“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and curing every disease and illness.”
Parish nursing is a ministry that dates as far back as early Christian times as history acknowledges the Church as one of the earliest known places for healing. Early nurses were trained within the auspices of a religious community and were empowered with the knowledge that care of the sick should encompass the whole person not just the illness or the symptoms.
The St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish Nurse Ministry is a newly formed ministry comprised of dedicated well qualified professional nurses that will be providing health associated initiatives though out the year for all parishioners and their families. It is our goal as a faith based ministry to integrate health and faith in a holistic approach to wellness that includes the body, mind and spirit. Our ministry will be providing education and screening as well as being a referral source for all health related needs. We look forward to providing our nursing expertise to the congregation and hope to assist the parish in creating a place of healing and wellness.
Our first program will be a free Blood Pressure Clinic on Sunday, July 21st from 9:00 am to 12:45 pm in the cafeteria. All are invited to attend, meet the parish nurses, and have a free blood pressure screening should you choose to do so.
If you wish to participate in the Parish Nurse Ministry or have any questions for the parish nurses please do not hesitate to contact Marisa Biserna at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Yours in Health, Marisa Biserna, RN, BSN
Parish Nursing Ministry Wellness Corner
The Parish Nurse Ministry, will provide us with this monthly “Wellness Corner”
where they will advertise upcoming Parish Nursing Initiatives as well as offer health and wellness tips.
Parish Nursing Ministry Wellness Corner
Life’s full of distractions. There’s no way around it. It’s important to remember that becoming more mindful is a journey—it’s not just going to happen overnight. When it comes to limiting those things that take you out of the moment, there’s no right or wrong way. Try to start with a single positive habit and work it into your daily life until it becomes second nature. Uncertain about where to start? Here are a few tips to get you going:
Get in touch with your body. Sometimes it’s important to physically reconnect with the world. You can wiggle your toes or clench and release your fists—just be aware.
Take note of your surroundings. It’s important to live in the moment. Next time you’re outdoors, take time to appreciate the smells, sounds, objects and movements around you.
Set an awareness alarm. Feel like you easily get caught up in life? Set an alarm on your phone to ring every few hours. You can stop what you’re doing and focus on your thoughts and feelings.
Take a deep breath. Stressed out? Simply practice taking some deep breaths. This technique can help you slow things down and reconnect.
Limit distractions. TV. Phone. Computer. There’s no shortage of devices to distract you from what’s going on in the world. Simply turn them off and be in the moment.
Listen – don’t just hear. It’s easy to hear what someone is saying, but are you really listening? Try to give your undivided attention and be as mentally present as possible in your conversations.
Get rid of excess apps. Sometimes less is more. You can try deleting time-wasting mobile apps—it might save you time and will help you feel more in control.
Read. In need of a quiet, relaxing activity? Try reading. It’ll slow your thoughts and heart rate, while calming your mind and raising your focus.
Break up your day. A great way to increase your mindfulness is by starting small. Focus on how you spend your days and before long you can apply it to your life.
Meditate. Can’t set aside time for this during your day? That’s OK. Just choose the longest line at the store and use that time to focus on the moment.
Nap. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, naps can help you recharge and refocus.
Practice kindness to all. When you’re kind to others, it often helps you feel connected to something larger. Smile at strangers, interact with your neighbors or ask your coworker how their weekend was.
Trust your gut. The more you practice mindfulness, the better connected you can be with your intuition. Even if it goes against logic, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Watch what you say. It’s important to be mindful of the way you speak to others. Often times personal frustrations, insecurities, fears and anger can cause the tone of your words to change.
Give yourself a break. You should also be mindful of the way you speak to yourself. Is your inner voice too harsh? Do you give yourself enough credit?
Cry. When you experience a moment—happy or sad—it’s possible that you’ll be moved to tears. This can be a great way to connect to your feelings and live in the present.
Article from the October 11, 2015 Bulletin
This month’s installment addresses back pain.
Oh, My Aching Back!
Has back pain ever stopped you from doing something active? If so, you join millions of Americans in this common ailment. Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for patient visits to their health care provider. While most back pain is muscular, other ailments, such as osteoarthritis or a herniated disc, can be the source of low back pain. If you are experiencing back pain, see a doctor to determine the cause. If the pain spreads down your leg or is accompanied by tingling, numbness or weakness, see a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of nerve compression, generally the sciatic nerve that is being compressed by the lumbar spine. Always consult a health care professional before starting a new exercise regimen.
The good news is, there are ways that you can diminish the recurrence of low back pain. Often low back pain is muscular in nature and associated with weak core muscles. In other words, your belly muscles are not sufficiently supporting your low back and therefore proper spinal alignment. Other core muscles responsible for proper posture and alignment are the gluteal (buttocks) adductor and rotators of the hips, and low back muscles.
Sitting for long periods of time can stress the low back. Unfortunately, many people have jobs that require long periods of sitting while working at a computer. To diminish stress on the low back while seated, consider your posture. Are you slumped forward? Using a chair with a lumbar (low back) support can help you to maintain good posture while seated. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, try this stretching exercise during the day. It is called the Chair Forward Bend Yoga Pose. Simply scoot yourself forward in your chair so that your lower back is not touching the back of the chair and sit up straight. Breathe in and extend your arms over your head. While breathing out, bend forward, extend the arms and fingers towards the floor and hold this for five seconds. With arms extended, bring your body back up to the seated position.
If you are having acute (rapid onset) back pain, ask your physician if acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen may be taken. Cold compresses for five to 15 minutes can also help alleviate pain if used three to four times daily. Once the acute back pain has resolved, it is time to start strengthening exercises to prevent another recurrence. Warm compresses or light warm up exercises can help loosen and relax the low back muscles before gentle stretching exercises are begun. A series of exercises done on a regular basis can help to strengthen these muscles and prevent strain. Regular stretching of muscles surrounding your back can help to avoid tightening and spasms of back muscles. For ideas on strengthening and stretching exercises for these areas, please visit www.myinteractivehealth.com and click on Exercise, then Exercise Examples.
Article from the August 9, 2015 Bulletin
This month’s installment addresses How To Treat Summer Colds
Summer colds are just as inconvenient as they are annoying, particularly when they interfere with vacations, weekend getaways, and outdoor activities. When it’s beautiful outside and you’re stuck inside with a summer cold, you want to conquer your sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and cough quickly so you can get back to what summer is really about: fun in the sun! When trying to treat your summer cold, keep a few considerations in mind, like how to tell the difference between a summer cold and a winter cold.
Difference between summer and winter colds:
While summer and winter colds may feel different due to the time of year we contract them, the bottom line is both are caused by the same type of virus. And viruses, unfortunately, cannot be treated by antibiotics. Both types of colds are most often contracted by a person placing their infected hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth. The biggest difference between summer and winter colds is how we respond to them. In the winter, we’re naturally more accepting of staying under the covers and eating chicken soup in an effort to treat our colds. That’s easier said than done in the summer months when Little League games, pool parties, and backyard barbeques are in full swing.
Getting over a summer cold:
The duration of a cold depends on your body’s immune system, which is dependent upon the foods we eat, the fluids we drink, and the activities we participate in. You can improve your chances of a speedier recovery by following some tried and true good advice – Mom really does know best!
- Wash your hands often. Germs are spread from a contagious person to a healthy person typically by hand, whether directly or indirectly. Your greatest defense is to wash your hands several times a day with warm, soapy water.
- Keep hand sanitizers handy. When washing your hands is not an option, hand sanitizers are the next best thing. They are especially convenient in places such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, workplaces, and classrooms.
- Drink plenty of fluids. While you can’t flush a cold out of your system, drinking water and other liquids, like orange juice, will help prevent dehydration and maintain your body’s fluids.
- Rest. It’s easier said than done in the summertime, but in order for your body to recover from a virus, you must get plenty of rest.
- Spend some time outdoors (but limit strenuous activity). We are more likely to catch a cold indoors rather than outdoors. Indoor, air conditioned environments and tight closed spaces, such as airplanes, pose many virus-sharing risks and ultimately increase the likelihood of catching a cold. That’s why a little time spent relaxing in the sun can be good for you. Why? Because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can kill cold viruses, just as ultraviolet light can kill surface germs.
- Treat the symptoms. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many over-the-counter treatment options available to help ease the symptoms, including cough suppressants, fever reducers, and nasal decongestants. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most problems with cold medicines occur when more than the recommended amount is used, it is given too often, or more than one cough and cold medicine containing the same active ingredient are being used.
- Take advantage of the fruits of the season. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients will help boost your body’s immune system. In addition to being naturally good for you, they’re delicious – especially when in season!
Article from the April 26, 2015 Bulletin
The Parish Nursing Ministry
Find out all you ever wanted to know about the field of pediatrics!
Pediatric Mini Med School is one way we try to give back to the community. Parents, grandparents, school nurses, teachers, and anyone else who interacts with children will learn about the theory and practice of modern medicine. You don’t need a background in science to benefit, just an interest in better understanding children and learning about medicine.
Goryeb Children’s Hospital’s array of specialists and general pediatricians come together to provide a unique learning opportunity, bridging the knowledge gap between physicians and those without a medical school education. The feedback from the many who have attended our previous Mini Med Schools has been outstanding. I hope you’ll join us for this exciting opportunity.
Walter D. Rosenfeld, MD, FAAP Chair of Pediatrics Goryeb Children’s Hospital Atlantic Health System
Topics being covered include:
- Treating Children with Autism in the Mainstream School Setting
- Psychosocial Aspects of Treating Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders
- Allergies in Children: From Food to Asthma
- Drug Use and Abuse Trends in Teens
- Global Health and its Impact on the Community
For more information and to register go to http://calendar.atlantichealth.org/ (search pediatric Mini Med School to see all upcoming dates) or call at 800-247-9580.
Article from the December 14, 2014 Bulletin
December is Alcohol Awareness Month
What you need to know about alcohol
As the holidays approach, you may find yourself at parties where alcohol is being served. For many of us, it’s easy to have just a drink with dinner and then call it quits. But for some, drinking can get out of control. This can lead to dangerous situations and health risks. Here’s what you need to know to help you stay healthy and happy this holiday season.
How much is too much?
If you do drink, experts recommend no more than a moderate amount. This is one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men. One drink equals:
- 12 ounces of beer.
- 8 ounces of malt liquor.
- 5 ounces of wine.
- 1 ½ ounces of distilled spirits or liquor.
Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks at a time for women and five or more for men. Heavy drinking is considered to be eight or more drinks per week for women, or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
What are the health risks of drinking?
When you drink alcohol regularly, you place yourself at risk for short- and long-term health conditions. Researchers now recognize 54 different health conditions linked to drinking. In fact, current research estimates that alcohol abuse may shorten your life by as much as 30 years.
Short-term health risks include:
Injuries due to falls, traffic accidents or burns; domestic violence; miscarriage or stillbirth; alcohol poisoning.
How can I be healthier about alcohol?
Your healthiest option is to avoid alcohol completely. This is especially true if:
- You’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
- Planning to drive.
- Recovering from alcoholism.
- Taking medications that interact with alcohol.
If you do drink, follow the guidelines and don’t over-consume.
Article from the November 23, 2014 Bulletin
5 Tips to Avoid Overindulging
During Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined. But eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods, said Jennifer K. Nelson, a registered dietitian and director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.”If you’ve got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don’t lose control entirely,” Nelson told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Keep your willpower and your wits about you.”Here are five ways experts recommend you can avoid overdoing it on one of the greatest food days of the year – while still leaving room for dessert.
- Stick to healthy portions.
Just one plate of Thanksgiving food is all you get, Nelson said. Fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with turkey or ham. And, the more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers and beets in your veggie spread, Nelson said.”If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you’re going to feel full, but not bloated and tired, because it’s a lighter fare,” she said. It’s a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. But if you’re going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere – don’t go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes, and instead opt for the cranberry salad, said American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist. If you’re going for the pie, pick fruit or pumpkin pies because they tend to have fewer calories than chocolate or pecan pies, Sandquist said. Try also to stick to single servings of the more unhealthy foods, she said. Aim to have a half-cup of mashed potatoes — about the size of a regular-sized cupcake wrapped — and a 3-ounce serving of turkey – about the size of a checkbook.
- Eat before you indulge.
Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you’re just “saving room” for all the food, or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later. It’s a recipe for overeating, Sandquist said.
If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you’re going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon.”You definitely want to have your normal meals because otherwise, whenever we get over-hungry, we overeat,” she said.
- Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones.
There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, Nelson suggested mixing in chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter. For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad, Sandquist said. And for dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream — the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein, she said. Another easy way to cut fat out of your meal is to avoid eating the skin on the turkey. Dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, but limiting your helpings of unhealthy sides or dessert will have a much bigger impact than just eating white meat instead of dark, Sandquist said. If you’re baking homemade pie, opt for whole wheat pie crusts and substitute low-fat or skim milk for evaporated milk, she said.
- Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating.
Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty, Sandquist said. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you’ll lower the risk of overeating. It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of laying on the couch, she said.
- Avoid snacking throughout the day.
Abide by the “out of sight, out of mind” mantra, Sandquist said: Once you’ve filled your plate with food, cover up the food and put it away.”It’ll help you avoid mindless munching,” she said. When you snack throughout the day, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
Article from the October 19, 2014 Bulletin
This month’s second installment addresses Breast Cancer Awareness.
Article from the October 5, 2014 Bulletin
This month’s installment addresses vision care.
The eyes have it! Take good care of your vision—it adds to your quality of life.
Preserve your vision.
Good vision adds to your quality of life. During National Eye Health and Safety Month, take some time to learn important ways to preserve your sight.
Follow these important tips to help preserve your sight:
- Get regular checkups
You should have regularly scheduled eye exams, as recommended by your eye doctor—even if you aren’t experiencing vision problems. Your eye doctor is trained to recognize warning signs of potential vision issues; early detection and treatment will help prevent vision loss. People with special risks, such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma or a family history of glaucoma, should attend eye exams more frequently.
- Maintain overall good health
Like any part of your body, your eyes will benefit from your overall good health. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and lean meats. Include dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, to help give your eyes a natural boost. Avoid canned, processed foods and reduce the amount of salt you add to your food. Stay active through regular exercise. Quit tobacco. If you already have health concerns that can affect your vision, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, work with your doctor for a healthy action plan that’s best for you.
- Be sun safe
You can get more than just a sunburn! The sun’s UV rays can damage your eyes and cause problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Keep your eyes safe by wearing sunglasses that filter 99–100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays, reduce glare and do not distort colors. Before you buy sunglasses, always check the label, and never buy an unlabeled pair. Also, the sunglass tint you need is affected by where you are, such as on the beach or at the ski slopes. Sand and snow can reflect UV rays and in these conditions, sunglasses with a darker tint provide more protection.
- Prevent eye injuries
Keep your eyes safe indoors and out! Make sure you have adequate lighting where needed to avoid falls, especially on the stairs. Before mowing the lawn, check for debris. Keep all tools in good condition, and wear safety glasses. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all household and outdoor chemicals. Keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers and other potentially harmful products safely contained and stored.
For more information about keeping your eyes healthy and safe, visit:
Article from the April 20, 2014 Bulletin:
Seasonal Allergy Information
As the weather gets warmer and trees and flowers begin to bloom, lots of people experience seasonal allergies also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis. This year especially, the pollen counts are above normal and have arrived earlier since we have experienced extreme weather. Here are a few tips to ease the discomfort:
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
- Keep indoor air clean
- Reduce allergens from surroundings
- Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels. Here is a website where you can look-up the pollen count for the Bridgewater/Somerville area: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/healthtool-pollen-counter-calculator
- If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
- Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
Article from the March 23, 2014 Bulletin
The Parish Nurse Ministry, will provide us with this monthly “Wellness Corner” where they will advertise upcoming Parish Nursing Initiatives as well as offer health and wellness tips. This month’s installment addresses The Positive Effects of Daylight Savings Time.
It’s natural for most people to focus on the negative implications of Daylight Savings Time (DST), especially for those people who are already sleep deprived. Losing another hour of sleep can impact our health. But with the negative does come the positive.
For many people who suffer from depression and or seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression), this time of the year is a breath of fresh air. The cold, dark and dreary winter months can lead to either too much sleep (which is bad for you), or not enough sleep (which is also bad for you). People who suffer with one form of depression or the other may develop sleep disorders which can hinder the quality of their sleep and result in deteriorating health conditions.
What does spring bring? Sunlight! Does a cold, dark and rainy day make you energetic and happy, or tired and a bit on edge?
If you’re like most people, you’ll most likely feel the latter of the two. This is directly connected to hormones in your body that are affected by light. Melatonin helps you feel drowsy and tired, while serotonin helps you feel awake and energized. The sunlight helps slow the release of melatonin, signals it’s time to be awake and active and releases serotonin. At night, the lack of light slows serotonin from being released and produces more melatonin so you can sleep easily. So when there is not an extended period of sunlight in the sky, and the days are cold and dark for longer, depression can set in and wreak havoc on a person’s mind and body.
Daylight Saving Time is here, the days are getting longer, and those who suffer from sleep disorders may find some relief by getting outside! Although this is not a cure for a disorder such as depression that is caused by underlying medical conditions, the increased exposure to sunlight for longer periods throughout the day can help with symptoms and improvements in their attitude.
These longer days may also help people reset their routine rhythm. Because the days are getting longer, a person may be active outdoors, resulting in them going to bed earlier. But be careful; the nice weather can also cause a person to stay out longer and go to bed later. You need to remind yourself that getting the proper amount and quality of sleep will lead to a healthier life.
This month’s installment addresses home care and hospice,
as it is National Home Care and Hospice Month.
Home care is the provision of health care services for the home bound patient in the comfort of their home. More and more hospitals are caring for the very acutely ill and patients are being discharged from the hospital sooner than ever. With health care reform, now more than ever Hospitals are utilizing home care services to continue the care of the patient upon discharge to home. Home care can be a great resource for the continuum of care after an acute care hospital stay or just to assist you in your convalescence at home.
New Jersey and Somerset County have a plethora of home care providers for every need. Some even provide the most skilled of services including high tech IV and ventilator care/respiratory care in the home. Home care providers can service all ages from infants to older adults. Registered nurses, physical therapists and even physicians will make visits and create a plan of care that will be specific to your diagnosis and needs. Skilled nursing visits in the home to check on medication or blood pressure can be very helpful in preventing a re-hospitalization. Home health aides to assist with personal care and activities of daily living can make rehabilitation a much easier task and the ability to age in place in your home a reality.
For more information about home care, please feel free to contact Marisa Biserna at Marisa.Biserna@atlantichealth.org.
Hospice care is a holistic approach to quality care at the end of life. Hospice care focuses on the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of an individual and their family. It can be given in a home, a skilled nursing facility or a hospital. A person is considered appropriate for hospice care if they have a life limiting disease with a diagnosis of six months or less if the disease follows its usual course. Choosing hospice care for yourself or a loved one is a difficult decision. An individual or family member can request hospice care as well as the physician.
Medicare has an excellent hospice benefit, as do most insurance companies. The Hospice interdisciplinary team includes a medical director, an RN, a social worker, a chaplain, home health aides, and volunteers. It also covers any medications for pain and other symptoms related to the hospice diagnosis. Medical equipment such as a w/c, walker, oxygen etc. is also covered. An RN is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Hospice care allows an individual to live out the rest of their life in comfort and dignity in their home or in a facility of their choosing.
Here is the website for the NJ Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and they list hospices in our area:
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is another good source of information:
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call Jane McElroy at 908-526-8949.