Friendly Faces in New Spaces

During COVID-19, a great number of CHAS Health staff found both their workplaces and roles transformed.  With nonessential services suspended and many office visits converted to telephone or virtual visits, the need to check in patients at the front desk diminished and had the potential to compromise patient and staff safety if continued.  Toni Hites from the CHAS Latah Community Health clinic in Moscow, Idaho found herself still greeting patients, but instead of operating from the comfort of the clinic’s front office, she was now something like an extremely friendly healthcare bouncer–posted outside the clinic front door, donned nose to knees in protective gear.

“I have been enjoying my new role as a greeter, because I get to meet all of the dental people. It has been great getting to know my co-workers who I would not usually get to work with this closely. I have also gotten to know my pharmacy co-workers as well.  We have a great team here at Latah CHAS, and they have made this fun even in these difficult times.  I have also gotten to hear from the patients how they appreciate all we do for them, like running in to get their prescriptions for them.”

If you are a CHAS Health patient needing pharmacy services, give as a call at (509) 444-8200 in Washington or (208) 838-8300 in Idaho.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Menopause

Menopause

AKA

The Climacteric, The Change of Life, or my favorite:

MANopause.  That’s right, fella’s, back away slowly…

Throughout a woman’s life, hormones are constantly shifting and changing, rising, and falling, performing an intricate dance.  When the ovaries reach the end of their lifespan, on average around the age of 50, they no longer produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  For some women this happens suddenly and they are thrust into distressing symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy  bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and pain with sex, low sex drive, anxiety, irritability, and even depression.  Perimenopause, the years before the official diagnosis of menopause, can last 10 years or more.  When you have not had a period for an entire year, we can officially say you are in menopause.

One of the most common distressing symptoms are called “hot flashes”. Hot flashes begin as a sudden sensation of heat centered on the upper chest and face that rapidly becomes generalized.  The sensation of heat lasts from two to four minutes, is often associated with profuse perspiration and occasionally palpitations, and is sometimes followed by chills, shivering, and a feeling of anxiety.  Hot flashes may range from less than one each day to as many as one per hour during the day and night.  On average, symptoms last 5 years but 30% of women have symptoms for 10 years and 9% of women have symptoms for 20 years

Modern medicine can offer relief from distressing symptoms, but there is no “cure” for this very natural life process.  As with any medication, there are risks and benefits.  A discussion with your provider can help you decide if medication or hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to manage symptoms at home.  These suggestions are basic recommendations for self-care:

For the management of hot flashes and night sweats:

  1. Lower the room temperature
  2. Use fans
  3. Dress in layers that can be easily shed
  4. Wear a base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin.
  5. Avoid spicy food, hot drinks, alcohol, stress
  6. Weight Loss

To keep your mood and emotions steady:

  1. Daily Exercise
  2. Daily Yoga or other mindful meditation and relaxation

For vaginal dryness and pain with sex:

  1. Use a vaginal moisturizer three times a week.
  2. Use lubrication for sex.
  3. Sorry, we have no great medical solution for libido

 

To protect your bones, support your immune system, and promote sleep:

  1. 1200mg of Calcium
  2. 400mg Magnesium
  3. 2000IU Vitamin D daily.

Calcium is only absorbed 500mg at a time so taking a supplement twice a day with meals, in addition to at least one serving of dairy or other calcium fortified food daily will supply what you need. The Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium and it activates it in your muscle and bone cells so it can work for you.  Magnesium and Vitamin D help with mood and a healthy immune system, too.

For more information on perimenopause and menopause, you can explore the following:

The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

www.menopause.org/for-women

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Welcome to Summer!

 

Helmets– Are highly recommended with all wheeled sports. You only have one head and need to protect that brain for many years to come. If you happen to get in a wreck, get help to make sure you don’t have a serious injury.

Swimming– We have so many awesome lakes, rivers, and pools within a short distance which is why it’s important to practice good water safety. Even if you’re a good swimmer, make sure someone is around to watch you.

Sunblock- We recommend you use a sunblock that covers both UVA and UVB; and an SPF of 70 would be best (with the way most people put on sunblock you only get about half the SPF number listed on the bottle). Don’t forget to drink lots of cool water when the heat rises outside or if you’ve been sweating more than usual! Be sure to stay hydrated to keep your body from overheating.

Camp Physicals-Summertime is a great time to go to camp! Ask your parents to call and schedule an annual physical appointment now so you’re ready for all your activities at camp – and get a jump on the next school year.

Summer Treats– What summer is complete without a few sweets? Remember that we don’t get a summer break from brushing our teeth; we have to do it every day. If you haven’t been into the dentist in a while, now is a great time to let your tooth shine. For extra protection, remember we also have fluoride supplements for kids from 6 months old until 16 years old.

Last, but not least, make sure you talk with your parents about expectations for summer, make sure you know your home address, parent’s phone, and who to contact in case of emergency. Have a fun and safe summer!

Preventing Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” in the newborn.

whopping-cough-babies-2160x1200

 

Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough” is a bacterial infection that you or your baby can catch when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Infected droplets can travel through the air, and if you inhale the droplets you can become infected with pertussis.  Whooping cough begins like a cold, with a mild fever and runny nose.  Most adults do not have severe symptoms, but they can pass pertussis on to a newborn very easily without realizing it.

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a newborn because their immune system is not fully mature and they cannot fight this infection.  Babies cannot get the vaccine for pertussis until they are two months old.  Even after they start the vaccinations, they are not fully protected by the vaccines until they are a year old and have had three vaccinations for pertussis.  Whooping cough in a newborn is a very serious illness, and it often requires that the baby be admitted to the hospital for breathing problems or pneumonia.  Some babies who get whooping cough do not cough at all – they just stop breathing.  Newborns can die from whooping cough.

The entire family can help protect your newborn from whooping cough.  All teenagers and adults who are around your baby should get a pertussis booster, called Tdap.  The Tdap shot is a tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis.  If you are pregnant, the best time to get the Tdap vaccine is between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.  Your body will have time to make antibodies against pertussis.  These antibodies are passed through the placenta to protect your baby.  You can protect your baby with antibodies long before your baby is old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.  After the baby is born, the antibodies are passed through your breast milk.

For more information:  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Spokane Urgent Care just got ridiculously convenient…

We are excited to announce an all-new feature at our Spokane Urgent Care locations: online check-in! Not only can you save your place in line, but also view wait times, all at the push of a button. We know your time is precious, instead of sitting in the waiting room; you can wait at home, run errands, or just get a cup of coffee while you are waiting for your turn in the cue.  Does a time work better for you? You are in charge! Go to spokaneurgentcare.org, select which one of our convenient locations works best, and select the time you would like to come in!

 

 

 

 

Great care and convenience? Urgent care doesn’t get much better than this.

Who needs sleep?

What is the one thing we spend the most time doing?  Sleeping!  Sleeping is a very important part of our life and contributes to our health.  Getting a good amount of sleep gives our body time to rest, and our brain time to make new connections.  When we don’t get enough sleep we can see the effects in many areas of our lives:  difficulty concentrating, poor attention, poor judgment, decreased ability to learn, depressed mood, and even obesity, heart disease, and a depressed immune system.

Do you think your children are getting the sleep that they need to be successful in school and in relationships with friends and family?  A National Sleep Foundation study recently found that 85% of teens do not get adequate sleep!  Adequate sleep means 8-10 hours every night for a teenager and 9-11 hours a night for a school age child.

Poor sleep has become a larger problem over the last 20 years.  What can you do to help ensure your child gets enough sleep?  Here are a few sleep tips to try:

  1. Maintain a consistent bedtime.  It is important for your body to always get up and go to bed around the same time, trying to limit fluctuations to 1 hour or less.  This includes the weekends, holidays, and summer break.  For older kids, avoid naps.  Naps make it more difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.
  2. Make sure the room is cool, dark, and quiet. Use your bed only for sleep, not for playing or punishment.
  3. Eliminate caffeine or nicotine from your diet, especially after noon. The effects of caffeine on sleep can last for 8 hours!
  4. Try to spend some time outside in the sun during the day. Spending time in a dark house confuses the brain into thinking it is nighttime.  Natural light during daytime is the best way to make sure your circadian rhythms are on track.
  5. Make up a relaxing bedtime routine. Try to always follow the same schedule so your kids know what to expect.  Some good ideas are a shower, story time, listening to calm music, or writing in a journal.
  6. Eliminate one of the biggest enemies of sleep from the bedroom: The Screen!  Looking at screens, especially screens from phones or tablets actually make your brain believe it is day and not night so your brain doesn’t release the sleep inducing hormone melatonin.  Studies have shown people who have tvs in their bedroom get less sleep on average each night.  It takes longer to fall asleep and you are less likely to stay sleep when there is a TV in your bedroom.  Remove technology from the bedroom!

Try the above tips and see if you and your children start getting better sleep.

Sleeping_angel

Welcome to Cheney!

In the lungs of Spokane County sits an underestimated college town with a full-time residential population of around 12,000. During the school year, that number jumps up to a hefty 17,600 as Eastern Washington University brings in students from all over the country and through all walks of life.

Cheney is known for its small town charm that hails from the vast agriculture and rail ties as it sits at the highest point on the railroad between Spokane and Portland. In connection, Benjamin Pierce Cheney, a Boston railroad industrialist who became the director of the Northern Pacific Railroad, was the inspiration for Cheney’s well-known name today.

Although this little town does not seem to thrive as much as it did in the past, it is home to a historic downtown district, an evolved university district, and the occasional Seattle Seahawks practice. With EWU students hard at work by day, the town booms with fluorescent lights by night – awake and in constant celebration.

Through an abundance of agricultural appeal, Cheney boasts community rodeo days and farmers’ markets through the summer season. It’s filled with parks and trails for the outdoorspeople, and the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge – which homes basalt outcrops, canyons, ponderosa pine forests, and some of the last breeding habitats available in the eastern Washington area.

As Eastern Washington University continues to be the largest employer in the city of Cheney, it has grown to offer state of the art facilities with many more remodels underway. The Spokane Transit Authority provides efficient public transportation to, from and around the Cheney area that aids in daily commutes and the ever present “think green” initiative.

Cheney has been home to quit a few notables including: Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson who grew up in Cheney and became an aircraft commander and instructor pilot for the Air Force. With his abundance of medals and honors, he found himself an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in February of 2003. I trip that gave him purpose, but took his life.

Another notable resident of Cheney was NFL football player Steve Emtman who played for the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. Born in Spokane, Steve then grew up in Cheney and eventually came to be a star athlete. He won both the Outland and the Lombardi Award and was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Although full of injuries, Emtman’s NFL career landed him into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also the founder of his company Defender Developments, LLC in which he established the 1,312 unit housing development, Terra Vista, located on the south side of Cheney.

Among others, Cheney has been home to geologists, authors, Olympians and scholars. Currently, it houses sports teams, diverse restaurants, a grocery store, a hotel for travelers, a red football field, 4 dentists and now, with the addition of the new CHAS clinic, 2 medical clinics. Close to the airport and now boasting a beautifully crafted CHAS clinic, Cheney merits a visit or two.

 

Written by: Katiah Peterson

2015 in Review

We’re wrapping up 2015 here at CHAS health, and hope you and your family is as well! We have had a great year in 2015, a busy year, but leaps towards serving our community.

New neighbors.

We’ve opened 3 new locations, Perry Street, Cheney, and Spokane Urgent Care-Valley. These new locations have opened access to high-quality care for thousands of residents in the surrounding areas, and we couldn’t be more pleased by the warm welcome into these neighborhoods.

Making the current locations shine

We strive to have the best facilities possible. It’s part of the CHAS experience is to not only have some of the best providers, but also have facilities to make you feel at home and comfortable as possible. We relocated the Spokane Valley Clinic to its new home on Indiana, and began remodeling our Denny Murphy Clinic.

Leadership

2015 also was a transition year for leadership, one of CHAS’ founders and CEO for 20+ years, Peg Hopkins, retired earlier this year, and handed the reigns over to Aaron Wilson, who has been at CHAS for 10+ years, a large chunk of that time as our COO, in that time truly helping lead the charge for healthcare for everyone in the communities we serve.

It’s been a busy year and an amazing year, looking toward a terrific 2016. Thank you for being part of it all.

The Force (for health) Awakens!

May the force be with you this winter, here are some great tips on staying healthy from our Jedi Knights on the dental team and our fun loving Darth Moorman. Be sure that these are not “a trap” and this is the advice “you’re looking for” this holiday season.

CHAS_KidsNews_Dec2015_DocTalk_PRINT1

-Written by Darth Moorman and team

Colorectal Cancer Screening, on the Path to Success.

On Wednesday, October 28, CHAS welcomed visitors from the American Cancer Society, Great West Division. CHAS received a grant this year through the American Cancer Society, with funding from the Anthem Foundation, to improve the colorectal cancer screening rate at CHAS Maple Street Clinic. During the first six months of the grant, Maple Street’s staff have increased their clinic’s screening rate from 8.8% to 16.7%, with a goal to achieve 25% by April 2016.

Audrey Fine, Health Systems Manager, Primary Care, Great West Division, American Cancer Society, Inc., discusses colorectal cancer screening efforts with CHAS Maple Street Clinic providers and Medical Assistants

Audrey Fine, Health Systems Manager, Primary Care, Great West Division, American Cancer Society, Inc., discusses colorectal cancer screening efforts with CHAS Maple Street Clinic providers and Medical Assistants

Oftentimes patients schedule a medical visit to address an immediate need, such as congestion or fever. However, a critical component of primary care is prevention. CHAS staff actively encourage patients to receive appropriate cancer screenings. Annual tests can detect cancer of the colon, cervix, and breast at early stages.

Audrey Fine with the American Cancer Society concluded her remarks with CHAS Maple Street Clinic medical staff by sharing a very appropriate quote that beautifully captures the impact of preventative health care:

“The names of the patients whose lives we save can never be known. Our contribution will be what did not happen to them. And, though they are unknown, we will know that mothers and fathers are at graduations and weddings they would have missed, and that grandchildren will know grandparents they might never have known, and holidays will be taken, and work completed, and books read, and symphonies heard, and gardens tended that, without our work, would never have been.”

 

–Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, Former President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Excerpted from Dr. Berwick’s plenary address at IHI’s 16th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care (December 2004).

 

Thank you to the American Cancer Society and Anthem Foundation for their generous financial contribution, and the Cancer Society’s excellent ongoing technical assistance, to help improve access to preventive health care for CHAS patients.