Posts by boarmaa

Pregnancy, Birth and COVID-19: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Posted on Apr 2, 2020 in Scroll Images, Women's Services

SAN FRANCISCO – Pregnancy can often be filled with a lot of questions. Parents welcoming babies into the world right now face an unusual new set of fears. Health experts are reassuring expectant mothers and answering key concerns about pregnancy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Above everything, we don’t want moms to worry. Our teams are going to take good care of both mom and baby,” says Yuan-Da Fan, M.D., department chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Pregnant mom using digital technology

Pregnancy Best Practices

Common sense hygiene—even when there isn’t a novel coronavirus among us—is the best way to avoid getting sick. Dr. Fan says that precautions are the same for pregnant women. He advises expectant mothers to, “wash your hands for a full 20 seconds as often as possible, and routinely clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.”

Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., administrative director of Women’s Services at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, encourages pregnant women to “limit in–person social interaction and remain at home to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.”

“If you’re pregnant and you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high fever (greater than 100.3), sore throat and dry cough, contact your primary care physician to see if you should have testing done,” says William Isenberg, M.D., OB-GYN and VP, chief quality and safety officer at Sutter Health.

Preparing for Birth

“Staying positive is the best thing for pregnancy,” says CPMC’s Dr. Fan. Anxiety isn’t good for anyone—but especially expectant mothers. Click here for tips on limiting anxiety from a Sutter mental health expert.

Additionally, pregnant women should engage in frequent communication with your OB-GYN as your pregnancy progresses. Talk to your care team about your options for virtual appointments like video visits through My Health Online as well as taking childbirth classes via online platforms such as YouTube, Zoom, and Skype.

The Big Day Arrives: What to Expect at the Hospital

Labor and delivery units across the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care are putting measures into place aimed at keeping expectant mothers and their newborns safe. Sutter hospitals have also instituted temperature checks for all visitors and staff before entering any of the facilities.

William M. Gilbert, M.D., regional medical director for women’s services, Sutter Health Valley Region in Sacramento, wants to let all patients know that Sutter is following all recommended procedures to keep our mothers and their babies safe even if this may mean some inconveniences for our families. Limiting numbers of visitors is just one example to help prevent COVID-19 infection.

“This is an unprecedented situation and our top priority is to protect the health of mothers and newborns. So, for safety’s sake, laboring mothers are allowed one support person, such as a spouse or partner, to accompany them to the delivery room and remain postpartum. The support person must be healthy and thoroughly wash their hands,” says Alta Bates Summit’s Dr. Lannér-Cusin. “We’re also encouraging new parents to use technology like FaceTime to connect with friends and family after the baby is born.”

For pregnant moms who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are considered a “person under investigation” when you go into labor, you’ll likely be placed in a negative pressure room, where the ventilation system is sealed off from the rest of the facility, and physicians and staff wear additional personal protective equipment.

Positive New Research

According to Dr. Fan, who has consulted with colleagues in Wuhan, China, by Skype, early research shows that pregnant women may be at no greater risk for contracting COVID-19 than other healthy adults. In smaller recent studies completed since the outbreak began, Dr. Fan says doctors in China found that no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 tested positive for COVID-19 viral infection. Additional cases showed the virus was not passed to newborns from their mothers’ amniotic fluid or breastmilk (Lancet study here).

Postpartum Support

Giving birth during a pandemic isn’t ideal and it’s important to be realistic about what to expect.

“Consider building your virtual village to keep yourself connected,” says Dr. Isenberg.

After your baby is born, talk to your provider about what appointments can be done virtually—for you and your baby. Explore new ways to connect. For example, if you were preparing to go to ‘mommy and me’ classes after your new baby arrives, you may want to investigate virtual meet-ups up via Google Hangouts with other new moms in your area. Remember, staying connected through a screen is better than total isolation, especially if you were planning on having a family member stay with you during your first few weeks post-partum to help care for you and your new baby.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit Sutter Health’s resources page.

Colorful Art Delights Hospital Staff

Posted on Apr 1, 2020 in People, Scroll Images, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, Uncategorized

Chalk art at Sutter Santa Rosa

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Chalk it up to neighborly love in the time of coronavirus.

This week, eight Sonoma residents showed their gratitude for frontline workers at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, part of Sutter Health’s integrated not-for-profit network of care, by creating colorful messages of hope and support.

It all started when community organizer Sarah Clark had an imaginative idea—chalk messages to line the hospital’s walkways and entrance.

It didn’t take her long to mobilize, just a quick text to friends, and off they marched with buckets of rainbow-colored chalk in hand.

“We wanted to do something to show our appreciation to the staff working so hard to keep our community healthy, and chalk art seemed like the perfect way to brighten up a grim situation,” said Clark.

Nate with a volunteer

These mood-boosting creations were hand drawn by the volunteers in the span of an afternoon. Their heartfelt messages included sayings such as “We <3 You and Are Rooting For You,” “Our Heroes Wear Scrubs,” and “Stronger Together.”

Hospital staff were grateful for the thoughtful gesture.

Nathanael ‘Nate’ Blaustone, RN and cardiac lead for the hospital’s Outpatient Care Unit (OCU) said, “I walked out of work today and seeing this was so special. It’s funny how something so simple can strike such a strong chord. It feels like our whole community is reminding us we aren’t alone. Before I knew it, there were smiles all over the hospital talking about the artwork made for us outside.”

The Sonoma community is no stranger to hard and uncertain times. It’s the touching moments like this chalk art display that demonstrate how its residents open their arms and band together in times of crisis.

Volunteer Rawna Heichel said, “Being able to bring a little cheer to those on the frontlines protecting us all is the least we can do.”

Before heading back inside the hospital, Blaustone shared a note of thanks.

“Thank you for showing your love in so many wonderful colors for us to see each and every day. The love is real.”

Our Heroes Wear Scrubs
Chalk artwork
Volunteers
Volunteers at the hospital entrance

‘Rockin’ It: Art Helps Cancer Patient Find Healing and Purpose

Posted on Mar 17, 2020 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, People, Wellness

SAN FRANCISCO – “Life is tough, but so are you.”

This powerful message is hand painted onto a smooth, palm-sized stone that rests at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center’s Van Ness Campus kindness rock garden in San Francisco.

But it won’t be there for long.

Someone who needs it will pick it up and take it with them.

That’s the idea behind the hospital’s rock garden, located on the facility’s fifth floor terrace. Here, stones with inspiring messages and colorful scenes are on constant rotation as patients, staff and visitors are encouraged to “take one, share one, leave one.”

This simple yet meaningful concept struck a chord with Cameron Yee, a nursing student who found herself at CPMC, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care, when her cancer returned.

Cameron Yee visits CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital’s Rock Kindness Garden.

Yee was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that forms in the body’s soft tissue, at 18. She went into remission in 2016 and began feeling the cancer’s symptoms again in October 2019.

Yee was admitted to CPMC in late 2019 due to a complication from her chemotherapy and radiation. Her oncologist suggested a visit by the medical center’s expressive arts therapist, Jane Siegel.

Siegel introduced Yee to painting rocks as a form of mindfulness, self-care and an outlet to distract her from pain. It was the perfect non-medicinal prescription for Yee’s creative mind.

A “You’ve Got This” kindness rock was the first she took from CPMC’s garden.

“This rock kept me grounded and hopeful. It was one of the things that gave me strength and motivation to keep on going. I am forever grateful for the person who painted this rock,” said Yee.

Yee has taken to painting rocks like Monet took to painting watercolors. She was hooked—and more importantly, uplifted.

Yee paints concentric hearts onto a heart-shaped stone.

“Cameron is our rock star of rock art,” laughs Jane Siegel. “Art therapy is an outlet that offers true health benefits and stress relief for patients and staff alike. It’s deeply rewarding as well as healing.”

Now, months later, Yee has started an effort called ‘Rock Kindness’ to help populate CPMC’s rock garden and grow the rock kindness community at large.

Each month, Yee drops off a new series of rocks. Some of her themes have included “You’ve got this” and “Nobody fights alone.”

She has also started an Instagram page, @rock.kindness, where followers can learn about journey and see her latest designs and motivational messages.

At 21, Yee’s in her final semester of nursing school at Dominican University of California and shadowing a nursing preceptor at CPMC.

“I hope to become a pediatric nurse or specialize in something where you can see more chronic patients,” she says.

Yee keeps her “You’ve Got This” rock on her nightstand, where it serves as a reminder of a moment when the exact message she needed, was delivered to her at the exact right time.

Yee knows that no matter what curve ball life throws her way, SHE’S GOT THIS!

An Endgame for Epilepsy

Posted on Mar 13, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Neuroscience, People, Quality

One man’s struggle with seizures is silenced thanks to a medical device implanted on his brain.

Reno, Nev. — Andy Fiannaca, a college student at the time, first discovered he had epilepsy when he woke up in an ambulance. His head was gouged and bleeding—the result of falling during an intense epileptic seizure. Even with no family history of epilepsy, Fiannaca would soon learn that is exactly what he had.

For years, severe daily seizures affected his quality of life, limiting his activities. He experienced speech problems, such as difficulty finding and forming words, and would often lose the ability to comprehend what people around him were saying, known as aphasia. Everything became a foreign language.

Andy Fiannaca displays his post-surgery scar from where his RNS device was implanted.
Andy Fiannaca’s surgery scar is on full display where his RNS device was implanted.

Fiannaca also suffered from the “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome. During episodes, his visual perception would become drastically distorted. He was either an ant looking up at giants, or a giant looking down at ants. Driving a car was out of the question, and continuing his studies at the University of Nevada, Reno became increasingly difficult.

To control his seizures, Fiannaca tried six different medications and then a surgery in which a series of shallow cuts were made in his brain tissue. The goal was to remove the part of the brain where his seizures originated. Unfortunately, his Reno surgeons found the source was too close to his speech center. His symptoms improved after the surgery, but within two years they returned.

Clearly, Fiannaca required more advanced help. But since he lives in Sparks, Nevada (outside Reno), where this level of advanced neurology is not available, his care team finally referred him to California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care.

At CPMC, neurologists David King-Stephens, MD and Peter Weber, MD, recommended the RNS System, an implanted device designed to continuously monitor brain activity, detect abnormal patterns and intervene to stop seizures before clinical symptoms appear. It is the first and only medical device that can monitor and respond to brain activity. This treatment, Fiannaca says, ultimately changed the course of his life.

The Fiannaca Family
The Fiannaca Family.

Since Fiannaca had the RNS device implanted six years ago, his seizures have radically reduced. He hasn’t had a grand mal seizure in two years, and he’s finally able to drive a car again. His wife Sara has been by his side through it all. The couple worried for a long time that epilepsy would prevent them from starting a family, but with his condition now under control, Fiannaca and Sara welcomed their first child 18 months ago.

Epilepsy is a widespread condition characterized by recurrent seizures that often causes a severe impact on a person’s quality of life. It affects as many as one in 26 adults in the U.S., and in 50 percent of epilepsy cases, the cause is unknown.

Epilepsy Awareness Day is March 26, 2020.

Sutter’s Self-Prescribed Eco-Rx Shows Impact

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Organization snags 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award; Employees and leadership charged up to do more in 2020!

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter has dialed up its sustainability efforts in recent years. The not-for-profit organization’s environmental stewardship committees have made major strides towards minimizing waste, increasing energy efficiency and creating healthier communities for patients and their families.

In 2019 alone, Sutter completed five solar power projects, launched a pilot program to reduce the amount of harmful anesthetic gasses released into the atmosphere during surgeries, and increased plant-based meals by 20 percent in its hospital cafeterias.

For strides like these—and more, Sutter received a 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award. SEAL –Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership – honored the organization for stepping up as one of four founding members of the California Health Care Climate Alliance. The alliance brings significant healthcare experience and a combined voice to the legislative and regulatory process to advocate for and enact climate-smart policies. Additionally, Sutter was recognized for having developed a comprehensive sustainability campaign focusing on several key initiatives, including energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction, for which it showed results.

Sutter Health awarded 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award.
Sutter Health awarded a 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award.

“At Sutter Health, caring for our planet is integral to our mission of fostering healthier environments,” said Steve Lockhart, M.D., PhD, Sutter Health chief medical officer and executive sponsor of Sutter’s Environmental Stewardship Program.

Sutter Takes a Proactive Approach to Sustainability

As the organization looks to the decade and environmental challenges ahead, its commitment to sustainability has never been stronger. Here are three ways Sutter is continuing to address sustainability across its integrated network:

• The organization is a major supporter of MedShare, a non-profit that delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need around the world. In the last 10 years, Sutter has contributed more than $11 million worth of lifesaving medical supplies to improve global health and has eliminated 1 million pounds of waste, such as patient beds, from reaching landfills.

• Sutter recently received a major grant from the State of California for a pilot program where ten of its hospitals—Memorial Hospital Los Banos; Memorial Medical Center; Sutter Tracy Community Hospital; Sutter Amador Hospital; Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital; Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento; Sutter Roseville Medical Center; Sutter Solano Medical Center and Sutter Surgical Hospital North Valley—are donating leftover food to local nonprofits to feed the hungry. As part of this grant, Sutter will be able to track where the food goes across Northern California and show its impact.

• Sutter’s Building Renewal Program is also making significant investments in existing buildings with the goal of creating greater efficiency and reducing emissions. Solar panels have been installed at seven campuses across the network, which represents a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 7 million pounds per year. This is equivalent to the GHG emissions for 674 passenger vehicles driven for one year or the CO2 emissions from 3.5 million pounds of coal burned for one year. In 2020, the team is evaluating many more campuses to see if installing solar is viable. Sutter is also continuing its electric vehicle charging station program.

Pledging to Do More

Sutter Health recognizes healthcare’s role in climate change. As such, it is prepared to do what it can to support Northern California’s dynamic ecosystem for the better. This commitment extends to Sutter’s nearly 60,000 employees.

“Each of us can play a role—even by making one small change to our daily routines,” said Dr. Lockhart.

Employees across Sutter’s integrated network have been invited to take a sustainability pledge to commit to making a positive impact on the environment, at work and at home in 2020.