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    • Patient Story
    • Cancer Care
    • Reno

    The Pieces of the Puzzle: Thonet LaBadie’s Breast Cancer Journey

    “A breast cancer diagnosis begins much like a jigsaw puzzle to be worked through. It’s an overwhelming mess of scattered pieces that make no clear sense, poured out of the box into a crumbling pile of confusion. But slowly with persistence, focus, determination, a positive attitude and working through the challenges day by day and piece by piece, they in time both become whole and beautiful again.” – Thonet LaBadie On Feb. 13, 2015, Thonet’s life as she knew it took a drastic turn. In just one moment, everything shifted. The happy and healthy wife, mother of 17-year-old twins, former teacher and immunization specialist was about to face the fight for her life. That fateful day nearly a decade ago was when she received the unsettling news: she had breast cancer, and it had metastasized to her lymph nodes.   Though she was faced with a daunting diagnosis, Thonet’s positive spirit and zest for life never wavered. Never did she think, “why me?” Nor did she think, “I’m not strong enough.” Her thought process was quite the opposite – “I am going to ride this rollercoaster until it stops, and I walk away cancer free.”  With her loving family and friends rallying behind her, as well as her expert Cancer Care teams at Renown Health and Cancer Care Specialists (formerly known as Reno Oncology Consultants), Thonet knew that her journey would not be traveled alone, and she was determined to defeat cancer once and for all. She promised her daughter Jourdyn she would stay strong and not give up the fight. The Unexpected Discovery Thonet did everything she believed was right in her preventative healthcare journey. She lived an active lifestyle, she filled her life with love and happiness, she did not have any genetic markers for breast cancer and never missed a preventive check-up. Someone like her shouldn’t develop such a debilitating disease, right?  As it turns out, she was told by professionals that with this disease, it’s become more often not about who develops breast cancer – but when.   Breast cancer makes up for about 30% of cancer diagnoses in women across the U.S. So, when Thonet felt a lump in her breast in Nov. 2014, she knew she had better play it safe than sorry. She took her concerns to her doctors, who ran all the necessary tests.  The unfortunate result: invasive ductal carcinoma (stage 2B), the most common form of breast cancer.  Though Thonet was terrified, she was also tenacious. She was ready to Fight the Good Fight right then and there.  Thonet chose to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. So that’s precisely what she did in April 2015 at Renown Regional Medical Center.  Thonet was ready to put breast cancer behind her, but unfortunately, the trek was just beginning. During her mastectomy, her care team tested her lymph nodes. Four were removed.  What came next was her most valiant fight of all: chemotherapy coupled with radiation, as well as more reconstructive breast surgeries along the way. Courageous Connections With 36 radiation treatments, 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 6 surgeries and 1 brave spirit, Thonet's healthcare journey has been nothing short of vigorous. Fortunately, she had an expert oncology team on her side every step of the way.  And it goes even further – Thonet’s college acquaintance Dr. Jennifer Sutton, an oncology physician at the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute (formerly the Renown Institute for Cancer), was her radiation oncologist. She felt comfort knowing that a significant aspect of her care was in the hands of a trusted physician and a team of loving nurses, cancer care navigators and radiation therapists, whom she calls the “Renown Radiation Rockstars.”  Thonet felt an immense connection not only to her warm and welcoming care team but also the other oncology patients she met along the journey. Patients facing cancer often receive radiation treatments several times a week, so Thonet had a chance to make close relationships with the other patients who were on a similar path as she was.  Throughout her treatment process, Thonet participated in cancer support groups, which she believes are vital for anyone diagnosed with the disease.  “Had it not been for my diagnosis, I would have never met all the amazing people I did at Renown and beyond,” she recalls. “At the end of my treatments, I knew I was going to miss them.”  The love and support of Thonet’s care team, fellow patients, family, friends and community helped her remain positive throughout the entire process, always focusing on the positive – even during the most physically and emotionally tolling parts of treatment. Crossing the Finish Line Every day brought a new obstacle to overcome, whether it was a treatment, a side effect or an emotional response to the intense journey. Thonet’s motto throughout it all was “day by day, one foot in front of the other, from start to finish.”  In Dec. 2016, Thonet finally made it to that finish line. With the completion of chemotherapy and radiation behind her, she walked out the front doors of the Pennington Cancer Institute, threw her fist in the air in excitement and finally got to revel in the fact that she had her health back. She had survived.  Inspired by her journey and her breast cancer “sisters” she met while in treatment, Thonet wanted to give the same level of care and attention she received back to her fellow community members battling cancer. She proudly serves as a breast cancer “angel,” offering comfort and support to those who need it most. Thonet is also looking forward to the completion of the Pennington Cancer Institute’s Conrad Breast Center, currently under construction at Renown South Meadows Medical Center, noting how important it is for breast cancer patients to have expanded access to crucial cancer care in south Reno.  Today, at nine years cancer-free, Thonet is thoroughly enjoying her life. She loves traveling, spending time with family and seeing her now-adult son and daughter thrive in their own lives. She also recently underwent hip replacement surgery and is proud to be back on her tandem bike with her loving husband of 33 years, Mike, who she credits for his never-ending support in sickness and in health.  “No looking back – only forward to healthy living. Onward!” Thonet exclaims.  And for anyone out there going through cancer treatments, Thonet has some words of wisdom to take to heart:  “Cancer chose the wrong person when it tried to tackle us. Stay strong and fight on, day by day. On even the most difficult, darkest day, remember that you are stronger than you know.”

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    • Pediatric Care
    • Kid's Health

    Think Outside the Box: Healthy, Creative School Lunch Hacks

    Today's school lunch is an opportunity to create a healthy, colorful midday meal, far from the days of soggy PB&Js. Here are simple tips, a week of lunch ideas, and a shopping list to help you pack a lunch your child won't want to trade. Packing lunches ensures your child gets a well-balanced meal, and making it a team effort by having kids help can save time by packing the night before. Nutritious Ideas Main dishes Lunch meat and low-fat cheese roll ups English muffin pizzas Sandwich wraps – meat, cheese and veggies in a whole grain tortilla Pita pockets stuffed with grilled chicken and vegetables Soup Chef salad with spinach, veggies, cheese, lunch meat and dressing Tuna or chicken salad on a mini bagel Snacks and sides Fresh or dried fruit Natural apple sauce Baked tortilla chips and salsa Veggie sticks and hummus Cheese slices or string cheese with whole grain crackers Homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds and raisins Pudding Homemade fruit roll ups Popcorn (add different toppings such as salt, garlic, cinnamon, sugar or cayenne pepper) Drinks Water If you child doesn’t like plain water, try adding a few slices of fresh fruit (strawberries, lime, lemon) for more flavor. School Lunch Menu: Day-By-Day We’ve put together a week’s worth of colorful, fun and healthy school lunch ideas your kids will love. And we’ve also created a shopping list to help you easily locate all the ingredients on your weekend shopping trip. Monday: Turkey BLTA Roll-ups Roll-up Ingredients Turkey, cold cuts Bacon Avocado Tomatoes Side Dish Choices Blueberries Cucumbers Carrot sticks Tuesday: Bacon & Cucumber Sandwich Sandwich Ingredients Whole wheat English muffin Cucumber Bacon Side Dish Choices Apples slices Strawberries Vanilla yogurt mixed with sprinkled cinnamon Wednesday: DIY Lunchables  Lunchables Ingredients Crackers Turkey, cold cuts Cheese Side Dish Choices Blueberries Carrots Cucumber Thursday: Veggie Grilled Cheese Veggie Grilled Cheese Ingredients English muffin Cheese Tomato Spinach leaves Avocado Side Dish Choices Apples slices Strawberries Vanilla yogurt mixed with sprinkled cinnamon Tomatoes Friday: DIY Pizzas DIY Pizza Ingredients 2 toasted English muffins Pizza sauce Cheese Turkey pepperoni Side Dish Choices Celery Black olives Shopping List (under 20 items) Cold section: Dairy 1 large container of vanilla yogurt 1 package of your favorite cheese  Cold section: Deli meats 1 package of turkey pepperoni 1 package bacon 1 package turkey cold cuts Inside aisles Whole wheat English muffins 1 can of whole black olives 1 jar of pizza sauce 1 box of whole wheat or multigrain crackers  Produce department 1 cucumber 1 stalk of celery 2 apples 1 container of strawberries 1 avocado 2 tomatoes 1 bunch of spinach leaves 1 container of blueberries 2 carrots

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    • Pediatric Care
    • Cancer Care
    • Vaccinations

    How the HPV Vaccine Protects Your Health

    As the back-to-school season approaches, ensuring your child is ready for a successful academic year goes beyond school supplies and new clothes. It's also the perfect time to prioritize their health by ensuring they're up-to-date on essential vaccinations, including the HPV vaccine. We talked to Renown Pediatrician Vanessa Slots, M.D., to learn more about HPV and the importance of getting your child fully vaccinated.   What is HPV? Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted disease. It can lead to the risk of several cancer diagnoses, with about 13 million Americans, including teens, becoming infected each year. Fortunately, a vaccine can prevent more than 90% of HPV cancers when given at the recommended ages. Talking about sexually transmitted infections can be uncomfortable, but learning how HPV is spread is important for prevention. Here's what you need to know about HPV: Transmission: HPV is spread via skin-to-skin contact. Types of HPV: Low/Medium-risk HPVs: Can cause warts and cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells on the cervix). High-risk HPVs: Can cause various cancers. HPV-related Cancers: Cervical cancer Anal cancer Vaginal cancer Vulvar cancer Penile cancer Oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer Statistics: Men are four times more likely than women to suffer from HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people will be exposed at some point in their lifetime. Around half of HPV infections are of the high-risk variety.

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    • Sterling Silver Club
    • Senior Care

    Get to Know Sterling Silver Club Member Hanley Wong

    This summer, we’re excited to introduce our featured Sterling Silver Club member, Hanley Wong. You may recognize him from the newest Senior Care Plus television commercial that has been airing locally since last October. Hanley happens to be a former employee of Renown Health and worked in the information technology (IT) department for 13 years. Today, he’s enjoying his retirement here in northern Nevada, with the occasional traveling to visit his family.    Looking Back  Hanley was born in San Francisco in 1944. He was in the U.S Army Reserve from 1966-1972, having traveled to various places including North Carolina, Salt Lake City, Long Beach, Hong Kong and Taiwan. While he was in the U.S. Army Reserve, he also attended college part-time and graduated from San Francisco State University in 1970 with a degree in business administration, emphasis in accounting. Hanley went into the IT field after he gained computer experience through his accounting background. “I started learning how to program with computers, then became a systems engineer where I did troubleshooting, maintenance and more,” said Hanley. “I’ve always enjoyed the challenging work in the IT field, and I got to meet all kinds of people.”    Hanley started his first IT job at a small insurance company in San Francisco. He went on to work for the GAP headquarters and met his late wife there, who also worked for the company. They were married for 40 years and had two sons together. The family moved to Reno 21 years ago when Hanley was recruited by Washoe Medical Center, before it became Renown Regional Medical Center. “My favorite part about working at Renown was the camaraderie in the IT department; it was like a big family,” said Hanley. “I enjoyed making employees happy by solving their computer problems.” In 2005, Hanley was part of the team that helped install Epic, Renown’s electronic medical record system. Through that project, he traveled to a few different conferences and trainings with his team.

    Read More About Get to Know Sterling Silver Club Member Hanley Wong

    • Employee Story
    • Reno

    Meet Haley Longfield: A Renown Radiation Therapist & Barrel Racer

    Many Renown Health employees have deep roots in the northern Nevada community and Haley Longfield is one of them. She’s a fifth-generation northern Nevadan currently living in Fernley and commuting to Reno three days a week for her job as a Radiation Therapist for the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown Health. She’s also a wife, mother of a 1-year-old, and an avid horseback rider who enjoys the western way of life. This year, Haley is excited to compete in the Reno Rodeo for a second time.   A Life-Long Passion Haley started riding horses in the fourth grade and quickly fell in love with it. A few years later, she started barrel racing and developed a profound love for the adrenaline-filled sport. “When I turned 18, my dad gave me all of the responsibility of owning a horse,” said Haley. “Ever since then, I’ve been paying for and taking care of my own horses.” As many who know and love horses would likely agree, Haley says they are therapeutic for the mind, body and soul. “Riding horses is a great way for me to use my brain and focus, or think about nothing at all,” said Haley.  Recently, Haley qualified to compete in this year’s Reno Rodeo in barrel racing with her 7-year-old mare named Hershey. “The first time I competed in the Reno Rodeo was quite a few years ago with my high school rodeo horse, and Hershey is the granddaughter of that horse,” said Haley. “The thing that I’m most excited about in competing at this year’s Reno Rodeo is getting to ride a homegrown horse in my hometown rodeo – she’s gorgeous, easy-going and gives it her all.”    Above: Haley Longfield on her horse Hershey at a barrel race Circle of Support  Haley feels grateful to have the support of her family, friends and team at Renown. “In addition to my family and friends, I have an incredible team at Renown that cheers me on both in my professional and personal endeavors,” said Haley. “I couldn’t do it all without them.” Alongside qualifying for the Reno Rodeo, Haley also recently received her bachelor's degree in applied science with an emphasis in radiation therapy.  Her career development goals consist of moving into leadership within her department. “My leader and team have been nothing but supportive of my goals. Our leader is invested in everyone’s personal development and aspirations, as well as our professional and career development,” said Haley. “I’m excited to one day follow in my leader’s footsteps and help employees in our department reach their own goals. I aspire to become a great leader like she’s been to us.”

    Read More About Meet Haley Longfield: A Renown Radiation Therapist & Barrel Racer

    • HealthyNV Project
    • Research and Studies
    • Lab Services
    • Primary Care

    Understanding Your Risks for Fatty Liver Disease

    Did you know that about one in four adults and one out of every ten kids in the U.S. might have a liver problem called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)? This happens when too much fat builds up in the liver, and it's not because of drinking alcohol. The most serious type of this liver problem is called metabolic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (M/NASH). It means there's damage and can be scarring in the liver. About 20% of people with fatty liver disease have M/NASH. What's worrying is that many people don't even know they have it. Dr. Catherine McCarthy, a family medicine doctor at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, talks about the main risks of M/NASH and how you can check your risk for liver disease during Liver Health Matters Month, or anytime.  Who Might Get M/NASH?  Doctors aren't sure exactly why some people get fatty liver or M/NASH. While anyone can get M/NASH, people who might be more at risk include those with:  Type 2 diabetes Insulin resistance or prediabetes High body mass index (BMI) or obesity High cholesterol or other fats in the blood High blood pressure Signs of liver problems from tests or biopsies A family member living with M/NASH How Do Doctors Find Out If You Have M/NASH? Doctors can do different checks and tests to see if someone has fatty liver or M/NASH. They might look at your liver health through non-invasive tests such as blood work, ultrasounds or MRIs. They might also suggest a special blood test called an Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test– offered at no-cost through the Healthy Nevada Project – to check your risks of advancing liver disease.  How Can You Treat Fatty Liver Disease or M/NASH?  Patients with moderate to advanced liver scarring may also be prescribed a recently approved therapy called Rezdiffra. However, prevention of advancing disease is still the best option.  Actions you can take to improve your liver health and reduce your risk include: Eating healthy, especially low-carb foods Exercising regularly Losing weight if needed Not drinking alcohol Keeping an eye on blood sugar if you have diabetes No-Cost Liver Screening Through the Healthy Nevada Project  If you live in Nevada and are 18 or older, you can qualify for a no-cost liver health screening by enrolling in the Healthy Nevada Project, one of the largest community-based population health studies in the entire country. This study helps doctors understand your liver health better and plan early treatments to stop liver disease from getting worse.  By joining the Healthy Nevada Project, you can: Get the FDA-approved ELF test to check your risks for liver disease See your test results in your medical record to help your doctor plan your care better Help doctors and researchers learn more about M/NASH and work on future treatments Participate in genetic sequencing for high-risk conditions linked to heart disease and certain cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer Gain high-level health insights, including food sensitivities, and ancestry information. Enrolling in the study is easy: Schedule a Virtual Consent Appointment through MyChart where a study representative will answer any questions, confirm your eligibility and sign you up. Once you’re signed up, your representative will schedule your blood test. Go to your blood draw appointment. By taking part in this study, you're helping to make a difference in liver health research!

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    • Alzheimer's Disease
    • Dementia

    Understanding Alzheimer's and Brain Health

    June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, designed to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and recognize the importance of brain health. At Renown Health, we are committed to providing exceptional care through our Memory Disorders Program, dedicated to accurately diagnosing and treating various causes of memory loss and cognitive decline. Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive disorder that leads to a steady decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Early symptoms include forgetfulness, difficulty performing familiar tasks, and language problems. As the disease advances, individuals may experience disorientation, mood changes, and a loss of interest in daily activities. Dementia encompasses a range of symptoms associated with cognitive impairment that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is not a specific disease but a descriptive term for the collection of symptoms resulting from various brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. Renown Health’s Comprehensive Approach The Renown Memory Disorders Program offers a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating memory-related conditions. Our experts, including Dr. Jon Artz and Dr. Davor Zink, specialize in cognitive rehabilitation, a therapy designed to restore, strengthen, and sharpen cognitive functions. This therapy includes cognitive exercises, hands-on activities, and strategies to enhance daily living. We treat a wide array of patients, from those with mild cognitive impairment to individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Our program is structured to support those 60 years and older experiencing memory problems, high-functioning individuals with memory issues, and those referred to a neurologist for further evaluation.

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    • Pediatric Care

    Childproof Your Windows - 8 Tips to Avoid Falls and Ensure Safety

    Enjoying the fresh air through an open window is one of the many ways to enjoy the weather. However, open windows can pose safety risks, including injury or fatalities for young children aged two to five. We spoke with Jorge Montano-Figueroa, Pediatric Injury Prevention Specialist at Renown Children’s Hospital to understand how window falls can be prevented through safety devices and practicing careful habits. Use these tips to keep your children safe from window falls.  Supervise Young Children: Always keep an eye on young children, especially when they are near windows. Supervision is the first line of defense against accidents.   Keep Windows Closed and Locked: When possible, keep windows shut and secure. Locked windows prevent children from opening them and potentially falling out. Open Windows from the Top: If your windows allow, open them from the top down rather than the bottom up. This reduces the chance of children reaching the opening. Ensure that the opening is limited to four inches or less to prevent accidental falls. Install Child Safety Devices: For windows six feet or more above the ground, child safety devices such as window stops or guards are a must. These devices are readily available at hardware stores and for purchase online. They are designed to be easy for an adult to release in an emergency but secure enough to prevent a child from opening the window too wide. • Window Stops: These devices prevent windows from opening more than four inches, significantly reducing the risk of falls. • Window Guards: For windows that need to open more than four inches, window guards provide a barrier to prevent falls while allowing ventilation. Keep Climbing Hazards Away: Move furniture and other items that children could use to climb away from windows. Items such as chairs, beds, and couches can be stepping-stones for curious children. Establish a Safety Zone: Make it a household rule that children should play at least two feet away from windows. This safety zone helps keep them keep potential hazards out of reach. Childproof When Visiting: When visiting homes that may not be childproof, take extra precautions. Close and lock windows during your visit and watch your child closely to ensure they stay safe. Remember: Window Screens Are Not Safety Devices: Window screens are designed to keep bugs out, not children in. Screens can easily pop out if a child leans or pushes against them, leading to falls. Always use proper child safety devices instead of relying on window screens.  By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of window falls and keep your children safe. A few simple steps and some vigilance can make a big difference in preventing these potentially tragic accidents.  For more information and to learn more, visit Pediatric Injury Prevention.

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    • Student Programs
    • Nursing
    • University of Nevada, Reno
    • Renown Health
    • Renown Health Foundation

    Meet Future Renown Nurse Jeromy Hughes

    When Jeromy Hughes became one of the 29 nursing students accepted into the first Gerald “Jerry” Smith Academic-Practice Partnership cohort, he almost couldn’t believe it. Life as both an Orvis School of Nursing student and a future nurse in our community was about to change. Not only was he about to receive full tuition support, but he also was set up for a guaranteed start to his career as a nurse at Renown Health.   The Academic-Practice Partnership was named in honor of Jerry Smith of the Nell J. Redfield Foundation. Supported by a generous gift from the Redfield Foundation and Stephanie Kruse, Foundation Board Director, the goal of this partnership is to help foster a lasting nursing workforce in northern Nevada, with nurses like Jeromy leading the charge.  From the Courtside to the Bedside Jeromy grew up playing basketball in his hometown of Las Vegas and was on the team at Bishop Gorman High School. His talent resulted in a scholarship to play basketball for Wenatchee Valley College in Washington, which would put him on a trajectory to play professionally – even though nursing was always in the back of his mind. Jeromy received a unique opportunity to play for De La Salle University in the Philippines, and with much excitement, he set off across the world.  Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  When the world shut down, Jeromy had no choice but to stay in the Philippines, waiting to return to the Silver State. Three months later, he flew home to Las Vegas.  In those moments, Jeromy’s entire mindset shifted. A career in nursing was no longer in the back of his mind; it came right to the forefront. With a plan to now stay in-state, he set off to attend the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).  “My whole family is involved in the healthcare field, and I’ve always been surrounded by healthcare in some way,” said Jeromy. “My parents own an elder care facility, my dad is a respiratory therapist in Las Vegas and my grandparents own a hospice facility down in southern California. My grandma was also a nurse for more than 50 years, and throughout her career, she worked in labor and delivery, psychiatry and medical-surgical units. I’ve always wanted to help people like my family has, and nursing resonated with me the most out of every option.”

    Read More About Meet Future Renown Nurse Jeromy Hughes

    • Pediatric Care
    • Emergency Care

    Child Fever: When To Seek Medical Care

    When your child has a fever, worrying about their discomfort and illness is natural. However, fevers are part of the body's defense against infections, aiding your child's recovery. While rest and home remedies often help, it's important to know when to seek medical attention to keep your little ones safe and healthy. Symptoms of a Fever Fevers can be caused by infections, teething, vaccinations, hot environments, and autoimmune diseases. During a fever, your child may experience visible symptoms such as: Chills Disinterest in food Fussiness Headache Sore throat Cough/Congestion Feeling warm to touch Vomiting/Diarrhea Providing Comfort to Your Child Use these recommendations to make your child feel more comfortable as they recover. Use lightweight clothing and blankets to help regulate their body temperature. Encourage hydration by providing clear fluids and offer soft, easy-to-digest foods. Sponge bath with lukewarm water (do not use cold water as it can worsen symptoms.) Offer restful and quiet activities. Check with your child’s pediatrician to see if you can give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Continue to monitor symptoms and temperature. When to Seek Medical Attention Trust your instincts and always lean on the side of caution. In certain situations, a fever may need medical attention and treatment.

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    • Allied Health
    • Employees
    • Nursing

    Department Spotlight: Clinical Decision Unit

    Entering the emergency room (ER) is intimidating for any person, let alone when you’re unsure what condition or illness you might have. Many may also spend their time in the ER wondering if they will need to be admitted to the hospital.  Now, let’s say you don’t need to be admitted. That’s great news! But in order to figure out what’s going on in your body, you may need to stay a little longer – say, under 24 hours – for observation, tests or further treatment. This work is done swiftly by a specific team at the hospital to get you home sooner.  That team at Renown Health is the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU). These nursing and acute care professionals seamlessly fill in the gaps between inpatient and outpatient care, helping patients return home sooner through rapid tests and treatment.  Quick Interventions for Efficient Care The key goal at the forefront of the CDU’s patient care philosophy lies in their name: decisions. The team makes quick decisions in order to deliver timely, accurate assessments so they can treat patients efficiently and get them home. Not only do these efforts help reduce the amount of time patients have to stay in the hospital, but they also achieve cost savings for both the patient and our health system. And in cases where patients do end up needing to be admitted, the CDU walks them through everything they can expect during their stay.  The main duties of our CDU team include:  Observation and monitoring, where patients with conditions that are not immediately life-threatening but need closer monitoring Diagnostic testing, including blood work and imaging, to help providers gather critical information quickly Treatment and stabilization to receive treatments like IV fluids, medications or other therapies to prevent the need for inpatient admission Decision-making to determine whether the patient should be admitted for further care or discharged with follow-up plans  Think of the CDU as the ER and inpatient admission go-between. By diverting patients who don’t necessarily need emergency intervention away from the ER, the CDU helps relieve high patient volumes and reduce wait times.  “The CDU offloads patients from the emergency room who require slightly longer observation status to complete more complex testing or exams,” said Kristine Barnes, RN. “You could consider us a ‘limbo’ unit between the ER and admission to the hospital, if required.”  As with many other teams at Renown, every day is different for this team. They enjoy the variety of cases they see and solving the puzzles that present with patient care.  "The CDU is always fast moving, with discharges and admissions all day,” said Tyler Cathcart, Acute Care Technician-Advanced. “As an observation unit, we function as both an extension of the ED and PACU, with Medical, Telemetry and post-op patients. We have a wide range of patients and responsibilities to keep the unit moving quickly.”  “We see a variety of patients and enjoy the variety each day brings,” added Angie Marrale, Acute Care Technician-Basic. “A day in the life as a tech on CDU is full of surprises because we have such a wide variety of patients. It requires all team members to be attentive, hardworking and communicative in order to provide our patients with the care they need.”  If you’re ever looking for an example of a team that moves and acts quickly, the CDU is a shining example of that. Due to their hyper-focused attention, patients are able to embrace better outcomes and higher satisfaction.  “We move quickly to get today's group of patients comfortable, complete the tests ordered, make the appropriate interventions and get them discharged back home or transferred in less than 24 hours; then, we refill the unit, and each patient receives excellent, expedited care,” said Tyler Cathcart. “Efficient patient care within 24 hours is our goal, and we strive to meet that goal daily.”  A place to get extra care and attention without needing to stay for a long time while also having a team of professionals solely dedicated to figuring out what is going on in your body? Sign us up!

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    • Cancer Care

    Guide to Cancer Screenings

    One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining health and wellness is staying proactive about regular cancer screenings. Early cancer detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and survival. The multidisciplinary care team at the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown Health provides compassionate care and support to the community for early detection and diagnoses. This comprehensive guide outlines the various cancer screenings available for breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, prostate and skin cancer. Breast Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Mammograms are recommended starting age 40 for those considered at average risk for breast cancer. Women with a family history or other risk factors should discuss appropriate screening options with their healthcare provider. Women under 40 with a family history should discuss risk factors with a healthcare provider. Screening Methods Mammogram: This provides an X-ray of the breast and can detect tumors that are not yet palpable. Breast MRI: This type of scan is recommended for women at high risk for breast cancer due to genetic factors or family history. Screening Breast Ultrasound: This scan can help in identifying masses in denser breast tissue that might not be visible on mammogram. It is recommended in addition to a mammogram for patients at a higher risk for breast cancer. What to Expect During a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two plates to capture X-ray images. Some pressure or discomfort may be felt, but the procedure is brief and critical for early detection. Colorectal Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Adults aged 45 to 75 should undergo regular colorectal screenings. Some adults under 45 may need to be screened earlier depending on family history or other genetic risks. Those over 75 should consult with their healthcare provider to determine if continued screening is necessary. Screening Methods Colonoscopy: This procedure uses a flexible tube with a camera to examine the entire colon. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT): A non-invasive test that detects hidden blood in the stool. CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy): Uses Computed tomography (CT) imaging to provide detailed views of the colon. What to Expect A colonoscopy can detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Screening is usually advised every ten years, but if you are at risk, screening may be recommended every 3 to 5 years after your initial colonoscopy. Colonoscopy preparation includes bowel cleansing the day before and sedation during the procedure. FIT is a simple at-home test requiring no special preparation. Lung Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Adults aged 50 to 80 with a significant smoking history (20 pack years or more) and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening Methods Low-dose Computed Tomography (LDCT): A CT scan with low radiation doses to create detailed images of the lungs. What to Expect LDCT is a non-invasive scan that requires you to hold your breath for a few seconds. Cervical Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Women aged 21 to 65 should undergo regular screenings. Women aged 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every three years. Women aged 30 to 65 should have a Pap test and HPV test every five years, or a Pap test alone every three years. Screening Methods Pap Test (sometimes called a Pap Smear): Collects cells from the cervix to detect precancers. HPV Test: Identifies high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types that can cause cervical cancer. What to Expect The Pap test involves collecting cells from the cervix using a small brush. Some discomfort may be felt, but the procedure is brief and crucial for early detection. Prostate Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Men aged 50 and older should discuss screening options with their healthcare provider. Men at higher risk (African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer or are a BRCA2 gene carrier) should begin discussing screenings  at age 40. Screening Methods Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: Measures PSA levels in the blood. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A physical examination where the provider feels the prostate through the rectum to detect abnormalities. What to Expect The PSA test is a simple blood test. The DRE may cause slight discomfort but is quick and essential for early detection. Skin Cancer Screening Who Should Get Screened? Anyone with a suspicious lesion or abnormal area on their skin. Individuals with more than 50 moles or dysplastic moles. Those with a personal history of melanoma or history of other skin cancers. Those who have more than one member of immediate family with a history of cancers (melanoma, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer) or a family member who was diagnosed with melanoma before they were 50 years old. Positive gene testing for BRACA2, Lynch syndrome genes (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 or EPCAM). Screening Methods Skin Exam: A visual examination by your provider to check for unusual moles, birthmarks, or other skin changes. Biopsy: Removal of a small sample of skin for testing if an abnormal area is identified. What to Expect A skin exam is non-invasive and visual. A biopsy involves minor discomfort and local anesthesia if needed. Expert Advice Although the cadence of these skin screenings may or may not be annual, as one's age increases, the risk of many cancers rises. Everyone benefits from attentive sun protection, including avoiding direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. by seeking shade and wearing hats, clothing and sunscreen. When purchasing sunscreen, look for SPF 50, UVA/UVB broad spectrum. Questions to Discuss with Your Healthcare Provider What is my risk level for different types of cancer? Which screening tests do you recommend for me and why? What are the potential risks and benefits of each test? How often should I get screened? What steps to follow if a test result is abnormal? Importance of Cancer Screenings Regular cancer screenings are vital for maintaining your health and catching cancer early, when it is most treatable. Renown Health is dedicated to guiding you through the process and providing the highest quality of care. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate screenings for your specific needs and to take proactive steps toward a healthier future.

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