Thursday, May 30, 2013

Grinnell Sidewalks Reviewed for Walking Ease

A walking assessment of sidewalks in Grinnell has been completed through the Iowans Walking Assessment Logistics Kit (IWALK). The Poweshiek County Transformation Grant committee members and community volunteers with a vested interest in sidewalk accessibility were invited to help map out the city’s sidewalks.

The process of mapping involved more than 15 volunteers who walked most blocks of Grinnell in early May with an iPhone and special app, Web Mapping Technologies, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The phones accurately map routes that children and community members use to walk or bicycle to school, work, or other community destinations and identify barriers and solutions to make it safer for all. 

“Walkable communities result in more physical activity. Regular physical activity helps people get and keep a healthy weight,” says Patty Hinrichs, Poweshiek County Transformation Grant committee member. “The program identifies frequented walking routes, barriers to walking, and encountered hazards sidewalks, curbs, street crossings, and streets that need changes for easier walking and biking in the city of Grinnell.”

Another element of the walkability assessment included a survey sent to 500 residents. The response rate was 30 percent with 148 surveys returned.

The results for the survey and walking assessment will be presented at a community meeting on Monday, June 17, at noon, in the Grinnell Public Service Building, 1020 Spring St. The city personnel, senior community representatives, and interested residents are welcome to the meeting. A free lunch will be provided. Please call 641-236-2385 if you plan to attend so enough food can be prepared.
The goal of this study as well as the county’s transformation grant program is to improve access to exercise and wellness resources. The program seeks to solve this concern that:

• Less than half of all adults get the recommended amount of physical activity. Adults need at least 2½ hours (150 minutes) a week of moderate-level aerobic physical activity.
• Women and older adults are not as likely to get the recommended level of weekly physical activity.
• Inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.

 I-WALK is funded by the Department of Transportation and provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). It was created to develop a partnership between IDPH, local public health offices, local boards of health, Iowa State University Extension, and the older Iowans community. The Poweshiek County Transformation Grant is administered by Grinnell Regional Medical Center in partnership the Poweshiek County Healthy Choices Coalition.

For more information on how the Poweshiek County Transformation Grant is working in the county to improve health, call 641-236-2385.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cleaning Up after Flood Water

Grinnell Regional Public Health announced that because Poweshiek County has been declared a disaster area, the state will provide Flood Clean Up Kits for residents at no charge.
Clean up kits are available by calling Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385.  In addition, the public health office offers tetanus vaccinations.

The county public health also released cautions and recommendations for cleaning after the recent flood damage in the county, provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health. For a full list of preventive tips and cleaning recommendations from Iowa Department of Public Health, go to

“We emphasize safety in the clean up process following a natural disaster such as the intense rain of the Memorial Day weekend,” says Patty Hinrichs, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “Key priorities are safety to prevent mold formation, safety with electricity, and prevention of disease with current tetanus vaccination.”

When first re-entering a home after flooding, never turn on or turn off power yourself. Avoid electrocution. Call your power company or an electrician to disconnect the power from the outside.
Dry out your house as soon as possible. Use wet-dry vacuum, fans, and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Have your home heating, ventilating and air-condition system check and cleaned by a professional before you turn it on to avoid spreading mold throughout the home.

To help prevent mold and mildew growth as well as decrease the changes of possible bacterial infection, clothing contaminated by flood water should be cleaned as soon as possible. Clothing and linen can be saved if it is washable. Contaminated clothing should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothing. Use hot water, heavy-duty detergent and bleach, to combat any bacterial contamination. For colored clothing, use color safe bleach. If items cannot be washed properly, throw it away.

To clean items that are solid and not absorbing water, such as concrete, tile, and vinyl flooring, plastics, use a mild household detergent solution to clean them.

To clean small porous items (items that will absorb water) such as bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, residents should pre-soak in cold water before machine washing to remove mud. Then wash in hot water and detergent in washing machine. Add chlorine bleach to wash water. Tumble dry in a dryer or hang to dry in the sun.

Large porous items such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, wall-to-wall carpeting, that have been soaked by the flood must be discarded.

“The key to remember is if in doubt, throw it out. The risk of bacterial diseases from flood water can linger on surfaces if not cleaned thoroughly. Take careful precautions to avoid making yourself or family members ill,” Hinrichs says.

For information on clean up kits, vaccinations, or public health concerns, call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385.

For information on emergency response, call the Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency at 641-623-4357.

Friday, May 24, 2013

GRMC Trustee Education Recognition

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is proud to announce two of its Board of Directors were recognized at the annual Iowa Hospital Association’s Governance Forum held in April. Stanley Greenwald, MD, retired, and Ed Hatcher, trustees with the GRMC Board of Directors, completed the Advanced Trustee Education Certification training. This is a voluntary process for strengthening trustee leadership and accountability. 

IHA has provided a framework to support Iowa hospitals in developing effective board members. The IHA’s governance education certification program helps hospitals use governance best practices, promote the coordination of care and the best use of resources. It takes knowledge, understanding, dedication and commitment to be an effective board member and make the decisions to enable the delivery of efficient, high quality and safe healthcare. Therefore, it’s important that board members have traditional governance skills and qualities, as well as a special understanding of the complicated hospital industry.

“The GRMC board members have committed themselves to upholding the trust of the communities the medical center serves and this is one way that the board maintains its knowledge to be confident in our decision making,” says Bill Menner, GRMC Board president. “This advanced certification takes training, coursework, and time to complete. We’ve proud of Ed’s and Stan’s commitment to education for the benefit of the medical center and all who depend on it for quality care.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Single Incision Robotic Surgeries at GRMC

A surgical team at Grinnell Regional Medical Center performed their first da Vinci® Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy on Thursday, May 16. The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless. In February, Surgical Associates surgeons and GRMC were the first in the state of Iowa to complete a Whipple surgery and the first to complete a gastric sleeve surgery using the daVinci.

Led by Nicholas Kuiper, DO, general surgeon with Surgical Associates, the surgical team at GRMC removed the gallbladder using Single-Site™ instruments on a da Vinci® System. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of 2.5 cm (approximately one inch).

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci System in December 2011. da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex minimally invasive surgery.

“Neither robotic surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to remove the gallbladder requires additional training and special equipment,” says Kuiper.  “To be one of the first hospitals to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates GRMC’s leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options. Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines just completed their first procedure a week ago as well.”

Kuiper is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery.

“Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci platform are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies,” Kuiper says. “We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.”

Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in less than one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera.  In real-time, the system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist, and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.

Unlike traditional laparoscopic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.

Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders.

More than one million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.

GRMC offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries. In addition to gallbladder removal, GRMC surgeons perform robotic-assisted surgery in general surgery, gynecological surgeries, and urologic surgeries. GRMC also offers a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.

For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at GRMC, call Surgical Associates at 641-236-4323 or visit

The name is Razer!

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Office of Communication and Development and the staff of the GRMC surgery department recently held a naming contest for area children to name the new surgery robot.

The winning name is Razer, submitted by Jaxon Goodrich, a second grade student at Fairview Elementary School in Grinnell. 

Students created a drawing of what they envision a surgical robot to look like and also came up with a name for the robot.

Other winners were Davis Utech, first grade, Bailey Park Elementary; Jack Stephens, first grade, Fairview Elementary; Elena Grandstaff, second grade, Fairview Elementary; and Haidyn Hull, second grade, Bailey Park Elementary.

Many students brought their families to the GRMC Community Breakfast on May 11 to get the chance to see Razer up close.

GRMC has been using the daVinci Surgical Robotic System since January 2013. The system is a sophisticated robotic platform designed to expand a surgeon’s capabilities and offer a minimally invasive option for major surgery. With daVinci, small incisions are used to introduce miniaturized wristed instruments and a high-definition 3D camera. The robotic and computer technologies seamlessly translate the surgeon’s hand movements into precise micro-movements of the daVinci instruments.

Less than 20 hospitals in Iowa have this technology and GRMC is one of only two rural hospitals offering this type of surgery.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grinnell Rotary Donates to GRMC Laboratory

Since 1995, the Grinnell Rotary Club has sponsored a musical production by Shults & Co. to raise funds for the club’s projects. Every other year, Frank and Sherry Shults and their team of singers and musicians have put on a show in the Voertman Theatre.

Over the years, more than $60,000 has been raised for local organizations and projects. This year, $10,673 was raised—the largest contribution ever earned in the fund-raising partnership of the Rotary Club and Shults & Co.

The donation has been used to purchase laboratory equipment at GRMC in honor of the Rotary Club’s long-time member and president-elect, Gregg Hawkins, director of the GRMC lab