All posts by Denise Parrish

5 sleep tips for school-aged children

[Click here to read this story on Jagwire.]

Everyone needs to sleep. A good night’s sleep boosts health, safety, performance and wellbeing, and it’s especially important for school-age children.

“Children and teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development,” said Dr. Clay Stallworth, a pediatrician for GRHealth at the West Wheeler office. “A child’s body and brain are busy during slumber preparing for another day of tasks and growth, so it’s essential that children get the proper amount of sleep.”

It’s not always easy to know when kids need more sleep because drowsy children don’t necessarily slow down the way adults do—they wind up.

So, just how many ZZZ’s are enough for your school-age child?

“Every child is unique and has unique sleep needs; however there are suggestions based on age,” Stallworth said. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10 to 11 hours of sleep for school-age children.”

Stallworth also shares five tips for helping your children achieve a good night’s sleep:

1. Develop a regular daily bedtime schedule, and don’t stray from it – even on weekends. Your child’s body gets used to an established rejuvenation time and will be ready for sleep.

2. Create a standard and enjoyable bedtime routine. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep each night. Children like a sense of predictability in their routine because it brings them comfort. A suggested routine, especially for children 10 and under, would include taking a bath, dressing for bed, brushing teeth, reading a story and saying goodnight.

3. Avoid before-bedtime sleep traps. Do not let your child eat chocolate or sugary foods, or drink caffeinated beverages late in the day. It’s also important to establish an early curfew – 30 minutes or more before bedtime – on TV watching, video games and even vigorous play, so that children are not over-stimulated close to bedtime.

4. Establish a permanent “sleep-friendly” environment. Make sure your child’s bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature. Keep the bedtime environment the same all night.

5. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently. Whether an infant, toddler or older child, this is a must. Stallworth recommends accomplishing this in your child’s infancy. The older children get, the harder it will be to break their dependence on Mom or Dad for help with falling asleep, and that can affect Mom and Dad’s bedtime.

Studies show that about one in three children – kindergarten through fourth grade – may experience a sleep-related problem, such as frequent waking, sleep walking, talking in their sleep, bedwetting or nightmares. Fortunately, as they mature, children usually outgrow these common sleep issues.

“With a solid routine and a little discipline, you can help your children achieve sweet dreams,” Stallworth said. “And chances are, if your kids are getting a good night’s sleep, you probably will too, and that makes for a healthier family all around.”

Many outpatient surgeries will move to Evans

Georgia Regents Medical Center invests in outpatient surgery center with University Health Care System

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia Regents Medical Center has purchased a 30-percent ownership in the Surgery Center of Columbia County. This 21,000-square-foot outpatient day surgery facility in Evans opened in 2007 as a joint venture between University Health Resources, Inc., the for-profit corporation of University Health Care System, and more than a dozen board-certified physicians and podiatrists.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Georgia Regents Medical Center in an effort to help them increase their outpatient surgery capacity and better serve their patients in need of surgery,” explained James Davis, President/CEO of University Health Care System. “It makes sense for both parties to maximize the use of existing facilities.”

LogosUH.GRMCRecent advancements in technology, particularly in minimally invasive surgery, have increased the demand for outpatient surgical care, because it can benefit patients through shorter operations, fewer complications and quicker recoveries, according to industry reports.

Located on University’s longstanding Evans Campus on North Belair Road, the Joint Commission-accredited Surgery Center of Columbia County offers a broad array of outpatient procedures performed by highly skilled and compassionate physicians and staff in four spacious surgical suites using state-of-the-art technology. Some of the surgical services offered at the center include general, colorectal, ENT, and GI surgeries.

“We’re excited about this new collaboration with University Hospital,” said Dr. Charles G. Howell, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Georgia Regents Medical Center and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Georgia Regents University’s Medical College of Georgia. “We have highly qualified surgeons performing some very complex and lengthy operations in our hospital operating rooms, and that doesn’t always mix well with ambulatory surgical care. Moving more outpatient surgeries to Columbia County will help us alleviate some of the space concerns we’re experiencing so that we can meet the needs of our patients and families more quickly and efficiently at both locations. Additionally, this partnership is another great opportunity for us to work with University Hospital to make Augusta a medical destination.”

About University
University Health Care System is anchored by the 581-bed, not-for-profit University Hospital, founded in 1818. The main campus has expanded to include the Heart & Vascular Institute, an Outpatient Center and office buildings that house more than 600 private practice and employed physicians, and various treatment centers. University has the largest primary care and prompt care network in the region and also includes University Hospital McDuffie in Thomson, Ga., as well as numerous medical campuses in two states, Brandon Wilde Continuing Care Retirement Community and two extended care facilities. University is the only hospital in the region to have earned Magnet designation for nursing excellence, and has been named the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award winner for overall quality and image every year since 1999.

About GRMC
Georgia Regents Medical Center is a not-for-profit providing clinical operations as a cooperative organization for Georgia Regents University. The 478-bed Medical Center includes a Critical Care Center, housing the region’s only Level I trauma center ; the 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care; and more than 80 outpatient clinics that provide primary and specialty care throughout the state. Georgia Regents physicians are consistently ranked among the nation’s best in both America’s Top Doctors® and Best Doctors in America.® Additionally, Children’s Hospital of Georgia was recently ranked as the nation’s highest performing children’s hospital in quality and safety by the University HealthSystem Consortium.

Tea time for female veterans

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Retired Colonel Judy Mosbey served her country faithfully during World War II. This week, the staff at Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home served her.

What was on the menu? Hot tea, finger sandwiches and cake.

“No men are allowed,” said Georgia War’s Activities Coordinator Kimberly Thomas. “This is one event that we do exclusively for our female veterans to thank them for all they’ve done for us.”

That meant Associate Director Carlton Deese wasn’t supposed to be there, but he only stopped by for a couple of minutes to chat with the residents and take a little friendly ribbing from one of the ladies.

Deese said there are approximately 154 veterans currently living at the nursing home; however, only about a dozen of them are women. That’s why singling them out with special events like the Ladies’ Tea is so important.

Judy Mosbey, stirring her tea, was a flight instructor in the Air Force.

Mosbey wore a lavender hat and scarf for the occasion. The former flight instructor served in the Air Force for nearly 30 years, alongside her husband, who was also a pilot. Seventy-five-year-old Mosbey said that back when she enlisted, she realized that she should learn to fly, too, so that she could keep up with him.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program was created in August 1943, because of a shortage of male pilots in World War II, according to the Women of World War II website. These female civilian pilots served under military command and flew planes within the U.S., to free up male combat pilots for overseas duty. They had the privileges of officers, but were never formally adopted into the Army Air Force. However, in November 1977, President Carter signed a bill granting WWII veterans’ status for former WASPs.

Vera Molini said she served in the Navy.

Sipping tea at the table on Mosbey’s left and draped in a yellow floral scarf was Vera Molini, 93, who served in the Navy. The WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program was created in August 1942 in response to the need for additional military personnel during World War II. From the very beginning, the WAVES were an official part of the Navy, and its members held the same rank and ratings as male personnel.

Activities Director Kimberly Thomas pours hot water in Pauline Walker’s tea cup.

Pauline Walker, 82, was clothed in shades of red, which included a garnet-colored carnation headband and a crimson shirt and scarf. Walker served as a secretary in the Army during the war.

Perhaps the most articulate of the ladies at the tea party was Ruby Kleinrath, 93. Army Nurse Corps veterans like Kleinrath worked close to the front lines in WW II, serving in field hospitals and evacuation hospitals, on hospital trains and ships, and as flight nurses on medical transport planes. The skill and dedication of these nurses contributed to lower post-injury mortality rates among American military forces in every theater of the war, according to the website.

Ruby Kleinrath, 93, waits for her tea to be stirred.

In all, nine veterans were gathered around the table in the first-floor cafeteria for the Ladies’ Tea on Sept. 23. Organizers piped in music from the 1940s and ’50s through a CD player to create a more nostalgic event. They also helped each resident create fall decorations for their doors, by attaching autumn leaves and miniature scarecrows to grapevine wreaths.

The Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, or what many refer to fondly as the “Blue Goose,” is a 192-bed skilled nursing facility owned by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service and operated by Georgia Regents University. Throughout its 45-year history of serving the veteran community, Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home has placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that the individual needs of every veteran patient are met.

The home was recently ranked in the nation’s top 15 percent of senior health care providers for patient satisfaction by Pinnacle Quality Insight.

CHOG fountain dedication to be held Tuesday

Children’s Hospital of Georgia officials will hold a dedication ceremony for the new outdoor fountain for patients and families at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the front circle at CHOG.

The project – which includes sculpted dolphins hovering above the water – was funded through a $250,000 portion of the donations from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partners Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Special guests will include patients, families and representatives from these two major CHOG supporters. Walmart and Sam’s Club stores sell Miracle Balloons, take donations at the register and hold bake sales, contests and other events to raise money for CHOG each year during their CMN Hospitals campaigns.

The idea for the fountain came about from a dying child’s desire to play outdoors with his dog during his last days.

Light refreshments will be served at the event, and all are welcome to attend.



Challenge, walk continue for ALS funding

A year after the famous ice bucket challenge, The Augusta Chronicle talks to Dr. Michael Rivner and one of his patients about ALS care and research and the need to keep funding these efforts at Georgia Regents University.

Read: Challenge, walk continue for ALS funding
The Beat Feet for ALS Walk is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Augusta’s Riverwalk. For more information, visit



Childhood cancer survivor gives back

Hunter Piper, right, enjoys a Blizzard at DQ on Miracle Treat Day in 2010.
Hunter Piper, right, enjoys a Blizzard at DQ on Miracle Treat Day in 2010.

Hunter Piper was told he had just two weeks to live when he was in second grade.

This Saturday, the 17-year-old high school senior is collecting donations of games, crafts, movies, toys and other items for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, where he received his cancer treatments.

Watch the full story on



CHOG awarded for patient-centric imaging

GRHealth has earned a Patient-Centric Imaging Award from Health Imaging magazine for its makeover of the pediatric imaging suite at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. The awards, developed in conjunction with the American College of Radiology, reinforce the importance of patient engagement in health care delivery and honor radiology groups for using imaging to improve quality and patient outcomes.

This is the second award for GRHealth – the first was earned in 2013 for patient care advances in the Breast Health Center.
“We are thrilled to be recognized again by Health Imaging for our efforts in improving the patient experience in radiology. But, by far, the most rewarding part is seeing the children smiling and laughing while they’re here. It’s like they are disappointed when they have to leave.” said Dr. James V. Rawson, chair of the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

A pioneer in Patient- and Family-Centered Care, GRHealth has long recognized the importance of including patients and families in the planning process. In fact, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, which opened in 1998, was one of the first GRHealth projects designed with explicit input of patients and families, and CHOG was twice recognized with design awards from Modern Healthcare Magazine and the American Institute of Architects Academy.

This interactive wall in the main patient lounge in pediatric imaging allows children to set things in motion, like these balloons floating through the air.

“So it was only natural to ask the experts – our young patients and their parents – when we embarked on the pediatric radiology redesign,” Rawson said. “When the first step is talking to the patient and the family, great things happen.”

The improvements included converting the traditional waiting rooms into patient lounges, the first of which is the main waiting area, which was transformed with soft lighting, comfortable chairs and the installation of an interactive video wall. As patients and siblings reach for the objects on a giant wall screen, corn kernels “pop” into popcorn, waves ripple across a puddle, bubbles float through the air, or any of about 80 other scenarios are set in motion. Families who prefer a more private waiting space may use the patient lounges inside the suite, where a series of cozy nooks are flanked with intimate seating and illuminated in varying colors of light.

More intimate, colorful patient lounges are inside the suite.

“Lighting has been an integral part of improving the patient experience in all our radiology areas at the hospital,” said Rawson. “When children enter a pediatric procedure room, they get to choose the color of lighting to help them feel more comfortable during their study.”

For fluoroscopy, the child gets to choose sound, too, such as waves crashing on the beach.

“By giving the child the opportunity to choose color, lighting and sound themes, we put them in control of their experience. On top of that, all our imaging studies are performed using low-dose techniques, because it’s vital that we limit every child’s potential for radiation exposure. It’s great to have fun, but patient safety must come first,” Rawson said.

Because the large machines used in radiology can be intimidating for a child, GRHealth worked with its alliance partner Philips Healthcare to install a Philips Kitten Scanner, a miniature simulated CT scanner, just outside the room that houses the actual CT scanner.

Children choose a character – a robot, elephant or alligator – to be a test patient. Then the child places the test patient on the table and slides the table through the Kitten Scanner. Since each character has a special chip inside, the scanner comes to life when the character slides through, and a voice from the machine explains what is happening during the mock exam.

“Children get to learn about their test by scanning toys in a scanner, and it helps alleviate their fears of the larger machine once they see what’s going to happen when they are on the table,” said Rawson.

Radiologists at CHOG say the Kitten Scanner has even helped cut down on the number of young patients requiring sedation for the CT scanner, another patient-centric benefit. They’ve also received feedback from families that the suite no longer feels like a hospital.

“No matter how many projects I work on, I am always amazed at the impact of the patient and family advisors,” said Rawson. “When you want to improve the patient experience, you start by asking the patient, and the outcome always exceeds expectations.”

The renovated pediatric imaging suite opened in stages over the summer, and there will be an official ribbon-cutting event with patients, families, and staff on Oct. 20.

The 154-bed not-for-profit CHOG is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.

CHOG was recently ranked as the nation’s best children’s hospital in quality and safety.

Health Imaging magazine and provide business and technology news in medical imaging and healthcare information technology, radiology, cardiology, oncology, radiation oncology, nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. The magazine and website focus on economics, practice and informatics in imaging and are published by TriMed Media Group, Inc.

CHOG ranks No. 1 in nation

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the highest performing children’s hospital in the nation in quality and safety. When pediatric patient care at CHOG is compared to that provided at 122 peer hospitals across the country – Augusta’s only children’s hospital ranks at the top.

“We take care of some really sick children here at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. These aren’t just kids with aches and pains and temporary illnesses; although those are a significant part of what we do,” said CHOG Administrator Jim Mumford. “We’re talking about kids who need heart surgery, brain surgery, and cancer treatments, as well as ECMO; and kids with chronic diseases, like asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy. These UHC quality and safety indicators and our national ranking is a testament to the outstanding care that our physicians, nurses, and staff provide to these children and families across the southeast on a daily basis.”

According to the latest Quality and Safety Management Report from the University HealthSystem Consortium – an alliance of the nation’s leading nonprofit academic medical centers, CHOG ranks first in pediatric care for all of 2014 in an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) integrated measure on pediatric quality.

“Being recognized for the highest quality and safety outcomes on a national level is certainly a significant honor,” said Dr. Charles Howell, co-medical director and surgeon-in-chief of CHOG. “It speaks volumes about the compassion and expertise that we provide to each and every patient at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.”

The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Donations help fund the many resources needed to enhance and maintain the quality of care children receive – from the smallest bandage to the most precise surgical instruments.

“It takes a remarkable team effort centered on children and their families to be the best of the best in children’s care,” said Dr. Charles Linder, chairman of pediatrics for GRU’s Medical College of Georgia and co-medical director at CHOG. “We just celebrated a year of record-breaking donations in 2014 that culminated last weekend with our telethon. Now we have another reason to celebrate, and our supporters can take pride in these accomplishments, too.”

CHOG celebrates record $1.35 million in donations

The 2015 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals broadcast celebrated a record-breaking $1,356,058 in donations for Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

The local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration, which aired from noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, on WRDW-TV News 12, celebrated a record-breaking $1,356,058 in donations to benefit the services and programs at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, the area’s only children’s hospital.

The total represents an accumulation of all CMN Hospitals fundraisers, campaigns, and other donations in 2014 to the children’s hospital from various supporters and partners, as well as new pledges and donations raised over the weekend through a telethon.

This was the first CMN Hospitals Celebration for new Georgia Regents University President Dr. Brooks Keel.

“It has been a very exciting day of showcasing the excellent care provided to patients and families at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. I have enjoyed watching the miracle stories and hearing how the medical care right here in Augusta is saving so many young lives,” Keel said. “And to top $1 million for the first time ever … at my first telethon … is very special. Thanks to everyone for your support for the Children’s Hospital, where miracles are happening every day.”

The 154-bed CHOG is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.

A not-for-profit, CHOG relies on community support to provide patient care services to children and families and has been a beneficiary of CMN Hospitals since 1986. About $906,000 was raised for CHOG through CMN events last year. Before this year’s record, the highest year of donations was close to $915,000 in 2013.