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Guest Post by:

Tina Brown

I’m Tina Brown, the school nurse at Hemingway Elementary School.  I just discovered a way to solve this problem.  It’s called the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, a collaboration of academic medical centers, community hospitals and local providers delivering care in the school setting.

By connecting the brightest minds from across the state and bringing together innovative resources and scientific breakthroughs, every child can receive access to care – when and where they need it most.  Instead of asking for a day off work and making the long trip to a physician’s office in a neighboring city, parents need only sign the consent forms for telehealth and their child will be seen during school hours. During a telehealth session, the child is at my side as I call in a provider from MUSC Children’s Hospital or the local community for a teleconsult. I can use special instruments - a digital stethoscope, a digital otoscope and an exam cam - to transmit high definition images and audio. The provider sees what I see and hears what I hear. The child’s parent is called and invited to participate in the visit over the phone, and the child’s primary care provider is apprised of the consult. Although rashes and infections are common reasons for teleconsults, the services can also support children with more serious conditions, ensuring that children with asthma, for example, are using their inhalers correctly. 

Watch the video below to see how we use Telehealth in Hemingway.

Learn more about how telehealth is improving health care access for children across South Carolina.  sctelehealth.org/muschealth

 

Guest Post by:

Paul J. Hletko, M.D., FAAP
Georgetown Pediatric Center

 

The Road.  It Can be Your Best Friend, or Your Worst Enemy.

That can depend on where you are and where you need to be.  Now, we’re bridging the distances with a new kind of road with real-time connections thanks to the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance and MUSC Health. This collaboration is connecting the brightest minds across the state to offer South Carolinians access to medical specialists without having to leave the comfort of their hometowns.

As a rural pediatrician in Georgetown, I have become one of the earliest outpatient adopters of the telehealth-based pediatric specialty services offered by MUSC Children’s Hospital.  My practice receives consultative services in sickle cell management, nutrition counseling, Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT), the Heart Health Program and telepsychiatry. With these electronic telehealth consults, I’m able to draw on a range of pediatric specialists any day of the week. Telehealth is sort of like my Linus blanket.  It’s so reassuring to have pediatric sub-specialty talent readily available in real time in a rural community.

For example, when a young child throws a tantrum or behaves disruptively, I like to rely on MUSC Children’s Hospital developmental pediatricians to observe the encounter and, through Bluetooth-enabled earpiece, provide the parent real-time, PCIT- informed guidance about how to handle the situation.  Faced with the pediatric obesity crisis, I like that my overweight or obese patients and their parents have access to MUSC Health nutritionists who work side-by-side with endocrinologists, pediatric pharmacists, and bariatric specialists. And I like it when I can call Dr. Julie Kanter, a pediatric hematologist at the MUSC Children’s Hospital, and have her on a teleconsult in real time to help me quickly treat a child in sickle cell crisis.   These are examples of a move forward that will sweep the nation, and it’s nice to see MUSC Health at the vanguard of this movement.

You can learn more about how telehealth is improving health care access by visiting sctelehealth.org/muschealth.  Also, hear more about how my practice, my patients and families are benefiting through telehealth services in this video.

 

Wear red on Friday, February 6 to kick off American Heart Month and raise awareness of heart disease—the number one killer of women. Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than men. But 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

Mark your February calendar for these heart healthy activities:

Go Red: Get a group together from your office, church or neighborhood to raise awareness and share information about heart disease. Download free materials from the American Heart Association to help you plan for National Wear Red and throughout February. Join MUSC Health at the Ashley River Tower on Friday, February 6, from 10a.m. - noon for our annual Go Red event.

Visit your doctor: Schedule time with your doctor to discuss any risk factors you may have and steps you can take to lower your risk. Need to know what puts you at risk? Find out about the risk factors for women.

Listen to your heart: Symptoms of a heart attack in women can be different than those in men. Get the facts and share with your favorite lady.

Know how to treat a lady: At MUSC Health, we are committed to the education of women about the risks of heart disease, and to state-of-the-art prevention, early detection and treatment of heart disease in women. Learn more about our  heart specialists.

Share the love: Post your photos from American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day to the MUSC Health Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/MUSChealth!

The South Carolina Telehealth Alliance is an unprecedented collaboration of academic medical centers, community hospitals and providers, government leaders and other entities that believe all South Carolina residents should and can have access to quality health care, while effectively managing the cost of providing care.

Telehealth promises to improve access to quality care, especially for underserved populations. To fully realize that promise, the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance was formed to encourage a spirit of collaboration among all stakeholders in telehealth, including three of the state’s largest health systems-MUSC Health, Palmetto Health, and Greenville Health-as well as community hospitals, providers, hospital administrators and governmental agencies. This Alliance will be unique in the nation and could not only transform health care delivery in this state

The collaborating service providers of the Alliance will work closely with Palmetto Care Connections, a non-profit telehealth support network, to integrate these innovative approaches to care into South Carolina's communities and existing health systems to ensure a lasting and mutually beneficial future for our state, but also serve as a model for doing so across the country. More information on the value of telehealth, the formation of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance and ways to bring the best medical care to all of South Carolina is available at sctelehealth.org/muschealth. Please visit the site and view all the public service announcements.

 

Guest Post by:

Alec DeCastro
Assistant Professor
Medical Director, James Island Family Medicine
Family Medicine: Sports Medicine

 

As the football season finally wraps up with the first College Football playoff and the Super Bowl this month, it’s a good time to discuss how to let athletes recover during and after the long season!

Football is one of the most popular and widely-played sports in the US, and also one of the hardest on the body. High school athletes suffer up to 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations nationally each year.  Reportedly, there are three times as many catastrophic football injuries in high school athletes than college athletes, according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. Many injuries occur among high school athletes due to a combination of extra pressure and a lack of preventative measures, especially during and after those grueling, hard-hitting practices.  While juggling many priorities, high school students often don’t realize that recovering from a minor or serious injury is a totally different type of commitment than studying for a test or even working out. Whether it was during pre-season or in the post-season, here are some tips you can take to recover from current injuries and prevent new injuries from happening.

What is recovery?

Recovery is a very important part of any athletes’ training program and can be an overlooked means of preparation for athletes.  Athletic seasons, like football, are long and strenuous and recovery should be an integral part of any athletes’ training plan.  Recovery is one aspect of training that is often over looked and done incorrectly.  Athletes often view recovery as a day away from training in which they do absolutely nothing, but a day designed for active recovery is different than just a day off.  Along with immediate recovery and recovery days, different modalities can be utilized daily after training to enhance an athletes’ performance.  These strategies take very little time, but can make the difference after a long season or a tournament.

Get Adequate Rest

Approximately one third of football injuries develop over an extended period of time, and are due to over-exertion. The best way to heal these types of injuries is to give it the body time to rest.

Immediate recovery should take place within the first thirty minutes after competition or training which encompasses nutrition and cryotherapy. Right after the injury, follow the PRICE recovery method: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Remember, many injuries occur during training, so don’t forget to plan to recover after those sessions as well.  Cold therapy or cryotherapy can consist of ice over the injured area, to cold water immersion for about 5 minutes. To avoid frostbite, don’t place ice directly on the skin.  Athletes exerting the whole body in sports like football can use cold water tub therapy, but this should be always supervised by an athletic trainer.

A recovery day should be planned for the day after each game. The main focus during this time is to let injured tissues to return to normal through active recovery.  Using non-weight bearing aerobic equipment like stationary bikes or ellipticals, the athlete heals by increasing circulation, which brings oxygen rich blood to the recovering tissues and removes bad waste products.   Self-massage and flexibility can also be utilized with foam rolls which assists in returning the muscles to normal length and quality. 

Recovery, however, may depend on the sport.  For example, in running, a technique called periodization is used to enhance recovery.  Periodization is simply a descriptive term for a training plan which is divided into distinct seasons, or periods of training.  Real increases in fitness and strength occur during the rest and regeneration periods between the periods of hard work when the body is given the opportunity to repair and rebuild itself stronger to withstand such excesses in the future. These types of periodized training plans, may be also be modified for football seasons in order to establish a stronger base for the next season of training.

Here is an example of a runner’s end of the season break and how they scheduled their recovery:

Eat Right

After practices and over the long season, muscles tear from the stress of hard competitions. A good post-workout diet ensures that the body is getting what it needs to rebuild those muscle fibers so they’re strong enough to handle the next athletic activities. Remember two things: protein and carbohydrates.  There are many economical food options that have are available.  Food with proteins like yogurt, shakes, or chocolate milk help rebuild tissues.  Complex carbohydrates like granola and bananas, help replenish blood sugar levels.  However, remember to always to stay hydrated on and off the field. 

Listen to Your Body

If any athlete is injured, support them, and let them know that their choice to play or not is a good one either way. It’s always better to wait it out than to play and risk more injury. Never play through pain. Instead, report all injuries to your athletic trainer or sports medicine doctor, comply with the right treatment regimens, and get approval before returning to the field.

Stay Patient & Positive

Many young athletes exude a sense of invincibility, thinking that injuries won’t happen to them, until they do.  Remind them that muscles take time to heal and that it is important to stay positive. Many professional athletes recover from career jeopardizing injuries because they maintained a sense of optimism and an uplifting attitude. Also, staying positive makes healing and rehab go by more quickly so they can be out back on the field before they know it!

End of the season time off

At the end of the season, it may be time for a full break.  This is an ideal time to substitute some alternative forms of exercise to provide different physical and mental stimuli for improved overall physical fitness and enjoyment of exercise.  A yoga or Pilates class can improve flexibility and core strength, which will provide great benefits when they resume active training in the next season.  Swimming provides great non-impact cardiovascular exercise in the off-season (if you have access to an indoor pool!).  Doing these alternate activities may help avoid injuries, overtraining, and burnout!

Injuries are inevitable in the world of football. The first step to preventing and recovering from them is to rest, stay diligent with recovering, and keep a level of positivity. Listen to the body at all times while playing and training to avoid any major devastating injuries.  Make it a goal this New Year to plan your rest and recovery both during and after the season! 

 

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