Thursday, February 02, 2012
Raising children with health related problems

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Many adults live with chronic diseases. This is not usually the case with children. However, there are some illnesses that children have that are chronic in nature. Some are serious and include things like congenital heart disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. These diagnoses are very different. They affect very different parts of the body. However, the approach that parents have to their children in these situations is very similar. That approach often involves four major characteristics. The first characteristic can be described as overwrought. Parents will often feel guilty for their childs illness. This might be because they think that they did something to cause it. Or, it might be because it is genetic in nature and, therefore, inherited. They might feel that they should have been able to prevent it. This guilt is usually misplaced. If we had ways of preventing these things from happening, we would have taken steps in advance. We do not. Blaming themselves is not a productive way for parents to approach their child. The second thing is that parents may become overprotective. They begin to look at their child as being fragile. They might not allow the child to engage in normal childhood activities. The result is that the child does not get exposed to things that normal children are exposed to. For that reason, they do not develop the way they should. It is important to let the specialist seeing the child help the parents decide which activities are acceptable. The third thing is that parents may become over-permissive. Since their child has physical problems they might feel their child should have other advantages which leads the parents to give the child more things than they would normally do. This might create an unnecessary financial burden for the family. This will also have an effect on the childs mental development. It is good for children to understand that they cannot always have everything that they want. That is the way they learn to handle disappointment and grow up to be responsible adults. Being too permissive with a child can have long term psychological effects. The fourth thing is that parents may become overbearing. Their child might need more medical care than other children, however, the time that is spent with the ill child needs to be balanced with the time given to their other children. The other children should not feel left out or like second class citizens. Parents have to find the right mix of spending time with all of their children. There are some parents who act this way toward their children who do not even have a chronic medical issue. In those instances, they might view one of their children as more prone to illness than the others. The result is the same kind of "overages" that we see with the child who has a chronic illness. We need to remember that even the child with a chronic illness has normal childhood developmental needs. We have to treat them as we do any other child to meet those needs. Their siblings have needs as well. They should not be deprived of having those needs met because their parents have a focus that is too channeled to be beneficial to all their children.

Run to the Plunge 5k The Run to the Plunge 5K to benefit Special Olympics Delaware is Saturday, Feb. 4 at 1 p.m., at Rehoboth Avenue and the Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach. Entry is $20 ($25 day of). Amenities include long-sleeve t-shirts and refreshments. Awards to the top three overall male and female champions, top male and female masters, and top three in 5-year age classes. For more information, call 302-831-4653 or email Register online at

Del Tech offers CNA program Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus is offering a certified nursing assistant program this spring to teach students how to safely perform basic nursing skills under the supervision of a licensed nurse. There will be an orientation session for the program at 5 p.m. on Feb. 6. The program begins March 19, and will be held from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until May 30. Once the program is complete, students will be qualified to take the Nurse Aid Competency Exam for certification. Admission fee, exam fee and criminal background check and drug screening will not be included in the cost of tuition. For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966, or register online at

EMT basic certification offered Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus is offering an EMT basic certification course for anyone interested in becoming part of the first response of the emergency medical system - an emergency medical technician. A free information session will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6. This session will detail the requirements, course content and expectations for successfully completing the course. The course will begin April 9, and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays until Aug. 29. The course will teach participants how to care for patients at the scene of an accident and transport them by ambulance to the hospital. Participants will learn basic emergency skills to asses a patients condition and manage respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies. The course combines 120 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of practical sessions and hands-on learning. Participants will have to schedule ambulance ride-along hours, and additional Saturday training sessions are required to complete the course. An exam fee, State of Delaware certification fee and criminal background check and drug screening costs are not included in tuition. For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966, or register online at

Polysomnography program offered Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus is offering polysomnography certificate training this spring for anyone interested in becoming a polysomnographer technologist. The polysomnography certificate training program will be held for 16 sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 10 p.m. beginning April 2 and ending May 23. Participants also need to have a criminal background check and drug screening, which is not included in the cost of the program. Polysomnographers usually work in sleep laboratories or sleep centers, and operate a variety of sophisticated monitoring devices, record brain activity, muscle and eye movement, respiration, blood oxygen levels and other physiologic events. Some technologists are also involved in treatment methods, and can also transition into management and marketing of sleep centers. For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966, or register online at

Alzheimers support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals next Alzheimers Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at LifeCare at Lofland Parks first floor Resident Lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimers 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.

Del Tech offers LPN refresher courses Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus will be offering several LPN refresher courses aimed at licensed practical nurses who are looking to update their knowledge and skill, or who are not currently practicing but want to maintain their knowledge and skill. LPN Refresher Course - Theory/Clinical is aimed at licensed practical nurses not actively practicing and wanting to update their theoretical knowledge and clinical skills to return to clinical practice. The course will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for 16 weeks beginning Feb. 13 and ending April 12. Participants must have completed a background check, drug screening, physical, TB test and CPR before the class starts. Fees for those are not included with class tuition. LPN Refresher Course Theory will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for eight weeks beginning Feb. 13 and ending April 2. This course is designed for licensed practical nurses who wish to update their theoretical knowledge. LPN Refresher Course - Lab/Skills will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. three nights per week for four weeks beginning March 14 and ending April 4. This course is designed for licensed practical nurses who wish to update their clinical skills. LPN Refresher Course - Clinical will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for four days from April 9-12. This course is designed for licensed practical nurses who wish to update their clinical skills to return to clinical practice. Participants interested in this course must first complete LPN Refresher Theory and LPN Refresher Lab/Skills.

For more information, or to register, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966, or register online at

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants 12 years old and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Stroke and Osteoporosis screenings Residents living in and around the Seaford community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. Woodland United Methodist Church will host Life Line Screening on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The site is located at 5123 Woodland Church Rd., Seaford. Four key points every person needs to know:
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of permanent disability
  • 80% of stroke victims had no apparent warning signs prior to their stroke
  • Preventive ultrasound screenings can help you avoid a stroke
  • Screenings are fast, noninvasive, painless, affordable and convenient
For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-697-9721 or visit Pre-registration is required. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Many sites offer finger-stick blood tests to check for cholesterol and glucose. Packages start at $149. All five screenings take 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Three elected to board Angel Alicea, MD, Penny Short, Nanticoke Health Services CNO, & Lori Lee, director of Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals ICU, have been elected to the Board of the Southern Delaware Division of the American Heart and Stroke Association. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans; stroke is the number three killer (all types of cancer combined is the number two killer). The Southern Delaware Heart & Stroke Associations mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. For more information, visit or call 1-800-AHA-USA-1.

Diabetes education classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a four-session diabetes education program on Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28 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. The goal is to give you the self-management skills to control your diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions. Pre-registration is required prior to attending classes. To register and to obtain more information regarding the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Southern Delaware Heart Ball Come dance the night away for a good cause at the Southern Delaware Heart Ball. The ball will be held at the Dover Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. A premier black-tie event, the Heart Ball raises funds for heart disease and stroke. Chairs are Steve and Rosie Rose of Nanticoke Health Services. For more information, visit or contact Karen Gritton at 302-286-5705 or

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. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Tobacco relapse support group Bayhealth Medical Center is pleased to offer a new support group for individuals who recently quit using tobacco products. The "Tobacco Relapse Prevention Support Group" will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on March 20, May 22, July 24, Sept. 11 and Nov. 8, 2012. The group will meet in Bayhealths BETT Conference Room at 208 W. Water St. in Dover. This support group is designed to help individuals focus on relapse prevention and provides networking opportunities for participants to share their unique experiences and success stories with others. There is no need to register in advance for this support group For more information, contact Bayhealth Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724.

NAR-ANON support group "Take Heart, Be Strong" is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices "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 throughout Sussex County. "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 Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delawares newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depression to find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delawares BluePrints for the Community program.