January 13, 2011
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We're two weeks into the new year, so let's see how we're doing on two of our NCH New Year's Resolutions:
(1) Creating a memorable patient experience; and (2) Improving community health.
· The goal of our new Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center is, in fact, “to provide a memorable patient experience.” Accordingly, the objective of breast health navigator RN Lynn Hurley is for the person she cares for—who has just been told the awful news, “You have breast cancer”—to be healthier when she is finished with the experience. Most women with newly-diagnosed breast cancer never suspected they had a problem; they were well when diagnosed. Lynn's goal is to create a pathway to health, so that patients are confident in the ability of the team supporting them.
The Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center was created to answer a patient's every question, by having everyone involved with breast cancer care conveniently available—surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, oncology nurse leaders, and healthcare administrators. Team members meet with the patient in the Lutgert East Building and have access to the latest diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, including experimental protocols and the first non-university TrueBeam radiation therapy facility.
· In terms of our second resolution, improving community health, we turn to Beth Jameson, Director of our two Wellness Centers.
Beth offers practical advice to be able to “live in our bodies for 100 years.” She says the Surgeon General's suggestion that Americans exercise for 60-90 minutes each day doesn't have to be a daunting task. To start, we can take the stairs instead of the elevator or take a quick walk during lunch break. We can also drink more water—our bodies need more water for better health. We can cut back on consuming extra sugar or salt, and make smarter choices in terms of food. “I would never tell anyone to not eat fast food or cake at the birthday party,” says Beth. “The key is to do this in moderation. So, enjoy the party. Tomorrow, get out in this gorgeous city, and work those calories with a little exercise!”
And as to those who resolved to “lose 10 pounds in 2011,” the key is to keep it up. Our bodies take 6-8 weeks of regular activity/exercise to begin to see changes. Muscles usually respond quickly within the first few sessions, as nerves begin to understand how we want them to make muscles move. Our blood pressure, resting heart rate, blood glucose level, and cholesterol level all improve even after the first exercise session. As we improve our physical activity, our hearts and lungs become stronger and work more efficiently. Our bodies better understand how to use the calories we consume and use them to help fuel our activities. It's a learning process.
So let's all start with 10 minutes a day to get moving. Ten minutes can turn into 30 minutes, and we're on our way. Let's also begin to make smarter eating choices, remembering that food fuels our bodies, so fill your system with the high-octane variety!
Our bodies are truly amazing machines. We should recognize that our own quality of life—and that of our family, neighbors and community—can be directly impacted by how well we treat our bodies. We at NCH should serve as examples of proper health habits. We don't have to be perfect, just moving in the right direction.