Dancing for the kids

When DanceBlue started at the University of Kentucky more than 11 years ago, the group’s goal was simple: bring UK students and staff together to help support children and families fighting childhood cancer.

To say the group has been successful would be an understatement. Since it started, DanceBlue has raised more than $8.2 million for our pediatric oncology clinic at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. And this weekend, they’ll add to that total.

The DanceBlue Marathon, which starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Coliseum, is a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that culminates in the group announcing how much money it’s raised in the last year. At the 2015 marathon, DanceBlue celebrated raising more than $1.5 million.

That money benefits children and families being treated at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic – named in honor of the group.

The marathon is open to the public from start to finish but only dancers are allowed on the floor of Memorial Coliseum. Family and friends of dancers are welcome and encouraged to come support their loved ones.

If you’re interested in supporting DanceBlue, join us this weekend! Our dancers, children and families would love your support.

For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, visit www.danceblue.org.

The DanceBlue Marathon benefits the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic

 


Next steps:

  • Read about R.J. Hijalda, a UK freshman dancing in this year’s marathon, who was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma as a freshman in high school.
  • Learn more about the DanceBlue Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
  • Connect with DanceBlue on Facebook and Twitter. Use #FTK (For the Kids) to show your support.

UK HealthCare earns nursing’s highest honor

We’re thrilled to announce that UK HealthCare has achieved Magnet status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence – from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program.

Achieving Magnet status involves a rigorous and lengthy review, but what it means is simple: our nurses are the best at what they do.

Magnet status is the gold standard for nursing excellence. Out of nearly 6,000 health care organizations in the United States, fewer than 7 percent have achieved Magnet designation.

The status represents a solid commitment to continuing education and nursing specialty certification, a cultural transformation of the work environment involving a shared governance model and laser focus on patient safety.

Congratulations to our nursing team — you’re the best!


Next steps:

What you need to know about Zika virus

What you need to know about Zika virus

Chances are you’ve heard about the Zika virus outbreak and its potential to cause birth defects and other pregnancy issues. Should you be concerned about the risk of infection for you and your loved ones? Unless you’ve recently traveled to an area where the virus has spread, the answer is no.

While it is unlikely to become infected unless you’ve traveled to an area where Zika has been reported, here’s what you should know about Zika virus.

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus, which is spread to people when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The current outbreak of Zika virus has spread through the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico, Samoa and Cape Verde. The illness is usually mild, so people may not realize they have the disease. If infected, symptoms will normally last several days to a week. Human-to-human transmission is rare but sexual transmission has been reported.

Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Women and Zika virus

Women who are pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should take special precautions. Zika virus has reportedly been linked in Brazil to microcephaly, a condition that causes a baby’s head to be much smaller at birth and can also lead to intellectual disability.

If you’re pregnant, it is recommended that you not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If travel is unavoidable, speak with your health care provider about your travel plans and discuss mosquito bite prevention methods.

What can I do to protect myself?

When traveling to countries where Zika virus has been found, practice mosquito bite prevention. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents is recommended. You should also stay in places that use air conditioners or window and door screens that keep out bugs.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is of particular concern during pregnancy. Men who have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission who also have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

If you have recently visited an area currently affected by the outbreak and have developed symptoms of Zika, please call UK HealthCare at 859-257-1000 or (toll-free) 800-333-8874.

For more information about Zika virus, watch a video featuring UK HealthCare experts.


Next steps:

The Markey Cancer Center joined a national movement encouraging people to get HPV vaccines.

Get the facts about the HPV vaccine

On Wednesday, the UK Markey Cancer Center, along with 68 of the nation’s top cancer centers, issued a statement urging young people in the U.S. to get a vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

HPV, which is sexually transmitted, is responsible for about 27,000 new cancer cases in the U.S. each year, causing nearly all cervical and anal cancers and also the majority of throat and vaginal cancers, too.

Luckily, the HPV vaccine offers substantial protection against this threat. Unfortunately, not enough people are taking advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent many types of cancer.

In Kentucky, only about 37 percent of girls and 13 percent of boys complete the vaccination schedule, leaving a significant portion of the population at risk. That’s why Markey and others are calling upon the physicians, parents and young adults to learn more about the benefit of receiving the HPV vaccine.

“Although we have made progress in the past several years, Kentucky continues to rank first in the nation for both cancer incidence and mortality,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. “We are still in the top 10 nationally for cervical cancer deaths, and increasing the HPV vaccination rates will significantly lower this grim statistic.”

The HPV vaccine offers substantial protection against various cancers but experts say not enough people are taking advantage of it.

Understanding the benefits of the HPV vaccine might convince you that it’s right for you or someone you know.

The HPV vaccine protects against more than cervical cancer.

The vaccine actually protects against several types of cancer. It does so by targeting certain strains of HPV. These infections are spread through sexual contact. They can cause genital warts. But most cause no symptoms and go away without treatment.

Some HPV infections may linger for years in your body. These viruses may damage cells, eventually causing cancer. The HPV vaccine prevents those strains responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. It may also prevent HPV infections that lead to cancers of the throat, anus, penis and vagina.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys, girls, young men and young women.

In 2006, health experts recommended the HPV vaccine for females ages 9 to 26. But its potential to prevent other cancers besides that of the cervix made it appropriate for boys and young men, too. Doctors now encourage males ages 9 to 26 to also receive the vaccine.

Two types of HPV vaccine are available. They are Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil is approved for use in both sexes. Cervarix is only for girls and young women. Ideally, three doses of either vaccine are given over a 6-month period at ages 11 or 12 before any sexual activity.

The HPV vaccine is effective.

The HPV vaccine may not protect against all HPV infections that may promote cancer. But it can substantially lower the risk. In a recent study, researchers compared the HPV history of more than 4,000 women ages 14 to 59 over two 4-year periods. Those timeframes included 2003 to 2006—before the HPV vaccine became available—and 2007 to 2010—after it was in use. They found that the vaccine cut in half the number of HPV infections in girls ages 14 to 19.

The HPV vaccine is safe.

Past research including nearly 60,000 participants has confirmed the vaccine’s safety. But like all vaccines, side effects are possible. Most are minor. They may include pain and redness at the injection site, fever, dizziness or nausea. Some people have fainted after receiving the shot. In rare cases, blood clots and Guillain-Barré syndrome — a disorder that weakens muscles — have been reported.

Women who receive the HPV vaccine should still schedule regular Pap tests.

Pap tests detect abnormal cells in the cervix. They alert your doctor to potential cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine may prevent future HPV infections, but it doesn’t treat pre-existing ones. It also doesn’t prevent all types of cervical cancer. For these reasons, women should still schedule regular Pap tests.


Next steps:

  • If you or someone you love is interested in receiving the HPV vaccine, schedule an appointment with the Markey Cancer Center online or at 859-323-5553.
  • Read a blog by Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of the Adolescent Medicine at UK HealthCare, about the importance of including the HPV vaccine in all young adults’ health care plans.
  • Learn more about the Gynecologic Oncology Team at the Markey Cancer Center

Coworkers rally to support UK occupational therapist in wake of tragedy

Heather Ellis began her shift at UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital on Nov. 4 like normal, but just a short time later she received the news that her brother-in-law, a Richmond, Ky., policeman, had been critically wounded while on duty.

“In a matter of a few hours into my workday, I literally went from my normal day of being an occupational therapist and treating patients at bedside, to a distressed family member hoping and praying for a miracle of my own,” Heather said.

Heather’s brother-in-law, Daniel Ellis, was shot while searching an apartment for a robbery suspect. He was transported by ambulance to Chandler Hospital, where he was cared for in the ICU. Daniel passed away early in the morning two days later, leaving behind his grieving family and a shocked community.

Several UK HealthCare employees joined together to support Heather and her family in the wake of Daniel’s tragic death.

“From the moment Daniel came into the ED to when he took his last breath, the UK staff was nothing but outstanding,” Heather said. “I’m so grateful that he was at UK, knowing that he would receive top-notch care.”

To show support for Daniel’s loved ones, the inpatient rehab department staff purchased T-shirts designed and sold in Richmond. The money from the T-shirt sales was given to the Ellis family. On the day of the funeral, employees from Heather’s department wore either the T-shirts they had purchased to support the family or blue under their uniforms as a sign of support and remembrance.

“The professionalism and compassion shown for myself and my family went above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” Heather said.

“The nurses, critical care team members, physicians and my rehab family showed endless amounts of love, kindness and empathy from the very beginning and still continues on. Having this strong support system from the UK HealthCare staff made the unbearable heartbreak as bearable as possible.”

 

Circle of Love benefits more than 800 Kentucky kids.

Circle of Love benefits Kentucky children in need

Thanks to the generosity of UK employees, volunteers and students, hundreds of Kentucky children in need will have their holiday wish lists fulfilled this year.

The Circle of Love gift drive, coordinated by the UK HealthCare Volunteer Services Office, will benefit more than 800 kids in nine Kentucky counties this holiday season.

Following the month-long gift drive, Santa Claus and volunteers from UK HealthCare joined forces last Friday to help load school buses and vans with wrapped gifts for local children and families.

Volunteer Services Manager Katie Tibbitts said this year’s drive was a success.

“The gifts here today may be the only gifts these kids receive for the holidays,” she said. “It is absolutely wonderful what our UK HealthCare employees have done for these children.”

Check out photos from Friday’s event!

Wesley Burks, executive dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will speak at UK's medical campus as an EVPHA candidate.

UK HealthCare earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures’ recognition from The Joint Commission

UK HealthCare has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in seven categories by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

UK HealthCare — which includes the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital — was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for:

  • Heart Attacks
  • Heart Failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Surgical Care
  • Children’s Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Perinatal Care

UK HealthCare is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.

The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures included in the recognition program including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.

To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:

Achieve cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all reported accountability measures;
Achieve performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure with at least 30 denominator cases; and
Have at least one core measure set that had a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and within that measure set, achieve a performance rate of 95 percent or above on all applicable individual accountability measures.
“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of UK HealthCare for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.

“Quality and safety is vital to our success at UK HealthCare in providing the best care for patients across the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “This recognition is an acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of our staff working hard day in and day out.”

For more information about the Top Performer program, visit www.jointcommission.org/accreditation/top_performers.aspx.

Wesley Burks, executive dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will speak at UK's medical campus as an EVPHA candidate.

UK HealthCare doctors are among the best in the U.S.

UK HealthCare has more than 125 physicians practicing medicine with UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Shriner’s Hospitals for Children who appear on the Best Doctors in America list for 2015-16 – more than any other hospital in Kentucky. Only 5 percent of doctors in America earn this honor, decided by impartial peer review.

The Best Doctors in America list, assembled by Best Doctors Inc. and audited and certified by Gallup, results from polling of more than 40,000 physicians in the United States. Doctors in more than 40 specialties and 400 subspecialties of medicine appear on this year’s List.

The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.

See the full list here.

Patients in UK HealthCare's first kidney donor chain.

Patients in UK HealthCare’s first kidney donor chain meet for first time

On Wednesday, we announced our first “kidney donor chain,” and patients in the the chain learned who their respective donors/recipients were.

Kidney donor chains, also called kidney paired exchanges, occur when a living kidney donor is incompatible with their intended recipient. The donor may agree to donate their kidney to a different patient, provided that their loved one receives a kidney from someone else.

When multiple pairs are involved, this causes a domino effect, with each recipient receiving a matched kidney from a stranger. That’s what happened here at UK HealthCare in June.

Eight surgeries were performed within 48 hours and four people were given their lives back.

Check out our infographic to see how it all worked.

infographic: UK HealthCare's first kidney donor chain

The chain was initiated by one altruistic donor who was willing to give her kidney to anyone who needed it: Nicki Coulter, a former nurse from Bloomfield, Ky.

“I used to be a nurse, and I just felt like this was something I needed to do,” Coulter said. “I was blessed with good health and a good support system in my family. So I decided to do it!”

Read more about this remarkable event at UKnow. And check out UK HealthCare’s Twitter feed for more coverage from Wednesday’s press conference.

5 tips from the Falls Fair

5 tips from UK HealthCare’s Falls Fair

Last week, UK HealthCare hosted the Falls Fair, an event that provided educational resources to older members of our community and their caregivers and highlighted the risks and dangers of falling.

We had a great turnout from the community as well as support from local businesses and groups. Organizations like the YMCA of Central Kentucky, Kentucky Arthritis Foundation, Lexington’s chapter of the Taoist Tai Chi Society and more were on hand to share the importance of physical activity to help improve balance and coordination, build strength, and reduce the likelihood and severity of falls.

Other organizations like Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, gave out information about its Skilled Rehabilitation Program, and Safe Kids Fayette County offered tips about how grandparents can keep children safe while in their care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year.

Amanda Rist, RN, BSN, is a registered nurse and is the Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Trauma Program Office here at UK HealthCare. Rist organized the Falls Fair event and said older adults who have fallen or are afraid of falling should speak with their doctor.

“If you have fallen and you have not told anyone, then you need to talk to your doctor,” she said. “There are things we can do to help you gain independence back.”

Here are our five top tips to help prevent falls:

  • Know your limitations and risk. Talk to your doctor.
  • If you are on multiple medications, make sure to manage them well and talk to your doctor and pharmacist.
  • Stay active. Get into an exercise program. Exercise improves strength, balance and coordination.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly
  • Make sure your house and stairways are clutter-free and well lit.

Next steps: To schedule an appointment with a UK HealthCare doctor, visit our Appointment website.

We look forward to seeing you at the next Falls Fair!