Howard County health briefs

Focus group

Howard County General Hospital's center is looking for women who are living with metastatic breast cancer to participate in a focus group to help determine the services and resources needed by this population. Women interested in participating should contact Tina Evans, 410-884-4650 or cevans@hcgh.org.

The center guides women dealing with cancer through diagnostic and treatment options and includes personal support and counseling.

Hospice unit to be completed by 2011

Gilchrist Hospice Care, Maryland's largest hospice organization, will open a 10-room unit in Harmony Hall Assisted Living in the Howard County Health Park in Columbia in spring 2011. Gilchrist recently initiated a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to cover both the one-time construction and capital cost of $1.7 million, as well as the extra costs of providing inpatient care that exceed insurance reimbursements. Gilchrist Hospice Care, a subsidiary of GBMC HealthCare, provides end-of-life care for patients in the Baltimore area. Since 1994, the nonprofit has provided care and services to more than 20,000 terminally ill individuals. Gilchrist is certified by Medicare, licensed by the state and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Blood donations

The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the American Red Cross is requesting blood donations. Eligible donors can call 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule an appointment. Platelet donors should call 800-272-2123.

Calendar

Youth art contest Laurel Regional Hospital and the Laurel Art Guild will host a youth art contest open to children ages 5-18. This year's theme is "Family Fun." One entry is allowed per contestant. Only the first 100 entries will be judged. Entry applications are available at the hospital's public relations office or visitor information desk. All entries must be hand-delivered to the hospital's public relation office, 7300 Van Dusen Road, Laurel, by May 28. The first-place winner in each age category wins $100. Information: 301-497-7914.

Terminal illness pre-planning workshop Event will be at First Lutheran Church, 3604 Chatham Road, Ellicott City, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 1. Topics for discussion are long-term care insurance, living wills, advance directives and pre-planning funeral arrangements. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration: 410-465-2977 or SM@firstlutheranec.org.

Pink plate specials Restaurants throughout the county will promote cancer awareness with Blossoms of Hope "think pink," with special chef's creations, signature desserts and drinks to raise funds for the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. Find a complete list of participating restaurants at BlossomsofHope.com.

Wellness classes Free wellness classes will be held at Tai Sophia Institute, main campus, 7750 Montpelier Road, Laurel. Topics to be discussed:

•Introduction to Qi-Gong movement, 6 p.m. April 28.

•Yoga and meditation, 6 p.m. April 29.

Registration: tai.edu (keyword: free wellness) or community programs at 410-888-9048, ext. 6611.

Graduate school open house at Tai Sophia will be held 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 1 and June 19. Meet with admission counselors, participate in panel discussions with faculty, students and alumni. Tour the institute's healing arts library and wellness clinic. All events will be held at the Laurel campus, 7750 Montpelier Road. RSVP to the office of graduate admissions 410-888-9048 ext. 6647 or e-mail admissions@tai.edu.The school is now enrolling for the following programs: master's programs in acupuncture, science in herbal medicine, arts in transformative leadership and social change. Graduate certificate programs include health coaching, herbal studies, medical herbalism, transformative leadership and wellness coaching. The institute is a nonprofit, accredited educational institution for wellness-based studies.

Fitness and sports medicine clinic 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 15 at The Mall in Columbia, in the Lord and Taylor Court. Sponsored by Howard County General Hospital, the clinic will feature screenings for blood pressure, osteoporosis, ankle/foot, knee, shoulder pain management, body mass index, pulmonary function, physical therapy and asthma. Other services and programs include nutrition education, seated massage demonstration, American Cancer Society skin analyzer and smoking cessation information. Information: 410-740-7601.

Healthy food in health care Howard County General Hospital food and nutrition department recently signed a pledge sponsored by the nonprofit Health Care Without Harm to improve the well-being of patients, visitors, employees, communities and the environment. In recent years, the hospital menu has become healthier by purchasing only zero trans-fat foods, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk, reducing the size of some meat portions and adding whole grain breads and vegetarian options. The food and nutrition department also purchases foods from distributors who buy from local farmers to support a greener environment.

Support groups

Teens Together Support and networking group for teens who have or have had a friend or family member diagnosed with cancer will hold a meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the third Sunday of each month in the new medical pavilion at 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia. The group is sponsored by The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at Howard County General Hospital and the Ulman Fund for Young Adults. Creators of this group are Kelly Schwab, a junior at Long Reach High School, Cara Koontz, a junior at Marriotts Ridge High School and Debra Marciniak, a senior at Mount Hebron. They are Girl Scout Gold Award candidates. Mary Catherine Cochran, director of the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center (410-720-8520) and Kelly Lance, service and events coordinator, Ulman Cancer Funds for Young Adults (410-964-0202), are project advisers.

Support/intervention programs Offered at Laurel Regional Hospital, 7300 Van Dusen Road, Laurel:

•Alcoholics Anonymous, 7 p.m., Sundays

• Alcoholics Anonymous, 7 p.m. Sundays and Fridays

•Bipolar, 6 p.m. Thursdays

• Narcotics Anonymous, 7 p.m. Mondays

•Narcotics Anonymous, 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays

•Parkinson's, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Information: 301-776-3426

•Rehabilitation Sharing — strokes and long-term illness, 6 p.m., the second Thursday of the month. Information: Physical Medicine, 301-497-7901 or 410-792-2270. All programs are free. Information: 301-497-7914 or 410-792-7636.

NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) support meetings for parents and caregivers who tend to children and adolescents with serious mental health issues will be held 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the Faulkner Ridge Center, 10598 Marble Fawn Court, Columbia.

NAMI also sponsors family support groups for families and friends of adults with a mental illness. Meetings will be held 7:30 p.m. April 26 at Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Room #3, 10755 Scaggsville. Information: 410-772-9300.

Cancer support group for caregivers meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month at the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite G050, Columbia. Mary M. Dowling will lead the discussion. Registration: 410-964-9100, ext. 5. Walk-ins are welcome.

Widows and widowers group will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at Jilly's, 10300 Baltimore National Pike, the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, Ellicott City. Information: S410-740-5858.

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