Category Archives: Health

UCHS Warriors Pink Game

The Unity Composite High School senior girls’ basketball team hosted their third annual Pink Game, Friday, March 3, to raise funds for breast cancer research. See the March 10th Press-Herald for more details and additional photos.

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Friday’s paper

Lots of reading and viewing in the September 23rd issue of the Unity Wilkie Press-Herald for your edification and pleasure! Check it out for:

  • a complete report on Unity’s first ever “Under the Lights” high school football game;
  • information on the thefts and break-ins that have been plaguing the Unity-Wilkie area;
  • a report and photos from a Code Orange (mass casualties) drill at the Unity and District Health Centre; and
  • a local vet is recognized by her peers for service above and beyond.

And that’s the highlights! There’s more – Delta Co-op has been busy, the Ag Society has things ready for next week’s Trade Show and Fall Fair, the Courtesy Car received a donation … and there is a number of upcoming events to check out in the ads.

Below, more volunteer patients – albeit standing rather than on stretchers – wait to be assessed in the triage area in the emergency department of the Unity and District Health Centre while a “critically injured patient” is moved out to wait for a STARS pickup during a Code Orange exercise Sept. 15.

Unity and District Health Centre

LIam and Olivia most popular 2015 baby names

eHealth Saskatchewan released the top 20 baby names in 2015 earlier this week.  Liam was the most popular name for baby boys for the sixth year in a row and Olivia was the most popular name for baby girls.  The second most popular names were Noah and Emily.

baby

There were 69 baby boys named Liam in 2015, followed by Noah, Benjamin, Lincoln and Lucas.  There were 80 baby girls named Olivia, followed by Emily, Emma, Ava and Avery.

Perhaps the royal family’s newest addition influenced some parents in Saskatchewan, as Charlotte was one of the top 20 girl names in 2015 for the first time.  Last May, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, introduced the world to their baby girl named Princess Charlotte.

In 2015, 15,497 live births were registered in Saskatchewan.  This number does not include Saskatchewan mothers who gave birth outside of the province.

For more information on the most popular baby names, and to see the lists of popular names from previous years, visit the eHealth Saskatchewans website at www.ehealthsask.ca/vitalstats/births/BabyNames/Pages/default.aspx

While 2016 new babies are being celebrated already by many families, our hearts go out to the Surine and Romanowski families of Unity who lost the second of their twin girls earlier this week. Addison joins her sister Emma in heaven. The girls suffered from a rare disorder, spinal muscular atrophy, SMA. Donations for research into a cure for this horrible disease that afflicts babies may be made at curesma.ca,

 

Organ and tissue donation campaign offers hope

Heart transplant recipient Cheryl Olson calls her organ donor her heart hero.

“She saved my life, so she’s my hero,” Olson said about the woman who made possible her heart transplant in 2008.  “Without organ donation – without someone having said yes – I wouldn’t be here today. My family would not be complete.  My donor not only saved my life, she saved my family.”

A wife and mother of two who loves to volunteer and travel, Olson is one of six people affected by organ and tissue donation who are taking part in a provincial campaign to raise awareness about the impact organ and tissue donations can have.

The Offer Hope campaign was launched at Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s Hospital to help individuals, families and their communities learn about the importance of talking to their loved ones about organ and tissue donation.  Families who have talked about their decision to donate are more likely to honour the wishes of their loved ones should organ and tissue donation be possible after death.

“This campaign is a reminder of the lifesaving and life-enhancing benefits of organ and tissue donation,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and one tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 75 people.  Everyone is a potential donor, and supporting donation is something we should all consider.”

Currently, there are about 90 Saskatchewan people waiting for a kidney transplant and a similar number waiting for corneas.  Many others need life-saving heart, lung or liver transplants.  Deciding to donate could save or improve someone’s life.

During the campaign, the inspiring stories of six donors and recipients will be told through videos and posters.  The first story, released December 2014, featured Acacia Tisher, a young woman whose donation of six organs after her death saved five lives.  Cheryl Olson’s story as a heart transplant recipient was released today.  A new story will be told each month until May.  See all the stories at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/transplant.

In addition to videos and posters, an online Offer Hope Toolkit is available to help families and communities start talking about organ and tissue donation.  Each toolkit includes a Thank You letter, How to Talk to Your Family brochure, Organ and Tissue Donation Myths and Facts, How to Get Involved fact sheet, posters, and organ and tissue donor stickers.

“Many people would not hesitate to accept a donated kidney or heart if it was needed to save their lives,” Provincial Saskatchewan Transplant Program Director Diane Shendruk said.  “It’s harder to make the decision to donate because often it comes as a result of a loved one’s death.  But it’s important for us to remember that organ and tissue donation isn’t just about death.  It’s about life, and the potential we have as human beings to offer hope even after our own life has ended.”

In addition to supporting the Offer Hope campaign, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced a bill in the legislature in November to update organ and tissue donation legislation and allow more timely regulatory changes.  That legislation is expected to be passed this spring.  Managed by Saskatoon Health Region, the Saskatchewan Transplant Program provides service in Saskatoon and Regina.

The Offer Hope campaign is supported by the Government of Saskatchewan, Lions Eye Bank of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Transplant Program, Saskatoon Health Region and Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region.  You can get more information at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/transplant.

“Immunize or Mask” in health care facilities

Starting Dec. 1, if you haven’t had your flu shot, you will have to wear a mask when you enter any Heartland Health Region facilities or sites where patient care and service is provided, r any other health care facilities in the Province of Saskatchewan.

If you are not immunized against the flu, you will have to keep wearing a mask while in patient care and service locations until April 3, 2015, the approximate end of the annual influenza season.

The expectation to ‘Immunize or Mask’ applies to all members of the public who come into hospitals, long-term care facilities, primary health care sites, public health locations and other sites where patients, residents or clients typically access health region care or services. It includes common areas in these facilities such as hallways, lobbies and waiting rooms, as well as patient rooms, wards, units, departments and other areas where patients, residents or clients typically access care or services.

All HHR employees and other health professionals, including physicians, are required to have their seasonal influenza immunization or wear a mask while in the health region’s patient care locations. Volunteers, students, vendors and contractors must also wear a mask in Heartland Health Region’s patient care locations if they have not received their seasonal influenza immunization. In the community, healthcare workers are required to be immunized or wear a mask when delivering care or service to patients or clients at home, or in public locations such as Wellness Clinics.

The requirement to be immunized or wear a mask is part of a new province-wide influenza immunize or mask policy in effect in all Saskatchewan health regions and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. The purpose is to further protect the health and safety of patients. It also serves to further protect healthcare workers, their colleagues, families, friends, and communities.

Dr. David Torr, consulting medical health officer for the region says “The number one prevention against influenza is to get your influenza vaccination every year. It is the best protection for you, your family, friends and communities from influenza.” Although the immunization cannot guarantee that you will not get the flu this season, it greatly reduces the chance you will get it and, if you do get the flu, the vaccine will likely reduce the length of time that you will suffer from the symptoms, as well as the strength of the illness. With vaccine, you will also spread less of the virus for less time to those around you, if you get it. It is also very important for everyone to always practise proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and not to visit patients and health care facilities when you are ill or just recovering.

It is not too late to get your flu shot. In Macklin, a clinic will be held at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Unity’s December clinic will be Dec. 18, at the health centre, from a to 7 p.m. From January 2015 to the end of March 2015, flu shots are available at your nearest public health office.

In Heartland Health Region facilities, surgical/procedure masks will be available for individuals who have chosen not to be immunized against influenza. Gel hand sanitizer, an additional tool to further minimize the spread of infections, is located throughout HHR sites. Instructions on how to properly put on and take off the masks will be posted.

 

Pharmacists to be allowed to do more under proposed legislative amendments

Health Minister Dustin Duncan introduced legislative amendments, October 30, that will expand the scope of practice for Saskatchewan pharmacists, benefiting residents through more efficient and accessible health care services.

“All health care providers, including pharmacists, play an increasingly important role by working to their full scopes of practice on a collaborative team,” Duncan said.  “In the spirit of putting the patient first, I believe that expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice will give patients even greater and more timely access to health services.”

Expected to take effect later next year, the amendments will allow pharmacists to administer vaccines and drugs, such as flu shots and vitamin B12 injections.  In addition, the amendments will enable pharmacists to order, access and use laboratory tests, working in collaboration with physicians.

As pharmacists move into a more clinically focused role, some pharmacy technicians will undertake additional training to become regulated under the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists and assume a number of the pharmacist’s technical duties, such as dispensing.  Amendments to the Act will allow for the regulation of pharmacy technicians to ensure they are able to independently perform many of these duties within pharmacies in a safe and effective manner.

Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists Registrar Ray Joubert said the College will work “to ensure appropriate standards and training are in place so that these services are delivered safely and properly co-ordinated within the health system.  This will include ensuring that pharmacy technicians are appropriately qualified to assume responsibility for their important supportive role of the pharmacist.”

Pharmacists’ Association of Saskatchewan Executive Director Dawn Martin said.  “Pharmacists being able to order and access lab results will help ensure patients are getting the health outcomes expected with their drug therapies.  This is another example of how pharmacists can provide innovative patient services within the health care system and to the benefit of Saskatchewan people.”

These amendments build on other changes to pharmacists’ scope of practice.  In 2011, Saskatchewan pharmacists were given the authority to prescribe medications to patients for specific minor ailments, extend refills on existing prescriptions, and provide emergency supplies of prescribed medications, while working in a collaborative practice environment.

There are approximately 1,400 pharmacists practising in Saskatchewan.

Photos of people of Unity, Saskatchewan in October

 

Unity Hospital AuxiliaryPresident of the Unity and District Hospital Auxiliary Rose Mauthe presents Bill McCubbing (above) and Don Robertson (below) with their cheques as the lucky winners of the auxiliary’s 50/50 fundraiser.Unity Hospital Auxiliary

Peter Gartner of the Unity Golf Club gives Amber and Jody Sperle the winning certificate for the November Trip of the Month – a four day trip to Palm Springs, Cal. Contact a member of the golf club to get your ticket for next year’s Trip of the Month draws.trip

Also “in the news” last month was the upcoming retirement of long-time Unity dentist, Dr. Daniel Azuelos. A retirement celebration and farewell tea was held for Daniel and his wife Lynn at the New Horizon Hall Oct. 18. The couple will be living in an urban centre outside Montreal, Quebec, when Dr. Azuelos leaves Unity, Saskatchewan at the end of the year.Dr. Daniel Azuelos

 

 

Residents Reminded to take Precautions Against West Nile

Health officials are reminding Saskatchewan residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites as the risk for West Nile virus (WNV) continues to increase.

The risk of contracting WNV infection usually peaks late July and in August when the mosquitoes that carry the virus, Culex tarsalis, are most active and present in higher numbers.

People are advised to take precautions when outside in areas with mosquitoes.

“Protect yourself from mosquito bites by covering up and wearing repellents or reducing the amount of time spent outdoors,” Provincial West Nile Virus Coordinator Phil Curry said.  “Mosquitoes can be active at any time but are most active in the evening and throughout the night.”

People can also minimize exposure to mosquitoes by eliminating mosquito habitats around their homes:

  • Clear yards of items that can collect water;
  • Regularly clean and empty bird baths and eavestroughs;
  • Ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screen or are tightly sealed around the downspout;
  • Keep bushes, shrubs and lawns clear of overgrowth and debris; and
  • Make sure door and window screens fit tightly and are free of holes.

Although the vast majority of people who have been infected with WNV experience no symptoms, some people will get a mild illness (fever, headaches, body aches) and will improve on their own.  A small number of people will develop a more serious illness called West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease, which includes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

Symptoms of infection with WNV usually occur two to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  There may be a considerable time lag from when the risk of WNV transmission to humans is greatest to when human cases are confirmed.

“If you are concerned about your symptoms, contact your health professional or call HealthLine at 811,” Saskatchewan’s Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker said.  “Seek medical attention immediately if you develop severe symptoms such as severe headaches, persistent high fever with neck stiffness, confusion, seizures or paralysis.”

Recovery from WNV neuroinvasive disease may take several weeks or months, and some effects may be permanent.  In some cases, this form of the disease results in death.

Updated information on WNV including risk levels and maps and surveillance results is posted every Friday before noon on www.saskatchewan.ca/westnile.

Pharmacist speaks to seniors’ gathering

Seniors from Unity, Denzil, Dinsmore, Dodsland, Harris, Kerrobert, Luseland, Macklin and Wilkie gathered at the New Horizons Hall in Unity SK, May 22 for a SSAI regional rally. The mission statement of the Saskatchewan Seniors Association Incorporated is “Working for seniors to bring seniors together in one strong, non-partisan, non-racial, non-sectarian organization that will work for the welfare of all seniors in Saskatchewan.”

Shannon Ireland

With the New Horizons Hall in Unity, Saskatchewan brightly decorated, pharmacist Shannon Ireland speaks to attendees at the Region D spring rally of the SSAI.

The Region D rally featured local pharmacist Shannon Ireland of Unity, Saskatchewan, as a guest speaker, to pass on information about drugs, prescriptions, the seniors’ drug plan and related topics.

Ireland spoke about different options for prescription coverage, including the Saskatchewan seniors’ drug plan, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Greenshield and Group Medical Services. She said it is important for each individual to look at the available choices, from the perspective of his or her own individual circumstances. The plan that is best for one senior may not be the best option for another.

She also said any Saskatchewan resident, a senior or not, can make an application to have the drug plan deductible reduced. The applications are assessed on a combination of income and the cost of the prescriptions needed. “Everybody should be able to afford their medication they need to live, and also (be able) to pay their rent and buy their food.”

Ireland said pharmacists can help with the forms that need to be filled out. Another option is to ask your accountant or family members to help.

In response to questions from the audience, Ireland spoke about the size of some pills, saying multivitamins and calcium are the biggest offenders in terms of being large. Nevertheless, if the instructions are “Do not crush,” there is a reason for that direction. Often a “Do not crush” pill has a special coating that is also the delivery mechanism for the active ingredients. Some are sustained release products, specially created so that the dose is not absorbed into the body all at once. Many blood pressure pills are sustained release medications.

Audience questions covered a lot of ground, including what to do if you have forgotten to take your pills. Bubble packs can help as you can see if you took your medication that morning or not. For certain prescriptions or if you are taking, for example, five pills daily and three are already on the drug plan, then the seniors’ drug plan will pay the cost of the bubble pack.

Ireland also advised that, if you remember about your medication shortly after you were supposed to take it, say within a few hours, then take it when you remember but if it is evening already and you were supposed to take it in the morning, then wait and just take the next dose at the usual time. She added, “If you’re forgetting more than you’re remembering, change to a time you’re more likely to remember to take it.”

Ireland reminded everyone to talk to their pharmacists about their medications. “Part of our job is to tell you if drugs are going to interact.” Check with your pharmacist about interactions with over the counter drugs and herbal remedies as well.

After Ireland’s presentation, the attendees, 65 in all, enjoyed lunch and socializing.

Next week’s newspaper

News, info, photos, upcoming events, sales, job opportunities – all found in the Unity Wilkie Press-Herald paper coming out March 31, 2014. Monday’s paper includes stories on:

  • EMT shortages and the effect on nearby communities;
  • the Unity Miners as league champions – get the details of the final game and on the players and executive involved this year;
  • Unity Credit Union holding their AGM, reviewing 2013 and looking forward to 2014; and
  • the Senlac Cafe serving up gourmet meals.

The Top 10 lays out the  benefits of being a blood donor, while the editorial on page 4 explores in greater depth what it is like to be a donor.

Events in the past week at Unity, SK, included the Lions’ Spring Fling, where Jim Sego acted as MC and the Meota Hobby Band performed for attendees.

Unity, SK Lions ClubMeota Hobby Band