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The videofluoroscopic swallowing study – what is it and who needs it?

vfss

We’ve all had experiences like taking a sip of water and it having it go down the ‘wrong pipe’ or struggling to get our pills down, but what if it happens regularly or is happening more often? Your doctor may suggest that you partake in a videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) to determine what’s happening while you swallow. A swallowing study can determine if medication, speech therapy, certain positioning or a change in the foods you eat will help you improve your ability to eat and drink more safely. Your doctor may recommend a VFSS if you experience:

  • Complaints of food sticking in your throat
  • Frequent coughing or choking on food or liquid
  • Frequent heartburn and/or burning in your throat
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Painful swallowing, or taking extra effort to swallow
  • Weight loss due to not being able to eat
  • Gagging or vomiting while eating

In addition, patients with certain medical diagnoses may need repeated swallowing studies to document changes in their ability to swallow food and liquid. These conditions include:

  • Stroke
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS or advanced Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cancers of the head, neck and chest

Continue Reading »

Where to find affordable wigs, turbans and headscarves for chemo patients

wigs

You may have just been told the news that no one wants to hear—you have cancer. You may feel frightened and wonder what lies ahead for you. You will need the support of your family, friends and community as you make decisions about your care and treatment process. If it is recommended that you will need chemotherapy, chances are that you are going to experience hair loss. If you are going to lose your hair during treatment, there are plenty of resources available to you for head coverings.

Some health insurance companies cover the cost of a wig or other headwear for cancer treatment patients, but if yours does not there are other options. Calumet Medical Center provides free wigs, turbans and headscarves for our chemotherapy patients; you can stop by Calumet Medical Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to try them on. St. Elizabeth Hospital and Mercy Medical Center also have cancer navigators that are available to help in the search of wigs or anything else that you may need throughout your journey. These resources are just a phone call away, and the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable about the process.

There are several websites that offer help finding affordable head covers, such as The American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org, or Tender Loving Care at www.tlcdirect.org. If you choose a wig, many of the salons in the area will cut and style your wig at no cost.

If you enjoy the outdoors, wigs, hats, turbans or scarves are important for protecting your head from sun exposure, especially in these hot summer months. How you look is certainly not as important as how you feel, but everyone deserves to feel confident and dignified, no matter what their health status is.

Cancer is the toughest fight many of us will ever face, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Calumet Medical Center has a cancer support group called C.A.R.E.S—Cancer Awareness, Resources, Education and Support Group. We meet the fourth Tuesday of each month. Call (800) 450-4042 ext. 2406 for more information.

“Fatten the Pig” fundraiser

fattenthepig

Affinity Health System’s mission is to live out the healing ministry of Christ by providing services that promote the health and well-being of the communities we serve, especially the poor. So when one of the diet clerks in the Food & Nutrition services department at Mercy Medical Center suggested we start a donation fund for hams to give to Father Carr’s Place 2B on Easter, our associates were ready to help.

The idea was presented at the beginning of January. We did some math and found that as long as we could get a donation of a quarter per week from January until shortly before Easter, we would have more than $150 to purchase the hams. The whole department got on board, and we decided to name the fundraiser “Fatten the Pig.”

A food service associate from the tray line brought in her pink piggy bank, which staff then “fed” donations to throughout January, February, March and the first two weeks of April to help “Fatten the Pig.” We had at least one associate contribute weekly, while another diet clerk kept track of the money we accumulated. In total, we raised $151. Continue Reading »

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Affinity Health System is pleased to honor health care volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 6 – 12, 2014. Volunteers contributed more than 125,000 hours of service to Affinity Health System last year. Affinity’s volunteer programs offer many opportunities to meet the interests, skills and schedules of a variety of volunteers. Thank you volunteers! You make a difference in our workplace and the lives of those you serve.

Learn a little bit about volunteering at Affinity Health System and how much we appreciate our volunteers by watching these videos.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at Affinity Health System, visit: www.affinityhealth.org/volunteer

Information on volunteering can also be obtained by calling the volunteer services departments at:
Calumet Medical Center, Chilton
(920) 849-7540

Mercy Medical Center, Oshkosh
(920) 223-0225

St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton
(920) 738-2425

Women’s Self Defense Class

self defense class Looking to boost your self-confidence, gain a stronger feeling of empowerment and learn skills to protect yourself? Then sign up for Mercy Medical Center’s self defense class!

On Sunday, March 23 from 1 – 4 p.m. in conference rooms A and B, Paul Dukatz, owner of Dukatz’s Academy of Martial Arts of West Bend, will be teaching a women’s self defense class.

The class is offered for women ages 13 years and older and costs $15 per person. It will cover different scenarios of potential attacks and require participants to execute striking techniques with hands, knees and elbows.

In the lesson, Paul will teach the proper use of pepper spray. Pepper spray will be available for purchase to any participant 18 years and older at the end of the seminar for $15.00. Participants should wear loose clothing or gym clothes to the class.

Paul Dukatz is a fourth degree Black Belt and has been teaching Martial Arts for more than 20 years, covering many seminars. His knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, weapons use and defense against weapons is ideal and easy to learn for people who don’t study martial arts on a regular basis.

You can register online here or call Affinity Nurse Direct at 800-362-9900. Please register by Saturday, March 22.

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