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HCN News & Notes

HCN News & Notes

SPRINGFIELD — As a result of potential cases of COVID-19 in the state and surrounding states, Mercy Medical Center and Providence Behavioral Health Hospital have implemented new restrictions on visitation, effective immediately. These restrictions are in place for the protection of patients and colleagues.

The visitor restrictions are in place at Mercy Medical Center, Family Life Center for Maternity, Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital, and Providence Behavioral Health Hospital. The visitor restrictions are as follows and will remain in effect until further notice:

• Visitors will be limited to one at a time per patient;

• No visitors under 14 years old will be permitted; and

• Do not visit if you have any symptoms of a cold, the flu, or COVID-19.

In order to provide an environment that is as safe as possible for patients, visitors, and colleagues, all visitors are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water frequently, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer; use a tissue to cover any coughs or sneezes; and assess their own health and, if at risk for illness or displaying any symptoms, consider staying home.

“We recognize that the care and support of your loved ones is important,” the hospital noted in a statement. “With proper authorization in place, we commit to communicating with family and friends as frequently as possible.”

HCN News & Notes

NORTHAMPTON — Given the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus/COVID-19, Cooley Dickinson Hospital is changing its visitor guidelines and restricting visitors, effective immediately. The new guidelines include:

• One visitor per patient at a time;

• No children under age 16;

• Anyone with upper respiratory symptoms, including fever, sore throat, or cough, regardless of travel history, should postpone their visit to Cooley Dickinson Hospital patients or staff until they feel better; and

• Anyone who has recently visited China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea, or other areas where coronavirus has been reported — or has been in contact with someone who is sick and who has been to one of the countries listed above — should postpone their visit to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Anyone who need to visit a loved one should practice good hand hygiene and follow the proper steps for cleaning their hands, which are on signs posted around the hospital. Specifically:

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based gel;

• Avoid touching your eyes, notes and mouth;

• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, and do not sneeze into your hands. Discard the soiled tissue in a wastebasket and clean your hands.

“At Cooley Dickinson, we take the health and safety of our patients, visitors, and community members seriously,” the hospital said in a statement. For the most up-to-date information, visit the CDC or Massachusetts Department of Public Health website.

HCN News & Notes

NORTHAMPTON — Community behavioral-health agency Clinical & Support Options is proving a local nonprofit can make a positive social impact while also employing the best in business practices at the same time.

Clinical & Support Options (CSO) has again achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). CSO prepared for a year to earn the four-year reaccreditation, which was originally awarded to the agency in January 2016.

COA accreditation is a sought-after benchmark among human-service organizations. It demonstrates implementation of best-practice standards in all aspects of programming, service, management, and administration.

“It’s validating to have a highly regarded accreditor come to CSO, spend days and weeks scrutinizing all our policies, procedures, services, and locations, and then come to the final determination that CSO conducts business ethically and responsibly,” CSO President and CEO Karin Jeffers said. “Our job is to provide the very best service we can to our individual and family clients. Our commitment to best practices and quality improvement is reflected in this reaccreditation, and I’m very proud of our entire staff.”

Clinical & Support Options, originally founded in Greenfield in 1954, now has 16 locations throughout Western and Central Mass. and employs more than 750 local staff. CSO offers a full range of behavioral-health services, including crisis evaluation and stabilization, outpatient therapy, family and community supports, emergency shelter, substance-abuse services, and more. For the last eight years, CSO has developed a ‘trauma-informed care’ model that takes a holistic approach to understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.

COA evaluated 811 different standards, covering all aspects of CSO’s programs, services, management, and administration.

 “COA accreditation is an arduous process, but well worth it,” Jeffers said. “It proves our organization is accountable, reliable, and consistent. CSO is well-coordinated, culturally competent, and employs evidence-based, trauma-informed processes.”

Daily News HCN News & Notes

HOLYOKE — River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) held a training titled “Understanding, Assessing, Managing, and Preventing Suicidal Behavior” at Holyoke High School’s North Campus on March 2.

RVCC therapists attended the event, along with school counselors, psychologists, and nurses from 14 local school districts. The training reviewed the spectrum of self-destructive behavior, differentiated suicide from non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, reviewed suicide assessment and intervention, and discussed sitting with misery and self-care. 

The presenter, Barent Walsh, has written extensively and presented internationally on the topic of self-destructive behavior. According to Walsh, “the field of suicide prevention is evolving with important new empirically supported theories and interventions.” The author of Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide, Walsh is the executive director emeritus of Open Sky Community Services, a human-service agency headquartered in Worcester. He is also a lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance.

Alexa Mignano, director of School-Based Clinical Services at RVCC, brought forth the idea of the training in response to an increase in self-harming and suicidal behavior among students in the Pioneer Valley.

“As the premier provider of school-based therapy services, it was imperative for RVCC to offer this training in response to the school districts’ concern of increased self-harming behavior and suicidality amongst students,” she said. “Besides providing school districts with clinicians in the schools, we also try to support school administrators and their staff with tools they can utilize to support their school community.”

RVCC partners with local school districts to offer comprehensive clinical services during the school day, providing families with access to therapy by removing barriers such as long waitlists, transportation, insurance-coverage problems, and scheduling conflicts. RVCC currently partners with school districts in Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Hadley, Hatfield, Amherst, Granby, Springfield, and East Longmeadow. It also has an office on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College, providing counseling services to students.

HCN News & Notes

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced 15 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 on March 8, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 28. All 15 cases had a direct connection to the Biogen employee conference in late February, and they include eight men and seven women from Suffolk County, Middlesex County, and Norfolk County.

With this announcement, 23 of the presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Massachusetts are associated with the Biogen employee meeting. All 15 new presumptive positive cases are isolating at home.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time. Specimens from presumptive positive cases will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

The Department of Public Health is providing daily updates on the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases at mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring.

As of March 4, 719 people have been subject to self-quarantine in Massachusetts because of COVID-19. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 are currently quarantined. This information is updated online each Wednesday.

For more information on COVID-19, visit mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

HCN News & Notes

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health is taking preemptive measures to protect the health and safety of its patients, the community, and its healthcare workers by initiating a new visitor policy for all of its hospitals.

Under the new policy, only one visitor per patient is allowed at a time, and people experiencing symptoms of fever and/or cough should not visit.

The new policy is in effect at all Baystate Health hospitals, including Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, and Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield.

Additionally, for Baystate Children’s Hospital, no visitors under the age of 12 are allowed.

Baystate Health’s visitation policy during this time is designed to reduce patient and employee exposure to illness. Visitation is at the discretion of Baystate Health.

Daily News HCN News & Notes

NORTHAMPTON — After a months-long project-planning review process, officials at Cooley Dickinson Hospital received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to begin renovation of the hospital’s Childbirth Center.

The construction, which begins Tuesday, March 17, will take place in seven phases over approximately 70 weeks; the Childbirth Center will remain open during the project.

Once completed, the Childbirth Center will offer expanded services in its newborn nursery and more home-like surroundings for patients and families. Other improvements, such as the addition of a dedicated tub room for laboring and more comfortable beds for partners, will be completed earlier in the process so more patients can experience the benefits of the renovation project.

“For many months, staff at the Mass Department of Public Health have been involved in reviewing all aspects of our construction plans to meet their stringent safety requirements,” said Vice President of Operations Anthony Scibelli. “The DPH will continue to be involved as each phase of construction is completed and a new one begins.”

Scibelli says the renovation of the Childbirth Center includes refurbishing all patient-care areas and most support areas to make the space more comfortable for patients and families, as well as creating a warmer, more home-like environment. In addition, the newborn nursery will be upgraded to a Level 1B nursery to provide special newborns with extra care and attention before they are discharged from the hospital. Once renovations are complete, Cooley Dickinson will be the only Level 1B nursery in Western Mass.

“Now that the DPH has given us the green light, we are poised to make our vision for the Childbirth Center a reality,” Chief Development Officer Diane Dukette said. “We are grateful to those who have given. We hope to inspire others to support this center, which is so critically important to our community.”

Dukette noted that community members have already donated $1.7 million to underwrite the cost of the Childbirth Center renovation project, which has been named “Breathing New Life.”

Because the Childbirth Center will remain open during the project, staff will work to minimize noise and distractions as much as possible. Working with the construction company, staff will take the necessary steps to mitigate noise within the site. For example, renovations will be phased so the rooms that are under construction will be worked on as far away from patient care as possible. Noise-cancellation machines will be installed to help with noise reduction, and best-practice construction techniques are planned to ensure dust and debris are well-contained.

“As compared to home or commercial construction sites, hospital construction sites use specially designed construction barriers,” Scibelli said. “These are hard, airtight, temporary walls with a double set of temporary doors that workers pass through on their way in and out of the area that is under construction.”

The architect and construction firm have experience in healthcare, both at Cooley Dickinson Hospital and in the field of healthcare construction in general.

The Childbirth Center was last renovated in 1998. Nearly 600 babies are born in the center each year.

HCN News & Notes

LONGMEADOW — Glenmeadow will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 12 at 3 p.m. to officially open Fraser’s, a new haven for residents living with dementia that will enhance their sense of purpose.

The space on the second floor of the life-plan community was created to support residents living with dementia or other cognitive loss and is designed for them to engage with staff in activities tailored to their specific interests. Made possible by a gift from two brothers whose mother was a Glenmeadow resident, the space is dedicated to peace, tranquility, and restoration and will also be open and available for staff and all residents seeking a quiet place to decompress and rejuvenate.

An overview on the goals of the room will be presented at the ceremony, and a demonstration will be offered on the use of the room’s resources. Visitors from the public will learn about opportunities to volunteer with residents at Glenmeadow.

Glenmeadow is located at 24 Tabor Crossing, Longmeadow. Guests should request an escort to the room at the front desk in the main lobby.

HCN News & Notes

GREENFIELD — LifePath will hold its next free community learning session, “Getting Started with Social Security and Medicare,” on Wednesday, March 25, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at its offices in the Greenfield Corporate Center, 101 Munson St., Greenfield.

Sabrina Feliciano, Public Affairs specialist at the Social Security Administration, will present on Social Security benefits, retirement, planning for the future, and COLA. Lorraine York-Edberg, SHINE regional program director, will present on the basics of Medicare and the options available.

Fifty-five people attended LifePath’s most recent community learning session on Jan. 29, which was intended for older adults and caregivers concerned about protecting themselves from financial risks, including fraud, scams, and financial exploitation.

The session, called “Avoiding Fraud in the New Year,” featured three presenters. Dean Lagrotteria, LifePath’s Elder Protective Services regional director, explained what financial exploitation is, how to avoid it, and how to report it when it’s suspected. Anita Wilson, Consumer Protection case coordinator at the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, and Rachel Senecal, Elder & Persons with Disabilities Unit coordinator, explained how to recognize the tricks scammers use to steal money or personal information and how people can protect themselves.

That session can be viewed online by clicking here.

Daily News HCN News & Notes

LONGMEADOW — Today, March 5, Sara Kendall and Kim Lee of the Mental Health Association Inc. (MHA) will be on the Bay Path University campus at 7 p.m. to talk about how to ask for help around mental health, and also how to support others who may need help, but aren’t asking for it.

Their simple approach of ‘ask, support, and recommend’ is geared towards individuals who want to be able to reach out and support others, but aren’t trained counselors and may not feel prepared to do so.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Breck Suite in Wright Hall at Bay Path University, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow.

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