Knowing the Risks When Faced With a Hospital Stay

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Even with incredible medical advances over the past decades, patients still face very real threats from hospitalization. Knowing the common hospital risks and the appropriate questions to ask about your care just might save your life.
“Infections contracted during hospital stays are the fourth largest killer in America,” explains Bruce Smeaton, a spokesperson for the global infection control company Medizone International (medizoneint.com). “They add an estimated $33 billion to hospital and health care costs each year.”
Other experts — like the chief patient safety officer of the Joint Commission in Illinois, Dr. Peter Angood — say patients are simply too passive and don’t ask the right questions.
Familiarizing yourself with these three hospital risks may help you during your next hospital stay:
1. Medication errors. The Institute of Medicine estimates that patients endure 450,000 injuries resulting from medication errors each year. To reduce this risk, make sure each surgeon, doctor and nurse knows of every medicine you’re taking. Ask what medicines are being prescribed and why, and what side effects to expect. If you’re nervous, speak up.
2. Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Superbugs like MRSA
— which is resistant to most antibiotics and only growing stronger
— VRE and E. coli cause 1.7 million infections in hospitals every year. Since this is a widespread issue, don’t shy away from the tough questions: What methods or technologies are being used to prevent HAIs?
“HAIs kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined. That’s why the recent emergence of a super-disinfection system, like Medizone International’s AsepticSure technology, has been so embraced by the hospital and health care industry,” says Smeaton. “It’s more than 10,000 times as effective at killing superbugs — including tuberculosis — than any other cleaning technology being used by hospitals in North America today.”
Experts also advise patients undergoing surgery to ask everyone to wash their hands before touching them, hospital staff included.
3. Pneumonia. After wounds and urinary tract infections, pneumonia is the most common HAI, especially for patients recovering from surgery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a 33 percent mortality rate for hospital pneumonia. The easiest way to avoid this risk is to focus on deep breathing.
Doctors recommend 10 to 15 deep breaths hourly. At the very least, smokers must stop smoking for a week or two before surgery if they can’t quit altogether.

‘Tis the Season to Help Hungry Pets and Their Owners

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – During a tough economic climate, it can be a stressful time for many homebound seniors, if not for their pets. Many seniors, when strapped for resources, choose to feed their pets instead of themselves. This means neither the pet owner nor the pet get the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
To keep both pets and their owners fed, Banfield Pet Hospital and the Banfield Charitable Trust (BCT) partnered with the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), which provides home-delivered meals to people in need, to create a pet-feeding program called Season of Suppers, which is now in its fifth year. As part of the program, more than 760 Banfield locations are collecting pet food and monetary donations to help homebound seniors feed their pets.
Despite the current economy, the BCT hopes to collect 40 tons of pet food and raise $100,000 to fund pet food distribution programs, which is an increase from last year.
Season of Suppers does more than provide meals. The funds it raises each year help sustain and expand pet-feeding programs throughout the country. As a direct result of the Season of Suppers campaign, more than 100 pet-feeding programs have been funded or received much-needed support.
Season of Suppers runs until Dec. 31. There are three ways to help feed hungry pets this year:
1. Purchase pet food and place it in the Season of Suppers donation bin in any Banfield Pet Hospital (located inside PetSmart). The BCT suggests items that are easy to transport, such as small bags and cans.
2. Donate money at any Banfield Pet Hospital in the Season of Suppers donation box. To find your nearest Banfield location, visit www.banfield.net
3. Contribute online by visiting www.BCTSOS.org and clicking the “donate now” button. Your donation of $30 will help feed one pet for an entire month.

In Heart Attacks, Faster Treatments Save Lives

<b>In Heart Attacks, Faster Treatments Save Lives</b> (NewsUSA) – Studies show that fast treatment makes patients more likely to survive certain types of heart attacks. According to national guidelines, heart attack patients should go from hospital door to “balloon” treatment within 90 minutes.

In 2005, only half of America’s hospitals managed 90-minute door-to-balloon (D2B) times. To ensure faster treatment for more patients, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), along with 38 partner organizations, started its Door-to-Balloon Alliance to help participating hospitals lower their D2B times.

The program recently achieved its original ambition — 75 percent of patients now receive treatment within 90 minutes of entering a hospital. A more recent analysis showed that, with an average D2B time of 80 minutes, hospitals participating in the program surpassed its goals.

“This ambitious effort to improve timeliness of heart attack care has reported marked improvements with the vast majority of patients receiving life-saving care within 90 minutes of hospital arrival, as recommended by clinical guidelines,” said Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., professor at Yale School of Public Health, and lead author of the study.

Hospitals adopted several strategies to reduce D2B times, including creating real-time feedback between emergency departments and cardiologists, encouraging senior management to commit to the cause and creating a team-based approach to patient care.

“The incredible success of the Door-to-Balloon Alliance represents aspects of the best of healthcare delivery in the United States; the integration of the highest medical science, technology and our medical community through the organization and integration of systems of care leading to seamless translation of evidence based medicine into clinical practice,” said Ralph Brindis, M.D., president-elect of the ACC. “The ACC and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) are proud to have played a role in this key accomplishment for our nation.”

For more information, visit www.acc.org.

Honoring Nurses Who Make a Difference in the Lives of Cancer Patients

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – A diagnosis of cancer brings a variety of unwelcome struggles and emotional pitfalls. Throughout a patient’s treatment journey, oncology nurses are consistently on the front lines, readily available to be the important link between patients and their team of medical professionals.

CURE magazine’s 2009 Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing, sponsored by Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., showcases the differences that nurses have made in the lives of cancer patients. The award provides special recognition to nurses for their unwavering expertise and dedication.

More than 150 cancer patients and caregivers submitted essays nominating oncology nurses who exemplify these characteristics.

This year’s winner, Christine Wilson, RN, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio), was presented with this special award by mistress of ceremonies Peggy Fleming, a former ice skater, Olympic gold medalist and breast cancer survivor, during a reception at the Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS) 34th Annual Congress.

Christine was recognized by her former patient, Delaney Diggs, who was six years old at the time of treatment, and Delaney’s mother, Renée La Forest. Christine was described in the essay as “inspirational” with “boundless energy and enthusiasm” who “remained a consummate professional while bringing a positive spirit of hope and encouragement.”

In addition, the two finalists, Nadeen Robinson, RN, BSN, OCN, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (New York), and Marianne Sacks, RN, CCM, Aetna Patient Management (Blue Bell, Pa.), were recognized at the ceremony.

“The Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing provides patients the opportunity to thank their nurses for their devotion and exemplary work, and for making a difference in their lives,” said Kathy LaTour, Editor-at-Large, CURE magazine. “It is heartwarming to see so many patients recognize the commitment of their nurses.”

An excerpt from the winning essay demonstrates the difference that these nurses make in a patient’s journey to healing, and how much cancer patients value their nurses’ extraordinary skills and caring attitude:

“Chrissy embodies all that an oncology nurse should be …. The care that she provided exceeded the bounds of what is required by a health professional. My daughter, Delaney, talks of her to this day, and I believe Chrissy’s footprint on both our hearts will never be forgotten. She reminded us about the positive, of what there is to live for amidst all we endured, and she instilled a spirit in my daughter that pushed her through treatment — on to the next wonderful thing she could find that would remind her of life outside the hospital.” — Essayist Renée La Forest, mother of Delaney Diggs, describing Nurse Christine Wilson, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio).

“We are pleased to continue our support of such a unique program to honor well-deserving oncology nurses,” said Kim Taylor, president, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. “Centocor Ortho Biotech is committed to helping patients throughout their cancer journey and is proud to sponsor an award that recognizes the meaningful impact that oncology nurses have on their patients.”

The winning and finalist essays can be read and heard online at www.curetoday.com/healeraward.