Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

“Learning to Listen to Patients’ Stories” – The New York Times

“Narrative medicine programs teach doctors and other caregivers ‘sensitive interviewing skills’ and the art of ‘radical listening’ to improve patient care.”

listen to patients stories“Waclawa ‘Joanne’ Zak, who now lives in Oxford, Wis., fought in the Polish resistance during World War II. As a teenager, she served as a scout, assessing German troop strength and positions. Later in the war she trained as a nurse and was liberated from a German P.O.W. camp. She told her story as part of the ‘My Life, My Story’ program at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wis.” Credit…Andy Manis for The New York Times

by Richard Schiffman

“The pandemic has been a time of painful social isolation for many. Few places can be as isolating as hospitals, where patients are surrounded by strangers, subject to invasive tests and attached to an assortment of beeping and gurgling machines.

“How can the experience of receiving medical care be made more welcoming? Some say that a sympathetic ear can go a long way in helping patients undergoing the stress of a hospital stay to heal.

“’It is even more important now, when we can’t always see patients’ faces or touch them, to really hear their stories,’ said Dr. Antoinette Rose, an urgent care physician in Mountain View, Calif., who is now working with many patients ill with Covid.

“’This pandemic has forced many caregivers to embrace the human stories that are playing out. They have no choice. They become the “family” at the bedside,’ said Dr. Andre Lijoi, a medical director at York Hospital in Pennsylvania. Doctors, nurses and others assisting in the care of patients ‘need time to slow down, to take a breath, to listen.’

“Both doctors find their inspiration in narrative medicine, a discipline that guides medical practitioners in the art of deeply listening to those who come to them for help.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

“My Life, My Story: Advancing the Veteran Experience” – Veterans Affairs

“7 tangible ways to make vaccine website more accessible” – Fast Company

“Vaccine registration websites weren’t designed for the people who need them most. Here are easy fixes that don’t require starting over.”

tangible-ways-to-make-vaccine-websites-more-accessibleSOURCE: AZFree/iStock. Pavlo Stavnichuk/iStock

by Catharine McNally

“Across the U.S., online registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine are failing to consider some of the most vulnerable groups of people: seniors, those with disabilities, and certain racial and socioeconomic groups.

“The online registration processes were launched quickly (rightly so) in response to the rushed vaccine rollout. Usually, rapidly spun-up sites cater to the general public—the mythical ‘average users’—not these specific groups.

“But these groups are the main users of government vaccination registration websites, at least initially. Seniors face confusing, inconsistent, and frustrating registration processes that leave them scrambling to find help from family members, as an NPR story detailed earlier this month. New York, for instance, has a 51-question registration process that leaves many seniors overwhelmed.

“It’s not just seniors who are being left out.” Click here to read this article at Fast Company in its entirety.

Study on County Mental Health Services Released

county mental health services

“On Feb. 24, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) released a county mental health services report on Community Mental Health Services, as required under HR 515 of 2019. This broad-based study focused on Pennsylvania’s county-administered, community-based mental health services by collecting data from various state agencies and all 67 county mental health administrators.

“The report highlights the history of shifting Pennsylvania’s mental health service system from institutions to more whole-person focused, community-based care, allowing for a more holistic approach to combatting mental health conditions. The study noted that community residential services appear to be the most costly, though the self-reported data can create inconsistencies in reporting, which is typical for many human services. Other data on use of short-term private psychiatric facilities, mental illness in county jails and use of emergency rooms by those in mental health crisis helped to demonstrate how caseloads have increased over recent years. County mental health administrators confirmed those findings, discussing the delays in community residential services due to capacity complications, though they stressed that access to crisis services is where a lot of investment is made due to the critical nature of those services to people in distress.

“In addition, 64% of administrators reported an increase in crisis calls since the pandemic began, noting those statistics may not be as telling since people may feel isolated and may not call for help. A majority of administrators anticipated crisis calls will increase over the next year or so and many stressed the importance of capacity for telehealth and telemedicine services, including availability of broadband access as well as psychiatrists in the state, which can contribute to delays in evaluations. Other issues raised by county administrators were also included in the report.

“This report demonstrates that the current state of community-based mental health services is in need, which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Counties have continued to advocate for increased funding for community-based county mental health services, a reoccurring county legislative priority.”

SOURCE: Legislative Bulletin, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania

You are invited to attend a RISE PA Regional Webinar

dhs logo

Earlier this year, “Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller announced the selection of a vendor for Resource Information and Services Enterprise – or RISE PA – an upcoming statewide resource and referral tool. RISE PA is a collaborative effort between multiple state agencies, counties, and local non-profits and community organizations, health care, and social services providers. Aunt Bertha, the selected vendor, will create an interactive online platform that will serve as a care coordination system for providers including, health care and social services organizations and a closed-loop referral system that will report on the outcomes of the referrals. It will also serve as an access point to search and obtain meaningful information to help Pennsylvanians find and access the services they need to achieve overall well-being and improve health outcomes.

“When fully implemented, anyone in Pennsylvania will be able to access this tool from their personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices to find information about services and resources, and self-refer to participating social services agencies. RISE PA will also allow service providers to assess the needs of individuals during a physician’s office or emergency department visit, when receiving case management services, or seeking assistance from a community organization, among others. Providers may refer their clients to agencies and be notified of the outcome of their referrals through the system. Most importantly, this is a person-centered, no-wrong-door approach. RISE PA will allow participating providers from local non-profits, health care organizations, local government and faith-based organizations to work together and coordinate care, making it easier for families and individuals to access the help they need.

“Please join PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Miller, and other DHS and Commonwealth officials for an informational webinar. They will share the vision for RISE PA, and how you may become involved.

“Webinars are regional and require registration. Please sign up for the webinar designated for your county. Please help spread the word by sharing this invitation with your contacts!”

RISE PA Stakeholder Webinars

Lehigh/Capital Zone – Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry and York counties.

Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on March 12, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

February is Heart Health Month: Check out these Updated Resources from Quality Insights.

.7tips for bp

understanding your bp

Click here for more.

Thank you, US Census 2020!

census appreciation

We are grateful to receive this recognition from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Service Area 13 (Berks – Lancaster – Lebanon County Link partners’ network was delighted to have Census 2020 outreach representatives present cross-training programs on the importance of the 2020 Census at meetings during 2019.

Learn about your community, your county, your state and the nation. Here are some QuickFacts about Lebanon County, Pennsylvania; Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Berks County, Pennsylvania; United States.  QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more.

Online learning and connecting | several articles for digital users of all levels

fatigue - connectionThe Internet and meeting platforms as Zoom have provided exceptional ways for people to stay connected over the past year. Perhaps going forward, digital conferencing computer applications and programs will be the connection of choice for so many reasons.

On March 6, the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Link partners’ network will be offering this free Webinar that’s geared for persons who may need a little boost and confidence building in getting started on digital highway.

March 06 – A webinar especially for seniors and others who may be a little skeptical about digital devices and the Internet: “BABY STEPS #1: Let’s Get Tech Savvvy!

Here are a few articles that may be of interest for you:

“Addressing Social Needs Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans” – Center for Health Care Strategies

by Nancy Archibald

“COVID-19 has hit some populations harder than others. This includes people of color, residents of nursing facilities and other congregate settings, and individuals with multiple chronic medical conditions. People in these groups are often dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid because they have a disability or are age 65 or older, and also have low incomes. Recent federal data show that dually eligible individuals are more likely to contract COVID-19 than Medicare-only beneficiaries and are hospitalized with COVID-19-related complications more than four times as often.

“Dually eligible individuals also frequently have significant social risk factors, which if addressed, could improve their access to care, health outcomes, and quality of life. With support from Arnold Ventures, the Center for Health Care Strategies recently partnered with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) to examine how its Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) members were addressing their enrollees’ social risk factors.

“As a supplement to this work, ACAP and CHCS explored how ACAP-member plans, including D-SNPs and Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs), are addressing existing and new social risk factors of their dually eligible enrollees during the pandemic. Information from 14 plans was collected in an October 2020 survey. Click here to continue reading this article.

communithy partnerships

“‘Stereotype threat’ makes older adults perform worse” – Futurity

“Stereotypes that view older adults as cognitively or physically impaired, may affect how they perform on a variety of tasks, according to a new study.”

older-adults-stereotype-threat-aging“‘We need to make people feel confident in their own abilities and feel that they will be respected no matter how they perform,’ says Sarah Barber.” (Credit: Getty Images)

posted by Anna Varela – Georgia State

“Stigmatized groups—whether due to race, socioeconomic status, or age—perform more poorly when faced with negative stereotypes, says Sarah Barber, a psychology and gerontology researcher at Georgia State University. She found expectations of others can play a powerful role in how well older adults perform on cognitive tasks and motor skills such as driving.

“The phenomenon is known as “stereotype threat,” Barber says. The new paper, published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, looks at recent studies as well as those dating back to the mid 1990s, all of which show the power of this phenomenon.

“’The concept was originally formulated to look at stereotypes around race,” Barber says, but the effect turned out to be much broader. It can affect older adults and affect their memory, physical performance, driving abilities, and even job satisfaction.

“Older adults frequently encounter the challenge of stereotype threat at their physician’s office, where they routinely go for checkups, Barber says, and where they may take part in cognitive tests as well.”

Click here to continue reading this article at

“Fall Prevention: Balance and Strength Exercises for Older Adults” – Johns Hopkins Medicine

falls prevention

reviewed by Lora Stutzman

“Falls can have very serious consequences as we age. Each year, more than 25 percent of adults 65 or older have a fall, and 3 million are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The risk of falling in older adults is usually related to combination of factors, including:

  • Balance and/or walking problems. Balance can be affected by vision changes, vestibular problems and altered sensation in the feet.
  • The use of multiple medications. Studies indicate that when individuals take five or more medicines, the risk of falls increases.
  • Home hazards (including dim lighting and trip hazards)
  • Positional low blood pressure (such as orthostatic hypotension, when blood pressure drops upon standing.
  • Feet and footwear issues

“Falls often occur in the bathroom when … Continue reading this article at this Johns Hopkins Medicine Website