Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This update came from the following: http://capwiz.com/nhpco/issues/alert/?alertid=12533346&queueid=[capwiz:queue_id]
"U.S. House Approves Hospice Rate Protections
Progress in halting the implementation of the hospice rate cuts was made today when the U.S. House of Representatives approved its version of the economic stimulus package being debated on Capitol Hill this week.
The House package includes a one-year moratorium on a Medicare reimbursement rate cut through elimination of the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF). As the hospice community knows firsthand, this regulatory rate cut threatens access to compassionate, high quality end of life care and jeopardizes the survival of many hospice programs, especially smaller ones.
The NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) works with the public to ensure that the seriously and terminally ill receive quality care. "
For more information and to educate yourself on what this and the stimulus plan really means for facilities like us and the people we serve, please visit the National Assocation for Healthcare and Hospice website http://www.nahc.org/Meetings/Pol/06/programs.html and the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/us/28health.html?hp.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
We are so lucky to have such strong support in and the creative idea's keep on coming. Whether you want to hold a private ice-skating show in your backyard in Wisconsin for charity or run a marathon in the Napa Valley in the name of an ill friend or relative, make your own rules and follow your own path, pick something that can be fun, and that you can do over and over. These actions put the needs of others into perspective and only help our communities and our country learn about what "checks and balances" really means.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Helping our kids with their health conditions that they endure day in and day out is complicated; not just for obvious emotional and psychological reasons, but in terms of understanding what illness a child has, how they can be treated, etc. It seems to be a reoccuring them on those medical tv shows that "doctor's" always have to put their theories, diagnosis', etc., into "Lehmann's terms" for their patients. What in the world does "sarcoma" mean? Or "histiocytocytosis?" What is "Absolute Neutrophil Count" or "Anterior Mediastinotomy?" A doctor would probably tell you these were all very basic concepts, procedures...or whatever. For a place like GMCH, there are words we can leave to the professionals to know definitions for, and there are words that everyone should kno the definitions for, and understand, in lieu of what we do for our kids and what sets us apart from other pediatric medical facilities. Here are just a few definitions:
Palliative Care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. For more information, please visit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palliative_care). Dr. Jan Pankey, our Associate Medical Director, joined GMCH following the completion of a pediatric palliative care fellowship. Her professional interests are pediatric pain and symptom management and cultural diversity in end-of-life settings.
A Child Life Specialist focuses on the psychosocial development of children, and encourages effective coping strategies for children and their families under stress. Child life specialists recognize individuality in patients, and use a range of developmentally appropriate activities, including play, preparation for a medical procedure, education, self-expression, and family support to help cope with hospitalization, illness, or death and dying. Child life specialists are trained to take into account the cognitive, emotional, and physical development of each child in order to encourage optimum development of children facing a challenging experience, particularly in relation to healthcare and hospitalization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_life_specialist. GMCH is so lucky to have an in-house Child Life Specialist, Rebecca Simonistch, who facilitates legacy building for families, sibling support, special trips and events, and weekly programming.
Hydrotherapy involves the use of water for soothing pains and treating diseases. The use of water to treat rheumatic diseases has a long history. Today, hydrotherapy is used to treat musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or spinal cord injuries and in patients suffering burns, spasticity, stroke or paralysis. It is also used to treat orthopedic and neurological conditions and to improve fitness. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrotherapy. This term was probably pretty obvious, but it's effects aren't quite so to someone new to GMCH. When you are floating in water, you are weightless, and for some of our kids, weightlessness is the best feeling they have had in years...and might ever have. GMCH's Hydroptherapist Sheila Pyatt works with our children to lessen their aches and pains and is very passionate about the positive effects that this kind of therapy has on pain management.
Such terminology explains the kinds of programs we have at GMCH. These programs are what make GMCH so different from a hospital or larger medical institution, along with the people who personalize these extraordinary service for each child and family.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
-Happy Computer Corner
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
volunteermatch.org - a great site that lists hundreds of opportunities that need 1 hour of your time or a year of your time. Busy schedules call for flexible opportunities...and you can find them here.
handsonbayarea.org - they manage 120 direct-service projects a month and offer educational programming to help volunteers become well-informed community leaders.
onebrick.org - they create a friendly and social atmosphere around volunteering - so make some new friends while helping your community! After each volunteer event - which typically lasts only 3 to 4 hours - volunteers are invited to gather at a local restaurant or café where they can get to know one another in a relaxed social setting.
thevolunteercenter.net - serving San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, they foster strong networks among nonprofit, public, and business sector organizations and ordinary citizens, united by the overarching goal of improving local communities. What could be better than that tag line?
More to come...!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Of course, GMCH doesn't just get you in and out. It is a bit more involved, but more rewarding than that photographer would have ever probably imagined. After all; this House is Life.
For more information about volunteering at GMCH, please visit http://georgemark.org/www/volunteers/index.htm
Friday, January 16, 2009
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
This might be a good mantra for those working within a non-profit organization. It should also be observed by government bodies...as it seems to be at present time. With our new president taking office next week, the day after a very important holiday, what would you like to see happen, from a personal level to a civic level, in the next year? Four years? Eight years? How would you like to see things change for the better in your community? Be specific when answering these questions, write them down. What do you see now that is good but could be better?
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
GMCH see's families from very different races, socio-economic standings, cultures, ages, dynamics, structures and embraces all and any. We hope to see even more of what this mixing pot of a country can bring us as we grow. Have a safe and tolerant Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
For more about the A's visit and our hydrotherapy program, or other programs at the House and how you can help, sign up for our newsletter today! http://www.georgemark.org/www/about%20us/newsletters.htm
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
So, here are more ways in which you can stay on top of your "Favorites," "Bookmarks," social networking and sharing and, most importantly, how you can stay in touch with and on top of all of the news coming out of George Mark Children's House:
- delicious.com - a great way to save and share your favorite websites, blogs, newsfeeds, etc., using a "Tab" system and easily tracking what your internet searches have brought you. Check out the link to the left on this blog for more details! Get to your bookmarks anytime, from anywhere, and from any computer. This allows a tagging mechanism that can caterogize your Bookmarked sites, so that others can easily access such a site through searching under keywords. For example, I would tag GMCH under "children" "medicine" "pediatric" "life" "respite" "house" "healthcare" "kids" "family" , etc.
- digg.com - another great way to easily access and share your favorite sites and web searches, and then some. digg allows a member (free!) to access popular sites, blogs, videos, etc., that have been voted on and recommended by other users. Think of this as sort of a Wikipedia for websites...so it is opinion based. Conversations are conducted around content, members can follow each others opinions, or you can share your own opinions about your favorite sites. A great way to tell the world about GMCH!
Under being a registrant with both of these sites (which is free) you can share your favorites and communicate about your fabulous finds with friends and invite friends to join. It's fast and easy.
Stay in touch for more from the Happy Computer Corner...
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
As most of you know, GMCH is one of a kind. No where in the United States would you find another facility quite like ours. Some compare it to Ronald McDonald House facilities, or St. Jude Children's Hospital and Research. We are kind of a mixture of both, throw is some of the most compassionate and passionate, professional, giving and human nurses, medical staff, social workers, child psychologists, adminstrative staff, volunteer manager, event manager, child life specialist, etc., and you get a very special group of individuals working as a team to make sure that every moment a very ill child has with their family, friends and loved ones if filled with joy, respect, comfort, privacy and happiness. To learn more, please visit our blog regularly and refer to our website: http://www.georgemark.org/. And please keep up with our bi-weekly updates on what is new with GMCH spreading the word on the web! We are sure to be the hottest thing on Twitter and delicious.com VERY soon!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
- GMCH was paid a visit from Kazzy the Camel and her friends from a pet therapy ranch
- Another splendid Autumn Celebration on the House grounds, complete with auction, tours and memorable moments
- Visits from the Oakland A's, policeman, fireman (and no, not for emergencies...but for fun!), musical guests, insects from a discovery lab, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and more!
- Drive & Serve for Life golf tournament, with an auction
- Legacy's Tastes of the City soiree and auctions (the group is growing more and more into a great example of what charitable giving means at a young age)
- Honoring our dear friend and volunteer Ellen Kalm as she was given the Threads of Hope Award from Diablo Magazine
- Another wonderful Talent Show, complete with kids magic tricks, songs, readings, staff performances and music!
- Pumpkin Day, complete with trick or treating and goulish snacks
- The first and only GMCH Prom Night...under the stars
2008 was filled with fond memories for our children and their families, friends and communities...help us to make sure that we continue all of these traditions, and create more! DONATE NOW at http://www.georgemark.org/www/donors/ways_to_donate.htm!