Sunday, September 25, 2011

Clearfield’s Rocky Mountain Care Center has special relationship with Layton Christian Academy

Clearfield’s Rocky Mountain Care Center has special relationship with Layton Christian Academy
Clearfield • Generations have come together on Thursday mornings at Rocky Mountain Care Center in Clearfield for 17 years. Since Layton Christian Academy opened its doors, elementary school children have visited weekly with residents at the care facility.
Fifth grade teacher Laura Howard explained why students in kindergarten through fifth grade students visit regularly. “It’s a good way to reach out to the community so that we are not just involved in ourselves. It’s a way to show God’s love. It shows the seniors that they are loved by the community.”
Layton Christian Academy is a private school with an enrollment of 570 students in preschool through 12th grade. Service is central to the school’s mission, according to principal Robin Elmy.
“Our curriculum is Christian based and we put Christ in the middle of it all.… We really try to teach the children to look at outside themselves and give to others” she said.
On a recent visit, 25 fifth-grade students began their visit at the care center in the day room by holding the flag and repeating the pledge of allegiance with the residents.
“Our seniors are very patriotic and they just light up when the students do the pledge,” said Mary Ann Dostaler, Rocky Mountain Care Center activities assistant. After the flag ceremony, students performed a Bible-based play.
Each week a different grade visits the care center and interacts with the residents in a variety of ways.
“They perform plays, sing, read stories they’ve written or play games one-on-one with residents, or just visit. It’s whatever the students want to show off or share,” said Howard.
Resident Alice Sala, 89, was a volunteer at the care center for 25 years before she started living there. She smiled as she watched the children perform. “They were wonderful today. I really enjoyed them.”
Fellow resident Verlinda Porter, 56, agreed.
“They are a lot of fun,” she said. They come down, we play games and do exercise and read stories to each other.”
Howard said the center visits are a valuable educational experience for several reasons.
“You see a different side of the students. You see a tender, loving side,” she said. “Visits show the students that people who are older have a lot to share. They talk to the residents about their differences and similarities. A couple of students were scared before they came but once they are here they are surprised by how active the residents are.”
But the positive benefits go both says, Elmy said. “The kids learn from the residents’ wisdom and the little ones put the energy and excitement in the elderly.”
After performing the Bible play during this visit, the children exercised with the residents. Then, Dostaler read a story to the group, which also included parents and siblings of students.
Lori Schweitzer, whose son Caden attends Layton Christian, went along as a chaperon.
“The residents enjoy watching the kids sing and play. I think their youth energizes them,” she said. “Caden started coming in fourth grade. He enjoys watching them light up as he performs.”
Dostaler smiled as she spoke about how students enrich her residents’ lives.
“The residents look forward to their return in the fall. Sometimes, I take a small group of students to a room to sing for a resident who can’t come out. Sometimes we walk down the hall singing to whoever we see,” she said.
Ten-year-old Micah Petty has been visiting the center since he was in preschool and has come to know many of the residents.
“I like to see the residents who are still here and know they are active and have fun and see smiles on their faces. I just like coming here to see them.”
About Layton Christian Academy
Where • 2352 East Highway 193, Layton.
Enrollment • 570 students in preschool through 12th grade.
Accreditation • Association of Christian Teachers and Schools, Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, National Council for Private School Accreditation.
Extras • On site boarding is offered for international students.

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune

Thursday, September 22, 2011

School in hospital

Bountiful hospital harbors school for disabled children
Bountiful • Oxygen flows, ventilator alarms ring, IV pumps hum and lunch is served through a feeding tube in the classroom at South Davis Community Hospital. Each school day, children in wheelchairs gather to learn in the day room that also serves as a classroom. It is a school with no sign, no name and no mascot.
South Davis Community Hospital provides long-term, rehabilitative and palliative care to children suffering from many conditions, including acquired brain injuries, spinal cord dysfunction, neuromuscular conditions, genetic syndromes, congenital anomalies, critical illness, severe trauma and disabilities. Currently, 25 children call the facility home. Ten of them attend public schools while six are educated within the hospital. The others are too young for school.
CJ Benson, the hospital’s community liaison, explained the in-hospital school began in the early 1980s. “Because some children are medically fragile or attending school outside the facility would be too stressful, the administrators identified the need for a school and worked with the district to provide one.” Since that time a teacher, aide and resources have been supplied to the hospital through the Davis County School District.
Yvonne Mellinger, 62, has worked as a teacher in the Davis County School District for 35 years and has taught the children at South Davis Community Hospital for 18 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Brigham Young University and attended graduate school at Utah State.
Mellinger looks around the room and describes her students as “the most beautiful children in the world.” Their needs are diverse. All are in wheelchairs; none can communicate through speech.
Mellinger is a hands-on teacher who gets close to the children when she interacts. Since most suffer from cortical blindness, they have limited or no vision. Mellinger’s students communicate through eye movements, a shrug of the shoulder, or a leg movement. But she is able to interpret physical cues others would miss. One child’s slight finger twitch means she doesn’t want to participate; a moan from another indicates he is over-stimulated.
Each child’s learning goals are developed with the school district using an Individualized Education Plan. Most are working on the five senses. Sight in a child with cortical blindness is stimulated by holding bright colors before their eyes and observing response.
“Even a child with cortical blindness can have a favorite color,” said Mellinger.
Hearing is stimulated through reading, talking and music, and Mellinger stimulates her students’ sense of touch by placing different types of fabrics or objects in the their hands or touching their faces. She holds scented markers under their noses for them to smell, and staff make popcorn and bake cookies so the children can enjoy the aromas.
“The most rewarding aspect as a teacher is when students break through the impossible, they respond and I see understanding in their eyes. These kids work harder than any other students,” Mellinger explained.
The hardest part of the job for Mellinger is losing a child. “The hardest part is when they pass away. They say your heart grows and there is space in there for every single child. It’s true and it’s not a little space, it’s a big one. I quit counting after I lost 50 children but I remember each one. They are a part of me,” said Mellinger.
Margo Evan, a certified therapeutic recreational therapist, works with the children arranging field trips, pet therapy and activities.
“We took the kids roller skating. We pushed them in their wheelchairs and they enjoyed the music, and the disco ball and the feel of movement. We make sure they have a good quality of life. Just because they live in a care center doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have all the opportunities of other children.”

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hospital Workers Outspend Others on Medical Care

 By Debra Sherman

CHICAGO (Reuters) Sep 12 - Hospital employees spend 10% more on healthcare, consume more medical services, and are generally sicker than the rest of the U.S. workforce, according to a study released on Monday.
The cost difference was even greater when dependents were taken into account, with healthcare costs 13% higher, including medical care and prescription drugs.
The study, conducted by Thomson Reuters Healthcare, analyzed the health risk and utilization of 1.1 million hospital workers and compared them with 17.8 million health plan members across all industries around the country.
Researchers did not look at the causes for the disparity.
Healthcare workers and their dependents were more likely to be diagnosed and hospitalized to treat asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, HIV, hypertension and mental illness.
It found that the average cost of healthcare for hospital employees and their dependents was $4,662 per year - $538 higher than that of the general population.
Hospital employees and their dependents saw their doctors less often, but were 22% more likely to visit an emergency room and spent 18% more time hospitalized, the study found.
Kreg Sherbine, co-author of the study, speculated that easy access to expensive care may play a role.
"When they're right down the hall from the emergency room, it might just be easier to go there than to make an appointment with a physician," Sherbine said.
The stressful environment of a hospital and the irregular hours that many hospital employees work, which together make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, may be another contributing factor, he said.
Sherbine said he doubted the reason was more exposure to disease in the workplace since there was disparity in numerous noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
"Awareness could be a factor. We know that chronic conditions are often undiagnosed. One might reasonably conclude that professionals are more aware of their symptoms and consequently more likely to seek treatment. However, that doesn't explain the inordinate difference in utilization," he said.
Researchers concluded that a hospital or health system with 16,000 employees would save an estimated $1.5 million annually in medical and pharmacy costs for each 1% reduction in health risk.
"There are industries with higher risks. The manufacturing sector, for example, is typically older and has an even less healthy population," Sherbine noted.
But with increasing financial pressure on hospitals, hospital administrators need to pay attention to their bottom lines, he said.
"Salaries and benefits are their biggest costs. We think it's really important for hospitals to address this," he said.
Reuters Health Information © 2011 

Our name in lights

Our sign has been moved over from the Bangerter location. We are pretty excited to see it all lit up!

So bright. Tell your friends!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Nurse’s Aides Have Most Violent Job in Wash. State

The most violent job in Washington state isn't being a police officer or a security guard. It's working as a nurse's aide.
Seattle public radio station KUOW-FM made that finding as part of an investigative series on workplace safety airing this week. The station found that violence strikes health care workers in Washington at six times the state average, and frontline caregivers in emergency rooms and psychiatric wards get assaulted even more than that.
The single most violent workplace in the state is at Western State Hospital, where criminal defendants are taken when they are found incompetent to stand trial. Workers at psychiatric hospitals are assaulted on the job more often than anybody else - 60 times more than the average worker in Washington state.
KUOW also found that even though working on steel towers remains one of the nation's most dangerous jobs, right up there with commercial fishing, line workers for Seattle City Light and other northwest power companies aren't strapped in while they climb such towers. Instead, they only strap safety ropes to their harnesses once they've climbed up to where they'll be working - around 200 feet above ground in some cases.
Though several line worker deaths from falls were reported in other states last year, none has been reported in Washington in the past decade.
James Robinson, president of the union for many workers at Western State Hospital, says there were 313 assaults there last year - a drop of nearly 30 percent in assaults per patient-care hour, though union officials also note that many incidents go unreported because of the time required to fill out paperwork about assaults.
At some hospitals, such as Tacoma General, emergency room security is obviously a concern. Everyone must pass through a metal detector to enter the ER, no matter the time of day. It's one of many measures Pierce County's biggest hospital has taken to keep patients from attacking hospital staff.
Other anti-violence measures are more subtle. Much of the staff is trained how to pacify agitated people. Even the colors and spaces of the ER's new waiting area were designed to soothe injured, stressed out, impatient patients.
If that doesn't work, some exam rooms have additional security measures - such as a metal gate that can come clanging down to protect medical equipment from violent patients.
Jeaux Rinehart, a Seattle nurse and president of the state's Emergency Nurses Association, says he's been clubbed in the head by a mentally ill patient seeking narcotics and, more recently, an intoxicated patient punched him in the face and threatened to kill him. That patient served three months in jail.
"A lot of hospitals don't really encourage nurses to report violent acts against them, and some facilities just feel that it's part of your job, and you should just simply tolerate it, knowing that if you work in an emergency department, violence is going to be there, so prepare for it," he said.
Nurses' unions want hospitals to do more to protect their workers, like more hands-on training on how to avoid or defuse violent situations.
Nan Yragui, a psychologist with the Department of Labor and Industries, studies workplace violence. She said budget cuts to the health-care safety net have made emergency rooms nationwide more violence-prone.
"When patients can't get services they need, they end up going to the emergency department," she said. "So more of the severely mentally ill are going to the emergency department and then that makes that group of nurses more at risk because they're getting more exposure."
Those factors helped fuel a 26 percent rise in violent incidents last year at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, said Jeff Glass, its director of facilities.
Even after a patient smuggled three guns into the St. Peter emergency room two years ago and wound up being shot to death by a police officer, the hospital hasn't installed a metal detector, for fear it could dangerously delay patient care. Instead, they wave a hand-held metal detector at patients they deem high risk.
The guards at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle run a metal detector on the overnight shift.
The Department of Labor and Industries has cited Harborview 11 times in the past three years for serious workplace safety violations. In November, the state fined Harborview $13,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace for its security guards.
Public records show someone being assaulted at Harborview about every couple days last year. On a recent Saturday night, a patient managed to walk into the emergency room with a large knife, two cans of pepper spray, a cap gun and lots of bullets in his backpack.
Harborview has appealed the fines, calling them arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the state's workplace safety rules.
Spokeswoman Susan Gregg said the hospital uses best practices from the health care industry to provide a safe environment.
Graveyard-shift guard Mike Nervik says despite the hospital's shortcomings, Harborview is a lot less violent than it was in the 1990s.
"Like 15 years ago, you'd go home just wringed out in sweat, having gotten in confrontations with several people," he said.

Calm aid-givers reassured Utah teen maimed in train accident, who asked: ‘Am I going to die?’

By Jordan Steffen and Caitlin Gibbons
The Denver Post
Published: September 7, 2011 01:48PM
Updated: September 7, 2011 01:48PM
Longmont community service officer Steve Sisson measures the scene after a woman fell under a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Authorities say a 17-year-old university student lost both her legs at the knee when she fell under a moving freight train while trying to hop aboard it in Longmont. She was flown to Denver Health Medical Center after the accident Monday. Hospital officials say they cannot release any information. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett) Longmont, Colo. • The train was traveling 10 mph or so, a speed that looks slow for a lumbering collection of freight cars but is really the equivalent of a brisk 6-minute mile — a pace few people can reach and fewer can maintain.
Regardless, four people trying to get from Longmont to Fort Collins made a run for it Monday afternoon. Police said the first two made it, reaching the 33rd of 118 cars and hopping up.
Then, it was 17-year-old Anna Beninati’s turn.
The Colorado State University freshman from Sandy ran, reached and fell, rolling partly onto the tracks, her legs stretched beneath a freight car probably weighing at least 30 tons.
A day later, Beninati was in serious condition at Denver Health Medical Center, both legs amputated, one above the knee and one below. A combination of luck and a calm response from bystanders, however, may have saved her life.
“From the first responders and transport teams, to the hospitals both in Longmont and Denver, we are thankful to everyone who came to her rescue. We are especially grateful to several bystanders who provided aid for our daughter at the scene,” Beninati’s family said in a statement released by the hospital Tuesday. “Our family is focused on our daughter and her recovery, and we ask that you respect our privacy during this very difficult time.”
The Longmont Times-Call identified one of those bystanders as lab assistant Nicole Crowley. Authorities identified the other as nurse Kathy Poiry, both of whom work at Longmont United Hospital.
A recording of Crowley’s call to 911 seconds after the accident is remarkable not for its drama but for Crowley’s calm demeanor.
“I am on Third Avenue at the railroad tracks, and somebody just tried to jump on the train and severed her legs,” she tells a calltaker matter-of-factly. “I really want to get over there and help her.”
While Poiry races to attend to Beninati, Crowley, a former emergency medical technician, gets the teen to talk, even getting her name and age and relaying it to the dispatcher while fetching gloves for Poiry, describing the injuries and applying pressure to reduce the bleeding.
“Lay your head back, honey,” Crowley can be heard saying to Beninati. “She’s awake. She’s very, very, very pale.”
Poiry, a 25-year nurse, was at the crossing, about four cars back, and thinks she saw the teenager fall. The nurse responded to the commotion. Beninati was aware of what had happened and was terrified.
“She kept asking, ‘Am I going to die? Am I going to make it?’ “ said Poiry, who reassured the girl as she applied pressure to help stem the bleeding.
The 10 minutes before paramedics arrived seemed like three hours, Poiry said.
“It was just 10 minutes of my life, but I hope it made a difference,” she said.
Beninati is the second CSU student in 19 months to be killed or seriously injured while “train hopping.” A 22-year-old senior was killed in February 2010 after hopping a northbound train at Denver’s Pepsi Center. His body was found along the tracks in northern Colorado.
Longmont police are deciding whether to issue trespassing citations to the 17-year-old and 21-year-old males who were with Beninati and boarded the train. Another man, Charles Hamilton, 25, of Gillette, Wyo., did not board the train and stopped to help Beninati.
Statistics indicate the minor trespass charge for train hopping does not serve as much of a deterrent.
In 2010, 443 trespassers nationwide were killed and another 833 injured in interactions with trains, according to preliminary railroad-safety statistics for that year compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration. Of those injured, 41 suffered amputations of feet or legs.
The slow-moving freight train is a fixture near the CSU campus in Fort Collins and in Longmont. In interviews Tuesday, few people acknowledged train hopping themselves, but several said they knew someone who had done it.
Shawnte McCoy, 26, who grew up in Longmont, has seen many people riding trains and trying to board them over the years.
“It’s a pretty common thing for people to hop on the trains, especially when the trains are stopped near First and Main,” she said. “My husband, Chris, broke his arm trying to hop a train when he was 14 years old.”
Peter Hunt, 52, who lives in Fort Collins, hopped trains with his Navy buddies when he was 18 in Montana.
“The train tracks were right across the street; there were no barriers to get to them,” he said. “It can seem romantic, but it’s not. It can be a very dangerous way to travel. You don’t know who the people who ride the rails are. They can be very crusty individuals.”
Cmdr. Jeff Satur with the Longmont Police Department said most of the train-related incidents his agency deals with are suicides.
He echoed warnings about the danger of trying to hop onto a moving train.
“The railroads put out public-service announcements about the dangers of riding trains, but it’s glamorized by books,” Satur said. “It’s really incredibly risky.”
Jordan Steffen: 303-954-1794 or

Police: No ticket for teen whose legs were severed
A police commander said Wednesday that authorities will not issue a trespassing ticket to a Colorado State University student whose legs were severed when she tried to hop a moving train.
Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said Anna Beninati has more important things to worry about after losing both legs near her knees when she slipped under the freight train’s wheels in the northern Colorado town of Longmont.
“We’re a compassionate police department,” he said.
Beninati, 17, of Sandy, was listed in serious condition at Denver Health Medical Center on Tuesday. A hospital spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call Wednesday.
Two males age 17 and 25 who planned to hop the train with Beninati were cited for trespassing on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s right-of-way.
Police also plan to issue a trespassing ticket to a 21-year-old who was in the group but haven’t been able to locate him, although they have spoken with him on the phone, Satur said.
Satur said he will seek an arrest warrant if the man doesn’t show up at the police station to get his ticket.
Beninati and the three males had gone to Denver earlier Monday and were trying to get back to Fort Collins, home of Colorado State, Satur said. A friend with a car got them from Denver to Longmont, about the halfway mark for the 60-mile trip, and they planned to ride the freight train the rest of the way, Satur said.
The 17-year-old male, who is from Fort Collins, got aboard the train but quickly jumped off, suffering abrasions on his left arm, Satur said.
Satur identified the third male as Charles Hamilton, 25, of Gillette, Wyo. He didn’t get aboard the train and wasn’t injured. Investigators believe he pulled the girl away from the train after she was hurt.
— Dan Elliott, The Associated Press

Is Utah the place for low-cost health insurance?

Utah is a young state. Year after year, its residents, many of them teetotaling, tobacco-shunning Mormons, earn top marks on national wellness score cards. They spend less per capita on medical care than residents in any other state.
But for all their health and frugality, do Utahns catch a break on their health insurance?
Data are mixed but suggest that in general, yes.
Annual health premiums in Utah are well below the national average, whether for a policy for a single adult or family of four. And prices are rising more slowly here than elsewhere.
But Utah’s prices aren’t the lowest of the low. And, as consumer advocates point out, lower-price health care doesn’t necessarily mean affordable health care.
“The number of Utahns who go without coverage, more than 300,000 uninsured, suggests it’s still out of reach for many families,” said Lincoln Nehring, senior health policy analyst at Voices for Utah Children.
Health insurance is complicated, but on a macro level rates reflect the risk, determined by the claim history or relative health, of a given population.
“We live in a state where there are a lot of opportunities for people to be outdoors and get involved in healthy activities,” said Mark Brown, vice president and chief financial officer at SelectHealth, the insurance arm of Utah’s largest hospital chain, Intermountain Healthcare. “We have very low use of tobacco and alcohol, and have one of the lowest obesity rates in the nation.”
Last year, Utahns who purchased coverage on their own — not through their employer — spent an average of $173 per month on premiums, according to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Only Alabama, California, Arkansas, Idaho and Delaware boasted better bargains.
At the other end of the spectrum is Massachusetts, where people spent $437.
Employer-based policies also come cheaper in Utah. In 2009 the state reported the second lowest average annual price in the nation for employee-plus-one coverage, at $7,974. That’s an improvement over 2006, when Utah came in with the 10th lowest price, according to data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
But an average is just that. It means there are plenty of young, working couples paying more, said Shelly Braun, Utah Health Policy Project. “It’s a question of cheaper for whom.”
On a micro level, insurance rates also reflect what the market will bear, making state-by-state comparisons somewhat meaningless.
“People in Massachusetts may pay high premiums, but they also earn some of the highest wages in the country,” said Nerhing.
They may also be getting more bang for their buck.
“Some states mandate coverage that Utah doesn’t; contraceptives, for example,” explained Nehring. “So our health plans may be more affordable but provide beneficiaries less.”
In addition, Utah employers offer health benefits at rates below the national average.
And those that do offer benefits tend to pick up less of the tab than in their counterparts in other states. Last year employers on average picked up 76 percent of the premium for single employee plans, according to federal data. Only New Mexico employers contributed less. Business owners in Hawaii, meanwhile, kicked in 90 percent and in Colorado, 81 percent.
Yet another factor influencing pricing: insurance companies and their ability to negotiate discounts with hospitals.
In Utah, two nonprofits claim 60 percent of the market: Intermountain’s SelectHealth and Regence BlueCross BlueShield. And Intermountain has captured national attention — and a plug from President Barack Obama — for restraining costs while delivering quality care.
“We’re not just processing our member’s claims. ... We work closely with doctors and clinics to find ways to make sure our members are getting high quality care at the lowest appropriate cost,” said Brown. “We believe this collaboration results in both better care and lower overall premiums in the market.”
This comes as some comfort to consumers like Stephen Worcester.
“We haven’t seen the same level of premium hikes that you read about in California, but the double-digit annual increases aren’t sustainable,” said the Cottonwood Heights retiree.
Worcester is a year and a half from qualifying for Medicare but for now spends more each month on health insurance than he collects in Social Security.
“I’m using my savings to live,” he said.
The price of health
• In 2004, per capita personal health care spending ranged from a high of $6,683 in Massachusetts to $3,972 in Utah, where spending was the lowest.
• A 2011 Thomson Reuters study identified the Ogden-Clearfield area as the least-expensive health care market in the nation. Its commercially insured residents spent an average of $2,623 on medical care in 2009. Anderson, Ind., was the most expensive area at $7,231 per person. Salt Lake City ranked 8th in the study at $2,979 per person.
Why pays?
• Nearly half, 46 percent, of uninsured adults in Utah work full time, 20 percent work part-time and 12 percent are non-working spouses.
• Utah is below the national average when it comes to small businesses offering health benefits; only 31 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees offer coverage.
• And employers that do offer benefits tend to pick up less of the tab than in their counterparts in other states. Last year employers on average picked up 76 percent of the premium for single employees, according to federal data. Only New Mexico employers contributed less. Business owners in Hawaii, meanwhile, kicked in 90 percent and in Colorado, 81 percent.
Sources: Utah Department of Health, Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune