News Releases

Managing Diabetes During Winter Months

Managing your diabetes during New England winters can be full of challenges such as the frigid weather, holiday stress and the cold and flu season. Taking certain precautions at this time of year can help individuals with diabetes stay safe and healthy.
Mike Cheney, NP, a nurse practitioner at the Joslin Diabetes Affiliate and Endocrine Center at Hallmark Health, offered the following tips.
Increased risks for those with diabetes
Winter-time weight gain and inactivity can be added risk factors for patients with diabetes. "There are parties and festivities with all kinds of tempting treats, and sometimes we may not pay as much attention to what we are eating and drinking as we normally do," said Cheney. "Coming off of the winter holidays we sometimes see our patients struggling with their weight."
Cheney points out that talking with your physician and working with your dietitian can help keep you on track and offers the following suggestions to keep your body moving.
• Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
• Find a walking program at a local mall or shopping center.
• Try activities you can do at home, such as stretching.
• This might be the right time to use that gym membership or even work with a personal trainer (programs such as the Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery offer discounted rates to personal trainers).
"Just remember to consult with your physician before you begin any exercise program," reminded Cheney.
Illness impacts blood sugar levels
When you are sick with flu, cold, respiratory infection and other common winter illnesses your blood sugar levels can be affected. You will need to monitor your levels more frequently, and let your provider know of any changes. Cheney suggests the following.
• Prevention is the best medicine
• Get an annual flu shot – its not too late!
• Practice good hand hygiene
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when sneezing and coughing

The cold's affect on circulation
One of the complications of diabetes is that temperature sensation in your legs and feet can be affected. "We see people trying warm up with hot water bottles or electric blankets. This can result in burns. Also, if you are stepping into a hot bath to warm up, be sure to test the water with your hands first to get a true gauge of the water temperature."
"When you're going outside, the best way to stay warm is to dress in layers and to make sure that your head, hands and feet are well protected," said Cheney. "But individuals with diabetes need to think about other important items being kept warm as well. Your insulin, glucose meter, and test strips are sensitive to the cold. Be sure not to leave them in your car or exposed to the cold for long periods of time as their effectiveness can be diminished."
Hydrate and Moisturize
Dry winter air can lead to dehydration, which can raise blood glucose levels and dry out skin. "During the cold weather months many people don't realize just how much water they lose over the course of a day," said Cheney. "Remember to drink fluids and to use a thick moisturizer regularly on your skin (thin ones tend to evaporate quickly). Take good care of your feet, but don't use moisturizer between your toes, as it could lead to fungal growth."
Final Thought
"The most important thing anyone, with or without diabetes, can do to improve their health is to quit smoking if you still smoke," added Cheney. "Beyond that, individuals with diabetes should work closely with their doctors and health team, be conscious of their food choices, and try to lead an active lifestyle."
The Joslin Diabetes Affiliate and Endocrine Program at Hallmark Health offers the latest advances for treating diabetes and its complications as well as patient education and support services. Hallmark Health is one of 47 national and two international Affiliate locations and the only Joslin Affiliate in Boston's northern suburbs.

Michael V. Sack to Retire as President and CEO of Hallmark Health after 12 Years of Service

Michael V. Sack, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Health System, Inc., announced today that he intends to retire this month.

Mr. Sack said, "I have enjoyed my time and all of the wonderful people I have worked with over the last twelve years. I am proud of all that we have accomplished and I have tremendous confidence in the entire Hallmark Health organization's ability to succeed – now and into the future."

James Herrington, chair of Hallmark Health System's Board of Trustees, said, "The Board thanks Michael Sack for his twelve years of exceptional service and commitment to the organization and its communities. He has ably led Hallmark Health through a period of tremendous and fundamental change, and his skills, experience and wisdom will be missed."

The organization's accomplishments under Mr. Sack's leadership include:

• Advancing the quality and safety of care by promoting transparency and adopting technologies such as the eICU to help reduce mortality of the most critical patients, and introducing award-winning electronic health records across the system.

• Enhancing access to care by expanding services within the communities we serve with the opening of our Hematology/Oncology Center and our Comprehensive Breast Center in Stoneham, the Family Health Center in Malden, and the Hallmark Health Medical Center in Reading.

• Partnering with recognized leaders such as Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center and championing the great success of Hallmark Health's nursing program making us the first integrated health system in New England to achieve Magnet® status.

• Leading community efforts to promote wellness, including our nationally recognized programs such as Community-Based Care Transitions Program, our Baby-Friendly recognition, our Mobile Food Market and the Asian Elder Diabetes Project. Hallmark Health now partners with more than 100 community organizations to help improve the quality of overall health in the cities and towns we serve.

Mr. Herrington said that the Board will form a succession committee that will oversee a careful, comprehensive and thorough search for Mr. Sack's successor. The committee will undertake a search for a leader with the skills, experience and wisdom to lead Hallmark Health into its next stage of development. Alan Macdonald, Executive Vice President for Strategy and External Affairs and past Board Chairman, has been named interim CEO.

Two Hallmark Health Practices Earn National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that the practice of Nicole Bloor, MD, PC of Melrose and Hallmark Health Medical Associates Family Medicine at Ball Square in Somerville have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

"NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that Dr. Bloor's practice and Hallmark Health Medical Associates at Ball Square have the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time."

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, Nicole Bloor, MD, PC and Hallmark Health Medical Associates at Ball Square demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.
To find clinicians and their practices with NCQA PCMH Recognition, visit http://recognition.ncqa.org.

 

What's In A Name? Top Baby Names for 2014

Many expectant parents agonize over what to name their baby,
while others name their sons and daughters after a family member or friend. With
approximately 1,000 babies born each year, Hallmark Health System's
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH) sees its fair share of both unique and classic
names.

For the second year in a row, Ava was the most popular name
for baby girls born at MWH with Isabella and Olivia as the second and third
most popular choices. Joseph came out on top for the boys after coming in at
number two in 2013. The second and third slots this year went to Jayden and
Alexander. The local names differed from that of the top 100 names found on
parenting website babycenter.com, which had Sophia and Jackson coming out on
top. Sophia was number 5 at MWH, but Jackson did not even make the top 10 list.

Here is the full list of the top 10 most popular baby names
at MWH for 2014:

Girls: Ava,
Isabella, Olivia, Audrey, Sophia, Ella, Emma, Hannah, Sarah and Layla.

Boys: Joseph,
Jayden, Alexander, Liam, Mason, Robert, Benjamin, Matthew, Brayden and
Jonathan.

Roseline Giglio, of Saugus, had her son Joseph at
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in July and said she isn't surprised it was this
year's most popular male moniker.

"I know so many Josephs," she said. "Our family alone
there's three Josephs."

Giglio said her husband chose the name, but added she plans
to call him "Jo Jo."

"It's kind of like a family name," said Giglio. "My husband
wanted to continue the tradition."

To see MWH's 2013 list, visit http://hallmarkhealth.org/Melrose-Wakefield-Hospital-releases-top-baby-names-of-2013.html.

MWH is a Baby-Friendly® birth facility, a prestigious internal recognition from
Baby-Friendly® USA, which encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an
optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. MWH is one of
only a handful of Baby-Friendly® organizations in Massachusetts.

Hallmark Health Staff Gives Back to Those in Need

 

In an outpouring of giving, employees and staff throughout the
Hallmark Health System have given back to the communities we serve by helping
to make the holidays a little brighter for families in need.

In a tremendous effort, 25 departments and groups within the
Hallmark Health system "adopted" 15 families in need, provided nearly $14,000 in
donations, and donated more than 400 gifts to the Massachusetts Department of
Children and Families (DCF) through the Adopt-a-Family and Kids Fund programs.

DCF Kids Fund Executive Director Saf Caruso thanked Hallmark
Health staff for their "beautiful spirit of giving." "Your hard work, efforts
and commitment to our children and families each year bring so much happiness
to those who are trying hard to succeed and build a better life for themselves
and their children. Your compassion shows them they are thought about and
remembered, and the world has many caring people in it. This lesson will stay
with them throughout their lives."

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