From Child Health to Physical Therapy: Innovation at Anna Jaques Hospital
Anna Jaques Hospital has long been at the forefront of innovation. ( sponsored )
When Alison Sekelsky, BSN, RNC, assumed responsibility as Director of Maternal Child Health three years ago at Anna Jaques Hospital, Newburyport, Mass., she knew this. She had worked as staff nurse and clinical educator at the hospital for 14 years previously and enjoyed working with a team that was on the forefront of the health care industry. “I have a wonderful team and without them, none of what we do would be possible.”
“We have to stay current,” Sekelsky explains. “We like to be in front of the cutting edge. It is wonderful to work in a place that supports new ideas.”
Some of these new ideas include a prenatal hybrid class for expectant parents who prefer their education online. They are given access to the health education website InJoy to learn about the childbirth process before coming in to meet with a nurse, ask questions and learn breathing techniques.
“After the baby is born,” explains Sekelsky, “there is an app for learning about how to take care of themselves and their baby.”
Perhaps the most exciting new development is in labor and delivery pain management. Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) is helpful for women who struggle with anxiety, have a fear of needles, don’t want strong medication or who arrive at the hospital too late for an epidural. Fortunately, nitrous oxide is a safe alternative that doesn’t interfere with infant alertness or hinder breastfeeding.
What’s on Sekelsky’s radar for future innovation? Massage, she says. Two nurses certified in infant massage are piloting a program for mothers with a history of substance abuse. The program teaches these mothers how to become involved by giving their babies massages, with the hope that there will be less need for infant hospitalization. “I wish this problem of substance abuse wasn’t here,” says Sekelsky. “But it is and we’re not here to judge, just to give support.”
In a different department, innovation drives rehabilitation and physical therapy. Lynda Kuhne, MBA, PT, ATC, director, rehabilitation services and pain management, as she points proudly to collaboration with the cancer center in promoting awareness of physical therapy post-mastectomy and other surgeries. A physical therapist participates in the monthly oncology committee with the Anna Jaques Cancer Center affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Gerrish Breast Care Center to better coordinate care across departments and services to make the experience all that much more beneficial for patients.
Recent years have seen an explosion of physical therapy modalities, and, yet again, Anna Jaques Hospital is on the forefront when it comes to helping patients regain strength and function. Their therapists collaborate with the best area orthopedic surgeons to facilitate post-surgical recovery. Aquatic therapy is available at the YMCA of Greater Newburyport. Teams of speech, occupational and physical therapists work to treat patients who have suffered neurological injuries such as strokes.
Therapists trained in relief of lymphedema are available not only for women, but also for men with prostate cancer. In the near future, therapists will also offer treatments for urinary infections, bladder pain and other pre- and post-natal related diagnoses.
As Kuhne says, “Anna Jaques Hospital is one of the best kept secrets in our area.”
Anna Jaques Hospital