Health

VA reopens White River Junction benefits administration office

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — The White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center announced Oct. 27 the re-opening of the regional Veterans Benefits Administration office.

The VBA administers programs that provide financial and other assistance to veterans, their dependents and survivors. The aim of consolidating VBA Services on Veterans Health Aministration campuses is to create seamless support and services in one location for veterans.

With the renovation, the new layout makes the most of technology, including the Veterans Benefits Management System that has helped speed claims processing for veterans. Renovation of the White River Junction VA Benefits Office cost about $3.2 million and was completed in just under three years. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday, Oct. 30, to celebrate the completion of the project.

Weeks Wound Healing Center to raise awareness of Diabetic Foot Ulcers Oct. 26-30

LANCASTER — The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Weeks Medical Center, a member of the Healogics network, is participating in the Healogics National Diabetes Campaign from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30. One of nearly 800 Healogics-managed centers, the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center offers advanced therapies to patients suffering from chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers. Program directors across the nation will dedicate the entire week to visiting local physician offices to provide education to help staff identify diabetic patients with or at risk of having ulcers of the lower extremity.

There are approximately 29.1 million people living with diabetes in the United States, and nearly 28 percent are undiagnosed. Of those, about 25 percent will develop a diabetic foot ulcer. Left untreated, these ulcers can impair quality of life and may lead to amputation. Early detection and intervention can help to mitigate the possibility of limb loss.

“Diabetics represent approximately 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations among people 20 years and older,” said D. Scott Covington, MD, FACS, chief medical officer for Healogics. “It is vitally important that people with diabetes, their caregivers and physicians recognize the warning signs of diabetic foot ulcers and seek appropriate treatment immediately when an ulcer does occur.”

The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Weeks Medical recommends the following to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers:
• Annual foot examinations by a health care provider.
• Daily self-inspections of the feet, or have a family member perform the inspection.
• Regular care of the feet including cleaning toenails and taking care of corns and calluses.
• Choose supportive, proper footwear (shoes and socks).
• Take steps to improve circulation such as eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis

Contact the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine to learn more about diabetic foot ulcers or if you have a wound that will not heal. To schedule an appointment, call (603) 788-5625 or visit WeeksMedical.org.

Mobile Vet Center to provide primary care and flu shots, Oct. 28

BERLIN — In cooperation with the Mobile Vet Center and Androscoggin Valley Hospital, the White River Junction VA Medical Center announced the addition of a mobile clinic to be stationed on the AVH campus every Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The addition of the mobile clinic will provide veterans in the Berlin area easier access to primary care services. The unit’s provider is Virginia Jeffryes, MD.

VA-enrolled veterans are invited to attend the event this Wednesday at AVH, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to meet Dr. Jeffryes and to receive their annual flu shot at no cost. In addition there will be personnel on hand to enroll veterans who are not already enrolled in the VA health care system.

Don’t let diabetes spoil your Halloween fun

Whether it’s a festival celebration, a haunted house visit or trick-or-treating, parents of children with diabetes need to be prepared for the sugar-fueled festivities, said experts at Baylor College of Medicine.

“Halloween shouldn’t be scary for children with diabetes or their parents,” said Dr. Maria J. Redondo, associate professor of pediatrics — pediatric diabetes and endocrinology at Baylor. “By planning ahead, children with diabetes can have a fun Halloween without their blood glucose getting too low or too high.”

In Type 1 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes in children, insulin injections (or a device that continuously delivers insulin, called an insulin pump) must be taken to regulate sugar levels in the blood stream. People with Type 2 diabetes may do well with only diet modifications and exercise, or may require medication in the form of pills or insulin injections.

“When too much sugar is present in the blood stream it causes increased thirst, increased urination, unintended weight loss, tiredness and frequent infections such as urinary or wound infections,” Redondo said. “If untreated, particularly in Type 1 diabetes, this situation can progress to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.”

For a safe Halloween, Redondo offers the following tips for parents:

• Take diabetes supplies on outings.
• Focus on costumes, decorating and spending time with family and friends, rather than candy.
• Eat the candy at home and count the carbohydrates.
• Trade candy for stickers or small toys.
• Check blood glucose levels more often than usual.
• Check for ketones if blood glucose is elevated.
• Stay hydrated.

“You may also replace some of the candy with sugar-free sweets,” she said. “However, beware of the amounts because sorbitol, used in place of sugar, can cause diarrhea if consumed in excess.”

By focusing on the fun of the holiday and not restrictions, children with diabetes will have a safe and healthy Halloween.

Childhood Screening for Berlin residents now taking appointments

BERLIN — SAU 3 School District will be holding a free childhood screening on Thursday, Nov. 5, for children between the ages of birth to five years of age living in Berlin.

This free screening will be held at Berlin Head Start Center located at 610 Sullivan Street in Berlin.

Early childhood specialists will be available to spend time with each child for the purpose of screening your child’s speech and language skills, informally observe fine and gross motor skills and screen problem-solving skills.

The Berlin School District hopes that, through this screening, children in need of any type of early childhood educational services can be identified.

Appointments will be taken starting Monday, Oct. 26, through Wednesday, Nov. 4. You may call the special education office at (603) 752-5068 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and ask to speak with Debbie.