‘Catwalk For A Cure’ Raises $140K In Virtual Event

Posted on Nov 5, 2020 in Cancer Care, Scroll Images

In Sonoma County, Calif., approximately 2,400 people are diagnosed with cancer each year.

“We are living in extraordinary times, and in spite of all this, cancer diagnoses are still happening,” said Lisa Amador, assistant administrator and director of philanthropy for Sutter Health in the North Bay.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sutter’s philanthropy team knew they needed to change up their famed Catwalk For A Cure event, which raises money to support programs and services for those with living cancer.

“A reimagining was necessary and vital to support Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation’s Cancer Support and Integrative Health & Healing services. We got busy planning a fun and meaningful tribute,” said Amador.

Going Virtual in 2020

This year’s revamped format featured interviews with cancer survivors, ‘did you know’ Catwalk trivia, music, and hundreds of photos of the most outrageous fashions from years past.

Cindy Cantril, RN, MPH, OCN, CBCN, regional director of cancer support services and patient navigation for Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, shared that Sutter’s Cancer Support Services are available to anyone battling cancer, whether they are receiving care through Sutter or not.

“Our goal is to serve patients from the moment of diagnosis to end of life. We provide virtual support groups, pain relief, equine-assisted therapy, retreats, counseling, and educational programs that help with anxiety, nutrition, and exercise,” said Cantril.

Tara Jasper was among the interviewees who opened up to viewers about her cancer journey.

“The network of women and survivors I have met through the Catwalk community has given me an incredible safety net. I’m grateful to all the donors for being so committed to keeping this program and these services alive,” she said.

Catwalk’s Legacy

Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation’s (SPMF) Cancer Support and Integrative Health & Healing services have been assisting cancer patients and their families since 2004. Programs are philanthropically funded, provided at no cost to individuals, and are kept going because of grants, foundation support and individual donors.

This year, more than $140,000 was raised virtually, with more than $5 Million raised since the first Catwalk event. To watch the 2020 recording, please visit here.

Sutter Announces Nurse of the Year Award Winners

Posted on Nov 2, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

Pandemic underscores value of nursing and midwifery excellence

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Sutter Health has announced its first-ever Nurse of the Year Award winners at a virtual Nursing Symposium attended by hundreds of nurses and midwives from across Northern California.

In addition to recognizing excellence in nursing and midwifery, celebrating the not-for-profit health system’s first Nurse of the Year award winners during the pandemic also serves to highlight the critical role of nurses and midwives who demonstrate nursing excellence, courage and compassion for patients and families and keep them safe during this challenging time, says Sutter Health’s Chief Nurse Officer Anna Kiger, DNP, DSc, RN.

The World Health Organization and the American Nurses Association designated the year 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

At the virtual event, Kiger announced three nurses and one nurse midwife out of nearly 300 nominees as the first winners of the awards. Each award winner was chosen for excelling in one of the four pillars of Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care.

Sutter Nursing Philosophy of Care Pillars

  • Unlimited Potential: Our nurses are curious, life-long learners, teachers, mentors and leaders.
  • Unique Contribution: Our nurses honor the holistic needs of those in their care and find creative, evidence-based ways to promote health and healing.
  • Force of Good: Our nurses take pride in advocating for what is right for our patients, families and the communities we serve.
  • Humble Presence: Our nurses are a steady force for patients and their families during life’s most vulnerable moments.

“Each of these winners of Sutter’s first Nurse of the Year Award bring their best every day, living our organization’s values and the Sutter Nursing Philosophy pillars while making a profound difference for the patients and families they serve,” Dr. Kiger says. “They also stand out because their co-workers see them as leaders in our noble profession. We are truly blessed to have them as a part of our organization.”

John Fassett, CNM, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Unlimited Potential

Out of more than 20,000 certified midwives across the nation, only about 1% are male. John Fassett, a certified nurse midwife (CNM) at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation demonstrated his pioneering spirit by becoming one of the first male midwives in San Francisco 26 years ago and has been a registered nurse for 40 years.

John Fassett, CNM

Patients and staff alike talk about how his ability to listen and his sense of humor keep them relaxed, even during the tense times that accompany pregnancy, labor and delivery. Fassett, a military veteran, has demonstrated his Unlimited Potential by showing leadership during his 8-year tenure with Sutter by chairing the Advanced Practice Committee and serving as a nurse reviewer for Nurse Midwife practice with the California’s Board of Registered Nursing.

Cara Phillips, RN, Pre-Admission Testing, Memorial Medical Center, Unique Contribution

Cara Phillips, RN

Cara Phillips, RN, started her nursing career at Sutter’s Memorial Medical Center in Modesto in 1979 as a nurse on the surgical unit. She transferred to the Preadmission Testing (PAT) Department 10 years later and became the PAT charge nurse/coordinator in 2008. She partnered with Dr. Tamim Wafa, chief of Anesthesia, to bring the evidence-based Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model to Memorial Medical Center in 2017.

The PSH is a patient-centered, team-based system of coordinated care that guides patients through the entire surgical experience. One year after Phillips helped implement PSH at Memorial, the hospital realized all eight quality goals set by the American Society of Anesthesiology. Through Cara’s Unique Contribution, more than 1,000 orthopedic, bariatric, vascular, and high-acuity patients have benefited from the enhanced care of PSH.

Deborah Swartz, RN, Education, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Community Health Resource Center, Force of Good

Deborah Swartz, RN

Deborah Swartz, RN, has been a calming Force of Good for patients and staff since 2006 as the nurse educator at Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation Community Health Resource Center (CHRC). She works with clinicians to develop educational lectures and videos intended to help patients make choices toward healthier lifestyles. Most recent, she developed a free online asthma management course that’s expected to be a Sutter systemwide class soon.

Since becoming a registered nurse in 1977, Swartz has served in emergency rooms, at the bedside, in clinical departments, and at the VA, but has spent most of her career at Sutter. The CHRC provides compassionate guidance to patients and families—educating them about various diseases, caregiving responsibilities and how to make informed treatment decisions.

Andrea Trimble, RN, Med/Surg, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Humble Presence

Andrea Trimble, RN

Andrea Trimble, RN, a charge nurse, demonstrates Humble Presence as a steady force in Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s medical/surgical unit in Berkeley. She reviews charts and researches patients to anticipate their needs and needs of their families. In nominating her, her colleagues said they appreciate her respectful way of leading and working with nurses. Nurses maintain their close bond with patients while Trimble supports them and guides them in the background.

Co-workers describe Trimble as calm, poised and interactive as she finds the balance of supporting both staff and patients with the daily goal of providing the best possible care.

Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care

Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care and the four pillars are the product of many interviews with Sutter Health nurses, who shared their stories, beliefs and experiences. The philosophy provides a framework to inspire nurses, remind them why they entered the profession and highlight their unique role in their patients’ healing process. It is designed to support nurses from their first entry into nursing through retirement.

Award Winners with a Common Purpose

In different ways, Sutter’s first Nurse of the Year Award winners serve patients and families as they help them navigate through the complexity of healthcare today. This year’s winners also partner closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals as they seek to provide patients with a quality, personalized experience, no matter where they enter Sutter’s integrated healthcare system.

Safety First

Posted on Oct 27, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

The Hippocratic Oath has a special significance in the field of medicine. While its meaning has evolved over centuries with modernized text, its core truth remains: safety.

Hospitals across Sutter Health’s integrated network recognize safer care is fundamental to high-quality care. This approach has helped Sutter’s performance exceed state and national averages in the six main quality measures.

  • Key Quality Measures
    • Sepsis
    • Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)
    • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
    • Surgical site infections from colon surgery (SSI)
    • C-section rates for first-time mothers with uncomplicated deliveries (NTSV)
    • Clostridium difficile intestinal infections (C-Diff)

Why do these measures matter? They are the most common to prolonging hospital stays, complicating care patient care plans and most importantly, influencing patients’ experiences. They also increase costs that can impact overall affordability in healthcare.

The Information Exchange

William Isenberg, M.D.

“Teams across our organization share a common goal of high quality care, so it becomes a question of, ‘How do we partner to meet that goal?’” said William Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health.

The collective sharing of best practices—in support of high-quality, safer care—is made easier through integrated networks like Sutter Health. Standard approaches and protocols can spread across integrated systems through numerous channels.

And that collaboration goes both ways. Sutter has hospital-based committees and subcommittees working on lowering rates all the time. These groups then team up with other hospital departments as “communities of interest” to tackle quality measures that may be more prevalent in their respective areas. These intersections of information amplify quality efforts, which are bolstered too, through Sutter’s single electronic health record platform.

Communication is Key

Dr. Isenberg reminds us there is one major element to quality improvement that can’t be overlooked. Beyond understanding metric baselines and best practices, healthcare teams must clearly communicate with each other.

This can make a considerable difference when clinicians understand the implications their decisions have for patients, as well as other clinicians caring for them. Dr. Isenberg gives the hypothetical example of catheter use and keeping care teams accountable throughout the process.

“For me to be reminded by others on the care team to be sure to place an order for prompt catheter removal to prevent post-operative bladder infections, not only reminds me, but also demonstrates that all of us on the team have shared goals for our patient,” he said. “And those cues and conversations continue along the way.

“Our Informatics team created a reminder for doctors in our electronic health record. Once doctors place the order to have a catheter removed, our nursing teams will need to step in to remove it in a timely fashion. Our nursing leaders then monitor the time interval to make sure it’s completed within that appropriate window.”

That continuous real-time communication and collaboration among care teams minimizes waste, decreases errors, increases efficiency and ultimately improves quality of care.

Patients as Partners

Patient participation plays an important role in quality improvement, too. Dr. Isenberg says having conversations early and often with patients about care goals and expectations establishes a place of understanding and sets the stage for ongoing dialogue. For example, doctors can emphasize that vaginal deliveries are normal and most often the safest option for babies and moms. Clinicians can educate patients they may have catheters during their surgeries and the goal is to remove them as soon as possible post-operation to help avoid infection.

Dr. Isenberg acknowledged sometimes circumstances will lead to changes in care—but the communication clinicians had all along will help patients know their safety always comes first.

Continuous Improvement

Dr. Isenberg recognizes while Sutter appreciates the progress that has been made in key quality areas, the organization continuously strives to do better.

He points out the network is expanding beyond to look into social determinants of health and health equity. Teams are examining what other impacts are hitting different racial and ethnic groups, those who are uninsured or underinsured, or who have chronic health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes. Sutter is also looking into how COVID-19 has further exacerbated those issues.

“We need to constantly look at these issues through different lenses,” Dr. Isenberg said. “What other creative ways can we do our work? How can we expand upon our learnings? This is how we will continue to serve the diverse needs of our communities and improve overall health.”

Athletes Know: the Flu Shot Keeps You Healthy On and Off the Field

Posted on Oct 26, 2020 in Scroll Images, Wellness & Integrative Health

Despite cold conditions, rain and mud, players and fans eagerly anticipate Major League Soccer’s playoffs in November and December. And while things certainly are different this year with COVID-19, very few things normally keep a fan out of the stands or an athlete off the field. However, the flu is one of them.

“Our playoffs are in the winter months, when flu and seasonal colds are circulating,” said Shea Salinas, midfielder for the San Jose Earthquakes. “I get the flu shot every year to guard against getting sick and potentially missing an important game.”

Instead of being benched by the flu, Salinas is scoring goals. He recently scored a crucial goal in a 2-1 win over Los Angeles Football Club just days after getting his flu shot at a Sutter Walk-In Care Center. “They say defense wins championships, and defending yourself from the flu keeps you performing your best,” remarked Salinas.

Passionate about promoting health, Salinas was happy to use his celebrity status to spread the word about the importance of getting a flu shot, especially because people who skip the flu vaccine this year could run the risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Working with Sutter Health, exclusive healthcare partner of the San Jose Earthquakes, Salinas filmed a public service announcement that emphasizes that it’s quick, easy and safe to get your flu shot.

The flu shot won’t protect you from getting COVID-19, but it’ll help prevent you from getting sick with both the flu and COVID at the same time. To schedule your flu shot at a Sutter Health Walk-In Care, call (800) 972-5547 or visit our website for other appointment options.

New Nine-Month Study Seeks to Understand COVID-19 in Pregnancy among Minorities

Posted on Oct 26, 2020 in Health Equity Institute, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Little is known about COVID-19 in pregnancy and particularly whether it disproportionately impacts minorities. Now researchers with Northern California-based Sutter Health have launched a study to help shed light on the prevalence of COVID-19 in patients about to give birth. By testing for antibodies, the team hopes to determine whether exposure to the SARS-CoV2 virus differs by race, ethnicity or other factors.

Researchers with the not-for-profit healthcare system’s Advancing Health Equity program are leading the nine-month study, called the Maternal Covid-19 Antibody Race and Ethnicity (CARE) Study. Among the first of its kind in the U.S.,* Sutter’s Maternal CARE Study aims to increase understanding of whether and how COVID-19 exposure during pregnancy differs by race and ethnicity. The study will look at maternal health indicators including number of weeks of gestation, method of delivery (vaginal or C-section), length of stay and postpartum depression, among others.

“Sutter Health is a recognized national leader in healthcare quality and we consider health equity to be a component of quality. We believe the Maternal CARE Study is a first step in understanding the health equity gap for pregnant patients of color,” says Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., and one of the lead investigators for the study. “The more caregivers learn how the spread of COVID-19 affects pregnant women of diverse races and ethnicities, the better we can care for these patients and the more lives we can save through targeted interventions and solutions,” says Lockhart.

According to Alice Pressman, Ph.D., M.S., director of Sutter’s Center for Health Systems Research, and a lead investigator of the study, “Sutter Health is ideally suited to conduct the study because of our diverse patient population and the fact that about 32,000 babies are born across our network each year.”

The Northern California-based health system cares for one of the most diverse patient populations in the country, with 54% of patients self-identifying as non-white. Sutter’s integrated network of 3 million ethnically, economically and geographically diverse patients is a microcosm of the rest of the nation.

Sutter’s Maternal CARE Study began enrolling participants in July 2020 and will continue through March 2021.

“The information we glean from the Maternal CARE Study could potentially give us significant insight into COVID-19 and how exposure impacts diverse groups during pregnancy,” says Pressman. “The hope is through greater understanding of COVID-19, we can get ahead of the disease and save lives.”

Straightforward Process for Gathering Samples

The process is straightforward for pregnant Sutter patients who consent to join the study. When a pregnant woman comes to the hospital to give birth, a small extra blood sample is collected during the required routine blood tests at admission. The blood sample is then tested for antibodies which show whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past.

Precision Medicine and the Sutter Health Biobank Make the Maternal CARE Study Possible

Gregory Tranah, Ph.D., director of Precision Medicine at Sutter and a lead investigator of the study says, “One key to running a relatively large study like the Maternal CARE Study is the ability to properly collect, store and analyze biological samples. Sutter is prepared to handle these requirements thanks to our adoption of the precision medicine medical care model and having our own biobank.”

Says Tranah, “We anticipate the data from the study will lead us to useful insights that improve and provide more equitable care for pregnant women of color across the country.”

*A University of Pennsylvania study of nearly 1,300 women over a three-month period earlier this year found that Black and Latinx pregnant women in Philadelphia are five times as likely as their white counterparts to have been exposed to COVID-19.

CPMC’s HELP Program for Older Adults Receives Top Designation from AGS

Posted on Oct 22, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

CPMC becomes fifth U.S. medical center to achieve elite ‘Center of Excellence’ status

California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco is now one of only five organizations in the United States to achieve the American Geriatric Society (AGC) CoCare: HELP™ Center of Excellence designation for its Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). CPMC was recently awarded this elite status after demonstrating the highest level of best practices in geriatric care.

“I am so proud of our dedicated team at CPMC for all their hard work in building a world-class geriatric care program,” says hospitalist and geriatrician Wendy Zachary, M.D., who directs CPMC’s Acute Care for Elderly (ACE) unit and is the HELP physician-champion. “This accreditation from the American Geriatric Society validates and strengthens our mission to provide patient-centered, advanced care for older members of our community who are particularly medically vulnerable–especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Watch this video about CPMC’s ACE unit.

Targeted Interventions Lead to Better Outcomes for People Ages 70+

The AGC CoCare: HELP™ program is designed to prevent both delirium and functional decline in patients 70 years and older. CPMC’s HELP program uses an interdisciplinary team (Advanced Practice Nurses, specially-trained Elder Life Specialists, and trained volunteers) to integrate principles of geriatric care into standard nursing and medical care at all three CPMC hospital campuses in San Francisco, including the ACE unit at the Mission Bernal Campus, as well as the Van Ness Campus and Davies Campus.

Geriatric syndromes include conditions typical of aging such as delirium, incontinence, falls, pressure injuries, and functional decline. CPMC’s HELP program works to prevent these geriatric syndromes in the hospital setting by helping re-orient patients to their surroundings through conversation and social support, assisting with range-of-motion and breathing exercises, walking, offering companionship during meals, implementing a schedule, and more.

Benefits of HELP at CPMC include:

  • Helps maximize independence and physical functioning of high-risk patients (age 70+)
  • Improves overall quality of hospital care for older patients, including improvement in hospital outcomes and satisfaction with care
  • Helps decrease the length of stay for patients by an average of 1- 1.5 days
  • Helps reduce hospital readmissions
    • Van Ness Campus’ HELP program saw a decrease in readmissions by 11% in 2020 Q1, 17% in 2019, and 24% in 2018
    • Mission Bernal Campus’ HELP program prevented more than 30 readmissions in 2019
  • Helps reduce falls for older patients by as much as 50% at the Van Ness Campus and Davies Campus (2019)
  • Provides cost-effective care, with reduced overall hospital costs by as much as $2 Million across each of the three campuses in 2019

“The HELP program is making a meaningful difference in changing the course of lives for elderly patients and their loved ones, and I am truly grateful for our staff, volunteers and support from our philanthropic donors who helped make this elite recognition possible,” said Warren Browner, M.D., CEO of CPMC.

Mission Bernal Campus Hub of Geriatric Care in San Francisco

While CPMC’s HELP program is carried out across all its three campuses, its Mission Bernal Campus is home to the medical center’s comprehensive ACE unit and one of only three accredited Geriatric Emergency Departments in Northern California.

“These differentiators of specialty care for older adults and this recent acknowledgement from the AGS further highlights CPMC’s commitment to geriatric care and cements our Mission Bernal Campus as a hub of geriatric patient care in San Francisco and the broader Bay Area,” says Vernon Giang, M.D., chief medical executive of Sutter’s CPMC.

Musical B-I-N-G-O Brings Moments of Levity for One Hospitalized Elder

Posted on Oct 22, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

Callie Cowart, a full-time board-certified music therapist at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco uses music to heal.

Cowart recently offered her therapy sessions to an older patient undergoing care at CPMC’s Mission Bernal Campus Acute Care for Elderly (ACE) unit. Cowart explains that the patient had many recurring hospitalizations over the span of four months this year.

“She and I worked together originally to use music to provide a competing stimulus to pain, which she unfortunately experienced a lot of during her time here,” said Cowart.

A B-I-N-G-O Playlist to East Anxiety & Pain

As Cowart and the patient got to know each other, the patient would look forward to sessions with “her Callie” as an energy booster and motivator.

“One morning I read in the physical therapist’s notes that prior to shelter-in-place this patient would frequent a local BINGO hall, but she’s not been able attend since the start of the pandemic. Since I knew her favorite songs, I surprised her in our next session with a customized BINGO card with each square having a different song title,” said Cowart.

To give the full effect, Cowart cut out strips of paper with the matching song titles, placed them in a bag, and used the strips as her BINGO balls that the patient could pull out. Once a BINGO “ball” was drawn, the two would sing and play together.

Music Therapy at CPMC

The Music Therapy Program at CPMC offers patients and their families the opportunity to receive therapy services from a board-certified music therapist, at no cost to the family. Music therapists are seen as an integrated part of the patient’s multidisciplinary care team and work closely with doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other therapists as part of care for the patient’s whole self.

The Sound of Music on Health

According to an article published on Harvard Health, a growing body of research attests that music therapy is more than a nice perk. It can improve medical outcomes and quality of life in a variety of ways.

For example, music therapy can help people who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Because singing ability originates in the right side of the brain, people can work around the injury to the left side of their brain by first singing their thoughts and then gradually dropping the melody.

Sessions that Strike the Right Chords

Cowart says that the patient was an excellent handheld shaker player and developed a sort of fan club among the ACE unit staff for her spunky personality.

“She told me time and time again that this musical intervention gave her an increased sense of social support and mood/energy boosting during her hospitalizations at ACE because visitors had not been allowed in the hospital during COVID,” shared Cowart.

“Having something and someone to look forward to in a place that can sometimes be scary or associated with negative memories and emotions can prove to be very important,” she adds.

As for the patient, thankfully she has not had to return to the ACE unit and appears to be doing well, which is music to Cowart’s ears.