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  • Dr. Ashwin Mehta looking up

    Mind-Body Medicine Clinically Proven to Help Treat Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Survivors

    A recent report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals that global cancer rates are on the rise, but there's a silver lining. Survival rates are steadily improving. By 2040, it's estimated that approximately 26 million people in the United States will have surpassed the critical five-year milestone in their cancer journey.

    However, the mental well-being of this growing community of cancer survivors is emerging as a prominent concern. To offer relief, a new set of national guidelines recommends that cancer patients use mind-body techniques to ease anxiety and depression during and after treatment as part of integrative medical approach to care.

    One of the authors of this important article is Ashwin Mehta, MD, medical director of Memorial Healthcare System's Integrative Medicine program who leads Memorial Cancer Institute’s Integrative Cancer Survivorship Program. He also formed part of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expert panel who created these clinical practice guidelines based on a summary of scientific research and clinical trials.

    These experts encourage the use of mindfulness techniques and other integrative therapies to help adults dealing with cancer manage their feelings of anxiety and depression. Their detailed set of guidelines, which can be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, carefully describe how well techniques like yoga, relaxation exercises, hypnosis, acupuncture, and music therapy, work in reducing anxiety and depression during cancer treatment.

    "Depression and anxiety often emerge when patients complete their treatment and begin to reflect on the trauma they've endured,” said Dr. Mehta. "Recognizing that not all patients prefer traditional medication for these symptoms, we've achieved remarkable success with mindfulness-based interventions and other integrative therapies in helping patients overcome these challenges."

    The guideline firmly champions mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), encompassing mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, and mindful movement. These integrative interventions are thoughtfully recommended for patients in both active treatment and the post-treatment phase, owing to their well-documented benefits. Integrative medicine is a wellness model that applies the latest science in holistic approaches to optimize health.

    Memorial’s team of experts is experienced in providing both preventive health plans and supportive care to patients who are being treated for various chronic illnesses, including cancer.

    "Integrative medicine has played a pivotal role in the health and healing journey at Memorial Cancer Institute, offering support throughout and beyond treatment," asserts Dr. Mehta. "The availability of the SIO-ASCO guideline to clinicians and individuals battling cancer is truly life-changing. As depression and anxiety often set in after cancer treatment concludes, we want patients to know that we are here to provide unwavering support."

    Memorial Cancer Institute, unwavering in its commitment to prioritize patient care and enhance healthcare services, is on the verge of completing a state-of-the-art $125 million facility. This visionary expansion will include a dedicated integrative medicine office suite and a serene sanctuary designed for yoga and meditation. The new location is slated to open its doors in November 2023.

    Dr. Mehta, who assumed the role of medical director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Healthcare System in October 2015, brings his expertise in nutrition, exercise, sleep, yoga, and mindfulness to the forefront. The integrative team, comprised of specialists in complementary techniques, continuously develops innovative, patient-centered wellness programs aimed at improving the quality of life throughout the patient's care journey.

    The Integrative Medicine Division conducts "Next Step Orientation Sessions" introducing new Memorial Cancer Institute patients to the array of supportive care services available, including the Integrative Cancer Survivorship program, empowering patients with holistic and evidence-based techniques to maintain a cancer-free life post-treatment.

    For a deeper insight, visit our Integrative Medicine page.

  • Michael and Tiffany

    Memorial Hospital Pembroke Achieves Level 3 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation

    The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) awarded Memorial Hospital Pembroke with Level 3 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA). This designation recognizes hospital emergency departments that provide excellent care for aging adults.

    Led by a team of interdisciplinary leaders from Memorial Hospital Pembroke’s Emergency Department, including Associate Medical Director, Michael Estreicher, MD, FACEP; Director of Nursing, Jennifer Dunn, RN; and Nursing Manager, Cinthia Rogers, RN; this accreditation demonstrates the emergency department’s focus on the highest standards of care for older adults in South Florida.

    “We are incredibly proud of our team for becoming an Accredited Geriatric Emergency Department. This accreditation solidifies our ongoing commitment to serve all our patients with the utmost of care,” said Felicia Turnley, CEO, Memorial Hospital Pembroke. “Our team delivers compassionate attention to the specialized care needs of our older population, as outlined by standardized evidence-based clinical practices.”

    The GEDA program is the culmination of years of progress in emergency care of older adults. In 2014, ACEP, along with Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Emergency Nurses Association and American Geriatrics Society, developed and released geriatric ED guidelines, recommending measures ranging from adding geriatric-friendly equipment to specialized staff to more routine screening for delirium, dementia and fall risk, among other vulnerabilities.

    To achieve this accreditation, Memorial’s team focused on standardizing approaches to care for commonly seen geriatric concerns.

    “We recognize that our older patients who enter the emergency department are out of their home environment, and it’s important for our care teams to be trained in offering them supportive services,” said Dr. Estreicher. “This includes understanding their social environments and supports at home, helping the patients with mobility aids and fall prevention and conducting cognitive screenings for dementia or delirium.”

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: MHP ER Michael's story      

    A priority goal of geriatric accredited emergency departments is to anticipate the medical, social, and emotional needs of older patients and develop innovative care delivery to meet their needs in the hospital and at home. This begins on arrival and continues throughout the emergency visit and discharge, signaling the importance of a rapid and accurate diagnosis, assessment of unmet needs, and identification of specific at-risk indicators. One of the key priorities involves a care team from various specialties who are trained to identify potential risks that trigger interventions to link the patient to crucial services.

    The voluntary GEDA program, which includes three levels similar to trauma center designations, provides specific criteria and goals for emergency clinicians and administrators to target. The accreditation process provides more than two dozen best practices for geriatric care. The GEDA Level 3 signifies excellence in older adult care as represented by four or more geriatric specific initiatives that are developed to elevate the level of geriatric care, implemented by nurses and physicians who have achieved certification in geriatric emergency care.

  • Major Kevin Cho Tipton presenting COVID-19 data

    Major Kevin Cho Tipton Receives U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion Award

    Major Kevin Cho Tipton, a critical care nurse practitioner serving in the U.S. Air Force and a dedicated member of the Memorial Healthcare System ICU team since 2017, was honored with The U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion for Health Award at a prestigious ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This award represents the highest recognition that the U.S. Surgeon General can bestow upon civilians.

    Major Tipton earned this accolade for his exceptional efforts during the pandemic, where he played a pivotal role in uplifting the experiences of both his patients and fellow healthcare professionals. His approach involved sharing their stories to raise awareness of the critical issue of healthcare worker burnout. Major Tipton has continued to champion the well-being of medical workers, helping them rebuild their connections with the communities they serve.

    In a collaborative initiative between the Office of the Surgeon General and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., this award celebrated outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to advancing the mental health and well-being of their communities. Reflecting on the significance of this recognition, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy remarked, "Since the pandemic began, there have been precious few opportunities to process what we’ve been through, grieve what we’ve lost, and recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond for others."

    Major Tipton Cho accepting U.S. Attorney General MedallionMajor Kevin Cho Tipton receiving medallion from U.S. Attorney General

    Throughout the pandemic, Major Tipton selflessly served in Memorial’s Intensive Care Units at Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Hospital Miramar, where healthcare workers faced unimaginable challenges. These included the heart-wrenching loss of up to 70 percent of their patients who required life support due to COVID-19. These patients were not merely strangers; they were neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members of the dedicated hospital staff. In a bid to shed light on the profound loneliness, pain, and burnout experienced by healthcare workers, patients, and their families, Major Tipton took to social media to share uplifting stories about his colleagues and community.

    Major Tipton's efforts garnered the attention of Dr. Murthy, leading to his valuable input being incorporated into the Surgeon General's initiatives aimed at addressing the daily challenges faced by healthcare workers and their patients.

    "I am humbled to be recognized as one of only 42 Americans to receive this award in our nation's history, but I am most thankful that I was able to tell the stories of my co-workers and peers so the world could see them as the true heroes they are," expressed Major Kevin Cho Tipton. "As a proud member of the Memorial family, I am grateful to be part of a collective of caregivers that serve our community and uplift our neighbors every day."

    As the Surgeon General strives to acknowledge heroic work in supporting mental health and well-being during the last few years of the pandemic, he bestowed the Medallion upon a select group of individuals and organizations who exemplify extraordinary acts of compassion, innovative mental health initiatives, and exceptional leadership in advancing the well-being of their communities. The distinguished honorees come from various parts of the country, including California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia. Notably, this event marks the first occasion where a U.S. Surgeon General has awarded the Medallion to multiple individuals during a concert celebration.

    Dr. Aharon Sareli, chief medical officer of Memorial Healthcare System, also extended his heartfelt congratulations to Major Tipton, saying, "We are immensely proud of Major Tipton's accomplishments and his unwavering dedication to the well-being of our healthcare workers and the community. His actions have not only uplifted our spirits but have also strengthened the bonds within our Memorial family."