Wellness Resources

Partial Hospitalization Program – What is It?”

Partial Hospitalization ProgramI have been a part of the Emory family for 6 years. Over the past 6 years, I have worked in the Transitions Seniors Program, better known as PHP. When attending different community events, a question I hear all too often is, “PHP? What’s that?” PHP is short for Partial Hospitalization Program. I hope this blog can answer the question, “PHP? What’s that?”

What is Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization is defined by the American Association of Partial Hospitalizations as: A distinct and organized intensive psychiatric outpatient treatment that closely resembles short-term inpatient program. The Medicare psychiatric partial hospitalization benefits were established to provide patients with an acute mental illness, services in lieu of inpatient psychiatric care (Block & Lefkovitz, 2009). The PHP patient care is an individualized treatment plan developed by the physician and a multidisciplinary team with input from the patient.

Who is part of the multidisciplinary PHP team?

Our team includes a physician, a program director, four licensed therapists, a registered nurse, and an advanced practice nurse. All team members are very experienced in the mental health field and serve our patients with pride, compassion, and integrity.

Who should use PHP?

Patients admitted to a PHP program require a minimum of 20 hours per week of therapeutic services. Here at Emory Wesley Woods, we have a PHP program that is geared specifically towards older adults. We target patients who are 60+ struggling with a mood disorder (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc.) and need a higher level of care than outpatient treatment. Patients do not need a doctor referral; however, they must meet certain diagnostic criteria.

About Our Program

Emory Healthcare’s Transitions Senior Program (PHP) of Wesley Woods was established in 1997. It is a hospital based program represented by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and is part of a larger continuum of care for older adults. As of 2013, we were also recognized under the Joint Commission as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.” According to the Joint Commission website, to be recognized, is a “symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.” We are honored to have this. Click here for more information on Joint Commission.

The Transitions Senior Program is designed to provide intensive therapy to older adults experiencing behavioral health difficulties. The structured format provides medical monitoring as well as therapeutic groups on a wide range of topics. The program can be used as a step down from inpatient treatment for older adults needing an intensive level of care, but not hospitalization. Additionally, the program can be a preventive measure for patients at risk of inpatient hospitalization. The advantage of this program is that patients are able to continue their normal life activities with very minimal disruption. After assessment of needs, each patient receives a personalized treatment plan. The therapy program is voluntary and is conducted daily from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The average length of stay is between 4 to 6 weeks. Our program is the only senior-specific partial program in the metro Atlanta Area as well as the only one to provide free transportation to and from the facility.

In addition to the PHP program, we have also launched an IOCP (Intensive Outpatient Counseling Program) in September 2014. This is a 3 day program (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) in a less intense setting than PHP, where patients can attend for up to 36 treatment days (roughly 3 months). This program takes the concepts learned in PHP and teaches patients how to apply and use them in their daily lives. A patient does not have to go to PHP in order to join. Patients do need to provide their own transportation for this program. IOCP is Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 11:30am to 2:15pm.

I am proud to say I work in the Transitions Senior Program. The psychiatry department is thriving as PHP and IOCP continue to grow daily. If you are ever at Wesley Woods, feel free to stop by to speak to anyone on our team. We are on the first floor of the hospital, adjacent to the cafeteria. Both PHP and IOCP are housed in the same suite (B-1200). For more information on either program, please call 404-728-4776 or our program director, Ed Lawrence, at 404-728-6975.

We look forward to accommodating your geriatric psychiatry needs soon.

Choosing a PCP: It’s a Big Decision

Primary Care PhysicianChoosing a primary care provider is a very important personal decision, and a number of factors should be considered to make sure you are selecting a healthcare professional with whom you can form a long-term relationship.

A primary care provider, or PCP for short, works with you to maintain your overall health by focusing on wellness and the optimum management of your chronic conditions to avoid future problems. And while your PCP is your health care hub, he or she can also help you with selection of and referral to a specialist should your condition warrant the additional expertise. While specialists focuse on their area of expertise, your PCP maintains a holistic perspective. In that way, your PCP will work with your specialist, or specialists, to guide you through your treatment course and provide high-level oversight of treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations to ensure your care is as coordinated as possible.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right PCP for you:

  • Ask Around – Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers about their providers. Also consider asking other healthcare professionals for their opinions. Many hospitals also offer referral services, and professional sites, like the state licensure boards, or certification boards (e.g. American Board of Medical Spectialties), confirm whether or not a doctor is Board certified or has any special qualifications you may require.
  • Consider The Details – Once you’ve got a list of potential providers, winnow it down by asking yourself some practical questions:
    • Do I prefer a male or female doctor?
    • Is the doctor in my age bracket? Will I be able to relate to him/her?
    • Where is the office located? Do I need a doctor close to home or the office?
    • What hours of the day is the office open and will those hours be convenient for me?
    • Is the office staff courteous and efficient?
    • Does the office use an electronic medical record and are they able to access your results electronically from the hospital, lab, or other providers.
    • If you are interested, does the PCP offer online and nontraditional options for communication and alternatives to face-to-face visits?
    • If I need to be admitted to the hospital, which hospital would I prefer? Does the doctor normally refer patients there?
    • Does this doctor accept my insurance? If not, am I willing to pay out of pocket ?
  • Board Certification – While there are several online lists and rankings of providers, very few have objective assessments of the provider’s clinical performance. However, while imperfect, Board Certification, does indicate that the provider has met some minimum requirements. It is important to recognize that many fine clinicians have not earned board certification for very appropriate reasons.
  • Board certified physicians have:
    • Earned their degrees from a qualified medical school
    • Completed three to seven years of accredited residency training
    • Are licensed by a state medical board
    • Have passed one or more exams administered by the ABMS
    • Career-long continuing education requirements they must meet to certification
  • In-person Interviews – Once you’ve decided which doctor looks best on paper, take the next step and interview him or her at his or her practice. Most doctors encourage this, although some may charge a small fee for their time.
  • During the visit, be aware of your total experience, including:
    • How easy – or difficult – was it to make the appointment.
    • Consider the way you are greeted by staff members when you arrive
    • Notice the length of time you spend waiting after you check in.
  • When interviewing the doctors
    • Feel free to ask tough questions.
    • Make sure you feel comfortable with his/her responses and that you are both on the same page when it comes to medications, treatments for chronic issues, and other factors important to you.
    • Consider the PCP’s bedside manner. If your personalities don’t align it will be hard to build trust.
  • Review Your Choice – Following the interview, carefully review the experience. If you weren’t happy with the outcome, continue your search. However, if all went well and the provider met your expectations, then it’s time to start building this very important relationship. You will rely on it for years to come.

About Dr. Gitomer

Richard Gitomer, MDRichard Gitomer, MD, is the President and Chief Quality Officer of the Emory Healthcare Network. Dr. Gitomer has been practicing internal medicine for more than 30 years at Emory.

Related Resources

What Is A PCP and Why Do I Need One?

Primary Care ProviderA primary care provider, or PCP, is your main point of contact for healthcare in non-emergency situations. Think of this type of healthcare provider as the quarterback of your entire health care team, the central point person whose role it is to coordinate your overall patient care, treatment and education.

Overall, your PCP is key to:

  • Providing preventive care and guidance on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle
  • Diagnosing and treating acute common medical conditions, such as cold, flu, infections, etc.
  • Treatment and management of chronic diseases such a high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Determining the severity of your medical problems, so he or she can direct you to the most appropriate care provider
  • Referring you to medical specialists when a condition requires more targeted treatment

In addition, a PCP ensures prescribed medications will not adversely affect other medications or supplements you may already be taking. Over time, your PCP learns your health history and what is most important to you and your long-term wellness. This high-level oversight ensures all of the treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations from various providers are as effective as possible.

Even if you are relatively healthy right now, things can and do change. This is especially true of millennials (the segment of the population born between the early 80s and the early 2000s), who are in the perfect position to establish health and wellness baselines with a dedicated primary care provider.

PCPs are usually physicians; however, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (collectively referred to as advance practice providers), who work under a qualified physician can also be your PCP. There are also different types of primary care physicians, some of which you may need at different points in your life, depending on your health care needs.

This chart identifies the different types of primary care physicians and can help you pinpoint which can help you most, depending on your health care needs.

Primary Care Physician

About Dr. Colovos

nick colovos, MDNick Colovos, MD, received degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1993, and completed his residency in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo Ohio in 1996. His work experiences in the academic, public and private sectors of medical care have allowed him to develop a very unique perspective on the business of healthcare and its delivery to patients.

 

  • Program Director of Urgent Care Services
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia

 

Related Resources

Find a Physician
Emory Primary Care Clinics

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

seasonal affective disorderSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Seasonal Depression is a type of depression that correlates to changes in seasons. Most people with SAD start to experience some symptoms in the fall that continue, and can sometimes worsen, in the winter months. In people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, symptoms of depression will usually dissipate in the spring and summer, though a small percentage of people do report SAD symptoms during the summer.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

There are many external factors that can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter can often bring dreary weather, such as colder temperatures and lots of precipitation. These factors, combined with shorter daylight hours, can make it difficult to find the energy to get through the season. Geographically, those who live farther from the equator, either north or south, are more likely to be affected by SAD, perhaps because they experience longer periods of darkness in the winter and/or longer days in the summer.

Additionally, if you have a family history of clinical depression or if you are also suffering clinical depression or bipolar disorder, you could be at higher risk for developing SAD or experiencing worsening symptoms during the winter months.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Carbohydrate craving
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Hopeless and/or suicidal feelings
  • Social withdrawal

Though some experience only a mild form of SAD, a small percentage experience symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization or dramatically affect their quality of life. Those suffering from SAD who work long hours or during the night may have their symptoms further exacerbated, as they see less daylight.

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is a mental health condition that can be improved with treatment. Treatments include stress management and light therapy using a special lamp that imitates daylight. Of those who seek treatment for SAD, about 80 percent see a reduction in their symptoms. The important thing is that you not dismiss your feelings of sadness as just another case of the “winter blues.” Seek professional help from a psychiatrist or therapist, or by talking with your primary care doctor. There is no need to suffer from SAD symptoms in silence, take the professional steps you need to maintain your health and happiness!

References

Emory Johns Creek Hospital continues Community Health Classes

Wellness ClassesLooking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? A new 5-week course starts Feb. 25 at Emory Johns Creek Hospital focusing on health and wellness. Classes are taught by community and hospital healthcare providers and provide general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans.

Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:

  • Feb. 25: Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
  • March 04: Health Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
  • Feb. 11: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
  • March 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
  • March 25: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.

For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200 to register.

Emory in Your Community – Free Osteoporosis Prevention Program

nurses screening patientsEmory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership* is offering a complimentary Osteoporosis Prevention Program at the United Methodist Church in Tucker. This 6-week program will screen and educate participants on ways to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

Sessions will be facilitated by Emory specialty nurses who will provide:

  • Osteoporosis screenings
  • Personal progress consultations
  • Individual evaluation and follow-up

Start Date

Tuesday, February 17
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Location

Tucker First United Methodist Church-Wesley Center
2397 Fourth Street
Tucker, GA 30084

Register today as space is limited to the first 20 participants.

To register or for more information, call 404-778-7777 or e-mail ayibatari.owi@emoryhealthcare.org.

*Emory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership is a collaboration between Emory and the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). This partnership provides community wellness screenings and health education programs to the local communities of selected United Methodist churches within the metro-Atlanta area.

Hit Your New Year’s Goals – Every Single Day!

It’s the first full week of the new year! Many of us have made lengthy lists of New Year’s Resolutions that probably include many long-term goals. While long-term goals are great – and necessary for success – sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you know that your goal is far off in the future. An easy way to avoid that discouragement is to set daily goals that you can meet every single day. Feeling a sense of accomplishment every day will help you stay motivated to reach your future, long-term goals. Here’s a template of simple, healthy goals you can meet every single day. Visit our Pinterest page for a printable version you can hang on your fridge and check off every single day. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Daily New Years Goals

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

exercise motivationWe know exercise can help us lose weight and will be better for our health in the long run, but we still can’t seem to get ourselves motivated to exercise for the recommended duration, frequency and intensity outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Current guidelines recommend about 2.5 hours per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise (such as a brisk walk or jumping jacks) and at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Check out fitness guidelines for health as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Heart Association (AHA).

Here are 5 tips to help get yourself motivated to exercise:

  1. Break it down. The recommended 2.5 hours per week works out to about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can break that down further by doing three, 10-minute sessions each day. Remember to combine aerobic and muscle strengthening activities for optimal benefits.
  2. The power of one. The journey of 10,000 miles (or the loss of 30 pounds) begins with one step. Or pushup. Or lunge. If you’ve been inactive for a while or have old injuries, trying to pound out a 30-minute jog may be a setup for failure. Also, ask your physician about modified exercises to help ease into a new routine.
  3. Put it on your calendar. Set appointments with yourself and treat it as you would any other meeting or appointment.
  4. Phone a friend. Working out with your partner or friends will help make exercise more fun! Unfortunately, most of us are more willing to let ourselves down than others, so having a support system in the form of an exercise buddy will force you to keep yourself more accountable.
  5. Less trips to the doctor. According to the AHA, heart disease and stroke are the nation’s # 1 and # 5 killers, and exercising for the recommended amounts of time can improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of a myriad of health issues. Trade in the time you’d spend at the doctor’s office for a few minutes of exercise!

Related Resources

References

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity Guidelines

New Year’s Resolutions – 4 Tips for a Successful Year

New Year's ResolutionsThe first day of the New Year inspires many to start a new, healthier lifestyle. For some, the holidays have been a time of over-indulgence. Surveys suggest that the average American reports that they gain about 5 pounds during the holiday season. For others, the previous year has inspired concern with overall health. Studies consistently show that a good diet and regular exercise not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but reduce cancer risks, as well.

Whatever your reason for making healthy changes this year, we have some suggestions to help you make and meet your new goals!

1.) Know Your Numbers

Taking the time to find out your blood pressure, blood glucose level, cholesterol, and body mass index numbers can be a scary task, but deciding to know your numbers can be incredibly empowering. Having this information can help you and your healthcare provider make specific decisions about your diet and exercise plans as you resolve to make changes.

2.) Make New Habits

It’s much easier to make a new habit than it is to break an old one. For example, instead of giving up your favorite desserts altogether, decide to choose healthier options more often. Still allowing yourself to indulge now and then makes it much easier for you to maintain these new habits instead of ditching them when things get difficult.

3.) Take Baby Steps

While setting new habits into motion is key, it’s important to be sure that you’re allowing yourself room to adjust. For example, a sedentary person will likely fail in the long run if their goal is to run a 5K by the end of the month. Starting with 15 minute jogs three times a week is a much more attainable goal. Once the 15 minute jogs become routine, gradually increasing the length, difficulty, and frequency of the workout will help you reach a larger goal.

4.) Find a Support System

Don’t feel like you have to do this alone! Talk to somebody about your plans for change. Join a workout group. Encourage your partner and friends to find out their numbers and share in your goals. Finding someone to share your goals with makes the journey more doable AND enjoyable!

Related Resources

5 Weeks to Better Wellness with Community Health Classes

Wellness ClassesLooking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? Starting in January 2015, Emory Johns Creek Hospital will launch a five-week course of health and wellness classes taught by community and hospital healthcare providers. The classes focus on providing general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans. Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The first class meets Jan. 7, 2015 in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:

  • Jan. 7:  Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
  • Jan. 21:  Healthy Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
  • Feb. 4: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
  • Feb. 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
  • March 4: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.

For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200.