Author: Andy Boehm

Understanding Diabetes During National Diabetes Month

Diabetes is often called a condition. Manageable. No big deal if people just take their medicine and make some lifestyle changes. And while it’s true that people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives, the fact is that this is a serious, dangerous disease:

• Diabetes claims more lives each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
• It is a leading cause of blindness, heart disease, amputation, end-stage kidney disease and liver problems.
• Diabetes costs the American health care system over $237 billion annually.
• If trends don’t change, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

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Mental Health

It’s time for mental health to become top-of-mind


World Mental Health Day is October 10. It’s a day that can’t come soon enough. Nearly one in five American adults lives with a mental illness that requires treatment. But estimates show that only half of those people receive treatment. That’s because unlike other diseases, mental illness still carries a social stigma that often dissuades people from seeking the treatment that can improve their lives — from their mood, to their emotions, to the ability to relate to other people.

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Treating Sports Injuries

Games, Sets, Matches, Sprains & Strains

It’s not only back-to-school time, it’s back-to-school-sports time. And by now the action is in full swing. While we’re enjoying the thrill of competition, we hold our breath a little bit at the prospect of injuries. Fortunately, most are minor sprains and strains that a little TLC can take care of without a long stint on the sidelines, or the trainer’s table.

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Cholesterol Management

Let’s outsmart cholesterol.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month.

OK, that may not sound as fun and exciting as, say, National Free Taco’s Month, but it’s a good time to learn about what you can do to help ensure that you’re fit, healthy and ready to go for National Bike Month in May.

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Back to School


We know how hectic back-to-school season is. Reluctant students, clothing battles, supplies, forms, class schedules, bus schedules … it rivals the preparation behind the moon landing. And with everything else going on in life, it’s easy to lose track of all the to-dos on your list — two of which just happen to be mandatory before your student hits the books, field, or court.

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The Bugs of Summer


A look online at any map of tick activity tells you all you need to know: our corner of the world is swarming with them. And even though summer may be starting to wind down, tick activity remains high through December. That means your risk of contracting Lyme disease through a tick bite is still high. And that’s why you need to take every precaution to avoid contact.

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Infection Prevention

St. Clair has taken the approach that most, if not all, hospital–associated infections can be prevented.

Dedicated teams focus on infection prevention and have incorporated leading clinical practices into the Hospital’s everyday routine. Best practices such as: using the proper antiseptic when inserting a central line, closely monitoring how long a patient’s urinary catheter is in place, wearing gown and gloves when necessary, proper disinfection of medical equipment and the environment and frequent hand washing are just a few of the tactics used to help prevent infection. We look to the community to help us fight infections by practicing good hand hygiene, washing their hands before and after their visit.

Infection Prevention Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are “infection preventionists”
Infection Preventionist work in healthcare settings to keep patients, visitors, volunteers, employees and healthcare providers safe from infections.

What are healthcare-associated infections?
Healthcare-associated infections can occur as a result of the care or treatment that a patient receives.

The most common infections associated with healthcare are:
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI): Infection develops either during or after placement of a urinary catheter. Urinary catheters are normally placed in patients undergoing long surgical procedures who need assistance with passing urine, or those who are extremely ill. Bacteria enter the tubing and make their way into the bladder or kidneys.

Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI): Infection develops either during or after placement of a tube placed into a vein. You may know this as an IV. IVs are normally placed to give fluids and medication or may be used to withdraw blood for testing. Bacteria enter the tubing and circulate in the blood.

Surgical site infection (SSI): Infection develops either during or after a surgical procedure when bacteria enter the wound. Sometimes, these bacteria may also move to other sites and cause infection in the urine, blood, or lungs.

Pneumonia: Infection develops when bacteria enter the nose or mouth and travel to the lungs. Bacteria may also travel through a tube that has been inserted to help with breathing.

Gastrointestinal infections: Infections that cause inflammation in your intestinal tract and can lead to deadly diarrhea. These infections are frequently caused by the C.difficile germ and are often seen in patients who have taken antibiotics.

How does an infection preventionist affect the care I receive?
Infection Prevenitoists partner with members of your healthcare team and use proven methods to ensure that your stay safe from healthcare-associated infections during your stay. You may notice the presence of infection prevention activities throughout the facility:

  • Hand Washing stations
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Healthcare providers wearing gloves, masks and gowns
  • Frequent disinfection of equipment and surfaces by healthcare workers
  • Signs reminding visitors to perform hand hygiene and cough their cough

What do I need to know to stay safe?
Your care providers are concerned about your health and safety. They want you to have a voice and participate in care. You and your family are important members of healthcare team.

  • Clean your hands and make sure everyone around you does too
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, not hour hand
  • Take medications as directed
  • If you are having surgery, ask if you should shower with a antibacterial soap a head of time
  • Ask your provider if you still need your catheter

Click here to learn more about preventing hospital-aquired infections from Dr. Stephen M. Colodny, Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at St. Clair Hopsital.

Heat and UV Safety Tips

Don’t get bitten by the dog days of summer.

Gardening, bike rides, ball games, beach trips … summertime certainly has its perks. Unfortunately, all of summer’s outdoor activities come with the unwelcome risks of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and damaging UV rays. Our ER sees dozens of heat-related cases every summer — but we’d really rather not. So with some simple planning and preventive steps, you can minimize the risks and maximize your fun in the sun.

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Vision, Leadership and Direction

Since choosing a career in nursing, Diane L. Puccetti, R.N., BSN, MS has envisioned herself as an intensive care nurse, caring for critically ill patients, and looked forward to working on the front lines of health care, at the bedside. And after graduating from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, she did just that.

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Kathy’s Story

Mother’s Day 2017 was a perfect spring day, bright with sunshine, blue skies, and vibrantly hued flowers among new green foliage. But the color pink was the order of the day in Schenley Park, and it was everywhere as thousands of people gathered for the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Among them, for the first time, was Kathy Rumski, 48. Mother’s Day has always been special for this Crafton mother of three, and she had been planning to spend it in a perfect way, with her children Courtney, 24; Megan, 19; and William, 16; and her own mother. Instead, she broke with that tradition and went to the race, and found solidarity and inspiration there.

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