Friday, March 19, 2010

York Hospital Unveils State of the Art Surgical Center

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
Nearly 500 people toured York Hospital’s Phase I of the new Surgery Center during open house celebrations last weekend.
From the new entrance and waiting area, where refreshments were served, to the pre- and post-operative rooms, nurse’s station, and recovery rooms, people had an opportunity to view the future. When Phase II is completed late this fall, the surgical capacity of the hospital will be doubled.
The project is the result of a lot of work by architects, contractors and hospital staff.
“There was a lot of in-house involvement, absolutely,” Jud Knox, the hospital president, said, standing in the corridor outside the private recovery rooms.
An example of that involvement, he said, were the doors on those rooms that are thought to be unique to York Hospital.
“We found someone who could build these doors,” he said, pointing to the automatic sliders through which nurses can monitor patients. But during a test in a mock room, nurses felt the doors opening and closing was too noisy and, they noted, post-op patients are particularly susceptible to noise.
“So the nurses worked with the door manufacturer” to solve that problem, Knox said. “So these are one of a kind doors.”
Tour guides were in place during the open house to accompany visitors through the facility and answer any questions they might have.
“It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?” Steve Pelletier, chief operating officer of the hospital, said of Phase I. “We’re looking forward to the challenges of the other phases.”
Many commented on the pastel colors used throughout as being unusual for a hospital and creating a warm and comforting atmosphere.
Standing at what will be the entrance to the next surgical suites when the project is completed, Knox explained why the expansion was necessary.
“We’re just out of capacity,” he said. “We couldn’t accommodate any more surgeons. We’ve just grown to the degree that we’ve outgrown our facilities.”
When that happens, Knox said, “you can’t attract surgeons and you can’t keep surgeons.”
The project will virtually double the hospital’s capacity for surgical procedures when completed, probably late in the fall.
There will be two additional surgical suites, bringing the total to five, with six private pre- and post- op rooms, and a private recovery area with six private patient rooms.
The need for additional capacity is underlined by the rapid increase in need. According to hospital figures from 2000 to 2007, the need for surgical procedures increased 101 percent, an average of 14 percent per year, from 3,201 cases to 6,429.
There’s already a new fa├žade facing Lindsay Road that was designed to fit into the historic character of York Village.
The work is also being done with future expansion, if needed, in mind along with increased surgical volume and revenue.
The redesigned center also provides privacy while reducing waiting for patients and families, preserves personalized pre-operative attention, and supports family participation throughout the surgical experience.
The designing and building of the expanded Surgical Center did not ignore environmental responsibilities. Wherever possible, efforts were and are being made to conserve energy and be environmentally friendly.
These include a solar energy collection device to provide up to 70 percent of the center’s hot water needs with the potential for future expansion, an advanced lighting system designed to save energy and a day lighting strategy that brings natural light to the private pre- and post- operative rooms and corridors, reducing the need for electric lighting.
Photo caption: York Hospital President Jud Knox leads a tour of the hospital’s new surgical center. (Larry Favinger photo)

Maine Students to Celebrate Creative Odyssey

Maine’s annual Odyssey of the Mind annual state tournament will be held Saturday, March 20, at the Sanford Schools’ Route 109 Campus. This year’s tournament is especially significant as Maine Adventures in Creativity, sponsors of Odyssey of the Mind, is not only celebrating its 10th year as sponsor of the Odyssey of the Mind program in Maine but also has the honor of welcoming Odyssey’s founder, Dr. Samuel Micklus, to join in the festivities. Odyssey of the Mind has challenged students in Maine to work collaboratively, to use divergent thinking skills, and to think “outside the box” for 28 years.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. This year over 700 Maine students on teams from as far south as Kittery, York, Wells, Sanford, Kennebunk, Waterboro, Acton, and all the way up to Dover-Foxcroft, to name just a few, will be performing. Performances will begin at 8 a.m. and run until approximately 3 p.m., and will take place at Sanford High School, Sanford Junior High School and the Memorial Gym. Closing Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Memorial Gym.
In Odyssey of the Mind, students learn at a young age skills that will last a lifetime. Students work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. They evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own, gaining greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem along the way. Students also work within a budget, so they learn to manage their money. Under the guidance of an adult coach, teams work on their solutions throughout the school year and present them in competitions in the spring. The friendly contest encourages students to be the best that they can be. Students not only see that there is often more than one way to solve a problem but that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.
Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building technical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Each year the problems are creative and diverse and this year’s selection is no exception. Join the “Nature Trail’R” as teams design, build and drive a human-powered vehicle and camper that will go on a camping trip but not without encountering a few obstacles along the way. You may also witness the “Gift of Flight” as teams make and operate a series of aircraft that will complete a variety of flight plans. Experience the excitement of “Discovered Treasures” as teams create and present an original performance that includes the portrayal of the discovery of two archaeological treasures. Marvel at the skills on display at “Column Structure” as teams design and build balsa wood columns that balance and support as much weight as possible. If you get hungry you can always stop by “Food Court” and enjoy a humorous performance where a food item is accused of being unhealthy and must defend itself among its food peers. Not to be left out, our primary teams, comprised of students from kindergarten through second grade, will be presenting a humorous performance that includes a “Surprise Party” for a team-created character.
Teams will be judged by a group of trained volunteers who award points based upon originality, creativity, and several other factors. Teams also bring their solutions to competition on the World stage. Thousands of teams from throughout the United States and about 25 countries from around the world participate in the program. This year, Maine’s qualifying state teams advance to World Finals competition being help May 26th through 29th at Michigan State University.
The Odyssey of the Mind competition originated in Glassboro, New Jersey when Dr. Micklus, a professor of industrial design at the former Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, first challenged his students to build a vehicle that could cross a pond on campus. “Dr. Sam,” as he’s affectionately known in Odyssey circles, motivated his students to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices that would take them across a course on the water. He evaluated them not on the success of their solutions, but on the ingenuity applied and the risk involved in trying something new and different. Students enjoyed the exercise. Word quickly spread and the activities attracted public interest. In 1978, 28 New Jersey schools participated in the very first creative problem-solving competition and Odyssey of the Mind was born. “Dr. Sam” still develops all problems for the program, along with his son, Sammy, President of the organization.
Join Maine Adventures in Creativity in commemorating their 10-year partnership with Odyssey of the Mind and welcoming “Dr. Sam” to this year’s tournament. MAC looks forward to many more years of creative problem solving in Maine and invites one and all from Odyssey alumni, supporters, old friends, and potential new members to this year’s tournament. Come, celebrate, and see what all of the excitement is about.

Wells Police Strives for Well Being of Seniors, Persons with Disabilities

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
The Wells Police Department recently implemented a couple of community-based programs that they want to make residents aware of. The two programs - Good Morning and Registration for At Risk - aim to make sure that Wells residents are safe and secure in their homes.
The Good Morning program targets people 60 years of age and older as well as adults that live alone and are at risk of illness, injury, and/or isolation, and aims to ensure their well-being.
“The program started Jan. 1,” said Lieut. Ruth Farnsworth. “It’s for folks that are 60 and over, are shut-ins and don’t have a lot of social contact. Each morning between 7 and 10 a.m., they call here to check in. If we don’t hear from them, we call them. If they don’t answer, we make a visit. Maybe they have family members who are busy working and can’t check in every morning. This gives folks a way to live in their own homes and still get a daily check-in.”
Farnsworth noted that the program was voluntary on the part of the participant. “The individual must be willing to sign up and call in,” she said. “We have two officers who help out, Eric Roubo and Joshua Stewart. People need to sit down with those officers and talk with them. They talk about things like medications, the name of the person’s doctor, when they are going to be away, etc.”
The service is free to Wells residents. Participants may provide the police department with a key to their house, but are not required to do so, although the police note that having a key would allow them to avoid having to enter a house forcibly if they are unable to communicate with the resident. The resident can cancel participation in the program at any time.
The At Risk program emanated from door-to-door checks the department made during the Dec. 2008 ice storm that resulted in widespread power outages. “We went door-to-door to check on folks and realized that it takes a lot of time,” Farnsworth said. “Then FEMA came out with its At Risk Registration (form).”
That form is a simple document that records the names of the people living in a home, the address and phone number, whether and/or how many pets live there, the name of someone to contact in case of an emergency, and a brief description of any impairment the person might have.
“The form is short and easy,” Farnsworth said. “It is kept confidential and is only used in an emergency.”
The program is meant to alert public safety officials about the location of individuals with special needs, infirmities, and/or impairments to expedite finding and transporting them in case of an emergency. Participants can include people that are dependent on others for routine care, blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, require assistance with medications or medical care, use a wheel chair, walker, or cane, have an amputation, are receiving chemotherapy, dialysis, or is bedridden, have a mental health issue, are elderly and/or housebound, or are just concerned about their own well being during an emergency.
“It saves us time if we know who they are,” said Farnsworth. “We could get to these folks quicker if we have to evacuate them. It’s about being able to respond to the folks that really need us.”
The At Risk program is also free to participants. Unlike the Good Morning program, relatives can identify their kin that could benefit from participating. The specific individual does not have to register him or herself. “Family members can ask to put their parents, and so forth, on the list,” Farnsworth said.
Persons interested in either or both programs should contact the Wells Police at 646-9354.