Hospice Dogs visit Cottage in the Meadow

paws 2 heartsThe Cottage in the Meadow sees all walks of life including different socioeconomic groups, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds.  Every week, the Cottage also sees creatures that walk on all four legs . . . our hospice dogs!!! Our hospice dogs and volunteers are trained and certified to provide our residents with loving companionship even if only for a brief moment.

On December 23rd, two of our hospice dogs and volunteers lit up the Cottage hallways and patient rooms wearing Christmas light coats.  The Christmas coats caught the attention of staff members, volunteers, patients, and patient’s families.

Here are Schroeder and Baxter—Schroeder is a cocker spaniel and Baxter is an Airedale Terrier.


Currently, Memorial Hospice has a total of 6 hospice dogs and volunteers who visit Cottage in the Meadow staff, volunteers, patients, and their families.

If you are interested in learning more about the Paws 2 Hearts program, please contact Branden Johnson, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at 574-3655.

More young adults have health coverage

adult insuranceThe percentage of young adults covered by health insurance has gone up since September 2010, after one provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kicked in, allowing moms and dads to keep dependent children 25 and younger on their plan.

Many of those newly covered had been uninsured or had a gap in their coverage within the last year, according to a report from National Center for Health Statistics.

The report tracked trends in health coverage among young adults from 2008 through 2012.

About the study

Researchers analyzed data from the 2008–2013 National Health Interview Survey, in which thousands of people were interviewed at home about health issues, including insurance. The analysis involved 42,507 adults ages 19 to 25.

Among the study’s findings:

  • The number of young adults covered by private health insurance dropped from about 58 percent to 52 percent between 2008 and 2010, but then it rose to about 58 percent again by the end of 2012.
  • The number of young adults who were covered by a parent’s private insurance plan rose by 14 percent between 2010 and 2012, from about 59 percent to nearly 73 percent.
  • The number of young adults who had coverage in their own name fell from nearly 41 percent in 2010 to about 27 percent in 2012, suggesting that many moved from a more expensive personal plan to coverage under their parents’ plan.
  • At the end of 2010, nearly 10 percent of young adults reported a gap in health coverage within the last year. That dropped to less than 7 percent by the end of 2012.

4 tips to help New Year’s resolutions stick

2014 happy new yearEat better, exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking. Sound familiar? One of these classic resolutions may be on your self-improvement list for the coming year.

Let’s be realistic but also optimistic: Changing old habits is incredibly hard, but you can do it.

The following four strategies can help you make lasting lifestyle changes:

  1. Focus on one change at a time. Start with the one goal that’s most important for you. People run into problems when they try to change too much too fast.
  2. Aim big, start small. Yes, a grand goal is great. But it’ll be less intimidating and frustrating if you break it into specific, small, doable steps. “Losing 30 pounds” becomes “I’d like to lose 2 to 3 pounds this month.” “Eating better” becomes “I’ll start with fixing a healthy breakfast all this week.”
  3. Work with a buddy. Some people enlist a friend or co-worker to be a coach, cheerleader, sounding board or fellow goal-seeker. For others, a “buddy” is a group exercise class or a stop-smoking support group. The key message: Support and accountability boost the likelihood of success.
  4. Keep going. Even if you stumble, get up and dust off your dreams. Is your goal worth attaining? If so, recommit, refocus and try again.

Pregnant and smoking: Little change over 10 years

smokingEfforts to curb tobacco use among females before and during pregnancy haven’t been very effective, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But those efforts have had some success in reducing the number of women who smoke after pregnancy.

Reducing the number of young women who smoke has long been a national health priority because smoking can lead to a number of health problems—such as difficulty becoming pregnant in the first place; birth defects in babies whose moms were smoking around the time of conception; complications during pregnancy; premature birth or stillbirth; low birth weight; and, after delivery, babies dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

About the study

The study was based on 2000–2010 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a surveillance project of CDC and state health departments that began in 1987. PRAMS collects information on mothers’ behaviors and experiences before, during and after pregnancy.

At each of 40 participating PRAMS sites, anywhere from 100 to 300 new mothers completed questionnaires about their smoking habits three months before becoming pregnant, during the last three months of pregnancy and after delivery. Those who smoked before pregnancy also answered questions about their efforts to quit before their last trimester.

The current study involved 444,614 women at its start, although researchers eliminated some cases during analysis because of incomplete data.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Smoking before pregnancy. Overall, 23 percent of females smoked in the three months before pregnancy in 2000, compared to 23.2 percent in 2010. Only two sites—New York City and Utah—met the national goal of reducing this number to 14 percent.
  • Smoking during pregnancy. This number dropped very slightly, from an overall 13.3 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2010.
  • Smoking after pregnancy. Fewer new moms smoked after pregnancy in 2010 compared to 2000, with rates dropping from 18.6 percent to 17.2 percent.
  • Quitting smoking during pregnancy. There was a significant increase in the number of women who quit smoking before their third trimester of pregnancy, jumping from 43.2 percent in 2000 to 54.3 percent in 2010.


The take-home message
Prenatal smoking is one of the most common preventable causes of infant disease and death, but little progress has been made in convincing females to quit before becoming pregnant.If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting—especially if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. You can find a list of national organizations that also are ready to help you drop the habit here.

Top 10 health news stories of 2013

The cinnamon challenge was our No. 1 health news story of the year. Apparently a lot of people wanted to read about the latest teen fad—swallowing a tablespoon of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds with no break for a drink of water.

It wasn’t a healthy fad, to say the least. So hopefully it’s done with, filed in the folder marked Fads Gone Bad, and its appearance on this list will be the last we hear of it.

Here are the top 10 health news stories of 2013, in ascending order:

10. Walking, running offer similar heart health benefits.

9. Heart attack without chest pain more common in women than men.

8. Mediterranean diet shown to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

7. Popular sleep aids linked to sharp rise in emergency department visits.

6. Avoid supplements that contain DMAA, FDA warns.

5. Extra sleep on weekends isn’t a cure-all for lost sleep during the week.

4. Dermatologists offer tips for choosing the best sunscreen.

3. Health insurance help available through new government website, call center.

2. New flu vaccine safe for adults with egg allergies.

1. The cinnamon challenge: A risky game teens shouldn’t play.

Don’t Feel Bad About Feeling Good

We don’t talk enough about grief—about how to manage it, about how to work through it, about how to live with it. Why, then, should we expect to know how to respond to it?

Every once in a while, a griever has something that feels foreign: a good day.

Or maybe even a good hour.

After what, for some, feels like an eternity of difficult days, of not wanting to get out of pajamas or leave the house or eat (or stop eating), that first good moment may come as a shock.

That shock is often replaced with guilt.

The good feeling may come a day, a week, a month, or a year after the loss. But, for some reason, when we are grieving, we fear that having a positive moment may give the impression we don’t value the loss of our loved one. We think we “shouldn’t” feel good, as if that moment of joy is a form of disrespect.

But that’s not true.

If you were dying, would you want your loved ones to live the rest of their lives in sadness? I don’t think so. You would want them to live their best lives, squeezing every moment possible out of their existence, being filled with joy, and sharing memories.

Sadness is inevitable with loss. And being sad is okay—it’s even healing. But when those moments of joy, or laughter, or simple good feelings come along, welcome them; they are cathartic, and they are also essential to your healing.

Live your best life today!

Antibacterial soaps may harm more than they help

hand washThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing that companies must offer scientific proof that their antibacterial soaps actually kill more germs than plain soaps.

Right now, there is no evidence to back up such claims, according to the FDA. In fact, some research indicates these products might be hazardous to those who use them.

“New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits,” said Colleen Rogers, PhD, an FDA microbiologist.

Antibacterial soaps and body washes contain chemicals like triclosan and triclocarban, both of which have come under scrutiny as possible health risks.

Triclosan, for example, has been shown to disrupt how hormones work in laboratory animals. Although test results on animals don’t always reflect how humans will respond, the findings are worrisome enough to warrant more research, according to the FDA.

The chemicals in antibacterial soaps also might be contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, wherein germs adapt to drugs that used to kill them.

The FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are working together to evaluate the safety of triclosan and its various uses affect human health. However, the FDA’s current proposal would only require soap makers to prove their product’s effectiveness, not triclosan’s long-term effects.

The regulation would not apply to hand sanitizers, hand wipes or antibacterial soaps used in hospitals or other health care settings.

The FDA is inviting the public, clinicians, environmental groups, industry representatives and others to comment on the proposed rule by visiting www.regulations.gov.

Regardless of what the FDA decides about antibacterial soap, routine handwashing remains a powerful way to avoid illness and prevent the spread of germs. Check out this infographic to learn the five steps to clean hands.

Many adults at risk for diabetes don’t know it

Many adults at risk for diabetes don’t know it

diabetes risk

About 40 percent of adults who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes are either unaware of their vulnerability or don’t believe they have any risk factors for the disease at all, according to a survey by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

In fact, about 80

percent of patients at risk for diabetes think they are in excellent or good health.

“These findings suggest it is critical for providers to connect the dots with patients between risk factors and disease development,” said Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, incoming chair of the ADA’s prevention committee.

A total of 1,426 people age 40 and older were surveyed over the phone in April of this year. Two months later, surveyors contacted 601 health care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants.

Among the findings from the two surveys:

  • About 70 percent of adults with modifiable risk factors for diabetes—such as high blood pressure, smoking or being overweight—didn’t think they were vulnerable to the disease.
  • 40 percent of at-risk adults believed they didn’t have any risk for diabetes or prediabetes (a precursor to full-blown diabetes), even if their family history or ethnicity puts them at increased risk.
  • Less than half of the at-risk patients had talked about their blood glucose levels, blood pressure or cholesterol levels with their health care provider.
  • About 75 percent of health care providers didn’t think their patients were very knowledgeable about their risk for type 2 diabetes.
The take-home message
If you’re unsure of your risk for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor.You can also learn more about your risk factors by taking a short risk assessment.

Traffic deaths rose in 2012 (infographic)

Traffic fatalities rose in 2012 for the first time since 2005, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But deaths still remain at historic lows, with current rates mirroring those from 1950.

There’s also evidence that the uptick in deaths during 2012 is a one-year phenomenon. Early estimates on crash deaths for the first half of 2013 suggest a decrease in deaths compared to that same time period during 2012.

“Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year, and while we’ve made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it’s clear that we have much more work to do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “As we look to the future, we must focus our efforts to tackle persistent and emerging issues that threaten the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians across the nation.” Take a look at specific numbers from the report in the infographic below.


View the infographic

Memorial Physicians announces opening of Healthy Now

Convenient care clinic treats minor illnesses quickly, comfortably

Memorial Physicians is pleased to announce the opening of Healthy Now, a convenient care clinic offering top-quality health care for minor illnesses in a fast and efficient manner.

Healthy Now will treat a variety of non-urgent illnesses and injuries that might not be serious enough for a trip to the emergency room, but still require treatment even if your own doctor is unavailable. Services offered include treatment for colds, flu, sore throats, ear aches, minor burns and sprains and strains.

“Healthy Now is about ensuring people have the appropriate settings for health care,” said Matthew Kollman, executive director of primary care practices for Memorial Physicians. “A lot of people don’t have a doctor, and clinics like Healthy Now offer an alternative, lower-cost option than the emergency room.”

Convenient care clinics are usually open for extended hours, often before and after your doctor’s regular business hours and on weekends. They help reduce employee absenteeism, because they offer flexible hours, and no appointment is needed.

At Healthy Now, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant is on site to follow through on your care, from symptom to prescription. The average office visit for minor illnesses is anticipated to be about 20 minutes, but because Healthy Now is a walk-in clinic, we are unable to predict exact wait times.

Healthy Now is likely to be busiest before and after the average work and school day, and in the fall and winter months when illnesses are more likely. Walk-ins are welcome, and appointments can be scheduled online in advance at www.healthynowclinic.com.

Healthy Now accepts most insurance plans and Medicare. The copayment for your specific plan will be collected during your visit. Please have your insurance card and proof of ID at the time of your visit. If you haven’t met your deductible, don’t have insurance or don’t have a plan, we currently accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards.

Healthy Now is located at 3909 Creekside Loop in Yakima. Operating hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Healthy Now will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.) For more information about Healthy Now, call 574-6095 or visit our website at www.healthynowclinic.com.