Thursday, January 27, 2011
We need to be considering routine and catastrophic costs

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Money management includes budgeting. Preparing a budget is not only necessary for businesses but households as well. One of the more important expenses to budget for in any household budget is the unexpected repair job. That might mean auto repairs, household repairs or personal repairs. The latter group comes in the form of medical costs. Unfortunately, many people live paycheck to paycheck and they do not budget for unexpected expenses. Such expenses always occur, but these individuals act like they never expected them. Some people purchase car repair insurance in the form of extended warranties but most people do not. Most home repairs are not covered by homeowners insurance. For that reason, these kinds of repairs will have to be covered by the individual. Health care is an exception to that rule. Most people have some kind of health care insurance and they expect it to cover most of their expenses and it usually does. When it doesn't, the fallback attitude is often to act like medical care costs are always expensive. The logical approach to medical care should be two parts. One part should be a pay as you go affair for routine care. This would include visits to the doctor, basic lab tests, x-rays and prescription drugs. This would allow individuals to budget money for these expenses every year so that they could pay for them. Part two would be to have medical insurance for the more unexpected and overwhelming expenses. These are the expenses that go with serious illness and accidents. The coverage would be for catastrophic costs. While this would be logical, it would not work in our culture. The reason for that is relatively simple. When people budget for things, they will continue to have unexpected expenses. They will need to repair their car and home. The money for that has to come from somewhere. An obvious source would be to use some of the money set aside for medical expenses. The result would then be fewer visits to the doctor since the money would not be there. There would be fewer prescriptions filled. The result would be that these individuals would then get sicker and ultimately require even more expenditures for medical care. It is similar to what happens when people decide not to do repairs on their house or their car. In the long run, it just costs them more money. What currently happens is that individuals with health care insurance use that to cover most of their expenses. Individuals without health care insurance have to try and budget for health care. Most are able to do so except for the unexpected large bills. That is why medical care expenses frequently cause individuals to declare bankruptcy. What is often lost in the current health care cost debate is the fact that we need to look at routine costs separate from catastrophic costs. Current health care insurance plans do not do that. Our culture does not look at things that way. The result is that we often look for solutions based on our current culture rather than based on what is more logical.

Autism Delaware launches SDSI Autism Delaware has officially kicked off the Southern Delaware Services Initiative (SDSI) in an effort to provide additional support for individuals and families affected by autism in Kent and Sussex Counties. The money committed to the new campaign will be used for programs in southern Delaware. Most notably, it will help establish Autism Delaware's nationally recognized POW&R (Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation) adult services program in the lower part of the state by July 2012. POW&R is a community-based program that helps adults with autism find and be successful at employment, volunteerism and recreation. "Opening POW&R in southern Delaware is one of Autism Delaware's most important goals for the coming years," said Autism Delaware Executive Director Theda Ellis. In addition to POW&R, the new campaign will also support programming, such as parent mentoring, parent coffee hours, information, referral services and recreation downstate. Finally, SDSI will help fund established programs like summer camp, swim program and junior golf. The campaign began with a mass mailing in December and has already raised $3,000 towards the total fundraising goal of $24,000. SDSI is a three-year commitment for donors, who receive recognition based upon their giving level. Both individuals and corporations have the opportunity to get involved. For more information about the Southern Delaware Services Initiative, visit Autism Delaware's website at or contact Associate Director Teresa Avery at 224-6020.

Family Caregiver Training The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter sponsors The Family Caregiver Education Series several times a year in each of Delaware's three counties. LifeCare at Lofland Park at 715 King St. in Seaford, is hosting the program on Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This series includes a medical overview, legal and financial issues, challenging symptoms, daily care issues and information on getting the help you need. This training for family caregivers is free and lunch will be provided by LifeCare, therefore pre-registration is required by Feb. 16. For more information or to register, call Jamie Magee, branch office coordinator, at 854-9788 or 1-800-272-3900.

Nanticoke offers childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer a childbirth class on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the hospital.The class will meet each Wednesday for four weeks. The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mother Baby Care Unit. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of Nanticoke's Mother Baby Care Unit. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Registration in advance is required for either class. To register, or for more information, contact the Health Education Registration line of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Hospice grief workshop planned Dr. Judy Pierson, clinical psychologist and bereavement counselor for Delaware Hospice, will conduct a special workshop, sponsored by the Family Support Center, entitled "Do Not Cry Alone," on Friday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. Many who experience loss will "numb out" when overwhelmed by their feelings. Some wonder why they didn't cry more, or why they're on an emotional roller coaster. Others feel they're "losing their mind" because their memory, concentration and energy are so compromised. Being around other people might be difficult when their problems seem so petty in the face of loss. Difficulty sleeping, deep loneliness and anger at God are common responses. Understanding what is normal and learning ways to manage symptoms can help you move through your grief in a healthy and productive way. Creating connections where you can express your thoughts and feelings is also key to learning to live with your loss. In this workshop, you'll learn what to expect when grieving and develop strategies for coping with the challenges you'll face. You will also learn how to take care of yourself and educate those around you about what is, and what isn't, helpful. There is no fee for this workshop, however, registration is required as seating is limited. Register by contacting Vicki Costa, associate director of Family Support Services, at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or

Annual cholesterol screenings Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer cholesterol screenings in Seaford, Laurel and Georgetown in February which is American Heart Month. The Lipid Profile test requires a 12-hour fasting and reads the HDL, LDL, and triglyceride blood levels. Cost for the Lipid Profile is $15. There is no need to pre-register. Results will be mailed within 3 weeks along with information to evaluate the results and follow-up if needed. The following screenings will be held: Seaford - Feb. 4-5, Miller Building, 121 S. Front St., Seaford, 7 to 10 a.m. Laurel - Feb. 17, Laurel Senior Center, 113 N. Central Ave., Laurel, 7 to 10 a.m.

Georgetown - Feb. 24, Georgetown CHEER, 20520 Sand Hill Rd., Georgetown, 7 to 10 a.m. In addition to cholesterol screenings, free blood pressure checks and free glucose screenings will be offered. There will also be health information and interactive displays. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 8948.

Shoppe holds roses sale The Look-In Glass Shoppe at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be selling Valentine's roses. Place your order for roses to be picked up on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, at the gift shop. Orders will be taken at The Look-In Glass Shoppe (located within Nanticoke Memorial Hospital) through Feb. 10, for a dozen red roses, gift boxed with greenery and baby's breath, tied with a ribbon and a gift card. Order now for$49.99. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 4955. Payroll deductions are available for eligible NHS employees.

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 8, 1:30 p.m., at LifeCare at Lofland Park's first floor Resident Lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers and anyone who is affected by this disease. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

Uniform and Shoe Sale The Look In-Glass Shoppe at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is holding a "First Uniform"uniform and shoe sale. Name brands such as Cherokee, Dansko, New Balance, Grey's Anatomy and Nurse Mates will be available in all of the latest styles in uniforms, scrubs and shoes for the medical professional. The sale will be held in the lobby of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 3, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Payroll deductions are available for eligible NHS employees.

Program seeks volunteers ContactLifeline has volunteer opportunities available with the Rape Crisis program. Training classes began Tuesday, Jan. 25, every Tuesday and Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. Individuals interested in helping victims of sexual assault can call Josie MacLaine at 422-1154, ext. 1011 or visit

Diabetes education course Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a four-session diabetes educational program on Feb. 1, 8, 15 & 22, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the hospital. Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management.Our goal is to give you the self-management skills to control your diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions. To register and obtain additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Relay for Life Kick-Off Party The Relay for Life of West Sussex will hold a 2011 Kick Off party, a luau, at the Seaford High School cafeteria on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., to kick off another Relay season. The party is open to the community and all are invited to attend. Pizza and sodas will be available for dinner. Come hear cancer survivor Barbara Nissley's brave story. There is no cost to attend and this is not a fundraising event. This party is being held to inform the community and increase participation in the night-long Relay for Life event usually held during the first weekend of June at Soroptimist Park in Seaford. Relay for Life is a chance to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer and fight back by making personal commitments to taking action and saving lives.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1:30 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mears Rehabilitation Center, 300 Health Services Dr., Seaford. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors meet in groups to discuss concerns, provide support and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a General Cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the first floor resource library of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month. For the winter months the group will meet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this program. All support groups offered at The Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. For more information about The Wellness Community, visit

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pick Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided. Heart and Stroke Gala The 2011 Southern Delaware Heart and Stroke Gala, "An Evening in Oz," will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Sheraton Dover Hotel. The annual event benefits the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. Volunteers are actively planning the gala. Volunteers work on committees, including sponsorship, publicity, auction, hospitality, multimedia, website, entertainment, casino, photography and decorating. To find out more about sponsorship or to volunteer, contact Karen Gritton, special events director at or 286-5705. You may also contact the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association's Delaware office toll free at 877-750-4276.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.The location rotates each week of the month according to the following schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.