Friday, September 26, 2014

#CoxHealthCommunity: Supporting our local schools

We all know CoxHealth is building for the future on our own campuses, but did you know we're supporting our community with building projects as well? For the latest example, look no further than the new fence at Springfield's Mary S. Boyd Elementary School.

CoxHealth took part in a celebration of several major upgrades at the school in Midtown Springfield on Thursday. As part of a community effort, CoxHealth co-sponsored the building of a new fence surrounding Boyd’s playground. The fence project was organized by the Boyd PTA and supported by key community donors.

School leaders held a ceremony to unveil the fence, which is anchored by majestic stone columns featuring the school’s mascot, the bobcat. The event honored community donors, who made possible a number of improvements, including:

- New music room
- New outdoor running track
- New school store.
- New outdoor reading area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

'Topping out' is complete at new Cox South tower

Employees, board members, construction workers and members of the community joined us Thursday afternoon for the topping out ceremony on the new patient tower at Cox South.
Board members took a tour of the facility and had lunch with about 300 workers on the fourth floor of the new tower.

Back on the ground, employees placed the final signatures on the beam before it was hoisted into place by the smaller of two tower cranes on the site.

Our thanks to everyone who came out to share in this historic event!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cox College Hosts Panel Discussion on Alzheimer’s

Cox College will be hosting a panel discussion focusing on their fifth common reader program selection, "Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver's Journey," by Deborah Shouse, on Sept. 24, 2014, at 6 p.m., in Foster Auditorium at Cox South, 3801 S. National Ave. 

Presenters come from varying disciplines: 
Brenda Wiegand Williams, Ph.D., an evaluator and therapist who works with dementia patients and their families, as well as patients suffering from cognitive decline; 
Tracy Taylor, Assistant Nurse Manager, Transitional Care Unit; 
Judee Steward, Senior Advocate at Senior Advantage & Co-facilitator of the Alzheimer's Support Group; 
Gayle Cooper, Caregiver and Co-facilitator for the Alzheimer's Support Group; 
Dr. David Carson, anatomy/physiology instructor for Cox College; 
and moderator Jason Young, ASR Faculty at Cox College. 
All faculty, staff, and students of the college are invited, as is the community. Refreshments will be served.

Staffers sign the new tower's final beam

The final beam that will be placed Thursday afternoon on the new tower at Cox South is now available for employees to sign. Staffers are stopping by the construction entrance all week to add their signatures to this piece of CoxHealth history.
Employees can sign the beam between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Wednesday. The beam will be raised and placed during a “topping out” celebration at 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 25.

The custom of decorating the uppermost point of the structure with an evergreen tree predates the structural steel industry in America by hundreds of years and has old northern European roots.

Today, such ceremonies include hoisting the final piece of iron into place with a small evergreen tree and an American flag attached. The evergreen tree symbolizes a safe construction site and is said to serve as a good luck charm for the building’s future occupants.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Simulation doll demonstrates effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome

CoxHealth Trauma Services is using a new tool to educate the families of newborns the consequences of shaking a baby.

“We are using an interactive simulation doll to help demonstrate the effect of Shaken Baby Syndrome to an infant’s brain,” explains Jason Martin, Trauma Nurse Clinician, Injury Prevention Outreach Coordinator, CoxHealth. “The doll has a clear skull, providing a view of what takes place inside a baby’s head when shaken.”

Devastating brain damage can occur after just a few seconds of shaking an infant. The infant simulator cries inconsolably, just like real infants do. When shaken, accelerometers inside the head measure the force on the brain. Corresponding LED lights immediately show damage to specific areas of the brain in real time.

The simulation doll has been used for nearly a decade in off-site demonstrations at schools and more. Now, it is used to educate the families of newborns in the CoxHealth Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “Eventually, this will be an education we take to the families of all newborns at CoxHealth,” explains Martin. “We really want parents to walk away understanding that babies cry and there are other ways to help the baby, through soothing tips and calming techniques.”

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a form of abusive head trauma and inflicted traumatic brain injury. It results from shaking an infant by the shoulders, arms, or legs. SBS may result from both shaking alone or from an impact.

CoxHealth only Springfield hospital named for Great Orthopedic Program by Becker’s Hospital Review

Becker's Hospital Review has published the 2014 edition of its list of "125 Hospitals and Health Systems With Great Orthopedic Programs." CoxHealth is the only Springfield orthopedics hospital to be named on the list.

The Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital of CoxHealth is a freestanding campus dedicated to comprehensive orthopedic services. The hospital opened in May 2010 and features 35 private patient rooms, six surgery rooms and a rehabilitation and exercise program.

Since 2012, CoxHealth has hosted neurosurgical residents from the University of Missouri School of Medicine for surgical rotations. The hospital was named among CareChex's top 100 hospitals for orthopedic surgery in 2014, and it is designated a Blue Distinction Center for knee and hip replacements and a Blue Distinction Center+ for spine surgery. CoxHealth also received the Spine Surgery Excellence Award from Healthgrades in 2014.

The hospitals and health systems featured on the list have orthopedic surgery departments, programs or dedicated centers that have earned recognition from several reputable sources. Exceptional orthopedic departments include physicians who provide outstanding care to patients, front-line orthopedic research and treat professional athletes.

This is the fifth year Becker's Hospital Review has compiled this list, and the first time it has included 125 hospitals.

Many of these hospitals have received recognition for orthopedic excellence from U.S. News & World Report, Healthgrades, CareChex and Blue Cross Blue Shield. The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team weighted the aforementioned rankings and awards and conducted editorial research to compile this year's list. The full list can be seen on Becker's site at this link.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The next level in patient care

Rapid progress is being made at Cox South where the final floors of the new patient tower are ascending skyward, the next step in the journey toward the facility’s opening in May 2015.

Rod Schaffer, vice president of facilities management, says the construction is on pace for the building’s frame to be complete this month. A “topping out” celebration, which marks the placement of the last beam on a new structure, is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 25.

“Our plans are to use a precast concrete beam that staff members will be able to sign,” Schaffer says. The beam will be available for signing beginning Monday, Sept. 22, in the northwest corner of the construction site. The final beam will be placed on the upper northwest corner, visible from Primrose Avenue. “We’ll raise it with the traditional symbolic evergreen tree, along with our CoxHealth banner and the American flag.”

In the meantime, the ground, first and second floors are almost completely framed out, with mechanical systems in place. Exterior insulation – the green panels visible from the parking lot – is being put in place on the first and second floors. Up top, concrete pouring continues at a rate of one-third of each floor per week. Concrete pouring is expected to be finished at the end of September.

Work will begin soon on upgrading the facade of the current tower. The goal is to create a unified appearance between the existing hospital and the new addition.

Even when the outside is complete, work will continue on the final details of the interior design. Employees who will work in the tower have already had a chance to visit mock-ups of patient rooms.

“It’s been very reassuring for staff members to get to test drive the rooms inside the mock-ups,” Schaffer says, pointing out that light levels in the rooms and the size and positioning of computer workstations have both been altered based on feedback. “The mock-ups give you a feel for the rooms, and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s easier to change it at this stage rather than later.”

Schaffer has also been leading construction tours and he says the excitement is palpable when visitors walk through the structure.

“People are surprised to see the magnitude of the facility. You can show the blueprints and explain that it’s similar to the square footage of the existing tower, but people don’t realize the full extent of it until they’re inside.”


The new Cox South tower: by the numbers

A rundown of some key statistics on the new patient tower, provided by Rod Schaffer, vice president of Facilities Management:

  • A total of 402 workers have gone through the safety training to work on the site. On any given day there are 80-100 workers on the site.
  • 21,000 cubic feet of spoils (dirt and rock removed from their original location) were created during process of drilling piers for the structure — about 100 dump-truck loads.
  • 16,674 cubic yards of excavation has been removed from the site. That’s a total of 1,700 dump truck loads
  • 4,364 tons – the amount of gravel placed on the site
  • 3.6 million pounds — total weight of rebar (reinforcement steel) being used in the structure
  • A total of 17,173 cubic yards of concrete will be poured in the structure. That’s enough concrete to build a 5-foot-wide sidewalk from Springfield to Branson.
  • 300,000 – approximate number of bricks that will be used in the structure. Stacked individually, that would extend 62,500 feet in the air – almost 12 miles.
  • The building contains 319,000 linear feet of electrical conduit and 1.5 million feet of cable -- about 350 total miles of conduit and cabling.
  • 4063 – total number of light fixtures
  • 4,700 – total number of electrical receptacles
  • 7,500 linear feet of steel lintels (horizontal supports) on the exterior. Those are welded every 18 inches. In total, the structure will include a mile and a half of lintels with more than 5,000 welds.

Cox Branson hosts community open house Sept. 13

Cox Medical Center Branson will host a community open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, when the public is invited to tour Cox Branson’s new emergency department and critical care unit. The addition is part of a $30.8 million construction and renovation project.

Cox Medical Center Branson is hosting a community open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, when the public is invited to tour Cox Branson’s new emergency department and critical care unit. Work began in late September 2013 and the first phase of the $30.8 million, 60,000-square-foot construction and renovation project is expected to open later this month.

"Our vision at CoxHealth is to be the best for those who need us,” said Carol Martin, vice president of administration at Cox Branson. “When you take a look a look at Cox Medical Center Branson, you'll see a growing team of talented medical professionals, superior technology and a hospital designed for innovative, efficient care. Your health is our top priority."

During the open house, guests will have a chance to take a guided tour through the new addition as well as learn how the new space will help decrease patient wait time and improve work flow.

The new emergency department is being built with future growth in mind. Cox Branson’s emergency department currently serves approximately 37,000 patients a year. The new space is being constructed with future growth in mind and will allow providers to care for 55,000 to 60,000 patients annually. The emergency department is located on the first floor.

The new critical care unit will have 20 private rooms, each one offering a beautiful view of the Ozarks. The rooms were designed with the infrastructure to add technologies as they evolve. Layout of the equipment provides for close proximity and access to patients. Televisions in the rooms are designed to support future interactive software for patients on specialty diets, customized education and internet. The critical care unit is located on the second floor of the addition. The third floor of the addition will allow for future growth.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harmonica class breathes new life into rehab

** Update, Oct. 7: As the Harmonica Therapy class grows, organizers have moved it to two sessions on Tuesdays: 1 p.m. for beginners and 2:15 p.m. for advanced students. The classes are now held in the third floor classroom at Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center. Registration is requested at 269-5506 -- Ed.

On Tuesday afternoons, there’s a new kind of therapy tuning up in the community room at Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center. Each week, dozens of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and cardiac conditions are improving their breathing with an unlikely tool: the harmonica.

“I just turned 83 and I have other health issues, but the most important thing is the ability to breathe,” says patient Archie Jones. “Anything that can help me breathe better is going to increase my quality of life, and that’s what it’s all about.”

In its first week in July, the class drew enough patients to overflow Wheeler’s third floor classroom. Organizer Glenda Miller secured the larger community room and she’s ready for the program to grow. “Our goal is to have to use Foster Auditorium!”

Using a harmonica helps loosen congestion and promotes diaphragmatic breathing and it can be a real benefit for any patients who have chronic lung conditions or who are in cardiac rehab. And, Glenda says, the classes are an important social gathering for patients.

“They’re having fun, they’re laughing,” she says. “One of the participants told me, ‘This is the neatest thing since Christmas!’”

The classes offer a chance to meet others dealing with the same issues and to ask questions of staff members. Those opportunities directly address two of the major issues in chronic disease management: depression and taking medication correctly.

“This is a way to invite people into our system and build relationships,” says Glenda, coordinator, Center for Health Improvement, Cardiovascular Services. “Our team has been able to answer health questions and identify resources within our system and community.”

Glenda and Carolyn Beard, assistant nurse manager in Cardiopulmonary Rehab, got the idea last year when they attended a presentation on harmonica therapy at a conference for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Glenda thought to herself, “We can do this.”

At an orthopedic reunion last fall, Glenda asked if anyone played harmonica. In the front row was Frank Preston (above), who had been a patient years ago with Carolyn at Cox Monett. Frank has been playing harmonica since his teenage years and he jumped at the chance to help.

“It’s exciting for me. I always wondered why I learned to play the harmonica, now I know!” he says. “It’s so much fun to get everyone blowing in their harmonicas and getting the noise going. I enjoy this opportunity I’ve been given to help people.”

Frank can tell each week how much the participants have been practicing. And Carolyn and Glenda say they’re hearing more and more interest in the class.

“We have a ton of people with COPD,” Carolyn says. “We can’t always talk people into doing rehab, but this is an easier sell.”

Glenda says she’s hoping to expand the program to multiple sites around the area. After all, it’s therapy that’s portable, requiring only a harmonica and an instructor.

In the meantime, Frank has the class working on their first songs. He says the group will know a few songs by Christmas, when Glenda hopes to bring the group to perform at Hulston Cancer Center.

And Frank’s dreaming beyond that performance as well: “Who knows, by next year, we may be able to be on stage in Branson!”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CoxHealth employees donate to school, young students

CoxHealth employees come through once again in our latest community donation drive, this one to support young students at York Elementary School in Springfield.

Employees were asked to provide school supplies for children at the school who started classes without the basic necessities like crayons, pencils and backpacks, as well as toys and other gift items for the school’s Cents of Pride student reward store.

The drive ended August 20 and the items were delivered in a CoxHealth van and pickup truck to York Elementary Thursday, August 21 by CoxHealth employees involved in this year’s Day of Caring event at the school.

CoxHealth employee volunteers sorted through boxes and bags of donated items. School supplies were stuffed into donated backpacks.

Our thanks to everyone who donated to this important drive that supports York students with schools supplies and recognition for good behavior in school!

Springfield Public Schools responded through a Facebook post, "Thank you so much for your generosity and resources. We appreciate our community partners so much!"


Volunteers demonstrate our vision of being the best for those who need us

Students at York Elementary School in Springfield always hoped for a place at their school where they could play baseball or kickball. Thanks to volunteers from CoxHealth that wish came true.

CoxHealth took on an unusual request to build a ball field along with nine other projects at the school during this year’s United Way Day of Caring community improvement event.

Sixty CoxHealth employees donated their time, using a day of ETO if needed, to complete the projects which included building the baseball diamond, painting restrooms, landscaping and helping teachers with organizing the Cents of Pride store with donations from CoxHealth employees and a recent donation drive.

Lisa Alexander, CoxHealth Foundation president helped to organize the CoxHealth volunteers.

“We had such a great day,” says Alexander. “Everyone was so proud of the work we all accomplished.”

Alexander is seen in a photo in the local newspaper with a York student as he threw out the first pitch on the field. CoxHealth’s project to build the ball field was extensively covered by KSMUand the Springfield News-Leader, along with our Cents of Pride donation drive.

The ball field came to life thanks to donations from Beck, the hospital’s contractor on the new tower and other vendors including Hartman Construction and the City of Springfield.

In addition to the CoxHealth employees, seven CoxHealth Auxiliary board members and 55 Cox College employees and students signed up to work on United Way of the Ozarks Day of Caring.

The Auxiliary board members worked at the Equi-Librium Therapy Center helping with painting, carpentry work and other tasks to make a new office.

“The Auxiliary chose the Equi-Librium Therapy Center because the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries’ state project is helping children with special needs,” says Barbara Frogue, director, Volunteer Services. “Additionally, the Auxiliary held a fundraiser for the center raising more than $2,500.”

CoxHealth Auxiliary member Anne Marie Svoboda sang the National Anthem at the Day of Caring kickoff breakfast.

Cox College employees and students performed various clean up and revitalization jobs at Washington Park.

First phase of $30 million project nears completion at Cox Branson

Tours, Open House set for Friday, Sept. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 13

The countdown has started as the first phase of Cox Medical Center Branson’s $30 million Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit expansion and renovation project nears completion. The 60,000-square-foot project began just under one year ago and the first phase is set to open to patients in late September.

Before the new space opens to patients, employees and the public are invited for a tour.

Friday, Sept. 12: Employees are invited to take guided tours the new facility from noon – 2 p.m., and again from 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 13: The public is invited to a Community Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for tours.

“On January 1, 2013, Skaggs Regional Medical Center became part of CoxHealth and with that partnership came the promise that CoxHealth would invest in the hospital and our community so we could better serve the residents of Taney and Stone counties,” said William Mahoney, president of Cox Medical Center Branson. “Over the past 20 months, there have been numerous improvements including aggressive physician recruitment, equipment purchases and building maintenance. Our emergency department and critical care unit expansion is by far the most visible of these improvements and one more way CoxHealth is continuing to make good on their promise.”

Cox Branson’s current emergency department serves approximately 37,000 patients each year. The new space will allow for more patients to be cared for and employees to work more efficiently.

“Our new emergency department is being built with future growth in mind and will allow us to provide care for 55,000 to 60,000 patients each year,” Mahoney said. “We are also improving work flow, which will ensure patients are not sitting in our waiting rooms sick and hurting, but that they are going back to a room right away and getting care quicker. Our new critical care unit will include 20 private rooms, and each one with an incredible view of the Ozarks. At Cox Medical Center Branson, our vision is to be the best for those who need and this substantial investment into our emergency department and critical care unit ensures that we are living out that vision.”

Once the new 42,000-square-foot addition opens, the current emergency department and critical care unit will close for renovation. It is anticipated the 18,000-square-foot renovation project will be completed before the holiday season.