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Healthcare Innovation Grants provide funding for community wellness improvement

Monday, September 10, 2012

Every year, the Fort Memorial Hospital Foundation funds projects that will enhance the quality of services offered at Fort HealthCare through the Healthcare Innovation Grant program. The program is open to all Fort HealthCare employees with creative and collaborative projects that can positively impact the health and well-being of members of the community, as stated in the organizational mission statement.

This year, $40,000 was available to fund projects that will improve the quality of life across the lifespan. Accepted applications are reviewed by a committee of hospital leadership members and representatives of the Fort Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. Funded projects are those that address newborn and infant safety, pediatric wellness and childhood obesity, care for victims of sexual assault, and fall prevention among the elderly.

Obstetrics coordinator Jan Simdon, RN received funding for ‘Circle of Success’ Shaken Baby Education. The project will provide funding to educate new parents about Shaken Baby Syndrome. The educational program is offered around the 20th week of pregnancy to every pregnant woman, and her family, so that risk factors can be identified and appropriate services offered.

Each family is assessed using a risk analysis tool to help identify those at an increased risk for home violence, especially Shaken-Baby Syndrome, who are then referred to appropriate community resources. All key family members and infant caregivers move through a nine-step educational process as part of their integrated care plan. This, combined with ongoing
communication and care planning for the duration of the pregnancy, is included. The “Circle of Success” is completed after infant delivery and family discharge from the hospital, and the care plan is extended into the postpartum time period with follow-up visits.

In addition, funding will support the purchase of HALO Sleep Sacks to provide safer sleep for newborns. Sleep sacks are used to safely swaddle baby and help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) The creator of the HALO Sleep Sack is a father who lost a child to SIDS.

Julia Neppl, physical therapist, was granted funding for a variety of activities on behalf of the Fort HealthCare Pediatric Wellness Team. Funds will support PEP Rally, Camp 911, diabetic support groups and the pediatric wellness clinic. PEP Rally, is an in-school program focused on reducing time spent in front of computer and televisions screen, increasing exercise and eating healthy foods. Monthly rallies are scheduled throughout the area during the 2012-13 school year. Camp 911 is a program offered twice during the summer break from school. Children learn about safety within the home, basic CPR techniques, community resources and emergency personnel. Diabetic support groups are an opportunity for children with diabetes to meet and learn about managing their diagnosis during lunchtime meetings with fellow students and certified diabetes educators who come to the schools. The Pediatric Wellness Clinic is a pilot program offered at Fort HealthCare’s Internal Medicine & Pediatrics clinic to educate families on healthy lifestyle choices so they may set and achieve lifetime wellness and reduce childhood obesity in the community.

Emergency services coordinator Sarah Chesmore, RN, received funding to provide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training for 13 emergency department nurses. SANE is a specialized program that offers a spectrum of care to victims of sexual assault. Training requires over 80 combined hours of classroom education and practical experience. Nurses who complete training gain experience with law enforcement personnel, criminal justice procedures, victim advocacy, medical examinations and social services. The goal of the training program is to help the emergency department nursing staff deliver coordinated, expert forensic and medical care that not only provides comfort and re-assurance to the victim, but also safeguards evidence that aids in the successful prosecution of offenders. Currently, there is no formal program to treat sexual assault victims in Jefferson County.

Faith Nurse Coordinator Lee Clay, RN received funding for three programs: Stepping On, Grapevine and Living Well. Stepping On is a program designed to help older adults reduce the risk of falls and improve self-management. Classes are being offered in Fort Atkinson, Whitewater and Lake Mills beginning in September and October. Registrations can be made by calling (920) 568-5244. The Grapevine program aims at educating rural women on the major health prevention areas: bone health, breast health, cervical cancer, domestic violence, heart disease, mental health and oral health. Traditionally taking on the role of caregiver, women can increase their knowledge about wellness to remain healthy for those who rely on them. Finally, the Living Well program is an evidence-based, six-week class for those living with one or more chronic conditions. The workshops help participants manage symptoms to improve their quality of life.

Programs funded though the Healthcare Innovation Grant program are being implemented at this time. Questions about participating in any of the programs or classes offered, contact Fort HealthCare Community Health and Wellness at (920) 568-5244.