Parish Nurse Articles 👩‍⚕️


FROM THE PARISH NURSE....

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:50 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated May 16, 2017, 8:56 AM ]

 Because time TOGETHER is precious,

Take time to learn TO END STROKE

May is American Stroke Month.  From families to healthcare professionals, and corporations to communities, everyone has a critical role to play in creating stroke-aware communities.  While stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of long-term disability among adults in the U.S., many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern.  Multiple efforts are focused on increasing awareness and driving action among Americans across the entire stroke continuum of care:  prevention, acute treatment, and post-stroke rehabilitation.  We have make a lot of progress, but we still have a ways to go to end stroke and your help is needed!

After a stroke, survivors often are presented different options for rehabilitation, but getting the right timely care, in the right setting, is key in the recovery journey.  In the U.S., 800,000 people have a stroke each year, one every 40 seconds.  Yet, 80% of strokes are preventable, many Americans cannot identify the warning signs, and most stroke survivors and family caregivers do not know where to go for stroke recovery information.  With your help, we can close the gap in stroke awareness and help save lives.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF STROKE?

·        Know your blood pressure

·        Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat)

·        Stop smoking

·        Find out if you have high cholesterol

·        If you are diabetic, follow instructions to keep it in control

·        Include exercise in your daily routine

·        Eat a lower salt, lower fat diet

·        Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems

·        Act FAST

 

USE THE FAST TEST TO REMEMBER WARNING SIGNS OF STROKE:

F = Face         Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?

A = Arms       Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech    Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.  Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T = Time        If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!  Remember, time lost is brain cells lost!  Stroke is a brain attack!

We will be checking blood pressures on Sunday, May 14th after service.  Please stop by to check your numbers.  I welcome questions and would be happy to discuss your concerns with you. 

Your parish nurse,

Mary Ann Martin, RN

United Way Assistance

posted Sep 3, 2015, 9:42 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 4:19 PM ]




Did you know we have a service called 2-1-1?  It is funded by United Way and serves northeast Michigan and only recently, includes St. Clair County!  2-1-1 should be your first call for help—free, confidential information and referral--which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Let me list some of the services with which 2-1-1 can assist you:

Ø       

Ø                  Clothing, Personal & Household Needs

Ø                  Disaster Services

Ø                  Education

Ø                  Employment

Ø                  Food & Meals

Ø                  Health Care

Ø                  Housing & Utilities

Ø                  Income Support & Assistance

Ø                  Individual, Family & Community Support

Ø                  Information Services for Non-Profits

Ø                  Legal, Consumer & Public Safety

Ø                  Mental Health & Addictions

Ø                  Government & Economic Services

Ø                  Tax Assistance

Ø                  Transportation Services

Ø                  Volunteer Opportunities

Ø  

I have never accessed this service, nor do I know of anyone who has, but I certainly know United Way to be a reputable organization.  My advice would be to try it if you find yourself or a friend or family member needing this assistance.  You can always call me or Pastor if you need help obtaining information.   If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, you can go to www.uwsstclair.org or call (810)985-8169. 

March was National Nutrition Month and I will be setting up a resource table with materials made available from the American Heart Association.  Please take whatever you want/need and share it with your friends and family.  A healthy congregation is a happy congregation!  Happy April everyone!

Your Parish Nurse,

Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN

 


May is Stroke Awareness Month

posted May 14, 2015, 9:22 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 4:09 PM ]

In the United States, stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of long-term adult disability. 
A stroke is a brain attack, cutting off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF STROKE?
  • Know your blood pressure

  • Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat)

  • Stop smoking

  • Find out if you have high cholesterol

  • If you are diabetic, follow instructions to keep it in control

  • Include exercise in your daily routine

  • Eat a lower salt, lower fat diet

  • Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems

  • Act FAST

USE THE FAST TEST TO REMEMBER WARNING SIGNS OF STROKE:

F = Face           Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?

A = Arms         Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech       Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.  Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T = Time          If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!

Please let me know if you need your blood pressure taken.  I am happy to do that whenever I am in church.  If you would like to make an appointment, I will meet you at the church at a mutually convenient time.  Please do all you can to reduce your risk for stroke and also know what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke!

 

Your parish nurse,

Mary Ann Martin, RN



What is a TIA?

posted Jul 24, 2014, 8:28 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 4:11 PM ]

I have been asked to write an article about transient ischemic attack (TIA) and I am happy to do so.
  Sometimes called a “mini-stoke”, a more correct term would be “warning stroke”, according to the Stroke Association, and it should be taken very seriously.  TIA is caused by a clot to the brain blood flow, but, unlike a full stroke, the blockage is “transient” or temporary and no permanent brain damage is done.  The symptoms occur rapidly and usually last a relatively short time, most less than 5 minutes.  The term “warning stroke” is used because about 1/3 of TIA patients go on to have a full stroke within a year.  That is why prompt treatment for TIA needs to occur so that a stroke can be avoided.                          
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Symptoms of a TIA include numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg--especially on one side of the body; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination. Other reportable symptoms include change in alertness, confusion, memory loss, difficulty swallowing, difficulty reading or writing, facial droop, inability to recognize people or objects, lack of bladder or bowel control, personality, mood, or emotional changes or trouble saying or understanding words.  The most treatable factors of TIA per the National Institute of Health are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, carotid artery disease, diabetes, and heavy alcohol use.  Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, exercising, and enrolling in smoking and alcohol cessation programs can reduce these factors.  Medical help is available to treat the other risk factors.

A TIA is a medical emergency.  Call 911 right away—do not ignore symptoms just because they go away.  A prompt evaluation (within 60 minutes) is necessary to identify the cause of the TIA and determine appropriate therapy.  The acronym for a stroke is FAST—Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.  This acronym works for TIA also, along with the other signs and symptoms!

I hope this information is useful.  I am always eager to provide information when requested.  Let me know if there is something you would like to learn.  Knowledge is power and we continue to seek ways to protect God’s gift of life to us. 

Your parish nurse,

Mary Ann Martin, R.N.

.

Picnics without Food Poisoning

posted Jun 26, 2014, 10:55 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 4:12 PM ]

No matter what kind of get-together you’re planning, remember that food-borne bacteria thrive in warm weather.  Make sure you prepare, cook and store food correctly to keep everyone healthy and safe.  The best way to protect yourself and your guests, says former caterer Jeff Nelken, a food safety consultant based in California, is to follow these simple rules and tips:

1.      Wash your hands.  This cannot be stressed enough.  Wash with warm water and soap before and after handling food and, of course, after using the bathroom.

2.      Keep raw foods and their juices away from cooked foods.  Never put cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw food.  Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, and wash the boards thoroughly after each use.  This goes for the tongs you use with your food also

3.      Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter top.  There are three safe ways to defrost food:  in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave.  Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

4.      Think small bowls, not big ones.  Serve large portions of foods in smaller bowls and keep ones not in use in the refrigerator until needed.  Then replace it—don’t refill it!—with a chilled one.

5.      Ice down food transported by car.  Cars can get up to 120 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes on hot days.  According to the USDA, cold foods such as those containing mayonnaise should be kept at 40 degrees F with ice or frozen gel packs until serving tie.  Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees F or above.

6.      Use multiple coolers.  Use one cooler for raw meat, poultry and seafood and one for prepared food or raw produce.  Reserve one cooler just for beverages and snacks because it will be opened frequently

7.      Two hours in the sun, maximum!  If it’s 90 degrees F or hotter, cut that to one hour.

8.      Use pasteurized eggs.  This reduces the risk of salmonella if your crowd includes a lot of people over 65 or those with compromised immune systems.

9.      Cool cooked foods quickly.  Hot foods needs to be kept hot.  Bacteria doubles every 15 to 20 minutes.  If you’re cooking ahead of time, refrigerate then reheat your food when guests arrive.  Once hot food is served, it needs to be kept hot at 135 degrees F or above.

Enjoy your summer foods and stay safe.  More information is available at AARP.com or through the USDA. 

Your parish nurse,  Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN



KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT STROKE

posted May 1, 2014, 9:38 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 4:21 PM ]

Every May I write an article about stroke because I know how important it is that we recognize the signs this year with the added emphasis on St. Clair County statistics and why we need to be more vigilant than ever.

Stroke kills about 130,000 of the 800,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s and symptoms of stroke and that we do all we can to prevent experiencing one.  I am doing the same 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes.  A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.  You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke, including age, sex, and ethnicity.  Some unhealthy habits you can change to reduce your risk include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise.  Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes can also increase your risk for stroke.

The most common signs and symptoms of stroke are sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination; sudden severe headache with no known cause.  If you think that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Time lost is brain cells lost!

Reviewing St. Clair County’s CHAProfile, I learned that over 1/3 of SCC residents have high blood pressure.  This is higher than the Michigan and national rate!  Over 27% of SCC adults are current smokers, which has not decreased since the 2005 figures.  This was significantly higher than the state rate of 19.6% and national rate of 17.9%.  When it comes to alcohol consumption, we are higher in the “heavy drinker” category and lower in the “abstainer” category, both nationally and statewide.  Again, bad news!  I hate to sound redundant, but our numbers for regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes moderate physical activity 5 at least 5 times a week) are, again, significantly lower than state and national levels by more than 10%!  Do you eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily?  Only 18.4% of SCC residents do, compared to 22.6% statewide and 23.4% nationally.  I think the most astounding statistic for me was the fact that nearly 2/3 of SCC adult residents are above the “normal” healthy body weight.  Again, we sadly topped the charts compared to state and national levels.

If you are seeing yourself poorly in any of these categories, think about the consequences it can mean.  I know it is a real eye-opener to me personally!  If you have any ideas for a wellness plan for our church, let me know.  Maybe we can have a creative and fun way to take on these challenges and do our part to be healthy.  Happy May! 

Your Parish Nurse,

Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN

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