New Milford Hospital Guide 2008

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New Milford Hospital Guide 2008 Powered By Docstoc
  A Planetree Hospital

        Published by Housatonic Publications
     in collaboration with New Milford Hospital
2   November 20, 2009
 A Planetree Hospital
        Healing Body, Mind and Spirit

Letter from Richard J. Henley and
Marydale DeBor..................................4
The Planetree Philosophy ....................5
Doctors’ Point of View.......................10
Food as Medicine .............................14
The Healing Garden ..........................17
Youth Chef Advocates .......................18
Local Farms Provide..........................20
Angels on a Leash............................22
Drumming and Beyond......................26
Coming Attractions...........................30
Planetree in the Community ..............36

On the cover: New Milford Hospital Dining Services Director and

Chef Kerry Gold standing in the Planetree Healing Culinary Garden.

   PUBLISHER               EDITOR                  GRAPHIC
  Paula R. Walsh       Douglas P. Clement         Beth Carlson

                                                                     New Milford Hospital Guide   3
     Welcome to a New World
    Of Community Health Care
       With this booklet, we invite
    you to become acquainted with
    New Milford Hospital’s devel-
    opment as a Planetree hospital.
    Just one year ago, we became a
    member of Planetree; this year
    we were awarded the “Spirit of
    Planetree Award for Nutrition
    and Nurturing Aspects of
    Food” for our Plow to Plate®
    program. Interestingly, the
    award given to our hospital
    team at the international con-
    ference held just a few weeks
    ago is an exquisite ceramic
    plate, by a prominent artist,     Richard J. Henley, Interim President
    with the image of a sycamore      and CEO of New Milford Hospital.
    tree (the PLANETREE) under
    which Hippocrates taught his students. Inscribed underneath that
    image he is quoted: “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.”
       With those words, Hippocrates set forth one of the guiding princi-
    ples of the Planetree approach to patient-centered care. In the midst
    of profound change in health care in our country, when cures are
    many and treatments abound, we must not forget true healing and
    comfort. New Milford is honored to embrace the Planetree philoso-
    phy and to be a part of this network of 150 hospitals nationwide. We
    are making progress in every aspect of our hospital life to adopt pro-
    grams, practices and improvements to our facility to continuously
    improve the patient experience.
       The stories herein will give you a window on what we are achiev-
    ing now, and what we plan for the future to achieve the status of a
    Planetree “designated” hospital.

    Richard J. Henley                      Marydale DeBor,
    Interim President                      Vice President and
    and CEO                                Executive Chair,
                                           Planetree Steering Committee

4     November 20, 2009
       Planetree Philosophy:
       Humanism in Medicine
                                Written by Kathryn Boughton

   You are in the hospital, surrounded by       talked about is interaction with the medical
the usual commotion, perhaps tethered to        staff,” she said. “They say all we do is poke
an IV stand that looks like a colorless         and prod—what happened to the massage
Christmas tree festooned with clear bal-        at night or taking a moment to put your
loon-like ornaments. Fluids and medica-         hand on someone’s arm to reassure them?
tions drip down a network of tubes and into     We’ve kind of lost a sense of the impor-
your arm as a nurse bustles in, checks your     tance of human contact because we have
pulse, adjusts the                                                           become so task
flow of fluids,                                                              focused.       It’s
and hurries on to                                                            taken a lot of the
her next patient.                                                            joy out of nurs-
The solitude of                                                              ing.”
your room closes                                                                She said that
in again. With a                                                             the goal of
sigh, you pick up                                                            Planetree is to
your book, or per-                                                           make the prac-
haps click on the                                                            tice of health
television.                                                                  care an opti-
   This is the nor-                                                          mum healing
mal       hospital                                                           environment for
experience.                                                                  both staff and
Patients and their                                                           p a t i e n t s ,
families        are                                                          through a sys-
immersed in a                                                                tem that minis-
system         that                                                          ters to the body,
thrives on the                                                               mind and spirit.
efficient delivery                                                              Ms. Framp-
of care, but one                                                             ton said that
that has evolved to benefit the provider,       Planetree was founded by Angelica Thieriot,
according to Susan Frampton, president of       who battled a rare viral infection. As she sat
Planetree, a patient-centered organization      staring at the cold, blank walls of her hospi-
committed to improving medical care from        tal room, nurses hurried in and out without
the patient’s perspective.                      regard to her as an individual, leaving her to
   She said there has been more and more        spend hours feeling lonely and afraid. Her
focus in recent years on patient satisfaction   experiences led to a vision of a different type
surveys at hospitals that appraise the expe-    of hospital where patients could receive care
rience of hospitalization in eight key areas:   in a healing environment that would also
communication with doctors; communica-          provide them with access to the information
tion with nurses; responsiveness of hospital    needed to become active participants in their
staff; pain management; communication           own care and well-being.
about medicines; discharge information;             “She came away galvanized to make
cleanliness of the hospital environment,        changes in the patient experience,” said Ms.
and quietness.                                  Frampton. “She was not complaining about
   “One of those things patients have           the technology or medicine used—it was

                                                        New Milford Hospital Guide            5
                                                     really the loss of humanism in the medi-
      FRESHSTART                                     cine. She was in a teaching hospital and
                                                     people would come into her room and talk
                                                     about her in her presence as if she were not
       Smoking Cessation                             there.”
           Program                                      In 1978, Ms. Thieriot founded
                                                     Planetree, choosing the name from the tree
                                                     that Hippocrates sat under as he taught
                                                     some of the earliest medical students in
                                                     ancient Greece. “Since then, there has been
                                                     an evolution—or revolution—in both the
                                                     attention paid to the patient experience and
                                                     of the hospital being held accountable,”
                                                     Ms. Frampton said. “Planetree is an organ-
                                                     ization that has been helping to push that
                                                     focus for the last three decades.”
                                                        She said that several hundred hospitals,
                                                     nursing homes and other health care agen-
                                                     cies are now members of Planetree, and
                                                     that there are 10 principles that each of
                                                     these organizations observes: Human inter-
                                                     actions, both in compassionate patient care
    Winning through Quitting                         and among staff members themselves;
                                                     empowering patients through information
                                                     packets and collaborative care conferences;
                                                     encouraging family, friends and social net-
    is the American Cancer Society’s quit
    smoking program. It consists of four one-
    hour sessions held during a two-week peri-              Danbury Oral
    od. All of the methods and activities contain          & Maxillofacial
    the most effective elements for success.
    Yet, the single most important element is
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    information about our many programs offered            15 Executive Center Drive
            to the communities we serve.                    New Milford, CT 06776
                             (860) 355-4146
                                                               Fax (860) 354-4294

6        November 20, 2009
works to provide sup-
port for the patient;
recognition that spiritu-
ality plays a vital role
in healing; the impor-
tance of human touch
as an essential way of
communicating caring;
the arts and entertain-
ment through story-
tellers, use of humor
and on-demand movies
to create an atmosphere
of serenity; availability
of complementary ther-
apies such as aro-
matherapy, pet therapy,
music therapy, Reiki
and the like; creating a
pleasing physical envi-
ronment through such
things as homelike sur-
roundings, an abun-
dance of natural light,
private rooms, etc., and
food that is not only
healthy but also famil-
iar and a source of
    “When we started, Marydale DeBor and Ticho, her therapy dog, right, with
there were only 20 Planetree coordinators John Profeta and Brenda Warren.
organizations involved,”
she said. “Now there are about 140 hospi- them to decide if they want to continue.”
tals, 75 nursing homes and a whole slew of     She said the financial commitment for
paramedic clinics and ambulatory care cen- a hospital or other health care organiza-
ters. Just last year, 30 veterans hospitals tions depends on its size. “It can be as low
joined as part of a culture-change to vet- as $10,000,” she said. “It depends on how
centered care. “                            much support they need. Planetree is a
    “Generally a hospital approaches us nonprofit, which is unusual in this kind of
with its interest,” she continued. “Then we work. We keep fees as low as we can so
ask them to come and visit a Planetree there is no financial barrier to participa-
hospital to see what Planetree is like in tion.”
practice—what is involved in the transfor-     One of the newest facilities to seek des-
mation. Our senior staff goes and meets     ignation as a Planetree organization is
with the [prospective hospital]. If it is a New Milford Hospital, which has been
good fit, we enter into a membership working through the training and imple-
agreement. They commit to a specific mentation of the program over the past 18
focus for a minimum of three years. They months.
have to have a coordinator training team       “We were very honored to join the
and a patient care training team and we Planetree network,” said Robert Sommer,
commit staff to work with them as coach- the hospital’s vice president for human
es. After the first three years, it’s up to resources. “I think the reason they recog-

                                                    New Milford Hospital Guide        7
nized we were a good candidate was that tures do better with the Planetree concept
we have had the philosophy of a Planetree than others. “Our founder was an
hospital in place for years and years. Our Argentinean who had moved to the U.S.
hospital prides itself on being high-touch as when she married,” she related. “She was
well as high-tech.”                            horrified by the way patients were treated.
   He said that at the time New Milford Argentina has a family-centered system
indicated its desire to become a Planetree versus our system of isolating the patient.
hospital, there were only two other Some patients might prefer to be alone,
Connecticut                                                                   while oth-
hospitals in                                                                  ers     may
the network.                                                                  want      all
Just recently, ‘We have had the philosophy of                                 their family
D a n b u r y a Planetree hospital in place for                               a r o u n d
Hospital                                                                      them—it’s
joined, a fact
                 years and years. Our hospital                                a b o u t
that will fit prides itself on being high-touch                               choices
nicely if New as well as high-tech.’                                          rather than
Milford and                                                                   making
                                                       —Robert Sommer,
Danbury                                                                       rules that
                                       Vice President, Human Resources
affiliate, as is                                                              conven-
being      dis-                                                               ience [the
c u s s e d .                                                                 providers].
“Danbury is                                                                   We need to
just embark-                                                                  figure out
ing on the journey and perhaps we have what is most healing for the individual.”
some things we can share with them,” Mr.          Ms. Frampton said that although
Sommer said.                                   Planetree has been in existence for 31
   Ms. Frampton said any hospital or years, there is still “a lot of innovation
health care organization can join going on.” Among the new directions is an
Planetree’s general membership, but that expansion into long-term care, which
those that receive a Planetree designation would serve a resident population. “After
must meet a set of recognition criteria, a all, the long-term care facility is their
process that can take four to six years.       home,” she said. And there is an increasing
   “What we are talking about is a com- expansion into a global market in Europe,
plete culture change,” she said. “Most hos- Asia and South America. “We are adapting
pitals and nursing homes are provider- our designation program to fit internation-
focused, not patient focused. They are all al sites,” she said. “It raises the bar on care
set up for the convenience of the in many different countries.
providers—sometimes at the expense of             She sees more growth on the horizon
patients.”                                     for compassionate care. “We’re right on
   Despite this 180-degree turnaround, she the brink of seeing financial incentives put
said hospital staffs are often very support- in place by the government to reward
ive of the change. “Many [health care places that have higher patient satisfaction.
providers] went into this career to help We have to report the data [we collect from
people and they find in this model some- patients] publicly or we don’t get Medicare
thing they can be supportive of,” she said. increases. Now we will get a bonus if we
“But there are always some folks who are perform well and a penalty if we don’t, so
resistant and who want to retain control of it will be a real financial plus. The Baucus
the decision-making. Certainly patients are Bill (now before Congress) has a whole
more satisfied when they receive care in section on patient-centered care.”
these places.”                                    For more information on Planetree, see
   She said that internationally, some cul- the Web site at           ■

8     November 20, 2009
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                                                                            New Milford Hospital Guide   9
Dr. Courtney Chambers, a general surgeon.

      The Doctors’ Viewpoint
                                 Written by Kathryn Boughton

    Doctors are men and women of science,        who was appalled by her treatment in a
trained to use Western medical techniques        teaching hospital when she was ill, stresses
to effect cures, but increasingly they are       a humanistic approach to patient care.
becoming open to new approaches to heal-         Hospitals that enter the Planetree network
ing. This flexibility of approach is good        ascribe to core beliefs such as: “We are
because, as New Milford Hospital moves           human beings, caring for other human
deeper into the Planetree program, change        beings”; “We are all caregivers”; “Care giv-
is reaching deep into its structure, affecting   ing is best achieved through kindness and
every level of the staff, doctors included.      compassion”; “Safe, accessible, high quali-
    “The doctors are very interested in it,”     ty care is fundamental to patient-centered
said Dr. Frederick Browne, chief medical         care,” and “Families, friends and loved
officer for the hospital. “We like the philos-   ones are vital to the healing process.”
ophy of patient-centered care. It fits well          In addition, the philosophy teaches that
with our [institutional] personality, and        access to understandable health informa-
Planetree is a way to formalize it a little      tion can empower individuals to participate
more.”                                           in their health care; the opportunity for
    General surgeon Courtney Chambers            individuals to make personal choices relat-
agreed. “There are a lot of things about this    ed to their care is essential; that physical
model I’ve been trying to carry a torch for      environments enhance healing, health and
on my own,” he said. “It’s very good to be       well-being, and that illness can be a trans-
part of an institutional torch-carrying.”        formational experience for patients, fami-
    Planetree, established in 1978 by            lies and caregivers.
Angelica Thieriot, an Argentinean patient            “I think Planetree encourages a multi-

10       November 20, 2009
disciplinary approach to health care,” said ing forward to this.”
Dr. Browne. “It pulls the nursing staff,          Dr. Puglia serves on the pastoral care
medical staff and [support] staff together to committee at the hospital and says she
focus on patient needs. It really helps the would like to see a hospital chaplaincy pro-
physician to not just focus on the medical gram. Having a hospital chaplain would
issue, but the patient as a whole. It works so supplement visits by the patients’ own cler-
logically to have this model. It becomes our gy, she said, and would attend to the spiri-
culture and everyone knows it.”                tual needs of both patients and staff.
    Dr. Chambers said the introduction of         “I feel like I am belaboring the point, but
Planetree to New Milford has been well it makes sense to have every employee who
handled. “The way it is being implemented deals with the patient all have a part. People
has been gradual,” he said. “It’s been com- have always been allowed to look at their
fortable and it’s been fairly well orchestrat- medical charts, but now they may want to
ed—it hasn’t been one of these ‘drop it in go over them with the doctor. I don’t see
your lap, here we go’ kinds of things. It’s that as a burden. It’s common sense—we
been a steady integrating to the old sys- try to do it anyway, but sometimes you
tem.”                                                                           need a total
    “The old                                                                    program
way of doing ‘We all will benefit from a more                                   w h e r e
things,      in holistic atmosphere.’                                           everyone is
medicine                                                                        brought in
                            —Dr. Courtney Chambers, general surgeon
and in gener-                                                                   so       that
al, are just                                                                    everyone
that,”      he                                                                  from house-
added. “For a long time we have needed keeping to the doctors realizes that what we
something different. When Planetree was do is care for people and that it not just the
projected to be part of hospital, a few eye- headache down in Room 2.”
brows were raised and you heard extreme           Dr. Chambers admits that not all of the
comments—but those have pretty much physicians were immediately comfortable
fallen by the wayside. Folks have been a lot with the new emphasis on patient empathy.
more open than I expected and, as time “On an individual basis, some of my col-
goes by and the program is more and more leagues are quite comfortable with the old
visible and palpable, everyone from the top ways. But as we are seeing, patients are
down realizes it is good for patients, fami- demanding more than the gruff, old sur-
lies and for the employees of hospital. We geon or the closed provider. They are
all will benefit from a more holistic atmos- requiring more of a person to walk into
phere.”                                        room or to examine or treat them. For some
    Dr. Joan Puglia, a neurologist who has that will be stress inducing, but I hope for
been affiliated with New Milford Hospital most it will be a welcome change because I
for 15 years, was among the medical staff believe we will benefit from it, too.”
that visited Griffin Hospital in Derby, a         Rather than making the job more stress-
Planetree affiliate, during the planning ful for a doctor who has to confront the
stages. “It’s a very exciting program,” she patient’s pain on a different level, he says
said. “It’s patient-focused and gets us back he believes it will be a benefit for the med-
to the basics. We know how to do medicine, ical provider. “It helps you cope and is
but this gives us a little more focus on the empowering in ways we haven’t seen
person, both in terms of physical comfort before. It’s been a long time coming, I
and spiritual comfort, as well as the fami- think, and I would love to see it more wide-
ly’s comfort. It keeps us in touch with what spread. We have come a long way in medi-
is happening to them, realizing that they are cine and this is the next likely step—to
afraid and not feeling well. Some science make it more ‘us and us’ instead of the old
pulls you away from that. I am really look- model of patient and doctor.”                  ■

                                                     New Milford Hospital Guide          11
Integrative Medicine Pioneer
   Praises Hospital’s Path
                                       Written by Scott Robson
    The Planetree model of integrative, whole-
person medicine and care aligns closely with
what health care should be, according to Dr.
Donald I. Abrams, a San Francisco-based
medical pioneer who is an expert in botanical
and whole-person therapies and studies the
interplay between nutrition and cancer.
    “What we call integrative medicine is the
evidence-based application of conventional
and complementary therapies to progressively
treat the whole person. We treat the body, yes,
but we also treat the mind, the spirit, and the
community,” said Dr. Abrams, who gave a
seminar for the medical and clinical staff at
New Milford Hospital in 2008, and also pre-
sented a community program at The Silo.
    “Hopefully, we won’t always need to qual-
ify it as being ‘integrative,’” he said.
“Someday, we’ll just be able to call it ‘medi-
cine,’ because it will be the standard.”
    Dr. Abrams’ view of whole-person medi-          Dr. Donald I. Abrams.
cine can be closely analogized with the idea of     feeling of control over their own wellness,
nourishment—physical, mental, and emotion-          making them active participants as well as
al sustenance are necessary prerequisites for       patients. “We’re making baby steps towards
the possibility of living in a balanced, healthy    an integrative nutrition program at San
state. “So often, you hear about patients, diag-    Francisco General,” Dr. Abrams said. “I’m
nosed with cancer, who ask their doctors what       actually very envious of New Milford’s Plow
they can do to help with their treatment. ‘What     to Plate [initiative].”
do I do now?’ they ask. ‘Nothing,’ their doctor         “Integrative medicine has a great deal to do
tells them. ‘Well, is there anything I should or    with reducing stress. Cancer treatment is very
shouldn’t eat?’ they ask. ‘It doesn’t really        stressful, with many side effects. We try to
make a difference,’ their doctor says. I could-     return some sense of comfort and control, and
n’t disagree more,” Dr. Abrams said. “The           in doing so reduce some of the stresses of
answer is not ‘nothing.’”                           treatment,” Dr. Abrams said. “You can’t help
    “What you often find in cases like that is      but increase hope, when you’re given comfort
that the emphasis of control has shifted away       and actual care.”
from the patient. The patient feels helpless.           “So much of our medical system right now
That’s a very uncomfortable feeling, particu-       is trained on one little mantra: find it, fix it.
larly when you’re talking about your health         Find it, fix it. There’s not much thought given
and possibly your life,” he said. “What whole-      to the person beyond the illness,” he said. “It’s
person care tries to do is restore some sense of    time to change that paradigm.”
control.”                                               Dr. Abrams is a nationally respected cancer
    The availability of fresh, healthy, chef-pre-   and integrative medicine specialist whose
pared food helps to restore a sense of equilib-     work in the fields of oncology and hematol-
rium and comfort to Planetree patients.             ogy has distinguished him as a medical pio-
Simple dietary choices can give patients a          neer. He currently serves as the chief of hema-

12       November 20, 2009
tology and oncology at San Francisco General    Positive Health Program at San Francisco
Hospital, in addition to his ongoing work with  General Hospital and was chair of the
the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative           Community Consortium, a professional asso-
Medicine at Mount Zion. He is also currently    ciation of more than 200 primary care
a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the         providers treating Bay Area patients with
University of California San Francisco.         HIV. He is an executive board member of the
   Dr. Abrams worked on the cutting edge of     UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive
                                                        Cancer Center, and he serves as co-
                                                        chair of the center’s Symptom
‘We treat the body, yes, but we Management, Palliative Care, and
                                                        Survivorship Program.
also treat the mind, the spirit,                            His interest in botanical and other
and the community.’                                     whole-person therapies led him to
                          —Dr. Donald I. Abrams, pursue a two-year Fellowship in the
                                Planetree advocate Program in Integrative Medicine at
                                                        the University of Arizona, which he
                                                        completed in 2004. One of his chief
                                                        fields of study involves the interplay
                                                        between nutrition and cancer. Since
HIV and AIDS research and treatment for completing his Fellowship, Dr. Abrams has
many years before stepping down from the been providing Integrative Medicine consulta-
HIV Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital tion to people living with and beyond cancer
in 2006 to devote his complete attention to the at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative
fields of integrative medicine and oncology. Medicine. He is the co-author of “Integrative
He served as Assistant Director of the UCSF Oncology” with Andrew Weill, M.D.                ■

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                                                       New Milford Hospital Guide             13
                Food as Medicine
                                   Written by Jack Coraggio

   If you are, in fact, what you eat, what does book to establishing a Planetree health care
that say about a society that outpaces every center, dedicated to this dietary belief.
other nation on earth in its consumption of         “Food is the fuel on which the body runs,”
processed junk and fast food?                   states the guidebook. “It simply stands to
   In the U.S., the fatty lifestyle is heavily reason that the quality of the diet has the
marketed and all too convenient. As
a result, the Centers for Disease
Control reports that the populations ‘Healthy food begins before
in 32 states show an obesity preva- birth.’
lence of at least 25 percent, and the         —Diane D’Isidori, New Milford pediatrician
rate of hypertension, heart disease
and diabetes has risen accordingly.
   So the truism holds up.
Unhealthy food (what you eat) yields an potential to influence virtually every aspect
unhealthy person (what you are.) On the plus of the quality of health.”
side, the same can be said about healthy food       So through various approaches, from its
and a healthy person. Moreover, it is becom- new Breastfeeding Resource Center to its
ing increasingly clear that a sound diet and award-winning Plow to Plate food service,
meaningful nutrition is actually medicinal.     New Milford Hospital has redesigned the
   Consider the Planetree hospital philoso- way it educates and feeds its patients.
phy—a practice adopted by New Milford               And according to professionals, the best
Hospital based around patient-centered time to start on a health food regiment is in
care—which touts the nurturing and healing the womb.
aspects of food. There is an entire chapter in      New Milford pediatrician Diane D’Isidori
“Putting Patients First: Best Practices in stresses the importance of an expectant
Patient-Centered Care,” an essential guide- mother’s eating habits, as they translate

14      November 20, 2009
Facing page, a Plow to Plate event at Sullivan Farm last summer. Above left, Deb
Stuart, right, with Youth Chef Advocates at her family’s Bridgewater farm. Above
right, Mitchell Broff at the 2008 Back to the Barn event at The Silo in New Milford.
unequivocally to the health of the baby.              “We offer two education classes on
While a woman is pregnant, and while              breastfeeding … . I would say 96 to 98 per-
breastfeeding, an organic or natural diet is      cent of moms leave here breastfeeding,” said
optimal for all.                                  Ms. MacSweeney. “Most hospitals are only
    “Healthy food begins before birth,” said      in the 80 percent range, and that’s if they are
Dr. D’Isidori. “Moms need to think about the      breast-friendly. Others could be as low as 30
things that they are taking in that are not       percent.”
food—chemicals, pesticides, even antibi-              Ideally, the hospital wants the mother to
otics. Those are transferred to the baby early    begin nursing 30 minutes after delivery, and
on.”                                              continue with it for at least a year. Studies
    Dr. D’Isidori, along with hospital Vice       show that children who are breastfed during
President of External Affairs Marydale            these developmental stages are better adjust-
DeBor and Nurse Manager of the Family             ed and less likely to fall into poor eating
Birthing Center Maureen MacSweeney, was           habits.
instrumental in bringing the Planetree philos-        The practitioners want people to under-
ophy into the hospital’s maternity wing. Now      stand that, while breastfeeding is encour-
the hospital’s Family Birthing Center is more     aged, it is not mandatory. But for the mothers
than a place where children are born, it’s also   that choose the natural method, the center
an educational resource and counseling cen-       offers outpatient support services and consul-
ter for soon-to-be or new mothers.                tations with lactation experts.
    Much of the hospital’s healthy mothering          Some mothers need the extra help.
approach is based around teaching the             According to Ms. MacSweeney, breastfeed-
advantages of breastfeeding, the first organic    ing is not as intrinsic as one would expect.
meal anybody will ever have.                          “It’s a learned thing, baby has to learn
    The providers want mothers to under-          mommy and mommy has to learn baby,” she
stand just how important their own diet is to     said. “It takes patience. Most moms think it
the child. Mother’s milk is the natural solu-     just happens, and it doesn’t. It takes time.”
tion, far healthier than formula, and it satis-       At New Milford Hospital, mommy and
fies two of the child’s most basic needs,         baby can be trained together in a very calm-
nutrition and maternal companionship.             ing environment, the six-month-old

                                                        New Milford Hospital Guide           15
                                                 in Detroit.
                                                     Last year, New Milford Hospital hired
                                                 Unidine, a dining services company that
                                                 specializes in healthy meals from local
                                                 sources, to feed its patients, employees and
                                                 visitors. It’s such a unique approach to hos-
                                                 pital food service, that the Sundance Film
                                                 Channel featured the program in a docu-
                                                 mentary about healthy eating.
                                                     “This is not the traditional hospital
                                                 food,” explained Chef Kerry Gold, the
                                                 Dining Services Director, who scoffed at
                                                 the antiquated method of industrial cafeteria
                                                 service. “It’s just like if you went to an
                                                 organic restaurant serving whole foods—
                                                 same concept here.”
                                                     So, as a waiter explains the specials du
                                                 jour to the patron, a nutritionist explains the
                                                 Plow to Plate service to the patient. The
                                                 offers are based on dietary constraints, and
                                                 can be specially made in accordance.
                                                     A large portion of the ingredients are
                                                 naturally grown from local farms, and in the
                                                 hospital kitchen these components are used
Pediatrician Diane D’Isidori, right, and         to create all kinds of fresh, delectable meals
                                                 for those who need the health boost.
nurse manager Maureen MacSweeney
                                                     One Wednesday evening dinner menu
have brought Planetree practices into            featured poached salmon, slow cooked in a
the Family Birthing Center.                      white wine lemon broth, and maple-glazed
Breastfeeding Resource Center, which is col-     roast pork loin, slow roasted with a honey
ored in gentle yellow and green hues, aglow      maple sauce.
with soft lights, and adorned with scented           The bottom of the menu reads, “Your
candles and flowers—all conducive to nur-        food is prepared using fresh and seasonal
turing the most tender and loving of activi-     ingredients.” What’s missing is the staple
ties.                                            jellied sugar solution famously known as
    “The hospital and the unit are trying to     Jell-O. While the menu isn’t free of
establish the best nutrition for mom and         desserts, the hospital won’t have any part of
baby,” said Dr. D’Isidori. “It’s the same        factory food.
with the Plow to Plate mentality, whole              And now the kitchen has its own herb-
foods that heal—people will take that with       and-vegetable garden to utilize, though a
them.”                                           large portion of the selections are brought in
    The Plow to Plate program, which has         from Litchfield County farms. Some ingre-
won so many accolades, including the 2009        dients are exotic, which allows Mr. Gold the
Spirit of Planetree Award and the Glynwood       opportunity to get creative.
Good Food for Health Harvest Award, is a             “We get a lot of unique things that you
comprehensive hospital and community-            wouldn’t find elsewhere. We bought tulsi,
based effort to promote healthy, local and       and I asked the farmer, ‘What do I do with
sustainable foods.                               it?’” recalled Mr. Gold. “He said ‘You make
    There’s food education program for           tea.’”
teenagers, the Youth Chef Advocates, that            So he made tulsi basil tea, and like all of
earlier this year had students displaying        the things he serves, it was a hit—just like
their culinary skills at a national conference   the hospital’s new Planetree approach. ■

16       November 20, 2009
Landscape designer Richard Rosiello at the healing garden.

          The Healing Garden
                                  Written by Jack Coraggio
   It’s like the mythical Hanging Garden         a host of dedicated gardeners and hospital
of Babylon, but it’s at New Milford              employees who crafted a plan to build a
Hospital.                                        300-square-foot green garden of fresh veg-
   From what was once an unsightly               etables and herbs for hospital meals. Now
loading dock roof, a beautiful herb-and-         the loading dock roof is equipped with
vegetable garden has sprung forth—actu-          lemongrass, thyme, basil, peppers, egg-
ally it was carefully designed and planted.      plant, oregano, edible flowers and other
   This garden grows a floor above               organic ingredients to help the cooks
ground and over the heads of everyone            enhance hospital meals.
who passes in and out of the loading dock            Indeed, with this garden the hospital
doors, and it’s more than just beautiful,        gets to spice up dinners, garnish for com-
but practical as well.                           fort or get creative with its sustainable
   As a complement to the hospital’s             cooking. For example, from a batch of
Plow to Plate program, a comprehensive           lavender, Mr. Gold baked lavender scones,
dining services approach that focuses on         a treat that the nurses in the hospital’s
local, sustainable and whole foods, Chef         maternity ward raved about.
Kerry Gold now has an even wider variety             Mr. Rosiello, who was pleased to be
of ingredients at his fingertips, or at least    involved in the project, isn’t finished yet.
outside his kitchen window.                      He has developed a plan to create a larger,
   “It was this terribly ugly area adjacent to   1,000-square-foot healing garden, right by
the kitchen, the roof of the receiving dock,”    the hospital gazebo, next year.
said Mr. Gold, whose cooking station over-           “It’ll be a contemplative space,” said
looks the now blooming garden. “So we            Mr. Rosiello. “It’ll be nice to get outside,
thought, ‘What can we do with this?’”            after being in a building all day under fluo-
   What they did was enlist three land-          rescent light, to a place with some kind of
scape designers, led Richard Rosiello, and       respites.”                                 ■

                                                      New Milford Hospital Guide            17
The Plow to Plate Youth Chefs at Health Care Without Harm’s international con-
ference, FoodMed, in July at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

                        Youth Chefs
                                 Written by Jack Coraggio

    There are times when The Maxx in New Family Beef Farm in Bridgewater to learn
Milford is more than a place for teens to about natural, grass-fed cattle. Afterward,
gather. At various times in 2008, it was a they brought back ingredients and prepared
professional kitchen for training young dishes.
chefs in the art of sustainable cooking.         “It’s not just about cooking,” said Chef
    Through New                                                           A n n e
M i l f o r d                                                             Gallagher, the
Hospital’s Youth ‘It’s about the whole process,                           Youth      Chef
Chef Advocates all the way down to washing                                Advocates
program, part of                                                          mentor. “It’s
the Plow to Plate the dishes at the end.’                                 about the whole
sustainable foods                     —Anne Gallagher, Plow to Plate process, all the
initiative, 17 stu-                                 coordinating chef way down to
dents from mid-                                                           washing     the
dle and high                                                              dishes at the
school met for                                                            end.”
four, three-week seminars on sustainable         The program got cooking after a “meet-
cooking. From soup to nuts, they learned ing of the minds” with Ms. Gallagher, hos-
where natural food comes from, how to pital Vice President of External Affairs
design a menu around it and how to cook, Marydale DeBor and New Milford pediatri-
prepare and serve the dishes.                 cian Diane D’Isidori. Already moving for-
    Students were taken on field trips to see ward with the Plow to Plate program, which
how local food is caught or cropped. In May puts the focus on healthful and local foods
2008, they went to Stonington to meet a for both the hospital and the community, the
scallop      fisherman.     The    following three decided the Youth Chef Advocates pro-
September, they took a field trip to Stuart gram would be a great way to get teenagers

18      November 20, 2009
                                                 Left and above left, Youth Chef
                                                 Advocates at the conference in Detroit.
                                                 Above, an urban garden in Detroit. Top,
                                                 Gillian Schullery and Stella Klingebiel
                                                 won the Juicy Foods Challenge at Kent
                                                 Center School. With them is Connie
                                                 Manes of the Plow to Plate Coalition.

involved.                                           Detroit, a virtual “food desert,” has a
    “We aren’t pleased with what our chil-       growing focus on urban gardening. The
dren have to eat, or what anybody has to         students toured these gardens, and even
eat,” said Ms. Gallagher about the standard      used some of the ingredients to prepare
factory food diet. “We took children that        hors d’oeuvres for 250 people at the con-
were interested and exposed them to farms        ference.
in the area. Food is in their backyard and we       “There’s a revolution in urban gardening.
showed them how simple and easy it is to         Kids from Northwest Connecticut [live in] a
prepare food that is natural.”                   food Nirvana compared to Detroit, we want-
    And the kids developed a taste for it. The   ed them to see that,” said Ms. DeBor. “The
program continued through July 2009 and          kids got a view of a different place in this
included a trip to Detroit for the FoodMed       country, and it was very profound.” The pro-
conference, where they worked with the           gram will begin again in March 2010 with
head chef of the city’s MGM Grand Hotel.         new students in New Milford and Kent. ■

                                                      New Milford Hospital Guide         19
                         Local Farms
                                  Written by Jack Coraggio

        Think about                                                   tea.
     the origin of the                                                   M e g a n
     term “Plow to                                                    Haney, owner of
     Plate,”        New                                               Marble Valley
     M i l f o r d                                                    Farm in Kent,
     Hospital’s whole                                                 has a small,
     foods dining pro-                                                three-acre opera-
     gram. Implied in                                                 tion, so she can
     the name is a                                                    provide     little
     direct relation-                                                 more than her
     ship in which the                                                sugar snap peas,
     food consumed                                                    70 pounds worth.
     goes from the                       She says her
     farm field to the                                                product is a
     dinner plate, with                                               mere “drop in
     no middlemen in between.                  the bucket,” but is happy to help the
        Local, chemical-free and sustain- patients, and the hospital, in this noble
     able, this truly wholesome system is endeavor.
     both healthy and medicinal for those         “I think the hospital will benefit
     who are ailing. But the program is from this, and it’ll be one more reason
     about more than treating and feeding people will choose to come back to
     the sick; it’s also about raising aware- New Milford Hospital,” she noted. “If
     ness and support for area-grown foods. patients were eating pasty, gray mush
        As such, several local farmers con- from a can, they probably aren’t going
     tract with the New Milford Hospital to to be impressed.”
     supply the program. Among them are           When asked what he thinks natural
     Maywood Farms in Bridgewater, food means to a person on the mend,
     Sullivan Farm in New Milford and or anybody looking to improve their
     Marble Valley Farm in Kent.               general health, Mark Mankin of
        “We provide wholesome, home- Sullivan Farm sees a correlation
     grown food that is … better for the between organic produce and sound
     healing process,” said Greg Bollard, health, mind and body.
     the general manager of Maywood               “I hear there is a dramatic improve-
     Farms. “We literally pick the day, or ment in quality of care, and there’s a
     the day before, we get the product to psychological advantage to local and
     them. The freshness, quality and good naturally grown fruits and vegetables,”
     chain of custody, you can’t match that said Mr. Mankin, who believes the
     any other way.”                           taste of his herbs and vegetables are
        Maywood Farms produces a wide more “vibrant and flavorful” than that
     variety of vegetables and herbs for the of processed food. “People take com-
     hospital. And Mr. Bollard is happy to fort in driving by where food was
     know that many of his specialty herbs grown, being able to track its growth
     have been used in hospital soups and in the summer. That’s important to
     teas, like the nettle soup or the basil people.”                                 ■

20       November 20, 2009
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                                      New Milford Hospital Guide                            21
Donett Aaby and Kathryn Kehoe, both of Washington, with their golden
retrievers at New Milford Hospital.

22   November 20, 2009
                        Pet Partners
                                Written by Maggie Behringer

    The wagging tail, the panting breath and which New Milford Hospital is connected
the gentle pad of paws—these are all the through the New York-Presbyterian
familiar signs of the imminent presence of Healthcare System, that Ms. DeBor learned
a friendly dog. Some of the benefits of hav- about Angels on a Leash.
ing animals around are evident in family         She and her long-haired miniature
stories, childhood memories, movies and dachshund, Ticho, completed their training
books. A person is treated to a constant at the Goshen Canine Sports Center and
companion, unconditional love and
the motivation for a fuller exercise
schedule. However, research on ‘It’s great for patients, it’s great
animal therapy proves that pets can
provide so much more in terms of for the staff and it’s great for
health benefits.                       me.’
    Studies have shown the positive                       —Elaine Friedman, volunteer
effects of animals in breast cancer
support groups, and as a psycho-
social factor to help control the
progression and severity of cardio-
vascular disease. Pets promote increased started visiting patients at the hospital. The
self-esteem and psychological well-being, program now includes 11 teams, with dogs
and can aid in the care of dementia patients, of all sizes ranging from the little daschund
causing lowered levels of aggression, agita- to Labradors and golden retrievers and even
tion, apathy and blood pressure. There are a fluffy white samoyed.
numerous studies concentrating on the            The dogs pad down the halls, greeting
amazing results in these and other areas of the staff and patients. The owner will poke
medicine, all explaining the many layers of his or her head into a room and ask if the
the relationship between animals and patient would like a visit with the dog.
humans.                                       While some are too tired or busy, most are
    Thus, it seems natural that man’s best thrilled to see the wagging tail. Patients
friend should be a familiar face in the halls simply pet the animals, and the smaller
of the place where people could most use dogs can be placed on beds.
the joy of a visit from a happy animal and       The dogs open up communication, eas-
New Milford Hospital’s Angels on a Leash ing shyness. The visits can be especially
program is making sure that happens.          important for those patients who are pet
    “I’m a big advocate for the animal owners. Each of the Angels on a Leash
human bond,” said Marydale DeBor, Vice teams has a calling card with a picture of
President of External Affairs, who the dog and his or her name, with a “bio”
launched New Milford’s chapter of the on the reverse side. Ultimately, the dogs
national program three years ago. “It’s transform the hospital’s atmosphere, bring-
another form of patient-centered care.”       ing smiles and laughter to everyone.
    The Westminster Kennel Club first            “All dogs are amazing,” said Elaine
developed Angels on a Leash as one of its Friedman, who, with her golden retriever,
charitable activities in 2004, and the pro- Holly, was one of the program’s first vol-
gram became an independent nonprofit in unteers. “It’s a win, win, win. It’s great for
2007. It was through one of the original patient, it’s great for the staff and it’s great
hospitals involved in the program, the for me.”
Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, to           Beyond her firsthand experience at New

                                                    New Milford Hospital Guide         23
                                                                             Left, the pic-
                                                                             ture on the
                                                                             Angels on a
                                                                             Leash call-
                                                                             ing card for
                                                                             Holly, who is
                                                                             owned by
                                                                             Facing page,
                                                                             young twins
                                                                             get a warm
                                                                             from a New

Milford Hospital, Ms. Friedman saw the              Each team is required to be certified
benefits of Holly’s comforting presence         with the Delta Society, a nonprofit organi-
with her late uncle. Holly, whom she            zation dedicated to advancing the incorpo-
describes as a leaner, was an invaluable        ration of animal therapy into the health
support for both her uncle and her.             care system through education, research
Chrisanne Cubby, another of the early vol-      and the gold standard in training for thera-
unteers with her black Labrador, Ramona,        py animals. Its program is called Pet
shared a similar experience after her moth-     Partners®.
er’s stroke. Ramona provided an enormous            The gold standard curriculum stresses
calming presence for both women.                training the handler and animal as a team
    “It really lightens their day,” Ms. Cubby   with skills in maneuvering around hospital
said of the visits at New Milford Hospital.     equipment, adapting to different patient
“It takes the focus off why they’re in the      personalities, communication, precise obe-
hospital.”                                      dience and being able to read the animal’s
    “Animals open people’s hearts,” said        stress levels. One of the tests involves
Dr. Allen Schoen, a Sherman veterinarian        passing a dog toy on the floor, proving that
who has written at length about the bene-       the handler can trust the dog not to be dis-
fits of animal therapy including the book       tracted should medicine or something else
“Kindred Spirits.”                              fall on the floor in a hospital.
    He explained that animal therapy raises         The Delta Society also teaches teams
neurohormones and neurotransmitters in          the proper hygienic procedures such as
the brain, which leads to a bolstered           hand washing, arranging sheets or towels
immune system and accelerated healing.          before placing an animal on a bed and how
    “A happy person heals faster,” Dr.          to position animals around IVs.
Schoen said.                                        The final evaluation consists of 22 parts

24      November 20, 2009
and must be repeated every two years. As          The handlers at New Milford Hospital
Delta Society Marketing Director Jo Ann        have no doubt their dogs enjoy their work.
Turnbull explains, trainers not only look      Ms. Cubby remembers how Ramona came
for excellence in the skill areas, but also    to recognize that when her owner put on a
for signs in the animals’ personalities that   scarf it meant a trip to the hospital. The
suggest they want to be therapy animals.       dog would perk up and when the team got
   “It’s very important to us that the ani-    to the hospital, she would prance through
mal enjoys doing this as much as the per-      the halls eager to bring a smile to the face
son,” she said.                                of everyone she met.                      ■

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                                                    New Milford Hospital Guide             25
26   November 20, 2009
       Drumming and Beyond
                                Written by Maggie Behringer

   When Joanne Wonsey was diagnosed             was an escape for me.”
with microinvasive breast cancer 10 years          Mrs. Wonsey’s experience echoes the
ago, she remembers not being able to think      testimonials of those who have taken part
of anything else. She and her husband,          in New Milford Hospital’s invaluable col-
musician Dave Wonsey, explored every            lection of Planetree programs specializing
                                                             in different types of integra-
                                                             tive medicine for cancer
‘When you’re drumming, every-                                patients. Currently, the pro-
thing just leaves your head.’                                grams are drumming, Reiki,
                                       —Karen Pineman, chair yoga and guided
                                          cancer survivor imagery therapy.
                                                                 For the drum circle, held
                                                             once a month, Mr. Wonsey
                                                             brings drums, shakers, bells
possible treatment, including surgery, and blocks for the entire group. The multi-
chemotherapy and radiation—as well as dimensional percussionist, who performs
Reiki, acupuncture and hypnotherapy. But with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra
Mrs. Wonsey’s unrelentingly preoccupied and studied African drumming with world
with thoughts of cancer.                        renowned master Babatunde Olatunji,
    At least she was until she found a begins with a singing bowl, meditation
Tibetan singing bowl and Mr. Wonsey put and, often, a prayer. He then thumps out a
a drum in front of his wife. Despite a hesi- rhythm and from that point the circle
tation because of limited movement in her becomes about listening to each player and
arm and a self professed lack of musical following the beat wherever it goes. Mr.
skill, Mrs. Wonsey began beating on the Wonsey acts as a guide until someone else
drum and soon found herself feeling at makes a statement through the music, thus
peace and smiling.                              taking the lead.
    “It was so freeing,” she said. “It was the     “A lot of people find joy listening to
first time that I didn’t think about cancer. It music,” he said. “That is only compounded

Facing page, drumming circle leader Dave Wonsey. Above left, Trish McDonald,
RN, who leads the chair yoga program. Above right, Joanne Wonsey.

                                                    New Milford Hospital Guide         27
Trish McDonald, RN, left, leading a chair yoga session at New Milford Hospital.

by the joy of actually making that music.”      letting the body take care of itself by
   “When you’re drumming, everything            relieving tension and stress. Twice a month
just leaves your head,” added Karen             in the hospital’s chapel and upon request,
Pineman, a five-year survivor of ovarian        she employs the energy therapy developed
cancer who has been involved with the cir-      in Japan by Mikao Usui to channel univer-
cle for two years. “It’s very spiritual and     sal life force energy to center and calm the
energizing.”                                    body for patients and their families. Ms.
   She also pointed to the tight-knit group     Foster clarifies that Reiki is not a religion
that forms within the circle as an added        and only requires an accepting, open mind.
benefit. Mr. Wonsey explained that the          The basic principle relies on the body’s
drum circle evolves into an organic             innate ability to heal itself.
exchange of energy and joy, with signifi-           Also taking place in the Interfaith
cant benefits to patients.                      Chapel twice a month is a guided imagery
   Dr. Barry Bittman of the Mind-Body           class. The sessions begin and end with
Wellness Center in Pennsylvania conduct-        meditation, another commonality for the
ed a foundational study that linked group       integrative medicine classes and groups.
drumming to an increased activity of spe-       As participants sit in chairs, facilitator
cialized white blood cells that identify and    Gayle Pantaleo, LCSW, offers instructions
eliminate cancer cells.                         such as “Picture yourself in a space and put
   In Reiki, practitioner Mary Ellen Foster,    yourself in that space.” The open-ended
a nurse at the hospital, also concentrates on   directions allow the mind to follow its own

28      November 20, 2009
path, which, according to participant                    “I think the patients were looking for
Evelyne Purdy, unfolds in interesting                it,” Ms. McDonald said.
ways.                                                    As a member of New Milford Hospital’s
   “It brings to the surface things you              Integrative Medicine Subcommittee, a part
might not be willing to voice,” she                  of the Planetree Steering Committee, and
explained, adding that if the patient is pre-        from a nurse’s point of view, she is happy
pared to explore the fruits of the session,          to see the hospital blending conventional
they can be valuable.                                and integrative medicine and exploring
   Finally, chair yoga is taught by Trish            more options—such as acupuncture, aro-
McDonald, R.N., and perfectly translates             matherapy, music therapy, massage, reflex-
full-body yoga into stances for those with           ology and ‘M’ touch technique, a therapeu-
limited mobility. Though classes vary                tic rhythmic massage.
depending on the composition of the                      New Milford Hospital is consulting
group, some poses remain physically chal-            with its mentor facility, Northern
lenging, while others are quite simple. She          Westchester Hospital, a designated
focuses on blood flow and joint movement,            Planetree member, in developing its inte-
soothing breath work to fill the body with           grative medicine offerings. All profession-
oxygen, and energy and meditation, with              als will be credentialed through New
some guided imagery work.                            Milford Hospital’s credentialing process.
   Ms. McDonald has been practicing                      Ms. McDonald explained the different
yoga for eight years and admits to have              therapies provide a range of nurturing
been disillusioned by the traditional style          treatments for the range of patient needs
of hospital care, much like Planetree                and interests.
founder Angelica Thieriot. Over the years,               As Mr. Wonsey says of the drum circle,
she has also noticed the increasing demand           “It’s not about the quality of the music. It’s
for treatments outside of standard practice.         about the quality of your experience.” ■

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                                                          New Milford Hospital Guide            29
A rendering of the new main entrance planned for New Milford Hospital.

 New Entrance, Renovations
To Operating Room and More
                                 Written by Kathryn Boughton

    As New Milford Hospital looks forward      feel good about working there.”
to its official designation as a Planetree        Ms. Foster said the Planetree philosophy
hospital, some staff members are eagerly       is aimed not only at making patients feel
embracing an extension of a philosophy         relaxed and more confident, but also minis-
that attracted them to the hospital in the     ters to staff members. “It’s a philosophy not
first place.                                   just for patients but for the whole hospital,”
    “Planetree brings a kinder, gentler way    she said. “The idea is to treat each other
of treating people,” said Mary Ellen Foster,   well—which is what we are supposed to do
a nurse who works in the emergency room.       anyway.”
“New Milford has always had this                  Although New Milford Hospital always
approach, which is the reason I came here.     aspired to a humanistic approach to health
If you go to other hospitals, the patient-     care, hospital vice president Bob Sommer
nurse ratio can be horrific. Nurses can be     says the Planetree program puts a frame-
stretched beyond what they are capable of      work around the process. He noted that
doing. New Milford has always stressed a       three Planetree-like programs were already
workable level where nurses can spend          in place at the hospital 18 months ago when
time with the patients. Even in the emer-      membership was initiated in the interna-
gency room, where sometimes you can            tional organization.
have such a high ratio, the hospital finds        “We already had a pet partners program,
ways of helping you out. That makes me         where dogs who are certified visit patients

30      November 20, 2009
and staff,” he said. “And we had an ambas-     their own work areas, but within the overall
sador program, where people are met at the     effect of what the hospital is trying to do.”
front door and guided to where they want to       The work is being paid for entirely
be. And the third thing we had done was a      through donor funds directed to the imple-
significant upgrade in our food services       mentation of the Planetree activities.
through our Plow to Plate program, where             Family Birthing Center
we work with local farmers to use whole,         The main lobby is the first focus for ren-
fresh, locally grown food.” This effort       ovation, but not the last. “We have several
included upgrades in the kitchen facility.    ideas for major capital renovation proj-
         New Main Entrance;                   ects,” Mr. Sommer said, “but each and
   Operating Room Renovations                 every one is a multi-million project. We
    Mr. Sommer said that the Planetree pro- would like to refurbish the family birthing
gram “is not rocket science, but there are a center and we would like to upgrade the
lot of moving parts.” The first 18 months, cafeteria to make it warmer and more wel-
during which all hospital employees partic- coming to patients and their families. The
ipated in day-long orientation retreats, have food is excellent, but the environment … .”
put many changes in place, but there is          He said much of the construction at the
more to come. Major changes to the oper- hospital dates to 1988 and needs aesthetic
ating rooms begin in November, and the improvements, such as softer lighting, put-
most obvious changes will be to the main ting nice artwork on the walls, putting
entrance. Work will also begin in wood laminate on walls and installing car-
November, and be completed by February. peting. “They have special carpeting now
    “We will be knocking down the main that is perfectly fine for hospitals,” he said.
entrance, so we will have to reroute traffic “It is thinner so it doesn’t make it more dif-
for about six weeks,” he said. “We will be ficult when you are rolling equipment.”
making some modest modifications to give         “We want to go into the patients’ rooms
the main entrance a more welcoming feel- and to remodel them with the end goal of
ing, with natural light, carpeting, paint- making people feel as much as possible
ing—we’re even hoping to create a water- that they are in their own homes. But we
fall wall.                                    need to prioritize our funds and the needs
    He said the Steering Council chose three we have.”
                                                            One area where a more home-
                                                         like atmosphere has already been
                                                         established is in the hospital’s
‘There are a huge number of                              birthing center, but there is more
holistic therapies out there to be that can be done there, according
                                                         to Maureen MacSweeney, nurs-
used for the patients’ benefit.’                         ing manager for the center. She
                                  —Marna Walter, RN explained that, at present, labor,
                              emergency room nurse delivery and recovery all occur
                                                         in one room and that later the
                                                         new family transfers to a larger
color palettes among selections presented        “The postpartum room is much bigger,”
by the architect. “We will use one of those she said. “There is a bed for dad and a table
three in all future projects because they are they can eat at. It’s very nice, but I would
all designed to work with each other,” he like the idea that the birth could occur in
explained. “Department heads and employ- the same room so we wouldn’t have to
ees will get to give their input within those move them at all.”
three selections—which gives people the          Revamping the birthing center is one of
opportunity to make some decisions about those items with a large price tag, but many

                                                    New Milford Hospital Guide          31
changes are more easily made and are         IV inserted, they get tense and the veins
already underway. “In Planetree, we have a   shut down and get skinny. If you use the
philosophy of holistic care,” Ms.            ‘M’ technique, they relax and the veins
MacSweeney observed. “We like to care        pop up so the intravenous doesn’t hurt as
for the whole family. We like the dad to     much. It puts back a little bit of the caring
stay with mom and for the siblings to be     part for nurse and patient. And also for
integrated into the care as much as possi-   family members—they can gently hold
ble.”                                        the patient’s hand and massage them and it
     The Healing ‘M’ Technique               gives them feeling that they are helping.”
   “We are also working on the ‘M’ tech-        “And,” she said with a laugh, “in the
nique—a light touch massage that works       winter the oil we use keeps your hands
on the skin receptors,” she continued. “It   from drying out!”
can be just the hand, the whole body, the       Marna Walter, also an emergency room
head or face. It will be rolled out in the   nurse, and Ms. Foster have been training
next month or two and will be
used integratively in the labor
arena. Labor can be 14 or 20
hours, especially for first-time ‘Aroma therapy has been around
moms, and the ‘M’ technique
can help them relax and help hundreds of years and can really
with the pain.”                     help patients.’
   The ‘M’ technique was                                               —Marna Walter
developed in 1996 by Dr. R.J.                                  emergency room nurse
Buckle and is a method of struc-
tured stroking. Each movement
and sequence is done a set num-
ber of times, in a set pattern, at
a set pressure and set speed that never other staff in the use of the technique.
changes. This makes it easy to learn, and
                                            “We’ve been laying the groundwork in our
because the technique is structured in
                                            own department and have had a terrific
terms of order, number and pressure, the
                                            response,” she reported. “The nice thing
technique is almost completely repro-
ducible and therefore useful in touch about the ‘M’ technique is it can be done
research.                                   very quickly in any setting and has won-
   In 2005, research carried out at derful results for a very short input of
University of Pennsylvania using SPECT time. It takes maybe an hour or so to train
(Single Photon Emission Computed someone and is so simple you can train a
Tomography) analysis showed measurable 4-year-old.”
changes in the brains of patients who had      The ‘M’ technique training will be
received the ‘M’ technique.                 given to staff throughout the hospital, but
   “Dr. Buckle felt that as medicine got other “integrative modalities” are also
more technical, it became more stressful being used and encouraged. “The integrat-
for patients,” said Mary Ellen Foster, an ed medicine committee is looking into
emergency room nurse. “We set up intra- things to help patients along the way,” she
venous and that’s painful, we take peo- said. “Right now, we are looking into
ple’s blood pressure and the blood pres- aroma therapy. Aroma therapy has been
sure cuffs are uncomfortable. So Dr. around hundreds of years and can really
Buckle looked at her staff and said, ‘What help patients. Lavender makes you more
next?’ So she started ‘m’ touch, which is a relaxed. Peppermint calms the stomach.
very gentle massage. You gently massage And it is easy to do—you put a little drop
the hand, and arm for 10 minutes and on a cotton pad and give it to the patient
patients relax. If a patient has to have an and it is a nicer smell than a hospital.”

32      November 20, 2009
                   Reiki                        to medicine. “In 2007, we wanted the
    Ms. Walter joins Ms. Foster in her oncology nurses to understand what Reiki
enthusiasm for holistic modalities. was,” she recalled. “So for the summer sea-
Together they have studied Reiki and inte- son we took our personal time and gave
grate it into the hospital experience, both Reiki to the oncology nurses. A lot of them
for patients and staff.                         were rather skeptical, but to a person, at
    “There are a huge number of holistic end of the session they were saying, ‘Wow,
therapies out there to be used for the that’s amazing.’ Some people say it is
patients’ benefit,” said Ms. Walter. “I think witchcraft, voodoo—but it isn’t. If a person
that in last 10 years or so, it is so much does not want [to accept the energy] we ask
more evident to hospital doctors and nurses it go to into the world for the highest good.”
that holistic therapies help the patients.         She said that she has sometimes used
    “Mary Ellen and I became Reiki practi- Reiki to calm anxious patients, or those
tioners the same year, and as soon as we who are in pain. “Especially in the ER you
became involved, we thought, ‘This is fan- are such a power force in patients’ lives,”
tastic,’ and we have been trying to spread she said. “I say, ‘I can do this, would you
the word ever since. Now the hospital has like this? I can make you feel a little
joined Planetree and has embraced the calmer.’ And often they say, ‘Oh, yeah.’ It’s
approach.”                                      a very respectful thing.”
    Reiki—pronounced ray-key—is a                  She said Reiki can even ease pain.
Japanese word representing universal life “There is definitely a physiological compo-
energy and involves the transfer of energy nent to pain,” she explained. “If you calm
from practitioner to patient. It claims to the body, you calm the brain—there is a
enhance the body’s natural ability to heal physiological cascade that will relieve pain.
itself through the balancing of energy.         I’ve gone through a lot of classes on brain-
                                                           body interaction. It’s purely
                                                           identifiable, the cascade of
‘It gives us satisfaction to be                            endorphins that happens with
                                                           relaxation of stress.”
able to expand on what our                                     She said that younger doctors
employees have naturally done                              are now taking classes in integra-
anyway.’                                                   tive medicine as part of their cur-
                                                           ricula. “It is something that is
                                     —Robert Sommer,
                                                           evolving,      becoming      more
                  Vice President, Human Resources
                                                           accepted,” she said. “Most hospi-
                                                           tals have pretty active integrative
                                                           programs. Some are very
                                                           advanced and that is what we’re
    For Doubting Thomases, Ms. Walter hoping to achieve.”
notes that everything is made up of atoms.         Integrative medicine also includes such
“If you look into quantum physics, all mat- practices as drumming circles, singing
ter is energy,” she said. “Reiki’s preposition bowls, aromatherapy, therapeutic touch,
is that there is a universal energy, which we guided imagery and others. “I always
know exists because of quantum physics. thought drumming circles were a little bit
Reiki practitioners are conduits for that whoo-ha,” admitted Ms. Walter, who has
universal energy. We channel it through us since participated in a session. “I was actu-
into the client. And the nice thing about it is ally very impressed. I’m very analytical in
it takes nothing out of us. We benefit as many ways and I equate it to mathematics.
much as client. It’s energizing, calming—it Anything that has to do with rhythm and
feels wonderful.”                               sound can be measured.”
    She said the staff at the hospital is                 A Mentor Hospital
increasingly open to alternative approaches        Karen Maier, director of Integrative

                                                      New Milford Hospital Guide          33
Medicine at Northern Westchester ferent modalities,” she said. “They say
Hospital, the mentor hospital for New they are already so busy, but I present
Milford’s program, says that integrative them with our goals. It is obvious that if
medicine has strong administrative support you are working in ambulatory surgery,
at her hospital. “I have been a nurse for 25 you would like to enhance relaxation
years,” she said, “and was using holistic before surgery and to relieve nausea after.
modalities with my own patients before we I tell them aromatherapy works very
became a Planetree hospital. It provided a quickly on the limbic system in the brain.
perfect forum                                                            It takes only a
for us to create                                                         moment to put
a program.”                                                              a scent on a
    S t a r t i n g ‘As you touch the patient with                       cotton pad.”
with the staff intention you create an energy                                “Reiki can
and physicians field that is healing.’                                   be done on
in her own                                                               patients [as
                                            —Karen Maier, Northern
department,                                                              you are per-
                                               Westchester Hospital
she introduced                                                           forming other
the modalities.                                                          tasks],” she
The demand                                                               said. “As you
was so great                                                             touch        the
training was soon opened to other depart-                                patient with
ments.                                       intention you create an energy field that is
    Today a Holistic Council holds month- healing. If you have a patient on the call
ly training sessions in specific modalities. bell constantly because he is insecure and
And, as word has spread, community afraid, you can do a five-minute hand ‘M’
members have volunteered to bring their technique and create security and comfort.
own special skills to patients. One expres- The chances are he will fall asleep and
sive artist, for instance, creates mandalas, you will have maybe two hours to spend
concentric diagrams having spiritual and on other patients.”
ritual significance in both Buddhism and        Looking at all the various aspects of the
Hinduism. “She’s a presence and often Planetree project, Mr. Sommer of New
cancer patients open up while working Milford Hospital said, “This is a neat project
with her,” Ms. Maier said.                   to undertake. It gives us satisfaction to be
    Ms. Maier conceded that humanistic able to expand on what our employees have
care requirements can seem daunting to naturally done anyway. Our employees are
already busy staff members when it is first known for warmer, more humanistic care
presented. “That is a major concern of than many hospitals and we are just expand-
nurses as we encourage them to learn dif- ing on that.”                                ■

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                       Thomas G. Guglielmo, D.P.M.
                     131 Kent Road, New Milford, CT 06776
  Telephone: 860-354-8616                                 Fax: 860-354-0473

34      November 20, 2009
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                                       34 Bridge Street, New Milford

                                        New Milford Hospital Guide             35
The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Team includes, from left, Linda Christin,
Mikelanne Phaneuf, Judy Sides, Caitlin Nass and Nancy Demchuk.

 Planetree in the Community
                                   Written by Daniela Forte

   New Milford Hospital is taking the              According to Ms. DeBor, the hospital
Planetree approach of holistic healing into    takes its programs—such as the diabetes
the community through different programs,      prevention and education program—to sen-
held in comfortable settings, that incorpo-    ior centers, bingo games or anywhere that
rate prevention, education and screening.      senior citizens and others gather.
    “Now that it is known that there is so         “We go to them in a very caring, under-
much chronic disease that can be prevented,    standing way in circumstances with which
we need to be very proactive and creative,”    they are familiar, We do screening, we
said Marydale DeBor, Vice President of         identify a lot of people who are pre-diabet-
External Affairs of New Milford Hospital.      ic, and we get them on management plans
“Our Disease Prevention Clinic and com-        and prevent them from becoming diabetic,”
munity prevention programs are at the core     said Ms. DeBor.
of how our hospital frames the Planetree           Ms. DeBor shared that in order to fund
philosophy—we must not just heal but also      the program, the hospital obtained two
prevent illness of body, mind and spirit.”     grants—from the Connecticut Community
       Mind, Body and Spirit                   Foundation, based in Waterbury, and the

36      November 20, 2009
Foundation for Community Health in enhances the quality of their life,” said Ms.
Sharon— that allow them to provide the Potter.
program from New Milford north to                  The senior center has worked with the
Sharon. “We’re very proud of that because hospital to offer much broader diabetes and
the funders know that New Milford heart health efforts. The hospital’s labora-
Hospital is able to do this kind of quality tory offers blood draws at the senior center
work,” said Ms. DeBor. “We pride our- for the convenience of the seniors.
selves on being unique in that way.”               Going forward, the hospital will have
   Within the community programs, the music therapy and is implementing the ‘M’
hospital believes in building social net- touch technique, which uses massage that
works like senior social dinners.               is rhythmic and relaxes people, a benefit
   The meal seniors receive from 4 to 5:30 when it comes to drawing blood.
p.m. in the hospital cafe, for $5, is nutri-       “This person cares about me, they are
tionally excellent and delicious. All the not trying to stick me, this rhythmic mas-
food is cooked from scratch with as many sage feels so good,” Ms. DeBor said in ref-
fresh things as                                                              erencing the
possible and                                                                 thoughts     of
there is no fry- ‘New Milford Hospital provides …                            those receive-
i    n     g    . a resource that is tremendously                            ing ‘M’ tech-
Afterwards                                                                   nique. “What
seniors      can
                   valuable to us.’                                          they may not
hear music in                                             —Anne Potter, realize is that
the lobby and         senior center director and New Milford Hospital their            veins
on         good                Planetree Steering Committee member aren’t               con-
evenings they                                                                stricting, and
can take a walk                                                              the procedure
around the block.                               goes very smoothly.”
   “We make it special,” said Ms. DeBor.           Ms. Potter shared that the senior center
     “Seniors will be able to go there and has always had local physicians come in
choose between two entrees and have a full and speak to senior citizens, and the hospi-
meal for a reasonable cost. The value of tal is expanding the collaborative efforts
that kind of thing to me is a sense of com- within the community as an actual service
fort, and a sense of ownership on the part of delivery program.
the people in the community who use the            “The thing that I found interesting about
services of the hospital,” said Anne Potter, serving on the Planetree steering commit-
director at the New Milford Senior Center. tee is the genuine involvement of so many
   On some nights, seniors will enjoy an people within the hospital. I find that each
informational meeting from an integrated time I attend one of these meetings, I just
specialist who may talk to them about top- have a sense that people are genuine in
ics such as guided visualization. “You their participation, genuine in their desire
weave it in. The approach is: life is fun, join to make this work, and to work with this
your friends, learn about new things easily, patient center concept that drives the New
and if you like it we will do it next time,” Milford Hospital,” said Ms. Potter.
said Ms. DeBor.                                    Ms. Potter would like to see the hospital
     “New Milford Hospital provides, for expand its efforts further.
my particular community, a resource that is        “I think all of us are more comfortable
tremendously valuable to us. Since the with knowledge. I think institutional set-
implementation of the Planetree effort, the tings are off-putting. One of the jobs that I
hospital has expanded its outreach and is need to do here, and the hospital needs to
providing health and wellness support for do and any other group like that needs to
the elder community of New Milford, as do, is to work very hard to create a comfort
well as surrounding towns. That, I think, level for the people who we serve,” said

                                                     New Milford Hospital Guide         37
Ms. Potter. “I think that is part of the         their socioeconomic group how savvy or
Planetree effort, to build a sense of comfort    careful they’re going to be with your help.”
for the people using the facility.”                  Ms. Nass said the key is to figure out
    According to Ms. DeBor, the hospital is      each person as an individual, find out
doing an evaluation of all of its community      where they are starting from and what they
programs, interviewing the doctors and           are willing to try, and start addressing the
finding what works best for them and their       issues from that point. The vast majority of
patients. “We can infuse all of our other        patients are adults, but the program has also
programs with the values and modalities          seen adolescent patients as well. A future
associated with the Planetree model,” said       goal is to expand the clinical program to
Ms. DeBor.                                       include children.
    The hospital will soon be offering acu-          Every time a patient comes in, he or she
pressure in the ear, also known as auricular     meets with the entire team, and the team
therapy, which is based on principles of tra-    strives to reinforce information that patients
ditional Chinese medicine. It is used for        have received over the years but may not
addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesi-      have been able to apply for themselves.
ty, pain and other conditions.                       “We really want them to own that infor-
     The Cardiovascular Disease                  mation, to set the standards for themselves,”
        Prevention Program                       said Ms. Nass. “We invest a lot of time in
    The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention        education. We use that as leverage, along
Program at New Milford Hospital involves         with encouragement and a lot of praise
an interdisciplinary team of providers who       about what they are willing to change with
work with patients to help them understand       their health habits to improve their health.”
the risk factors for cardiovascular disease          Ms. Nass said the program pre-dates the
and try to help them address those risk fac-     Planetree program, but it fits perfectly
tors in a holistic way.                          because it is patient and education cen-
    The team is made up of six members:          tered. “One of the things that is great about
Caitlin Nass, a nurse practitioner, Linda        our program is that patients get to see a
Christin, the administrative assistant, Judy     team of clinicians from different disci-
Sides, the exercise counselor, Nancy             plines. We are a very cohesive group. We
Demchuk, RN, Mikelanne Phaneuf, RD,              communicate directly with each other
and Jonathan Diamond, a licensed clinical        about our patients, so they are getting a uni-
social worker. Patients, who either have         fied message about what it means to be
heart disease or risk factors, are referred to   well,” Ms. Nass said.
the program by their primary care physi-             When it comes to comfort, Ms. Nass
cian because they may want to avoid med-         said the nurses on the third floor of the
ication or are not achieving their goals.        hospital go the extra mile for the patients.
    “These are patients who are struggling       To help alleviate noise on the floor, nurses
to better understand their disease and also      installed a sound detector that is color
to take more steps themselves to try to          coded, similar to a stop light. Yellow
reduce the risk,” said Ms. Nass. “Very often     means the noise level is higher than prefer-
it’s the behavioral change component that        able, and red means it is out of bounds.
is a big part of what is undermining them.”      “This was an all unit based nursing initia-
    The team makes sure patients with risk       tive. They really put the focus on the issue
factors are making the right lifestyle choic-    in a great way; they wanted to make sure
es.                                              that our patients are getting their rest,” said
    “It really gets personal because every-      Ms. Nass. “They are here to heal.”
one’s health behavior is unique, and every-          The New Milford Hospital is located at
one’s understanding about what causes dis-       21 Elm Street in New Milford. For more
ease and what is going to work for them is       information, call 860-355-2611 or visit the
specific,” said Ms. Nass. “You can’t predict     Web sites at
based on someone’s professional choices or       and                       ■

38       November 20, 2009
    A Great Holiday
       Gift Idea!

  Written by local author Billy Steers with assistance from Dr. Diane
D’Isidori, Dr. Evan Hack and Chef Anne Gallagher, from Plow to Plate.

        This special book can be enjoyed
          this holiday season by both
              kids and adults alike.
                   Now available locally at:
  Bank Street Book Nook                     Hickory Stick
        New Milford                           Washington
           Nordica                         House of Books
          New Milford                           Kent
   New Milford Hospital
       Gift Shop                              The Smithy
       New Milford                            New Preston

                                         New Milford Hospital Guide     39
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40       November 20, 2009

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