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August 22, 1997     Cape Gazette
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August 22, 1997
 

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10 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 22 - August 28, 1997 Beebe develops new holistic enhancement department By Kerry Kester Beebe Medical Center will soon launch a new department that em- braces modem medical philoso- phy and which hospital officials believe will lead the hospital to the forefront of cbmprehensive healthcare services. Colleen Waering, vice president of patient care, said she expects the hospital's new Depart- ment of Inte- grative Health to be operational in January, 1998. Inte- grative health WAERING is a concept that blends traditional healthcare with what is sometimes known as alternative healthcare practices. The emphasis on the alternative, or holistic, concept is not only on wellness and disease prevention but on using natural elements to speed recovery for those afflicted with illness or disease. Waering said that research indi- cates that approximately one of every three people use some type of holistic therapy for a variety of health reasons. There are hun- dreds of practices and products, including such things as stress management and relaxation strate- gies, massage, acupressure or acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi, herbal remedies and nutrition. Steve Berlin, M.D., an obstetri- clan/gynecol- ogist at Bay- side Health Association, will serve as the medical director for the depart- ment. Berlin, along with Barbara Starr, BERLIN nurse manag- er, and Waering, were instrumen- tal in developing the department. "What I truly believe," said Berlin, "is that a tremendous amount of healthcare is due to lifestyle." Berlin's philosophy, he said, is that healthcare practition- ers should provide "more com- plete healthcare. We're treating the body; we're treating the spirit. "Physicians and healers of all types have always stressed the im- portance of enhancing fluid and energy flow throughout the body," stated Berlin. "To remain healthy, blood and lymph must flow freely, nerve impulses must reach the tar- get organs, and electrical energy must not be impeded. "It's really a very basic and an- cient concept of healing. Stagna- tion leads to disharmony and dis- ease. To remain healthy a certain rhythm within the body must be maintained. Health comes through proper diet, regular exer- cise, rest, and lots of love and laughter." The department will begin its service by providing resources for patients and healthcare providers alike. "Nutrition is a key compo- nent of healthy living," said Berlin. "A solution to many dif- ferent health problems revolves around nourishing our own inter- nal healing ability - the life forces - within." said Berlin. , "We assume that a diet that doesn't immediately kill us must not be bad for us." That line of thinking, he indicated, is false. There's "a huge body of research" he noted, that impacts degenera- tive diseases, for example. Prevention unlocked Waering said a major focus of the new department will be on ed- ucation. Not only will the hospital provide the public with lectures or programs on a vast array of topics, it will encourage healthcare prac- titioners to engage in programs and seminars. Beebe's integrative healthcare concept includes individual and group counseling as well and will be at a "very, very low cost," said Waering. While outpatient services will stress the education, counseling and prevention strategies, the de- partment will also enhance inpa- tient services. "We think we can speed up recovery by using some of these techniques," said Waer- ing. "They're actually very old therapies that people are calling new. We're bringing back those basics." Starr explained that nursing techniques for patients is chang- ing. For example, she said, pa- tients can take medication for their pain, but several natural practices can enhance the effec- tiveness of the medication: relax- ation breathing, dimmed lighting, massage therapy, soft music, aro- ma therapy or eye pillows. When the body is more relaxed, the med- ication can work more quickly and more efficiently, she said. Preparing for surgery can also aid in the effectiveness of an oper- ation and in recovery, she said. One concept proving effective, she said, is for patients to take vit- amins to build up the body and learn relaxation techniques a month before a procedure. "The healing process is much faster," she said, when there is good phys- ical and mental preparation. Spirituality can also play an in- tegral part of good health. In the Tunnell Cancer Center, said Waering, "we've been using spiri- tual groups. We've found them to be very beneficial for the pa- tients." The center also includes art therapy, relaxation groups and even encourages practicing yoga. "Cancer patients have demon- strated a genetic vulnerability to- ward cancer," said Berlin. "Therefore, optimal nutritional protection is required to reduce the carcinogenic risks of chemotherapy and radiation thera- pY. "This also equates to a re-orga- nization of the patients' lifestyle to protect the obviously delicate machinery from another bout of cancer." Waering said research indicates practicing integrative medical strategies decreases the frequency of chronic flare-ups. Berlin agreed. A healthy lifestyle is es- sential, be said, not only for treat- ing the onset of symptoms from degenerative diseases but for pre- venting or reversing such ailments as heart disease. Start said she was recently dis- tracted by a billboard she passed that promoted 911 as the first line of defense. "I thought, no, that's wrong," said Starr. "The best thing to do is prevent the stroke in the first place." Market is for all All three professionals agreed that integrative medicine has ap- peal for all age groups as on a worldwide level people are be- coming more knowledgeable and interested in their health. For years, said Waering, healthcare professionals have promoted "self care." Kerry Kester photo Beebe Medical Center is in the process of replacing all of its beds. The new beds allow for adjustable softness levels. The bed replacement is a part of Beebe's commitment to integrat- ing natural, holistic medicine with traditional medical prac- tices. However, she said, "I don't know if we've always quite known how to push it." One of the dangers of people's strong interest in holistic health, she said, is there is a huge market for natural products, and some of the products, used incorrectly and even sometimes used as indicated, can do more harm than good. The potential exists, she said, for people to become lured into using products that may not be of good quality, for example. An- other scenario, she said, is that sometimes people become, caught up in an herb or vitamin cycle and take things that counteract inter- fere with traditional medical treat, ments. The Department of Integrative Medicine will address those kinds of issues. Counseling and educa- tion will help people sort through those products and practices that are and those that are not benefi- cial. One of the hospital's biggest chal- lenges on the project, she said, has been determining where to house the de- partment. At this point, she said, officials STARR are eyeing space in the clinical building adja- cent to the new Department of Pain Therapy Services. "The two go together very well," said Waer- ing. Initial staffing has already been determined. In addition to Berlin and Starr, the core staff will in- clude a registered nurse and some clerical support. "Our charges to patients will be very minimal," said Waering. Al- though most insurance companies offer little if any coverage for ad- junctive therapies, Waering said insurance companies are begin- ning to change their thinking as the National Institutes of Health and universities such as Harvard promote the concel of iniegrative health. Ultimately, prevention and wellness are less expensive for in- surance companies, Waering not- ed, "so I think we'll see that insur- ance companies will begin to rec- ognize there are a lot of lower cost alternatives." Starr said she knows of one pro- gressive company that is now cov- ering costs for acupressure, be- cause it recognizes its wellness as well as treatment value. "If integrative healthcare has brought about anything, it has reintroduced the individual to re- sponsibility and empowerment that we all have in our destiny," said Berlin. "Optimal health is a lifetime journey - not the daily, weekly or monthly visit to your physician." State receives DNA test funding; speedie; justice expected By Kerry Kester Justice in Delaware will be speedier in both its criminal investigation and prosecu- tion systems as a result of three recently awarded grants that provide the Delaware Medical Examiner's Office with funds to cation's (FBI) database.  Prior to the grant funding, Delaware's lab was not fully equipped, nor was the staff and lab certified to perform esting. The result was that the state haffto nd forensic samples to the FBI laboratory for DNA test, further develop its DNA (deoxyribonucleic ing. The federal:lab ,as bac up as long acid) testing capabilities, The grants, Which fall under the auspices of the Biden Crime Bill, provide resources so the medical examiner's lab can engage in case work and develop a data bank to be linked with Combined DNA Indexing Sys- tem (CODIS), a Federal Bureau of Identifi- as 15 months, so investigations were im- peded and trials were delayed. Delaware received more than $350,000 on Tuesday, July 15, to fund its DNA test- ing and data bank development. According to Carmen Nazario, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, from 1989 through 1995, the FBI performed more than 20,000 examinations on almost 6,000 DNA specimens for almost 300 Delaware cases. "The FBI's DNA crime lab in Washing- ton, D.C., is overworked," said Sen. Joe Biden Jr., "which causes serious delays in the investigation and prosecution of Delaware cases." "We're ready right now to do DNA analyses. Right now we're doing some cas- es," said Amalendu Dasgupta, Ph.D., chief forensic toxicologist in the mediqal exam- iner's office. The cases the lab is currently working on are minor non-capital offenses, he said. The lab is currently in the process of get- ting its certification, said Dasgupta, but it does not need to wait for completion of dw process to begin its work. In fact, he sai,; the FBI lab is not certified either. Biden called the funding for Delaware a "major step forward in the investigation of sexual assaults, homicides and other violent crimes." Dasgupta concurred with Biden's assessment, noting that the DNA data bank will be particularly useful in the area of in- Continued on page 11