Wellfound Behavioral Health

Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, a joint venture between CHI Franciscan and MultiCare Health System, opened its doors to welcome patients on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The new $45 million nonprofit hospital will bring transforming healing in behavioral health care for Washington state.

“Our mission is to serve all those in need,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan. “The need for access to behavioral health care and services continues to escalate throughout our state. Together with MultiCare, we recognized our shared responsibility to help address this crisis. Wellfound will serve as a critical resource not only for patients, but for providers and first responders to better assist individuals in need of specialized care and support.”

“We have looked forward to this day for a long time, and we know that Wellfound will have a profound and positive impact on our community by increasing rapid access to behavioral health services,” says Bill Robertson, President and CEO of MultiCare. “Thanks to our partnership with CHI Franciscan we are now able to address the vital need for more inpatient psychiatric beds in our community.”

As the two largest health systems in Pierce County, CHI Franciscan and MultiCare formed a unique joint venture in 2014 called the Alliance for South Sound Health to build and operate the new behavioral health hospital. Wellfound was designed with patient safety, experience and high-quality care at the forefront. Everything from the layout, architecture, calming aesthetics, natural lighting and artwork and nautical theme of the 67,000 square-foot hospital are designed for safety, healing and hope.

The hospital will provide voluntary and involuntary admissions with a focus on general adult psychiatric care for ages 18 and older with common psychiatric conditions such as acute depression, suicidal tendencies, self-injury, mania, psychosis and anxiety. Professional clinicians will treat behavioral health and co-existing secondary medical or chemical dependency conditions.

“Our goal is to provide care at the time it is needed through our highly trained doctors, nurses, licensed therapists and mental health professionals. We are focused on treating the whole person, taking into consideration the mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual states of well-being,” said Maureen Womack, CEO of Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital. “Adults experiencing a mental health crisis will have a safe, calm environment, and comprehensive clinical services to ensure a seamless transition back into the community.”

In the beginning, Wellfound will provide inpatient behavioral care for a limited number of adults, accepting referrals from hospital emergency rooms, first responders, and crisis centers. Individuals and walk-ins will be evaluated by a skilled assessment team to determine the level of care and treatment needed, and based on evaluation, may be admitted pending bed availability. The hospital will open its beds in phases, starting with eight inpatient and six crisis-stabilization beds, with more added over time. When fully up and running, the freestanding, two-story hospital will offer 120 inpatient beds and serve approximately 5,000 patients annually.



Senior Wellness: Tips for Health this Spring

Most people, especially seniors, tend to slow down during the winter, so spring—when nature is waking up again—is the perfect time to get moving. Whether you’re living independently, living in a senior community, living with a family member or caring for one, these spring health tips are sure to rejuvenate and inspire.

“Spring up” your diet by eating foods fertile in the spring season as a healthy way to shed those winter pounds naturally. Foods that are in season during the spring include leafy greens, strawberries, baby asparagus, and seasonal fish and shellfish.

To keep your body running at peak performance, it needs regular maintenance: a spring tune-up, so to speak. Dr. Lu Gao, board-certified internist at Pacific Medical Centers, offers the following tips:

  1. Keep warm as the season transitions from winter to spring. Even as temperatures start to rise, it’s important not to switch to spring/summer garments until outdoor temperatures stabilize.
  2. If you’re no fan of ice and snow, your whole world may expand once the spring sun settles in and thaws out the land. Stay active with daily outdoor exercises, ranging from 30 to 45 minutes. Moderate physical exercises are best to keep your heart rate at a safe range of 40–50 percent. These activities may include brisk walking or gardening, easily fitting into your daily routine.
  3. Be careful of obstacles to prevent falls both inside the house and outdoors. To be extra-cautious, use aids like walking sticks or canes whenever appropriate and possible. It is also important to ensure that footwear is securely on and supportive of your feet.
  4. Springtime can mean the beginning of allergies. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, take or continue your allergy medications, and be aware of pollen exposure during springtime. Pollen counts are the highest between 5 and 10 a.m., so try to reduce excessive exposure during that time frame by staying inside, wearing a mask or taking antihistamines.
  5. Stay hydrated. As we age, our ability to notice thirst may decrease, so it’s important to keep an eye on water intake, especially when you’ve been outdoors in the sun.
  6. Stay up to date on immunizations and other health screenings.

When your body is tired and your joints are sore, finding the motivation to be active is easier said than done. Even the smallest steps, however, can have a big impact on your overall well-being. Start with just one or two of these health tips and work your way up from there.



Treating Pain/Reducing Risk of Opioid Abuse

If you’ve ever undergone a surgical or dental procedure, your doctor may have prescribed an opioid, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, or morphine, to reduce your pain. Properly used, these drugs can be very effective. Improper use, however, can negatively affect the reward center in the brain, eventually leading to addiction.

Responsible prescribing and use of opioids is important to the physicians at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates. “We want to minimize pain for people after surgery and treat their chronic pain as well as we can, while also leading the way in educating the community about new prescribing guidelines and limits, and why they’ve been introduced,” explains Dr. Douglas Taylor, who is board-certified in anesthesiology and interventional pain management.

When an individual undergoes a procedure at Olympia Orthopaedics, says Taylor, a key conversation that takes place is about expected pain after the procedure and the treatment for that pain. “We stress that prescribed opioids are to be used as a rescue medication in times when pain is really severe,” he says. Patients are encouraged to use alternative methods for pain control. These may include icing the area, using pain patches or taking over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. Also commonly used during surgery are nerve blocks, which can minimize pain for up to several days, says Taylor.

Prescribing smaller quantities of opioid medications means that fewer pills end up left over and at risk of getting into the wrong hands. “People with opioid addiction often report that they started with prescription medicines that were in the home of a family member who’d recently had surgery,” says Taylor. “We’re trying to minimize this chance by reducing the amount [of drugs] that get into the community in the first place.”

Olympia Orthopaedic physicians employ many pain treatments, including physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy and injection therapies. “We are dedicated to helping our patients heal and minimizing their pain in safe and appropriate ways,” says Taylor.


For Additional Information
Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
3901 Capital Mall Dr SW, Olympia

Fresh from the Farm: Get Your Share

South Sound residents are lucky to have an abundance of farmers markets in the local area. Nearly every day of the week, you can connect with local agricultural producers throughout Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties. They offer high-quality produce and other locally sourced products like honey, flowers, eggs and meat. And to become truly part of the regional agricultural system, you can enroll in a farm share program.

Much like your Netflix or magazine subscription, a Community Supported Agriculture farm share connects you directly to the source of fresh, seasonal produce chosen for you by your local farmer. Often referred to as farm boxes, CSA shares are offered in a variety of sizes based on the number of people in a household. They are typically available June through October, but some farms go year round. A few farms offer egg and flower shares as well.

Farm boxes can be picked up at the farm, at local drop points such as office buildings or front porches, and even at farmers markets. Members often get additional perks such as custom recipes based on the weekly delivery or opportunities to harvest items on the farm, such as flowers or herbs.

If you opt for picking up weekly at the farm, you get to watch plants develop from sprouting to harvest. You get the chance to reconnect with our region’s agrarian roots.

Farmers benefit greatly from having shareholders, and you help farmers stay viable, thus increasing your support of the local food supply. When you commit to eating in season by subscribing to a CSA, you can be sure that you are making a healthy choice for both yourself and the community.


For Additional Information

Managing Cholesterol is Important at Every Age

New guidelines recently released by the American Heart Association stress the importance of taking a lifetime approach to managing cholesterol levels as a way to minimize the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. The new guidelines offer a more personalized approach to assessing individual risk and developing a treatment plan, according to Dr. Marina Jansen, a cardiologist and an AHA Go Red for Women ambassador.

Atherosclerosis—the buildup of fat and cholesterol-filled plaques inside the arteries—begins in young adulthood, Jansen explains. Smoking, high blood pressure and high blood sugar are well-established risk factors used for calculating a person’s 10-year risk for developing heart disease. But it is now recommended, Jansen continues, that physicians also consider “risk-enhancing factors.” These include family history and other health conditions, such as inflammatory diseases, chronic kidney disease and a history of complicated pregnancies.

“Lifestyle changes of diet modifications, weight control and exercise are always step one in treating elevated cholesterol,” says Jansen. For patients at higher risk, a cholesterol-reducing drug called a statin can be prescribed. Statins can reduce cholesterol up to 50 percent by blocking an enzyme in the liver. Global and U.S. studies have suggested the optimal level of LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol that contributes to atherosclerosis, should be less than 100 mg/dL for otherwise healthy people.

Cholesterol management is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Other factors include not smoking, getting plenty of exercise, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar.

Adults should discuss their risk of heart disease with their physician to determine the most appropriate treatment options. The new guidelines also recommend screening for children, particularly if there is a family history of heart attack or stroke. Your child’s pediatrician can determine the best age to begin screening, which involves a simple blood test.


For Additional Information
American Heart Association
1142 Broadway, Tacoma

Training Helps Avert Mental Health Crisis

Mental health problems can affect anyone. Research has shown that one out of five people have a mental health problem at some point in their life. Early intervention is the key to minimizing the risk of a mental health problem escalating to a crisis. CHI Franciscan Health and community partners across Pierce County launched the Prevent-Avert-Respond, or PAR, Mental Health Initiative in 2016 to address this growing community need.

One component of the initiative involves providing free training to individuals who live or work in Pierce County. The training teaches them how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The Mental Health First Aid curriculum was developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. During the eight-hour training, attendees acquire the skills to provide immediate help to someone who is developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental crisis, such as having suicidal thoughts.

“As a psychologist, I know firsthand how important it is to identify the early signs of a serious mental health issue,” says Karen Hye, PsyD, who is a Mental Health First Aid instructor. She says that Mental Health First Aid is not meant to take the place of a trained professional. Instead, the course teaches “regular people” to identify

the signs of a crisis. It gives them tools that can help stabilize an individual in crisis and connect them to appropriate care and support.

Mental Health First Aid is often compared with CPR training, says Monet Craton, director of the PAR initiative. The more people who are trained and prepared, she says, the more often interventions can occur. The training is particularly helpful for people who regularly interact with a wide range of the public, such as those in social services, the court system and education. As of this writing, more than 4,000 people in the county have been trained.

Mental Health First Aid sessions will be offered by CHI Franciscan Health through May 2019. To enroll in a session or arrange training for your organization, contact Monet Craton at monetcraton@chifranciscan.org.


For Additional Information
CHI Franciscan Health

Mental Health First Aid

Capital Medical: Excellence in Health Care

“I’m excited about the opportunity here at Capital Medical Center. With a top-notch medical staff and a team of compassionate, talented employees at the hospital—we will focus on providing high-quality, compassionate care along with always looking to make those services more accessible to our community.”

Those were the words of Mark Turner when he was named CEO of Capital Medical Center a year ago. Now his extensive experience, as well as CMC’s above-average rating as a hospital, combine to bring an exceptional balance to its public-private partnership with UW Medicine, which took effect in April.

“The alliance aims to offer higher quality and better patient experiences and services to the people of Olympia, Thurston County and surrounding areas,” said Turner. “Other hospitals will be added to the partnership from Alaska, Idaho and Washington over time.”

On a perpetual mission to improve both the quality of care and patient experience, this partnership will allow CMC to benefit from, and leverage, UW Medicine’s work in achieving the “Triple Aim”— a set of health care reform goals: (1) improving patient experience through care including quality and satisfaction, (2) providing better health care outcomes, and (3) reducing the per-capita cost of health care.

Turner has a strong track record of success working with physicians and hospital employees to improve care and expand the range and depth of services provided at each of the hospitals he has led. His 25-plus years’ experience includes both hospital operational and regional leadership positions for national health care organizations. Most recently he was CEO at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning, California.

A CPA, Turner is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional with the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He is a graduate

of the University of Wisconsin with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.


For Additional Information
Capital Medical Center
3900 Capital Mall Dr SW Olympia

7 Ways to be Active During the Holidays

The Pacific Northwest offers a lot of ways to be active outdoors during the spring, summer and fall. But when the weather turns cold and rainy, it’s hard to muster up the enthusiasm to head out.

Our gloomy winters can seem like the perfect excuse to park yourself on the couch until spring. Add to that the stress and busyness of the holiday season, and staying active during this time of year may seem almost impossible.

But regular exercise and activity are important for your health all year. Instead of settling in to hibernate for the winter, try these seven ideas that will keep you and your family active and moving all season long.

  1. Find a Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog Holiday-themed running/walking events are easy to find in most areas, and are typically family-friendly. These events are more about silly costumes, people-watching and pure fun than about competition, so they are great for all fitness levels.
  2. Strap on some ice skates Ice skating is an iconic holiday activity. Pierce County’s Sprinker Arena is open year-round and offers public skate times. For something more festive, try the new, holiday-themed Indigo Frozen Fountain ice skating rink at Point Ruston or Olympia’s new downtown ice rink. Both are open until early January.
  3. Hit a roller rink If skating on ice doesn’t appeal to you, a number of roller skating rinks in the region offer public skate hours. Either kind of skating is an excellent cardiovascular workout appropriate for almost all age levels. Skating can even help you improve your balance skills, which are important to maintain as you get older.
  4. Walk the mall Sure, it’s going to be packed with holiday shoppers. But if you’re going to be there anyway, set aside time to get in some steps. Walking breaks between stores can help relieve some of the stress of crowds and long lines.
  5. Try ‘feet first’ sightseeing If you’re traveling to visit family or taking a holiday vacation, try exploring new destinations or revisiting your hometown on foot or bike instead of by car or public transportation.
  6. Take a bowling break Stepping away from holiday preparations for a break can help relieve stress and prevent holiday burnout. An outing to your local bowling alley is a family activity that keeps you moving. Plan your trip for after lunch or dinner to avoid being tempted by the snack bar.
  7. Tackle a new challenge It’s easy to put your fitness or health goals aside when the weather’s bad and your holiday to-do list seems a mile long. In times like these, though, self-care is more important than ever. Make a point to try something new that challenges you physically, mentally or both. Sign up for a new fitness class, set a daily step goal—any challenge that gets you moving and can give you a measurable success to celebrate.


Caring for families impacted by age or illness

It can be hard to see our parents struggle as they get older. It can be difficult to take the time to be there for their needs. This is why a home care agency, such as Synergy HomeCare, has become an essential part of daily lives for many seniors.

When their own home is made into a safe place, the seniors themselves can be in charge. They believe their opinion is heard and their preferences are recognized. There is an easier transition to accepting and understanding why in-home care is the best option for them. They need to feel and agree that they need a little support, but they are “the boss.”

When it’s time for this topic to be addressed with your parents, it’s important to remember that first, you may need to plant the idea or seed and then revisit the topic a number of times. Do not give up. Change takes time to adjust to and is harder for seniors in particular. Follow these three steps:

  1. Decide the care your loved one needs.

Whether the need is for a few hours a week or constant care, it’s important to understand the need and establish this expectation with the individual.

  1. Use a soft approach to bring up the idea.

Gently tell your loved one how this care will enhance their life and that you are their advocate, that you desire their independence. Synergy HomeCare can also provide a safety home assessment to help you and your loved one to better understand their needs for safety devices.

  1. Give it a try.

There are no contracts with Synergy HomeCare, so trying the service and support is a perfectly workable plan. Perhaps your loved one would agree to try home care for a few weeks or a month. To stop service, you simply call the office.

Change can be difficult, so Synergy HomeCare is available to talk if you need help. Call 360-338-0837 to find out about all of the services available, including help with bringing up the subject with your loved one. Synergy HomeCare can give you peace of mind and the tools you need to help your parents. Kate Redmond


Enhanced Breast Cancer Imaging Technology

Women 40 or older have been reminded for years that having an annual mammogram is an important part of their overall wellness. “There are many factors that can increase the risk for breast cancer, such as family history, but the biggest risk is being a woman,” advises radiologist Alison Reinbold, MD. That’s why it’s so important to have a screening mammogram done regularly— you’ll increase the chances of detecting breast cancer in its early stages when more treatment options are available.

Early detection has improved further with the introduction of 3D technology. Diagnostic Imaging Northwest recently unveiled this enhanced screening for mammography in Puyallup and Bonney Lake.

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (or tomo), 3D mammography is used in combination with 2D mammography. “During the exam, a patient will hardly notice a difference,” notes Dr. Reinbold. The images collected are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be evaluated individually or as a dynamic, interactive 3D animation. “We are able to see up and down through the tissue and remove extraneous layers, which makes it easier to find abnormalities.”

The significant advantages of 3D mammogram are the clarity of the image and the ability of the radiologist to review the breast from different angles. This is particularly important for women with dense breasts, who are also at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The greater clarity of the breast images improves early detection and the increased accuracy provides patients greater peace of mind. 3D mammography has been proven to reduce the frequency of additional testing by as much as 30 percent.

Diagnostic Imaging Northwest offers 3D mammography at three locations. Each has been accredited as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, which means that patients will find the most comprehensive imaging care services available.

We encourage our over-40 readers to talk with their doctor this fall about scheduling a mammogram.


For Additional Information or to Schedule a Mammogram
Diagnostic Imaging Northwest