In a new initiative being launched with 11 Baltimore hospitals, the City Health Department plans to certify each one that adopts “best practices” for treating patients who overdose on opioids or are struggling with addiction.
When people are hospitalized, they’re in an incredibly vulnerable state from dealing with whatever injury or illness put them there in the first place. And everyone knows that good food and good sleep are crucial components of healing. So why is eating and sleeping so miserable in hospitals?
The Anne Arundel Medical Center has become the latest in a list of hospitals to announce that it’ll stop hiring people who smoke as of July 1, 2015. Many other hospitals in the region, including the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Union Memorial, and the Baltimore Washington Medical Center have similar policies in place. But are they fair to employees?
How much have you exercised this week? If you’re an average American, you can claim about two hours — which isn’t bad! After all, it’s almost three times as much physical activity than was typical forty years ago. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we need to be getting physical more than we typically do — at least 2.5 hours a week of “moderate” exercise (walking, golf, fishing, bowling) plus an hour and fifteen minutes of “vigorous” training (running, muscle strengthening) every week. And, lest you’ve forgotten, the U.S. is still “the fattest country in the world,” according to Penn State professor Geoffrey Godbey.
Godbey teamed up with University of Maryland professor John Robinson to see just how much exercise we’re getting as a nation by looking at data from the American Time Use Survey. They not only looked at how much Americans are moving, but also what our preferred activities are. The answer? Television. “We are almost addicted to television and computers. Americans ages 18 to 64 average more than 35 hours of free time each week, but they spend half of it watching television,” Godbey says. When we do move our bodies, the most common activity is walking. On an average day, about 5 percent of Americans will go for a walk, for an average time of 53 minutes. The nation’s most popular team sport is basketball, followed by football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and hockey.
But while teenagers are spending a respectable amount of time on fitness (41 minutes a day), their older counterparts are sadly lacking. The average time spent on fitness activities per day for those 18-64 is a paltry 17 minutes; for those over 65, it’s only 13 minutes. Part of this may be because teens are much more likely to participate in team sports — and team sports take up more time than solo activities, such as walking or running. “Among older adults, team sports are almost invisible in terms of daily time use, with only one in 500 people playing baseball or football, and one in 60 people playing basketball on a given day,” Godbey says. The one exception: seniors go bowling just as often as their younger counterparts. So there’s room for hope after all.
One upside of the technology boom is that it enables us to stay in touch, connect with others, and otherwise be more social animals… right? Maybe, but not necessarily in a good way, according to a study by University of Maryland marketing professors. After talking on a cell phone for a short time, research subjects were less likely to volunteer for a community service activity than those who hadn’t been chatting on a phone. The researchers posit that a cell phone conversation gives the user a feeling of connectivity and belonging. Once that itch is scratched, there’s less of a need to engage in empathic or prosocial behavior. Even more scary, this decreased focus on others held true when participants were asked to draw a picture of their cell phones and think about using them, without even making a phone call.
And — sorry for more bad news! — patients who recover from potentially deadly diseases are hardly brimming with joy and gratitude, according to research by Johns Hopkins psychiatrists and doctors. Instead, these patients often suffer from depression… which can lead to new physical problems. (Yes, that’s right — the depression comes before the new physical impairments.) The study looked at survivors of acute lung injuries in Baltimore hospitals, and found that 40 percent suffered depressive symptoms in the two years following their discharge. Two-thirds had new physical problems that made it difficult to perform the tasks of daily life, such as using the phone and shopping for food. This is despite the fact that the average age of the patients was 49. “Patients are burdened for a very long time after their hospital stays,” says Dale Needham, a Hopkins doc who was the study’s principal investigator. “We need to figure out what we can do to help these previously productive people get back their lives.” The study posits that it’s not just the illnesses that make patients have a hard time recovering, but also the standard ICU procedures of deep sedation and bed rest.
Courtesy of Citybizlist – Baltimore was named the top city for hospital care in a report that examined patient death and complication rates at approx. 5,000 hospitals.
To arrive at its rankings, HealthGrades, which compiled the report, said that it looked for hospitals performing in the top five percent nationwide across 26 different medical procedures and diagnoses, then ranked cities by the highest percentage of those hospitals.
Nine Baltimore hospitals made the cut:
– Carroll Hospital Center, Westminster
– Franklin Square, Baltimore
– Good Samaritan, Baltimore
– GBMC, Baltimore
– Harbor Hospital, Baltimore
– Northwest Hospital Center, Randallstown
– St. Joseph, Towson
– Sinai, Baltimore
– Union Memorial
Baltimore was followed by Phoenix, Az., Cedar Rapids, Ia., and Richmond Va.
The full report can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/7j3uatz
Talk about a power couple: Johns Hopkins, as a leading health care institution, and Lockheed Martin, the aviation leader, are teaming up to make the world a safer place.
Specifically, the intensive care unit (ICU). Although it may seem strange at first, hospitals have a lot to learn from the airline industry about safety. “A hospital ICU contains 50 to 100 pieces of electronic equipment that may not communicate to one another nor work together effectively,” says Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., Armstrong Institute director and senior vice president for patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine. Airlines have similar issues of complicated machinery, crucial split-second decisions, and intricate, error-prone processes.
Lockheed Martin is talking to Hopkins about a single-system ICU, rather than the current model (which tends to resemble Frankenstein’s monster). Intelligently-integrated machines could help prioritize patient alarms, for example. Checklists are another big part of the airline industry’s quality control; Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto urged that hospitals learn from the airlines back in 2009; now Johns Hopkins will (as usual) be leading the way.