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health & wellness

GCC’s Medina campus will host Narcan training

Posted 17 February 2017 at 11:47 am

Press Release, GCC

MEDINA – Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and opioid addiction is the driving force behind this issue.

Death rates from accidental overdoses have increased more than 600 percent in the last 10 years in the U.S. from prescription drugs and accidental overdose deaths have increased close to 500 percent in Erie County in one year.

If you were in the presence of an opioid-related emergency, would you know what to do? On Monday, March 20, Horizon Health Services will host free Narcan Training at the GCC Medina Campus Center from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

A child who ingests an adult opiate painkiller prescription, an elderly person who forgets and takes too much of their opiate painkiller medication and a loved one who struggles with opiate/heroin addiction are a few examples of situations that can lead to an accidental overdose. Attendees of the training will learn how to recognize and respond to an opiate overdose, who may be at risk, and how to administer Narcan, a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose.

Seats for the Narcan training will be limited and those interested in attending should call 585-798-1688 for reservations. Horizon Health Services Parent & Family Support Coordinator Colleen Babcock will lead the training.

Campus center also hosting exhibit from the Indian Arts Project

GCC Medina also has on display 20 photos/prints from the Indian Arts Project, which was recently housed at the Rosalie “Roz” Steiner Art Gallery at the GCC Batavia Campus Center.

Before his death in 1955, Rochester Museum Director Arthur C. Parker created the Indian Arts Project to help his Seneca relatives and friends with federal funds from the Works Progress Administration. The program employed people of Tonawanda and Cattaraugus Reservations to recreate the objects of their everyday lives, building a collection for the Museum.

The display, which will be shown through the end of March, includes work from Freeman C. Johnson, a former member of the Tonawanda Band of Senecas and Wahbee tribe. He was involved in numerous community activities before he was killed in an automobile accident in 1969, and frequently gave speeches and wrote letters about legislation concerning the Native American. Johnson was instrumental in preserving Gannagaro, an historic sixteenth century Seneca Village, located in what is now Victor, New York.

The Medina Campus Center is located at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina, NY 14103. For more information, contact the Medina Campus Center at (585) 798-1688.

Lyndonville Foundation gives $10K for Hospice supportive care program

Posted 13 February 2017 at 11:14 am

Press Release, Hospice of Orleans

ALBION – A $10,000 grant from the Lyndonville Area Foundation will be instrumental in growing an important program available to all Orleans County residents who are facing serious illness.

The Supportive Care program offered as part of Hospice of Orleans, Inc.’s continuum of care is open to all residents, and the service does not require a prognosis of 6 months or less.

“Community members aren’t always aware that Hospice of Orleans, Inc. offers assistance to people who do not want to give up curative treatments,” said Kellie Spychalski, CEO of Hospice of Orleans. “Our Supportive Care program provides patients assistance with options for pain management, case management, and support while facing illnesses and treatments that are so often confusing and overwhelming to those dealing with them. We are here to help during some of the most challenging times a family faces. The Lyndonville Area Foundation’s generous gift is a tremendous help to us as we continue to grow this important service.”

Hospice Supportive Care staff provide unparalleled levels of support to patients and the caregiver(s) within our community.  Along with regular RN and social work visits, patients and their caregivers have access to trained volunteers, spiritual support, education, and when appropriate, aide services.

Supportive Care services continue to grow, and some health insurance carriers provide coverage for this service, and for others, the services are provided at no cost to the patient and/or family members thanks to generous contributors like the Lyndonville Area Foundation.

“Too many people fall through the cracks,” said Brittany Dix, Development Manager for Hospice of Orleans. “Some folks are facing very serious circumstances but aren’t yet able to receive the benefits of Hospice because of a prognosis that is longer than 6 months. However, these people still need great care, and their caregivers still need to be able to be supported while providing it. That is what Supportive Care is all about, and we are thrilled that the Lyndonville Area Foundation recognizes the significance of a program like this to so many in our community. We are excited for the opportunity to serve any and all of our neighbors that would benefit from Supportive Care. We are confident that the relief that this program provides will continue to be seen by those that need it most.”

For further information and access to Supportive Care Services or any of the many services Hospice of Orleans, Inc. offers, please call (585) 589-0809.

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Orleans-Genesee partnership with public health highlighted at NYSAC conference

Posted 8 February 2017 at 11:30 am

Press Release, Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator for the Orleans County Health Department

Delegates from all 57 counties and the City of New York recently convened in Albany at the Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

Hundreds of county officials attended meetings, educational forums, keynote addresses and state budget presentations over the course of the three-day conference on Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

At several breakout sessions during the conference, Orleans and Genesee County representatives had the opportunity to showcase their innovative public health shared service model to attendees. Dave Callard (chairman of the Orleans County Legislature), Paul Pettit (public health director, Genesee and Orleans County) and Matt Landers (assistant county manager, Genesee County) all participated in panel discussions highlighting the project over the past four years.

Dave Callard commented that “Counties across New York State continue to face unprecedented fiscal pressures under the tax cap without significant mandate relief. These burdens are continually pushing Counties to cut services and be creative in how to deliver the remaining essential services in a cost effective manner.”

In response to the current environment, Genesee and Orleans County began a strategic Cross Jurisdictional Services (CJS) PILOT project in October of 2012 to study and assess the merits of sharing Public Health Services.

“This project started as a shared senior administration model that immediately allowed both counties to experience financial savings while enhancing service delivery. This initiative and integrated relationship was the first and still the only of its kind in New York State,” stated Paul Pettit.

In four and half years, Genesee and Orleans Counties can attribute a return on investment of over $1,000,000 in combined savings from their CJS efforts.

The cross jurisdictional project in public health services has both regulatory and logistical complexities and the success is the result of significant hard work, flexibility and forward thinking of both counties administration, boards of health and health department staff.

The counties continue to proactively respond to the difficult fiscal environment being faced by working through differences and understanding that working together, within and across county lines, results in fiscal savings and enhanced services for their residents.

“Both Orleans and Genesee Counties are very proud of the results from the project and couldn’t be more pleased to share our success story with the other counties across the state so that they may benefit from what we have learned,” added Callard.

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Albion’s Urgent Care will change to Rural Health Clinic

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans Community Health opened this healthcare site in Albion in November 2012. The site became an “Urgent Care” location on June 2, 2014. Urgent Care services will continue, but the site is transitioning to a walk-in clinic.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2017 at 10:02 am

Site will have extended hours, focus on preventive care

ALBION – Orleans Community Health’s Urgent Care site in Albion will transition to a federally designated rural health clinic, with extended hours and a focus on preventive care, said Joanna Miller, the site’s administrator.

Orleans Community Health opened the site at the corner of Butts Road and Route 31 in November 2012. It became an Urgent Care facility on June 2, 2014, providing non life-threatening care such as X-rays, stitches, lab services for blood and urine, bandages and some other treatments, including care for strep throat and lacerations. Urgent Care services will continue, but the site is transitioning to a walk-in clinic.

Joanna Miller (right), administrator of the healthcare site in Albion, is pictured with Dr. Mary Rykert-Wolf, who recently joined Orleans Community Health with 16 years as a family practitioner, working most recently for Lakeshore Family Medicine, which has sites in Derby, North Collins and Irving.

The official change to a federally designated rural health clinic is expected within a few months. Orleans Community Health needs the final OK from the state Department of Health.

The new designation will result in higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for services, helping the bottom line for Orleans Community Health.

Once it gets the final approval, the Urgent Care sign will come down and be replaced with signage noting the site is a walk-in clinic.

“There will be an emphasis on quality of care and community care,” Miller said.

The staff will focus on preventive care, with diagnostics and education, she said.

Orleans Community Health, for example, is starting a diabetes prevention program this month, with free blood pressure screenings on Tuesday and Thursday during February.

The Urgent Care services will continue at the site, as will primary care, occupational health, and other existing services.

The site is currently open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The hours will be extended as part of the shift to becoming a rural health clinic, and Miller said specialists for physical therapy will also be on site more often.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get healthcare,” she said.

Miller has been the site administrator the past two years. She is pleased with the recent hire of Dr. Mary Rykert-Wolf, who joined Orleans Community Health with 16 years as a family practitioner, working most recently for Lakeshore Family Medicine. Rykert-Wolf started in Albion in November and has been adding about 15-20 new patients each month since then.

Orleans Community Health has 14 full-time workers and two part-timers at Albion.

For more on rural health clinics, click here.

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Orchard Manor staff ‘Go Red’ to promote heart health

Posted 3 February 2017 at 4:20 pm

Provided photos

MEDINA – Staff at the Orchard Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Medina joined the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women national movement today to help raise awareness and to save more lives.

The top photo includes, front row, from left: Laura Lechner, Nellie Garcia, Carrie Ryan, Amy Martin and RoseAnn Velesko. Back row: Jamie Murphy, Michele Clor, Laurie Seager, Luann Thompson, Judy May, Tabitha Miller, Jaime Tucker, Patty DiNardo, Lisa Giattino and Debbie Feltz.

More women than men die every year from heart disease and stroke. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The movement harnesses the energy, passion, and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease and stroke.

Staff members made donations and wore red today to support the event.

Pictured, front row, from left: Cassidy Oliver, Desiree Braham, Elizabeth Schyve, Mary Luckman and Brenda Cherry. Back row: Richard Pizzuto and Jordon Snowdon.

Some members of the Orleans County Office for the Aging staff also wore red today. They include, from left: Melissa Blanar (director), Tammy Graham, Samantha, Koons, Amanda Edick, Michele Sargent (in back), Leanne Donovan, Susie Miller, Becky Karls and Chris Hermann.

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One man’s goal: make sure no children go hungry over weekend

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 February 2017 at 1:54 pm

Wayne Litchfield

ALBION – A Medina resident has an ambitious goal: to make sure every school-aged child in Orleans County doesn’t go hungry over the weekend.

Wayne Litchfield, a retired county dispatcher who now heads the VALOR Medical Reserve Corps for the county, wants to start a backpack program, where children would have six meals in backpacks to take home for the weekend.

He is in the early stages of trying to put together a program with VALOR partnering with Foodlink, and local churches, organizations and school districts.

“We are looking for stakeholders,’ Litchfield told the Albion Rotary Club on Thursday. “It will need to be community driven.”

Litchfield is also a volunteer with the Hands 4 Hope ministry, which distributes some food  on Saturday mornings, visiting Albion twice, and Medina and Holley once each month. Hands 4 Hope also takes prayer requests from people who stop by.

The experience has been an eye-opener for Litchfield, who sees a lot of desperate families with very little food to eat. Hands 4 Hope gives away a “share” which is about $20 worth of food for each family.

Litchfield would like to start “Pack 4 Hope” for kids in school to bring home meals for the weekend. Foodlink could provide six meals per child at $2.50 per kid, Litchfield said.

His ultimate goal would be to have food for each child eligible for free or reduced lunch. The breakdown per school district for children eligible for free or reduced lunch includes 777 in Albion, 402 in Holley, 348 in Kendall, 302 in Lyndonville, and 548 in Medina. The total is 2,377 in the county, Litchfield said.

Medina’s PTSA already runs a backpack program serving 60 children. That is what the group can financially afford, he said.

To feed all of the kids on free and reduced lunch over the weekends would cost over $475,000, Litchfield said.

Foundations locally and regionally, businesses, USDA programs and other funding sources will likely be pursued, he said.

He wants to try a less daunting beginning. He is looking at a pilot project with Lyndonville, the district with the fewest number of kids eligible for free or reduced lunches with 302. Lyndonville also is considered by the federal government to be a “food desert” because there isn’t a grocery store in the village.

Jason Smith, the Lyndonville Central School superintendent, said the district would like to partner with Litchfield and VALOR.

“We support an opportunity to provide meals for some of our neediest families,” Smith said today.

The number of children eligible for free and reduced lunches may need to be a starting point for looking who could be served by such a program, Smith said. If the funding isn’t there for all children on free and reduced lunch, Smith said a backpack program serving fewer children could be a possibility.

Litchfield said a backpack program could be run through VALOR, which is a non-profit with a 501c3.

He wants to pack nutritious meals for kids – fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and protein.

With better meals over the weekend, students would see improved attendance at school, and a better ability to concentrate, especially earlier in the school week, leading to higher grades, Litchfield said.

For more information, Litchfield can be reached at the Health Department, Wayne.Litchfield@orleanscountyny.gov or at (585) 589-2869.

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Kendall students take a stand against tobacco

Posted 1 February 2017 at 11:43 am

Provided photo: Kendall students last week gave a presentation on tobacco marketing and teen smoking.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming

ALBION – At the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition meeting on Jan. 26, Reality Check youth from Kendall Junior Senior High School presented research and evidence on the tobacco industry and their retail store marketing and advertising. The group’s single most important message was clear: “We’ve Seen Enough!”

After the presentation was complete, the student advocates answered questions and led a discussion on potential ways the community can take action in protecting children, as well as teens like them, from hard-hitting tobacco marketing that causes youth smoking.

“(I didn’t realize how) kids are targeted before they even walk in the store, with bright, colorful promotions on windows and walls,” said Reality Check member and Kendall student, Dillion Morgott. “Tobacco products are also placed alongside ads for snacks, candy and ice cream that kids know and love.”

In New York State, the average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18. The U.S. Surgeon General calls smoking a “pediatric epidemic” and says, “Advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.”  Even with all of this data, research shows stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.

Shelly Wolanske, youth engagement coordinator of Tobacco-Free Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (TF-GLOW) and Reality Check leader, lauds her advocates’ efforts in educating lawmakers and community members about tobacco marketing and standing up for a healthier Orleans County.

“Their efforts, along with partner support from the Drug Free Communities Coalition members, we can continue to build awareness, promote action and create change that will have a positive impact for the children of our community,” she said.

For more information about TF-GLOW programs or Reality Check, contact Shelly Wolanske at 585-343-5997 or shelly.wolanske@roswellpark.org.

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Churches want to help with opioid crisis

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2017 at 12:04 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Russ Peters, pastor of the Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship Church in Shelby, speaks during Friday’s Legislative Luncheon at Tillman’s Village Inn.

GAINES – As the community, state and country grapple with how to respond to an opioid crisis resulting in numerous overdose deaths, local churches in Orleans County are willing to help.

Russ Peters, pastor of the Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship in Shelby, said he has led several funeral services for people who have suffered fatal overdoses.

Drug addictions are plaguing the community, Peters said during Friday’s Legislative Luncheon attended by about 100 people. That event at the Village Inn was organized by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce and offered a forum to discuss issues.

Peters said several church leaders have formed Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation (PACT). Last week, PACT had prayer sessions at 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday at different churches. The opioid crisis is among the leading concerns for churches, Peters said.

PACT last year led discussions about addictions, the opioid crisis and overcoming barriers that keep people in poverty. Debbie Davis is founder of the faith-based “One Voice,” a non-profit organization that works with people fighting addictions in West Virginia. She met with the PACT leaders and the community last June to discuss how churches in her community reached out to people struggling with addictions and feelings of hopelessness.

Sheriff Randy Bower said the Sheriff’s Office has strengthened a partnership with 77 churches in the county.

“We will be reaching out,” Bower said during the Legislative Luncheon.

The Sheriff’s Office last year started a program in the county jail to help people with addictions.

“It’s near and dear to my heart,” Bower said. “We want to help these people.”

Bower said assisting people with addictions will reduce crimes, because many larcenies and burglaries are committed by people trying to fuel drug cravings.

Bower noted the governor’s budget includes $200 million more in the fight against opioid addictions.

The state earlier this month announced it would fund a methadone clinic in Batavia, open to people in Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties, helping them to fight opioid addictions.

“It’s a very serious issue,” State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said. “It touches every strata.”

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Health Department director says bed bugs are growing concern countywide

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 6:56 pm
Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Holley Central School isn’t alone in battling bed bugs. The district has been in the news today after discovering bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms.

The district brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as the hallway and neighboring classrooms.

Bed bugs have a growing problem throughout Orleans County, said Paul Pettit, public health director.

“It’s definitely on the increase,” Pettit said today. “Year by year we’re getting more calls and complaints.”

The bed bugs don’t carry disease but they are a nuisance, and difficult to get rid of, Pettit said.

They are “hitch hikers” attaching themselves to clothing, backpacks, coats, sofas and suitcases.

When they are in a house, they often hide in cracks and crevices in couches, or behind beds. They feed on blood and some people may wake up with bite marks. That’s a sign they should look closer to see if there are bed bugs in their home, Pettit said.

People are transient, going to movie theaters, hotels and other public places. It ‘s no surprise the bed bug complaints are on the rise, Pettit said.

He advised people to get rid of clutter, and try to keep a clean house, regularly washing bed sheets and pillow cases.

He urged people not to pick up discarded furniture by the curb. That furniture might be infested.

“This is an issue people need to be aware of,” Pettit said. “Anybody can get them.”

The New York State Department of Health issued these recommendations to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:

• When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.

• Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

If you have bed bugs, the Health Department recommends these actions:

• Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.

• Move your bed away from walls or furniture.

• Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.

• Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.

• Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

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Hospice appoints former Arc director to be new leader

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2017 at 3:06 pm
Kellie Spychalski

Kellie Spychalski

ALBION – The former leader of the Arc of Orleans County has been picked to be the new leader of Hospice of Orleans. Kellie Spychalski will lead Hospice following the retirement of Mary Anne Fischer, who worked with Hospice since 1992, leading the organization since its infancy in Orleans County.

Spychalski was director of the Arc of Orleans before taking the director’s job for the Arc’s counterpart in Niagara County, Opportunities Unlimited. She worked 21 years for the Arc of Orleans, including two years as executive director.

The Hospice position gives Spychalski the chance to work much closer to her home in Holley.

Hospice announced Spychalski’s hiring today.

“I am honored and excited to have been selected to serve as the CEO for the Hospice of Orleans County,” Spychalski said in a statement. “I wholeheartedly believe that people should be empowered to make their own health care decisions including end of life care. Hospice of Orleans is a wonderful organization which provides outstanding care and support to people faced with life-limiting illness and their loved ones.

“My family and several of our close friends have seen first-hand the impact that Hospice has on families during some of the most challenging times in their lives. I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, staff, donors, community partners and the many caring and dedicated volunteers who make Hospice such a great organization and true asset to our community.”

The Hospice Board of Directors selected Spychalski after review of her education and experience which includes a MS in Health Care Administration, BS in Organizational Management from Roberts Wesleyan College, an AAS in Human Services from GCC, as well as a 30-year career in the field of human services in roles ranging from direct hands-on care to Corporate Compliance to Executive Director, most recently working with The Arc of Orleans County and Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.

Spychalski also serves in the community through the Holley Board of Education in Holley as well as Orleans Community Health board of directors.

She lives in Holley with her husband Ron and is mother to 2 grown sons.

“I am excited about working together to continue to meet the needs of Orleans County residents and expand services and opportunities which enhance people’s quality of life,” she said. “Together we will build on the many successes Hospice has experienced over the past 25 years.”

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