COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Shelby McGuire

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Shelby McGuire

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Kellee Boster

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Kellee Boster

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

COVID Coach Resources:

COVID Coach is a government-developed, free mobile app, designed to provide resources and enhance emotional support during this pandemic. The app is private and secure, no email account or password is required, and user data are not collected. This app is intended for EVERYONE in the community and is available for iOS and Android.

COVID Coach offers access to anxiety management tools such as audio-guided mindfulness and deep breathing, as well as exercises designed to address anxiety, trauma reactions, and relationship conflict. It also has quick links to resources for finding crisis care and mental health support, and service agencies for families and those seeking basic fundamentals. Developed by the National Center for PTSD at the VA, it joins other free, widely-used mental health apps like PTSD Coach and Mindfulness Coach.

Click here to download here for iPhone.

Click here to download here for Android.

Other Resources:

Click here for the COVID Communications Playbook and other resources for healthcare settings.

Click here for the online course mentioned during the video, Incorporating Mindfulness into Clinical Practice.

Click here for Mindful at Home Live Guided Mediations.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Christina Johnson

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Christina Johnson

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. David Wolfe

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. David Wolfe

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

Resources from Video:

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Martha Fernandez

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Martha Fernandez

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you.

Resources from Video:

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Britni Ross

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Britni Ross

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you. Listen as Britni Ross leads you on a Guided Imagery tour.

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

COVID-19 Self Care Series: Dr. Rebecca Denning

Valley Health’s Behavioral Health providers have started a series to help our staff cope with the stress of COVID-19. Our employees have benefited from these stress management tips from our experts, and we want to offer that same benefit to you. Listen as Rebecca Denning leads a Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise.

Integrated Behavioral Health: A Therapist Can Help Me With What?

Integrated Behavioral Health: A Therapist Can Help Me With What?

Many of us in our tri-state region struggle with anxiety and depression. Many also have chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. However, making changes to our lifestyles to stop smoking, eat better, and get more physically active can be very difficult.

Our healthcare team at Valley Health Systems wants to help our patients make these changes to their lifestyles, which is why we have added behavioral health consultants to several of our primary care clinics. These consultants, called BHCs, work in clinics alongside our family doctors, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and nurse practitioners as part of our overall healthcare team.

BHCs are therapy providers specially trained to help patients and their families in making difficult lifestyle changes, so they can lead long healthy lives. BHCs can help with setting realistic goals, managing stress, anxiety or mood symptoms that many of us often have when we have a chronic disease and helping our patients overcome barriers to treatment, like finances, transportation, and childcare.

These BHCs often can see patients in the clinic the same day they see their doctor, reducing the cost of repeat office visits. Patients and families can either ask to see a BHC while they are in the office or schedule to meet with them on a different day.

Our doctors also may ask the BHC to meet with a patient during an office visit to introduce behavioral health services at Valley Health, ask about mood or anxiety symptoms, or discuss making lifestyle changes.

Appointments with a BHC are often brief visits, around 20-30 minutes long, and focused on the patient and doctor’s primary concerns. These concerns may include things like quitting smoking, being more physically active, managing weight, checking blood sugar, getting better sleep, or coping better with depression, stress, or anxiety.

Many of our BHCs also work with Valley Health’s psychiatric consultation clinic, helping our patients to receive psychiatric medications without waiting for months to see a psychiatrist face-to-face.  Although the goal is to manage most patients within this integrated care model, BHCs also can provide patients with referrals to more specialized care at Valley Health if needed, including outpatient therapy, diabetes education, or psychiatry.

Currently, Valley Health has behavioral health consultants working at our East Huntington, Hurricane, Milton, Coal Grove, Upper Kanawha, and Stepptown locations. We also take internal referrals from any of our Valley Health sites.

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Britni Ross, PsyD, is the lead IPC psychologist with Valley Health Systems and maintains her clinical practice at the network’s Hurricane health center. Dr. Ross completed her degree in clinical psychology at Marshall University and has been practicing at Valley Health since 2017. Her areas of interest in psychology include addiction, aging, chronic disease management, and primary care integration.

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

October is breast cancer awareness month, which brings an opportunity every year to discuss the importance of breast cancer screening in women’s health. Screening is usually done with a mammogram and is important because breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States.  One in eight (12%) women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.  Even though this cancer is extremely common, survival rates have increased considerably during the past 50 years, which has been credited to early detection and improvements in breast cancer treatments.

Advancing age and being female are the most significant risk factors for breast cancer. Family history of breast cancer is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, which may warrant genetic testing and more frequent screening, especially when the onset of breast cancer is at a young age.  Identifying high-risk women allows for a referral to genetic counselors and a special testing plan for these patients.

Breast self-awareness, clinical breast exams and mammography are all methods used to screen for breast cancer.  The goal of screening for cancer is to recognize the disease in women without symptoms, which can decrease poor outcomes, improve survival and avoid needing rigorous treatment. Breast self-awareness is a woman’s understanding of the normal appearance and feel of her breasts.  This is an essential part of screening as 50% of breast cancer cases in women over 50 years old are self-identified.  In women younger than 50 years, 71% of breast cancer cases are self-identified. Women should contact their physician if they notice a change in their breast, such as a lump or mass.

Mammography is another crucial component in screening for breast cancer. Regular screening mammography reduces the risk of death resulting from breast cancer in average-risk women.  Women without an increased risk for breast cancer should have screening mammograms every 1-2 years starting at 40 years old.  Some women may notice discomfort during mammograms, however, most agree that it is not enough to discourage them from future screening.  Mammography screening should continue until at least age 75 years, but age alone should not solely determine discontinuation of screening.  This decision should be discussed between the patient and her physician and is based on the woman’s health and life expectancy. Clinical breast exams, performed by her physician, are also used for breast cancer screening.  For average-risk women 25-39 years old, clinical breast exams should be performed every 1-3 years and annually for women over 40 years old.

Breast cancer screening is a vital part of preventative women’s health. Make an appointment with your physician today to discuss your screening recommendations.

Ashleigh Clickett, DO, graduated in 2011 from the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine with a doctorate of osteopathy degree. She completed her residency at Marshall University where she worked as an OB/GYN. Clickett treats women of all ages. Her areas of interest are general obstetrics and gynecology as well as the continual care of women throughout their lifetime. She sees patients at Valley Health locations in Coal Grove, Fort Gay and Westmoreland.

Simple Safety Tips for Pumpkin Carving

Simple Safety Tips for Pumpkin Carving

This Halloween don’t let jack o’lantern carving get scary. Here’s how to avoid injury.

The combination of slippery pumpkins and sharp knives can be dangerous. Follow these tips, and other Halloween decorating safety tips, to help keep everyone safe when carving your Halloween pumpkin this year.

Set an Age Limit

Consumer Reports recommends that children younger than 14 years old should not do the actual pumpkin carving. But younger kids can still get in on the fun:

  • Have them draw the patterns for their pumpkins.
  • Allow them to decorate their pumpkins with markers, paint, or non-carving decoration kits.
  • Let them clean out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkins.
  • If you decide to let your teens carve pumpkins, closely supervise in case anything goes wrong.

Use the Right Tools

Big kitchen knives aren’t the best fit for this job. According to Consumer Reports, a pumpkin carving kit is a safer option. The tools in these kits are:

  • Designed to easily pierce pumpkins
  • Not as sharp as average kitchen knives
  • Smaller and easier to control

Follow Proper Technique

Avoid finger and hand injuries:

  • Work slowly and steadily—don’t rush the project.
  • Cut away from your body with the carving tool.
  • Use small, controlled motions when carving.
  • Keep your free hand out of the way to avoid mishaps. Try keeping the topper in your pumpkin to avoid putting hands inside while carving.

Set Up for Safety

Before you start carving, prepare your pumpkin carving area and tools:

  • Make sure the carving area is dry, well lit, and on a stable surface.
  • Wash and dry all of your tools before carving.
  • Keep your hands clean and dry to avoid slipping.

Once you’re done carving your jack o’lantern, avoid using candles to light your design. Burning candles are a potential fire hazard, and they can be especially dangerous to kids. Instead, try illuminating your pumpkin with an LED tea light or other type of battery-powered light source.

Adapted from State Farm Auto Insurance

Halloween Safety On and Off the Road

Halloween Safety On and Off the Road

Kids love the magic of Halloween: Trick-or-treating, classroom parties and trips to a neighborhood haunted house. But for moms and dads, often there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns, especially when it comes to road and pedestrian safety.

Costume Safety
To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a list of Halloween safety tips. Before Halloween arrives, be sure to choose a costume that won’t cause safety hazards.

  • All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant
  • Avoid masks, which can obstruct vision
  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks
  • When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is non-toxic and always test it in a small area first
  • Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation


When They’re Out and About

  • A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route that is acceptable to you
  • Agree on a specific time that your children should return home
  • Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car
  • Make sure your children know who to contact or where to go in the event of an emergency
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
  • Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street

 

Safety Tips for Motorists
The National Safety Council offers these additional safety tips for parents – and anyone who plans to be on the road during trick-or-treat hours:

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing
  • Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween

Adapted from the National Safety Council

Valley Health Works with Families to Address Childhood Obesity in Holistic Way

Valley Health Works with Families to Address Childhood Obesity in Holistic Way

Life has undoubtedly become faster-paced and more stressful in the last few decades. This has affected everyone in different ways, but alarmingly, over the last 30 years, the percentage of overweight and obese children in the U.S. has tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some might think that a heavier child will “grow out of it,” but the CDC finds that obese children are five times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults. In addition, children, adolescents and young adults are developing obesity-related health issues that were once rarely seen in young people, such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

Growing up is hard anyway and having serious health conditions only makes it more difficult.

The National Institutes of Health states that being overweight or obese is one of the most common reasons that children and adolescents are teased and excluded from groups at school. Yet, opportunities for physical activity are shrinking, with less free play and physical education in schools, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Studies indicate that active, healthy students are better learners. Research also shows that risky behaviors among the young, such as physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary behaviors, as well as tobacco use, alcohol use and other drug use, are consistently linked to poor grades and test scores and lower educational attainment.

The obesity epidemic has become a major threat to every child’s ability to achieve their full potential and pursue their life’s dreams.

The CDC lists multiple factors that contribute to childhood obesity, including:

  • Genetics
  • Metabolism
  • Eating and physical activity behaviors
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Portion sizes that are too large
  • Not enough sleep
  • Negative childhood events
  • Community and neighborhood design and safety

Some things, such as genetics, obviously can’t be changed, but most of the other factors can be addressed and improved upon. Parents and caregivers have an important role in helping children reach and maintain a healthy weight.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that more than half of U.S. children are not getting the recommended amount of weekly physical activity. In fact, five percent of American children are getting little to no daily activity. Current recommendations for children ages 5 to 18 are for 60 minutes of daily activity, 7 days a week. The AAP study also showed that primary school children are getting the least amount of weekly activity compared to older age groups, and overall, females are less active than males. The AAP recommends that exercise should be considered a “vital sign” of health, and activity levels should be included in the conversation families have with their healthcare providers.

Early childhood physical activity is a vital part of developing strength, balance and motor skills that are needed throughout life.

Increasing physical activity and decreasing screen time helps children lose weight and stay fit. Taking walks, riding bikes, jumping rope, playing with the family dog, throwing a ball or frisbee, or even just marching in place, are some simple ways to sneak in an hour of exercise per day. It can be done in short bursts rather than all at once – as long as it all adds up to enough movement throughout the day.

There are new fitness apps to encourage children to be more active, although they are new and as yet unproven. Some parents welcome such tech support, while others think it may be too intrusive.

Improving nutrition in children is a huge factor – such as making sure children eat a nutritious breakfast and offering fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods for meals and snacks. Strive for not having unhealthy food items in the home, such as chips, packaged cookies and candy and sweetened cereals. Nutritious snacks include popcorn, celery with peanut butter, string cheese sticks, Greek yogurt and fruit. Limiting sugary beverages, including fruit juices, and drinking more water, cuts calories and helps the body maintain needed fluid levels.

Valley Health upholds the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that health organizations should take a “team approach” to combat childhood obesity. Valley Health’s integrated care model includes the parents or guardians, along with Pediatric and Family Medicine providers and the Pediatric Behavioral Health Specialists, to address a variety of concerns that affect the health and well-being of children. Working with the child and family, Valley Health providers strive to establish healthy habits during childhood that will hopefully continue into adulthood.

Valley Health providers consider childhood obesity to be a serious issue. Our caregivers work with families on an individual action plan for each child, which includes measuring their height, weight and body mass index routinely to track progress. Valley Health providers recommend recipes for making delicious, healthy snacks and meals for the whole family that are not expensive and are quick to prepare. Behavioral Health Specialists talk with the child and family about setting goals, feeling positive and changing habits. We’re here to support and assist families to make changes to help children to be healthier and more active.

Valley Health – Southside welcomes new patients Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and on Fridays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 304-529-0645.

TCM Services with Megan Peterson

TCM Services with Megan Peterson