Physical Therapy a Top Choice for Long-Term Pain Relief
At first, it sounds a bit illogical: If your body hurts when you move, then move more — you’ll feel better. The issue just might be that you need to learn how to move correctly.
However, that advice is the essence of physical therapy. One of the main services we offer at our rehab center here at OVH, physical therapy (or, PT) is a type of healthcare that aims to minimize your physical impairments by changing your patterns of movement. If you are a physical therapy patient, physical therapists may conduct a thorough exam and follow up with a customized treatment plan that might include manual therapy techniques and exercises that improve your movement patterns.
For many people, physical therapy can seem daunting: Many physical therapy patients may have recently gone through intense, physical trauma or an acute episode of pain, or have a serious medical condition that causes chronic pain – and physical therapy at times requires the patient to push their physical boundaries. However, according to recent research, physical therapy offers lots of gains to minimize pain — and it beats the alternatives.
Physical Therapy: Like Medicine, But Stronger
When your body goes through trauma or becomes disabled in any way, it can be tempting to think, “Well, now I’ll need surgery,” or “Now I’ll be on pain medication for life.”
Although medication therapy and surgery are often appropriate options, they rarely address the root problem like physical therapy does. In fact, recent research has revealed that for many, physical therapy is more effective than having surgery or using medication for pain management.
Colleen Hamm, MS, PT, OCS is Ohio Valley’s Director of Rehab Services and works with patients suffering from chronic pain on a daily basis. She and her team use a variety of therapies to help patients regain their strength, from pilates to manual therapy to simple sitting and standing exercises. Her department’s current focus is to look for patterns of how patients move and function in their everyday activities, making sure that the right muscles are being used. For example, patients suffering from back pain tend to use their back muscles instead of their legs to get out of a chair. Hamm says that encouraging proper biomechanics by improving muscle strength and learning to recruit the right muscles should be the core of any rehabilitation program.
“You can take all the medication in the world, but if the muscles aren’t there, you won’t even be able to get out of your chair,” she says. “Especially if you’re recovering from surgery.”
Last month, even more evidence supporting the rehabilitative approach was published in the British Medical Journal: Over 5,000 patients suffering from long-term back pain and osteoarthritis were given either acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) or a placebo pill. It turned out that the drug was “ineffective” when it came to reducing pain or improving quality of life for people with long-term back pain; for people with osteoarthritis in the hip or knee, the drug had a “minimal short-term benefit.”
In fact, the authors of the study (titled,“Physical treatments are the way forward”) followed up with another article, in which they recommend that all patients suffering from osteoarthritis be given information about how exercise can serve as an alternative pain treatment option.
The authors wrote: “Changing behavior of doctors and their patients is notoriously difficult, but the findings [of the study] emphasize that the time has come to shift our attention away from tablets as the default option for managing chronic musculoskeletal pain…Non-pharmacological treatments work, are safe, and have benefits that reach beyond the musculoskeletal system.”
A Non-Invasive Option
When it comes to back pain, physical therapy can be a surprisingly effective method of treatment. A study from right here in Western PA, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, revealed that acute rehab can be a great way to address spinal stenosis – a degenerative condition of the spine that typically occurs as people age. Over half the participants in the study who underwent physical therapy were successful and experienced long-term relief.
“We have a fantastic pain management clinic here,” adds Hamm, noting that OVH’s Pain Treatment Center offers many procedures and treatment options for patients suffering from spinal stenosis and other forms of chronic back pain.
At OVH, we strive not to treat the symptom but to treat the person behind the symptom. And every day, we address health problems at their source. By treating injuries and degenerative conditions with controlled movement and force by changing patterns of movement, we make your long-term health and well-being our priority. The road to recovery might be rough, but at OVH, it’s a path worth paving for yourself and your loved ones.
Honoring the Passion Dedication of Our Nurses during National Nurses Week
The nursing profession has changed a lot since Ohio Valley Hospital’s School of Nursing opened in 1901. The rise of Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, and other specialties have led to more advanced technical skills for nurses to learn, as well as the development of multiple nursing specialties. Nurses can now pursue master’s and doctorate degrees and work more directly with patients.
However, one aspect of the nursing profession has not changed: A commitment to improving lives while honoring and respecting the patient.
Today marks the first day of National Nurses Week — a week-long celebration of the nursing profession and the role nurses play in delivering the highest level of quality care to their patients. Organized by the American Nurses Association (ANA), this year’s theme is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” The ANA will be treating the week as an opportunity to promote and advocate the rights, health and safety of nurses and patients alike. Here at OVH, we’re celebrating by honoring the nurses who support our various departments and our School of Nursing.
Fulfilling a Dream
Compared to 100 years ago, the scope of the nursing profession is much larger today. At OVH, this new scope of nursing is everywhere — especially when you talk to Barb Michel , our Interim Director of the School of Nursing.
Michel has worked at OVH for nearly 15 years and has had various roles and responsibilities as a nurse and nurse educator throughout the years — and they all helped her fulfill a childhood dream.
“From the time I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a nurse and help people,” she says. “I wanted to work in obstetrics and deliver babies — and to be the head nurse. And I reached those goals.”
Prior to her time at OVH, Michel worked as a Labor & Delivery nurse — even delivering her own niece and nephew — and managed different obstetrics departments. Now at OVH, teaching future healthcare professionals through our nursing program has been a key aspect of fulfilling her dream as well.
“In every position I have had in nursing, I loved to teach. That is what I have been doing since coming to OVH. It makes me very proud to see what my graduates have accomplished!”
Other nurses at OVH have found their calling by focusing on a specific type of nursing. Anna Reily, RN, started out as a nurse’s aide in OVH’s acute rehab unit (ARU) back in 2007. Since then, she’s transitioned to being an RN in the ARU. Now a clinical educator for the School of Nursing, Reily credits her family’s nursing roots for her passion for patient care.
“I followed in the footsteps of my grandmother and great grandmother by becoming a nurse. I have always been fascinated by the human body and everything it’s capable of. I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives, talking to people, learning about them and from them,” she says.
As a nurse in OVH’s ARU, Reily has been fortunate enough to feed another personal passion — connecting with people.
“With respect to acute rehabilitation, I felt it was a good fit for me because the longer length of stay — these patients give me the opportunity to create a bond with them.”
“Teaching has always been one of my talents and passions, and I’m fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be the clinical educator as well. Most people, if they are lucky, are able to fulfill one of their dreams. I, on the other hand, was able to fulfill two of them and combine them together — it’s an amazing and beautiful thing!”
Our Nurses on Quality and Ethics
OVH’s entire staff is committed to personalizing care for each patient. Given that the theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care,” we asked some of our nurses about what this phrase means to them.
Courtney Rice, RN, a graduate of OVH’s School of Nursing school and currently a nurse at OVH , says, “It means collaborating with all of the healthcare team members to provide education, excellent care, compassion, confidentiality, and overall advocating for the best interest of our patients.”
Riley adds, “It means thinking, making judgments, and carrying out actions with the patient’s best interest in mind. Treating all patients as if they were a family member because that is how we would want our family treated and it is the right thing to do.”
At OVH, our nurses display a remarkable commitment to quality care and ethics. Through their passion for helping others, dedication, and hard work, they make our hospital what it is today: A center for high-quality, community-based healthcare in Western PA.
Celebrating Diabetes Day at Ohio Valley Hospital
Eight million: That’s the number of Americans currently living with undiagnosed diabetes. The number of people who are diagnosed? 21 million. That means if you were to ride a 747 aircraft, there would be around 40 diabetics on your flight. If you looked at the person to your right, there would be a 2 percent chance they were an undiagnosed diabetic.
If you looked at yourself instead, those chances would be the same.
When it comes to preventing any illness, awareness is key. That’s why Tuesday, March 24, is known nationwide as the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Alert Day. It’s a one-day “wake-up call” urging Americans to take a Diabetes Risk Test to see if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Ohio Valley Hospital is taking part in this Alert Day by hosting our 7th annual Diabetes Day. Please join us! From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at our Josephine Rozetta Auditorium in the School of Nursing, we’ll be hosting 4 hours of diabetes-related events for the community. Throughout Diabetes Alert Day at OVH, you’ll see:
- Vendors distributing diabetes supplies and information, such as glucose level log books, drinks formulated for diabetics (trust us, they taste great!), and diabetic shoes;
- A diabetes-friendly cooking demonstration led by OVH’s Food Services Director, Jim Dixon – and yes, free samples will be distributed afterward!;
- A series of lectures on issues related to diabetes, featuring OVH staff and other organizations;
- Blood pressure, blood sugar, body fat analysis and bone density screenings; and,
- A $30 Health Check Blood Screen that includes 39 different tests, including A1C.
The hemoglobin A1C test is a laboratory diagnostic service used to determine an individual’s average blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months and their risk of diabetes. Please make sure to fast for 10-12 hours to make your blood screen results as accurate as possible. You do not need to fast for an accurate A1C reading. If you do not fast on that day, we can offer you a coupon for getting the blood screen done with the A1C test at one of our labs during normal office hours!
We’ll also be holding a raffle with prizes throughout the day!
And of course, OVH staff will be available to discuss all the great services for diabetics available at the hospital, including representatives from Pathways at The Willows, The Willow Brook Geropsychiatric Unit, and the Wound Care Center.
OVH’s Outpatient Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, Susan Zikos, RD, LDN, CDE, who has been our champion for our Diabetes Day this year, sees the event as a great opportunity for the community’s diabetics and non-diabetics alike to get real information about what it’s like to live with the disease. Specifically, she notes that treating diabetes now is much different than it was in decades past. Today, there’s a wide array of new products and therapies that the general public might not be familiar with.
“Especially with the older population, many see it as a death sentence,” she says. “It can be stressful for them to be diagnosed as diabetics themselves. But today, diabetics tend to be diagnosed much earlier than they were before, and can make changes to lessen the progression of diabetes.”
In 2015, living a healthy, comfortable lifestyle as a diabetic is much more attainable than it used to be. Zikos notes that one of the main goals of the event is to encourage lifestyle choices that promote good diabetic health: “We really just want to get people out there, exercising within their abilities, taking their medicines as directed, and eating properly.”
At OVH, Zikos offers outpatient nutrition and weight loss counseling to patients with diabetes and other conditions. She also runs a series of classes aimed at helping new diabetics understand their condition and a diabetes support group that meets throughout the year. Check out the full schedule of classes in her brochure.
For more information on these programs, please call (412) 777-6205.
Diabetes Day Know Your Risks
OVH s th Annual K A Community Event For the Hill of It
Nothing brings a community together like a common challenge. This May, we’ll see yet again how hard Western Pennsylvania residents can push themselves at the 34th Annual Ohio Valley Hospital/Kennedy Township 5K. What began as an annual 10K, organized by Kennedy Township back in 1981 as part of the Township’s Fourth of July celebration, turned into a race half as long (a 5K!).
But what was lost in kilometers has been more than made up for in other ways. The rising popularity of the race in the 80’s led Kennedy Township to join forces with Ohio Valley Hospital, according to the hospital’s President and CEO, David Scott.
“As the event grew too big and too complicated, the Township was looking for a partner to help them with its organization. That’s how we became involved.”
Last year, 165 people registered for the Ohio Valley Hospital/Kennedy Township 5K, which now bears the tagline “For the Hill of it.” And if you get a glimpse of the 5K’s challenging course, it’s easy to see why. Runners start out downhill, in front of the hospital, and then continue uphill to McKees Rocks Road. They proceed to venture out on Pine Hollow Road before heading back up to the hospital. The finish is no walk in the park — the final ascent back to OVH is regarded as the hardest hill of the race.
The difficulty of the course, according to OVH’s Director of Marketing and Communications, and Race Director Megan Eaton, is one way the event brings the Kennedy Township, McKees Rocks, and Coraopolis communities together. “Because of the course’s longevity and level of difficulty, we get ‘true’ runners who routinely compete in other tough courses across Western PA.”
In addition, hospital staff, their friends, and family are also frequent participants in the 5K. OVH’s Physical Therapy department has a group that runs the race every year. Dr. Gary Sauer, a Family Practice physician and member of the OVH Board of Directors, is a perennial participant in the race.
“Supporting the hospital is a good cause,” says Dr. Sauer. “The course is challenging, usually good weather, and a good turnout. Nice Race!”
Several other employees, including CEO David Scott, also participate; with many bringing along their friends and families. Kennedy Township volunteers help out with registration, and on the course.
But OVH’s annual 5K is clearly about more than just the race. The event is preceded by the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. A D.J. keeps the mood light while playing the runners onto the course. And throughout the 5k, you get a sense of the large outpouring of support from the community.
“We’ve got nursing students, staff and volunteers ringing cowbells and cheering them on up and down the course,” says Eaton. “We have people taking pictures everywhere, which is a fun memento.”
The race also attracts a large field of walkers; community members who take to the race course in solidarity with their neighbors, and for the health benefit the 5k provides. After the race, there is always an after party, which features a ton of food and of course, a reprise from the D.J.
And all along the way, Kennedy Township’s Police, Fire, and EMS departments are there to make sure everything goes smoothly, including Police Chief Anthony Bruni, who always drives the pace car. Eaton adds, “The great thing about our race is that it truly is a community event.”
Interested in running the 2015 OVH 5K “For the Hill of It?”? You can find more information by clicking here.
We offer registration on active.com!
Check out photos from last year’s race. If you have any photo’s you want to share of ANY one of our past races, especially one of the earlier ones, please send them to email@example.com!
Our timing service is Miles of Smiles!
Help Lend a Paw this Holiday Season
Meet Bear. He’s the Ohio Valley puppy who lives with our residents at Willow Lane. Bear is always excited to play with his human friends at The Willows, and he’s happy that Ohio Valley wants to give back to his furry pals as well. Bear posed for a picture with our President and CEO, David Scott, to encourage others to donate new or gently used items on the last week of the Western PA Humane Society drive!
Another Puppy-filled story is below!
Ohio Valley Hospital’s Willow Brook patients enjoy spending their Tuesdays with two loyal and furry friends, Gracie and Holly. The golden retriever mother-daughter duo is cared for by hospital volunteer, Ray Koper and his wife, Shirley (see their story here!).
Just as these two loving animals help bring a smile to a Willow Brook patient’s face, we have the unique opportunity to lend a paw to their fellow animal pals this holiday season.
Ohio Valley Hospital will be collecting donations for our four-legged friends at the Western PA Humane Society. From November 20 through December 20, please considering donating anything from pet food to stuffed animals (new or gently used).
Check out the list of specific needs the Western PA Humane Society has suggested:
• 17 x 17 cat cage blankets
• Cat/dog treats or food (dry/wet)
• Rabbit/ferret/bird food
• Stainless steel/Teflon cat litter pans
• Timothy Hay/corn cob bedding
• Feeding bowls (new or used)
• Throw/area rugs (new or used)
• Cat carriers/ dog crates
• Gauze pads, Q-tips, cotton balls
• Martingale dog collars, all sizes
• Clay cat litter
• Shampoo, brushes, clippers
• 6’ leashes (new or used)
• Stuffed animals (new or used)
• Cat toys
• Balls (larger than tennis balls)
• Scratching posts
Seeing the World Through Radiologic Technology at OVH
On November 8, 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the x-ray. Nearly 110 years later, the technology lives on. And while modern radiology barely resembles how Roentgen used this “new kind of ray,” healthcare professionals nationwide have turned the anniversary of his innovation into a week celebrating the vital work of Radiologic Technologists.
Barbara J. O’Connor, M.S.,R.T., the Director of OVH’s School of Radiography, has seen first-hand how far radiography has come. She first came to OVH’s radiography department in 1973, back when x-rays would have to be processed manually in the hospital’s darkrooms. Today, she’s in charge of the hospital’s radiology training program, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
According to O’Connor, recent advances in radiologic technology have significantly simplified the logistics behind this complex, versatile medical service. For example, the advents of Computed Radiography (CD) and Digital Radiography (DR) have eliminated some of the most time-consuming steps in the process.
“Both of those technologies have basically deleted x-ray film from our reality,” she added.
Previously, Radiologic Technologists (RTs) would have to put x-ray film on a cassette, develop it in a darkroom, then collect, batch, and transfer them to a radiologist. Now, RTs work with digitized images within a system that can easily archive and transfer them to radiologists and referring physicians. This allows them to be read electronically, from anywhere. “It’s really changed a lot of what we do here at Ohio Valley,” says O’Connor. “It’s really increased the protection to the patient—these steps no longer have to be repeated.”
Although the field of radiology is sometimes synonymous with “x-rays,” this vital service has considerably broadened over the past few decades. Following their education at OVH, trained RTs (also known as radiographers) are able to work in the field of diagnostic radiology.
RTs can also pursue further certification to work in advanced radiology, mammography, bone density, computed tomography (CT), MRI, interventional radiology, cardio interventional radiology, ultrasound, and even nuclear medicine—all of these community radiology services are available now, at OVH.
The slogan for this year’s National Radiologic Technology Week is “Many Views with One Vision.” And to O’Connor, the phrase reflects the direction radiologic technology is going in.
“We have so many ways of looking at things now that didn’t exist before,” says O’Connor. “For example, if we do a shoulder x-ray, we might then do an arthrogram. Then an MRI. All to figure out the damage that’s been done. There are many more ways to view things in order to get the ultimate image needed to diagnose the patient.”
However, she notes not every aspect of radiology has transformed: “The beauty to my job is that the human body hasn’t changed.”
OVH Visitors Get a Passport to Healthcare Quality
Ohio Valley Hospital wrapped up the month of October with its inaugural celebration of
National Healthcare Quality Week.
Featuring daily special events focused around our commitment to healthcare quality and patient safety, the week was a tremendous success! We’d like to thank the Western PA community, our staff, and all of our guest speakers for making it happen.
Up first on Monday was a well-attended lecture on Active Shooters by Robert Winters, Protective Security Advisor from the Department of Homeland Security. That night, OVH’s auditorium was the location for a discussion on community health improvement by Allegheny County Health Department’s Advisory Coalition. Event attendees said it was a great opportunity for community members to discuss potential solutions to area problems. Willow Brook Geropsychiatric Unit’s Community Relations Coordinator Lisa Dalena, RN added, “People really seemed to value being here and learned a lot. There are a lot of social issues in our area that we’re trying to address and we’re glad to have this opportunity.”
Angel Thompson, OVH’s Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement, organized all of the week’s events. She emphasized at Wednesday’s Festivities Day that one of the major goals was to engage the local community with easy-to-understand, accessible information: “Quality week has been going well. Yesterday, I gave my ‘M&M presentation,’ explaining how M&M (candy pieces) relate to healthcare data and other outliers.”
Festivities Day also included a gift basket raffle and poster presentations from various clinical departments at OVH. The theme of the poster presentation was “Your Passport to Healthcare Quality”: Guests were given a “passport” to fill with stickers as they made their way around to different clinical presentations, which were decorated to incorporate different countries. The Willow Brook Geriatric Unit’s country was Germany, and of course, its color scheme reflected that:
While the information presented on the posters was certainly complex, the clinical departments made a concentrated effort to simplify it for the general public. Said Jessica Janicki, RN, of the Geriatric Psych Unit: “We wanted people who come in from the community to truly understand it.”
Once again, we’d like to once again thank everyone involved in making Quality Week possible! We hope to see you again next year!
OVH Celebrates Quality Week With Full Week of Events
Across the nation next week , healthcare professionals will have their hard work recognized through National Healthcare Quality Week. An annual celebration created by the National Association for Healthcare Quality, the week focuses on acknowledging high quality patient care, patient safety professionals, and improved clinical outcomes. Quality Week will be observed at hospitals nationwide from October 19 to 25 —including, for the first time ever, at Ohio Valley Hospital.
In recent years, Ohio Valley Hospital has ramped up its commitment to high quality patient care. At the forefront of that transition has been Angel Thompson, MBA, MSN, RN, and Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement.
As a clinician and former U.S. Army medic, Thompson has had vast experience enforcing patient safety measures. Her background as an oncology nurse has positioned her nicely for a role in Quality Assurance. She explains, “You want to make sure that patient safety is tantamount in any field, but especially in Oncology. Within oncology, it’s a very unique population. The patients have a lot of special needs. They may need home care, they may need compassionate care; they may need hospice care.”
No stranger to providing personalized care to meet specific patient needs, Thompson now oversees the hospital’s clinical quality and reporting measures–and has helped spearhead OVH’s inaugural celebration of National Healthcare Quality Week. In fact, every day during the week of October 19, OVH will be hosting events for the general public and clinicians in its Josephine Rosetta Auditorium, including:
- A talk Monday by Bob Winters of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on how to handle an active shooter in the hospital.
- A talk Tuesday by Ms. Thompson on the role of quality in modern healthcare
- A flu shot clinic on Wednesday, along with a set of poster presentations on quality by various clinical departments
- A Thursday presentation on organizational excellence by Joel Ettinger of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards
- A keynote speech on Friday from Dr. Bruce Block from the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative on quality in healthcare.
In addition, on Monday, October 20, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, the Allegheny County Health Department will be at the hospital to gather input from the community on how to prioritize its initiatives to make the area a healthier place to live, work, and play. Learn more about the “Our Health, Our Voice” community meeting.
Although it will be jam-packed with educational sessions, OVH’s first-ever celebration of Quality Week offers just a small glimpse into its commitment to patient care, according to Thompson. Every day, the hospital takes crucial, innovative steps to ensure patient safety and transparency.
“Our Quality Department is continually improving every day, to the point where we’ve incorporated new best practices and evidence based practices, including doing real time audits on the floors for things like falls,” says Thompson. “We’re part of a collaborative with multiple hospitals in Pennsylvania to provide instantaneous data on quality.”
As the healthcare landscape of the Greater Pittsburgh region continues to evolve, transparency of healthcare data is perhaps more important than ever for OVH–and patients can review quality metrics of different hospitals in their area by using Medicare.gov’s Hospital Compare tool.
Construction Set To Begin On ER Drive
Underground maintenance is needed on the area between our Emergency Room driveway and our School of Nursing building. As the work must be completed before winter, the construction will begin either on 10/6/14 or 10/13/14.
During this time, a trench will be excavated through the ambulance bay, across the ER drive, and through the sidewalk of the School of Nursing.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, however, all areas will remain open and usable during this process. The work will be completed as quickly as possible.