Thursday, March 25, 2010

Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms Has Many Channels of Communications

By Dan Barber, Public Affairs Officer
Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital

Did you know that the Robert E. Bush Navy Hospital has Face Book, Health Blog and Twitter available on its public facing web site to increase the communication channels to beneficiaries of the hospital and the public in general.

By using these channels of communications for most of the past year, the hospital has increased the visibility of its various programs, clinics and events and at the same time opened up channels to allow two way communications with customers.

Communications from you… the customer… is very important to the leadership of the command. Your input is used to improve services at the hospital. Following appointments here at the hospital some patients are selected to participate in a survey. How it works is, a couple of weeks following a visit you may receive a survey in the mail asking you to rate the service received from your provider. This survey, which is very important to the leadership of the hospital, can be submitted by return mail by using the enclosed envelope; online at the address listed in the letter or by calling the provided toll-free telephone number.

However, you also have the opportunity to fill out a customer comment card available throughout the hospital anytime to register a complaint or to offer a complement to anyone on the hospital’s staff. Also, patients have the option of leaving comments using the Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE), which is linked from the hospital’s Internet page.

Twitter, Facebook and the Health Blog allows anyone to post comments on articles or items that are posted. The hospital team assigned to monitor these communications will then respond if appropriate.

We just ask that these communications channels should not be used to “air dirty laundry” or circumvent your normal chain of command. The hospital staff will not offer personal opinions on, or enter into debates about, our superiors, the government officials or bodies listed in Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or partisan political issues. Commenter's will be similarly moderated, as this site is continually monitored and in the case of inappropriate comments they will be immediately removed.

To view the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital web site visit:

If you wish to address your concerns to a live person, the hospital also has customer relations representatives in each clinic or department of the hospital. If you feel that your concerns aren’t adequately addressed at this level the command also has a Customer Relations Officer who can be reached by calling 760-830-2475. This officer is a direct representative of the Commanding Officer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Older Adults and Babies Most Vulnerable to Preventable Head Injuries at Home

March is Traumatic Brain Injury Month. We are all aware that brain injuries occur in combat and vehicle crashes, but we also need to remember that brain injury can occur at other times as well. Therefore it is important to be aware of other causes of brain injury besides combat and vehicle crashes.

Accidental falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury among Americans of all ages and among Americans age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries. Among older adults, traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes nearly 50% of fall-related fatalities. In children ages 4 and younger, TBI is the primary cause of fall-related death.

In 2008, nearly 8.6 million Americans suffered accidental falls according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics indicate that an estimated 1.5 million people are treated for head injuries and nearly 12,000 are treated for neck fractures every year at U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Also in 2008, more than 31,000 head injuries were attributed to common baby-related products. Some of the biggest contributors were car seats (5,899), baby strollers (5,350), high chairs (4,617), and cribs (2,847). Nearly 100% of these injuries affected children under age 4, and in those that were hospitalized, skull fractures and hematomas were the most common injuries.

Remember to always be aware of trip hazards in your home – loose floor rugs, cords running across a path, etc. product safety recalls – such as car seats, strollers, etc can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission Millions of injuries could be prevented every year in the US by being aware of trip hazards and child products that have been recalled due to safety issues.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Purposeful Life May Stave Off Alzheimer's

People who say their lives have a purpose are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or its precursor, mild cognitive impairment, a new study suggests. As the US population ages and dementia becomes a more frequent diagnosis, it is increasingly more important to find the causes of the disease, risk factors and how to hopefully prevent it.

The study looked at the positive aspects of life and their possible effect on keeping dementia at bay. The research looked at happiness, purposefulness in life, well-being and whether those concepts are associated with a decreased risk of dementia. The researchers asked a large group of elderly people how they felt about their life in general and their sense of purpose and direction in life.

After an average of four years of follow-up, 16.3% of the people in the study developed Alzheimer's disease. After excluding other causes for Alzheimer's, they found that people who responded most positively to statements about their lives were the least likely to develop the condition. Also, people who said they had more purposeful lives were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment and had a slower rate of cognitive decline. It's not known whether there is a biological reason for this finding, the researchers noted.

The researchers think that one possibility is that a person with high purpose in life might have a lower risk of developing dementia because of what's involved in a purposeful life. More social activity, more physical activity, higher cognitive activities, high purpose in life are psychosocial factors seem to be linked with longer life, decreased mortality, and decreased disability. They also are useful for helping to maintain independence in the elderly. However, one question raised by the research is whether lower sense of purpose contributes to Alzheimer's disease or is a lower sense of purpose an early, subtle, sign of dementia.

What is a purposeful life? That is hard to define. What do you think your life purpose is? Where do or could you bring your unique gifts to the needs of those around you in the world? Purposefulness is being more self reflective. What goals do I have? How am I contributing to the greater good of my family, community and the world? Do you take time every day just for yourself – time to contemplate what you did right or wrong today? What did I do for others that made their lives better?

Here are some ways to start bringing more purpose to your life:
· Make time for contemplative practices each day – meditation, prayer, etc. is when you take time to clear your mind so that it is easier to see the path before you.
· Have meaningful connections with other people. And this means real life people. Not people online or in chat rooms. People who can listen to you and truly be supportive of you. People who you can call on to help you when you are in need.
· Have a spiritual community that provides help and support. This can mean either a religious community or simply a community of people who feel the same as you on moral issues.
· Live by your values. There is a difference between knowing what is right and wrong and actually living those values consistently every day of your life.
· Have a strong, fulfilling spiritual faith. You don’t have to believe in any specific religion to have faith in something greater than yourself. Explore various religions and concepts and find one that fits your mental and spiritual needs.
· Have ways to cope with activities that are life-draining. When we don’t have good coping skills we fall into alcohol, tobacco, eating, sex or any other activity that is addictive. We get stressed, we smoke, eat, etc. The stress still remains and is only resolved when we develop better coping skills.
· Feel that you are contributing your gifts to your family or community in a satisfying and helpful way. We all need positive feedback – not every single time we do something for our community – but make sure that if you are never getting any positive energy back for what you are contributing, and then re-think what you are doing. You may need to change your friends, environment, etc.

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." Albert Schweitzer – scholar, religious leader, physician, missionary and Nobel prize winner.