Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working to mitigate the shortage of resources with the opening of a free-standing 27-bed psychiatric hospital in the fall of 2021. The Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health Hospital will accept adults ages 18-64 by referral or walk-in.
The Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health (ARBH) team of therapists and providers offer multiple resources for treating mild to severe mental health disorders in the High Country. Outpatient Behavioral Health is located inside Sloop Medical Office Plaza in Linville, and inpatient treatment is currently located within Cannon Memorial Hospital. However, navigating the steps to get help is sometimes intimidating and overwhelming for someone who is already struggling. It can also be frustrating and may seem hopeless for loved ones trying to help.
When and how to get help
Eva Trivett-Clark, ARBH Program Manager, shares guidance for those concerned they or a loved one may be suffering from a mental health condition. “A general rule of thumb [for symptoms] is any noticeable increase or decrease in behaviors, thoughts or feelings,” Trivett-Clark said. “An increase in behavior might include talking rapidly, pacing or sleeping too much. A decrease in typical behavior may include such things as withdrawal from family and friends, sleeping too little or feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Any suicidal thoughts, plans or behaviors should be evaluated immediately by calling 911 or going to the local Emergency Department (ED).”
In crisis situations, the ARBH team offers crisis stabilization and disposition for patients presenting at the Emergency Department. From that point, an evaluation will determine the next steps for treatment, which could include a admittance to a psychiatric hospital if needed. When the new psychiatric inpatient hospital opens, patients in crisis will be able to come directly to the hospital for evaluation.
Currently, there are 10 inpatient beds available (in a 40-mile radius) at Cannon Memorial Hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit. This unit treats adults with more acute symptoms. There, patients can begin recovering and rebuilding in a safe, controlled environment that is fully equipped to provide psychiatric evaluation, medication management, individualized treatment planning and group therapy.
Although, the wait time to meet an outpatient therapist for talk therapy could be up to four-six weeks, telehealth appointments are available. This behavioral health program is designed to meet the needs of adults, children and families experiencing a variety of problematic behaviors, thoughts and life patterns.
While reaching out for help may seem like a big step for some, perhaps the hardest task is convincing a reluctant loved one (particularly one who is an adult) that they need professional help. Sometimes listening, validating and asking questions are sufficient, but If they have harmed themselves or someone else, or they are likely to do so, they should be taken to the Emergency Department or 911 should be called.
The truth is everyone struggles sometimes. Whether mental health illnesses come from genetics, personality, life events or brain chemistry, it’s important to know that it’s ok to not be ok. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, may worsen over time and cause serious problems. Professionals at ARBH are ready to help.
Watauga Medical Center announced today that Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center (the Cancer Center) has implemented Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) to treat cancerous tumors. Typically only available at larger centers, SBRT is an advanced technique that precisely targets a high dose of radiation directly to cancer cells.
When a tumor is located in the torso, the patient’s breathing causes it to move, making it difficult to precisely target with traditional radiation therapy.
Radiation oncologists at the Cancer Center use 4D imaging technology to determine the exact size, shape and location of the patient’s tumor and to map where the tumor moves throughout the breathing cycle. Using this “roadmap,” SBRT radiation is delivered to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy, while simultaneously avoiding damage to the patient’s surrounding healthy tissues.
SBRT involves the entire treatment team. A radiation therapist, physicist, and doctor are all present during sessions to monitor the patient, making sure the tumor doesn’t move outside the treatment area during breathing.
“Traditional radiation therapy is delivered daily in small doses for six to eight weeks, and can delay additional treatment therapies,” said Ken Neuvirth, Senior Director of Oncology for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “SBRT allows us to treat patients in fewer sessions which leads to fewer side effects and better outcomes.”
Small metastatic tumors or early stage primary cancers are the best candidates for this therapy. For example, a patient in the ARHS lung cancer screening program who discovers their cancer in stage one or two might choose this treatment over surgery. For cancer patients who cannot undergo surgery, SBRT offers a safe and effective option.
Having SBRT technology in Boone means that more patients will be able to receive the cancer treatment they need closer to home. They will not have to make expensive housing arrangements in a larger city while they complete their treatment, and they can be surrounded by family, churches, or other support systems.
The Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center first received the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer® Accreditation in 1997 and reaccredited in 2019.
PatientPing is a care collaboration software that provides real-time visibility into patient care events across the continuum. Working with hospitals, post-acutes, health plans, ACO’s and beyond, the platform connects providers across the nation to improve patient and organizational outcomes.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has partnered with PatientPing to provide real-time e-notifications upon patient admit, discharge, and transfer events at to community providers in accordance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements (e-notifications CoP). Community providers will be able access event notifications from ARHS in two different ways:
PingDirect Notifications will be sent to PCPs and other providers identified by the patient and recorded in their patient record during a hospital encounter via Direct Messages, a national encryption standard for secure clinical data exchange. Providers will have the option to unsubscribe from receiving Direct Messages via a link in the e-notification if they wish.
PingPortal Primary care entities, PACs, and other providers can also proactively request and receive notifications on their attributed patients at no cost by submitting a patient roster either directly or through a PAC EHR integration. Providers will be able to select from flexible notification delivery options to suit their workflows including web application, SMS/email push alerts, and data downloads.
To sign up for event notifications for their patients, providers may register with Patient Ping. Once you have submitted your information, a PatientPing representative will contact you directly to assist you in enabling real-time, e-notifications from ARHS.
Community providers can always access the PatientPing registration on the “Referring a Patient” web page at apprhs.org/refer.
In this day and age, you’ve probably heard the term Occupational Therapy, but you may not be familiar with what it means. Is it the same as physical therapy? Not quite, but it does fall under the physical rehabilitation umbrella. Does it have to do with one’s job? Possibly, but not always.
Occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) are dedicated healthcare professionals who help people of all ages participate in activities and daily tasks that are meaningful and important to them.
Occupational therapy is a science-driven healthcare profession that examines the person, the environment, and the tasks the person desires to perform. The goal is to restore the person’s function or adapt the task or environment for optimal performance.
Who can benefit from Occupational Therapy (OT) services?
OT can help anyone experiencing difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs). These difficulties might be due to an injury such as a broken wrist or a recent illness or hospitalization that resulted in general weakness and fatigue.
Some activities that might benefit from OT are:
Other tasks that are meaningful and important to the person
Occupational therapist can also help with chronic health conditions such as, arthritis, COPD, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease that have impacted a person’s physical or cognitive ability to complete daily tasks.
What will an occupational therapist do?
The OT will start with an evaluation to collect information on your health history, current limitations, and goals for therapy. From there they will develop an individualized plan of care to help you achieve these goals.
Interventions could include:
Exercises or stretches to help you gain strength or range of motion
Adaptive equipment education and training
Safety training and education
Suggestions for home modifications or activity modifications to help you better perform specific activities.
Our OT’s at The Rehabilitation Center also have specialized training in lymphedema treatment and management, pelvic health issues or concerns, ergonomics assessments and interventions, and aquatic therapy interventions.
Having difficulty with something you want to do or need to do?
We have a team of OTs and OTAs at The Rehabilitation Center who are here to help you achieve your goals. If you have questions or want to know if you could benefit from Occupational Therapy Services, call our office at (828) 268-9043.
Setting up your home office for optimal performance and decreased musculoskeletal strain
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives since early 2020, and work life is a significant part of that. Many who had previously commuted to an office location every day found themselves suddenly working from home in varying conditions.
Although sitting on the comfy couch in your pajamas might sound like a more comfortable way to work, you are at risk for musculoskeletal strain or pain from awkward sitting postures. Here are some tips for setting up a home office and preventing pain and injuries.
There are three main elements of office and workplace ergonomics:
Workstation/desk for keyboard and mouse
Monitor or computer screen
1. Choose the right chair
Your body will thank you for investing in a proper desk chair. Although a chair from the kitchen table can work for short term (1-2 weeks), it’s worth investing in an adjustable office chair if you will be working remotely for a longer time.
An optimal office chair will:
have some adjustable features for height, seat pan depth, tilt, arm rests, and head rests.
provide support at your lumbar (low back).
allow for your feet to rest flat on the floor.
If your feet do not touch the floor, a small stool or box can be used to allow for foot support. Additionally, there should not be any pressure from the edge of the chair on the backs of your knees.
2. Set up your workstation or desk
An ideal workstation should:
be adjustable so that you can sit or stand throughout the day.
have a “waterfall” or smooth edge – sharp edges put pressure on your wrists. Pipe insulation or other padding can be used to cover sharp edges if necessary.
be large enough to accommodate a keyboard, mouse, document holder, and monitor. If you are working from a laptop, an external keyboard and mouse are recommended.
The height of the workstation (keyboard and mouse) should allow for a neutral arm position with elbows at approximately 90 degrees. Measure from your elbow to the floor and subtract 2-3 inches for optimal placement.
There are many options for an external keyboard and mouse; they are not one-size-fits-all. Find a keyboard and mouse that allow your wrists to sit in a neutral position and avoid extreme or awkward positions (bending the wrist too far in any direction). The size of the keyboard and mouse should be a good fit for the size of your hands.
3. Place your monitor or computer screen
Your monitor or computer screen should be placed:
at the correct distance from your eyes to reduce eye strain and forced positioning of the head.
at the correct height to avoid neck pain.
in a position that reduces glare from natural and artificial light.
A monitor should be about arm’s length or 20-36 inches away from your body, depending on font size, number of screens, and your eyesight. If you find yourself constantly leaning forward to see the monitor, it is too far away; or you need to make the font size on the monitor larger.
The height of the monitor should allow for a neutral head position to reduce strain on your neck. You don’t need a fancy solution; a stack of paper, books, or small box is an easy way to adjust the monitor if it is too low.
Reducing glare can help reduce eye strain or engaging in awkward postures to see the monitor more clearly. Monitors should be placed perpendicular to windows if possible, and indirect lighting is recommended to help reduce glare. If overhead light is the cause of glare on the monitor, consider using a task light as needed. To give your eyes a break, every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to look at an object at least 20 feet away.
Considerations for dual monitors: If you use both monitors equally, center them in front of you. You may need to move the monitors further away so that both screens are within your central field of vision. You shouldn’t have to rotate your neck repeatedly to look between the two monitors. If you use one monitor primarily and the other monitor occasionally, center the monitor you use the most in front of you.
4. Develop healthy work-from-home habits
Once you have your home office set-up, remember to take breaks and change positions throughout the day. Small breaks, changing positions, and standing up for a stretch break can increase blood flow, reduce the risk of injury, and decrease fatigue.
Yes, The Rehabilitation Center can help you with your home office.
If you are experiencing discomfort, overuse injuries or muscle strains from your current work station set-up, the occupational therapists at The Rehabilitation Center can provide an assessment and recommendations specifically for you. Give them a call at 828-238-9043.
Author: Lauren Hutchins, MS OTR/L, The Rehabilitation Center