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Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Leadership Carroll: Getting Healthy

Last week, the weather was frightful, but that didn't stop 15 members of our class and one chaperone from braving the snow to learn about the county's health care system.

The day before our trip, everyone knew snow was coming. Mike McMullin emailed all of us and said that unless there was a state of emergency issued for Carroll, we were having class. With that determination, I got up early, started driving my way to the college to get on the bus. Needless to say, the roads were bad, and I nearly got into more than a few accidents on my 10 minute drive. Luckily, I made it to the college without any accidents but with a much higher stress level.

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First on the agenda was Carroll Lutheran Village. I was really excited to visit here for a few reasons. A few years ago I got to interview a very sweet couple about their marriage so I got to see how cute their apartment was and was very impressed. I hadn't been able to see the main building though, which I had heard was amazing. Also, working at the paper, I am always receiving pictures to run about the trips the residents take and each time I am impressed. Some that I have received lately include trips to Gettysburg, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and a vineyard. It just seems like such a beautiful and fun place to live, I was excited to see what it was actually like.

When we finally made it to Carroll Lutheran Village, we were met by Wellness Committee Members and an amazing breakfast spread and lots of coffee. During breakfast, we got to talk to residents who are also on the Wellness Committee about some of the things they have been up to and what it is like to live there.

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After breakfast, we took a tour of the main building. I was truly impressed with how beautiful it was and all the amenities that are there for residents. From a beautiful swimming pool and hot tub to one of the best gyms I've seen in a while, it was all there. The gym included Keiser Weights, so that instead of having to lift up weights and put them on bars, it was all air pressured which makes it much easier for residents. They even had an amazing dance studio, equipped with a ballet bar and all! The residents keep busy taking trips, making friends and staying fit. Without question, I plan on moving in as soon as I am eligible.

Next up was Access Carroll, where we got to tour the new facility. Before hearing about Access Carroll, we got to meet with Barbara Rogers from the Carroll County Health Department to learn about the main health problems in Carroll. It was interesting to hear that obesity took the top spot on the list, and truly played a big role in the rest of the health conditions on the list, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.

Next, we heard from Tammy Black, executive director of Access Carroll, a patient-centered and integrated medical home for low-income residents of Carroll County. This is such an amazing service for Carroll Residents, and in hearing Black speak you can tell this is much more than a job, but a passion. We got to see the facility, which now includes dental services which has been a huge need for residents, according to Black.

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Up next we headed to Carroll Hospice and Dove House, where we got to have a really delicious lunch that helped give us some energy after trekking around in the snow. After lunch, the group heard from John Sernulka, CEO of Carroll Hospital Center and then we headed over for a tour of the Cath Lab and got to see the prescription robot.

When we went to the Cath Lab, we got to meet Cole and Tony, who have been working there for years and seemed like the perfect people to show us how it all worked. The equipment now allows for patients to actually be treated in Carroll, instead of having to send them out to other hospitals, which clearly is beneficial for residents. We got to see on screens what it looks like when there is a blockage, and what then happens to the blood flow after a stint is put in. We also got to see what a stint actually looks like which was not at all how I imagined (I can only describe it as looking kind of like a spring).

The other part of the hospital we got to see was the prescription robot. To be honest, I have never even thought about how they fill prescriptions for patients in a hospital. Luckily, they have it down to a science. Carroll Hospital Center has a high tech robot that uses barcodes and scanners to find and fill the needed prescriptions. It pretty much completely cuts out room for error, which is of course incredibly important when it comes to treating patients. An employee has to feed a machine, which puts a capsule into a package and then sticks a barcode on the package so the robot can read what the medicine is. The package is then placed into a circular tube/room on specific pegs where the robot reads the barcodes when picking certain medicines.

During the hospital tour we got to stop by the lobby to see the Festival of Trees. They were absolutely beautiful! I loved the Ravens tree and of course the Carroll County Times submission which features the different seasons.

After seeing the hospital, we trekked back over to Carroll Hospice and Dove House where we met with Diane Link, the executive director of Hospice. She was very informative and much like everyone else in the health field we encountered that day, you could tell she absolutely loved what she does. Hospice provides a place for those who are in the advanced stages of an illness; supply them with the medicines the patient needs to be comfortable while they spend the rest of their days being treated with love and respect. I've known what an amazing service this is for folks, but one thing I didn't realize was that Hospice care doesn't end when your loved one passes one. The employees continue to check on families to make sure everyone is OK and provide support for those who need it which is amazing

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After hearing from Diane, we heard from Dorothy Fox, the executive director of The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, Inc. who after speaking about the Partnership, led us in a very fun game of Carroll County Health Jeopardy. We were split into teams and then answered different questions based on some of the things we had learned throughout the day. I have to say, my team did really well, coming away with five prizes.

While the weather seemed to make it an incredibly tiring day, we were supplied with endless coffee and managed to make it through and see some really amazing things that Carroll has to offer residents. A big thank you to everyone that hosted us, fed us and especially to our bus driver Fred, who got us from place to place safely. Be sure to check back in January to hear about our County Government session. I hope everyone has a great holiday and a happy and safe New Year!


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