Scroll Images

A Welcome Mat for Wherever You Are

Posted on Apr 3, 2020 in Innovation, Scroll Images

Nothing beats the comfort of home. And while many of us are staying as safe as possible under our own roofs to help curb the spread of COVID-19, there are still those essential workers who head out the door to their jobs each day—including front line health care workers.

As healthcare organizations across the nation prepare for the surge of patients with COVID-19, there will be a need for front line health care workers to travel and meet areas of greatest need. And Sutter Health just made it easier for those front line staff.

Sutter is collaborating with the newly launched Airbnb Work to help support front line health care workers find temporary lodging around hospitals where they may be relocated to support. This service can help support healthcare workers who are self-isolating from their families or who need rest immediately after shifts, as they continue to care for others in need.

“Sutter Health is supporting our front line health care workers in many ways during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are seeking solutions to support our staff as they are caring for our patients and communities,” Jill Ragsdale, chief people and culture officer for Sutter Health. “This service helps remove the added pressure for staff caring for patients in other locations from finding temporary lodging while working away from home. We greatly appreciate how the greater community has opened their doors through the Airbnb program to support our care givers.”

This is one example of how Sutter Health is using the breadth of its integrated network to increase critical care capacity. The Airbnb Work service will be offered in several locations near existing Sutter hospitals including: Burlingame, Castro Valley, Modesto, Oakland/Berkeley, Roseville, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Tracy and Vallejo.

“The spirit of collaboration and innovation is exactly what’s needed right now as we tackle this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Waugh, Sutter Health’s chief innovation officer. “We’re extremely pleased to partner with Airbnb to help support Sutter’s frontline healthcare workers who need temporary lodging near hospitals where they’ve been redeployed to care for patients. Through Airbnb’s collaboration, we can help care for them while they care for others.”

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

Making Conversations Around COVID-19 Kid-Friendly

Posted on Apr 1, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

How can parents/guardians provide reassurance to children when a lot remains unknown? COVID-19 has changed our world in a short amount of time—and perhaps the course of history—but how can parents talk to kids about it now?

Krystle Balduzzi, M.D., pediatrician at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, suggests that parents/guardians acknowledge that the situation affects adults just like it affects kids. Families are watching the news or absorbing information via social media trying to find the answers that will make each other feel safe. This is where parents and caretakers can model good behavior by sharing emotions in a healthy way and encouraging children to do the same. “In order to help our kids we need to help ourselves first,” she says. “We need to understand the extreme fluid nature of this whole situation.”

Creating a Safe Place to Share

Most kids know about the coronavirus and will have questions. Dr. Balduzzi suggests parents and guardians need to ask and answer questions about COVID-19 in an age-appropriate way. “Saying everything will be fine or ‘don’t worry about it’ won’t cut it,” she says. “Reassure the child that they are safe and that everyone is working together even though we can’t be with others.”

How IS the Family Helping?

Dr. Balduzzi suggests focusing on ways the family is helping the situation: washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, keeping distance between themselves and others, making sidewalk art for neighbors or donating supplies to those in need. Children may also have questions about when they can return to friends or school. Dr. Balduzzi recommends being honest and saying no one knows yet. Rather, encourage children to help think of other ways to stay connected, like virtual visits with friends, teachers or extended family.

Finding a New Norm

Children crave structure, says Dr. Balduzzi, so getting them back into a schedule as much as possible is key. It’s important for parents and caretakers to get older kids’ input on the structure they would like to create for themselves. For those caring for younger ones, charts can help visually signal how they can stay on track. “We are now their teachers, too, and schools run on schedules, so we should considering doing the same,” she says. Dr. Balduzzi recommends keeping things simple at first: wake up, get dressed, school time, craft time, lunch, outdoor time, etc.

Family Bonds

For those in the immediate household, this is a time to stay close and connected. Hug your child, play with them at their age-appropriate level or cuddle on the couch for a movie. Dr. Balduzzi states that this will help kids feel safe. When kids don’t feel safe, they tend to act out. This behavior change can include temper tantrums, new bedwetting or fear of the dark. For older children, this can include more risk-taking behaviors. “We need to create a safe, calm environment so that their growing minds can process what’s going on around them,” she says. Dr. Balduzzi also emphasizes that it is important for parents to acknowledge that they are human and to always forgive themselves if they have a breakdown. “Sometimes we need to get it out in order to move on,” she says. “These are trying times for everyone and the saying ‘we are all in it together’ never held more meaning than it does now.”

COVID-19: Sutter Health Accepting Medical Supply Donations to Help Frontline Staff

Posted on Mar 23, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Like all hospitals and health systems during this unprecedented health emergency, Sutter Health anticipates a shortage of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We are pursuing additional avenues to bolster and conserve our supplies, so we can meet critical community need while maintaining patient and frontline staff safety,” says Rishi Sikka, M.D., president of Sutter Health System Enterprises. “Our team is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from community members who want to help our frontline staff and integrated network.”

Sutter is asking for business and community donations of the following new items in original packaging to help ensure supplies are safe and medical grade:

• N95 masks
• Powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) Hoods
• Surgical masks
• Procedure masks
• Isolation gowns
• Paper masks (with ties or elastic)
• Paper protective gowns
• Protective glasses/goggles
• Industrial face shields (e.g., industrial face shields)
• Painters smocks (impermeable)

To make a donation, please contact your local Sutter affiliate or call 1-844-987-6099. A Sutter Health representative will provide specific guidance on how to make a delivery. For large local donations, we can also send a courier. Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our patients, providers and communities. Thank you for your generous support.

To obtain a tax deduction for non-cash contribution over $500, donors may be required to submit IRS Form 8283 with their tax returns. The form is available here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf and includes instructions on how to complete. Additional questions can be directed to giving@sutterhealth.org.

An Open Letter from M.D.s

Posted on Mar 21, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

By: Warren Browner, M.D., MPH and Stephen Lockhart, M.D., PhD

As physicians, we want you to know why we are so concerned about the novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

Some of you may have heard that it’s a minor inconvenience, like a bad cold. So far, that’s true for the majority (but not nearly all!) of people who are young and healthy. However, that’s only a very small part of the story. Here’s the rest:

• Up to one in five of those infected with the coronavirus will get pneumonia and have to be treated in a hospital, often for a few weeks.
• So far in the U.S., more young and middle-aged people have needed hospitalization than in China.
• In those who are infected and over age 70, especially those with underlying health problems, up to one in 15 to 20 will die.

Coronavirus needs people like all of us to multiply and spread. So what matters is not just whether you get sick, but also whether you pass the virus to other people. None of us—except maybe those who have recovered from COVID-19—are immune to it. All of us are potential carriers who can be infected without knowing it.

Right now, on average, every infected person passes coronavirus to two or three other people, who in turn infect two to three others. After only 10 cycles, a single original person can infect 20,000 people in only four or six weeks. Much of Northern California will be infected in no time if we don’t act now.

If we can reduce social contacts by one-third, the number of people who will need to be hospitalized will drop 20-fold. If we do even better, and can reduce social contacts by two-thirds, the pandemic will end. This helps buy time for clinical teams and other scientists to determine what treatments work. We will give hospitals more time to prepare—and keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

How do we do this? By staying away from other people, which means anyone outside your immediate household, including friends and relatives. That means avoiding:

• Birthday parties
• Sleepovers
• Play-dates or meet-ups
• Public places (like playgrounds) where virus particles can linger
• Air travel or sitting too close to someone on public transit

Other important notes to keep your home virus-free:

• Leave only if absolutely necessary and head straight back as soon as your errand is done.
• Exercise out of the house alone or with just members of your household.
• If you buy groceries or cook meal for neighbors who cannot get out, call to let them know you are coming by, and leave your delivery outside their front door.
• If you do go out, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds as soon as you can, preferably before you touch any surfaces in your home.
• Make sure that people—like kids—who can’t or don’t follow these instructions are kept away from those who are especially vulnerable, like their grandparents or someone with a chronic disease.
• Think about possible exposures. A card or tennis game with friends may sound like fun, but the virus travels on the cards or the tennis balls. Play only with those in your immediate household.

A virus-free home is only as strong as its weakest link, so please stick to the approach, as difficult as it may seem. Following these guidelines can help the nurses, doctors, first responders, pharmacists and grocery store employees continue doing their jobs to support you.

If you do need us, our teams are equipped to provide you with high-quality care while protecting the safety of our care providers. Our staff are well trained to address infectious respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. If you are sick, and don’t require emergency care, call your doctor before coming in. Do a video visit. Know that if you need care, we’re here for you.

Stay safe. Stay six feet away.

Dr. Browner, an internist, is the CEO of Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center. He has a master’s degree in public health in epidemiology and is an adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF. Dr. Lockhart, Sutter Health’s chief medical officer, has a PhD in biostatistics and is a trained anesthesiologist.