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Practical Tips to Reduce Anxiety During Uncertain Times

Posted on Mar 18, 2020 in Scroll Images

Times of uncertainty—like the global COVID-19 pandemic—can spike anxiety in many people. Lives are upended and routines are erased. Schools are closed. Loved ones 65 years and above are homebound. Employees are working from home exclusively. And more importantly, as the number of COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S., causing concern for public health and the health of those closest to us.

How does one find solace during these difficult times? Urmi Patel, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and director, clinical care for Sutter Mental Health Services, provides practical suggestions for those who feel unsure and overwhelmed during this unprecedented time.

Meaningful Engagement
Social isolation may appear unavoidable right now, so it’s more important than ever to work together as a family and stay connected as a community. Dr. Patel suggests checking in on friends and family via phone calls or video chats. “Talk about things outside of COVID-19 to remind one another there are many other things to focus on during difficult times,” she says.

Modeling
Dr. Patel says children will look to their parents’ or caretakers’ behaviors and emotional responses for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times. Address children’s concerns or anxiety together as a family so they also see how their parents or caretakers are managing theirs.

Management
Information is everywhere and it can be extremely valuable as the COVID-19 situation evolves. However, people should consider limiting their exposure to social media or the Internet if they find themselves overwhelmed by the information. “If need be, consider looking to trusted sources of information, such as the CDC or news media outlets, to get important information daily,” says Dr. Patel.

Movement
Given social distancing is recommended throughout the world, consider implementing other forms of physical activity in the home or outdoors, if permitted. Simple daily physical exercises can be helpful to maintain a sense of health and balance.

Mindful
Mindfulness goes beyond one’s self-awareness and acceptance—it means being conscious of others. COVID-19 is impacting many countries and individuals around the world. Dr. Patel recommends not attaching the pandemic to one ethnicity or nationality, and not avoiding others due to stigma or fear. “Try to remain kind to each other during this stressful time,” she says.

Car Clinics: The Dual Benefit of Drive-Through Care

Posted on Mar 17, 2020 in Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Quality, Safety, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Power, data cables and sanitation supplies topped Raymond Fellers long list.

No, Fellers wasn’t preparing to isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak—quite the opposite—he was opening the first ever “car clinic” at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s San Carlos Center. One of several across the Sutter network, the car clinic is designed as an in-person option for PAMF patients with serious respiratory symptoms who have already talked to a provider by phone or video visit.

“We’re solving two problems at once,” said Dr. Rob Nordgren, M.D., MBA, MPH and area CEO of PAMF peninsula region. “By keeping potentially contagious people in their car it means that doctors can assess and treat their symptoms, while minimizing exposure to patients who need routine or urgent care inside the medical facility.”

Making use of a covered garage, a procession of patients – each in their personal car – flowed through a series of stations that comprised the clinic. Every station had a laptop connected to Sutter’s electronic health record and the basic medical equipment you’d find in a regular exam room. A portable X-ray machine was even set up outside to help diagnose lung infections.

Arnold Layung, a licensed vocational nurse who usually sterilizes instruments during surgery, brought his sanitation skills to the car clinic.

“The key here, just like in the operating room, is to have one person per job so no steps are missed,” remarked Layung as he disinfected stethoscopes and other equipment after each use. Filling the role of medical technician, Layung was paired with a physician and registered nurse to form a three-person team—each in full gowns, goggles, gloves and masks—who saw patients through their open car window or in a chair just outside their vehicle.

With a background in emergency medicine, Dr. Nathan Bornstein knows the importance of conserving hospital capacity for those with acute illness. “My job out here is to find the people who need to be escalated to a higher level of care, while also helping people manage serious symptoms so they can safely return home,” he said.

Many of the patients who came through the car clinic had existing respiratory conditions, like asthma, which make them prone to serious breathing difficulty if their lungs are put under added strain. For these patients showing symptoms of a virus, Dr. Bornstein ordered a flu test. In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Dr. Bornstein also collected samples for COVID-19 testing from symptomatic patients in high-risk groups, such as those with certain pre-existing conditions, epidemiologic or social risk factors.

Dr. Bornstein listened to each patient’s lungs, and if indicated, ordered X-ray or CT scans to detect infection. Finally, Dr. Bornstein reviewed current medications to determine if a dosage change or new prescription would help ease a patient’s symptoms enough to keep them out of the hospital.

Every person had their temperature, respiration rate, heart rate and oxygen saturation checked and each left with a personalized plan for what to do if their symptoms worsened.

PAMF’s San Carlos Center is one location within Sutter Health’s integrated network that supports car clinics. This service is not available in all locations, nor is it open to the general public.

Sutter encourages patients who feel ill to schedule a video visit or call their doctor to receive guidance. If one’s symptoms are mild to moderate, they are encouraged to stay home to rest, get well and prevent exposure to others.

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

What is Social Distancing and Why is it Important?

Posted on Mar 16, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Governor Gavin Newsom, echoing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is calling for the state’s bars, wineries and nightclubs to close and for restaurants to observe social distancing to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The governor is also recommending home isolation for people over the age of 65 and for those with chronic health conditions. According to the CDC, social distancing can be key to helping slow the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19.

Courtesy of San Francisco Marin Medical Society

Sutter infectious disease expert Jeffrey Silvers, M.D., agrees with the CDC, explaining, “Slowing the spread of COVID-19 with protective measures such as social distancing is critical to avoid a situation where hospitals are overwhelmed by large numbers of patients who need advanced care all at the same time.”

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, according to Dr. Silvers, is to avoid being exposed to COVID-19.

Seven Simple Things You Can Do:
• Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to kill corona virus on your hands.
• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol when soap and water are unavailable.
• Avoid shaking hands and touching your face.
• Stay home.
• Work from home if possible.
• Avoid large crowds. When you must go out, keep your distance from others and maintain a distance of about six feet.
• Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that may harbor viruses such as doorknobs, faucets and cell phones.

More Resources:
Watch these videos to learn about COVID-19 and how viruses spread from Sutter’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer, Bill Isenberg, M.D. Learn how to properly wash your hands, what to do when you’re feeling ill and when to contact a caregiver.

Sutter Health’s Information about COVID-19 page is another handy resource.

Sutter Health is committed to the health and safety of our communities. If you’re concerned you may have COVID-19, please call your doctor or healthcare provider before visiting a care facility.

Food Safety During COVID-19

Posted on Mar 16, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Tips to keep you safe

Many people are making trips to the grocery store or using food delivery services right now. So how do you know your food is virus-free when it gets to your doorstep?

According to the USDA, “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illness that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.” However, experts say it’s still important to follow good food hygiene.

Here are simple steps you can take to try and limit your exposure to coronavirus. Many of these tips will sound familiar, but they are good reminders.

Wash your hands
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others in your home from the spread of germs. Remember to clean the ‘webs’ between fingers and thumbs. Don’t have access to soap and water? Use hand sanitizers.


Wash your produce
Whether you’re concerned about the coronavirus or not, you should always wash your produce. For hard-skinned produce, scrub skins or peels with a soft-bristled vegetable brush. For other types of produce, including leafy greens, soak in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Plain water is fine. You can also use a little dish soap. However, do not use bleach or chlorine on your fruits and veggies. Still concerned? Try fruits that can be peeled such as bananas, oranges and apples.

Wash nonporous containers
Use dish soap on metal cans, plastic containers and glass jars before putting them away. It’s also a good idea to wash you hands after opening containers and boxes.

Keep your kitchen area clean
Use disinfectants to clean your surfaces such as countertops, your refrigerator door handle, sink handle and cabinet knobs. This will not only kill viruses but also help you avoid food-borne illness from possible cross contamination.


Cook food properly
You can help ensure you’re cooking food at the correct heat, by using a food thermometer. Check the government’s safe cooking temperature chart.

“Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and other foods rich in antioxidants has consistently been shown to increase overall health, including our immune systems,” says William Isenberg, M.D., Sutter’s chief quality and safety officer. “Staying healthy increases the body’s ability to fight infections. “

By taking a few common-sense precautions, such as frequent hand-washing and washing produce, consumers can continue to reap the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Isenberg’s bottom line advice: “Use serious concern and precaution, but do not panic and give up healthy food that’s good for your mind and body.”

For more food safety tips click here.

The Doctor is In: Three Videos Cut through COVID-19 Confusion

Posted on Mar 13, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.— With the World Health Organization’s recent declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic, an avalanche of advice from a variety of sources—some of it accurate, some of it misleading or even downright dangerous— can be overwhelming for anyone.

Now Sutter offers three short videos to help cut through the confusion and misinformation so people can better protect themselves and their loved ones. The videos feature Bill Isenberg, M.D., Sutter’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer.

How to Avoid Getting Sick: The simple steps everyone can take to help avoid contracting COVID-19.

What to Do When You Feel Sick: You don’t feel well. Now what? Dr. Isenberg explains.

When to Call the Doctor: Dr. Isenberg explains the symptoms that may signal more help is needed and next steps—whether it’s checking symptoms on Sutter’s symptom checker, calling the advice nurse or scheduling a video visit.

The Sutter Health not-for-profit integrated network of care is dedicated to the health and well-being of patients throughout Northern California. For more information about COVID-19, please visit Sutter’s resource page.

Sarah Krevans Honored as Healthcare Leader and Diversity Champion

Posted on Mar 8, 2020 in People, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans was honored as the recipient of National Medical Fellowships’ (NMF) “Leadership in Healthcare Award” at its 2020 Bay Area Champions of Health Awards on March 7, 2020.

In a letter to Krevans, Esther Dyer, NMF President & CEO wrote: “National Medical Fellowships holds these annual awards to support our scholarship programs and to honor those individuals who have made a lasting impact on healthcare and diversity in healthcare, as well as outstanding corporate leaders whose role and influence drives positive change in the business community and the communities they serve. Your visionary work as a healthcare leader and an advocate of advancing all backgrounds in the workplace, makes you a true champion in your field. You are someone our young scholars should emulate as professionals and individuals.”

Following her acceptance of the award, Krevans provided the event’s keynote address where she shared Sutter Health’s journey in diversity and inclusion, advancing health equity, and the importance of partnering with patients and communities to improve access to quality care for the underserved.

Krevans has served as Sutter Health’s president and CEO since 2016. The Northern California not-for-profit integrated health system cares for 3 million patients—or one in every 100 Americans, in one of the most diverse and innovative regions in the world. Krevans oversees Sutter Health’s 24 hospitals, 60,000 employees, 14,000 clinicians, outpatient services, research facilities, and home health and hospice care.