Charlotte Taylor Center plays important role in mental health of community


Photo by Dave Boyd
Pat Humphreys (enjoys) a carefree moment and a break from her duties as director of the Charlotte Taylor Center. In addition to her director duties, she is also a drug and alcohol counselor and sees several clients each day.

By Rozella Hardin
STAR Staff
rhardin@starhq.com

   Just as a diabetic takes insulin, people with fears and those suffering from depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders need treatment as well. It may be in the form of medication or therapy, but it is just as important as insulin is to the diabetic or chemotherapy to the cancer patient.
   The Charlotte Taylor Center in Elizabethton offers supportive counseling, self-help groups and services to people who have mental health and emotional problems, which often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Carter County Health Dept. committed to making community healthier and safer


Photo by Dave Boyd
Carolyn Hurt, left, director of the Carter County Health Department, works daily with her staff to promote a healthier and safer Carter County community. "That is our number one goal," she said. She is pictured above in a planning session with staff members.

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   Building a better tomorrow means a healthier and safer community for the Carter County Health Department.
   That responsibility primarily rests on the shoulders of Caroline Hurt and her staff. "Our primary goal is protecting and promoting better health in our community," said Hurt, who serves as director of public health in Carter and Johnson counties. "Our efforts are focused on increasing the awareness of how our services affect the community and reaching as many people in the community that we can with the array of services that we offer. We are continually looking at ways that we can partner with other agencies in the community to meet health needs," she explained.

ACS Relay for Life is most aggressive health awareness campaign in county


Sherry Freeman and Lew Honeycutt are co-chairs of this year's Carter County American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The Relay will be held at Elizabethton High School June 25-26.

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   The Carter County American Cancer Society Relay for Life is one of the most aggressive heath awareness campaigns waged by local volunteers. Last year Relay for Life volunteers raised $66,000 -- the most ever raised by Carter County -- with 20 teams participating. It also is possibly the largest amount ever raised in the county by a volunteer group. It by far surpasses the amount of funds raised by any other local health oriented organization.
   The annual event involves scores of volunteers and hundreds of manhours spent in raising funds and working as advocates on behalf of cancer patients. The volunteers come from every segment of the community -- businesses, industries, churches, schools and civic organizations.

Freedom 1 of Tennessee sets grand opening


Freedom 1 of Tennessee will celebrate its grand opening March 23-25. Pictured, managers Greg and Lisa Largent.

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

  
Freedom 1 of Tennessee will celebrate its grand opening March 26.
   "We offer mobility accessibility for scooters, power chairs, lift chairs, home ramps and vehicle installed ramps," said Greg Largent, who along with his wife, Lisa, manage the business.
   "Most of the medical equipment is regulated by weight. We have light-to-small compact capabilities for the lower weight classes." More durable larger equipment is also available.
   All of the equipment is battery powered, according to Largent. Some models are more appropriate for indoor use, while others are more suited for outside use. "Some people just need assistance inside their homes," Largent said. "Other people need assistance any time they want to do anything outdoors, daily activities, enjoy a walk with their families, a day at the park, or to go shopping.

Ivy Hall -- old, but doing some new things


Photo by Dave Boyd
Ivy Hall Nursing Home is Carter County's oldest nursing home and one of the first established homes in the region. The nursing home this past year expanded its therapy department. Judy DeLoach is administrator of the nursing home.

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   Ivy Hall is not only Elizabethton's oldest nursing home, but is one of the oldest in the Tri-Cities area, having opened in 1959.
   Judy DeLoach has been administrator of the nursing home since 1984. Ivy Hall is a 100-bed facility and has 100 employees.
   DeLoach last year hired Care Centers Management Group of Johnson City to manage her nursing home. "Together, we hope to make Ivy Hall one of the best nursing homes in the state," said DeLoach.
   The long-term health care administration said nursing homes get a bad rap from time to time. "With the regulations come volumes of paperwork, which leaves little time for patient care," she explained.

Nursing homes of the future are in for some changes, but focus will remain on care


Photo by Dave Boyd
Patients at Hillview Health Center are provided therapy as part of its program to enable them to have a better quality of life and to stay mobile much longer.

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   By 2030, there will be an unprecedented number of people over the age of 85 living in this country. This exploding population, many of whom are nearing retirement age, have made it clear that the traditional nursing home, an institutionalized setting where residents share rooms and bathrooms, is not for them. In fact, according to a recent survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, 82 percent of mid-life and older Americans wish to spend their later years living as independently as possible in their own homes and communities.
   What does this mean for Tennessee nursing homes? How will nursing homes fit into the continuum of care in years to come?

Recruitment of nurses to fill demands of next few decades is big challenge


Terri Blevins, Practical Nursing Director at TTC in Elizabethton

By Rozella Hardin
STAR Staff
rhardin@starhq.com

   The signs seem to be everywhere. Pages of want-ads. Sign-on bonuses. Recruitment fairs. All heralding a nursing crisis in the state.
   Tennessee is facing a critical shortage of nurses and other health care professionals that has doubled since 1998, and is projected to get steadily more intense through 2020, officials with the Tennessee Hospital Association say.
   Recent figures released by THA show that in 1998 about 5 percent of the nursing positions in Tennessee's hospitals were unfilled. In 1999, that number increased to 8.3 percent. In 2000, it climbed to 9.1 percent.

Rescue Squad advances with technology


Photo By Rick Harris
Recently, construction crews tore down the old Carter County Rescue Squad building in order to make way for the new facility which will consist of three buildings.

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Efficiency is something the Carter County Rescue Squad is striving for, both in the design of its new facility as well as in how they handle medical and emergency calls they respond to.
   Work has started on the new Rescue Squad facility which will consist of three buildings -- a maintenance area, a garage and a building to house the office and living quarters. According to CCRS Executive Director Terry Arnold, the new facility will operate more efficiently by having separate buildings for each of those functions.
   Another addition which the Rescue Squad is making will be the addition of laptops to the ambulances and rescue trucks which will make their record keeping system more efficient and, to a degree, paperless.

Safer, effective treatment of incontinence offered at Sycamore Shoals Hospital


Dr. Brent Laing (right) and Dr. John Green, who have offices located across from Sycamore Shoals Hospital, are offering a new procedure at Sycamore Shoals Hospital for the treatment of incontinence. They are the only physicians trained in the SPARC procedure, a 25-minute, out-patient procedure.

For women with incontinence, life can seem extremely limiting.
   There are fears about being out in public, trips in the car and even personal hygiene.
   But thanks to a cutting-edge treatment offered exclusively in Northeast Tennessee by Sycamore Shoals Hospital (SSH), those fears can be quickly, easily and safely put to an end.
   The SPARC Sling System treatment for women is a 25-minute, out-patient surgery that is so simple those who undergo the operation are generally back to work the next day.
   "We were one of the very first in the whole Southeast (United States) to perform this procedure," said Dr. Brent Laing, whose office is across the street from SSH.
   With a high success rate and low occurrence of side effects, Laing said the SPARC treatment is growing in popularity throughout the country.
   "It has changed the threshold for people who are willing to undergo surgery for incontinence," Laing said.

Tri-Cities Skin & Cancer & Skin Renewal Center notes continued improvements


Tri-Cities Skin & Cancer & Skin Renewal Center plans to have a new addition to the business office completed by June. Pictured, Dr. Rob Clemons, physician's assistant Melissa Taylor, Dr. George Winton and Dr. Don Clemons.

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

   Tri-Cities Skin & Cancer & Skin Renewal Center plans to have a new addition to the business office completed by June. Another physician will be added to the staff by July.
   The skin renewal center, completed last year, will mean much more space in which to serve patients. "We went from two rooms back here to seven rooms," commented Kathy Beard, skin renewal director. The facility also has a new operating room.
   A variety of symptoms such as a rash, itching, a mole that has changed colors or increased in size could be cause to seek professional help. Also, "If you just weren't happy with your skin where you had been out in the sun and gotten a lot of damage to your skin, a lot of brown spots, wrinkling, aging. Any defect that you have on your skin," Beard said.

Sleep laboratory will soon open at Sycamore Shoals Hospital


Photo Courtesy of Mountain States Health Alliance
Two patient rooms in the new sleep lab at Sycamore Shoals Hospital look much like bedrooms at home. The lab is scheduled to officially open on April 2.

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  
On April 2, a lab designed to help patients who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea will open at Sycamore Shoals Hospital. According to Dr. Charles Cole, medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at the Johnson City Medical Center, between eight and 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea.
   "With the current obesity epidemic in the country, more people have sleep apnea. Not everyone who has sleep apnea is obese, but of course that's a significant predisposing factor," Cole said.

State-of-the-art human patient simulator is ETSU Med School's newest 'faculty' member
 


Dr. Bagnell, Executive Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs at the ETSU College of Medicine, is pictured with the human patient simulator that will be used in the education and training of future physicians. The simulator Ñ a computerized life-size model Ñ provides medical students with hands-on experiences in true-to-life clinical situations.

  JOHNSON CITY -- It has a heartbeat and a pulse. It breathes. It can get sick. And it even talks.
   Officials with East Tennessee State University's James H. Quillen College of Medicine have introduced its newest "faculty" member: a human patient simulator that will be used in the education and training of future physicians.
   The simulator -- a computerized life-size model -- provides medical students with hands-on experiences in true-to-life clinical situations, according to Dr. Philip Bagnell, Executive Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the College of Medicine. Instructors can design the simulator to present with any condition, such as lung disease, heart disease, or trauma, and also show how a patient would respond when certain medications and treatments are administered.
   Often used in training airplane pilots, simulators are considered the "leading edge" in medical education, with only 25-30 percent of the nation's medical schools having a simulator like the one at ETSU.

Red Cross seeking outreach education for safety preparedness


Photo by Dave Boyd
The Carter County American Red Cross Service Center continues to seek volunteers interested in giving their time to those in need.

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

  
With needs up and funding not, the coordinator of the American Red Cross service center in Elizabethton says she wants to educate the public on preventive measures to make their homes and lives as safe as possible.
   "I know disasters are going to happen no matter what," said Bridget Hurt, coordinator of the service center office in Elizabethton. "What I hope is to get more disaster education in the community."
   The service center assisted 83 people from 25 separate families affected by house fires. Red Cross volunteers provided services including food, temporary shelter, clothing and medication following localized disasters including house fires.

SSH officials hope TennCare changes will relieve costs and increase reimbursements

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  
It's a critical year for TennCare. Following the unveiling of a "last chance" reform plan Gov. Bredesen presented to the General Assembly Feb. 17, local hospital officials said they are hoping the plan will eventually offset increased costs and raise reimbursement rates.

New technology enables hospitals to lift ban on cell phones in facilities

By Rozella Hardin

STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   There's something missing from area hospitals these days.
   The signs that once warned visitors to turn off their cell phones before entering the facilities have been removed, following the lifting of the cell phone ban this past year by Sycamore Shoals Hospital as well as other hospitals in the Mountain States Health Alliance network.

Wings: Saving lives one flight at a time

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A medical service which could very well save a life each and every time it is called upon expanded last year and now Wings Air Rescue operates stations out of two East Tennessee hospitals.

Franklin offers variety of options for those seeking fitness

By Abby Morris

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   With all of the attention that has been placed on personal well-being in recent years with the Atkins diet and the growth in health and fitness centers across the nation, one local health and fitness center is helping residents to meet their personal health goals.

County adds new physicians, health care technology

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  
According to Sycamore Shoals Hospital CEO Scott Williams, Carter County received several new physicians during 2003, and hospital officials purchased more advanced technological equipment to improve patient care.

Duncan Street: Active United Way volunteer for 10 years

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  
Elizabethton resident, Duncan Street, has served on the local board for United Way for the past 10 years. His passion in the beginning, he said, was children.