Sutter Solano Medical Center Seeks Participants for Patient Family Advisory Council

Posted on Dec 12, 2018 in Quality

VALLEJO, Calif. – Sutter Solano Medical Center is looking for additional community members to gain insight and feedback about the experiences of patients and their families at the hospital.

“We are working to make the voice of the patient and family evident in everything we do,” said Kelley Jaeger-Jackson, chief nursing executive, Sutter Solano Medical Center. “At Sutter Health, we value our patients’ voices and understand they can help us to improve and promote patient-centered care.”

Advisors with the Patient Family Advisory Council will collaborate with leadership and clinical teams at Sutter Solano Medical Center to help improve the patient experience for future patients. They will share their experiences and perspectives, providing the hospital with an insider’s view about the patient experience and ensuring that hospital staff continuously improve the care they provide for patients and families.

Ideal candidates have experienced care as a patient or a family member at Sutter Solano Medical Center within the last year and are looking for an opportunity to give back to the community in a unique way. Advisors are asked to volunteer two hours per month initially and provide feedback on various projects/initiatives designed to enhance the overall patient experience at Sutter Solano Medical Center.

“The feedback a patient can provide us about their experience, or a loved one’s experience, in the hospital is invaluable and a key factor in how we will improve as an overall healthcare system,” said Jaeger-Jackson. “The Patient Advisory Council is an ideal avenue to incorporate the patient and family in the culture of our hospital and help us continue to improve.”

Getting Involved

The main criteria for candidates include:

  • Recent experience as a patient or patient’s family at Sutter Solano Medical Center.
  • Are interested in playing an integral part in the process of continuous improvement.
  • Are open-minded and able to work in a collaborative environment.
  • Have time to attend meetings once a month.
  • Possess clear, tactful communication skills.

The process for becoming an advisor includes: filling out an application form, an initial phone screening, an interview, trainings, background check, medical clearance forms and orientation. Additional time commitment is based on advisors’ availability and interest in the topic at hand. This is a volunteer position and is not compensated.

Those interested in learning more about the Patient Family Advisory Council or signing up to be a volunteer can contact Leslie Cerpa at ssmcpfacouncil@sutterhealth.org or 707-554-5157.

Gift of Surgery Program Gives Patients Life-Changing Moments

Posted on Dec 12, 2018 in Community Benefit, Scroll Images

Blanca Calderon and Michael W. Leathers, M.D., consult before her carpal tunnel surgery at Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center on Nov. 2, 2018.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Blanca Calderon has always worked with her hands.

For the last several years, she’s used them at a Sacramento bakery, mixing and measuring ingredients, and kneading, cutting and shaping dough.

The repetitive work took its toll, causing numbness, tingling and swelling in her hands and wrists. It was incredibly painful—especially at night—and made it hard for her to work, do household chores, or even sleep.

Calderon’s children helped when they could—with errands, laundry and dishes—but she missed being able to do normal, everyday things. Most of all, she missed being able to carry her grandchildren.

Like many people who don’t have health insurance, Calderon could not afford medical treatment. She suffered through the pain for 15 years.

This fall, Sutter Health and the Sacramento Physicians’ Initiative to Reach out, Innovate and Teach (SPIRIT) partnered to find Blanca a surgeon to alleviate her pain.

Orthopedic surgeon Michael Leathers, M.D.,  performed carpel tunnel surgery on both of Calderon’s hands at Sacramento’s Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center on Nov. 2. John McCall, M.D., a Central Anesthesia Service Exchange (CASE) Medical Group doctor, administered anesthesiology during the procedure.

“Surgery can be life changing,” Dr. Leathers says. “It’s incredibly meaningful to be able to help people who would might otherwise continue to live in pain.”

At her follow-up appointment, Calderon came into the office with a huge smile, minimal pain from the surgical sites, and normal feeling in her fingers.

About Sutter Health’s Gift of Surgery Program

Each year, Sutter Health works with community organizations like SPIRIT, as well as Operation Access in the Bay Area, to provide surgeries to patients without health insurance. The organizations identify patients based on their medical condition, health status and financial need, and work with the physicians and care teams at Sutter Health’s outpatient surgery centers to schedule procedures.

Teams from 18 Sutter ambulatory surgery centers volunteered their time and expertise to perform 60 life-changing procedures during the 2018 Gift of Surgery program. Surgeries included hernia repair, cataract repair and gallbladder removal; procedures were all completed in the outpatient setting and did not require overnight hospitalization.

As a not-for-profit organization, Sutter Health believes in giving back. Sutter Health’s total community benefit investment was $612 million in 2017. These funds supported traditional charity care, unreimbursed Medi-Cal costs, health education and community clinics.

Two Hundred-Fifty Reasons to Be Thankful this Holiday Season

Posted on Dec 4, 2018 in Community Benefit, Scroll Images

Gifts purchased by Sutter Health employees for families in need are loaded into moving van as part of the annual Holiday Adopt-a-Family program

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Watercolor paints and paper. Snuggly jammies. Train sets. Modeling clay. Rain boots and jacket.

These items may be found on any child’s holiday wish list, but these gifts have extra special meaning. Presents like these, as well as a host of others, came from lists of more than 250 families throughout the greater Sacramento area and Central Valley who benefit from Sutter’s Holiday Adopt-a-Family program.

Cindy Coffey, a 17-year employee who works as a part of the administrative team for the Sutter Health Valley Area, says her department has been participating in the event for years.

“I think giving back is just the epitome of Christmas and the giving spirit,” Coffey said. “In light of the recent fires and the devastation those communities have suffered and endured, I think this year the opportunity to give means so much more than it ever has. It’s special to have the opportunity to give to those who expect so little, yet need it the most.” Read More

Bringing Needed Medical Care to Remote Areas of Haiti

Posted on Nov 30, 2018 in People, Uncategorized, We're Awesome

Urgent care doctor at Sutter Health PAMF works with medical volunteers to treat diseases linked to poverty, malnutrition and lack of water

For the last several years, David Sofen, M.D., Sutter Health PAMF Santa Cruz, has traveled to Haiti and other developing countries where he and a team of medical professionals have worked as volunteers treating countless numbers of people who have little or no access to health care.

Dr. Sofen, an urgent care doctor and medical director of patient experience for PAMF, recently returned from his sixth trip to rural southeast Haiti, a trip he made with The Flying Doctors/Los Medicos Voladores, a nonprofit that works to improve the health and well-being of geographically diverse people.

This year, the team consisted of Dr. Sofen, a Haitian physician and nurse, dentists from Haiti and the U.S., and interpreters.

Everyone on the team pays their own way, and money that is donated goes to medical care and paying the Haitian team members. The volunteers traveling from the U.S. bring several suitcases full of medical and dental supplies.

“It’s an exhausting trip, but we do good work,” Dr. Sofen said. “I return acutely cognizant of all the wonderful things we take for granted here at home and am always so grateful to have been born in this country.”

Read More

Special Hospital Unit Prevents Mental and Physical Decline in Elderly Patients

Posted on Nov 29, 2018 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

SAN FRANCISCO“Mom just isn’t the same since she came home from the hospital.”

Wendy Zachary, M.D., a geriatrician with Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, used to hear this complaint often. But since launching the volunteer-powered Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), her patients are safely going home sooner, are readmitted less frequently and suffer fewer falls.

 

Dr. Zachary and her team opened an Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit at the new CPMC Mission Bernal Campus hospital in August, building upon the success of the HELP program at CPMC’s Davies and Pacific campuses. Mission Bernal’s ACE unit is the first one of its kind for Sutter Health and one of only about 200 nationwide.

Nationally, ACE units have a proven, two-decade success record of helping decrease incidents of hospital complications like delirium, bring down costs, decrease length of hospital stays, improve coordination and mobility and reduce readmissions. This is critical because elderly hospitalized patients are prone to suffering delirium –which, according to Dr. Zachary, has the same risk of mortality as a heart attack.

“We know when geriatric patients are located in the same area of the hospital, such as in an ACE unit, they get better care,” says Dr. Zachary. “This is because the care providers see similar issues over and over, and the more cases you see, the more comfortable you become treating these patients.”

Mission Bernal’s ACE unit offers 19 patient beds, an activity room and a specialized physical therapy room—and staff and volunteers that are specially trained to care for older patients through the HELP program. Read More

Clearing the Air: As Air Quality Improves, Wildfire Smoke’s Health Effects to Linger

Posted on Nov 21, 2018 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Uncategorized

OAKLAND, Calif. -The impact of lingering smoke from the Butte County Camp fire may continue to be felt by Northern Californians for some time.

“Given our experience over the past year with multiple ‘super’ fires in the region—even with the rain clearing the air—we expect to see an increasing number of patients in the emergency department over the next few weeks with complaints related to persistent wildfire smoke exposure,” said Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Summit campus, emergency services.

According to Dr. Berrol, historic levels of air pollution caused by the wildfire, which persisted over much of the northern half of the state for two weeks, has begun an inflammatory process that may worsen pre-existing conditions such as chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure or asthma for some people.

When air pollution is bad, it can irritate eyes, nose and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions.

William Isenberg, M.D., vice president for patient safety at Sutter Health’s Office of the Patient Experience, offers the following precautions during this time of smoky or poor air:

  • Stay indoors, if possible.
    • Use air conditioning, if available—malls are great places for people without their own air conditioning at home.
    • Keep hydrated— drinking 8-10, 8 ounces glasses of water per day is recommended.
    • Use your maintenance puffers/inhalers if you have asthma, emphysema, or other respiratory diseases
    • Carry your rescue puffer/inhaler with you if you leave your home

 

Angel Eye Allows NICU Families to Bond with Their Baby While Away from the Hospital

Posted on Nov 20, 2018 in Innovation, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

Candace Wilson speaks about the gift of NICU cameras on Tuesday with her husband, Rich (left).

SACRAMENTO — Exactly three years ago, Nov. 20, 2015, a little girl was born to Candace and Rich Wilson of Grass Valley, Calif. She spent a couple of weeks in neonatal intensive care units before succumbing to her health issues. During her short life, Candace and Rich were able to spend most of their time with her and the specialists. But they saw many families who didn’t have the time off work or the financial wherewithal to be there with their sick babies. They founded a nonprofit in Norah’s memory to help those families, called the Norah Foundation.

One of the cameras is already in use at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.

The Norah Foundation has already helped many local NICU families with gas and food cards, hotel vouchers and other support, but the Wilsons felt what was really needed is a way for these families to be with their sick babies even when they couldn’t be in the NICU in person. They started a campaign called Always Together to raise money to install NICU cameras at the bedside of babies in Northern California’s largest NICU at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The first two were unveiled Tuesday, Nov. 20, Norah’s third birthday. Read More