Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cu 29 - Nature at its Best

This past month Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Grinnell College concluded a year and half long study looking into the effectiveness of using copper alloy materials in a hospital setting. The study was administered by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Ph.D., associate professor at Grinnell College and a research team of undergraduate students.

“This study is the first to demonstrate that copper alloy surfaces maintain reduced bacterial numbers in unoccupied and occupied patient rooms,” Hinsa-Leasure said. “This is in contrast to control rooms, where bacterial numbers rebound following terminal cleaning to levels comparable to those found in occupied control rooms.”

For the research, half of the patient rooms at GRMC were fitted with CuVerro copper alloys
and its germ-killing properties on high-touch surfaces. During the study, patient rooms were cleaned daily and subjected to a final, or terminal, cleaning upon patient discharge. High-touch areas were swabbed in occupied and unoccupied rooms and aerobic bacterial counts were determined for comparison purposes. GRMC’s size allowed it to be able to devote certain rooms that are rarely occupied to remain unoccupied for the length of study to act as a control. 

GRMC’s move to copper surfaces was initiated in the name of patient safety and reducing risks of healthcare-acquired infections. Studies have found that pathogens can survive for days to months on dry surfaces, making it difficult to maintain the current suggested standard for surface-level cleanliness. However, since the research found significantly fewer bacteria on copper alloy products, more rooms will be outfitted with the same life-saving copper alloys to reduce risk of hospital acquired infections.

Hinsa-Leasure explains that “This [study] is key to protecting newly admitted patients from contracting infections through commonly touched surfaces, even when they are considered clean, and is integral to an effective infection-control strategy.”

Further details about the research can be found at

Written by Noah Segal, GRMC intern

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are Your Children Safe?

Did you know…
  • Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States.
  • Of those children ages eight and under, who died in vehicle crashes in 2014, 26 percent were not restrained by an age-appropriate device, such as an infant seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
  • Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

Thankfully, GRMC offers car seat safety inspections! Watch for dates of future car safety seat inspections. Here is what you can expect to learn at future inspections:
  • You will learn if you are using the correct car seat style for your child;
  • What car seat to use in the event that you have the wrong kind of car seat;
  • How to properly install the car seat into your vehicle, including the direction the car seat faces;
  • And how to seat your child in the car seat, using the correct placement for straps, clips, etc.

Like GRMC on Facebook and check the GRMC website ( and be one of the first to know about our 2017 car seat safety inspections!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cancer Care Beyond Compare

Alicia Rohach, RN, and former chemotherapy patient Effie Hall.
Did you know…
  • Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in men in the United States?
  • Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms? Or the symptoms can mirror a benign prostate condition?
  • Finding and treating prostate cancer before symptoms occur may not improve health or help you live longer?
  • Grinnell Regional Medical Center can provide quality cancer care close to home?

That’s right, fellas, trying to treat this common cancer before symptoms occur—if the symptoms show up right away—may be wasted effort. However, when the time comes to take care of your cancer needs, consider GRMC!

Advanced diagnostic options allow area residents to undergo testing, medical and surgical treatments, and recovery/rehabilitation while remaining in the community where they feel comfortable. Family practice physicians, surgeons, a visiting oncologist, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory services all partner to provide the best care and treatment options. Even if your oncologist is located elsewhere, GRMC can still provide this service to you with an order form from your doctor.

Should your treatment plan call for chemotherapy or an infusion treatment, we have space dedicated to treat you. Located on the first floor of the medical center, the GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite is a gorgeous space flooded with natural light and windows. Shadows of plant etching on the glass grace the floor and walls, working to create a soothing environment.

To learn more or to take a virtual tour of the GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite, please visit


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blending May Help Mending

The use of essential oils as a natural alternative or supplement to medication has increased over the past few years. Essential oils are oils derived from plants. They maintain the fragrance of the plants they come from, and are used in perfumes and aromatherapy. Essential oils have proven to be useful tools in accentuating the benefits of massage therapy by using the two together.

The team at Postels Community Health Park is pairing massage therapy and essential oils to the advantage of their patients. For example, lavender is used to melt away stress. Stop the sniffles by using eucalyptus. Feel more alert after diffusing a drop of peppermint oil. Repel mosquitos with the help of Skeeter Away. These essential oils and essential oils blends—along with dozens of others—are available at Postels Community Health Park and The Glass Gift Box at GRMC. You can also learn the ins and outs of essential oils at the upcoming Mix ‘N’ Go party!

Join Casie Olson, LMT, certified aroma therapist, as she gives you the tools to help with arthritis/pain, headaches, sleep, stress management, muscle aches, and colds/flu, all with the help of 100% pure essential oils. She’ll even show you how to make your own custom blend to take home, which can be made in the form of a cream, roll-on, inhaler, or bath salts.

The Mix ‘N’ Go party is Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Postels. For $25 per person, you will receive essential oil education, one essential oil blend, and snacks. Additional blends may be made for $10 each. Childcare is available for $2 per child. Please RSVP to ext. 2953 if you will need childcare.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Get Up and Get Moving - Your Life Depends on It

As you read this, you’re probably doing something very dangerous—sitting. Not what you expected? Prolonged periods of sitting can be dangerous to your health, and are associated with higher risk of death from all causes, including heart problems and cancer.

“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Our sedentary culture is literally killing us, with an associated 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and 125 percent increased risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease, especially when comparing those with greater sitting for screen time to lesser.

This is concerning, as most Americans spend the majority of their work and leisure hours sitting. A full 86 percent of workers sit all day, every day, on average spending nine to 10 hours sitting down. How can we counteract such a widespread problem?

Americans tend to believe that our sedentary lifestyles can be combated by occasional visits to the gym. However, this is ineffective. Even spending large amounts of time exercising intensely at the gym won’t offset the cost of sitting for extended periods. A good workout at the PWA Fitness Center still has health benefits – muscle strengthening, body tone, flexibility, and core strengthening, among others, which help reduce falls, improve energy levels, and increase strength capacity. In terms of wellness, you also need to move throughout the day.

“Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sit around the rest of the day,” says Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement. “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”

 And that’s for people who go to the gym at all—more than half of Americans don’t, following up their inactive work lives with inactive leisure. If after-hours exercise won’t help, how can you avoid turning a desk job into a literal death sentence?

stand, Stand, STAND!

Standing uses extra calories, activates muscle groups, improves posture and blood flow, and heightens your metabolism. The only way to combat the “sitting disease” is to not do it, and to substitute in standing whenever you can.

Incorporating more standing into your day isn’t as hard as you may think. Put your computer or workstation up high and stand when working instead of sitting. If that’s too hard or not a possibility, set a timer that goes off every half hour and stand up then. You could also park further away from your building; take the stairs instead of the elevator; or go to your colleagues’ offices in person instead of calling or sending an email.

When you do talk on the phone, stand up. Watch TV while standing or walking around. If that seems like too much, stand up during the commercial breaks. See if your colleagues will agree to a “walking meeting” where you all walk laps around the building instead of sitting around a conference table. We have sidewalks throughout our campus at GRMC and we are encouraged to use that resource, along with other available resources, to inject some activity into our otherwise static work lives. While standing all day may be impractical for you or your job, stand as much as you can. Even just a little extra activity can make a difference.


Written by Anya Silva, GRMC summer intern

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Oh Dear, We Need Volunteers!

Sheila Latcham (L) and Gretchen Isenberg (R).
Do you have a little extra time? Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to stay involved with your community? Consider volunteering your time and talents with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary. The auxiliary is comprised of over 400 volunteers who fulfill various roles throughout the hospital.

Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to maintain an active, healthy, and social lifestyle. Auxiliary roles are as unique as the individuals filling them; we can match you with a position that suits your individual needs. One volunteer noted, “Delivering mail around GRMC is a great way for me to stay active.”

Gene Elliott (L) and Jerry Henschen (R).
We interviewed over a dozen volunteers, asking why they chose to join the GRMC Auxiliary. There were a few overwhelmingly common responses, including:
  • “I love getting to meet new people every day.”
  • “Knowing that I am able to help others is a great feeling."
  • “Volunteering is a great way to keep me busy.”
After spending a little time at GRMC and getting to know staff, patients, and visitors, volunteers won’t know a stranger!

In addition to helping the hospital and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we will get you hooked up with your very own volunteer badge. Oh, and every shift you volunteer, you get a free meal at the Neon Café or GRMC cafeteria!

Currently, the auxiliary is in need of breakfast cashiers, gift shop attendees, and clinic couriers. If none of these positions sound like the right fit for you, there are a variety of other volunteer opportunities available as well.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering opportunities, please contact Cara Kenkel at (641)-236-2043 or email her at

Robert and Kim Wemer.
Additional volunteer information can be found on the GRMC Volunteer Opportunities page.

Written by Nick Moorehead, GRMC summer intern

Friday, August 12, 2016

Healthy Fair Foods? What are Those?

The 2016 Iowa State Fair started yesterday, August 11, and is considered one of the top-ranked state fairs in the United States. The fair draws people near and far with a host of exciting exhibits, enticing entertainment, and crazy (but delicious!) cuisine. But, if you're like us and don't want to blow your diet in the first ten minutes you're at the fair, there is hope!

In recent years, the Iowa State Fair has begun to offer healthier food choices. Even though deep fried Oreos, giant turkey legs, and funnel cakes are fair food staples for many, some of us are drawn to the fair for the agricultural exhibits and the entertainment selection, and would rather opt for some healthier snacking options.

Healthier food selections at the Iowa State Fair comply with the USDA guidelines for healthy meals with school lunches, including:
  • Entrées less than 600 calories;
  • Side dishes less than 300 calories;
  • Less than 35 percent of calories from total fat;
  • Less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat;
  • Less than 35 percent of calories from sugar;
  • And less than 1,000 mg of sodium.

For the full list of healthier foods at the Iowa State Fair, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

“Use the Iowa State Fair Healthy Choices list to help plan what you are going to eat during your visit to the fair,” says Lily Swedenhjelm, RDN, LD, GRMC dietitian. “When we’re hungry, we tend to pick what’s convenient; planning ahead can help you be more aware and mindful of what you are eating throughout the day.”

Having healthier choices and knowing exactly where to find them makes it easier to stay on track with your healthy eating pattern (and think of all the exercise you’ll get by walking between venues and food stops!), but we understand if there are a few ISF favorites that you can't give up.

“One idea for eating healthier at the fair is to choose one or two ‘must-haves,’ and pair them with healthier choices,” Swedenhjelm says. “For example, instead of having a corn dog and grater taters, choose a corn dog and caprese salad on-a-stick or fruit on-a-stick.”

However, we suggest packing your lunch and snacks in a cooler and leaving it in the car. That way you are in control of what you’re consuming and can guarantee that you and your family are getting an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, grains, and oils, and are limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium you are taking in. (And it's cheaper!)

Healthy eating options at the Iowa State Fair include:

Baked Potatoes and Corn-on-the-Cob
Find these starchy staples at Westmoreland (south of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage) and Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters (south side of Walnut Square).

Caprese Salad on-a-Stick
Get this fresh and zesty classic of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette at The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Caramel Apple Slices
Tangy apple slices and sweet caramel dipping sauce – find this classic combo at Applishus (east canopy of the Varied Industries Building; north side of Walnut Square; and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Carrots with Ranch
Vegging out on the couch just got beat out by vegging out at the Iowa State Fair. Get crunchy carrots and cool, creamy ranch from the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (west side of the Agriculture Building).

Dried Fruit Log
Find these lighter-than-air sweet treats at the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (west side of the Agriculture Building).

Fresh Fruit, Melon & Berry Cups, and Shish kabobs
It’s hard to beat sweet, juicy fruit on a hot summer day! Find these fruity options at several locations throughout the fairgrounds, including Beattie’s Melon Patch (west of the Giant Slide); Stockman’s Inn (southwest corner of the Cattle Barn); Benoit Concessions (on Rock Island Avenue); Iowa Orchards (Agriculture Building); and the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (west side of the Agriculture Building).

Fruit on-a-Stick
Get tasty fruit with sweet, creamy yogurt dip at The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Green Bean or Potato Bowl
Go green (bean) or go home! These yummy – and healthy! – options can be found at Dawghouse Concessions (north side of walk on Triangle).

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Grab-and-go: Get your hot-off-the-grill chicken at several locations, including Barksdales Concessions (in front of the Varied Industries Building); Campbell’s Concessions (Elwell Family Food Center); Stockman’s Inn (southwest corner of the Cattle Barn); B&S Concessions (west side of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage); and Dawghouse Concessions (north side of walk on Triangle).

Grilled Turkey Sandwiches
Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to get your turkey on…gobble up some summer-approved turkey (grilled) at Turkey Time Concessions (north side of walk on Triangle).

Margherita Pizza
Get this delicious Italian classic at Parlo Pizza’s (on the hill by Grandfather’s Farm).

Not Your Mamma’s Taco
Turkey trumps traditional ground beef in this scrumptious twist on a beloved classic: enjoy shredded turkey, homemade veggie slaw, and sweet mango salsa atop a deep fried tortilla at the Iowa Turkey Federation Stand (west of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage).

Peanut Butter and Jelly on-a-Stick
Grapes and peanut butter sandwich pieces wedged onto a skewer: the closest you can get to putting in an order for your childhood…on-a-stick. Get yours at The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Pork Chops on-a-Stick
An Iowa State Fair must-have; you can find pork chops on-a-stick at the Iowa Pork Producers Association (east end of Grand Avenue; east of the main stand on Grand Avenue; and Rock Island Avenue west of the Livestock Pavilion).

Rib Shack Cowboy
Traditional ice cream in a waffle cone can get boring, so try the Rib Shack Cowboy at the Rib Shack (south of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage) for an extreme break from the ordinary. A savory mix of cowboy beans, brisket or pork, coleslaw, and a signature chip all smothered in BBQ sauce fills a spice-flavored waffle cone to create a food experience that is anything but ordinary.

If you like iceberg lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes served kabob-style (and with dressing), salad on-a-stick is the snack for you! Find it at The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Get a variety of salads from a variety of stands, including Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters (south side of Walnut Square), Campbell’s Concessions (Elwell Family Food Center), Diamond Jack’s (west of the Livestock Pavilion), Doc’s Bud Tent/Pizza Parlor (north side of Grand Avenue), The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard), The Greek Garden (north of the Varied Induestries Building and southeast of the Administration Building), K’s Concession (on Triangle east of the Administration Building), and Steer and Stein (east of the Grandstand).

Sandwich Wraps
Take a break from the fried food bonanza all around the fairgrounds and opt for a refreshing sandwich wrap from The Salad Bowl (Agriculture Building and Cultural Center Courtyard).

Shrimp Corndog
This seafood specialty comes dipped in corndog batter, fried till golden and crispy, and is topped with a sweet jalapeño glaze. Get yours at the Po Boy Stand (on Rock Island Avenue).

Find luscious, garden-fresh tomatoes at Hardenbrook Concessions (southwest of the Agriculture Building).

Turkey Tenderloins
The turkey breast sandwich has less than five grams of fat and is low in calories. Several delicious and healthy options can be found at the Iowa Turkey Federation Stand (west of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage).

Veggie Corn Dogs
Longing for the experience of a corn dog while at the Iowa State Fair, but can’t or don’t eat meat? Get the best of both worlds with a yummy veggie corn dog from Veggie Table (north of the Varied Industries Building)!

Check out the Iowa State Fair map to locate these food venues throughout the fairgrounds that offer healthy options.