Tag Archives: GRHealth

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.”

A dietitian’s perspective: The struggle with malnutrition

Malnutrition Awareness Week takes place from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

In response, the following article was contributed by Carly Moss, an inpatient clinical dietitian at GRHealth:

For the past few decades, evidence of America’s battle against obesity has been everywhere. It has galvanized health care professionals and researchers into action, instigated new government programs and served as a hot topic in the media. But more recently, another battle that is just as crucial to the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans has started to gain attention.

Malnutrition is a foreign concept to many – something almost unheard of in this country in this day and age – but in reality, it is a burden within our very own communities. Every day malnutrition impairs quality of life, increases health care costs and hinders patient recovery from illness and injury. The belief that malnutrition is a non-issue in our country is just one of the many myths surrounding this topic. Here are some other misconceptions to consider:

Myth: All Americans have access to a good food supply.

Simply put, malnutrition is imbalanced nutrition, whether it’s an imbalance in protein and caloric intake or in vitamin and mineral intake. Unfortunately, many Americans live in environments that are conducive to imbalanced nutrition. According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Richmond County alone has six food deserts, defined as areas that lack access to affordable, healthy foods. People living in such areas may struggle with maintaining balanced nutrition, which can ultimately lead to nutrient deficiencies and even malnutrition. Although poor food accessibility is a risk factor for malnutrition, it is actually not the primary one. This leads to another common misconception about malnutrition.

Myth: Food insecurity is the main culprit in malnutrition.

This may be true in parts of the world where food insecurity is widespread rather than isolated in food deserts. In the United States, however, injury and illness are the major contributors to malnutrition. Those of us who work in a hospital setting know that malnutrition is prevalent among those struggling with various chronic illnesses, including cancer, liver cirrhosis, kidney disease and severe gastrointestinal disorders to name just a few. Malnutrition is also not uncommon among patients with major trauma and injury. In fact, studies have shown anywhere from 20-50 percent of hospitalized patients are malnourished. The development of malnutrition is often multifactorial. These patients have increased protein and caloric needs due to chronic inflammation, wounds, malabsorption and hypermetabolism. At the same time, food intake tends to be poor due to food intolerances, inability to prepare foods or feed oneself, chewing and swallowing difficulty, depression or a combination of these factors. Over an extended period of time, these factors can ultimately result in malnutrition.

Myth: Malnutrition is easy to recognize.

Many people visualize malnutrition as wasting and atrophy to the point of a skeletal appearance, but malnutrition is rarely so obvious or dramatic. In fact, malnutrition can occur in people who are normal weight and overweight as well as those who are underweight. Diagnosing malnutrition requires physical examination to look for muscle and fat loss in certain areas of the body as well as a thorough assessment of body weight history, nutrient intake, gastrointestinal symptoms and functional capabilities. There is no foolproof lab test that acts as a marker for malnutrition, making the condition even harder to recognize.

Myth: Malnutrition is easy to treat.

Recommending increased food intake is rarely sufficient for treating malnutrition. As mentioned previously, most malnourished individuals already face many obstacles to meeting their nutrient needs. The challenge may be even greater if the malnourished individual lives in a food desert with poor access to healthy foods. It takes a multidisciplinary team to develop a nutrition plan appropriate for a malnourished patient, execute the plan and monitor progress. Some malnourished patients may require artificial nutrition support, which can be given through feeding tubes or as an intravenous infusion. In other cases, a malnourished individual may need to change the types of foods they are eating rather than the amount. There is hardly ever a simple, one-time solution for malnutrition. Just as malnutrition takes time to develop, it also takes time and effort to resolve.

Good nutrition is a vital aspect of recovery and healing, but it can also be very difficult to maintain for those dealing with illness and injury. This presents a challenge for these individuals as well as the family members and health care professionals caring for them. The first step to addressing the challenge is awareness of malnutrition and its risk factors and recognizing its presence within our own community.

Malnutrition is a burden to those who struggle with it, but the good news is that with the right plan of care, it can be managed and even reversed. In many cases, food and nutrition can truly act as medicine by improving quality of life, restoring strength and functional capabilities and aiding healing and recovery. The challenge is real, but in Augusta and across the country our health care professionals are equipped better than ever to help patients and their families meet it.


Carly Moss is an inpatient clinical dietitian at GRHealth where she works with a variety of patient populations. Her interests include nutrition support therapy, nutrition in critical illness, and education. She was recently voted Preceptor of the Year for the Augusta Area Dietetic Internship.

Ice buckets are empty, but ALS coffers still need filling

Patients, families, employees and friends will Beat Feet for ALS at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Augusta’s Riverwalk in an effort to raise money for the GRHealth ALS Clinic.

This annual fundraising walk posted a record year in 2014, pulling in almost $145,000 in donations, perhaps driven in part by the popularity and timing of the ice bucket challenge – a unique dare that several Georgia Regents University leaders participated in to raise financial support for ALS.

But much more funding is needed, says ALS Clinic Director Dr. Michael H. Rivner, in order to explore better treatments and improve the quality of life for patients with this debilitating disease that kills most patients within two to five years.

“With ALS, the muscles start to deteriorate rapidly until you are essentially trapped inside your own body, and there is no cure,” said Rivner, Charbonnier Professor of Neurology at GRU’s Medical College of Georgia. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it; ALS is a death sentence.”

But effects of the disease vary, and many people can live with quality in their last years with the help of nationally accredited clinics like the one at Georgia Regents Medical Center.

The clinic, which opened in 2004 through a partnership between the Georgia Regents Neuroscience Center and the ALS Association of Georgia, takes a multidisciplinary and coordinated approach to patient care. Instead of scheduling multiple appointments and trips, patients are able to see neurologists; nurses; physical, occupational and speech therapists; social workers; dietitians; respiratory therapists; and equipment specialists all on the same day. This is especially helpful for ALS patients because of diminishing mobility.

The Georgia Regents ALS team sees patients on the second Friday of each month in Augusta and the fourth Friday of each month at a satellite clinic in Macon. They assess disease progression, functional status, family concerns, and equipment, transportation and referral needs. In addition, family and caregiver training and support are incorporated into the time spent with each patient.

It could cost as much as $250,000 a year to treat just one patient with ALS, so fundraising dollars are financing medical equipment and therapies – often not covered by health insurance – such as wheelchair ramps, home modifications and speech and breathing assistance devices. Funds are also used to purchase gas cards and other items for patients and families who are under financial strains due to ALS.

In addition, donations are supporting several vital research efforts, including a clinical trial of a new ALS drug that follows disease progression and a study on ALS antibodies.

“We were able to fund a pilot project which allowed us to study LRP4 and Agrin antibodies in ALS. Our research thus far has identified these antibodies in around 10 percent of patients with ALS, generating a lot of excitement in the ALS research community,” Rivner said. “If this allows us to pinpoint the cause of ALS in that 10 percent of patients, then perhaps we can identify these patients more quickly and develop better treatments for them.”

Funds raised from the Beat Feet for ALS Walk also support programs administered by the ALS Associations of Georgia and South Carolina and the Muscular Dystrophy Association for patients and families affected by ALS.

To register for the walk or make a donation, visit walk.ALSGRU.com or contact Brandy Quarles at bquarles@gru.edu or 706-721-2681. You can also make a donation directly to the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic on the website or make a check payable to ALS Clinic (Fund 1078) and mail it to 1120 15th St., BP-4390, Augusta, GA 30912.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named for the late first baseman and power hitter for the New York Yankees. Gehrig was stricken with the neurodegenerative disease that causes muscular atrophy and forced into retirement at age 36. It claimed his life two years later.

About 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year. The GRHealth ALS Clinic cares for about 150 patients between the Augusta and Macon locations.

Medical Center, Health System boards to meet Aug. 27

The Boards of Directors of MCG Health, Inc., doing business as Georgia Regents Medical Center, and MCG Health System, Inc., doing business as Georgia Regents Health System, will meet Thursday, Aug. 27, in the first-floor conference room, BT-1810, at Children’s Hospital of Georgia (CHOG). The Medical Center Board will meet at 10 a.m. and the Health System Board will meet at 1 p.m.

A combined Compensation Committee meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Human Resources building, 1515 Pope Ave., Conference Room, FG-2201.

Other board committees will meet on Aug. 27 as follows:

Medical Center Board committees:

• Audit, Compliance, and Enterprise Risk Management Committee, 8 a.m., Medical Center Administration Conference Room BI-2077
• Finance Committee, 8 a.m., Medical Office Building, Room BP-4306

Health System Board committees:

• Audit, Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management Committee, 10 a.m., Medical Center Administration Conference Room BI-2077
• Finance Committee, 10:30 a.m., CHOG Administration Conference Room, BT-1843
• Planning and Development Committee, 9 a.m., Medical Center, Clinical Pathology Conference Room, BI-2006

For more information, call Kelly Busbee at 706-721-6569.

GRU earns 7 Target Awards

Those recognized for their accomplishments include (left to right) Aubrey Hinkson, Clarissa Chavez, Emily Renzi, Brianne Clark, Cathleen Caldwell, Anna Aligood, and Denise Parrish.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Georgia Regents University Division of Communications and Marketing earned seven Target Awards, including two gold awards, from the Georgia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations during the 20th Anniversary Target Awards Luncheon at the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation on June 30.

“We are so thrilled with the number of entries that were submitted from hospitals all across the state of Georgia,” said Elizabeth Harvill, president of the GSHMPR board of professionals. “This is the one time of year when we recognize the creativity and quality of work that is being done in healthcare marketing.”

Entries in the this year’s competition were judged by the New England Society for Healthcare Communications based on creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal. Georgia hospitals submitted more than 185 entries in 26 various public relations, marketing, design and advertising categories.

Gold awards were presented to GRU in the following categories:
Direct Mail – Children’s Hospital of Georgia direct mail campaign
Fundraising – Media relations efforts for ALS Walk and ice bucket challenges
Silver awards were presented for:
Patient/Customer Relations – GRHealth VIP Patient Portal
Websites – GRHealth Web Redesign
Social Media Marketing – GRHealth Your Health Matters
Digital Advertising – Children’s Hospital of Georgia Digital Campaign
Media Relations – Children’s Hospital of Georgia ER Open House

“All the submissions were amazing,” said Harvill. “We congratulate all those that won, and we look forward to seeing more great work next year.”

The Georgia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations is an affiliated society of the Georgia Hospital Association.

WATCH: Camp Lakeside: Coming Soon!

Summer is a time for adventure, fun, and making memories. For a lot of kids, that means heading off to summer camp for a few days. But not all children are fortunate enough, or healthy enough, to enjoy those summer days with their friends.

Now, with the partnership between The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, children of all abilities can enjoy a wonderful summer camp in a safe environment.

The YMCA has been a provider of summer and holiday camps since the 1940s. CHOG has a long legacy of caring for sick children and their families in the community. Together, these two organizations have begun renovating Camp Lakeside so it will soon be able to serve children with disabilities or serious and chronic health conditions in a medically safe environment.

Activities that will be available at the camp include swimming, arts and crafts, disc golf, fishing, archery, kayaking, basketball, canoeing, and more! The camp will be an extension of the Family Y’s adapted program and will become the future home for CHOG special-needs camps.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the “new” Camp Lakeside took place Monday, June 22, 2015. Phase 1 of renovation officially has begun and will include a multipurpose room/gym, medical facility, outdoor pool, and 10 adaptive cabins for the children.

To learn more about other available camps, visit grhealth.org or thefamilyy.org.

Adaptive water sports set for Saturday

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Isabelle Green is counting down the days to Saturday. That’s when the eight-year-old, living with the challenges of arthrogryposis, will experience a day drenched in fun as GRHealth and Champions Made From Adversity team up again for adaptive water skiing at Lake Thurmond.

“Isabelle looks forward to the ski clinic every year,” her mom Tania Green said. “Her favorite event is tubing, but what she likes most is being with her friends from children’s rehab outside of a hospital setting.”

Children born with arthrogryposis have joint contractures, or stiffening; their joints don’t move as much as normal and may be stuck in one position. Most contractures happen in the arms and the legs, but they can also affect the jaw and the spine.

“Isabelle deals with multiple contractures in her limbs and has no flexibility in her hands,” Green said. “But that doesn’t stop her from enjoying her time at the lake.”

Children and adults ages 6 to 80 with physical or cognitive disabilities have the opportunity to adaptively ski, swim, and take rides on inner tubes and boats at Points West Army Resort, a picturesque military retreat in Appling on the 71,000-acre lake. Children’s events are set for 10 a.m., and adult activities begin at 1:30 p.m.

To register as a volunteer or a participant, or for more information on the adaptive ski clinic, please visit cmfa.us, or call GRHealth Rehabilitation Services at 706-721-9737.

Chinese physicians prepare to return home after three-month exchange of ideas

As part of the Confucius Institute’s mission for building bridges between Georgia Regents University and China, four Chinese physicians from Nanjing are finishing up a three-month visit, looking at the differences in health care between the two countries.

The four practice medicine at the Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, located in Nanjing, a city of roughly eight million people.

Dr. Gang Xu, Dr. Xianhui Zhu, Dr. Jing Tao, Dr. Feng Guo

Not surprisingly, population is a factor in the differences they found.

“In China, we have a lot of patients,” said nephrologist Dr. Jing Tao. “And they don’t need to make an appointment to see the doctor, so if they have questions, they just go to the hospital to see the doctor.”

Cardiologist Dr. Xianhui Zhu agreed.

“In China, we don’t have family doctors, so the patients can choose the physicians by themselves,” she said. “They don’t need a referral. Patients in our hospital come to see the doctors at any time, but I have found at GRHealth, they have to schedule first unless they have an emergency case.”

To get a true feeling for American health care, the visiting physicians have shadowed their GRU counterparts.

“It’s been very nice,” Zhu said. “In the cardiology department, the physicians have an extraordinary agenda for me, so every day I can follow a different physician so I can learn a lot from them.”

Though the focus has been the exchange of medical information and practices, not all of the experiences have been medical. Last week, the four received a lecture about – and later instruction in – the game of golf from Kuan Kuo, a local golfer. Kuo, an onsite reporter for the Golf Channel who also owns Sho Chin Restaurant Group, was preparing to travel to Seattle to cover this week’s U.S. Open.

Kuan Kuo explains golf at the Confucius Institute

None of the four had every golfed before, which isn’t surprising, given the prohibitive cost of the pastime in China.

“In China, it’s still considered a luxury activity and not really a sport,” Kuo said. “It’s very exclusive, and China is a communist country, so it really doesn’t like the classification of people.”

While it might be easier to dwell on such differences, Zhu said it’s equally important to recognize those things that both countries have in common.

“I’ve found the mission of our own hospital and GRHealth is the same, because we are both focused on patient-centered health and care,” she said.

And while the way they practice medicine might be different, the medicine itself is the same … sort of. Though traditional Chinese medicine is far from traditional here in the U.S., physician exchanges similar to this have aided in the dissemination of medical knowledge in all directions.

“I’ve found a lot of physicians have come to China to give a lecture and they are also curious about China and traditional Chinese medicine,” Zhu said. “I find most of them have a comprehensive attitude of medicine – not just Western medicine, but also medicine that comes from other countries, such as traditional Chinese medicine. So we talk about integrating medicine.”

That integration, she said, is a growing priority in China.

“Western medicine has rapidly developed, but we have a lot of clinical experiences in traditional Chinese medicine,” she said. “So how to express traditional Chinese medicine to the world and how to combine Eastern and Western medicine are the most popular topics for the researchers in China.”

Here, that integration led to some entertaining moments during their visit.

“At GRU, we have the Confucius Institute, and they gave the students some lessons about Chinese culture and traditional medicine, which we attended,” Tao said. “One of the classes was tai chi, which was very interesting, because the teacher was American.”

In the end, such things served to bring everyone closer together.

“I want to express our thanks to GRU and everyone here,” Zhu said. “This has been a memorable experience, and while we will be glad to return to our friends in China, we will miss our new friends at GRU.”

Join us: Camp Lakeside groundbreaking June 22

The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia will break ground at 11 a.m. Monday, June 22, to kick off renovations at Camp Lakeside, a 100-acre camp located on beautiful Lake Thurmond.

CampLakesideInteriorCampSignSketchesCamp Lakeside has long served Family Y camps, but with renovations and new construction to include a medical facility and multi-purpose building in the first phase, it will also serve the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
CHOG camps are hoping to relocate from Rutledge, Ga., to the Lincolnton, Ga. Camp on 1238 Dogwood Drive – which is closer to CHOG.

Upon completion of all construction, this site will host the traditional Family Y camps, along with the CHOG camps, including Camp Rainbow for cancer patients, Camp Joint Venture for children with juvenile arthritis, Camp Sweet Life for diabetic patients, Camp Strong Hearts for heart patients, and Camp Share and Care for families with children with new cancer diagnoses. Future plans include an outdoor pool and 10 adapted cabins.

“Camp Lakeside will enable sick children treated at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia an opportunity to enjoy a typical summer camp experience,” said Kimberly Allen, Manager of Child and Adolescent Life at CHOG and Director of Camp Rainbow. “Through the support of our community and medical team, more children will be able to forget about their illness and enjoy the outdoors as well as other summer camp fun, in closer proximity to our hospital.”

The groundbreaking is open to the public. Please RSVP to Katie Duncan at the Family Y at kduncan@thefamilyy.org or 706-829-0164.

Medical Center, Health System boards to meet July 1

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Boards of Directors of MCG Health Inc., doing business as Georgia Regents Medical Center, and MCG Health System Inc., doing business as Georgia Regents Health System, will meet Wednesday July 1, in room BI-2077. The Medical Center Board will meet at 10 a.m. and the Health System Board will meet at 3 p.m.

Other board committees scheduled for June 25 have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

For more information, call Kelly Busbee at 706-721-3929.