News Room

Fall can be an unwelcome time of year if you have diabetes.  Cool evening walks and hiking through those crunchy, fallen leaves aren’t as appealing when you have a foot ulcer. However, following a few simple tips you can prevent a wound from developing or can help it to heal.

The reason a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) develops is because of nerve damage or injury in the feet where the nerves are the longest in your entire body. If you lose feeling or sensation in your feet, small sores go unnoticed until a larger, more serious ulcer
develops.

To prevent a foot sore from progressing:

  • Do a daily foot check using a mirror to see if any redness or soreness exists.
  • Examine shoes prior to wear, for any sharp edges or tears on the inside of the shoe.
  • Wash your feet every day with warm water and a mild soap.
  • Wear well-fitted shoes.
  • Cover your feet (except between the toes) with petroleum jelly, lanolin lotion or a cold cream before putting on shoes and socks.
  • Use an emery board or pumice stone to remove dead sin.  Leave any calluses since they act as protective padding.
  • Cut toenails straight across.  Don’t leave any sharp edges that can prick other toes.
  • Don’t cross your legs because that can reduce blood flow to your feet.
  • Ask your doctor to check your feet at each visit.
  • If your feet get cold, wear socks to bed.
  • NEVER  go barefoot.

Barefoot activities, like swimming or walking on the beach, can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Make foot protection a top priority.

If you already have a foot ulcer that needs treatment, especially if it won’t heal on its own, talk to your physician and/or diabetes educator about the Wound & Edema Center. Our staff have special wound treatments available that aren’t in a typically doctor’s office. A physician referral is not required, but is suggested.  We will keep your physician up-to-speed on your progress all along the way.  Learn more at FortHealthCare.com/Wound.

Happy Fall!

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patient satisfaction surveyIf you’re already one of our patients, you’ve probably received a survey in the mail following a visit. Did you send it back? If you did, you have helped provide insights into customer service and make improvements in our care. The feedback you provide is critical to creating the best possible patient experience.

Randomly selected patients, like you, are given the opportunity to share their experiences and help improve the quality of patient care through patient satisfaction surveys. Areas covered by the survey include:

  • Registration,
  • Responsiveness of staff,
  • Quality of care and facilities, and
  • Likelihood of referring others for care.

By responding to the survey, your voice is heard and helps make real changes to processes and policies. Responses, anonymous or otherwise, create positive change for current and future patients, and responses are taken very seriously by Fort HealthCare administration.

Up to 50 patients per week at each clinic will receive a survey, and you will not be sent a survey more than once every 90 days. Any survey sent to a minor may be completed by an adult in the household.

Data from the surveys is compiled by an external consulting group for analysis. The detailed process ensures we are focusing on maintaining or improving satisfaction on the issues that are most important to patients and have the most impact on your overall experience.

We ask that anyone receiving a survey in the mail complete and return it to help continue improving the quality of healthcare services offered. Questions about the survey process can be directed to the Quality and Integrated Care department at (920) 568-5279.

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Having a new baby is a wonderful, but scary, journey. There can be many bumps in the road and, when you’re a new Mom, they can feel overwhelming. As a Fort HealthCare patient, we work to minimize this by monitoring your baby closely.

One of the things our staff watch for is jaundice. Often noticed as the yellowing of your infant’s skin, this occurs when there is a build-up of the pigment called bilirubin [Pronounced BILLY-rue-bin] in your infant’s blood. Most babies have jaundice to some extent and this causes no problem, but if the level rises too high it can damage the brain. Because of this, your pediatrician or nurse will check your infant’s bilirubin level 24 hours after birth or if any yellowing is noted. Don’t worry!  We will never let it rise to an unhealthy level, and will treat jaundice at fairly low levels to prevent medical
problems.

Newborn in her portable Bili Bed

Newborn enjoying her pain-free therapy for jaundice.

Bilirubin is a pigment in hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying part of red blood cells. Before your baby is born, he or she has extra fetal hemoglobin to grab as much oxygen as it can. However, once your baby is delivered and can breathe air, all of these fetal red blood cells are not needed and your baby starts to break them down. Baby’s liver will help rid the
body of this excess by mixing it with bile and depositing it in the intestines to be expelled through bowel movements. In some cases though, the baby is overwhelmed with bilirubin.

Sleeping comfortably in a portable Bili Bed

Sleeping comfortably in her portable Bili Bed, this baby is ready to head home.

Some of the causes of these higher levels are:

Prematurity: Babies born before 40 weeks may have immature livers that are unable to efficiently bind the hemoglobin for removal.

Difficult deliveries:  If your baby’s head is bruised by forceps or a vacuum-assisted delivery, there will be more red blood cells for the liver to get rid of.

Incompatible blood types or factors. This can set off an antigen-antibody reaction and the increased break down of red blood cells.

Difficulty getting enough food, due to prematurity, illness or difficulty with breastfeeding. Infants in this category may have delayed or decreased stooling. Remember: Bilirubin is deposited in the intestines and your baby removes it through bowel movements.

Newborn having photo therapy in the hospital

Newborn having photo therapy in the Fort HealthCare Great Expectations Birthing Center.

So how do we treat this? 

  • Photo therapy. This is a fancy was of saying “light therapy.”  By exposing your baby to a specific frequency of light waves, we can break the bilirubin molecule down small enough, that it can pass through the kidneys. Some babies will be sent home with a portable Bili Bed for treatment, others may need to be in the hospital for a short time.
  • Increasing your baby’s oral intake (a.k.a. feedings.)  It is important you feed your infant 8-12 times a day. Breast milk will make your infant stool more often, thereby removing the bilirubin more rapidly.

Having a baby with jaundice can be frustrating. You will have to return for frequent weight and bilirubin checks. If your baby needs treatment, he or she will have to stay on a “Bili bed” and cannot be cuddled like you want, but remember, this is short term and we will help you every step of the way.

To learn more about lactation or how the Fort HealthCare Great Expectations Birthing Center helps deliver happy, healthy babies, visit FortHealthCare.com/Baby.

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Late summer brings the kids back-to-school along with the heat and humidity we all dread. I look forward to this time of year because I love football!  As an athletic trainer,
however, I see the dangerous effects this heat can have on young athletes; this is especially true when combined with dehydration.

Heat and the AthleteIn a perfect world, young athletes would be conditioned year-round and use common sense to drink enough water or take a break when necessary. But, we do not live in a perfect world so, prevention and education are crucial. The goal of the athletic trainer is to prevent the serious effects of heat illness which can lead to heat stroke.

Causes of heat illness:

  • Over-motivation: Doing too much, too fast, for too long. To prevent it, start training early to give the body  enough time to adapt and increase exertion gradually.
  • Day 2 of training: The day after an exhausting and dehydrating day in the heat increases the chances of heat illness. Athletes should adequately rehydrate after practice and allow the body time to rest.
  • Combination of heat and humidity: Lack of acclimation to physical exertion in the heat can be burdensome on the body. Again, training should increase gradually. No one goes from couch potato to marathon runner over night!
  • Dehydration: Drink BEFORE you are thirsty. Hydration is important before, during, and after physical exertion. Remember to drink throughout your workout.
  • Non-breathable clothing: Wearing permeable clothing will allow the sweat to evaporate, pulling heat away from the body.
  • Extra body fat: Balance calories in with calories out, eat a healthy diet, and maintain an appropriate weight. The less weight on the body, the less strain on it. Being “fit” is more important than being “big.”
  • Poor physical fitness: Get at minimum 60 minutes of exercise a day year-round, especially if you are an athlete.
  • Supplements, especially those containing amphetamines or ephedra, can cause great harm to the body’s systems. Avoid them and if you have taken something, do not hide it from your doctor, coach or athletic trainer.
  • Medications: Some medications decrease your body’s ability to perspire or alter the way your body responds to heat. Know ahead of time any side effects of medications and let coaches and trainers know as well.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of heat illness (fatigue, nausea, headaches, excessive thirst, muscle aches and cramps, weakness, confusion or anxiety, drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin, slowed or weakened heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, agitation, decreased sweating, decreased urination, blood in urine or stool, vertigo, delirium, shortness of breath, hot, dry skin, rapid heart rate, convulsions, or increased body temperature), STOP PRACTICING and tell your coach or trainer right away.

Heat illness CAN BE life-threatening if not treated immediately. Know your limits and respect them, while working to gradually increase them. It will make you a better athlete.

Learn more about athletic training at Fort HealthCare

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