Warmly Navigating through Mental Health Services

Navigator Pic
Kathy Walz (left), behavioral health services navigator at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, helps people  struggling with depression connect to counseling and other resources. In this photo, Kathy is with one of her valued partners, Laura Seyfried, director of the Manchester Community Resource Center.

CHELSEA —  “Ashley” had been struggling with depression for a long time.  Many people had suggested she seek help.  Ashley had collected brochures, business cards and lots of phone numbers.  She did not reach out to anyone.

One day, Ashley’s primary care physician referred her to Kathy Walz, LMSW, behavioral health services navigator at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  True to form, Ashley did not call.  But three days later, Walz called Ashley.  Ashley met with Walz to talk about her options; they talked about how counseling could help and what it would be like for her.  Ashley went on to receive the mental health care she needed.  Months later, Walz asked Ashley why she finally decided to get care.  “Because you called me,” she replied.

A behavioral health navigator is a licensed behavioral health clinician who helps connect people with services that are specific to their needs.  Unlike a brochure or someone on the other end of a phone line, a navigator offers a “warm hand-off” for care, specific to the person’s needs and circumstances.  Often times the navigator can work with someone to move past the issues that are keeping them from getting the care they need.  The navigator’s services are free.

“St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea created a behavioral health services navigator position because we knew people were having a hard time accessing mental health resources and understanding what services were available.  We developed the navigator to be embedded in the community.  The navigator’s role is to connect people to what they need, based on their specific circumstances.  To my knowledge, this is a unique position – especially for people who are not our patients,” said Reiley Curran, manager of community health improvement at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.

The navigator collaborates with schools, primary care providers, and community-based organizations serving the poor.  The position was created to support people who are struggling with mental health issues.  This program is especially important for people who have a low income and live in rural areas.  Currently, Walz has more than 50 referral sources she can choose from when selecting the appropriate route for someone, including psychiatrists, support groups, therapists, psychiatric RNs and more.

“In our rural area, there were no counselors available for people with low incomes.  It is nice to have Kathy available, at our center, so we can make appointments for our clients to meet with her,” said Laura Seyfried, director of the Manchester Community Resource Center.

The Manchester Community Resource Center is one of many referring partner agencies who connect people with the navigator, Walz.  People in need can be referred to Walz by a primary care physician, a community-based organization, a church, a school, a family member; anyone who recognizes a need.  The service Walz is able to provide is warm, kind and personal; it is non-traditional.  Walz accommodates the person in need by meeting them in a coffee shop, a park, a library, one of her multiple community-based offices – any place that is easily accessible and safe.  Walz is mobile.  She is able to use offices in Chelsea and Dexter, a private space in a Stockbridge school, a little spot above a resale shop in Grass Lake and a private area in Manchester.

Unlike traditional programs, Walz creates her services around the very specific needs she sees.  “Each community can use me, as needed,” Walz said.  “For example, we recognized that seniors were feeling isolated.  So, we created a group just for them to get together.  We also saw that families of people struggling with mental illness needed support too, so we partnered with the  National Alliance on Mental illness of Washtenaw County to offer the Family to Family education series and a support group for family members.  The most important thing is for me to listen to what the community needs, and then give that service to them.”

“Having a navigator has helped because it brought counseling to our community in a non-threatening way.  It allowed our agency to serve as a bridge for our long-time clients to get introduced to counseling in a safe space.  It has opened doors for people who felt there wasn’t any help for them in our community,” said Seyfried.  Prior to having the navigator, Seyfried was only able to direct people back to their primary care physician for help.

On average, 80% of the people who met with the navigator went on to seek additional care.  The model of the behavioral health services navigator is currently being shared with other hospitals within Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to consider adopting.  “The success of the navigator is based on the collaboration of members in the clinical health community,” said Curran.

Drug Take Back Event at Chelsea Retirement Community – Oct. 27

2018-09-12 10_15_15-_ 438_ 80150 SJMC Drug Take Back Event Fall 2018 - Digital Flyer & Facebook ImagCHELSEA – St. Joe’s Chelsea and the Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network will host a drug take back event in partnership with Chelsea Retirement Community, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research and the Chelsea Police Department:

Saturday, Oct. 27 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Chelsea Retirement Community
805 W. Middle St.
Chelsea, MI 48118
Print Flyer

Accepted medications for disposal:

  • Prescription medications in tablet form
  • Controlled substances in tablet form
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Syringes

Unaccepted medications for disposal:

  • Liquids
  • Inhalers
  • Patches

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Oct. 7 at WCC

walk to end alzANN ARBOR – Join Team Joe’s at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Washtenaw Community College. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and the walk begins at noon. The event is held to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Learn more or sign up here.

St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Receives Gift of ‘Caring Cradle’ for Grieving Parents

DSC_2361The labor and delivery unit at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor received a Caring Cradle donation from a family hoping to bring comfort to others who experience pregnancy or newborn loss.

Jade and Gasper Rubino made the gift on Aug. 23 in memory of their daughter, Cecily Rosebriar Rubino.

IMG_20180823_105110A Caring Cradle is a bassinet with a cooling system to help preserve a baby’s body, allowing grieving families more time with their baby, and allowing hospital staff to focus on caring for the needs of the family.

The Rubino family worked with non-profit organizations Metro Detroit SHARE and SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still) to find placement for two caring cradles in local hospitals. They chose St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor as one of the recipients, stating, “We are beyond grateful to witness the supportive care they provide for their families that experience child loss.”

Chaplain Ruth Tapio gave a blessing during the dedication ceremony, and Jade Rubino shared a few words about loss.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Rubino Family for their very generous gift. This cradle will help support families during their difficult journeys, giving them more time together for creating memories,” Jennifer Schaible, director of women and children’s services at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, said.

Schaible was joined by Rebecca Kanak, perinatal palliative and loss coordinator, Rosemary Cicala, labor and delivery nurse manager, OB/GYN Dr. Bryan Popp and other senior leaders in accepting the Caring Cradle on behalf of the hospital.

Head & Neck Cancer Symposium: Oct. 26

2018-08-24 09_27_49-17080 Head Neck SymposiumCd2018-8.22.18-PRINT (2).pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Join us Oct. 26, 2018 for our annual Head & Neck Cancer Symposium for Professionals.

October 26, 2018 | 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Washtenaw Community College
Morris Lawrence Building
4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI
Registration Fee: $100
(continental breakfast, lunch provided)
4.50 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™
Register here

Be Empowered

St. Joe’s helped new mother Liz Davila-Ferrall meet her goal of having a natural childbirth

New mother Liz Davila-Ferrall marvels at how she and her husband, Mark, have adjusted to parenthood ever since they welcomed their son, Ezra, in April.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s one of the most challenging things both my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it’s an amazing experience. Rewarding, beautiful, and challenging,” she described.

Liz delivered her baby at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, where she was determined to have a natural childbirth. Through the remarkable care of the doctors and nurses, Liz said, she was able to accomplish that goal.

After taking a prenatal class at St. Joe’s, Liz and Mark opted to use nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing gas” – to help ease the anxiety and pain during labor.

“I didn’t really want the epidural, I didn’t really want the extra meds, so this sounded like a good fit,” Liz said.
Continue reading “Be Empowered”

11 Questions for a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Santioni Daniel PT_SJA4974_resizedA pediatric physical therapist specializes in treating and caring for infants, toddlers, teenagers and young adults, and can treat conditions related to genetic, neurological and orthopedic disorders. In this Q&A, Daniel Santioni, Director of Pediatric Services, Probility Physical Therapy, answers some of the most common questions parents have about their child’s development.

    1. What kind of physical therapy does a young baby under 6 months need?
      Physical therapy (PT) can address several issues that are common under 6 months. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment is key to continued success in growth and development. Often PT at this age can address delay in motor skills, orthopedic concerns such as joint deformity or torticollis, feeding concerns and their inability to self-console.
    2. How do you know if a baby under 6 months is delayed?
      Often experienced mothers and fathers know that “this” baby is just not doing the same things their other babies did. First-time parents should pay attention to published milestones they may find at their doctor’s office. There are standardized tests to evaluate for delay, but generally, by 6 months your child should be rolling and working on maintaining sitting by themselves.
    3. I feel my child is impaired. I am an experienced parent and I know something is wrong. My child is only 8 months old, but what can I do?
      The first thing you should do is address  your concern with your doctor. Asking for a pediatric therapy referral would be a good start in trying to figure out if there is anything wrong. Your physical therapist can perform developmental , orthopedic and neurological testing to assist with any diagnosis your doctor may want to pursue. Physical therapy can often help prioritize what to focus on in terms of treatment, and help you stay focused on what you can do to help your child succeed.
    4. My baby is having a hard time feeding – they are biting instead of sucking. It takes them a long time to feed, and my baby seems exhausted after feeding. Can physical therapy can help me with this issue?
      Feeding issues and concerns are common with a young infant. Often biting or chomping instead of sucking may mean there is a physical restriction to the normal suck, swallow and breathe pattern. A physical therapist can address the physical restriction to mouth opening and closing, and can help steer you to other professionals, such as a speech or occupational therapist,  who can focus on teaching the normal feeding pattern.
    5. My baby just turned 12 months old and is not walking or even pulling up to stand. Should I be worried?
      Pulling up to stand at a surface is a 9-month skill and taking the first few wiggly steps is a 12-month skill. Having said that, you must remember there is a range in which development is “normal.” Not all children walk at 12 months. With walking there is a “normal” range of 11-14 months. Pulling to a stand also has a “normal” range of 8-11 months. If your 12-month-old child is not pulling to stand, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted. You may find, with the right intervention, your child may catch up very quickly.
    6. I have been told my child has Torticollis – is this permanent and how can physical therapy help?
      Torticollis is usually due to tight neck muscles which prevent the baby from turning their head in one particular direction. Physical therapy is a very successful tool in resolving torticollis through gentle stretching and developmental play. The sooner torticollis is addressed, the faster it is resolved. Torticollis, if caught in time, usually is not permanent.
    7. My child had torticollis and they look better. Now I notice their head is not round. Can therapy help this?
      If your child had torticollis, the resulting misshaped head is called plagiocephaly. Physical therapy can address this through positioning, developmental play and manual techniques. If the misshaped head is not corrected in 4 to 5 months, the recommendation is to get a helmet to assist in reshaping your child’s head. This would require you to meet with an orthotist to fabricate and do frequent fittings of the helmet.
    8. My child is 3 years old and has walked on their tip-toes since they started to walk. Everyone is telling me they will “outgrow” this. How long do I wait before I get help, and what kind of help can I get for this?
      Generally, as children learn to walk, for the first few months (12-18 months) they will “play” with coming up on their toes. This means they may walk flat-footed for a few steps then up on toes for a few and then back down. If your child is exclusively toe walking after the age of 18-24 months, I would recommend bringing this to the attention of your physician and get them into physical therapy.  A pediatric physical therapist can help figure out why the child is toe walking. Once the evaluation is completed,  the physical therapist  will  provide a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises to get your child walking in a normal heel-toe pattern.
    9. My child has been toe walking for years and is now “stuck” on their toes. They cannot at all get their heels on the floor. The doctors are looking at referring me to a surgeon. Can physical therapy help me now?
      Working with your doctor, a physical therapist may still be able to help in this situation. Being “stuck” on their toes may mean that their heel cord is contracted. A physical  therapist can provide a treatment called serial casting. This would involve casting the ankle and progressively lengthening the heel cord until they can move their ankle again in all directions. Once the ankle is loosened the physical therapist can then address strengthening and retraining your child how to walk with heels down.
    10. When observing other children on the playground, I am noticing my child is always falling. They are usually asking the other kids to wait for them, and at times just doesn’t want to participate. As a parent, I often wonder if there is anything I can do to help. Can physical therapy help?
      A pediatric physical therapist can perform standardized testing to see if your child is truly developmentally behind. If your child is delayed, the physical therapist will design a custom program to address the areas of development to help your child “catch up” with their peers.
    11. My 9-year-old son broke his leg. He was casted and is favoring that leg. Everyone said he would be fine, and told me to encourage him to just be himself. No matter what I try, he resists. Can physical therapy help with this?
      Yes, often after being casted, muscles  become weak, tight  and need  physical therapy to get strong again. Often children have a fear factor to overcome as well. The pain that they experienced at the time of the injury  can affect them for a long time. A physical therapist can help your child physically work out his fear while strengthening his leg. The goal of physical therapy would be to normalize his walking pattern and eliminate this “favoring” of one leg over the other.

Dan is accepting established and new patients at Probility Physical Therapy, 2058 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48104. Call 734-913-0300.

What’s good for your gut is good for your health

Your body contains a complex digestive system made up of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine) as well as the liver, gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreas.

Naveen Reddy, MD

According to Naveen Reddy, MD, a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland gastroenterologist, “While these organs work in conjunction to metabolize, digest and absorb nutrients from our diet, they also have numerous other functions to maintain health. For example, the pancreas produces insulin to help control a person’s blood sugar. The liver is responsible for metabolizing toxins and numerous types of medications a patient may be taking. And the large intestine contains billions of healthy bacteria which help with digestion and help maintain normal, regular bowel movements.”

Any one of these organs failing to function properly can cause health concerns. According to Dr. Reddy, “Symptoms can range from a minor discomfort from acid reflux or mild constipation, to severe, life-threatening issues such as unintentional weight loss, vomiting blood or jaundice (which is a sign of severe liver disease). Some digestive symptoms can become life-threatening if not addressed early.”

If you notice a change in your bowel habits, bleeding or any other digestive issues, Dr. Reddy advises you to discuss your changes with your primary care physician and ask if a referral to a gastroenterologist is necessary.

According to Bashar Okka, MD, a St. Joe’s internal medicine physician, “A healthy digestive system begins with a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy and a well-balanced caloric intake that includes five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”

Dr. Okka says that most people who follow simple, healthy lifestyle choices can avoid disruptive digestion problems. If you do experience digestive issues due to a specific food, avoidance of digestivesystemthat food is a key, says Dr. Okka. He says that treatment for a simple upset stomach triggered by certain foods or alcohol can begin with an over-the-counter antacid. However, he warns that patients should not use an over-the-counter antacid for more than two weeks.

Any upset stomach or heartburn that lasts more than two weeks or does not respond to simple over-the-counter treatment should prompt a consultation with a physician.  Dr. Okka also recommends that any upset stomach with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fever, should prompt a visit to your physician’s office as soon as possible.


What You Need to Know About the Ongoing Hepatitis A Outbreak in Michigan

MalaniAnuragHepatitis A virus (HAV) is a serious, highly contagious liver disease. Fortunately, it is vaccine-preventable, and the vaccine has been part of the routine childhood vaccinations since the late 1990s. But the U.S. population was ripe for a HAV outbreak, given the large number of unvaccinated adults, and Michigan is home to the largest ongoing outbreak. In this Q&A, Anurag Malani, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Livingston, addresses who is at the greatest risk for HAV, and the most effective means of prevention. Continue reading “What You Need to Know About the Ongoing Hepatitis A Outbreak in Michigan”

Fight Frailty with Bone Health

bone health

New program at St. Joe’s Oakland improves bone health and wellness

Osteoporosis is the condition where bones gradually become thin and weaker with age. This condition can lead to a fragility fracture—a broken bone caused by a low-trauma injury. Both men and women over the age of 50 may experience fragility fractures, making it the most common age-related health problem.

“Fragility fractures can cause great pain, deformity, disability and even death,” according to Bruce Henderson, MD, a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland orthopedic surgeon. “Fragility fractures pose a lifetime risk of death equal to breast cancer, yet less than 25 percent of these patients receive appropriate evaluation and treatment for their underlying disease.”

The St. Joe’s Bone Health and Lifetime Wellness Program offers a comprehensive program that works with patients to achieve optimal bone health while also lowering the chances of other illnesses, such as the cold and flu, and even more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Proper treatment for good bone health also leads to major improvements in a patient’s overall health and lifetime wellness.

Get help to age well

The program includes an in-depth health evaluation and assessment that will look at such things as health history, risk factors and family medical history.

Patients will undergo testing to determine their current bone strength and risk for fragility fractures, including:

  • A basic laboratory evaluation that will measure vitamins, minerals and hormone levels in their body—all important indicators of bone health and strength.
  • An in-depth bone density evaluation. A bone mineral density test can provide a snapshot of a patient’s bone health. The test can identify osteoporosis, determine a patient’s risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure their response to osteoporosis treatment.

St. Joe’s offers a personalized treatment program, including:

  • Lifestyle counseling on activity, exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation
  • Supplements, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin K2
  • If necessary, proper prescription medicines
  • Coordinated care with a patient’s primary care physician on their treatment plan

Robert Zalenski, MD, a physician and lifetime wellness advocate, emphasizes that many of the same steps taken to help treat osteoporosis are also part of a vital path to overall wellness. Strength training, moderately vigorous walking and good nutrition are important practices that can also treat the epidemic rates of obesity and frailty due to muscle loss.

Learn more about the new Bone Health and Lifetime Wellness Program by calling 248-858-6113 or visit www.stjoesoakland.org/bone-health-program.