595 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 345-2200
V.I.A. Health System

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Pediatric Center Now Open

The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center of Doylestown Hospital is open 24/7, 365 days a year. The very first patient was impressed with the new center and doted on by the staff.

He loved the Xbox in the playroom.

And the bacon he got with breakfast.

But you could tell by the smile on 10-year-old Jose Soriano Mendez’s face that the nurses were the best.

And they were thrilled to care for the fifth-grader as their very first patient in the new center, which officially opened for care on October 20.

"It was so exciting. This is what we all worked so hard for," said Amy Speigel, RN, clinical manager of The Della Penna Center. "It worked out fabulously."

Jose's mother, Mary Beth Mendez, brought her son to Doylestown Hospital’s Emergency Department on Sunday night with extreme belly pain. He was diagnosed with appendicitis and general surgeon Richard Murray, MD performed an appendectomy.

Mary Beth was scared, but glad to receive care close to the family’s Warminster home. In March, her young daughter had appendicitis and went to a Philadelphia hospital. Her appendix had burst and she spent two weeks in the city hospital.

This time, Mary Beth spent two nights with her son in Doylestown Hospital before he was discharged on Tuesday. "I'm very happy we could stay close to home," she said.

Local residents Carol and Louis Della Penna were inspired to provide a generous gift to expand pediatric services at Doylestown Hospital. "Carol and I are proud to be able to promote wellness and good care for our children and grandchildren and for all the families in the Doylestown area," said Louis.

As for Jose, he was feeling better by Tuesday morning and said he actually enjoyed being in the brand new center. As the first of two patients being cared for in the first days, Jose received plenty of attention from the pediatric-trained nursing staff. He beat Kim Bentz, RN, BSN twice in the game of Jenga.

The staff of The Della Penna Center provide not only excellent clinical care to the patients, but also provide age-appropriate activities and diversions. At first Jose was frightened to walk down the hallway, but his fear melted as he neared the playroom. "He forgot he was scared to walk," said Amy. "And it was good for his recovery to get up and walk."

Watch Video: The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center of Doylestown Hospital

About Pediatric Care at Doylestown Hospital

Committed to providing family-focused healthcare to the community we serve, The Della Penna Pediatric Center offers private rooms designed especially for kids and round-the-clock care from board-certified pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners and pediatric nurses. When in need of compassionate, quality pediatric care close to home, look no further than Doylestown Hospital.

For health tips and information, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Managing Heart Failure

Heart failure is a major health problem in Bucks County, and in the United States.

Heart Failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood through the body. According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure and it is one of the most common reasons why adults age 65 and older require hospitalization.

Signs of Heart Failure

People with heart failure typically experience an increase in symptoms as the heart becomes weaker and less able to pump blood through the body. Signs of heart failure include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or run-down
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Swelling in feet, ankles and legs
  • Weight gain
  • Confusion

Managing Heart Failure

While there is no cure for heart failure, there are recommendations for managing the condition. It is important to consult your healthcare providers before making any lifestyle changes.

Tips for managing heart failure:
  • Quit smoking or don’t start
  • Take medicines as prescribed
  • Weigh yourself daily and report any weight gains to your doctor
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat a diet low in salt and saturated fat
  • Monitor your fluid intake and blood pressure daily
  • Exercise as recommended by your physician
  • Rest and respect your limits 

Living with Heart Failure

Are you or a loved one living with heart failure? Join us for a FREE presentation on how to manage the condition and still enjoy your life.
Date and Time: Wednesday, October 29 at 7 pm

Where: The Health and Wellness Center
VIA Auditorium
847 Easton Road
Warrington, PA 18976

Presented by: Renee Sangrigoli, MD, cardiologist and heart failure expert

Registration: This is a free program, but registration is encouraged. Register online or call 215-345-2121.

About the Heart Failure Program of The Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital

Doylestown Hospital is committed to providing advanced, compassionate care to individuals with all types of heart disease. For patients with heart failure, our award-winning Heart Failure Program includes highly skilled cardiologists and expert clinical care teams who perform state-of-the art procedures and follow evidence-based guidelines for treatment. In addition, our devoted Heart Failure Program coordinator provides support and guidance to ensure each patient receives coordinated care for the best possible outcomes during and after treatment.

Doylestown Hospital's Heart Failure Program has been awarded Certification by The Joint Commission, and the Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold Plus Award for the fourth consecutive year from the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Concerned about Constipation?

A Doylestown Hospital expert on colorectal issues will discuss this common condition -and what to do about it – on November 3 in Warrington.

Okay, admit it. You've probably been constipated at least once in your lifetime. It happens. You're not alone.

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in the United States. Constipation affects an estimated 15% of the population (some 42 million people) regardless of age, race or gender.

However, women and adults over 65 most often report experiencing constipation, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Constipation can also be a common problem during pregnancy, following childbirth or surgery, or after taking medications to relieve pain from things like a broken bone, tooth extraction, or back pain.

What is Constipation?

"While it's a common problem, different people have different definitions," says Robert Akbari, MD, a Doylestown Hospital colorectal surgeon. He is an expert in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus, with advanced training in the treatment of these diseases.

Definitions for constipation can include infrequent bowel movements, hard bowel movements or bloating. Infrequent usually means less than three bowel movements a week, although each person differs in how often they have bowel movements. It depends on what's normal for you.

"For me, what's more important is a new symptom versus something you're used to," says Dr. Akbari. "You may have had infrequent bowel movements for years, and that may be the way you're built. A new symptom is more concerning."

What Causes Constipation?

Common causes of constipation include:
  • Diets low in fiber
  • Certain medications
  • Problems with the gastrointestinal tract
  • Lack of physical activity
Not getting enough fiber is the most common cause of constipation. Most Americans eat only about 15 grams of fiber each day. The recommended amount is 25-30 grams per day.

Should I See a Doctor about Constipation?

If constipation has become an issue lasting more than a few weeks (generally speaking), it's time to talk to a healthcare professional. Tests, including colonoscopy, may be performed to make sure it's not a mechanical issue of the GI tract. Other tests, like X-ray studies, can also be done.

What Can I Do About Constipation?

The good news is that constipation can usually be managed medically, meaning without surgery.

"You can help treat constipation with common sense things like diet, exercise and water intake. The more the better," Dr. Akbari says.

That means getting enough fiber, drinking enough fluids (like water, 6-8 glasses a day) and getting enough exercise. "Remember, fiber and fluids go hand in hand," says Dr. Akbari.

Over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners might also help. Some people fear abusing these products, using them too often and depending on them for regularity. "Stimulant laxatives are the ones to be most wary of," notes Dr. Akbari.

Physical therapy may also help. "Some people benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy, also know as biofeedback," says Dr. Akbari. His group works with a physical therapy office in Doylestown for this type of treatment.

In rare cases, surgery can be beneficial for severe constipation.

Monday Night Coffee Talks for Women

Monday Night Coffee Talks are back! Our popular series for women features coffee, dessert and a health discussion led by a Doylestown Hospital expert. Learn more about upcoming coffee talks.

November's Topic: Managing Constipation

Dr. Akbari will discuss everything you ever wanted to know about constipation during a Monday Night Coffee Talk for Women on November 3. He'll answer questions following his presentation.

Date and Time:
Monday, November 3 at 7pm

847 Easton Road
VIA Auditorium, Health & Wellness Center
Warrington, PA

Presented by: Robert Akbari, MD, colorectal surgeon

Registration: This is a free program, but registration is encouraged.Register online or call 215-345-2121.
Living with gastrointestinal issues, like constipation, can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and at times, painful. Join Dr. Robert Akbari to learn about the causes of constipation, treatment options and tips on how to get relief.

For more helpful tips or to connect with us, find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cancer Fit Helps Heal Body and Mind

Doylestown Hospital and Cornerstone Fitness have collaborated to create the Cancer Fit program, and it's making a big difference in the lives of cancer survivors.

Patrice R. said she was "ecstatic" when Rachel Saks, MSS, LSW, OSW-C, Doylestown Hospital oncology social worker, called to tell her about the Cancer Fit program. "This program gave me hope and a positive outlook – I needed that," says Patrice, 57.
"I'm starting to feel so much better and I have more energy."
The six weeks of radiation therapy for breast cancer Patrice had completed in August left her lethargic with no motivation.

More Than Just a Workout

Sabrina Willard, Cornerstone Fitness certified personal trainer, worked with The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital to develop the 12-week program for cancer survivors. Research has shown that regular exercise may reduce the risk of recurrence in breast cancer. Exercise (both aerobic and weight bearing) has been shown to improve fatigue, reduce stress and impact long-term overall health.

"Your quality of life improves, hands down," says Sabrina. "Exercise is important to improve overall function in daily life."

Donna Angotti, MD, medical director of The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital, points to findings from a large, long-term study called the National Nurses Health Study. "The study demonstrated that women who developed breast cancer and then adopted an exercise program, had a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a higher survival rate. All that was required was walking at an average pace for 3-4 hours per week."

"Other studies are showing that a BMI (body mass index) under 25 reduces cancer recurrence, but the focus should be balanced between good food choices and increased physical activity," adds Angotti.

Expert and Caring Guidance

Sabrina earned the CET (Cancer Exercise Trainer) certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, which developed the CET with the American Cancer Society. "I wanted to achieve this level of expertise to better serve my clients," says Sabrina.

Participants meet twice a week at Cornerstone's Warrington facility, where they do more than work out under Sabrina's careful guidance. She also brings in speakers like Audrey Fleck, Doylestown Hospital nutritionist, to discuss post-treatment nutrition. Others talk about therapeutic massage specific to mastectomy and breast surgery, acupuncture for pain relief, and the stress reduction and healing benefits of yoga. The program caters to a variety of individuals.

"Some people have never exercised, some were very active. But with cancer treatment, they all have been unable to be active," says Sabrina.

Melodye D. was a runner who was very active before her cancer diagnosis. The 48-year-old had a double mastectomy in the spring, right around the time her husband passed away. She hadn't worked out in almost a year when she started Cancer Fit. "I look forward to coming in," says Melodye. "I come here and focus on my health and having fun. I'm learning so much. I feel really good."

Cancer Fit Photo Album

A Range of Benefits for Body and Soul

The benefits of Cancer Fit are more than physical, as the women get to know each other and share their experiences. "There is camaraderie and the women develop relationships. They get a sense that they're ok. It gives them a piece of normalcy so they can move on to the next step," says Sabrina.

"Cancer takes everything out of you – physically, mentally and emotionally," says Mary G., 59, who participated in the first session of Cancer Fit that concluded in June. "The exercise is something you have control over. It helps you get emotionally better. When you're more in shape, you are stronger to fight the next step."

Participants in the first Cancer Fit group met for six weeks, but longed for more. The current session is 12 weeks, which gives the women more time to gradually increase the intensity of the exercise and to bond with one another.

"It has been really helpful to be together. We all gelled right away," says Patrice. "I think it's an absolutely great thing."

Doylestown Hospital uses funds donated to The Cancer Institute to subsidize the program for the participants so they can participate no matter what their financial circumstances. At the upcoming annual Circle of Life auction, there will be a special effort to raise funds for the Cancer Fit program.

Both current and past participants agree the program has changed their lives.

"I felt like myself again after the class," said Julie H., 56, who completed the program in June. "I felt happy. I'm doing pretty much everything I used to do."

About the Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital

The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital combines the compassionate care of experts with state-of-the-art technology to offer personalized breast cancer and well-breast care, close to home. Breast care services include early detection and advanced screening options at the Women's Diagnostic Center of Doylestown Hospital . Experienced surgeons offer complex treatments including nipple-sparing mastectomy. The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital is your resource for total breast health, close to home.

For more helpful tips and information, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breast Health Event Brings Awareness and Education

Doylestown Hospital brought women of all ages together last night to join the conversation about breast health. The Pink Party kicked off with a health fair which included information on breast health services, a celebration for breast cancer survivors, giveaways, raffles, and therapy demonstrations including Reiki, chair massage, acupressure and acupuncture.

Following the health fair, women were invited to attend Lessons from 'The Art of War' for Breast Cancer Prevention, a health discussion led by breast health experts from Doylestown Hospital. The talk began with Donna Angotti, MD, breast surgeon, educating more than 100 women on how to reduce their risk for breast cancer followed by Michele Kopach, MD, radiologist, discussing breast density. An expert panel including Dr. Angotti, Dr. Kopach and Eileen Engle, MD, gynecologist, answered questions following the discussion.

"We hope to empower people not to feel as afraid," said Dr. Angotti, director of The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital, "and to make some proactive choices about preventative measures they can take to reduce their risk of breast cancer."

Pink Party Photo Album

Meet Dr. Angotti at Prevention & Treatment of Breast Cancer

Date and Time:
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 1pm
Cowhey Family ShopRite
942 W Street Road
Warminster, PA 18974
Event is free. For information or to make a reservation, call 215-672-1870. Free childcare is available (please ask when registering).

Watch Video: Pink Party at Doylestown Hospital Raises Cancer Awareness

About The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital

Offering breast cancer and well-breast care, The Breast Center of Doylestown Hospital is your resource for comprehensive care, close to home. From early detection through advanced screening options at our accredited diagnostic center, to complex surgical treatments including nipple-sparing mastectomy, the experts at Doylestown Hospital are your resource for total breast health.

For health tips and information, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Patient Portal Puts Info at Your Fingertips

Are you enrolled? Checking your Doylestown Hospital health records online is secure and convenient with myHealthDoylestown.

It's easy for Warminster resident Catherine T. to check her Doylestown Hospital health records online these days. She recently won a new iPad as part of the myHealthDoylestown promotion.

"I like to keep my eye on my medical records," said Catherine, who diligently manages an ongoing health issue with regular blood tests. She can access lab results and other important parts of her Doylestown Hospital medical records with myHealthDoylestown.

This free and easy-to-use online tool became available in April. Since then, more than 14,000 users have registered for the free patient portal.

"Those users are viewing their lab results and reports on a regular basis for their inpatient, outpatient and ER visits," said Sandra Osborne, senior clinical systems analyst. "We also have had many patients provide proxy access to family members and caregivers for the same purpose."

This online tool was designed to be easy to navigate. "The Patient Portal office staff has received a lot of good feedback on the ease of use," added Sandra.

Individuals age 18 and older can access their online patient record at myHealthDoylestown.com. Patients can also request that a family member or caregiver have access to their medical records as a patient proxy. At myHealthDoylestown, patients can access:
  • Laboratory results
  • Radiology reports
  • Medications taken and allergies noted while a patient
  • Visit history
  • Discharge summaries and other medical reports
Test results are usually available in 72 hours. The portal contains information dating back to 2008. Medical records are as current as the last time the person was registered as an outpatient or inpatient at Doylestown Hospital. It does not provide doctors' office records. Patients can also request appointments for certain hospital services.

Win an iPad!

Log in to your myHealthDoylestown account now through January 4, 2015 and you will be automatically entered to win an iPad. People who use myHealthDoylestown are automatically entered each time they log in to their account.

Don't have a free account? Enroll now to access your Doylestown Hospital health information online. Need help? Contact the Patient Portal office at 267-885-1599 or email myHealthDoylestown@dh.org.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Learn more about this pervasive issue that affects people of all ages, including teens.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are life-threatening crimes that affect millions of individuals across the nation regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.

Did you know?

One in 3 women, 1 in 3 teens, and 1 in 4 men experience violence in their relationships.

"I think we see it more often than we realize," said Kimberly Mikula, RN, BSN, CEN, clinical nurse educator in the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department. "Doylestown Hospital staff are required to screen for domestic violence with every patient visit but it may take multiple attempts before an individual is willing to admit that they are in an unsafe or unhealthy relationship."

As discreetly as possible, hospital staff ask patients of all ages if they feel safe or if they're experiencing emotional or physical abuse. Doylestown Hospital has a Domestic Violence Task Force and works closely with agencies like A Woman's Place for staff training. Several specially trained SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) nurses are available in the Emergency Department to help victims, and work with police to aid in prosecuting crimes. The SAFE nurse understands the special emotional and physical needs of the sexual assault or personal violence victim.

The Young Victims

Recently, there has been a particular effort to raise awareness about teen dating violence. This is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence in a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can happen in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner.

"It's very, very subtle," said Kimberly. "It can be anything from verbal put downs to physical abuse; anything to make the victim feel insecure about themselves and more dependent on the abuser."

The effects on an emotionally developing teen can be devastating and long term.
About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Warning signs of an abusive relationship

  • Appears to be the ideal partner at first
  • Rushes into the relationship
  • Extremely jealous and possessive
  • Blames others when things go wrong
  • Severe mood swings
  • Rigid perception of gender roles
  • Insults his/her partner in public
  • Threatens to hurt you or him/herself if you break up
  • Constantly checks in on partner
  • Blows disagreements out of proportion
  • Makes partner feel the need to constantly prove his/her love and devotion

The Line

"Where is the line between love and control? Coralee Trigger, a student filmmaker, made this video PSA for us as the culmination of her Girl Scout Gold Award." Can you tell?

What can parents do about teen dating violence?

"Parents need to pay close attention," said Kimberly. "Parents may think they are having a meaningful conversation with their kids, but they are really having the conversation the teen wants them to hear. Ask direct questions."

Parents can look for several clues, including noticing if the person comes around the family and interacts with them.

Help is available

If you are the victim of domestic violence, it's important to know that help is out there. "Talk to somebody," said Kimberly. "You can talk to a school counselor, parents, a pastor, or an adult that you trust. You can talk to friends, but friends are typically less reliable. Make sure it is someone who has nothing but your best interest in mind."

Local resources for victims of domestic violence

  • NOVA (Network of Victim Assistance): Available 24 hours a day at 1-800-675-6900
  • A Woman's Place: Available 24 hours a day at 1-800-220-8116
  • Bucks County Children and Youth: Available 24 hours a day at 1-800-932-0313
  • Lenape Valley Foundation (crisis and emergency services for mental or behavioral health): Available 24 hours a day at 218-345-2273

The Race to Empower

On Saturday, October 11, the Race to Empower will bring women, men and children together for a 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk to raise funds and awareness for A Woman's Place. The event takes place at Central Park in Doylestown with registration at 8 am.