PCU Nurses Win “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” Video Contest

Proving that Lutheran nurses are committed to physical activity, a group of nurses in PCU gathered photos and put together a winning video for an American Nursing Association contest – in a matter of days.

The contest was part of the ANA’s efforts to raise awareness around 2017 as the Year of the Healthy Nurse. PCU’s effort, led by Shauntel Arellano, focused on a lifestyle of participation in physical activities at least once a month for “PCU Fitness Day.” The monthly gathering is usually a day hike, snowshoe or ski day, group fitness class or something similar. There were plenty of photos of nurses in small groups or independently doing activities in addition to the monthly activity to add to the video project.

Theirs was one of 20 top videos with the most votes, earning the group a $250 gift card that they will use to make an “Oasis Room” on the unit.

Describing the reasons for the challenge, the ANA website says:

“If all 3.6 million registered nurses increased their personal wellness and then their families, co-workers and patients followed suit, what a healthier nation we would live in! That is the goal of the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge – an initiative to connect and engage nurses, employers, and organizations around improving health in five areas: physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, and safety.

Nurses are less healthy than the average American. Research shows that nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, and get less sleep. As the largest and most trusted health care profession, nurses are critical to the health of the nation. Healthy nurses are great role models for their patients, colleagues, families, and neighbors.” http://www.healthynursehealthynation.org.

Congratulations to the PCU nursing team for so ably demonstrating Lutheran’s commitment to health and wellness in associates and the community! Watch the winning video below.

Get These Screening Tests for Common Diseases

Cholesterol measurements

Cholesterol screening is performed by a blood test. Studies have shown that people with high cholesterol can reduce their risk for heart disease by lowering their cholesterol.

Colorectal cancer tests

Screenings include:

  • Most people (those ages 50 years and older with average risk and no symptoms) get a colonoscopy once every 10 years.
  • This is another option for most people and should be performed every five years.
  • Fecal occult blood test. This screening tests for blood in the stool and must be performed every year.
Pap test (also called Pap smears)

Pap tests are samples of cells taken from the cervix in women to look for cellular changes indicative of cervical cancer. The Pap test is an important screening test in sexually active women younger than age 65.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

This blood test measures PSA levels, which can be elevated in the presence of prostate cancer.


Many organizations recommend mammography screening for breast cancer every one to two years after age 50. This test is done in conjunction with a clinical breast exam.

Diabetes or prediabetes

All adults are recommended to be screened for diabetes or prediabetes starting at age 45, regardless of weight. In addition, people without symptoms of diabetes should be screened if they are overweight or obese and have one or more additional diabetes risk factors.


Announcing the New Heroes of Hope Run/Walk

For ten years Cancer Centers of Colorado and Lutheran Medical Center Foundation have partnered to host the annual Leaves of Hope Run/Walk on campus. To celebrate the 10th Anniversary race on campus, Lutheran Medical Center is proud to unveil the Heroes of Hope Run/Walk!

With your help, along with our community partners and neighbors, the event has raised more than $300,000 to support Lutheran’s Cancer Services programs over the last ten years. That’s a lot of impact! Because of you, our patients are able to receive: genetic counseling, patient navigation, advanced technology, humanitarian funds to purchase prescriptions or transportation, and so much more.

This year we will host the annual department team challenge to see whose team reigns supreme. Gather your colleagues, friends, and family to join your team. At the race we will announce the department team with the most participants and award you and your department with a special prize. Last year, the Care Management Crusaders won with more than 80 registered members.

Think your department is up for the challenge? Click here to register your team today!

Help to inspire those who are recently diagnosed, celebrate with survivors, and support the families who have lost loved ones to cancer and be an everyday hero in our community. Join us on Sunday, June 4, for the Heroes of Hope Run/Walk and show your courage against cancer. Click here to learn more about Heroes of Hope.

Farewell to SCL Health CEO Mike Slubowski

A few days ago, Mike Slubowski, President and CEO of the SCL Health system, announced that he will be returning to Michigan in May. He’s leaving SCL Health to lead Trinity Health and also so that he and his wife Barb can be closer to their children and grandchildren.

For more than six years Mike has led SCL Health, keeping us close to our mission, vision and values as well as a consistent focus on patient-centered care and transparency. Patient and associate safety, communication and clinical quality have all steadily improved under his leadership. His emphasis on stewardship and partnerships has strengthened our position, particularly here in the Front Range.

From moving the system office to Colorado, transferring sponsorship of care sites in challenged markets and a successful merger with Exempla Healthcare, among other endeavors, Mike has helped position SCL Health and its care sites to have a strong reputation for excellence and innovation.

On a personal note, I will always appreciate the fact that he introduced me to one of my guitar heroes, Joe Bonamassa. Mike and I share a passion for music, as evidenced by his great collection of vintage guitars and his guitar-playing talent. I will miss that and wish him the very best in his new role. Trinity will be lucky to have Mike and it’s an outstanding opportunity for him.

Looking forward, Lutheran remains a strong and vibrant hospital. We are well-positioned for the future, and I don’t anticipate any significant changes here other than those that are facing healthcare as a whole. I’ll keep you informed as we learn more about the transition to a new CEO at SCL Health. The board is currently developing that plan and will conduct a national search to fill Mike’s role.

Have a great week,

Breast-Feeding Benefits Baby and Mom

The benefits of breast-feeding for babies are well established by science, and an increasing body of research shows that babies are not the only ones reaping rewards. Moms, too, may be at less risk for several diseases and health conditions, including an aggressive form of breast cancer and gestational diabetes.

Breast-feeding requires work and diligence, and it comes at a time when moms are exhausted and spent. That makes it tempting to call it quits when the going gets tough, even when you have good intentions. But the payoff is becoming harder to ignore.

Better for Baby

Your baby’s health is a great incentive. According to the World Health Organization, babies who are breast-fed have fewer and less serious illnesses, such as SIDS, childhood cancers and diabetes, when compared with babies who were not breast-fed. Breast-fed babies are also less likely to be obese and have type 2 diabetes as adolescents and adults.

Also, a massive review of research on the benefits of breast-feeding found it reduces mothers’ risk for type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer.

Newer research shows breast-feeding reduced the risk for a particularly potent type of breast cancer, called hormone receptor negative tumors, by up to 20 percent. These tumors are more common in African-American women and younger women.

Breast-feeding’s benefit is not limited to preventing cancer. Gestational diabetes is often referred to as pregnancy-related diabetes and for most women it is temporary. But if you develop gestational diabetes, your risk of developing diabetes long-term is seven times higher.

A recent study of moms who developed gestational diabetes found that those who breast-fed cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half. And those who breast-fed for more than 10 months cut their risk by
60 percent.

Better for Mom

“Breast-feeding provides as many health benefits for mothers as it does for infants,” says Katie Halverstad, RN, IBCLC, at Lutheran Medical Center.

Halverstad also notes that breast-feeding decreases a mom’s chance for postpartum depression by boosting her oxytocin, or “love hormone,” and decreasing her anxiety.

Practicing skin-to-skin contact, which is initiated as soon as possible after baby is born, is beneficial for both parents and baby, too. It helps to decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, which helps with bonding, especially for babies in the NICU. Babies who experience skin-to-skin contact cry 43 percent less and experience less pain during procedures when baby is breast-feeding.

Moms who breast-feed have a quicker recovery from childbirth, increased bonding with their baby and increased weight loss. Breast-feeding can give your financial health a little boost, as well. Most families can save an estimated $1,000 per year on formula purchase.

“It’s a win-win for mom and baby all the way around,” Halverstad adds.

Partners in Preparation and Response

It’s a fact of reality that hospitals and other places with public access can be targeted by those who want to cause harm to others.

At Lutheran, we have a strong emergency preparation and management program in place for training and response to a range of events. We regularly hold drills for different kinds  such as infant abduction, Hazmat, electrical outages, severe weather and active shooter scenarios, to help us identify any gaps in our plans and how we can improve them.

We are also fortunate to have a significant internal resources in emergency management as well as strong partnerships with our community first responders.

Last week, we held a series of trainings and exercises focused on active shooter response, presented by our security partners at HSS. Wheat Ridge Police and West Metro Fire and Rescue provided response support and response throughout the exercises.

Highly realistic scenarios took place on the empty unit on the 6th Floor, at West Pines and at Hospice. About 250 LMC staff participated in the training and exercises.

Kudos to all who attended and participated and who work every day to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe.

More photos from the day are available by clicking here. You can also check out our Facebook page.

Front Range Care Sites Named Among Top Hospitals in the Country

Three Front Range care sites — Saint Joseph Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center and Lutheran Medical Center — were named among Healthgrades’ top 100 hospitals in the country last week. All three care sites were named to the top 100 list last year, and this year Saint Joseph Hospital moved into the top 50 hospitals in the country.

The top 100 list represents the top two percent of hospitals in the country and the top 50 represents the top one percent. Saint Joseph Hospital had been on the top 100 list for the past three years before being named to the top 50. Read the full coverage of the awards in the Denver Business Journal.

Congratulations to all three care sites!


Hip Replacement Patient Takes It in Stride

Medical emergencies happen. They are usually unexpected and always unwelcome. Whatever the circumstances, experiencing a major health issue or injury can knock you down. When it happened to Beverly Brown, she wasn’t going to let it keep her down.

Brown’s fluke accident—a misstep on pavement—caused her to fall and break her hip. The break wasn’t obvious on her first X-ray, so she spent more than a week thinking it would get better. It didn’t. Once she came in to see Ian Weber, MD, at Lutheran Medical Center, he could hardly believe she’d been getting around as well as she had. Brown, 58, was scheduled for immediate surgery and had her right hip replaced later that evening.

Even more surprising, she went home the next day—less than 24 hours later—to begin her rehabilitation and start packing for a flight to Florida just three days after her surgery. Nothing was going to keep Brown from watching her son Jason’s promotion from captain to major in the U.S. Air Force. He is a pilot.

Her determination and otherwise good health and physical conditioning made her a great candidate for going home within a day of hip replacement surgery. The team at Lutheran was amazed at how well she did, even managing stairs before leaving the hospital. Rehabilitation since then has been relatively smooth, too. She was back at work less than three weeks after surgery.

Don’t Let Joint Pain Slow You Down

If you have debilitating hip or knee pain that hasn’t responded to medications or physical therapy, you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery. At Lutheran Medical Center, we offer a comprehensive joint replacement program that will help you prepare for the procedure and get you back on your feet faster than you might think.

Getting Ready

Patients who know what surgery entails and what to expect do much better overall, says Ian Weber, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Lutheran. “Once we’ve decided that surgery is the best option, we discuss exactly what happens during the procedure and how we control pain and help facilitate a rapid recovery,” he says.

The education continues at Lutheran’s “Joint Camp,” a two-hour seminar held at the hospital. An orthopedic nurse and a rehabilitation specialist present information on pre-admission procedures and how to prepare the home for recovery.

“Our goal is to send patients directly home upon discharge,” says Kendra Casson, RN, Director of Care Management. “Patients heal the fastest at home, and that is truly where they desire to recover. We believe the best way to support our patents is a collaborative approach. We work closely with our patients, their families, our physician partners, the care team at Lutheran Medical Center and the community in order to coordinate the needed support systems and resources to set our patients up for success upon discharge.”

Lutheran also cares for patients who require joint replacement as a result of a fracture sustained by a fall or other injury.

“Our goal in these cases is to complete the surgery within 24 hours after patients arrive in the emergency room,” says orthopedic hospitalist Michelle Henderson, MD. “After that, they go through the same rehabilitation process as elective patients, although they may need to go to a skilled nursing facility before returning home.”

Experience Matters

Joint replacement is never a one-size-fits-all procedure. Surgical approach, type of implant and the recovery plan are carefully customized based on the patient’s condition.

Dr. Weber notes that these decisions depend on surgical experience, as well. “It’s important for the surgeon to choose an approach that he or she is comfortable with and has done repeatedly,” he says.

Pain control is key to a fast recovery. The surgical team uses multiple forms of pain control during and immediately after the procedure to minimize the need for narcotic medications.

Patients are usually on their feet and walking with support within hours after surgery to help prevent blood clots and stiffness, and most are able to leave the hospital in 24 to 36 hours.

Life-Changing Event

The long-term effects of joint replacement are life-changing. “Patients love being back on their feet, but they realize some of the biggest benefits when they go to bed,” Dr. Weber says. “That grinding pain that used to keep them up is gone, and they often report that they’re sleeping better than they have in years.”

Get Back to Your Life

Stiff and painful joints can rob you of your normal life. Whether joint pain is keeping you from everyday comfort or a more active lifestyle, our staff can get you to where you want to be. Lutheran offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options that are safe and private. Thanks to advanced technology, and surgical and rehab techniques, most total hip and knee replacements require a hospital stay of fewer than two days. Learn more at lutheranmedicalcenter.org/ortho.

Grateful Patient Reunites with Staff That Saved Her Life

Last week, staff and physicians from Mom/Baby, ICU, Surgery and more had a chance to experience the great outcome that they helped provide to a local family. Angela and her family wanted to come back and thank everyone for their care and compassion during her stay.

Here is her story:

When Angela had her baby girl in July, she began hemorrhaging badly during the C-section, and ended up needing more than 20 gallons of blood to survive.

After her first-hand experience, Angela has given of her time with Bonfils Blood Center to encourage blood donation. She and her family continued to be gracious with their time this week, returning to thank Dr. Rachel Stacey and many others on our Lutheran team who worked tirelessly to save her life and help baby Olivia begin hers. It was a great privilege to see their smiling faces again!

This story was posted on the Lutheran Medical Center Facebook and Twitter.