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Employee Spotlight – Buffy Jones

The Keystone Health Employee Spotlight for August shines on Buffy Jones, Licensed Practical Nurse at Keystone Infectious Diseases!

Buffy began her career at Keystone in September 2009. She had 15 years of experience as a Medical Assistant, and had recently earned her LPN license when she applied at Keystone.

“I wanted to make a difference and use my nursing skills with people and patients I felt I could relate to,” she said. “I am proud to work at Keystone because I can let patients know what programs we have to offer people who can’t get help, medical care, or prescriptions otherwise, and people with no insurance or drug addictions, etc.”

Buffy’s job responsibilities keep her quite busy.

“I work with (Registered Nurse) Amy Heckman in the Infectious Diseases office in the mornings, and then I go to the hospital and work in the wound clinic with the Infectious Diseases doctors for the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon,” she said. “I then go back to the office and finish up the day by answering phones and messages and doing medication changes.”

When asked what she most likes about her job, you can tell that Buffy truly cares about the people she works with.

“I’m proud when patients can remember my name and they make me feel like I made a difference in their life,” she said. “I enjoy working with the patients and my ID doctors, and the challenge of learning new infections and treatment plans.”

A fact that people may be surprised to learn about Buffy is that she was born in another country.

“I was born in Germany and came home to the United States at 3 months old,” she said.

She now lives in Chambersburg with her husband Rodney, and their two dogs, Minnie Pearl and Pepper. She and Rodney enjoy spending time with their four children and 11 grandchildren, and Buffy also keeps busy with her favorite hobbies: crafts, reading, and gardening.

Thank you, Buffy, for all that you do for Keystone and our patients!

Free Pap Test and Other Health Services! August 13-August 17, 2018

FREE health care services at Keystone Community Outreach!

Medication Safety Tips For Children And Older Adults

Medication safety is an important topic for everyone to be educated about. If you are a senior citizen or are a caregiver to a child, it’s especially important to know the facts as these age groups are often most at risk for medication errors.

In today’s Take Care article, Charles Hill, a Registered Pharmacist and Director of Keystone Pharmacy shares some medication safety tips all parents and older adults should know. 

What are some tips for parents about proper medication dosage?

Unfortunately, accidental medication overdoses in children happen every day. However, there are easy ways to prevent it. A few simple tips that can help you keep your child safe are:

  1. Always read and follow the “Drug Facts” label on over-the-counter medication
  2. Know the difference between a teaspoon (5 mL) and a tablespoon (15 mL)
  3. Know the current weight of your child as many medications are dosed by weight
  4. Make sure you are giving the right medicine in the right amount to the child
  5. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse to find out if medications can be given together

What should you do if you think your child has swallowed medication they should not have taken?

First, never guess what you should do. Stay calm and act quickly. If the child can’t be awakened, is having difficulty breathing, collapses or has a seizure call 911 immediately. If your child does not have these symptoms call the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, where an expert in poisoning is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It’s a good idea to save this number in your cell phone or keep it somewhere in your home where you can easily locate it, such as the refrigerator. Calls are free and confidential.

If you do call, be prepared with the following information: Your name and phone number, your child’s name, weight, and any medical conditions he or she has, any medicine your child is taking, the name of the item your child swallowed, the time your child swallowed the item (or when you found your child) and the amount you think was taken.

What are some medication safety tips for older adults?

As you age, you are more likely to use additional medications which increase the chance of harmful drug effects, including interactions. Additionally, as you age, physical changes to your body can affect the way your body handles medicine leading to potential side effects or complications. These four safety tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are a good starting point for many seniors:

  1. Take medicine as prescribed – with input from your health care provider. Do not take prescription medication you haven’t been prescribed. Don’t skip doses or stop taking medication without first consulting with your provider. And if you’re having bothersome side effects or other questions, talk to your provider before making the decision to stop.
  2. Keep a medication list and update it frequently. Your list should include the name of the medication, the dosage and how often you take it. Also include why you’re on the medication. Give a copy of the list to a friend or loved one that you trust. Consider using one pharmacy. This helps your pharmacist keep track of potential interactions, side effects and allows them help you more efficiently.
  3. Be aware of potential drug interactions and side effects. You can do this by carefully reading “Drug Facts” labels on over-the-counter medications, reading the patient information leaflets dispensed with each new prescription drug and reviewing any special instructions provided to you by your healthcare provider. Be sure to share your current medication list with each healthcare provider you see.
  4. Review medications with your health care provider. Ideally, you should discuss prescription, over-the-counter and dietary supplements that you take with your health care provider at each visit. The purpose is to confirm the medications are still necessary and if the supplements are appropriate – and to determine which ones you can stop taking (if any).

As always, if you have any questions related to your medications, don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist. We are here to help! In the next article, I will be discussing the correct ways to store and dispose of medications.

 

This article contains general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or care by a qualified health care provider.

Take Care Of Yourself – A Psychiatrist’s Letter To The Community

With suicides making national headlines in the past few weeks and as the rates continue to rise across the country, it’s more important than ever to shed light on the subject of mental health. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people neglect seeking treatment or speaking up about the subject due to the stigma that can often be attached to mental illness. The truth is, mental health conditions should be viewed no differently than physical illness. As someone would not be ashamed to seek treatment for physical pain or discomfort, they should feel no shame in speaking to their doctor about mental health struggles.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jagdeep Kaur of Keystone Behavioral Health is concerned about the mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone, and wants everybody to have the tools they need for combating stress. For today’s Take Care article, we are sharing a letter that Dr. Kaur has written to our community:

Dear Reader,

The impact of everyday stress and our emotional response to this stress worries me a lot. I am very much concerned about everybody in our community (adults, children, infants, and our pets). Daily news in the media about suicides and the suicide rate going up all over the country are worrisome. As human beings, we are very sensitive to changes in our environment. However, we also have a strong ability to adapt to these changes.

Our brains are very flexible and beautifully designed to make our lives easier. It’s important to relax and think about our ongoing problems. There is always a way out. We have full power to change our thoughts. Our thoughts are tightly connected to our feelings and our behaviors and actions. Suicide is not the answer. Suicide is making the misery worse.

I want you all to have a strong will to be well. You need to be aware of your stress, and bring a strong desire to feel better to your consciousness. Whenever you feel hurt, sad, mad or frustrated, take a break from whatever you are doing and practice a mental health exercise: Relax your whole body and take a deep breath. Do deep breathing for a minute or two. Fill your heart with love and kindness. Send lots of love to yourself because you deserve that.  You are very valuable. Pay attention to your thoughts. Are you mad at someone? Can you sense anger toward anybody? Please do me a favor and send lots of love to them as well. It is not going to harm or hurt anybody. Sit with that feeling for as long as you want. Keep doing the deep breathing. Now, how do you feel? Do you feel any better? You can practice this exercise every day to benefit from it fully.

Unhealthy coping skills (use of excessive caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, compulsive gambling, relationship conflict, etc.) are not helping at all. Actually they are making the problem worse. Stress affects our bodies. It releases stress hormones, which is the starting point of many long-term (chronic) diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, arthritis, depression, and many others. I am amazed that food and diets get more media coverage than emotional health. We see a lot of information about clean eating so harmful chemicals are not part of our diets. But what about the toxic chemicals that our bodies are generating in response to our emotions? We can easily process those toxic chemicals only if we change our responses and take care of ourselves.

You already know how to take care of yourself- start doing that. Do things that have meaning and purpose for you. Do things that are fulfilling for you. Ask for help early in the process as delaying it is not going to help. It’s important to talk to your medical provider about your feelings to be pointed in the right direction.

You are precious and have lots of potential to achieve your goals. Please keep that in mind always.

Take care,

Sincerely,

Jagdeep Kaur, MD

Any responses or comments to this letter are greatly appreciated. Please send your feedback to: jakaur@keystonehealth.org.

 

This article contains general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or care by a qualified health care provider.

Employee Spotlight – Heather Lowe

Heather pictured with her husband, Josh, and their daughter Sydney.

The Keystone Health Employee Spotlight for July shines on Heather Lowe, of Keystone’s Purchasing Department!

Heather began her career at Keystone in 2008 when she was hired as a scheduler at Keystone Pediatrics. Over the course of her nine years there, she worked her way up to Lead Scheduler.

“I had previously been working at a salon as a massage therapist, and was looking for something new,” she said. “I was told by a friend who worked at Pediatrics what a great place it was to work, and what a great group of people I would be working with. And she was right. Over the years I have made many, many friends at Keystone and consider them to be my work family. We are always there for each other through the good and the bad. I lost my mom in 2014 and my work family was there for me and helped me get through one of the toughest times in my life. I will always be grateful for that.”

Heather moved to the administrative side of operations this year when she accepted a position as a purchasing agent in February.

“I have many things I like about my job but my favorite thing is being able to learn new skills almost daily,” she said. “I like the challenge of learning a new system or way of doing things. I am still pretty new in Purchasing so every day is something new and exciting.”

Heather puts her new skills to work each day by doing a variety of things to help keep the department running smoothly – and that usually means a busy schedule.

“When I come in in the morning I sort through my many emails and check the status of orders or answer questions about items or orders that any of the employees or vendors have,” she said. “Throughout the day I get assigned orders and process them through the various vendors Keystone partners with. I also help analyze the cost for larger items and projects, and sometimes you will see me at various Keystone locations delivering orders or picking up items.”

One thing that hasn’t changed since starting her new position is that Heather is still proud to work at Keystone.

“I enjoy working for a company who does so much for our community and the people in it,” she said. “Being in purchasing I have the chance to see just how much Keystone is involved in and its pretty amazing. I know that what we do matters. Even the smallest thing can make a big difference. I know that Keystone has the best providers, nurses, and staff around and I am proud to work alongside them.”

Heather also keeps busy in her personal life. She lives in Upperstrasburg with her husband, Josh, and their two-year-old daughter, Sydney. She enjoys spending time with family (including yearly trips to Michigan to visit her husband’s family), cooking, road trips, relaxing with her favorite TV shows and movies, and reading. Some of her favorite books are The Lord of the Rings, The Narnia series, The Night Circus, and anything by James Patterson.

Something people may be surprised to learn about Heather is that she grew up as a “military brat” and lived in many different places around the world.

“My dad was in the Air Force and we lived in Virginia, England, Germany, New Mexico, South Carolina, and here in PA,” she said. “In those years I got to see some amazing things like Paris, London, The Grand Canyon, all kinds of castles, and so much more. I was a very lucky kid to be able to experience all of that at such a young age. All of my family lives either here in Chambersburg or various other outlining areas.  Though I have not lived here all my life I feel at home here. I grew up chasing lightning bugs and going to ox roasts, festivals, and have childhood friends here.”

Thank you, Heather, for all that you do for Keystone and our patients!

How To Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease

This time of year, many people are enjoying the warmer weather by spending more time outdoors. While this can be a great opportunity to get more exercise and fresh air, it can also increase your chances of being bitten by ticks. Dr. Raghavendra Tirupathi MD, Medical Director of Keystone Infectious Diseases, shares some important information about Lyme disease and what you need to know to keep you and your family safe from tick bites.

What is Lyme disease and how do you get it?

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacterium carried by ticks. It’s especially important for people in our area to be aware about the subject, because Pennsylvania is one of the states where Lyme disease is most common. In this country, people are most likely to be infected during the summer and fall seasons.

It’s spread to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (also known as a deer tick) which has been attached to a person’s body for at least 24 hours. They can attach to any body part, but are often found in areas such as the scalp, groin and armpits.

What are the symptoms?

Typical early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a bullseye-like skin rash. This rash can appear 7 to 30 days after the tick bite and can reach a size of up to 12 inches or larger. The rash is usually not itchy or painful, so it is important to check your skin regularly.

What are the long-term effects?

If left untreated, Lyme disease can have serious long-term effects as it can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.  Some issues it can cause include nerve and joint pain, joint swelling, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, an irregular heartbeat, facial paralysis, and additional rashes on other areas of the body.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed and treated?

Lyme disease is diagnosed by a physician after evaluating the patient’s symptoms and history of possible or known exposure to infected blacklegged ticks. Laboratory blood tests can also be helpful in some cases. It’s most commonly treated with antibiotics, but patients with certain neurological or cardiac illnesses may require intravenous treatments.

If you find a tick on your body, what’s the best way to remove it?

You should use fine-tipped tweezers and grip the tick as closely to the skin as you can. Steadily pull the tick upward. Do not twist or jerk the tick, as this can leave parts of its mouth attached to the skin. If parts do remain after removal, you may be able to remove them with clean tweezers. If you are unable to, leave them alone and allow the skin to heal. After removal, clean the bitten area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

You can dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Ticks should never be crushed with your fingers.

What can you do to protect yourself against Lyme disease?

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is by doing what you can to prevent tick bites. When spending time outside, use an insect repellant labeled as having 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 to exposed skin. Stay away from wooded and brushy areas as much as possible. When hiking, stay in the middle of trails and try to keep away from leaf piles, tall grass and brush. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off any ticks that could be crawling on you.

You should check your and your child’s entire body for ticks after being in areas where they are common. While ticks are most often found in wooded, grassy or brushy places, they can also live in gardens or lawns. Keep in mind that ticks can also attach to animals and be brought into houses by pets. Tick control products may be helpful in reducing the chances of your pet carrying ticks. By taking a few simple steps, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease.

 

This article contains general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or care by a qualified health care provider.

Keystone Doctor Featured In National Publication

Dr. Raghavendra Tirupathi, Medical Director of Keystone Infectious Diseases, recently wrote an article for the national publication The Hospitalist, the official news magazine of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

The article discusses Candida auris, which is “an emerging, often multidrug-resistant yeast that causes invasive infections (such as bloodstream, intra-abdominal) and is transmitted in health care settings.”

In the article, Dr. Tirupathi wrote “It is essential for hospitalist physicians to be aware of this emerging pathogen and also of the interventions needed to curb its spread, given they are the frontline warriors in the fight against hospital-acquired infections.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

What Families Living With ADHD Need To Know

A health condition impacting many families today is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD. Joel Desotelle, MS OTR/L, pediatric occupational therapist and program director of Keystone Pediatric Therapies in Chambersburg, offers some insight and tips for individuals and families living with ADHD.

ADHD On The Rise

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as of 2016, 9.4% of children (6.1 million kids) ages 2-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD. This is up from 7.8% recorded in 2003. Of those, 64% have another disorder, including behavior/conduct issues, anxiety, depression, autism, and/or Tourette syndrome.

Common Problem Areas

Individuals with ADHD have difficulty paying attention, controlling their impulses, and struggle with transitioning to and from activities. While many individuals have normal and even higher intelligence, their limited ability to focus makes listening and learning hard and even uncomfortable or frustrating. To compensate, they often use behaviors to control their environment to avoid difficult tasks or requests. As a result, individuals are often labeled, have difficulty realizing their potential, and even suffer from low self-esteem.

Contributing Factors

Diet, lack of physical activity, poor sleep schedule, and/or extended time playing video games, watching television, or being on the computer/tablet may contribute to your child’s inattention.

Strategies For Individuals Living With ADHD

If you are concerned that your child may suffer from ADHD, you should consult your child’s physician to learn about treatment options. In addition, there are many strategies that are beneficial for all children. First, kids benefit from structure. Having a good daily routine helps children get organized and learn to stay organized. Keeping toys and activities in separate designated boxes encourages structured play, while “toy boxes” containing all of a child’s toys are often overwhelming. Modeling organized play, especially for young children, sets a good standard they can incorporate as they get older.

Secondly, children need physical activity. Video games, TV, computers, tablets, and phones should be limited. While they offer an almost endless vault of games and activities, it is extremely important for children to use all their senses. Hands-on tasks promote cognitive and motor skills that electronics do not. Third, make sure your child is getting a good, healthy diet and lastly, children need adequate sleep to grow and develop. Setting a regular bedtime and being consistent will make sure your child is ready to go the next day. Remember, tired kids have a difficult time focusing.

Occupational Therapy And ADHD

Pediatric occupational therapists specialize in helping kids regulate, improve attention, address delayed skills related to ADHD (ex. fine motor, writing, etc.), and can help you develop home/school strategies so that your child can be more successful, happy, and confident. If you notice your child is struggling in any of these areas, he or she may benefit from occupational therapy services.

 

This article contains general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or care by a qualified health care provider.

 

Employee Spotlight – Jules Bulka

The Keystone Health Employee Spotlight for June shines on Jules Bulka, Lead Billing Representative at Keystone Dental Care!

Jules began working at Keystone in 2013 as a front office representative.

“I was attending college at the time, but I had no idea what I wanted to major in,” she said. “I decided to take a break and look for a better job in the meantime, which led me to Keystone. What I soon realized is how there are many possibilities of advancing within Keystone. I went from being a front office representative to becoming a billing representative, to now the lead, and I have enjoyed every step of the way.”

One of the things she enjoys about her job the most is her co-workers.

“My favorite part is honestly having the people I work with,” Jules said. “The atmosphere of the office I work in and the team that works alongside me every day makes it worthwhile to be here. We don’t always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day we all have one goal and that is to get the job done and we have fun accomplishing it.”

She also enjoys knowing that Keystone is making a difference in the lives of our patients each day.

“Keystone is an organization that will always put their patients first and I know myself and my fellow co-workers do the same,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing to see others go the extra mile to help assist our patients in all aspects. I take pride in the fact that many of our patients see Keystone as more than just a business and that they can put their trust in us.”

While Jules does most of her work “behind the scenes,” she still plays a big part in the healthcare team.

“I take pride in being a part of the last steps in a patient’s visit,” she said. “The billing department does not get a lot of face-to-face interaction with the patients, but we make many phone calls either to the insurance companies or to patients to ensure that their experience after they leave the office is just as smooth. At one point I did not know the answers to some of the questions we are asked by patients, but now it makes me feel really good when a patient gets to have that ‘ah-ha moment’ because of the explanation I was able to give.”

While each day can bring new challenges, Jules is always ready to give her best effort to keep her department running smoothly.

“There is always something new to work on in billing,” she said. “You always have your everyday tasks, but there are many different questions that need answered throughout the day as well. On a normal day it’s posting payments, making calls, and keeping up with the constant flow of mail. It is an endless cycle, but I enjoy it.”

In her free time, Jules keeps busy with her favorite hobbies: hunting, traveling, walking and hiking, tubing in nearby creeks, and spending time with her family and friends. Her love of traveling has led her to visiting nine different countries, and she will soon add one more when she and her mother visit Peru this month.

“I have been very blessed to have my mom join me for many of my travels,” she said.

Jules lives in Carlisle with her husband and three pets.

“My husband and I have been together since we were 13, and we will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary in August,” she said. “We have a beagle/rottweiler mix, Luca, a husky, Rumor, and our cat, Echo. We look forward to starting a family of our own in the future.”

Thank you, Jules, for all that you do for Keystone and our patients!

 

Are You Or Your Children Overusing Electronics?

While many people would seek immediate attention for a physical problem, mental health is often overlooked even though it is just as important to overall well-being. Trond Harman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Keystone Pediatrics Chambersburg, is seeing growing mental health problems in kids and teens related to the overuse of technology. In today’s article, he shares some information that every electronic-user, and all parents, should know.

Are there positive things about using electronics?

Yes. Technology is a great way to connect to people and keep us in touch with the rest of the world as well. If technology is used in moderation, it can be a wonderful tool that includes things such as support groups, so that a person with a particular problem does not feel so alone. And it is obviously full of information that can help us know more about the world that we live in.

What are some drawbacks of too much use?

As I discussed in my previous article, too much use can lead to isolation, difficulty interacting with others face-to-face and an inactive lifestyle. This, in turn, can cause or contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In addition, many people take gaming and internet usage way too seriously. Posts on social media can lead to comparison, jealousy, and drama issues. There are also addiction problems in the gaming industry that lead to players continuing to try and try and try to do better in a video game, and therefore spending numerous hours playing.

What advice do you give your patients about proper electronics use?

The best advice that I can give about using the internet appropriately and properly is to set a timer for yourself. When the timer goes off, you need to stop what you are doing and find something else to do. It is extremely easy to spend hours on the internet and not accomplish anything. I would also set goals for yourself when using the internet, because far too often we find ourselves looking for one thing, but instead go off in numerous different directions. We then later realize that we have not found any information about what we were actually researching, because we ended up looking at something else.

What advice would you give to parents about how much time is too much for kids and teens?

Parents need to set firm, strict limits for their children. The biggest issue that I find with technology, video games, and social media with children is that they will tell their parents it is causing them to be more depressed because the parents have taken away their technology. This may be true because it does give kids who are isolated a way to connect with others, but many times it is used as a manipulation by the children to make their parents feel guilty about implementing limits.

I’ve had parents do numerous things to help set effective rules for technology. These include only parents knowing passwords to the internet, setting timers, having their child earn internet privileges, and of course, monitoring what their child is doing on the internet. I am not sure if you can say how much time is too much for being on the internet, but during the school week if your child is spending more than two hours every evening on the internet or playing video games, that is probably too much.

What are some signs that it may be time to cut back usage?

Many times, internet addicts use the internet as an escape from real life, and a fantasy world to connect with people online as a substitute for connecting with people face-to-face. Many of those with an addiction to the internet are unable to achieve these relationship connections normally. Some signs of possible addiction include neglecting work or chores, losing track of time when online, hiding or feeling defensive about the amount of time you spend online or what you do while online, becoming upset when your internet time is interrupted, feeling excitement from being online, using electronics as an outlet for your feelings and feeling that your online friends are the only people who truly understand you.

Parents need to look for signs that their child is isolating themselves more or that their grades are dropping. Parents need to also communicate with their children to make sure that there is no additional drama that is being caused by internet usage.

As an adult, if you are struggling with meeting deadlines at work or you find that you are sitting at home much of the time playing games, then it is time to cut back on your usage.

It can be difficult to monitor yourself and your children, but by implementing a few effective guidelines up front for you and for your family, it can be extremely helpful with making sure you use electronics in a proper and healthy way.

 

This article contains general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or care by a qualified health care provider.