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Joanne's Journal - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Joanne's Journal - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Giving Thanks

I know many of you will be sitting down with your families this Thursday, enjoying meals that are probably the product of long-held family traditions. The 1621 Thanksgiving feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth consisted of duck, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash. Our country’s Thanksgiving celebration has not changed significantly since that first meal!

I don’t think I eat sweet potato casserole, creamed onions, corn soufflé or pumpkin pie except at my family’s Thanksgiving meal. My Mom is notorious for also making a “Jell-O” thing. Yep…it is either a tomato aspic with cream cheese balls in it, a lime mold with cottage cheese, walnuts and crushed pineapple or the perennial crowd pleaser…. strawberry Jell-O mixed with Cool Whip. You can tell we have a decidedly 50s Thanksgiving menu!

I try to break the mold with roasted root vegetables and a great salad….but that mess of sweet peas, stuffing and mashed potatoes covered with homemade turkey gravy is hard to beat. I am the gravy queen...thanks to the dependable bottle of Gravy Master! I love Erma Bombeck’s quote, “I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” That is us!

"I'm also thankful for my two cats. This is a picture of Pancake."

But seriously, there are many things I am thankful for:

  • Being healthy (If you have ever been sick, you know what a gift it is to be healthy).
  • The fact that my mom is 93 years old and still living independently and is mentally very sharp!
  • My friends, my husband and my family….these are the relationships that make our days rich.
  • The people I work for and work with here at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
  • The opportunity to do what I love every day.
  • Thanks for being part of my "Thanksgiving!"

2017 Edith Amsden Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

Gretchen Fairweather,
left, provides Reiki to
a patient.

Each year, the Edith Amsden Award is given to a Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Volunteer who exemplifies outstanding service and dedicated care to our patients and their families.

This year, the D-H Office of Volunteer Services and the Volunteer Leadership Board are excited to announce the 2017 Edith Amsden Award recipient: Gretchen Fairweather. She is a Reiki volunteer at D-H with 16 years and over 2,000 hours of compassionate volunteer service. Gretchen has been involved in the development of the Reiki Program, training new volunteers and helping Norris Cotton Cancer Center at the Prouty each year. Gretchen also knits hats for D-H patients, and embodies what caring for the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—means.

Gretchen was nominated for this award by Andrea Buccellato, NCCC Support Services manager, and her colleague Michelle Davis, NCCC Support Services resource specialist. In their nomination letter Buccellato and Davis wrote, “Gretchen is humble and kind. Her steady reliability and positive energy offer inspiration to all she works with at NCCC. Even in navigating some of life’s most difficult challenges, Gretchen maintained her commitment to service and did not miss a week.”

D-H In the World: Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

Jorge L. Almodovar-Suarez, MD, a neurologist at D-H Manchester, talks about Puerto Rico’s plight with colleagues at the Lebanon campus donation table.

When the call for help and aid is made, Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) staff and the community come together to offer their support. When news reports continued to shine a light on the ongoing plight of residents of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island in September, D-H leaders and staff organized a response that included food drives throughout the system and organizing medical and pharmaceutical supplies to distribute on the island as part of a second phase of aid.

Led by Maria Padin, MD, chief medical officer for DHMC, who is from Puerto Rico and has family, friends and colleagues on the island, this relief effort from D-H, included not only staff but also members of the community who also brought in donations for the food drive.

The food drives—which included donation drop-off locations in Lebanon, Manchester, Nashua and Concord—collected donations of non-perishable food, such as canned meats, beans, rice and bottled water, as well as toiletry items, such as toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste and diapers. D-H is coordinating transportation with Medline, which is the primary supply chain vendor for the organization, to help with logistics of getting the donations and medical supplies to the island. Once on the island, Padin is making arrangements with her contacts to ensure D-H’s contributions are distributed to those most in need.

If D-H staff or  members of the community still would like to make monetary donations for Puerto Rico aid, the following organizations and grass-root groups are recommended because of direct connections to hospitals and underserved populations on the island.

Spotlight on New Leaders of the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care

Ruth Thomson, DO, MBA, left, and Melissa Garland, BSN, RN

Set to open in late December, The Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care offers patients new services in a new facility. Its leaders are new too. Ruth Thomson, DO, MBA, medical director for the center joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) in August and Melissa Garland, BSN, RN, nurse manager assumed her new responsibilities in July.

Thomson and Garland explain the care that will be delivered by the Jack Byrne Center staff and why they’re excited to lead the team.

How will the Jack Byrne Center benefit patients across the region?

Garland: The center will give us the opportunity to collaborate with our partners in the regional hospice agencies, while providing inpatient care to patients in our community.

Thomson: We will provide interdisciplinary team care to address the medical, psych-social, and spiritual needs of patients and families. The team is focused on quality of life and meeting patient goals.

Caring for hospice patients that need a higher level of care is where the Jack Byrne Center will make a difference. Some patients might come in for symptom management and then transition to home. For others, the center will provide end-of-life care.

Read the full story here.

Cheshire Medical Center Go-Live a Success

Don Caruso, MD, President/CEO, CMO, Cheshire Medical Center, looks on as eD-H goes live at 2 am on November 4 in the ICU.

At 2 am on Saturday, November 4, more than 1,400 staff members at Cheshire Medical Center braced for the moment they had been waiting and planning for – the moment to go live with eD-H, the electronic medical record system. This transformational moment that was two years in the making would “change how we deliver health care,” said Don Caruso, MD, president of Cheshire Medical Center. 

On Saturday, the system went live first with the Emergency Department and the medical/surgical floors, and by Sunday, it was live with the Operating Rooms. But the real test of the system would be on Monday, November 6, when activity increased substantially with 700 patients coming through the system. “It all went extremely well,” said Caruso. “This experience exceeded my expectations and we have all of our dedicated staff and the IT teams from affiliate partners at D-H to thank for making this so successful.”

In the Eye of the Beholder: Where at DHMC is this Mural?

Where at D-H is this mural of New Hampshire lupines located?

Studies have shown the positive impact that art and music can have on patients and visitors in a health care setting, which is why displays of art can be seen throughout Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) as well as live music being heard in certain locations. In this issue of Joanne’s Journal (and in future issues), we would like to invite our readers to a challenge to tell us where you think a piece of art is located at D-H.

To the left is our first challenge – where is this mural of New Hampshire lupines located? The first five readers who identify the location correctly by sending their answers to (along with their name and location) will receive a surprise gift. Please be specific in your answer.