Shepherd Joins BCH Primary Care as Physician Assistant

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has welcomed a new physician assistant to its Primary Care Practice as of June 2018.

Rebecca Shepherd, PA-C has been a physician assistant since 2006. She has worked in urgent care and emergency medicine departments in the Buffalo area, also having practiced alternative and complementary medicine in Buffalo and Fredonia.

She grew up in a family of physicians in Silver Creek, New York, and graduated with her physician assistant degree from D’Youville College. Prior to that, she earned a master of education degree from SUNY Fredonia, and spent many years teaching pre-K through high school, and working with persons with developmental disabilities.

“Shepherd is another great addition to our primary care practice,” said Nils Gunnersen, CEO. “We continue to recruit providers who believe in the value of local healthcare and who see the great things ahead for our facility, including the construction of a new medical arts building for primary care and specialty services.”

Shepherd also has a degree in naturopathy, and continues to be very interested in natural medicine, alternative therapies, nutrition, lifestyle changes and preventive medicine. “I moved to Ellicottville four years ago to enjoy more time outdoors and a more active lifestyle,” said Shepherd. “I am very pleased to be working so close to home in the wonderful community of Springville.”

The practice is accepting new patients and also accepts all major insurances. For an appointment, call (716) 592-8140.

The Price is Right for Lab Week


National Medical Laboratory Technologist Week started off with enthusiasm and fun as the lab put together a facility-wide “Price is Right” challenge for employees.

This started a week of celebrations and activities to draw attention to the important role of the lab at the hospital for our patients, medical staff, nursing team and employees.

#teamchaffee

Live What You Love: Mary Lou Wright Retires after Four Decades at BCH

Mary Lou Wright has a quote above her computer that states, “Live What You Love.” For all but a few months of her entire professional career, Wright has been part of the fabric of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and its Physical Therapy Department, doing exactly that: living what she loves. That career includes a time period that has extended for more than half the hospital’s history.

Starting in June 1975, Wright applied her bachelor of science degree in physical therapy from the University at Buffalo to part-time roles at Fiddler’s Green Manor and Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. “Within a year, BCH asked me to come here full time,” said Wright. Three years later her supervisor relocated to Florida, and she was offered the director of rehab position.

In her first years at BCH, most patients were seen on an outpatient basis. “Back then, therapists were not allowed to evaluate patients,” Wright offered. “We would get a prescription from the physician basically telling us what to do.”

She continued, “As the profession grew, physical therapists became recognized as an integral part of the patient care team. We now perform in-depth evaluations to determine a diagnosis, individual plan of care, and prognosis.”

When asked about how physical therapy has changed across five decades, Wright explained, “So much of the basics of PT have always been the same – heat and cold, massage, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, exercise – those things have not changed.”

She offered this explanation, “But now, the field has expanded to a more hands-on approach, such as manual techniques, and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. There are new advances in aquatic therapy, vestibular rehab, orthotic and prosthetic devices, and even robotic technology…Patients can also have direct access to PT without a prescription, but with some limitations attached.”

It is the responsibility of the physical therapist to determine the best plan of care for each individual. “In a way, we’re like mechanics,” said Wright. “We help with the fine tuning and getting patients to run – or walk and function – better. It’s all about quality of life.”

Wright initially wanted to be a teacher, but when she was entering college in the 1970s, the market for educators was flooded. But for the past 43 years, she has served as a teacher in a different way, working with thousands of patients on their road to recovery from injuries, surgeries and chronic conditions.

“I have always felt I became what I was meant to be, and have loved what I do,” Wright remarked. “I can only hope that I have had some positive impact on the lives of those we call our patients, many of whom I am now lucky to call friends. It is the lives we touch and the relationships we develop that make healthcare such a unique field. I will miss that the most.”

 

Cold Weather and Your Heart Health (American Heart Month)

#Teamchaffee for American Heart Month

#Teamchaffee for American Heart Month

There’s no question that this winter has had more than its share of cold weather. Not just cold – bitter, bone-chilling days and nights that can literally take your breath away. As we look ahead on the calendar to longer days and warmer temperatures, the Heart Center team of Thomas Smith, MD, FACC and Lauralee Sprague, NP has some guidance and advice for protecting your heart in the winter months.

Some studies have shown that extremes in temperature – heat and cold – can lead to very negative health events affecting your heart. With foresight and smart planning, you can take steps to protect your most important muscle during the winter season.

  • Dress in layers: wearing layers of clothing provides much-needed insulation, and a waterproof outer layer will prevent the inner clothing from moisture. And don’t forget a hat! Cold winds can quickly sap your body’s heat and energy, placing undue stress on your heart. Hypothermia can happen, even in cold temperatures that are not extreme.
  • Take frequent breaks: you don’t need to clear your driveway of snow all at once, for example. Work slowly and carefully, using smaller shovel-fuls, and remember that pushing is easier on your heart than throwing.
  • Recognize the signs of a heart attack: The saying, time is muscle, describes how every minute matters during a heart attack. If you feel discomfort in your chest or upper body (arms, back, neck, jaw, stomach), that lasts for more than a few minutes, or is intermittent, that could be the sign of a heart attack. Shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, or any combination of those, could also mean that you need immediate medical attention. By calling 9-1-1, an emergency medical team can start intervention more quickly than if you tried to drive yourself to a hospital.
  • When working or travelling in the cold, watch for a lack of coordination, confusion, and drowsiness, particularly in the elderly.

For individuals who have been diagnosed with heart or vascular conditions, speak to your healthcare provider or cardiologist about protecting your heart through all seasons. Call the BCH Heart Center for an appointment at (716) 592-9644.

Administrator Announced for the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home

Carole Francis

Carole Francis joins JBR as administrator

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home have announced that Carole Francis will join the leadership team as long term care administrator this month.

“I am looking forward to getting to know all of the care partners in the community, including residents, family members, employees and volunteers,” said Francis. “As the Jennie B.’s administrator, it is my responsibility to embrace a culture of person-centered care that ensures well-being and a life worth living.”

Francis earned a master of business administration from SUNY Buffalo with a concentration in accounting, and a bachelor of science in education from Buffalo State College. She is also a certified public accountant. Her background in nursing home administration, along with healthcare finance and human resources, has been developed in the long-term care environment. She has more than 30 years’ experience with managing budgets and establishing relationships with residents, families and employees.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Carole to our leadership team,” said Nils Gunnersen, CEO of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. “She brings a wealth of nursing home experience in addition to strong skill sets in the financial and administrative aspects of healthcare.”

Francis begins her work in Springville on January 8, 2018.

high-resolution image of Carole Francis

Melanye Deuble-Hankins, PA Joins BCH Primary Care Center

Melanye Deuble-Hankins will join the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Primary Care Center on Monday, November 27 as a physician assistant.
Deuble-Hankins has nearly two decades’ experience as an NCCPA-certified physician assistant, and has worked in cardiology and clinic settings. As a primary care provider at an occupational health clinic in Salamanca, she has also been in charge of emergency response for about 13 years.

“I am so happy to be joining the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital medical staff,” said Deuble-Hankins. “I am looking forward to greeting patients with a genuine smile, a willing ear, and sound judgement. I never forget what an honor and privilege is it, to be caring for you and your family!”

Deuble-Hankins began her career in the healthcare field as an ambulance attendant and flight medic with the STARFLIGHT program in Jamestown, New York. She moved into cardiology as a cardiac ultrasound technologist before earning a bachelor’s degree from D’Youville College. She has been a physician assistant in medical offices in Chautauqua County and Cattaraugus County, bringing extensive cardiology diagnostics training to the care she gives to her patients.

“Our primary care practice has been able to recruit patient-focused providers to our staff since opening in 2010,” said Nils Gunnersen, BCH CEO. “We’re excited to have Melanye join our team.”

The BCH Primary Care Center is scheduling patients with Deuble-Hankins immediately, and she will be accepting all major health insurances. For an appointment, call (716) 592-8140.

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