Specialty News Feed - LaPorteCountyLife https://laportecounty.life Mon, 17 Feb 2020 18:21:18 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 HealthLinc offers children dental care during Give Kids a Smile events https://laportecounty.life/article/healthlinc-offers-children-dental-care-during-give-kids-a-smile-events/ Fri, 07 Feb 2020 20:41:19 +0000 HealthLinc https://laportecounty.life/article/healthlinc-offers-children-dental-care-during-give-kids-a-smile-events/ HealthLinc will offer free dental care to qualifying children during their Give Kids a Smile Day events.

The events provide no-cost oral exams, sealants, dental cleanings, and fluoride treatments to qualifying individuals under age 18. Appointments required.

One day each year, the HealthLinc dental team volunteers their time and services to celebrate Give Kids A Smile by providing screenings, treatments, and education to uninsured and underinsured children. 

The American Dental Association began Give Kids A Smile in 2003 as a national initiative to help low-income children receive dental care.  Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events nationwide.

The event is open and no-cost for qualifying children. Upcoming La Porte County events are:

Monday, February 17, 2020
HealthLinc La Porte Dental
400 Teegarden St., La Porte
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. CST – please call 888-580-1060 x3200 to schedule an appointment

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
HealthLinc Michigan City
710 Franklin St., Ste. 200, Michigan City
3 p.m. – 7 p.m. CST – please call 888-580-1060 x3403 to schedule an appointment

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HealthLinc offers children dental care during Give Kids a Smile events
HealthLinc’s Give Kids a Smile https://laportecounty.life/event/healthlincs-give-kids-a-smile-2/ Fri, 07 Feb 2020 20:32:48 +0000 HealthLinc https://laportecounty.life/event/healthlincs-give-kids-a-smile-2/ WHAT: No-cost oral exams, sealants, dental cleanings, and fluoride treatments.  Appointments required.
WHO: Individuals under 18 years of age. 
WHY:  One day each year, the HealthLinc dental team volunteers their time and services to celebrate Give Kids A Smile by providing screenings, treatments, and education to uninsured and underinsured children. 
The American Dental Association began Give Kids A Smile in 2003 as a national initiative to help low-income children receive dental care.  Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events nationwide.

The event is open and no-cost for qualifying children. 

Please call 888-580-1060 x3403 to schedule an appointment

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HealthLinc’s Give Kids a Smile
HealthLinc’s Give Kids A Smile https://laportecounty.life/event/healthlincs-give-kids-a-smile/ Fri, 07 Feb 2020 20:29:39 +0000 HealthLinc https://laportecounty.life/event/healthlincs-give-kids-a-smile/ WHAT: No-cost oral exams, sealants, dental cleanings, and fluoride treatments.  Appointments required.
WHO: Individuals under 18 years of age. 
WHY:  One day each year, the HealthLinc dental team volunteers their time and services to celebrate Give Kids A Smile by providing screenings, treatments, and education to uninsured and underinsured children. 
The American Dental Association began Give Kids A Smile in 2003 as a national initiative to help low-income children receive dental care.  Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events nationwide.

The event is open and no-cost for qualifying children. 

Please call 888-580-1060 x3200 to schedule an appointment.

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HealthLinc’s Give Kids A Smile
VNA of NWI Choir Commemorates 50 Years of VNA Care in Region https://laportecounty.life/video/vna-of-nwi-choir-commemorates-50-years-of-vna-care-in-region/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:30:40 +0000 Stacey Kellogg https://laportecounty.life/video/vna-of-nwi-choir-commemorates-50-years-of-vna-care-in-region/ VNA of NWI Choir Commemorates 50 Years of VNA Care in Region Franciscan Health Michigan City celebrates first year in new hospital https://laportecounty.life/article/franciscan-health-michigan-city-celebrates-first-year-in-new-hospital/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 00:53:29 +0000 Franciscan Health https://laportecounty.life/article/franciscan-health-michigan-city-celebrates-first-year-in-new-hospital/ MICHIGAN CITY | One year ago, on a cold, snowy Saturday morning, about 50 patients were moved into the new Franciscan Health Michigan City hospital as it opened its doors for the first time.

Hospital leaders reflected on the events of the past year as they kicked off a weeklong anniversary celebration on Monday, Jan. 20, gathering in the hospital lobby to thank staff members for their efforts.

“It is our people who make the difference, it is each and every one of you that make us great,” said Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni. “I want to take a moment to thank every person on our incredible team for the important work that you do and the services you provide. Each member of our team, by living our values every day, makes a positive and memorable difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”

Trish Weber, vice president of operations and chief nursing officer, tallied up the increases of the past year, with more babies delivered, a growing number of emergency room visits and additional operating room cases. Weber said the volume of OR cases has prompted the decision to add two new OR suites at the hospital.

Vice President of Clinical Support Services Jill Nygren said listening to the voices of patients and caregivers and taking staff members input has led to improvements in registration processes, wait times, scheduling and patient care. “The best is yet to come, and our journey will continue,” she added.

Sister Petra Nielsen, vice president of mission integration said, “The mission spirit here is something that we should all be proud of.” She pointed to the installation of the Safe Haven Baby Box as part of that mission, providing a safe place for a mother in crisis to leave her infant. The hospital has also provided tens of millions of dollars in community benefits, including charity care to those in need.

Dr. Anil Chawla, MD, vice president of medical affairs, highlighted the addition of 59 physicians and 24 nurse practitioners in Michigan City, improving primary care access with same-day appointments. “The new facilities are attracting new providers to the community and we are filling the gaps in services,” he said.

Expanded services at the hospital include the new bariatric services program, the first in LaPorte County, and the GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) Clinic with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options. The past year has also seen expanded access to physician specialists in the areas of urology, interventional cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology and neurology.

The site of the former Franciscan Health Michigan City on Homer Street is still in use, serving as a Franciscan ExpressCare facility and providing extended healthcare coverage to the area.

Mazzoni reflected on the journey that began on July 2, 1903 with the arrival of Sister Genevieve and Sister Valeria of the Sisters of St. Francis in Michigan City to open St. Anthony Hospital. “It is our great people today who carry on our important mission of continuing Christ’s ministry in our Franciscan tradition,” he said.

Weber echoed those sentiments, “It’s our family, it’s our people and how much we care for each other and those that are entrusted to our care.”

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Franciscan Health Michigan City celebrates first year in new hospital
Hospitals of Community Healthcare System welcome practitioners to physician network https://laportecounty.life/article/hospitals-of-community-healthcare-system-welcome-practitioners-to-physician-network-3/ Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:59:29 +0000 Community Healthcare System https://laportecounty.life/article/hospitals-of-community-healthcare-system-welcome-practitioners-to-physician-network-3/ Community Healthcare System recently welcomed several practitioners to the Community Care Network, Inc. (CCNI) team of physicians. Among the specialties these physicians represent are cardiology, chiropractic, sports science and rehabilitative medicine, internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. The CCNI group of physicians are closely affiliated with Community Healthcare System’s hospitals: Community Hospital in Munster and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

Joseph V. Danavi

Cardiologist Joseph V. Danavi, DO, completed his residency at Loyola University Medical Center. He completed his fellowship at the University of Illinois and received his medical degree from Touro University. He is on staff at St. Mary Medical Center and is accepting new patients. For an appointment, call 219-762-0400.

Barbara Diakos

OB/GYN Barbara Diakos, MD, FACOG, completed her residency at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill. She earned her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. She is on staff at Community Hospital with an office in St. John and is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 219-226-2244.

Rose Diakos

Also new to CCNI is OB/GYN Rose Diakos, MD, FACOG, on staff at Community Hospital. She completed her residency through St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Diakos received her medical degree from the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. With an office in St. John, she is accepting appointments for new patients. Call 219-226-2244.

Neal Shah

Internal Medicine Practitioner Neal Shah, MD, completed his residency at Lutheran General Hospital and his internship at Midwestern University. He earned his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is on staff at Community Hospital and is accepting new patients. For an appointment, call 219-440-5356.

Ted Vellos

Urologist Ted Vellos, MD, completed his residency and internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He is on staff at St. Mary Medical Center. He is accepting new patients. For an appointment, call 219-947-6680.

Robert Watson

Board certified chiropractor Robert Watson, DC, MS, specializes in chiropractic, sports science and rehabilitative medicine. He completed his internship at Scott Air Force Base and received his medical degree from Logan University. He is on staff at Community Hospital with offices in Munster, St. John and Schererville. To make an appointment, call 219-703-2447.

To find a CCNI physician near you, visit COMHS.org/physicians or call the physician referral line at 866-836-3477.

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Hospitals of Community Healthcare System welcome practitioners to physician network
Community Healthcare System offers advanced care at St. Mary Medical Center’s wound centers in Hobart and Portage https://laportecounty.life/article/community-healthcare-system-offers-advanced-care-at-st-mary-medical-centers-wound-centers-in-hobart-and-portage/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:15:45 +0000 Curtis Hankins https://laportecounty.life/article/community-healthcare-system-offers-advanced-care-at-st-mary-medical-centers-wound-centers-in-hobart-and-portage/ On Tuesday, Jan. 7, Community Healthcare System’s St. Mary Medical Center cut the ribbon on their newly renovated Wound Care Center in Portage. Located inside the Willowcreek Health Center (3170 Willowcreek Rd), the facility offers advanced treatment options for patients with persistent or slow-healing wounds.

Thanks to a partnership with Healogics®, one of the nation’s largest providers of advanced wound care equipment, St. Mary Medical Center offers the latest technology to effectively treat all types of wounds. While the facility began serving patients in September, the new renovations have added hyperbaric chambers to foster rapid healing.

“These additions in wound care technology expand our abilities to treat patients with chronic wounds,” said Brittany Pankiewicz, Director of the Wound Care Center at St. Mary Medical Center. “One of the greatest things these chambers do is aid in limb salvage. Chronic wounds can occasionally lead to amputation which dramatically shortens life expectancy. By using a chamber, in most cases, amputation can be prevented. This is lifesaving technology for people with acute chronic wounds.”

Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019

Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019 17 Photos
Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019

Due to an aging post-industrial population, St. Mary Medical Center is prioritizing wound care to make sure that anyone who could benefit from their services has access. As the largest city in Porter County, Portage serves as the perfect central location for these lifesaving tools and professionals.

“If you’re familiar with the area, you know just how many people in the community are dealing with old injuries,” Pankiewicz said. “With this facility, it’s so easy for them to come in and find out if those injuries are something that they can heal.”

The ribbon cutting also served as an open house for members of the Portage Chamber of Commerce who are longtime supporters of St. Mary Medical Center.

“This is huge. I’m so glad that they brought this to Portage,” said Nancy Simpson, Executive Director of the Portage Chamber of Commerce. “Having such specialized treatment right in our backyard, especially knowing that the need is here, is super important and very exciting.”

St. Mary Medical Center CEO Janice Ryba was present to help cut the ribbon. She shared her excitement for the facility and partnership with Healogics.

“Our obligation as a nonprofit is to take care of the community, and this wound care facility fits right into our goal,” Ryba said. “We really want to heighten awareness around the community not only about the need to treat their wounds, but to visit facilities like this that can help them identify the root cause of their wound to prevent any other wounds in the future. We’re just so excited to get started, especially here in Portage.”

Advanced wound care is available through St. Mary Medical Center in Portage at the Willowcreek Health Center and also at Outpatient Rehabilitation of St. Mary Medical Center, 320 W. 61st Ave., Hobart. For more information, visit COMHS.org.

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Community Healthcare System offers advanced care at St. Mary Medical Center’s wound centers in Hobart and Portage
Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019 https://laportecounty.life/photo/community-healthcare-system-wound-care-center-open-house-and-ribbon-cutting-2019/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:08:14 +0000 Curtis Hankins https://laportecounty.life/photo/community-healthcare-system-wound-care-center-open-house-and-ribbon-cutting-2019/ Community Healthcare System Wound Care Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting 2019 Willow’s story: how Center for Hospice Care helps parents, families with palliative care for children https://laportecounty.life/article/willows-story-how-center-for-hospice-care-helps-parents-families-with-palliative-care-for-children/ Mon, 23 Dec 2019 22:34:27 +0000 Stacey Kellogg https://laportecounty.life/article/willows-story-how-center-for-hospice-care-helps-parents-families-with-palliative-care-for-children/ Editor’s Note: The photo above is Gene Donohue, holding his daughter’s tiny foot.

Before she was born, Willow Donahue was exceptionally unique. So much more than anyone ever expected. Parents Kristiana and Gene Donahue learned at 20 weeks of Willow’s life that she had genetic abnormalities. The news came when they were at their ultrasound appointment to learn whether their three other children would have a brother or a sister.

“The simplest way I can describe it is that there was some genetic material that detached and reattached somewhere else. It wasn’t like a syndrome, like Down’s Syndrome, but completely unique. They didn’t know how it would affect her when she would be born, but they did give us a poor prognosis,” Kristiana recalled.

Grief is a weird thing. It’s messy. There’s no single way to navigate it. Learning that your baby may not survive sends you into that spiral.

But today, Kristiana can talk about Willow’s story and their journey as a family with confidence and strength, because, she said, she knows God had a plan from the beginning. And because the programs at Center for Hospice Care helped pull them through.

Ironically, Kristiana had accepted a position as the Volunteer Recruitment and Training Coordinator with Center for Hospice Care shortly before learning she was pregnant with Willow.

“I believe in God and that he timed this perfectly for me. This was the exact place I needed to be to get through a journey I had no idea I was going to go through,” she said.

When they learned of Willow’s diagnosis, Kristiana and Gene developed a plan and leaned on the team who provides care through the perinatal palliative care program at Center for Hospice Care.

For the program, a nurse and a counselor team together to provide guidance throughout a difficult pregnancy such as Kristiana’s. They discuss what is important to parents and explore ways to express love and care for their baby. They listen to concerns, questions, and the needs of the whole family. They help parents develop a birth plan and share those specific needs with healthcare providers. The nurse/counselor team is key.

“You’re getting so much difficult information all the time, and it’s draining, so having someone who genuinely cares for you and your child – not just giving you the medical information you need, but telling you, ‘I care about you and your situation right now’ – that’s everything,” Kristiana said.

“The counselors educated me about what to share with the rest of my family,” Kristiana recalled. “Sometimes families don’t want to share how serious things are, but kids want to know, so they helped me share openly and honestly with them, while still making sure that I was sharing only what they needed to know.”

“We have amazing nurses on our Center for Hospice Care team – compassionate, empathetic – they truly care about people,” she added.

Willow was born on Thanksgiving – Nov. 27, 2014. She passed away Feb. 19, 2015. The last week of Willow’s life, the family and Willow received hospice care. Looking back, Kristiana said the 2 ½ months the family spent navigating the news of Willow’s health challenges felt like decades.

“You’re never completely ready for it, but in the same sense, there are definitely things you can do to prepare. Gene and I promised each other at the beginning of our journey that we would push her as much as we could, but that we would listen to the answer she is giving us. Eventually, her little body told us when it was enough,” Kristiana said.

“It’s messy because I felt like I was holding reality in one hand and relentless hope for my baby in another hand. We were walking an emotional tight rope,” she said.

What helped the Donahue family most was accessing the services they needed in time. Center for Hospice Care provides palliative care for children with many different diagnoses. Parents don’t have to choose between receiving palliative care and treatment options for their child. They are able to receive concurrent care, which offers the best of both worlds: hope to receive the treatments they want and palliative care to focus on the comfort and quality of life. You don’t have to wait to seek assistance, it’s better to start early.

In addition to the perinatal and pediatric palliative care programs and hospice services, Center for Hospice Care provides comprehensive grief and bereavement services for both individuals and families. Individual counseling for adults, children, and families; support groups; and the cherished Camp Evergreen for children who have experienced loss are safe, effective places to turn for healing.

Kristiana and Gene have three other children besides Willow: Connor, 17, Carter, 14, and Monique, 14.

“My children attended Camp Evergreen and it was incredible that they were able to share that experience together,” Kristiana said.

Camp Evergreen brings children together who have experienced a loss and provides everything that a traditional summer camp offers with the added benefit of grief counselors and heart-felt programs that help them remember their loved ones and process loss. A luminary program around a planted evergreen is the signature event.

The other thing about grief being messy is that it never goes away for most people. The Donahue family rely on their faith and church community and exceptionally supportive family members for support, but Kristiana said one thing, in particular, has helped her tremendously: keeping Willow’s legacy alive.

“I work in our volunteer department at Center for Hospice Care. One of the big things in my heart was to increase our legacy services. Parents want to know that their child will be remembered,” Kristiana said. “I have so many things that tie me to my daughter today that are healing and wonderful, and I want other people to experience that as well. And sometimes, when families are going through this, they don’t have the time or mental space to know what they will appreciate the most later. I want to be able to say to them: Here are some things that you may want,  precious, wonderful items to cherish forever.   .”

Kristiana holds dear a necklace that has her daughter’s fingerprint on it, and pictures, too.

Kristiana also has worked closely with a team at Center for Hospice Care to help expand the perinatal and pediatric palliative care services.  The program focuses on offering medical, emotional, and spiritual support for the patient and family.

Often, the friends and family of someone who has experienced the loss of a child just don’t know what to say or do, either. Center for Hospice Care’s grief and bereavement programs are for anyone in their nine-county service area regardless of whether they had loved one in their program.

“Everyone processes grief differently, but if I could offer advice for support people, it would be to talk to parents about their child. I love when people text me on Willow’s birthday, or remind me of the impact she had on the world. Sometimes people are afraid to do that, but for me, it’s comforting,” Kristiana said.

When Willow was in care at St. Vincent’s in Indianapolis before her passing, the family was making that trip several times a week to visit and care for her as well. Kristiana recalls the winter weather was a hassle, and even horrible at times. But even that makes the family smile.

“We joke now that when the weather is really bad, it’s Willow Weather.”

Before most families get to the joking stage, they do need help, though, and Kristiana urges everyone to think about getting support even before they think they’ll need it.

Willow trees are known for their strength and flexibility to bend and sway with the wind, storms, and adversity. Though baby Willow’s life was short, she definitely worked through a major storm.

“With everything she did, she brought joy to us, and hers was a life to be treasured and celebrated. With the help of God, family, friends, and Center for Hospice Care, we are able to make that happen,” Kristiana said.

For more information about perinatal palliative care, pediatric palliative care, and the exceptional grief and bereavement programs of Center for Hospice Care, visit them online at https://www.cfhcare.org/. The site contains useful guides, brochures, and program details to get anyone started with help today.

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Willow’s story: how Center for Hospice Care helps parents, families with palliative care for children
Community Open House for our Ernestine M. Raclin House 2019 https://laportecounty.life/photo/community-open-house-for-our-ernestine-m-raclin-house-2019/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 02:02:42 +0000 Kali Beatty https://laportecounty.life/photo/community-open-house-for-our-ernestine-m-raclin-house-2019/ Community Open House for our Ernestine M. Raclin House 2019