can take up to four months or longer to get an appointment, so be prepared. Kathy recommends finding a psychiatric nurse practitioner, instead, who may have more openings.

Don’t give up!

Both mothers who spoke with this writer would tell fellow parents not to give up even if they face some obstacles when seeking out therapy for their child. Kathy urges parents to follow their gut — if it appears that your child is suffering and may need therapy, take action: “Trust your instincts.” Jane adds that if the child or family is going through any sort of trauma (divorce, abuse, medical concerns) keep a weather eye on the kids as they may benefit from therapy to help them cope.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

Jennifer King

Where to Go: Parent Resources

Monroe Mobile Crisis. 585-529-3721 or www.urmc. rochester.edu/mental-healthwellness/emergency-services/ monroe-mobile-crises-team.aspx

Mental Health Association of New York State. 1-800-766-6177 or mhanys.org

Hillside Family of Agencies. 585-256-7500 or www.hillside. com

U of R Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program. 585-275-4501 or www.urmc. rochester.edu/mental-healthwellness/emergency-services/ psych-ed.aspx

Psychiatric Emergency Center at Unity St. Mary’s. 585-368-3950 or www. rochesterregional.org/services/ behavioral-health/mental-healthand-emergency-inpatient-services/ psychiatric-emergency-centers


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Things You Should Know About The Flu By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

t’s that time again. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from influenza virus. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. Cynthia Rand, pediatrician at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, answers six frequently asked questions about flu and vaccine season.

1

How serious is influenza, or ‘the flu’? About 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized due to flu each year. On average, nearly 100 children die in the U.S. from flu and its complications each year. “The flu is one of the leading causes of infectious disease hospitalization among young children,” said Rand. It is also an illness that can spread pretty rapidly. “People who are carrying flu virus can spread it before, during and after feeling sick. They spread flu virus to people up to six feet away

when they talk, cough or sneeze. Flu viruses can live on moist surfaces for up to three days,” said Rand.

2

Who should get the flu vaccine and how often? Everyone aged 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Young children have the highest rate of infection due to flu. However, it’s especially important for people 65 and older, anyone who has a chronic condition such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, cancer or HIV infection, pregnant women, people on immunosuppressive drugs and healthcare workers. “The virus strains can change each season, and immunity declines over time, which is why you need a new vaccine each year,” said Rand.

3

Should I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant? Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are encouraged to be vaccinated. Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in healthy women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women, and women who have given birth during the previous two weeks, more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. That is one of the many reasons why pregnant women should get the

October 2017 •

flu shot. In addition, studies have shown that vaccinating a pregnant woman also can protect a baby after birth from flu. In this way, mom passes antibodies on to her developing baby that will protect against flu for the first several months after birth. “Women can safely receive the flu vaccine at any point during pregnancy, and are of special concern because of the high risk of complications from flu,” said Rand. The most common side effects experienced by pregnant women are the same as those experienced by other people. They are generally mild and include: soreness, redness, or swelling from the shot; fainting; headache; fever; muscle aches; nausea; and fatigue

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My kids preferred the nasal spray vaccine. Can they still get that one? Unfortunately, the nasal spray was not very effective at preventing flu, so this form of the vaccine is no longer recommended. Just recently a CDC advisory committee said nasal spray should not be used for the 2017-2018 flu season. “In fact, last flu season the nasal flu vaccine had no protective benefit for children ages 2 to 17,” added Rand. “Children who got a flu shot were 63 percent less likely to catch the flu than people who weren’t vaccinated.”

UR Medicine pediatrician Cynthia Rand.

5

When is the best time to get vaccinated? It is recommended to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available. The virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January and February. However, vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season — even getting a vaccination later in the season December through March can still help protect you from influenza.

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How else can I protect myself from the flu? The same way you protect yourself from the common cold. “Remember to wash your hands often, stay home if you don’t feel well, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, cough into your elbow and clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is sick.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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Women’s HEALTH Have a Baby Without Losing Your Body By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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oes having a baby mean lasting weight gain? It seems so for many women. A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that excessive pregnancy weight gain happens for women of all pre-pregnancy sizes. Once that weight goes on, it’s hard to get off with the added responsibility of a new baby. Of underweight women, 23.5 percent gained too much. For normal weight women, 37.6 percent packed on too much weight. Overweight women fare worse. 61.6 percent of overweight women and 55.8 percent of obese women gained more than what their doctors recommended. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy contributes to raising risks of many diseases — including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer — but increased clothing sizes and stretch marks are the most evident and immediate side effects. Of course, the baby’s health is top priority for pregnant women, but women planning to have a baby can take a few steps to maintain their own bodies. “The mother’s health prior to pregnancy is playing a bigger role in the health and well-being of the child and the mother after giving birth than they ever thought,” said Christi-

na Ganzon, registered dietitian with Finger Lakes Health. “Her recovery time will be quicker and she’ll have more energy faster. The faster she feels better, the better off everyone will be.” Ideally, women should get healthy before conception by forming good health habits such as eating a well-balanced diet comprised of a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein and plant-derived fats. “Eating right can help you gain the right amount of weight your doctor prescribes,” said Cindy Fiege, certified herbalist, Nature’s Sunshine certified In.Form coach, and owner of Harmony Health Store, LLC, in Spencerport. “Back when I was having kids 30 years ago, we weren’t focused on eating good foods. Nutrition wasn’t thought of during pregnancy. I think that we were still in a mindset that the baby only got the good food. We know that’s not true now.” Some women still believe that “eating for two” equals two adultsized portions, but according to the CDC, women can wait until the second trimester to increase their caloric intake, and then they need only an additional 340 to 450 calories daily. As with other aspects of health, women’s care providers can offer

detailed advice on eating healthfully before, during and after pregnancy. Women should also establish a fitness routine before pregnancy to help control weight and increase strength. Gaining too much weight or gaining weight too quickly contributes to stretch marks. The CDC recommends 150 minutes weekly exercise to maintain current weight. Women who need to lose weight should increase the time. Exercise should consist of aerobic

movement, which raises the heart rate, and resistance training, which strengthens muscle. “Build those core muscles so it supports the baby easier and makes it easier for delivery,” said Gabrielle Bougoine, general manager and personal trainer at Harro East Athletic Club in Rochester. Getting in shape before pregnancy can also help most women safely continue to exercise through pregnancy.

Expanded Work Leave Benefits Families Workers will be able to take up to eight weeks off as part of the new family leave program; time off will increase to 12 weeks in 2021. Benefit applies to both father and mother By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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he New York State Paid Family Leave Program, taking effect Jan. 1, 2018, will allow workers job protection for eight weeks instead of the six weeks allowed now. In 2019, workers will receive an additional two weeks of leave. In 2021, the number of weeks will top out at 12 as the new provision is completely phased in. The maximum percent of employees’ average wage will increase incrementally as well, from 50 percent in 2018 to 67 percent in 2021. Since the financial need to work often constrains mothers to go back to work soon after their children’s birth, receiving additional time off is a good step, according to Mary L. Beer, a registered nurse who serves as public health director for the Ontario County Public Health. “The more time you have to bond with your child, the stronger that bond is,” Beer said. “I’m also hoping that it will lengthen the time the mother is breastfeeding. Most breastfeed until they go to work and Page 16

it gets challenging.” The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among many medical organizations, recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months and as long as mother and child wish to continue. Beer added that having additional time at home can also help women recoup from birthing, get organized, and establish a baby routine. Christy Richards, clinical lactation counselor and health educator with the Ontario County Public Health, agrees that more time at home will help mothers extend breastfeeding. She said that nationwide, 81.1 percent of women and 82 percent in New York breastfeed the first three days after birth. “As we go further out and moms go back to work, the amount of breast milk kids get plummets,” Richards said. At 6 months, only 51.8 percent nationwide are breastfed any

amount, and in New York state, it is 55.8 percent. Exclusive breastfeeding at six months is 22.3 percent nationwide and 19.7 percent in New York. Many women who work jobs that don’t allow more than the minimum six weeks of leave can’t afford a quality electric breast pump, which can cost $300 or more. In addition, it can take a few weeks to establish a good milk supply, learn how to help baby latch, develop a good sleeping and nursing routine and learn how to use a breast pump. Some babies take longer to accept bottled breast milk. Moms benefit, too, from more time off. Richards said that moms need extra weeks to cope with sleep pattern disturbances, body image issues, and post partum depression issues. “Their bodies aren’t healed even after six weeks if they have sutures in them,” Richards said. “Plus, it’s so emotionally hard to go back.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

All About Bonding

“New York’s Paid Family Leave program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.” “Employees are also guaranteed to be able to return to their job and continue their health insurance. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave.” “Paid Family Leave coverage will be included under the disability policy all employers must carry. The premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions.” Source: www.ny.gov/newyork-state-paid-family-leave


Women’s HEALTH

Caregiver-in-Chief

Women make up 66 percent of all those involved with informal caregiving By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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bout 3 million caregivers provide a total of more than 2.6 billion hours of care to loved ones annually, an economic value of $32 billion, according to the New York Office for the Aging. The Family Care Alliance, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, states that an estimated 66 percent of caregivers are women. The reasons behind the trend of women caregivers is manifold. Women tend to live longer than men. If it’s one spouse caring for another, it’s usually a wife caring for a husband. Family dynamics also trend toward women caregivers as many women shift from serving as the primary caregiver of the family’s young children to the caregiver of the older adults. The average woman caregiver is married and employed. Dubbed the “Sandwich Generation,” women in this situation often feel stressed by the demands on their time, caring for their elderly relative — usually a parent or in-law — and their own

children, plus work. Registered nurse Mary Beer, public health director with Ontario County Public Health, has spoken with many caregivers. She said many experience guilt and stress and don’t realize how much they bear. “What happens often is that in caregiving, it’s not necessarily that yesterday, you weren’t a caregiver and today you are,” Beer said. “You’re picking it up slowly over time until you’re doing so much that it starts to affect your own health and your ability to get rest. You want to do as much as you can it and soon your own health suffering from it.” Many caregivers provide about 20 hours of care weekly, equivalent to a part-time job, in addition to their actual jobs. A growing number of women care for more than one elderly relative, as people who have divorced and remarried may have numerous connections with older adults for whom they feel responsible. Ironically, many dedicated

caregivers who spread themselves too thin out of desire to provide optimal care end up in an emotional and physical state where they cannot provide the best care possible. Cindy Steltz, director of education and caregiver services for Mary Beer Lifespan in Rochester, said that many caregivers ensure their loved one makes all the needed medical appointments and social connections, but neglects her own needs. “As a result, they may have stress-related illnesses,” Steltz said. “They may not monitor their blood pressure, get enough sleep, eat healthfully and find the time to exercise.” She recommends that caregivers

get help sooner than what they think they’ll need it, whether informally through friends and other family members, volunteer organizations, or paid staff. Steltz said many caregivers feel awkward about asking for help, as if it’s unloving to their relative to pass on some responsibilities. But it doesn’t have to be an all-ornothing situation. Perhaps a family friend could take over driving duties to one or two appointments a month or sit with the person receiving care for a few hours. In-home respite can provide a companion who performs light housekeeping if the care recipient lives alone. In addition to giving the caregiver a break, “having another set of eyes can be helpful sometimes,” Steltz said. “An outside caregiver or helper may notice things that are more subtle that someone won’t pick up on if they’re there 24-7.” She encourages caregivers to hold a family meeting to help decide who can do what to support the older person’s aging in place. An objective third party may help keep the conversation on track and suggest helpful solutions in a way that family members cannot since there’s no emotional motivation involved. Steltz said that Lifespan offers the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program that lasts six week, which helps caregivers take better care of themselves. In one exercise, caregivers make a list of all they’re doing. Many feel shocked at how much care they provide. By using the list to find others to help, caregivers can take better care of themselves. For more care giver resources, visit https://aging.ny.gov/Caregivers/Index.cfm or contact New York Connects at www.nyconnects.ny.gov, 1-800-342-9871 or in Monroe County, Lifespan at 585-244-8400.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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5 Tips to Fight Fall Allergies

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t may seem as though every fall your allergies get the best of you rather than you coming out on top. Sneezing, wheezing, runny noses and itchy eyes can leave you feeling run down and defeated. “If it feels as though your allergy symptoms flare up earlier and earlier every year, you’re probably not wrong,” says allergist Stephen Tilles, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Climate change may actually be causing an earlier and longer fall allergy season. In addition, windy days can mean heightened allergy symptoms because wind can carry the pollen from ragweed, grasses and trees up to 100 miles from its source.” Ragweed pollen is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, and needs to be avoided, along with other allergic triggers like mold and grass pollen. Here are five tips from ACAAI to help you steer clear of your worst allergy foes.

1

Plan your battle in advance.

Although they are labeled “fall

allergies” many allergic triggers start to appear in mid-to-late August. Start taking your allergy medications about two weeks before your symptoms normally start. Getting in front of your symptoms means controlling them a lot better. Don’t stop your medications until pollen counts have been down for about two weeks.

2

Fight mold. Mold allergies can be tough to outrun. Mold can grow anywhere there is water, and is a frequent foe in the fall. Mold can be found in your basement, bathroom, a leaky cabinet under your sink, or in a pile of dead leaves in your backyard. The key to reducing mold is moisture

control. Be sure to use bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water, and completely dry. You can also help ward off mold by keeping home humidity below 60 percent and cleaning gutters regularly.

3

Keep pollen at bay.

Ragweed, or any pollen that triggers your allergy symptoms, needs to be kept out of your house. Leave your shoes at the door, and take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. Close both car and home windows, and use your air conditioning so pollen doesn’t get indoors. Monitor both pollen and mold counts to help you know when

you’re less likely to be under siege.

4

Be armed for combat.

Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores. Wear gloves so you won’t transfer pollen to your eyes or skin. Take your allergy medication before heading outside. If you’re allergies are severe, consider having someone else do the gardening and fall raking. 

5

Find an ally.

See your allergist. Allergists are trained to identify your allergies and provide a personal treatment plan. They can also provide immunotherapy – allergy shots – which target your exact triggers and can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Allergy shots can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies. If you think you might be one of the more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies and asthma, use the ACAAI website — http:// acaai.org/locate-an-allergist —to find an allergist in your area. 

PAD: Often Misdiagnosed, This Illness Can Be Mild or Deadly Experts: Tell the doctor about your symptoms; it could save your leg

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s we age, it is common to be concerned about heart disease or high blood pressure. But many people don’t know that those conditions are also related to another common health issue, peripheral artery disease (PAD). Unfortunately, many patients are not diagnosed until it has progressed. PAD is caused when hardening of the arteries deprives the legs and feet of oxygen-rich blood. This occurs because the arteries become clogged, much like water pipes in an old house that build up with lime. In the body, clogged arteries don’t bring enough oxygen to the toes, feet and legs. (Less commonly, the same thing can happen to arms and hands.) Older people are more likely to have some level of PAD. Those over 60 have a 5 percent chance; those

over 70, 15 percent; and those over 80, 20 percent. Smokers and diabetics are far more likely to have PAD. If the disease stays mild, it can cause no symptoms at all, or just a little pain in the legs while walking. But if it progresses, it can lead to gangrene, amputation and sometimes even death. “A lot of time when patients complain of leg pain, it is misdiagnosed as something else, such as back pain,” said vascular surgeon and researcher Katherine Gallagher of the University of Michigan. “Then they may be referred to other doctors and occasionally have procedures like back surgery that fails to relieve the pain. Only then they are diagnosed with PAD.” Patients need to know that even if they have PAD, it can be managed Are you unable to work because of a severe impairment or illness? I have over 20 years experience successfully obtaining

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conservatively with medications most of the time, she added. “Surgery or endovascular therapy should be reserved for patients who have lifestyle-limiting pain when walking, rest pain and ulcers that don’t heal.” What can you do to avoid the severe later stages of PAD? • Don’t smoke; if you do smoke, quit. Nicotine inflames the blood vessels and increases the likelihood of PAD. Ask your doctor to help you find assistance with smoking cessation. • See your primary care doctor regularly. Checkups are designed to catch things like PAD. • If you are having pain in your legs, feet or toes, or have sores on your feet that won’t heal, be sure to mention that in your doctor visit. • Be sure to follow doctor’s

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advice and take prescribed blood pressure and cholesterol medications as directed. • Keep walking. Walking 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week can keep PAD at bay. If your legs hurt just a little, keep walking; if the pain is bad, stop for a few minutes till it goes away, then start walking again. Pushing through mild and moderate pain will increase the distance you can walk without pain over time. • If that’s hard to manage, ask if supervised exercise therapy is covered for you.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

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What if you could choose?

5 Days or 45 Days

By Jim Miller

How to Find a Better Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Dear Savvy Senior, I think I’m paying too much for the medications I take. I have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and my out-of-pocket spending is over $4,000 thus far in 2017. When and how can I change my Medicare drug plan? Inquiring Carol

premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Also, be sure the plan you’re considering covers all of the drugs you take with no restrictions. Most drug plans today place the drugs they cover into price tiers. A drug placed in a higher tier may require you to get prior authorization or try another medication first before you can use it.

Dear Carol,

Need Help?

You can change your Part D prescription drug plan during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which runs from Oc. 15 through Dec. 7. During this time, beneficiaries can switch drug plans or join a drug plan if you didn’t have one before. They can also switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa, if they wish. Any changes to coverage will take effect Jan. 1. In September, you should have received your “annual notice of change” from your drug plan. It outlined any changes in coverage, costs or service that will take effect in January. If you take no action during open enrollment, your current coverage will continue next year. Yet even those who are happy with their coverage should review their plan for any changes to come.

If you need some help choosing a new plan, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE and they can help you out over the phone. Or, contact New York State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free one-on-one Medicare counseling. They also conduct seminars during the open enrollment period at various locations throughout each state. To find the contact information for your local SHIP visit Shiptacenter. org, or call the eldercare locator at 800-677-1116.

Change Medicare Plans If you have internet access and are comfortable using a computer, you can easily shop for and compare all Medicare drug plans in your area, and enroll in a new plan online. Just go to Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan, and type in your ZIP code or your personal information, enter in how you currently receive your Medicare coverage, select the drugs you take and their dosages, and choose the pharmacies you use. You’ll get a cost comparison breakdown for every plan available in your area so you can compare it to your current plan. This tool also provides a five-star rating system that evaluates each plan based on past customer service records, and suggests generics or older brand name drugs that can reduce your costs. When you’re comparing drug plans, look at the “estimated annual drug costs” that shows how much you can expect to pay over a year in total out-of-pocket costs, including

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Low-Income Assistance If you find yourself struggling to pay your medication costs, check out Medicare’s “Extra Help” program. This is a federal low-income subsidy that helps pays Part D premiums, deductibles and copayments. To be eligible, your income must be under $18,090 or $24,360 for married couples living together, and your assets must be below $13,820 or $27,600 for married couples. For more information or to apply, call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit SSA.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp. Other resources that can help include RxAssist.org, which maintains a comprehensive database of patient assistance programs, set up by drug companies for those who have trouble affording their medications. And NeedyMeds.org, a national nonprofit organization that maintains a website of free information on programs that help people who can’t afford their medications or other health-care costs. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. October 2017 •

Age 3:

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19


Ask St. Ann’s

By Diane Kane, M.D.

How Does a ‘Continuum of Care’ Benefit Seniors?

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or many seniors, moving to a retirement community is the perfect way to simplify their lives. Finding a community that offers a range of services and activities makes it easier to start a new chapter and make new friends, while affording you the independence you desire. As you start planning, remember that even if you live independently today, there is no guarantee you will be able to do so tomorrow. A retirement community that offers a continuum of care will be able to help you as your needs change. • Priority placement — The best reason for moving to a continuum of care retirement community while you are independent is that you will get priority access to higher levels of care should the need arise. This allows you to “age in place,” remaining close to your support network and the community you’re familiar with as your needs change. • Care options — Having access to assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services within the community gives you options — and peace of mind. It’s comforting to know that, as the level of care you need becomes greater, it’s readily available. It also relieves your family of the responsibility of finding and coordinating those advanced levels of care if and when you need them. • Medical professionals on staff — When considering retirement communities, ask whether the medical staff are employees or contractors. Doctors, nurses, and other specialists

who are on staff have a greater level of interaction with their patients. Often they are more attuned to the specialized medical needs of those they serve. This staffing detail can make a difference in the timely prevention or resolution of your health issues. • Focus on wellness — In addition, look for a community that strives to help residents stay healthy and live independently as long as possible through health and wellness. Look for nutrition and fitness programs as well as emotional, spiritual and intellectual experiences that support the whole person. • Reduce the worry — The process of moving to a new home is a big decision and can seem like a daunting task. By choosing a retirement community that offers a continuum of care, you can take some of the worry out of the road ahead and enjoy your next chapter. Physician Diane Kane is chief medical officer at St. Ann’s Community. She is board-certified in internal medicine, geriatrics, and hospice & palliative medicine and has been involved in senior care for 30 years. Contact her at dkane@stannscommunity.com or visit www.stannscommunity.com.

Why Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson’s Risk Study suggests fading sense of smell often occurs years before symptom onset

L

osing your sense of smell may be an early sign of an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a new study suggests. Researchers say that people with a poor sense of smell may have as much as a five times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s. “Unlike vision or hearing impairment, a poor sense of smell often goes unrecognized,” said lead researcher, physician Honglei Chen. He is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing. “Evidence suggests olfactory [sense of smell] impairment may develop years prior to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia, the so-called neurodegenerative Page 20

diseases that we are yet to find a cure for,” Chen said. The researchers found a strong association between smell test results and developing Parkinson’s up to six years later. The association remained beyond six years, but was not as strong, he added. However, Chen stressed that Parkinson’s is fairly rare, so not everyone with a poor sense of smell will develop the disease. Research on the sense of smell may eventually help identify people at high risk for this devastating disease and help scientists understand how Parkinson’s develops before a diagnosis is possible, Chen suggested. The report was published online Sept. 6 in the journal Neurology.

The Social Ask Security Office

From the Social Security District Office

How Did They Do It Without Computers?

M

ore than 85 percent of American homes have some sort of computer. Millions of people rely on computers daily to access, formulate and store information. People use computers for everything from sharing family pictures to shopping to banking and paying bills. But, we haven’t always been able to count on the convenience of the computer to make our lives easier. How did Social Security — one of the world’s largest “bookkeeping operations” — manage to keep records of our nation’s workers before we had computers? How did we match workers with their earnings? We used a process called the “visible index” that used tiny, bamboo strips wrapped in paper that were inserted into metal panels. The panels could be flipped back and forth to view the information on each side. Clerks had to look at each strip to find the exact Social Security number for a specific person. In 1959, when Social Security began converting information to microfilm, there were 163 million individual strips in the visible index. The workers’ names were filed alphabetically by surname using a phonetic pronunciation code to ensure consistent filing. There were hundreds of thousands of people with the same surname. How did the

Q&A Q: I applied for my child’s Social Security card in the hospital but have not received it. How long does it take? A: In most states, it takes an average of three weeks to get the card, but in some states it can take longer. If you have not received your child’s card in a timely manner, please visit your local Social Security office. Be sure to take proof of your child’s citizenship, age, and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child’s Social Security number over the phone. Learn more at www. socialsecurity.gov. Q: A few months after I started receiving my Social Security retirement benefit, my former employer offered to take me back. It’s a great offer. Can I withdraw my retirement claim and reapply later to increase my benefit amount? A: Social Security understands that unexpected changes may occur after you begin receiving retirement benefits. If you change your mind, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date. This withdrawal must

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • October 2017

staff meet the challenge? By knowing the system. Clerks familiar with the index could locate a specific record within 60 seconds. The index took about 24,000 square feet of floor space and was extremely heavy. No building in the District of Columbia had floors sturdy enough to support the ever-increasing load. These weighty considerations led to Social Security getting its first large-scale computer, an IBM 705. Starting in 1956, the 705 was tasked with handling most of the accounting functions for the agency. It was still humming when it was replaced by a later generation of computers in 1961. Back in 1937, there were only about 26 million American workers; but today, Social Security processes 260 million worker’s annual wage reports. We have changed over time to meet the challenges of recording worker’s earnings correctly. Today, you don’t need a clerk or a visit to a local Social Security office to check your own information. That’s right. You can check yours now by either using your existing my Social Security account or by setting one up at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Changing to meet challenges is just one of the ways we secure your today and tomorrow. You can read more about the history of Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/ history/index.html.

occur within 12 months of your original retirement, and you are limited to one withdrawal during your lifetime. Keep in mind, you must repay all of the benefits you received. You can learn more about the one-year period when you can postpone your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/ withdrawal.htm Q: I am very happy that I was just approved to receive disability benefits. How long will it be before I get my first payment? A: If you’re eligible for Social Security disability benefits, there is a five-month waiting period before your benefits begin. We’ll pay your first benefit for the sixth full month after the date we find your disability began. For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2017, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2017, the sixth full month of disability, and you would receive your first benefit payment in January 2018. You can read more about the disability benefits approval process at www.socialsecurity.gov/ dibplan/dapproval.htm.


H ealth News St. Ann’s earns multiple national awards St. Ann’s Community has been recognized for achieving the highest levels of quality care and service by two national evaluators. • “Best Nursing Home” — St. Ann’s Care Center in Webster was named one of the “Best Nursing Homes” in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The designation is given only to those homes that demonstrate consistent performance in national quality measures. Ratings are based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes.  St. Ann’s Care Center provides long-term skilled nursing care on the campus of St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge in Webster. It opened in 2012 and has 72 private rooms in a state-of-the-art building with a focus on person-centered care. Earlier this year, it was named one of the top-performing nursing homes in New York state by the NYS Department of Health. • “Excellence in Action” — Four St. Ann’s Community residences were named “Excellence in Action Award” winners by NRC Health: – St. Ann’s Care Center in Webster – Rainier Grove, offering specialized care for people with memory impairments such as dementia. Located in Webster on the campus of St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge. – St. Ann’s Home, providing long-term skilled nursing care to more than 370 residents on St. Ann’s Irondequoit campus. – St. Ann’s Community at Chapel Oaks, an independent living community in Irondequoit. The Excellence in Action awards recognize skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living communities that achieve the highest level of excellence in resident and/or employee satisfaction. Award winners rank within the top 10 percent of the NRC Health database, the largest source of longterm care and senior-living satisfaction metrics in the nation. With campuses in Irondequoit and Webster, St. Ann’s Community offers a continuum of care that includes independent retirement living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, short-term transitional care, palliative care, and adult day programs. One of Greater Rochester’s largest private employers, St. Ann’s has more than 1,200 employees.

101 Mobility moves to large location 101 Mobility Rochester, which provides mobility and accessibility solutions in Rochester and the surrounding area, has announced the grand opening of its new location at 2395 Dewey Ave., Rochester. Since opening in January 2012 in Gates, 101 Mobility Rochester has worked with aging or disabled patients to provide health care devices

and in-home modifications, giving them the freedom and independence each patient deserves. Their products and services include home ramps, auto lifts, stair lifts, patient lifts, vertical platform lifts, barrier free baths, and much more. “We often step into our patients life during a very difficult time; they may be challenged by new obstacles or limitations that they’ve never faced before,” said co-owner Miguel Millan. “We are grateful for the opportunity to implement health and mobility solutions that can make all the difference in the life of the patient, their family, and the community as a whole. It’s a great responsibility, and one we approach with care, dedication, and humility.” During their first five years of business, 101 Mobility Rochester continued to expand their products and services to accommodate the needs of their patients, resulting in steady growth year over year. In early 2017, it became clear that in order to uphold their exceptional level of customer service, they would need to relocate to the new, larger facility on Dewey Avenue, according to Millan. “I’m incredibly excited to bring our business into the city of Rochester,” he said. “I lived in the city, I went to school in the city, so I will always consider it my home. Our new space also gives me the opportunity to provide a better work atmosphere for my staff, who truly are the most important resource we have. It is because of their hard work and dedication that we have been so successful.”

Thompson providers publish study in journal Results of an innovative quality improvement program developed at UR Medicine’s Thompson Health were recently published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, a peer-reviewed radiology journal with a worldwide circulation of nearly 25,000. Called “Backstop,” the Thompson program helps ensure patients with potentially serious conditions receive appropriate, timely follow-up care. The study, titled “Reducing Delay in Diagnosis: Multistage Recommendation Tracking,” is featured in the July 25 issue of the publication. It was authored by Thompson Health chief of diagnostic Wandtke imaging, physician Ben Wandtke and Sarah Gallagher, the former quality improvement coordinator at Thompson and now regional neurosurgical stroke coordinator at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In 2015, the two set out to determine whether a multistage tracking system could improve communication between healthcare providers, reducing the risk of delay in diagnoOctober 2017 •

St. Ann’s Earns National Marketing Awards St. Ann’s Community has earned two honors from the 2017 National Mature Media Awards, which recognize the best marketing and communications programs for older adults. • St. Ann’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/StAnnsCommunity, won a Silver Award in the social media category. • A St. Ann’s TV spot titled, “Vintage,” won a Bronze Award in the TV advertising category. The marketing department at St. Ann’s Community worked with Antithesis Advertising of Rochester on its overall branding campaign,

of which the award-winning entries are a part. Entries were reviewed by a panel of professionals from the senior marketing industry and judged based on format, content, creativity, relevance and overall quality. The awards program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for the senior market, is the largest program of its kind. The awards annually recognize the best materials produced for those who are 50 and older, the nation’s fastest-growing population group.

sis related to inconsistent communication and tracking of radiology follow-up recommendations. The initiative centered on “incidental findings,” such as a lung nodule detected when a patient had a CT scan for X-ray for another reason, like chest pain. While many incidental findings will cause patients no harm, others can represent early stages of cancer. Wandtke and Gallagher led a team that entered recommendations into a database Gallagher and identified which patients did not obtain the recommended follow-up care. Via a multi-step process involving calls and letters performed by Aubry Parker, the program’s clinical coordinator, Thompson was able to dramatically improve patient compliance with recommendations. “We want to ensure patients do not ‘fall through the cracks’ by reducing the risk of delay in diagnosis, a form of preventable medical error,” Wandtke said. “Reducing delay in diagnosis ensures that serious medical

conditions are identified when they are more easily treatable, improving patient outcomes.” Over the course of 13 months, completion of recommended follow-up increased by 52 percent for patients tracked in the Backstop program. The number of patients at risk for delay in diagnosis was reduced by 74 percent. Thompson now identifies appropriate follow-up compliance for more than 86 percent of all radiology recommendations, higher than any other health system has reported in medical literature. For some patients, Wandtke said, the impact of timely follow-up care can be profound.

Scholarship program benefits 29 at St. Ann’s

Employees of St. Ann’s Community are getting a helping hand toward their educational goals thanks to its employee scholarship program. On Aug. 10, 29 employees from across St. Ann’s workforce in Irondequoit and Webster received monetary awards totaling nearly $30,000 through the program. Funded entirely through the generosity of donors to St. Ann’s Foundation, the program has awarded more than $270,000 in scholarships to 190 employees to ad-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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A Beautiful Place to Rest

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MONITOR– count your medication regularly

SECURE– lock up any medication you do not want anyone to access

DISPOSE– drop off any unwanted/unused and expired medication to your local disposal site

Medication Drop Box Locations: Bristol: Town Hall

Farmington: State Troopers

Canandaigua: FLCC (Keuka Wing) The Medicine Shoppe Ontario County DMV Office Thompson Hospital (lobby) Mental Health Clinic

Clifton Springs: Hospital (Lobby) Geneva: North St. Pharmacy Police Station

Phelps: Community Center

Rushville: Village Hall

Shortsville: Red Jacket Pharmacy

Victor: Mead Square Pharmacy

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Health News vance their education. The program began in 2008. “Our employees are the heart and soul of the work we do caring for more than 1,000 seniors every day,” said Michael E. McRae, president & CEO of St. Ann’s Community. “That’s why we make it a priority to invest in them. “We thank our donors for making these scholarships possible, and we congratulate our recipients as they pursue their educational and professional goals.”

App to detect irregular heartbeat in the works Thanks to a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Institute of Technology will enroll up to 300 people at risk for atrial fibrillation (a-fib) to test a new tabletbased video monitoring technology. Their goal is to create an inexpensive, easy-to-use detection system that can Couderc alert health care providers of the onset of a-fib, allowing for early treatment. A-fibis an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure. Because the likelihood of a-fib increases with age and people are living longer today, experts predict the number of cases will rise dramatically over the next several years. Current estimates suggest it affects more than 3 million Americans. The research team developed a technology that uses the camera in tablets to capture changes in heartbeat by measuring subtle variations in skin tone. They’ll test the technology on individuals with a-fib who undergo electrical cardioversion or ablation – procedures that restore a nor-

mal heartbeat. Even after treatment, 20 to 30 percent of patients will have a recurrence of a-fib. Following their procedures, individuals will be sent home with a tablet that will automatically record facial videos when they read emails, browse the internet or watch videos. Participants will also wear an ECG patch — the gold standard for monitoring a-fib. Researchers will compare data from the patch and the tablet to determine how accurate the tablet technology is in detecting a-fib. “Our technology is unique because it requires no action on the part of the user aside from what they normally do — go on a tablet to shop, look at pictures, read articles, or whatever they like,” said Jean-Phillippe Couderc, Ph.D., M.B.A., leader of the study and associate professor of cardiology in the heart research follow-up program at URMC. “Ultimately, we’d like to develop an app. If you are at risk for a-fib, you install it on your tablet or phone and don’t think about it anymore.” Couderc has conducted a series of smaller studies that confirm that a-fib can be detected from video of an individual’s face. The new clinical study will move the technology closer to commercialization. Couderc received additional funding from NIH’s Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (C3i) Program, which will provide training and tools to help bring this concept to market. The video monitoring technology was developed in the laboratory of Gill Tsouri, associate professor in the department of electrical and microelectronic engineering at RIT. Tsouri and Couderc acknowledge that their technology may not be superior to the ECG patch, but it will be much cheaper, since it utilizes the standard web camera found in all phones and tablets and doesn’t require additional hardware or sensors.

Golden Years Special IGH Next Issue

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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2017 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. 154 Cobblestone Court Dr., Suite 121 – P.O. Box 525, Victor NY 14564. • Phone: 585-421-8109 • Email: Editor@GVhealthnews.com Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Writers: Jim Miller, Deborah J. Sergeant, Gwenn Voelckers, Anne Palumbo, Chris Motola, George W. Chapman, Ernst Lamothe Jr., Kyra Mancine, John Addyman, Christine Green, Diane Kane, MD • Advertising: Anne Westcott, Denise Ruf • Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas • Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.

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WE’RE HIRING! Trillium Health is growing, and we’re looking for candidates like YOU! Currently recruiting: Billing & Coding Specialist Community Health Specialist Nurse Practitioner Physician Assistant Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Registered Nurse To view these positions and others, visit trilliumhealth.org!

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