Briefs: Local Health Sept. 01, 2009

Wheelchair-accessible van fundraiser

Family members of longtime former De Beque teacher Radona Swancut are raising money to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van to make transportation feasible. Swancut has lived with multiple sclerosis for the past 17 years and in the past few years has lost her ability to walk and drive, said her daughter, Courtney Hatch. To donate, go to or send a check to: Care of Don and Shirley Brackett at P.O. Box 191, Mesa, CO 81643. For more information, call Swancut’s daughter, Danielle Fall, at 523-1110.

Dinner of Champions to be Sept. 10

The Ninth Annual Dinner of Champions will honor three Coloradans during a Sept. 10 event at Two Rivers Convention Center. Longtime local activists and philanthropic leaders Herb and Laura May Bacon will receive the 2009 Hope Award from the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The couple has worked to improve institutions across Colorado including Mesa State College, St. Mary’s Hospital and Mesa County Partners. They have been strong supporters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, according to a release from the Colorado chapter. Artist Rita O’Dell, who is living with multiple sclerosis, began teaching classes at the local office. MS Artists and Crafters was created from this group seven years ago and now the group supports up to 30 local people living with MS. For more information on the dinner and to reserve a seat, call 241-8975 ext. 12 or visit
Employers encouraged to plan for flu

Employers are encouraged to be more flexible with employees and to create or revise emergency plans to deal with the potential impacts of seasonal influenza and H1N1 outbreaks, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Businesses might want to consider offering seasonal flu vaccinations at work and strive to promote good workplace hygiene. The CDC recommends that people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should not return to work until 24 hours after having a fever. Businesses are encouraged to remove any policy that requires employees to obtain a doctor’s note to validate absences because the practice can tie up physicians’ offices. For more information on H1N1 and seasonal influenza, go to or

Caregiver support group meeting

Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado is offering a support group for those caring for a loved one. Caregiver Connection meets from 10–11:30 a.m. Thursdays at the Historic Miller Homestead, 3090 North 12th St. Caregiver Connections is designed to help caregivers learn more about available resources and allows participants who are facing similar situations to connect. Topics of discussion include decision making, durable medical power of attorney, anticipatory grief and community resources. The meetings are free and any caregivers are welcome to attend. Call Coleen Cunningham at 254-0891 for more information.

Providers needed to administer vaccine

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is asking medical providers willing to administer the H1N1 vaccine to contact their local health department by Sept. 9. Registering with local health departments allows public health agencies to collect information about interested providers and the populations they serve in an attempt to estimate the amount of vaccine they could administer. The effort will also help state and local agencies as they prepare to ship H1N1 vaccines to various agencies in local communities.

Lifeline rep. recognized for her efforts

Fran Gonseth, a Lifeline Representative of Home Care of the Grand Valley was recognized recently by Philips Lifeline for her efforts to educate the organization and the community about the lifesaving product. Home Care of the Grand Valley has provided patients with the service since it was established in 2002. The waterproof device can be worn as a pendant and allows patients the opportunity to press a button to get help while living in their home.

The 24-hour service is also available for caregivers seeking ways to reduce their caregiving load or to better administer care. To learn more about the Philips Lifeline personal electronic monitoring, call Home Care of the Grand Valley at 263-0202.

St. Mary’s hosting diabetes education

St. Mary’s Hospital is offering a four-week program on diabetes education. People who should attend include those with onset diabetes or those who have never taken a diabetes class. Participants must have health insurance or Medicare Part B benefits. Medicare and private insurance will cover the costs of attending the classes, though attendees should first check with their insurance companies before entering the class. A physician referral is required and should be faxed to 970-255-7905. To register for the class, call 255-6900.

Classes are from 2–4 p.m. each Tuesday in September starting Sept. 8. They will be conducted on the second floor of St. Mary’s Life Center. For more information, call diabetes educator Annegret Howe at 244-1998 or Janette Lobdell at 244-2582.


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