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If you have a question about a story or feature on YRMC HealthConnect, please use the fields below to send an e-mail message to Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Community Outreach Department. YRMC’s Community Outreach Department is a non-medical department and does not have access to patient records. If you have a medically related question, please contact your healthcare provider. If you need to reach a department or individual at YRMC, please call the general switchboard at (928) 445-2700. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Minimally Invasive Choices for Back Pain Relief
If you’re experiencing back pain, you’re certainly not alone. Ranging in severity from a muscle ache to a shooting pain radiating down the leg, back pain is one of the most common reasons that people visit their healthcare provider. A study conducted by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute reports that “some 16 million adults – 8 percent of all adults – experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities.” Over time, these limitations can restrict our capacity to interact physically, socially and emotionally, causing frustration and sometimes even depression. “Back pain need not be something you just have to live with,” says Dr. David Lloyd, neuroradiologist with Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott. “The vast majority of cases of back pain are treatable. Sometimes patience is required, but we have many tools at our disposal to help you feel healthier and more comfortable.” A neuroradiologist is a physician who is also a radiologist, specially trained in imaging such as MRI and CAT scan. This imaging is frequently necessary to properly diagnose the cause of your back pain and to plan how to treat it. Causes of back pain are extensive, but most commonly include degenerative disc disease, arthritis, compressed nerves, and even fractures. Lloyd stresses that depending on the diagnosis, there are many minimally invasive choices when it comes to relieving the pain. “Minimally invasive refers to procedures outside of what we typically think of as surgery,” he explains. “It does not require general anesthesia, avoids large incisions, and the recovery is much more tolerable. In almost all cases, the patient requires no inpatient stay at the hospital and is back to performing normal activities of daily living within a few hours of the procedure.” Steroid injections, epidural steroid injections and selective nerve blocks are among the most typical procedures. For compression fractures of the spine, which are most often found in osteoporosis patients, vertebroplasty is a highly effective procedure. A cement-like material is injected into the broken bone, stabilizing the fracture. Lloyd states that most patients experience pain relief and the renewed ability to go about their daily activities almost immediately. “The wonderful thing about the procedures I perform is how quickly and effectively most patients receive pain relief,” Lloyd says. “Obviously, magic pills don’t exist, and relief of back pain can remain elusive, but most patients receive a significantly improved quality of life shortly after receiving the needed procedure. It’s very satisfying to see a patient who was struggling with unrelenting pain be able to engage in a more fulfilling lifestyle and overcome the discouragement he or she was feeling.” Talk to your healthcare provider to see if a referral makes sense for you. Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott can be reached at (928) 771-8477.
Kari Reily Joins the YRMC Foundation Board of Directors
Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) Foundation is pleased to announce that Kari Reily has joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Kari is deeply committed to helping to improve the quality of life in our community,” said Dave Barrett, Chair of the Foundation. “Her energy and her enthusiasm are infectious and inspirational.” Ms. Reily’s professional career spans more than 30 years in the banking industry. She is currently Branch Manager of Foothills Bank in Prescott Valley. As an active member of both our economic and civic communities, she is a member of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Committee and Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Ms. Reily is the incoming President of the Prescott Valley Early Birds Lions Club. The YRMC Foundation is committed to supporting the healthcare mission of Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, your local, not-for-profit community healthcare provider, through fundraising and relationship building. The Foundation solicits philanthropic gifts, provides stewardship of these gifts, and grants funds to the hospital to advance the community’s access to healthcare. All charitable gifts received by the Foundation stay in our community and are utilized as directed by the donor. Donors may designate their gifts to any of the Foundation’s 18 special purpose funds. In 2020, community support to the YRMC Foundation topped $2.3 million. Ms. Reily is one of nine volunteer members representing our community. The expertise and talents of the board members include backgrounds in business, finance, law, communications, and more. These directors represent our community and business leaders, medical staff and hospital leadership. In addition to Ms. Reily, board membership currently includes John Amos, Dave Barrett, Douglas Bristol, Mary Mallory, Robbie Nicol, Dr. Arabinda Pani, Harvey Skoog, William Sonsin and Dr. Pierre Tibi. To learn more about the YRMC Foundation, please contact (928) 771–5169 or email@example.com or visit www.yrmcfoundation.org.
GoNoodle Keeps Kids Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Staying the course during the unpredictable events of 2020 was a challenge for non-profit organizations across the globe. Holding true to one’s mission and vision while focusing on new and effective ways to reach the community was a common theme. The experience at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) was no different. As the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality in early 2020, families in our community started to suffer tragic losses. Many of our neighbors faced unemployment. When schools closed, parents became full-time teachers in addition to keeping bills paid and food on the table. The list goes on. At YRMC, decisions were made to shift our community outreach priority to the families, children and young adults we serve. We felt it was one of the many ways we could stay consistent with our communities’ needs. In 2020, YRMC made charitable donations to the Humboldt Education Foundation’s Hungry Kids Project, Boys to Men Mentoring – North Central Arizona, Prescott Police Department’s Shop with a Cop, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arizona and Yavapai Big Brothers, Big Sisters, among many others. In addition, YRMC’s continued sponsorship of GoNoodle for teachers, children and their families became more important than ever. Many of our local teachers have found that GoNoodle’s fun, enriching online content brings movement and mindfulness into the classroom, boosting students’ productivity, improving behavior and helping to build confidence and community in the classroom. However, during the months when schools were closed, more and more of our local parents started to rely on GoNoodle’s resources – including the videos, downloadables, and parent-focused blogs. GoNoodle became a refreshing and welcome addition to the school curriculum while parents were teaching their children at home. Just a few clicks can initiate a family dance party, offer the calming effect of a mindfulness video, or bring engaging information on how to stop the spread of germs. Screen time is turned into active time on laptops, phones and televisions. In fact, in 2020, there was a 187% increase in GoNoodle home usage in Yavapai County. Teachers continued to find creative ways to incorporate GoNoodle into their long-distance instruction as well. Even in 2020, teacher usage and the number of schools using GoNoodle grew. YRMC is pleased to have had the opportunity to help make our local parents’ and teachers’ days a bit easier – and perhaps our local kids’ days a bit more fun – during the COVID-19 pandemic through our continued sponsorship of GoNoodle. It’s one of the many ways we try, every day, to live out our commitment to the health of our communities.
Five Signs it’s Time for a Total Knee Replacement
Is a total knee replacement on your radar? If it is, you’re not alone. More than 600,000 Americans opt for the procedure each year. That number makes total knee replacement the most frequently performed orthopedic surgery in the United States. It’s not always easy to know when it’s time for a total knee replacement. A recent article in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery found that about 90 percent of people wait longer than necessary to have the surgery. That statistic is no surprise to Francisco Jaume, DO, Lead Orthopedist at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Orthopedic Surgery. The accomplished orthopedic surgeon – who has himself undergone total knee replacement surgery – understands why people wrestle with this question. “People tend to wait longer than they should for a total knee replacement in the hopes they’ll be able to manage their pain,” says Dr. Jaume. “But if an x-ray reveals you have bone-on-bone opposition, the only way to fix this is surgery that resurfaces the knee joint. And that’s exactly what we do during a total knee replacement.” Dr. Jaume talks about all aspects of total knee replacement during this Healthy Conversations video. He also answers a wide-range of questions about total knee replacement from preparing your home for recovery (hint: roll up those rugs) to leading an active life after a total knee replacement (pickleball, anyone?). Five Signs it’s Time for a Total Knee Replacement Medications – even stronger anti-inflammatory drugs – don’t ease your pain. Dr. Jaume cautions that even over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – like aspirin and ibuprofen – can be dangerous. These medications can damage your kidneys and liver as well as lead to high blood pressure. Cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy and other less-invasive treatment options aren’t effective in reducing your pain and inflammation. Dr. Jaume emphasizes that physical therapy is an essential part of a total knee replacement. He recommends physical therapy before surgery to build overall strength and after to ensure a successful recovery. Everyday tasks – dressing, bathing or getting out of a chair – are painful and challenging. Dr. Jaume asks patients if they’re having difficulty performing these and other activities of daily living. A ‘yes’ usually means it’s time for a total knee replacement. Your pain is severe and relentless. “If you experience pain even when you’re not using your knee, that’s a strong indication that it’s time for surgery,” Dr. Jaume says. “Total knee replacement can improve the quality of your life.” You need a walker or cane to get around. But don’t retire these assistive devices, too soon. You’ll need a walker for two-to-four weeks following total knee replacement surgery and a cane until you can walk without a limp. “Total knee replacement is life changing. I know from personal experience,” notes Dr. Jaume. “If you follow your post-surgery plan, you can live a pain-free and active life.” To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jaume, contact Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Orthopedic Surgery at (928) 708-4545 or talk to your primary care provider.
Our Healthcare Heroes Raise their Voices for the COVID-19 Vaccine
Sleeves Up for the COVID-19 Vaccine gives voice to healthcare heroes from Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. The video series features YRMC physicians, nurses, radiologic technologists, support staff and other members of the YRMC team, sharing their experiences of caring for the community during COVID-19. Sleeves Up for the COVID-19 Vaccine includes these dedicated YRMC team members and more: An Emergency Department registered nurse describing the heartbreak of watching long-time married couples say what could be their last goodbyes as one of them is hospitalized with COVID-19. Her words: “It touches a place in your soul that no one else can really understand.” A cardiac rehabilitation nurse recalling the emotion of watching one of her patient’s leave the hospital after battling COVID-19. A physician answering the question, “Can the COVID-19 vaccine give you the virus?“ Several YRMC team members talking about their personal experiences with the COVID-19 virus. “These are only a few of the candid comments from the YRMC family who participated in the Sleeves Up for the COVID-19 Vaccine video series,” says Ken Boush, Director of Marketing and Communications, Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. “Each of these individuals has sacrificed – and in many cases risked their personal health – to care for the community during the pandemic. To a person, they all express their willingness to do this as part of their commitment to their profession and the health of the community.” Follow Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center on Facebook for the latest Sleeves Up for the COVID-19 Vaccine videos. You can also view the videos on YRMC’s YouTube page.
Palliative Medicine: A Big Picture Perspective
It’s rare for Palliative Medicine physician Larry Parsons, MD, to meet someone who understands his medical specialty or how it benefits patients with serious illnesses. Dr. Parsons directs inpatient Palliative Medicine at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center and is part of the Palliative Medicine team at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group. A dynamic communicator, Dr. Parsons helps patients and their families understand their medical choices and what they mean. “What I bring to hospitalized patients is a big-picture view of their health status,” says Dr. Parsons. “Heart doctors assess the patient’s cardiac health; kidney specialists focus on the patient’s kidney function; and palliative medicine physicians look at the entire patient. We take a holistic approach to healthcare.” What does the Palliative Medicine holistic approach include? This holistic approach means Palliative Medicine experts consider your physical, emotional, spiritual and family needs, which may include: Managing symptoms (pain, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue and more) Addressing quality of life issues Alleviating emotional distress, anxiety or depression Assisting with advance directives Arranging for spiritual counseling Explaining and discussing a patient’s clinical status “This takes time,” Dr. Parsons says. “It means getting to know folks, learning what’s meaningful to them, and becoming familiar with their support systems. How is their illness affecting their life? Do they understand their clinical situation? Because I come with time, I can help people explore what’s important to them.” During this episode of Healthy Conversations, Dr. Parsons discusses YRMC’s Palliative Medicine program. He also shares a compelling story about his family’s experience with medical decision making. Palliative medicine is not hospice care A common assumption people make is that Palliative Medicine and Hospice are one in the same. In fact, they are two different services. For example, the Palliative Medicine team works with patients – and their physicians – as they are pursuing medical treatment. Additionally, Palliative Medicine can begin most any time during an illness. Hospice is an option for people who have a life expectancy of less than six months. A comprehensive Palliative Medicine program At YRMC, Palliative Medicine is available for inpatients – people hospitalized at YRMC East or YRMC West – or in the community through Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Palliative Medicine. According to Dr. Parsons, it’s rare for a Palliative Medicine program to offer both inpatient and outpatient services. “Our community is very fortunate to have Palliative Medicine for hospitalized patients and as an outpatient service,” Dr. Parsons says. “It’s clear that YRMC understands the importance of this type of care for all patients.” If you’re hospitalized at YRMC East or YRMC West, you may request a Palliative Medicine consultation with Dr. Parsons through your attending physician – also called a hospitalist – or contact Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Palliative Medicine at (928) 775-5567.
Exploring the Gut/Heart Connection with YRMC Cardiologist Phillip Tran, DO
If you have ever had a ‘gut feeling’ about something, you’ve sensed a connection that science is proving true: your gut communicates with the rest of your body. Specifically, research shows that the gut microbiome, or the collection of bacteria that live in the digestive tract, influences a host of bodily functions, including cholesterol metabolism, inflammation, blood pressure, and more. Recent studies suggest that an imbalance in the number and diversity of gut bacteria may even contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a group of conditions that includes atherosclerosis, heart attack, heart failure and stroke. As we learn more about the important role the gut microbiome plays in preserving health and triggering disease, a whole new box of tools for treating and preventing CVD may result. The Gut Microbiome Our bodies host trillions of bacteria that live on and within us, with the largest concentration of bacteria found in the lower digestive tract. These tiny organisms maintain the health of the lining of gut, produce important nutrients, regulate the immune system, and can trigger or reduce inflammation throughout the body. Research suggests that the number, diversity, and balance of different families of bacteria have a direct influence on cardiovascular health. Phillip Tran, DO, Cardiologist at Yavapai Regional Medical Group, is enthusiastic about these discoveries. “We know there are several known and common risk factors for CVD, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, and inactivity. Abnormal gut flora is now being considered another major risk factor. This may open up exciting new modalities for treating and preventing CVD.” Inflammation Inflammation results from a complex series of immune reactions in the body that can be triggered by a host of conditions. Dr. Tran states, “Chronic inflammation is a root cause of cardiovascular disease. An important factor in reducing inflammation in the body appears to be maintaining a healthy population of the bacteria that protect and feed the lining of the gut.” When bacterial populations are healthy and diverse, the lining of the gut, which prevents pro-inflammatory, disease-causing substances from entering the body, remains intact. However, when bacterial populations shift, either through dietary changes, stress, medications, or other causes, the gut lining itself can become damaged and inflamed, thus allowing disease-causing substances to enter the blood stream. This condition, often called leaky gut, may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and TMAO Some of the most interesting medical research done in the last few years relates to the discovery of a potential link between gut bacteria, diet, increased CVD risk, and a chemical called trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO. Dr. Tran describes the connection. “TMA, or trimethylamine, is produced by certain gut bacteria when people regularly consume red meats. TMA is converted to TMAO in the liver, and research suggests that TMAO may increase inflammation in atherosclerotic plaque, decrease the elimination of cholesterol from the body, and indirectly promote increased cholesterol production. Foam cells, which are the cholesterol-filled cells found in plaque, may also increase in number and size under the influence of TMAO.” Several studies from the US and Europe have demonstrated that blood levels of TMAO are often linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Higher levels of TMAO have also been measured in people suffering from heart failure. Keeping in mind that these correlations do not prove that TMAO causes cardiovascular disease, researchers continue to study this intriguing connection. Prebiotics and Probiotics Several studies have shown that food and supplement-based pre and probiotics may reduce total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and inflammation. Prebiotics are plant fibers that feed the health-promoting bacteria living in the gut. These fibers may be one of the reasons why a high fiber, plant-based diet is strongly linked with better blood cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation, and reduced CVD risk. Probiotics include beneficial bacteria, yeasts and fungi, many of which are produced from the fermentation of a variety of foods. Probiotics can be taken as supplements or eaten as a natural part of fermented foods. Some common, probiotic-rich fermented foods include yogurt (dairy or plant based), sauerkraut, kimchi (a spicy Korean condiment), kefir, and kombucha (a type of fermented tea). Dr. Tran thinks we need more research to clarify and prove the benefits of taking probiotic supplements to prevent or treat CVD. He states, “Although many studies suggest that probiotics can favorably alter serum lipids, some human studies examining the benefits of probiotics on serum lipids have shown conflicting results.” Many researchers concur, stating that the science is new and will take time to determine what types and blends of probiotics might be therapeutic for certain conditions, and in what form probiotic supplements should be consumed for the best outcomes. Steps to Improve Gut and Cardiovascular Health Dr. Tran suggests the following steps to improve the health of your gut and possibly reduce your risk of CVD. Maintain healthy intestinal flora by eating a diet rich in high fiber, plant based foods, and by regularly consuming healthy fermented foods. Take antibiotics with caution and care as they kill all bacteria and can promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut. Supplement with prebiotics and probiotics whenever you take antibiotics. If you have cardiovascular disease, talk to your cardiologist about the potential benefits of pre and probiotics. While the science is not yet clear, boosting a healthy population of gut bacteria may reduce inflammatory processes that trigger cardiovascular conditions.
Apples, Fry Bread and Dignity Health: Present Day Links to Prescott’s Distant Past
Signs of the past are everywhere in Prescott — in beautiful old buildings, apple orchards sprinkled among Ponderosa pines, savory-sweet fry bread served at summer festivals, and even state-of-the art healthcare at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. We recently stepped back in time at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to celebrate the roots of Dignity Health and learn about the food ways of indigenous people and settlers back when Arizona was the American frontier. Mercy Hospital Chapel on Grove Ave The story of Dignity Health begins in Prescott, in 1898, when the Sisters of Mercy opened the doors of Mercy Hospital on Grove Avenue, where the Prescott College Campus exists today. After the hospital burned in 1940, the Sisters decided not to rebuild, but to continue their work at St. Joseph’s, the first hospital built in Phoenix. Last year, the Sisters returned to Prescott, as the sponsoring congregation behind Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. In Prescott’s early days, settlers planted apple trees, which provided fresh fruit and a variety preserved apple products throughout the year. Old recipes for Dutch oven baked apples, dried apple cake, and apple butter attest to the importance of those trees, as does the local tradition of fermenting apple cider, which continues to this day. Fresh apples, applesauce, apple butter, Stoic brand apple cider and apple cider vinegar The Yavapai People were forced to leave their traditional lands and ways of living, hunting, and gathering as Prescott became populated by settlers from the US, China, Mexico and elsewhere. They continued to rely on their creativity and ingenuity to survive on reservation land and grew gardens of corn, squash and beans, harvested native plants, hunted a little, and made the best they could of government commodity foods. Two wonderful guests join me virtually in this episode of YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, so be sure to watch and learn more about indigenous food ways, old apple orchards, and how to make delicious, sugar free apple butter! Click on the link below the video to access the recipe. Apple Butter Recipe If you’d like to learn more about the Museum of Indigenous People, feel free to call them at 928-445-1230 or connect with them on the web at the museumofindigenouspeople.org. While there, you can learn more about the early inhabitants of our area and view a gallery of some of the beautiful items in their collection. To learn more about Stoic Cider and the incredible apple research they’ve been doing, visit their website at stoiccider.com. You can order their cider online and also buy directly from several local distributors in town. And of course, you can always learn more about what we’re up to in Your Healthy Kitchen by visiting yrmchealthconnect.org!