Caring for the Ones You Love

October 01, 2002 | Heather Wheeler

At Adventist Health, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to fulfill our mission and make a difference in the lives around us. Our hospitals continuously add new technologies, the latest equipment and programs or services to combat disease and meet individuals’ needs at every stage of life.

Caring for Health

To fight heart disease, Walla Walla General Hospital’s (WWGH) Chest Pain Center offers fast, effective diagnosis and treatment for individuals experiencing chest pain and related symptoms. The Center offers fast-track assessment for possible heart attack victims and houses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment.

Specially trained Advanced Cardiac Life Support staff is on duty 24-hours a day. The hospital also offers a host of other cardiac-related services, including a state-of-the-art ICU with advanced cardiac monitoring systems and a cardiac rehabilitation program that helps speed recovery after a heart attack or cardiac surgery.

The latest medical advancements, in the form of new equipment, enable medical staff to provide patients with the best possible care. Tillamook County General Hospital (TCGH), located on the Oregon coast, recently purchased a new R2 ImageChecker, a machine that uses Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) to double-check the results of standard, screening mammograms. The high-tech equipment digitizes the image on a mammogram and alerts radiologists to suspicious features that may be early indicators of breast cancer.

At Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, Ore., health care technology not only includes high-tech equipment but also encompasses the Internet. A few clicks of a mouse is all it takes to discover how to achieve better health, thanks to the hospital’s Online Wellness Center, which can be found at The Center is a comprehensive health-improvement and educational resource where visitors can learn how to improve health, prevent disease, manage chronic problems, and obtain information on enhancing the quality of their lives.

Caring for Women

Throughout Adventist Health’s four-state service area, a host of programs, services, and activities are available to meet the special needs of women. At TCGH, a silent auction of donated quilted items raised nearly $2,000 for breast cancer awareness and mammogram funding for women unable to afford the screening.

AMC recently hosted a health screening and information booth at the area’s Race for a Cure. Not only was the hospital on hand the day of the race, but volunteers stayed by for the two-day women’s health fair that followed, to offer free health screenings and educational information. In addition, AMC opened a new women’s unit at the hospital in 2002.

This past year, WWGH also reached out to the women in its community through various programs and services, including a series of mid-life health education classes for women, covering a range of topics from headaches and depression to healthy holiday cooking.

Caring for Hearts

Because ministering to the soul is just as important as healing the body, TCGH operates a thriving Bereavement Program for families who have lost loved ones.

“We believe the program provides strength and comfort to many hurting families,” said Donna Bechthold, R.N., vice president of patient services at TCGH. “It offers a rare opportunity to connect with people on a deep and personal level and reach out to them at a time of intense need.”

Earlier this year, the hospital held its first-ever training on the concepts and procedures of the Bereavement Program. The event drew a large number of employees willing to take time out of their busy lives to offer comfort to those in grief. As a result, many hurting families have been matched with bereavement team members committed to providing comfort and compassion to them for an entire year!

Caring for Seniors

Adventist Health facilities strive to reach every segment of the population and provide wellness and abundant living for the entire community. So it’s no surprise that many of our facilities have programs aimed specifically at meeting the needs of seniors.

WWGH recently established PrimeTime, a free program for those aged 50 and above, aimed at educating its participants and encouraging healthy lifestyles. PrimeTime members have access to a wide array of programs and events from educational lectures to support groups and social activities. In addition, free or discounted health screenings are available, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes checks, as well as mammograms and prostate exams. Members also enjoy the knowledge and skill of insurance advisors, who are apt guides through the maze of health insurance.

“This program is just another extension of our hospital’s mission—keeping people healthy, happy, safe and informed,” says Stan Ledington, director of Community Health Education for WWGH. “In addition to being a great resource, the program offers fun activities that center around health and fitness.”

Wellspring, a respite center sponsored by TCGH and the Faith in Action Coalition, is another program meeting the needs of the elderly population. Designed for adults who suffer from memory loss and have cognitive or physical limitations that require direct supervision, the program offers local families eight respite days per month. A licensed nurse is on hand to manage medication and personal care, a home-cooked lunch is provided, a private room is accessible for naps, and an array of entertainment and activities are available to participants.

“The mission of Wellspring is to offer support and respite care to caregivers and provide an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and encouragement to care receivers,” said Linda Heyne, Faith in Action and Wellspring program coordinator. “It is another way in which we can reach out to our community and demonstrate through caring and compassion that mission is the most important thing at Adventist Health.”  •