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Satisfied with St. Luke’s

St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield has received from a national patient experience survey provider three patient experience awards.

Avatar Solutions recently named St. Luke’s a 2015 “Best Performer” in the areas of overall rating, willingness to recommend, and communication with doctors.

The awards are based on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems [HCAHPS] survey, a national, standardized and publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives on hospital care.

Antibiotic overload

Doctors’ prescriptions for oral antibiotics in 2010-2011 may have been “inappropriate” about 30 percent of the time, according to a report in this month’s issue of JAMA.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], antibiotics have been widely used for so long that the infections they are designed to kill have adapted to them, reducing their effectiveness. Every year in the U.S., the CDC reports, at least 2 million people experience antibiotic-resistant infections, and at least 23,000 people die from those infections.

Aware of but unsure of the extent of antibiotic overuse, a team from the CDC conducted a study using national data from 2010-2011. Summarizing their findings, they wrote:

“Half of antibiotic prescriptions for acute respiratory conditions may have been unnecessary, representing 34 million antibiotic prescriptions annually. Collectively, across all conditions, an estimated 30 percent of outpatient, oral antibiotic prescriptions may have been inappropriate.”

A study found that the number of children treated in emergency departments for traumatic brain injuries sustained on playgrounds has increased significantly in recent years.

A study found that the number of children treated in emergency departments for traumatic brain injuries sustained on playgrounds has increased significantly in recent years.

Playground danger

A study slated for publication in the June issue of Pediatrics found a significant increase in the number of children treated in recent years in emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries that occurred on playgrounds.

According to the report, “Nonfatal Playground-Related Brain Injuries Among Children, 2001-2013,” during the 12-year study period an average of more than 21,000 kids aged 14 and younger were treated for traumatic brain injuries each year.

The study found also that:

• More than 95 percent of children were treated and released.

• More than half [53.5 percent] of those inured were aged 5-9.

• About one-third of injuries occurred either at places of recreation or sports or at school.

• Playground equipment most commonly associated with traumatic brain injuries were monkey bars or playground gyms and swings.

• The annual rate of emergency department visits for traumatic brain injuries increased significantly from 2005-2013.

Despite recent safety upgrades to playground equipment and surfaces, the study authors said factors such as better adult supervision, methods to reduce risky playground behaviors and even better playground surfaces are needed.

Extending shelf life

“When in doubt, throw it out” is a common-sense approach to food safety, but unfortunately, it results in massive amounts of food waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] has a smartphone application designed to eliminate doubt so less food is wasted.

The USDA FoodKeeper app helps consumers learn how to extend the life of foods and beverages by utilizing proper storage methods and allows them to set up automatic notifications so they know when items are nearing the recommended storage deadline. It includes information on more than 400 items, including baby foods, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood and more.

Also included is cooking advice to instruct consumers on preparation methods that eliminate foodborne bacteria.

An “Ask Karen” feature that allows users to submit food safety questions 24/7 if the information they are seeking cannot be found also is available.

The FoodKeeper app is available for Apple and Android devices.

‘Think Before You Ink’

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] recently issued a consumer update, “Think Before You Ink: Are Tattoos Safe?”, to advise people of some uncertainty regarding the safety of tattoo inks.

Inks used for tattoos are subject to FDA regulation, but according to the agency, because of “other health priorities and a previous lack of evidence of safety concerns,” it has not traditionally regulated tattoo inks and ink colorings [pigments].

However, “FDA has received reports of bad reactions to tattoo inks right after tattooing or even years later,” the consumer update states. “Some people report itchy or inflamed skin around their tattoos in the summer when they’ve been out in the sun. Recent reports associated with permanent make-up inks have prompted FDA to study tattoo ink safety.”

FDA officials currently are investigating tattoo inks to determine how they break down in the body, the long-term safety of pigments used in them and how the body responds to their interaction with light.

For more information on tattoo safety, including tips for consumers, visit www.fda.gov and enter “Think Before You Ink” in the search box.

Swaddling and SIDS

Swaddling a baby before sleep may increase the risk of SIDS, particularly once a baby is able to roll over to its side or back.

Swaddling a baby before sleep may increase the risk of SIDS, particularly once a baby is able to roll over to its side or back.

The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome [SIDS] is greater for babies who are swaddled while sleeping on their stomachs or their sides, new research suggests.

A small study looked at four previous studies on SIDS, focusing specifically on any link between swaddling and SIDS.

Study authors noted that their research was somewhat limited by the fact that the studies they reviewed did not give a specific definition for swaddling, which generally refers to the practice of wrapping an infant snugly to prevent moving about freely.

However, they did find that SIDS risk seemed to increase for infants who were placed on their fronts or sides and swaddled for sleep.

“We found some evidence in this review that as babies get older, they may be more likely to move into unsafe positions while swaddled during sleep, suggesting an age is needed after which swaddling for sleep should be discouraged,” said Dr. Anna Pease, lead author of the review. “Most babies start being able to roll over at 4-6 months.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies always be placed on their backs to sleep until they reach the age of 1 year.

Pease agreed with that advice, adding that parents should “think about when to stop swaddling for sleep as their babies get older and are more able to move.”

On the calendar

The St. Luke’s Hospital Tour de Wellness begins at 7 a.m. [rolling start] on Sunday, May 22 at Chesterfield Amphitheater, 631 Veterans Place Drive. Routes are offered for riders of all levels, and support and gear assistance are available throughout the route, which includes rest stops with drinks and snacks. Participants enjoy complimentary breakfast snacks and a celebration lunch. Proceeds support health and wellness initiatives impacting more than 40,000 people in the St. Louis community. To learn more, call (314) 576-2345. To register, visit www.stlukestourdewellness.com.

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Missouri Baptist Medical Center offers free cholesterol and glucose screenings from 1:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 at the Wildwood Town Center Dierbergs, 2460 Taylor in Wildwood. No fasting is required; appointments are recommended. Call (314) 996-5433.

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“I Have Hip Pain: What are My Options?” is from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 at St. Luke’s Hospital, 232 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. An orthopedic physician discusses the causes of hip pain and answers participants’ questions. Admission is free. To register, call (314) 542-4848, or visit www.stlukes-stl.com.

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Cochlear Americas presents “Hearing Loss and Possible Solutions,” a Healthy Living for Seniors program, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27 at the St. Louis County Library’s Daniel Boone branch, 300 Clarkson Road in Ellisville. Registration is required. Call the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging at 1 (800) 243-6060, or visit www.agingmissouri.org.

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“When Bad Things Happen to Good Shoulders” is from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1 at St. Luke’s Hospital, 232 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. An orthopedic physician provides a comprehensive look at therapies for and causes of shoulder pain, including arthritis, rotator cuff tears, bursitis, tendinitis, impingements, instability and more. Admission is free. To register, call (314) 542-4848, or visit www.stlukes-stl.com.

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“Celebrate Health … 150 Years of Excellence in Our Community,” a free health fair for adults aged 18 and older, is from 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4 at St. Luke’s Hospital Institute for Health Education, 222 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. Attendees visit with healthcare professionals, attend health lectures and learn more about services offered by St. Luke’s. Information on advance directives, financial assistance services, the Medicare Complete program and more is available.  Free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, body mass index and pulmonary function and assessments for lung cancer risk, hearing loss, sleep health and fall risk are offered on a first-come, first served basis. To register, visit www.stlukes-stl.com.

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