Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ring in a Healthy New Year

As one year ends and another begins, we tend to reflect on the past and resolve to make changes for the coming year. The New Year offers an opportunity to assess our current health and address any areas that could be improved. Use this time to ensure your quality of life by focusing on the most important aspect—your health.

An annual exam can detect hidden problems early, such as the beginning of adult onset diabetes, elevated blood pressure or cholesterol or weight issues.  During an exam, discuss any new aches or pains, new medications and any concerns you may have with your physician. 

Resolution tips:

  • Make a doctor’s appointment for check-ups, screenings and vaccinations.
  • Make healthy food choices. Prepare more of your own meals.
  • Be active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends at least 7-8 hours for adults.

When making your New Year’s resolutions, remember to set realistic goals that fit your lifestyle. This way, you can achieve them throughout the year.

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Give Yourself the Gift of Health and Safety this Holiday Season

The holidays are an exciting and festive time of the year. It’s a time to enjoy family, friends and to be thankful for what’s important. Despite the hustle and bustle, don’t neglect your health.

Below are six tips to help ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following:

Wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most essential steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product.

Stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing. Check on children, the elderly and pets.
Get check-ups and vaccinations. Exams and screenings can help detect problems early or before they start. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your health care provider for a yearly exam. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history and family health history.

Manage stress. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home and play. Get support from family and friends. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Get enough sleep.

Eat healthy, and be active. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy a healthy holiday. Choose more vegetables and fruit. Select one or two of your favorites from the variety of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Travel safely. Whether you’re traveling across town or around the world, help ensure your trip is safe. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let someone else drink and drive. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age. Get vaccinations if traveling out of the country.

Speak to your physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org to find a doctor near you.

Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Safety

The day before the Feast of All Saints (or All Hallows), Halloween has its origin in ancient Celtic traditions. By taking some precautions, it can be both fun and safe for children and adults.

Here are some Halloween safety tips, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Costumes that are bright and reflective (you can add reflective tape) will help to keep your little trick-or-treaters safe. Also, make sure their shoes and costumes fit well so they don’t trip and fall.
  • Non-toxic makeup and decorative hats are a good alternative to masks, which can obstruct children’s sight and limit awareness of their surroundings.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and prescription from an eye care professional. Doing so can cause pain, inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections, which could lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or a local emergency number), if they have an emergency or become lost.
  • Small children can draw jack-o-lantern faces on their pumpkins, which parents can then carve for them. Also, consider using a flashlight or glow stick if you’re out at night.
  • Clearing obstructions in the front yard, walkway and porch, as well as making sure outdoor lighting is adequate, will help to keep everyone safe.
  • Instead of candy, consider offering non-food items, such as coloring books, pens or pencils to trick-or-treaters who come to your door.
  • Children should know never to enter someone’s home or car for a treat, and a parent or responsible adult should always accompany young trick-or-treaters.
  • Wait until children have returned home to sort and check treats. Although tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and discard any suspicious items.

To find a pediatrician or other physician, visit www.chsli.org and go to “Find a Doctor”.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flu Prevention

Each year, approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the Influenza virus and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. Some individuals, including the elderly, young children, and those with certain health conditions, are at greater risk for serious flu complications.

The CDC recommends a yearly vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the most important step in protecting against the flu. Ask your health care provider when they will be receiving the flu vaccine to ensure you are protected before flu season begins.

 “The flu vaccine allows antibodies to develop in the body approximately two weeks after patients receive it,” explained Jason Golbin, DO, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer of St. Catherine of Siena. “These antibodies help provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine.”

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you should take steps such as washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you have the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading it to others. Click on the link to view the CDC’s fact sheet for advice on how to prevent the spread of germs: Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu.

Speak to your physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org to find a doctor near you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Benefits of Exercise

We all know that good health depends on a certain level of physical activity. The American College of Sports Medicine points out that exercise offers many benefits, including the following:

Exercise improves your mood: It makes you feel happy and relaxed by stimulating chemicals in your brain, reducing feelings of depression and anxiety.
Exercise helps manage weight: Exercising makes it easier to keep your weight under control. To burn 100 calories, most people need to walk or run about one mile.
Exercise promotes better sleep: Who wouldn’t want to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper?
Exercise can be fun: Activities such as dancing or even pushing your child on the swing make exercise enjoyable.

“One of the most important things you can do for your health is to incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily routine,” commented Laura Beck, MSP, director of Outpatient Rehabilitation at St. Charles Hospital. “The physical, social and psychological benefits are so widespread.  There is no need to make up for years of inactivity overnight. Start slowly and build up gradually. Be creative and try to find activities that you enjoy as you will be more likely to stick with it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children should be doing age-appropriate exercise for an hour or more every day, including aerobics, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening. Aerobics—for example brisk walking or running—should account for most of your child’s daily exercise. Gymnastics, push-ups and other muscle-strengthening activities, as well as bone-strengthening exercises such as jumping rope, should be included at least three days a week. For adults, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes per week of both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities for good health. It can be broken up into as little as 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise at a time.

To find information on a walking club near you, click here

Please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gabriel’s Courage: One Family’s Story

It was Christmas Eve when Maricela gave birth to twins, knowing that only one would survive.  Along with her family’s love, she had the support of Gabriel’s Courage, a family-centered perinatal program for expectant parents facing a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis.

Early in her pregnancy, Maricela learned she was carrying a boy and a girl, but that the girl had anencephaly (a neural tube defect).  “It was hard,” Maricela said, her voice tight with emotion, “but she is my daughter, and I love her.”

Because she had a high-risk pregnancy, Maricela was referred to Catholic Health Services (CHS) physician Dina El Kady, MD, who is board certified in maternal fetal medicine and specializes in difficult cases.  Dr. El Kady told Maricela and and her husband, Hilver, about Gabriel’s Courage, a free CHS program offered by specially trained staff from Good Shepherd Hospice, incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to care and support through pregnancy, birth and post-birth.  Ostetricians, registered nurses, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists and bereavement specialists work together to offer compassionate support, education and birth planning services.  The program is available to individuals regardless of religious affiliation, and families are connected with additional community resources, as needed.

“Michelle and MaryAnn [part of the Gabriel’s Courage team] would come to see me every two weeks and helped with my other children,” Maricela explained.  She and her husband have a 14-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.  “Whenever I felt sad and thought, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I could call Michelle and she’d give me advice.”

“Whenever I had a question, MaryAnn would always get back to me with an answer,” added Maricela.  “I love them.  My situation wasn’t easy, but they were there for me.”

While Maricela’s daughter Elisha lived only for an hour, the family and Gabriel’s Courage staff made the most of that precious time.  Deacon Rich Becker was in the delivery room and blessed Elisha.

“The dignity of human life, the effect one human being can have on others, the outpouring of God’s grace on His people cannot be measured in years, days, minutes or seconds,” said Deacon Rich. “Baby Elisha changed the lives of all she met in her short, beautiful life.”

Gabriel’s Courage Coordinator Maribeth McKeever commented, “The program offers support that addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of families, helping to bridge feelings of loss, while validating the role of parents. This offers hope, affirms life and provides an opportunity for the baby to be welcomed into the family.”

If the family wishes, a professional photographer who works with Gabriel’s Courage will take pictures of the baby and family.  The staff that assists the family can be present in the delivery room, if the family desires.  Also, they will help create memories, saving a lock of hair, making impressions of hands and feet, and gathering the baby’s blanket, hat and medical bracelet.  For more than a year after birth, the team will continue to support the family.

“We are guided by something greater than ourselves.  Elisha’s brief life may forever change the lens through which I see life, death and consolation,” shared bereavement specialist Michelle Graff, LCW.  “To be able to walk alongside families on their intimate journeys of grief is a privilege for which I can’t express enough gratitude.”

“The program is amazing,” emphasized Maricela.  “I thank God I went to Dr. El Kady and she called Gabriel’s Courage for me.” She is also grateful to Serena Wu, MD, a Maternal Fetal Medicine physician who was involved in her care.

“She’s the one who took care of me.  I love her and stay in contact with her,” Maricela said.

For more information about Gabriel’s Courage, please call (631) 465-6363.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Avoiding Injuries From Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of adults 65 and older fall each year, resulting in injuries or even death. To help prevent these occurrences at home, the CDC provides the following tips:
  • Ask someone to arrange your furniture to allow a clear path through each room.
  • Always keep objects off the floor.
  • Remove or secure throw rugs (with double-sided tape or a non-slip backing).
  • Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.
  • If lighting is insufficient, have an electrician install an overhead light and wall switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
  • Use nightlights in hallways and other rooms.
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications to identify any that could make you sleepy or dizzy.
Building on a longstanding, county-wide collaboration focusing on preventing injuries resulting from falls, CHS has been partnering with the Suffolk County Health Department to offer a Fall Prevention Program across Long Island. Called Stepping On, the free seven-week program provides assessments and techniques to avoid falls at home or elsewhere.

“Working with the Suffolk County Department of Health, CHS has been afforded the opportunity for several of our key falls prevention staff members to become Stepping On trained leaders,” explained CHS Vice President of Care Management and Performance Improvement Anna ten Napel. “These newly trained leaders allow for an increased penetration of the Stepping On course in the community, achieving the goal of helping to better educate Long Islanders on ways to prevent falls and stay healthy at home.”

Please call 1-855-CHS-4500 for more information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

10 Tips to Stay Safe During a Hurricane

The National Hurricane Center announced the start of the East Coast hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 - November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a below normal season, with a likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms, including
0 to 2 major hurricanes.

During hurricane season, it is important to not only protect your home and family but also to protect your health. Be sure to have the following health and safety supplies prepared:
  1. First aid kit
  2. Medicine (seven-day supply)
  3. Written list of your medications and have handy any paperwork about serious or ongoing medical conditions
  4. A list of names and phone numbers of your physicians
  5. The name and phone number of your pharmacy
  6. Medical supplies (e.g., hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, nebulizer, syringes, or a cane)
  7. The location of your medications inside your home. (If you need to evacuate your home quickly, make sure you tell someone where to locate the above items in the event they can be retrieved for you.) 
  8. Baby supplies (e.g., bottles, formula, baby food and diapers)
  9. Emergency blanket
  10. Soap, toothbrush and other personal care items
Visit The Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more tips you and your family can use in the event of a hurricane.

Please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer is Upon Us. Tips to Stay Cool!

Staying cool when temperatures get hot isn't just about comfort. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses and the risk increases significantly as temperatures rise and outdoor activities become more popular.

Heat-related illnesses can be classified as heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and classic and exertion heat stroke. Treatment is directed at restoring normal body defense mechanisms.

"Make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen at all times. Also, it is very important to pay attention to your body,” said Michael Moskowitz, DO, of Mercy Medical Center and Bellmore Family Practice. “Think carefully before starting new high-impact or stressful activities in the extreme heat.”

Wear loose fitting clothes in light colors and exercise during the morning hours when ambient temperatures are lowest.

Below are tips to help you stay safe if a heat-related condition occurs:

Heat Cramps
Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy sweating.
First Aid: firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm. Sip water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.

Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy.  Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible.
First Aid: Lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move to an
air-conditioned place. Sip water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If fainting or vomiting occur, call 911 or get to a hospital immediately.

Heat Stroke
Symptoms: High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Person will most likely not sweat.
First Aid: heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or get to a hospital immediately. Move to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO NOT DRINK FLUIDS.

View more tips here from the CDC: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp

To find a CHS physician near you, visit www.chsli.org

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Melanoma and Sun Safety

Summer weather is coming, but it’s important to take precautions against skin cancer all year round. Did you know skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society? Melanoma accounts for only 2% of all skin cancer, cases yet is responsible for the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. This dangerous cancer occurs in pigment-containing cells in the skin, eyes and other organs.

To protect you and your family and yourself from potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can lead to melanoma and other skin cancers:
  • Be cautious outdoors between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Check the UV index and remember that sand and water reflect sunlight.
  • Be sure to apply water-resistant sunscreen with the appropriate sun protection factor (SPF) when at the beach, lake or pool.
  • Wear sunglasses, hats and long sleeves, pants or skirts when necessary. Extra care must be taken to shield infants and young children from harmful rays.

“When identified early, melanoma and other skin cancers are treatable. However, preventive measures are always the best approach,” commented Kenneth Gold, MD, co-chair of CHS’s oncology service line and chief of hematology/oncology at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, which just earned its fourth consecutive Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. “Avoid tanning salons and severe sunburn, both of which have been associated with a rising incidence of melanoma. Also, red headed individuals need to be particularly vigilant, as their melanoma risk is increased compared to the general population.”

You can test your sun safety IQ by taking the quiz at here.

To find a physician near you, visit www.chsli.org

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Seasonal Allergies: A Late Spring Means Bad Allergies

Due to spring’s late start, many Long Islanders may have forgotten to take seasonal preventative steps to avoid irritating allergy symptoms.

“Sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, itchy-watery eyes, are the initial signs of an allergic reaction. Due to longer than usual winter in the Northeast, allergy season was delayed a few weeks,” explained Louis Guida, MD, FCCP, allergist on staff at St. Charles Hospital. “The pollens are now in full bloom. One must remember an allergen is an irritant that causes an inflammatory process leading to some of the previously mentioned symptoms.”

How can you mitigate the discomfort?
  • Begin taking antihistamines immediately to help manage and prevent allergy symptoms, such as inflammations and sinus infections.
  • Use a saline solution or neti pot to cleanse nasal passages and rinse away allergens that stick to membranes in the nose, to prevent inflammation in the sinus passages and respiratory tissues. 
  • More over-the-counter sprays and other remedies will be available this spring, including some that were previously available only by prescription, but do not OVER USE them, as that can cause irritation and bleeding. They can also have significant side effects, including but not limited to, hypertension and prostate enlargement. Please check with your health care provider prior to initiating these over-the-counter medications.
  • If you are experiencing any signs of sinusitis, asthma or upper respiratory tract infections, or if sneezing symptoms persist, consult your doctor. If you are prescribed allergy medications, please use only as directed.
  • Plan for good health: it’s recommended that sufferers know their allergens. Ask your doctor to test to find out what you’re allergic to, so you can begin taking medication before symptoms begin. This usually helps allergy sufferers feel better throughout the changing seasons.

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CHS: Healthy Sundays

If you need access to convenient, free health care, then read further. CHS provides free health screenings, immunizations and education to the medically underserved all year round. Since 2005, the system’s Healthy Sundays program has been delivering these vital services to residents in their own communities, partnering with churches and other community-based organizations across Nassau and Suffolk. CHS employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to staff these events and make a difference in others’ lives.

Our teams provide blood pressure, cholesterol and other screenings, as well as offering immunizations and seminars, reaching thousands of people who otherwise would be without health care. Those with elevated, or high, screening results are referred to one of the Bishop McHugh Health Centers located in Bay Shore and Hicksville or to a CHS hospital, where they are treated, regardless of their ability to pay.

Click on “Community Health” at www.chsli.org to read more about Healthy Sundays or view the events calendar for details on a free health screening in your community or call 1-855-CHS-4500. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Weighing Your Options for Weight Loss

More than 11 million Americans suffer from severe obesity, which is commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other co-morbidities. Morbid obesity is generally defined as excess body weight of 100 pounds or more or a body mass index of at least 40 kg/meters2. Currently, weight-loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief for those who are morbidly obese and have been unsuccessful losing weight through diet, exercise or medication.

Most CHS hospitals offer expert bariatric surgical services, along with free seminars and support groups related to this life-changing treatment. Good Samaritan, Mercy and St. Charles Hospital are all accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). St. Charles is accredited as a Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications.

“We specialize in a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss through both surgical and non-surgical methods,” commented St. Charles bariatric surgeon John Angstadt, MD. “We have designed a special comprehensive program for our adolescents to provide the extra support they need for success.”

For bariatric surgery candidates, potential procedures include sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, depending on the patient’s needs. Single-incision or laparoscopic techniques are available for select patients.

For more information about bariatric services available at CHS hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk, please call 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit chsli.org.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caring for Wounds

If you or a loved one has a wound that hasn't begun to heal within a month or hasn't healed entirely in two months, you may have what is known as a “chronic” or “non-healing” wound.

There are many factors that can cause a wound to become chronic. Some wounds are associated with complications from diabetes or poor circulation. Other result from pressure ulcers and trauma. Chronic, non-healing wounds can have serious health consequences and may adversely affect your quality of life.

At Catholic Health Services we have center’s for wound healing and hyperbaric treatment conveniently located across Long Island. Our team of experienced specialists will work with you and your physician to assess your symptoms, determine the underlying cause of your non-healing wound, and customize the most effective treatment plan to stimulate healing. Our treatment plans are designed to complement the care your own physician provides, ensuring that your health care team is always working together to provide the treatment that’s right for you. Most treatments are covered by Medicare/Medicaid, HMOs and other private insurance plans.

CHS offers hyperbaric medicine and wound healing at Mercy Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital  and St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. Please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Who Will Make Medical Decisions for You When You Cannot?

Howard Sussman, MD, FACS, chief medical officer, St. Joseph Hospital

You are an integral part of the health care team. The doctors, nurses, physician assistants, dietitians, therapists, and technologists work with you to provide care and advice about the nature of a disease and various treatment options, allowing you to make informed decisions about your care and actively participate in following the plan of care.

Your medical decisions are made based upon your personal values, which may be due to religious beliefs, pain or discomfort, loss of control and incapacity, or based upon experience with family members’ or friends’ illnesses.

What happens when you can no longer make decisions for yourself? Who understands your values, concerns, and fears and can make decisions that reflect what you would want?

Advanced Directives are legal documents that allow you to outline your care preferences.

A Living Will allows you to express your wishes and the care you desire when you can’t. It is your opportunity to speak to your surrogate and the health care team about your concerns, fears and desires. Living Wills are not legally binding documents in New York, but are an accepted way to express your wishes.

A Health Care Proxy allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf when you are unable. You may appoint a family member or close friend. You may not appoint your physician.  The person you choose should be someone who knows your wishes and will make the same decisions you would make. It may be difficult to give this responsibility to one person in a large family; however, it is not permitted to appoint two surrogates at the same time. You may designate an alternate proxy or agent, if the original agent cannot fulfill his/her obligation.

You must give your agent permission to withhold hydration and artificial nutrition, such as tube feedings, if you would not want that kind of care.

If you don’t designate a agent through a Health Care Proxy, the person who will make decisions for you is determined through the Family Health Care Decision Act. This law specifies who has priority to be the decision maker.

Facing any illness can be frightening. The health care team will help you understand the illness, the treatments, possible outcomes and provide guidance to help you reach an informed decision about your care. Designate a Health Care Proxy who understands your wishes and whom you trust to make important and difficult decisions for you when you are unable.  Make sure your loved ones know where to find the document to avoid any confusion when the time comes to make those difficult decisions.

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Managing Your Health With CHS MyChart

Keeping track of doctor’s appointments, test results, prescriptions and immunizations for you and your family can be challenging. CHS MyChart, a secure patient portal, can help you better manage this important information. Available from a home computer, smartphone or other personal device, MyChart gives you password-protected access to portions of your health record so you can view past and upcoming appointments, request prescription renewals, review medications and immunizations, communicate with your doctor, receive test results and much more.

“Your health is important to us, and it is essential that you’re engaged with your providers during treatment for illnesses and that you follow preventive guidelines to maintain good health,” explained Vice President of Medical Informatics Alan S. Katz, MD. “CHS MyChart offers patients the ability to learn about their conditions, review their test results and securely communicate with their providers for optimal health care, all from their computer or smart device.”

Part of CHS eHealth, along with the Epic electronic medical record (EMR), MyChart helped CHS to earn the Most Wired designation from the American Hospital Association. All six CHS hospitals—and many physician practices—use the shared EMR. This means better, more comprehensive care for you, as your health care providers can quickly review results and vital information through a secure network. Using the unique alphanumeric code provided at discharge from the hospital or by your primary physician, you can activate a MyChart account in just minutes by entering key information, including a secret answer to a security question.

Look for the program about CHS MyChart on “CHS Presents: Lifestyles at the Heart of Health” early this year on Telecare TV or CHS’s YouTube channel. Also, you can learn more about CHS MyChart and how to get started at http://www.chsli.org/content/chs-mychart. Technical support is available at (631) 465-4200.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

High Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer

High blood pressure is a dangerous condition. There are usually no symptoms, so many don’t know they have it. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

The good news is that it is possible to prevent and control it. How? By making some fairly simple lifestyle changes:
  • Losing weight, if necessary, and maintaining a healthy weight 
  • Being physically active 
  • Following a healthy eating plan 
  • Eating less salt, and 
  • Limiting your alcohol consumption
Joseph Bruni, MD, who is board certified in internal medicine, stated, “One step to begin right away is to gradually eat healthier foods. This can reduce chances of developing high blood pressure and lower blood pressure, if it's already high.”

A healthy diet contains ample servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. It is moderate in total fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Included are whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Reducing sodium intake is an important component.

Here are some tips to help you help you eat healthier:
  • Make small changes like adding a serving of fruit or vegetables at lunch and dinner. 
  • Slowly increase your use of fat-free and low-fat dairy products to three servings a day. 
  • Gradually cut in half the amount of butter, margarine or salad dressing you eat. 
  • If you now eat large portions of meat, cut them back by a half or third at each meal. 
  • Try two or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week. 
  • Try casseroles, pasta and stir-fry dishes, which have less meat and more vegetables, grains and dry beans. 
  • Try fresh or dried fruits, raw vegetables, or low fat and fat free yogurt for snacks.
Start eating better today. It can save your life.

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Storm Takes Its Toll on Blood Supply

The winter months tend to be the most difficult time of the year to collect blood to meet the needs of patients. Twenty inches of snow make this challenge even more real as blood collections were curtailed for almost two full days this week.

With nearly 2,000 donations needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone, including all Catholic Health Services hospitals which are served exclusively by New York Blood Center, it’s cruicial for donors to set aside an hour to donate. 

"Thankfully, we were able to anticipate the blood drive cancellations caused by the storm, and our hospital partners received the life-saving blood products they needed to endure the storm," said Rob Purvis, New York Blood Center Vice President of Customer Service.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Anyone between the ages of 17 and 75 who is in good health and weighs at least 110 pounds can donate blood. Healthy individuals 75 and older can donate blood, if they present written permission from their physician obtained within two weeks of their donation.

To find a blood drive or donation center near you, visit http://www.nybloodcenter.org/donate-blood/where-to-donate-today/

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1855-CHS-4500.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I’m Perfectly Healthy, So Why Do I Need to See a Doctor?

You feel fine.  You seem healthy, so why should you visit the doctor?

“This is a question I often hear,” commented Adam Carpentieri, DO, a board certified family practitioner affiliated with St. Joseph Hospital.  “There are many reasons why you should visit a physician annually.  For a person without any significant medical concerns, the most compelling is to catch issues before they become problems.  We need to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to our health care.”

This point is often forgotten, as we go about our busy lives, taking care of others, our homes, our cars, neglecting our health.  On flights, they tell you in an emergency to first put on your oxygen mask, then help others.  The correlation follows: If we don’t care for ourselves, we won’t be able to care for our loved ones.

An annual exam can uncover a number of hidden problems, such as the beginning of adult onset diabetes, elevated blood pressure or cholesterol or weight issues.  During an exam, discuss any new aches or pains, which could be early signs of arthritis.  Extra weight can cause undue pressure on your joints.  Addressed early, some issues can be treated or avoided.

Dr. Carpentieri explained some patients don’t visit their family doctor because they are seeing specialists.  Patients might say, “I’m seeing a cardiologist or urologist or gynecologist, so why do I need to see another doctor?”

“Your family practitioner can act as your general contractor, coordinating your overall health and ensuring nothing is missed,” said Dr. Carpentieri.  “At St. Joseph, we have a close-knit medical staff.  We know one another, work well together and can collaborate.  This means better care for you.”

If you need a family practitioner, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1855-CHS-4500.