Coping with the loss of a loved one

Dealing with the loss of a loved one, whether it’s sudden or after a long illness, may be one of the most difficult experiences we face. Loss is a natural part of life, and grieving is an important process that can help overcome the sadness and shock of death. It can also help you embrace the memories of your loved one and celebrate his or her life.

stk63814corThe American Psychological Association shares a few strategies for coping with the loss of a loved one.

  • Talk about the death of your loved one with others. This can help you understand what happened and remember your loved one.
  • Accept your feelings. People may experience anger, sadness and even exhaustion after learning about a loved one’s death. These feelings are normal.
  • Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Remember to eat well, exercise and rest so you can move forward.
  • Help others dealing with the loss. Sharing stories about your loved one or just talking with another person can make you feel better as well.
  • Celebrate the life of your loved one. Donate to her favorite charity, frame photos of fun times together or plant a garden in her memory. Honor your relationship in a way that feels right to you.
  • Talk with a mental health professional if you feel “stuck” or overwhelmed by emotions. Counseling may help you understand and accept your feelings, and move forward.

At Durham Regional, Pastoral Care Services holds a Service of Remembrance each year that brings together families, hospital staff and the community to pay tribute to the memory of loved ones who were cared for at Durham Regional.

“As caregivers and members of the community, we want to provide support after the loss of a loved one,” says Rev. Lisa Brown Cole, director of Pastoral Care Services. “Our Service of Remembrance is a special way for a patient’s family, our staff and the community to grieve and heal after a loss.”

This year’s service will be held 6-7 pm Thursday, May 16 in the hospital auditorium.

How you can help prevent medication errors

Assortment of pills and supplementsMedication errors are one of the most common kinds of medical mistakes. Fortunately, patients are not harmed by medication errors in most cases. Together, you and your healthcare provider can take steps to protect yourself and prevent these kinds of mistakes from occurring.

  • Write a list of your over-the-counter and prescription medicines as well as herbal products, nutritional supplements and vitamins. Remember to update the list if your doctor prescribes a new medicine or changes the dosage.
  • Know the names of your medicines and what health condition they are treating.
  • Share medication allergies (the name of the medicine and what happens when you take it) with your doctor or nurse.
  • Talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have concerns or questions about a medicine or its side effects.
  • If possible, have all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. This can help your pharmacist identify potentially inappropriate drug interactions.
  • Check your medicines at least twice a year. Dispose of expired medicines through a program like Operation Medicine Drop, which safely destroys unused and unwanted drugs. Durham Police Department has a permanent drop box at its headquarters on 505 West Chapel Hill Street; residents can drop off medications there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Volunteers are vital to our success

In partnership with Durham Regional Hospital staff and physicians, volunteers provide their time and talents—improving the hospital experience for our patients and the community we serve.

DRHVolunteerThis dedicated group works in direct and indirect patient care areas. Volunteers like Ron Fochler (pictured at right) escort patients and visitors, discharge patients, work in the gift shop, answer calls at the Information Desk, provide patients with reading materials, deliver e-cards and assist various departments with clerical needs such as collecting files and stuffing patient information packets.

Volunteers also work as unit navigators, working directly with staff to improve a patient’s experience while at the hospital. Unit navigators are available to conduct comfort rounds to see if patients have concerns with room temperature, amenities or noise. They offer blankets, pillows, beverages or snacks and assist staff with administrative duties including answering calls, restocking inventory or monitoring waiting rooms.

In addition to our dedicated group of adult volunteers, Durham Regional welcomes teenagers into its junior volunteer program each summer. For eight weeks, junior volunteers interact with healthcare professionals and learn in a medical environment.

Do you know family or friends who would like to volunteer at Durham Regional? Call 919-470-6527, or visit durhamregional.org and download an application.

Thank you, volunteers!

To our dedicated family of volunteers at Durham Regional Hospital: Thank you for your compassion and commitment to quality patient care.

DSC_5584This week (April 21-27) we celebrate National Volunteer Week. In partnership with our employees and physicians, volunteers provide their time and talents—improving the hospital experience for our patients and the community we serve.

This dedicated group volunteers throughout the hospital. They escort patients and visitors, discharge patients, work in the gift shop, answer calls at the Information Desk, provide patients with reading materials, deliver e-cards and assist various departments with clerical needs such as collecting files and stuffing patient information packets. Without the help of our volunteers, Durham Regional could not provide the quality of services we do.

DSC_5577Visit durhamregional.org to send a message of thanks to a Durham Regional Hospital volunteer.

6 ways to prevent and control seasonal allergies

Spring is an exciting time! The weather grows warmer, animals emerge from hibernation and flowers grow and bloom. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies this time of year may not seem so exciting.

DandelionsDander, dust, plant pollen and other particles can enter the body through the mouth, nose and skin. For some people, these particles trigger a reaction, such as coughing, itching and sneezing; for a few the reaction may be more severe and others may not be affected at all.

If you’re among those affected by seasonal allergies, consider these ways to help prevent and control a reaction. Then you may be able to enjoy spring after all!

  • Clean, dust and vacuum often to control the amount of dust mites in your home.
  • Avoid exposure to pet dander. If you have a bird, cat or dog, keep it out of your bedroom.
  • Check your windows. Pollen can sail through open windows and into your car or home.
  • Replace air filters in your HVAC system at least every three months.
  • Go outside at certain times of day, such as early in the morning or after sunset when pollen counts are lower.
  • Shower after being outdoors. This washes away pollen and other particles that may have collected on your skin, and prevents spreading to bed sheets, clothing and furniture.

References and further reading

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: aafa.org

“Managing Your Seasonal Allergies,” Sanjay Gupta, MD, Everyday Health: everydayhealth.com

Health highlights from around the Web

If you’re looking for interesting sites or articles for perusal this weekend, take a look at our picks below. Then visit Durham Regional Hospital on Facebook and share your picks with us.

WebMD Allergy Map: Are you sneezing or dealing with watery eyes? Allergy season is here! Check out WebMD for a map that tracks allergy symptoms. Enter your zip code, and the tool shows the severity of allergy symptoms in that area.

Ways to beat stress: Exercise is a great stress-busting activity. Everyday Health suggests walking, yoga and tai chi among other tips for getting active and reducing stress.

Advances in hip replacement surgery: The New York Times and News & Observer recently ran articles about anterior hip replacement. Read our blog post to hear how Durham Regional doctors use this approach to hip replacement.

Planning end-of-life care: It may be uncomfortable to discuss end-of-life care with loved ones or your doctor, but it’s an important step that can help ensure you receive the care you want. As you learn about advance directives (the legal documents that explain your healthcare wishes), consider organ and tissue donation. April is National Donate Life Month—an opportunity to learn more about the gift of life organ and tissue transplants can provide.