Friday, March 29, 2013

Alternative Healing with Music Therapy at GRMC

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will offer music therapy to patients at the hospital and for Grinnell Regional Hospice. Music therapists develop a therapeutic relationship with their patients with the use of music to maintain, restore, and improve mental and physical health.

Music therapists are trained to assess how music impacts the brain and body in physical, cognition, and emotional outcomes. They conduct and analyze how specific music impacts parts of the brain’s functioning. The research-based interventions of therapy can include singing, moving, playing instruments, and listening to music.

“Music therapy is also extremely useful for those who may find it difficult to express themselves in words,” says Stephanie Johnson, NMT, MT-BC, music therapist. “Music therapists give patients and clients a unique way to improve functioning abilities and quality of life.”

“Research has proven that music therapy is especially useful for hospice patients by decreasing anxiety, reducing pain, and helping dementia patients’ memories,” says Becky Pryor, GRMC director of home health and hospice. 

Two therapists, Crystal Berkenes, MT-BC, and Johnson, begin therapy at GRMC in April. Johnson explained how beneficial she has found music therapy to be especially in patients experiencing confusion or psychological conditions such as dementia.

“The rhythm and structure of music helps patients to organize their thoughts and have more success when working toward the goals the care team has set in place,” Johnson says.

Music therapy has been successful in reducing nausea and emesis during chemotherapy. It also reduces pain perception, reduces the need for medication, and increases comfort and relaxation. Music therapy has facilitated verbal communication and memory to those with neurological impairment that have otherwise been unable to verbalize.

Music therapy is goal focused, with certified music therapists using their expertise to plan customized sessions that help their patients achieve the goals they had in mind. This could include better organization of thoughts, more lucid thinking and communication, decreasing pain and anxiety, or even increased mobility and coordination. Therapists can work with patients to assess their needs, draft goals of therapy, execute live music, and then evaluate and document their progress

“This is a wonderful chance for patients of many walks of life, from children to elderly patients, to benefit from music therapy. Music is a universal language that can appeal to one’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs,” Pryor says.

For information on the music therapy program, call Grinnell Regional Wellness at office at 641-236-2998 or check out Johnson’s website at 

Spring Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet

As the warm weather approaches, and we clean out our homes, now is the time to clear out medicine cabinets and get rid of any and all old, unused pills. As part of a national campaign, Grinnell Regional Medical Center and the Grinnell Police Department are partnering to help dispose of prescription pills safely and correctly. This community initiative hopes to make homes safer by preventing prescription medication abuse. It also helps prevent the consumption of expired or inappropriate drugs. Anyone may bring medications for safe, proper disposal between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Spring Street side of the Grinnell Public Safety Building, 1020 Spring St.

“This program reduces the risk of medication errors in the home as well as reduces risk of medications getting into the hands of people for which the medicine is not prescribed,” says Corey Wilson, RPh., GRMC pharmacist. “This is an important public health service for residents. It’s good for patient safety and it’s good for the environment. We also keep information confidential so names are not linked to medications.”

To put some perspective on just how much unused medicine is stored in homes, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs during last year’s nationwide initiative. Partaking in this program will also aid in increasing community awareness regarding the widespread abuse of prescription drugs that happens across the nation but often goes unnoticed.

“Nationally, abuse of prescription drugs by our youth is a continually increasing area of concern for law enforcement, parents, and society in general. We are trying to make it as convenient as possible for residents to rid their homes of un-used prescription medications.  We are providing curb-side drop off so an individual may simply drive up and hand the unwanted medications in for disposal,” explains Fred Foreman, narcotics investigator with the Grinnell Police Department. “There’s no reporting or inventory taken. It’s anonymous. We are providing the opportunity and means for anyone to remove unwanted medications from their home.”

The medications that are brought in during this one-day national blitz will be incinerated. This is considered the safest manner to dispose of medications.

GRMC will have two pharmacists available at the collection as well as Grinnell PD officers Dan Johnson and Rod See. This program is free.

Sleep Center to be Opened at GRMC

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will open a sleep center in partnership with the Mercy Sleep Center beginning in early May. This unique opportunity allows residents to be tested and analyzed for various sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Humans spend about 3,000 hours a year sleeping and it is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“If you feel tired and/or unrefreshed despite obtaining sufficient sleep, perhaps you suffer from a sleep disorder that affects the restfulness of your sleep,” explains Melisa Coaker, MA, MD, medical director of the clinic in Grinnell. “We conduct sleep studies and evaluations to help optimize your sleep.”

The sleep center will initially be located on the second floor of the hospital. Sleep studies will be scheduled three times a week. The sleep center will consist of two sleep rooms with comfortable beds and an optimal sleeping environment so that a home-like situation can be simulated. Registered technologists will monitor brain wave activity, muscle activity, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns. After the test is completed, the technologist will analyze your results and Coaker will interpret them and develop a treatment plan along with the patient to address the sleeping disorder. She will host clinic hours for consultations in the visiting specialty clinic area on the second floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building.

Raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Coaker completed her undergraduate and graduate training at the Wayne State University in Detroit and earned her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to clinic consultation time at the Grinnell Regional Sleep Center, Coaker also see patients at the Mercy Sleep Center in Clive, Iowa.

“We are excited to begin this contract and help the community get the most out of their good night’s sleep,” Coaker says.

To schedule an evaluation, call Grinnell Regional Sleep Center at 515-358-9640 or speak with your primary care provider.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Better Health Class Offered in May

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will offer the “Better Choices, Better Health” workshop in May. This six-week program provides individuals who have chronic conditions, as well as their caregivers, the tools to better manage their health and symptoms. This session will be held in the Montgomery Lounge, at the Mayflower Community, May 10 to June 14.

The program developed by Stanford University focuses on ways to improve self-management of chronic diseases. Examples of chronic conditions include arthritis, breathing problems or lung disease, stroke, depression or anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and cancer.

The class meets weekly, for six weeks, beginning Friday, May 10. Each session is two and a half hours, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Over the course of these workshops, individuals will learn techniques and practical methods to deal with pain, fatigue, and isolation; decision-making skills; exercise options and established action plans and goals for physical activity; better nutrition planning and eating choices for better health; communication techniques to begin conversations with physicians and family members about health concerns; tools to manage medications and symptoms; and self-management skills to lead a more productive life.

The class is taught by peer leaders who guide participants as they create their own action plans for improved health. The $20 fee covers the cost of the book and materials. Scholarships are available. For information and to register, call the Grinnell Regional Public Health office at 641-236-2385. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mental Health Services Change in Poweshiek County

The Poweshiek County Mental Health Center has announced it will cease operation on Saturday, April 13, 2013, after more than 40 years of providing mental health services to county residents.

“The Poweshiek County Mental Health Center has been struggling with the economics of operating a rural mental health center for many years,” says Doug Cameron, volunteer board president of the Poweshiek County Mental Health Center. “The shortage of providers in the county combined with poor reimbursement have stressed the local services to a point where we are faced with no choice but to close the center.”

 Poweshiek County Mental Health Center clients will be able to receive mental health services locally with the announcement by Grinnell Regional Medical Center to offer a new program. Grinnell Regional Mental Health will begin providing medication management services on April 1 and counseling services on Monday, April 15, on the second floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Center. 

 Laura Van Cleve, DO, psychiatrist, will serve as the program’s medical director. GRMC will hire a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, therapists, and other mental health staff to care for clients. Janne Johnson, ARNP, of Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Spirit Lake, will continue providing telepsychiatry via video conferencing. Joel Rand, PA-C, will continue to assist with medication management on a temporary basis until new practitioners are hired.  Appointments may be made by calling 641-236-2347.

”GRMC has been providing psychiatric medication management for clients of the Poweshiek County Mental Health Center since February 4 to fill a void at the mental health center,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president of operations. “Our family practitioners, Dr. Patrick Cogley and Joel Rand, stepped in quickly to help. We could not have managed without them. Our primary concern has been, and will continue to be, providing quality healthcare for area residents. We continue to read daily about the serious shortage of mental health providers and funding for services.  Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states for psychiatrists per capita and 46th in per capita for number of psychologists. We will face this challenge until state and federal funding and policy changes.”

 GRMC opted to start its own program after the mental health board indicated it would not remain open due to financial difficulties.

 ”GRMC is working with the mental health staff to assist clients and allow them to receive the care they need,” Cameron says. “We are also working on a solution to partner with another organization that can sustain the Station Club House. Larger organizations have the efficiencies in billing, human resources, and other administrative functions to reduce operational costs in running a clinic.”

 ”I want to commend the mental health staff for their efforts over the past four years to make the community mental health center work. They all made personal sacrifices with the hopes to pull through the difficult financial times,” Cameron says. “Marilyn Kennent, past board president, worked very hard and creatively to pull together resources. The center just didn’t have the money to continue.”

 ”Though the board had received generous support from the community to raise some funds, Iowa and Poweshiek County are funded at such a low level that an independent program just can’t sustain itself any longer,” Cameron says.

 Dawn Roth, the Poweshiek County Community Services Administrator – Central Point of Coordination administrator, added that her organization will help with a smooth transition for current clients of the Poweshiek County Mental Health Center to the new Grinnell Regional Mental Health. The CPC provides funding for low income individual. 

 ”It is imperative that everyone work together in this transition,” Roth says. “We’ll work with the hospital to fund services for the uninsured in the county. We provide funding assistance for approximately 150 residents in Poweshiek County. My role is to assist these individuals to get the services, resources and treatments needed. There is a definite shortage of providers and resources so we appreciate that the hospital will begin its program.”

 Cooner assures the community that “we are all doing all we can as quickly as possible to ensure that individuals with mental health issues do not go untreated.  Providing high quality and sustainable mental health services to serve the residents of our community is our first priority.”