Support Groups Remain on Hold Because of COVID-19

Jefferson Community Health & Life has been offering support groups for those with Parkinson’s and for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease for many years. Both groups were put on hold in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both support groups currently remain on hold indefinitely,  said Lana Likens, director of public relations, marketing and development at JCH&L.

“Neither the Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s associations are hosting or recommending in-person support group meetings at this time,”  Likens said. “Jefferson Community Health & Life is also not promoting public group activities or events in its facilities at this time.”

While JCH&L has been hosting blood drives and Electronic Health Record reservation events in its facilities, they are events which are geared to reservations and small numbers of participants present at a time. Flu shot clinics are also being planned for October, and will be on an appointment basis to prevent crowded conditions.

“We do plan to resume support groups in the future, and will continue to monitor community, area and state COVID-19 conditions, as well as recommendations from the Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s associations who we partner with for support groups, in making those decisions,” Likens said. “The safety our community and participants is of utmost importance.”

Both associations are offering a variety of virtual support groups.  For information on Nebraska Parkinson’s virtual support groups, call 402-559-8600. For information on Alzheimer’s virtual support groups, go to alz.org, or call the 24-hour helpline at 800-272-3900.

A support group is a gathering of people with common problems, needs and interests which allows them to share their feelings, thoughts and experiences in a combined effort to survive the shared problems. It may include family members, caregivers, friends and other individuals interested in sharing information and giving and receiving support.

Anyone who would like further information in either of these support groups should contact Lana Likens at (402) 729-6855 or email lana.likens@jchealthandlife.org.

Influenza Immunization Important – Recommended in October

Influenza immunizations are important every year. But this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza vaccinations are more important than ever, said Amber Brunow, infection preventionist with Jefferson Community Health & Life.

The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age or older. The CDC recommends that vaccination be during October, if possible. Earlier vaccination could mean suboptimal immunity by the end of influenza season. Once the vaccine is administered, it takes about 2 weeks for peak immunity to develop. The flu season typically starts in about November, so October is optimal timing for most flu seasons.

The influenza virus can cause mild to severe symptoms, and can lead to death, especially among those who have additional risk factors: age (65 and older or 2 and younger), immune compromised, chronic  health conditions or pregnancy.

Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Some symptoms are similar, so testing will typically be needed to determine whether a person has influenza or COVID-19. The CDC says it is possible for a person to have influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.

“The same measures which can protect us against COVID-19 can also protect us against influenza,” Brunow said. “Masking, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces, staying home when you are ill, and avoiding crowds are all great preventative measures from spreading influenza and COVID-19.”

Influenza vaccination clinics are being planned for Jefferson Community Health & Life for October. This year appointments will be required, and vaccinations can be billed to insurance or be private pay. Watch for flu shot clinic details in late September.

Influenza vaccinations will also be available during any health care appointments at Fairbury or Plymouth clinics.

Please note some information specific to children.

*Children 8 and under will need two doses of the influenza vaccination one month apart if they have not had the influenza vaccine before.

*Children 18 and under who are covered by Medicaid can’t get their flu vaccines at these special influenza clinics or at the Fairbury or Plymouth Clinic. They must use a clinic which participates in the Vaccines for Children program. The Blue Valley Community Action Immunization Clinic which holds clinics twice a month at JCH&L offers Vaccines for Children immunizations.

JCH&L Golf Tourney Cancelled, Yet Raises More than $10,000

24th annual tournament successful despite COVID-19 Cancellation

FAIRBURY — The 24th annual golf tournament to benefit Jefferson Community Health & Life was successful, raising more than $10,000 — even though it was cancelled because of COVID-19.

“This year’s JCH&L golf tournament was one for the record books, and like so many other things this year was unprecedented,” said Lana Likens, JCH&L director of public relations. “Although the tournament was cancelled, many of our sponsors and teams chose to donate to the cause anyway. We appreciate the support of our many sponsors, teams and contributors.”

This was the 24th annual golf tournament. The tournament typically raises $10,000 to $12,000 for Jefferson Community Health & Life. Funds are unrestricted and have been used for many programs and projects over the years, both large and small.

In June, it appeared statewide COVID-19 numbers were going down, and tournament plans were finalized with a number of adaptations to make it as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. But by mid-July concerns about increasing COVID-19 numbers in the local public health district and a number of cases in the state being linked to golf tournaments meant JCH&L felt it was necessary to cancel the tournament.

“We appreciate the understanding of our community,” said Burke Kline, DHA, JCH&L CEO. “It was a very difficult decision to make, but we knew it was best for the health and safety of our community. We appreciate the continued support of our participants and sponsors.”

This year’s donors include:

Hole sponsors:  American National Bank; Beckenhauer Construction; Brown’s Medical Imaging; Bryan Medical Center; Cerner; Heartland Bank; Lottman Carpenter Construction; Pathology Medical Services, PC; Pathway Design Group; Plymouth Electric; Quality First Insurance; Seim Johnson; The Hauge Group; The Olson Group; UNMC Regional Pathology Service

Breakfast Sponsor:  Mike and Brenda Worley

Lunch Sponsors:  Lottman Carpenter Construction—Doug and Cindy Lottman; Diller Locker—Jesse and Shelly Smith; Landmark Snacks—Chad and Courtney Lottman; and Lottman Ready Mix—Shawn and Jill Lottman

Contributing Sponsors:  Directions EAP; Gill Insurance; Globe Rexall—Bob Atkins; Shared Services; Prairie Health Ventures; Quality First Insurance; Quality Sound;
RuralMed Management Resources; Thrivent Action Team

Prizes:  Casey’s; Nebraska Hospital Association; Nebraska Healthcare Association; Schwarz Paper Co.; Waddell & Reed; Walmart

Teams:  Beckenhauer Construction; Blobaum Real Estate (2 teams); Bryan Medical Center (2 teams); Cerner; Joy Gaston; Gerdes Meyer Funeral Home; Heartland Bank; Lottman Carpenter  Construction; Pathway Design Group; PVI; Rural Sleep Solutions ; Seim Johnson; The Hauge Group; The Olson Group; Bill Welch; Dr. Jack Wesch.

The 25th annual tournament is planned for August 2021.

Dermatology to be Added to JCH&L Specialty Clinics

Dr. Casey Bowen, MD, to provide dermatology services

Casey Bowen, MD, board certified dermatologist, will begin seeing patients at Jefferson Community Health & Life Outpatient Services on Monday, Sept 28.  The clinic will be offered one Monday each month at JCH&L Outpatient Services. For appointments, call 402-729-6851. Dr. Bowen is with Dermatology Associates of Lincoln, LLC.

“A dermatology specialty clinic has been requested by our area residents over the years, and we are pleased to be able to partner with Dr. Bowen to bring this service to our community,” said Burke Kline, DHA, JCH&L CEO. “We are excited to add a new clinic. We know that having a wide array of visiting specialists helps us to better serve our community’s needs. JCH&L is committed to being our community’s most trusted partner for a lifetime of health.”

Dr. Bowen said his focus is on medical dermatology – skin cancer detection and prevention, as well as treatment of a variety of medical skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, excessive sweating, seborrheic keratoses, rosacea, precancerous lesions, melasma, moles, rashes, hair loss, and warts and molluscum. He said he particularly enjoys treating skin cancer, scars and dermatitis.

“I also love to visit with people about how they can enjoy the great outdoors without getting too much sun or damaging their skin,” Dr. Bowen said.

Dr. Bowen’s wife, Dr. Rebecca Bowen, is an otolaryngologist at ENT Specialties PC who offers a specialty clinic at JCH&L two Mondays a month.

Dr. Bowen grew up in Omaha, and attended Millard West High School where he was a two-time swimming state champion. He swam for four years at the US Air Force Academy, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He graduated from The University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2008. He interned in internal medicine at LSU-Shreveport, and then served three years tour as flight surgeon at Little Rock Air Force Base. He completed his dermatology residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. He was on the faculty there for two years, then became Chief of Dermatology at Offutt Air Force Base in 2017. He and Gina Weir, MD, opened Dermatology Associates of Lincoln in May 2020.

Dr. Bowen is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and the Association of Military Dermatologists. His publications have been cited by more than 170 other authors, and his seminal work on allergy to skin adhesives has been referenced in 16 separate journal articles. His work on Atopic Dermatitis earned him the 2020 Association of Military Dermatologists’ research award.

He has three young daughters, and remains an avid triathlete and open water swimmer. He swam solo across the English Channel, and has completed multiple Ironman races.

All outpatients who visit the clinic are screened and will be asked to wear a mask. For an appointment or more information, call JCH&L Outpatient Services at 402-729-6851.

JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center to Offer Armchair Aerobics Outside

JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center will begin offering Armchair Aerobics outside on Tuesday, Sept. 1.  The class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in an outdoor area just north of the fitness center.

Participants will be screened outside near the class location. The class will be set up with appropriate social distancing and Burkley Fitness Center staff will take care of sanitizing all equipment. Masks will be optional for participants during the outdoor class. Instructor Craig Bontrager will wear a mask.

Guest passes will be available.

This is the first group fitness class to restart since many changes were made due to COVID-19 precautions.

The class will be cancelled in case of inclement weather.

The fitness center is currently open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A number of COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

  • Users enter through an alternate entrance (through the basketball court.)
  • All facility users are screened.
  • Basketball court remains closed to activities.
  • No access for members or guests to the health center from the fitness center.

Members are encouraged to watch JCH&L’s Facebook, Twitter and website for updates, or call 402-729-6139 for more information.

Masks Important to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Based on recommendations from the CDC, Jefferson Community Health & Life encourages area residents to wear cloth masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. JCH&L has free cloth face masks for area residents, while supplies last. The masks are an adult one-size mask. Pick yours up at JCH&L Outpatient Services, Fairbury Clinic or Plymouth Clinic while supplies last.

The CDC states: “Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a mask will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when masks are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”

The CDC states masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The CDC does not recommend that the public wear procedure masks, surgical masks or respirators. Those remain critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Masks should be washed after each use. They can be washed with regular laundry or by hand, and can be air or machine dried. Masks should be thoroughly dried before storing or wearing.

Update on status of JCH&L services:

  • Gardenside and Cedarwood visitation is currently on hold. The status will be updated on the website and social media when restricted visitation can be allowed again.
  • Burkley Fitness Center is open to members and guests, who must use the alternate entrance (basketball court.) All users will be screened. No group fitness classes are currently offered. Limited pool use is by reservation only. Hot tub use is limited.
  • The main entrance to JCH&L remains closed. Those in need of health center services or those who are visiting hospital patients should use the outpatient/emergency entrance on the south side of the building. Therapy patients may use the main entrance and call the therapy department for entrance at their appointment time. Hospital patients are allowed visitors on a limited case-by-case basis. All who enter the facility will be screened and required to wear a mask.
  • Family medicine clinics in Fairbury and Plymoouth, outpatient clinic, radiology, lab, therapy, rehab, procedures and surgeries are available. All patients will be screened and required to wear a mask. Please do not bring more than one person in addition to the patient for appointments.
  • Virtual visits remain available at the Fairbury and Plymouth Clinic.
  • JCH&L is a TestNebraska site for COVID-19 testing. This free testing is available each Tuesday outside the main entrance of JCH&L. Please register at TestNebraska.com.
  • Nebraska Community Bloodbank will hold its next bloodmobile in the JCH&L conference rooms. Donors should use the main entrance.
  • Support groups, group educational programs and indoor events remain suspended at this time.

Kris Stone Wins Historic Trail Challenge

Historic Walk Encourages Activity, and Share Community Historic Sites

Kris Stone was the winner of a Kindle Fire in the JeffCo On the Move Historic Trail Walk Challenge introduced in May. The drawing was held at the Fairbury Public Library on Aug. 18.

The concept of the Historic Trail Walk is simple: provide information at various historic sites around the community, and let walkers or bikers know where other signs are and how far it is from place to place. Although the challenge is complete, the Historic Trail Wall remains a feature in our community.

“The goal is to encourage healthy activity in our community,” said Lana Likens, president of JeffCo On the Move. “We want to encourage walking, biking, and connecting our community.”

Sites included on the Fairbury Historic Trail Walk are: Rock Island Railroad Depot Museum, Fairbury Public Library; McNish Park; Fairbury City Museum; Fairbury City Park; and Jefferson County Courthouse/Historic Downtown Fairbury. Each sign includes a brief history of the location, photos, a map of the community with other Historic Trail Walk locations marked, and distances to the other locations on the trail. Each map has a QR code which allows participants to go to the map on their mobile device. The map can also be accessed on line at the City of Fairbury site. Go to fairburyne.org, then parks, then JeffCo On the Move Historic Trail.

Sign sponsors are: Westin Packaged Meats-Fairbury Operations; Heartland Bank; PVI; Rooted in Relationships; Fairbury Public Library Foundation; and Jefferson Community Health & Life.

The goal of JeffCo on the Move is to encourage and facilitate healthy lifestyles.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Fairbury Historic Trail Walk project or JeffCo on the Move may check out the Facebook Page (JeffCo On the Move) or contact Likens at 402-729-6855.

JCH&L Women’s Health Day Set for Sept. 8

Wellness Experience Offers Women a Convenient Way to Take Control of Their Health

Women’s Health Days allow women from Jefferson County and beyond to complete their annual health checks and receive a well-deserved indulgence at the same time – in just under three hours. Women’s Health Day is a complete wellness experience designed to make women’s health easy. Jefferson Community Health & Life is now scheduling women for the experience on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The program is available at the Jefferson Community Health & Life Health Center and Fairbury Clinic on select days every month, and includes:

* Personalized guidance from an on-site Women’s Health Day navigator

* Important health screenings, including fasting lab tests, a screening mammogram and a routine annual exam to assess overall and gynecological health (lab test and mammogram results will be available before participants leave for the day, while Pap test results will be provided later by mail)

* Complimentary breakfast and a relaxing indulgence—such as an express manicure or hand massage, for example. Offerings may vary.

* Reserved parking

“It’s so important for women to make time for their own health, but we know life sometimes gets in the way,” said Erin Starr, Chief Quality Officer. “That’s why we created Women’s Health Day—to provide a convenient way for women to get their essential health screenings all at once, while also taking time to unwind.”

All major insurance plans are accepted for screening and exams (coverage is subject to individual policy terms). JCH&L Fairbury Clinic accepts new patients.

Appointments for the Women’s Health Day experience start as early as 6:30 a.m. To schedule, call 402.729.6841.

Visits on Hold at Gardenside and Cedarwood

All tenants and staff are being tested

Visits are on hold at JCH&L Gardenside and Cedarwood after a positive COVID-19 case was identified at Cedarwood.

On Monday, all Cedarwood tenants and staff were being tested for COVID-19 to allow the facility to mitigate any potential spread.

Families of all Cedarwood tenants have been contacted, as is required by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS requires nursing homes and assisted living staff to notify family members about any positive test result associated with the facility.

Family visits at both Cedarwood and Gardenside will be put on hold at this time, said Deb Sutton, RN, BSN, Gardenside and Cedarwood administrator.

“Our first priority is to the safety of our tenants and residents,” Sutton said. “By testing all Cedarwood tenants and staff at this time, our goal is to stop a potential outbreak at Cedarwood before it starts.”

Jefferson Community Health & Life encourages everyone to take proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19: Mask when in public places; maintain 6 feet of social distancing; wash your hands and sanitize surfaces regularly; and if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 call JCH&L at 402-729-3351 to find out whether you should be tested. Testing is available by order of our medical providers if you have any symptoms or a possible exposure.

Testing is also available every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. through Test Nebraska outside the front entrance of JCH&L. Registration is through TestNebraska.com. Register at TestNebraska.com, and you will be notified if you are eligible to be tested in the program and you can make a reservation on line.

The CDC states that people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include (but are not limited to): fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

New EHR at JCH&L will Benefit Patients

An update to a new Electronic Health Record at Jefferson Community Health & Life, scheduled to take place on Aug. 17, will benefit patients, said JCH&L CEO Burke Kline, DHA.

JCH&L is working with Cerner Corporation®, a global health care technology company, to implement a new integrated electronic health record (EHR) across its health center and clinics.

“Having one connected system used throughout our hospital and clinics will help doctors and nurses work smarter to improve the overall health of our community, ” said Erin Starr, JCH&L chief nursing officer.

In order to help us make sure all information is accurate and correct, JCH&L staff ask that clinic patients arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of their scheduled appointment. This will allow time to make sure all information is in the computer system correctly. Initially, it will take a little longer to verify information, including medications, health history, allergies, and basic information.

Pre-registration events have been offered, and a number of patients have taken advantage of the opportunity to pre-register in the new EHR with JCH&L staff.

Those who have not pre-registered are welcome to pick up a health history form at the JCH&L outpatient services desk or the Fairbury or Plymouth Clinic admissions desk, the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce office, Korbel Drug, Globe Rexall, or go to JCHealthandLife.org and print off the form. Once completed, the form can be dropped off at the clinic or hospital, or brought to an appointment.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience. As we go live with the brand new system, there will be some things that take longer – but this will improve as we get patient information entered into the system and verified,” Starr said. “Ultimately, it will improve the safety, quality and experience of health care for patients and caregivers.”

The new system will include a new patient portal, which will offer patients around-the-clock access to their health records. It will be easier to access information and appointment scheduling resources at any time. Once enrolled, patients can use this online resource to securely exchange messages with health care providers, view health results and records, pay their bill, schedule appointments and more.

JCH&L has offered comprehensive health care services to the residents of Fairbury and surrounding communities for more than 55 years. Collaborating with an industry-leading health care technology provider puts the health system in a better position to serve the communities needs both now and well into the future.

Anyone with questions or concerns should call Starr at 402-729-6889.