Bangor area health news, July 14

Posted July 11, 2011, at 10:12 p.m.

Learning by Living

WATERVILLE — Starting July 18, Kara Janes, 44, a graduate social work student at the University of Maine, will spend 10 days as an “elderly resident” at Lakewood, a continuing care center on the Inland Hospital campus in Waterville. It’s part of a program called “Learning by Living,” and Lakewood is one of only eight facilities in New England participating in this unique study.

Janes will be required to live the life of an elderly resident, complete with medical diagnoses and standard procedures of care. She said she is eager to start her exploration at Lakewood.

“Learning by Living creates a unique opportunity, allowing myself to be immersed in an environment that may affect the aging population at some point in their lives,” said Janes. “Through my own experience at Lakewood, I hope to get a better understanding of one’s emotional, physical and spiritual journey while living in a facility.”

The Learning by Living project was designed and implemented in 2005 by Marilyn Gugliucci, director of Geriatrics Education and Research at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England. Since then, students from UNE and other schools have integrated themselves into nursing home facilities to experience how a resident is cared for, 24 hours a day.

Gugliucci said, “This program is intended to provide students, studying to be physicians or in other health professions training, a firsthand experience of living the life of an older adult with a health condition. In the end, these students will hopefully become better care providers because of this personal experience and unique connection they have made living as a resident.”

The facilities are not compensated for taking the student in as a resident, but the staff at Lakewood believe the experience is just as beneficial for them as for the student.

According to Shannon Coro, Lakewood administrator, “We are excited to help future care providers gain personal insight into our residents’ experience at Lakewood. This is their home and the relationships we build with them are so important to their quality of life.”

Lakewood is part of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, which also has seven other long-term care facilities.

Fibromyalgia support

BANGOR — The Fibromyalgia and CFS Support Group meets 6-7 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month. The entrance is at the back of First Baptist Church, 56 Center St., behind John Bapst Memorial High School. For information, contact Trudy, 266-7862 or lovs_val@yahoo.com.

Blood donations

BANGOR — The American Red Cross Northern New England Region has issued an appeal for blood donors of all types because of a critical blood shortage. While demand for blood products remains steady, donations to the Red Cross this summer are the lowest the Red Cross has seen in more than a decade. All types are needed, especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.

The Red Cross is appealing to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.

The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states during the past three months, delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there’s another, more personal, kind of disaster that can happen to anyone at any time if blood is needed and it’s not available.

Amy Eyles became ill at age 18 with chest pains and was diagnosed with asthma. Her illness continued to progress and, after years of problems, she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. In 2004 Amy flew to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital for a bilateral lung transplant, a nine-hour surgery with a recovery time of more than a year. Eyles needed nearly 400 units of blood in a very short time. Her story highlights just how important every blood donation can be.

The Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 80 hospitals and must have more than 500 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source.

Those who are at least 17 years old, meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on height) and generally in good health may be eligible to give blood. Bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

The American Red Cross Donor Center at 900B Hammond St., Bangor, is open for donations 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays; and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. the first and third Saturday of each month. Call 800-733-2767 or visit http://redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.

Everyone who comes in to donate blood in July at a Red Cross blood drive in Maine will receive a coupon for a free carton of ice cream, redeemable at any participating Friendly’s restaurant.

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