Thursday, December 20, 2012
Family is important at Christmas

By Dr. Anthony Policastro As we approach Christmas, we will begin making plans to be with our families. We sometimes forget that we will celebrate a limited number of Christmases in the course of a lifetime. For most of us, there will be less than 90 of them, which is about three months worth out of an entire lifetime. So we need to make sure that we make good use of that time. For example, if you get together with your family every other year, that cuts it down to just 45 in a lifetime. Thus, the first thing is to treasure those times that you do have. At Christmas kids get a long break from school which explains why Disney World is so full that week. It is important to ask yourself if that is the right time to be on a vacation far away from the rest of your family. Another thing about being with family at this time of the year are the long standing quarrels. Often these quarrels go on for years. In most cases, they are based on petty things. One of the two individuals has to make the effort to smooth things over. You might be the person to do that. Children learn from their parents. They will develop Christmas traditions based upon what they see. If their parents are about family at Christmastime, they will be too. Some parents will be upset when they do not see their children at Christmas. The same is true of grandparents. The question in these cases is what kind of example did they set for their children at Christmastime when the children were growing up? The example needed to include the importance of being together. It needed to include the family traditions that made their family special and different. I still remember my family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day dinner. The Christmas dinner would begin at 3 p.m. with the antipasto. It would extend to the pasta and meatballs and salad at 4. The main course of roast beef with the typical side dishes would be at 5, followed by dessert at 7. The nightcap would be the fruit and nuts at 8. While not every family has this tradition, each of us has something that we cling to from our family history. It is like the old story that everyone has heard. Mother takes the roast for the holiday meal. She cuts off a piece and removes it. Her daughter asks her why. Mother says that is what she was taught by her mother. Her mother is there so they ask her why. She says it was what she was taught by her mother. Great grandmom is also there. When they ask her why, she responds that she only had a small pan so she had to cut off the end so it would fit. Some traditions exist without a great reason but they are traditions nevertheless. As we make plans this month, we need to think about the best way for ourselves and our families to celebrate Christmas. We each have less than 90 of them left.

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 ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. 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 Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Organ donation campaign expands The Delaware Healthcare Assciation and Gift of Life Donor Program are pleased to announce that the Medical Society of Delaware and Delaware Health and Social Services have joined Delaware's Statewide Organ Donor Designation Campaign a targeted effort to increase the number of registered organ and tissue donors in Delaware by 28,000 by the end of April 2013. The campaign will emphasize the online donor registry, accessed through In Delaware, only 47.5% of the state's licensed drivers or state I.D card holders have registered as donors. The campaign partners are working together to increase the state's organ and tissue donor designation rate to at least 50% by the end of April 2013. Progress has been steady toward meeting the campaign's goal with close to 10,000 new enrollees added since the campaign launched in April 2012.

Decline in nation's homelessness On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before. In releasing HUD's latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan noted that local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness despite the economic downturn. Local homeless housing and service providers in Delaware reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people decreased by 2.6 percent between 2011 and 2012. Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation's homeless population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).

The Obama Administration's strategic plan to end all homelessness by 2020 is called Opening Doors a roadmap by 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. More information about HUD and its programs is available at and

Delaware is 31st in health ranking Americans are living longer because of several medical advances, but unhealthy behavior and preventable illness threaten quality of life, according to United Health Foundation's 2012 America's Health Rankings. While premature, cardiovascular and cancer deaths have declined since 1990 by 18.0 percent, 34.6 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively, Americans are experiencing troubling levels of obesity (27.8 percent of the adult population), diabetes (9.5 percent of the adult population), high blood pressure (30.8 percent of the adult population) and sedentary behavior (26.2 percent of the adult population). Delaware is 31st when compared with the health of other states. A closer look at individual health areas shows that Delaware tops the charts in some aspects of health, but in other areas falls among the worst in the nation. For instance, Delaware has the 3rd lowest rate of infectious disease, but is ranked 47th for its high infant mortality rate. To see the rankings in full, visit:

Breathe Well facilitator workshop The American Lung Association in Delaware invites all healthcare professionals and professionals trained in asthma management to join them for the Breathe Well, Live Well Facilitator Workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 630 Churchmans Rd., Ste. 202, Newark. The workshop will train qualified health professionals to be Breathe Well, Live Well certified facilitators. Breathe Well, Live Well is an adult asthma management program from the American Lung Association. The workshop costs $300 for the day, with breakfast and lunch included. For more information or to RSVP, call Nicole Goldsboro at 302-737-6414 or email at

2013 Biggest Loser Challenge Bayhealth Lifestyles Fitness Center, 2013 Biggest Loser Challenge is looking for individuals who need to lose 10 or more pounds and would like the help of our expert fitness coaches to achieve their goals. The Biggest Loser Challenge begins Jan. 7, 2013 and will end March 30. During the 12-week program, each participant will work with a fitness coach; participate in weekly weigh-ins; receive fitness/nutrition handouts; keep a weekly food diary; and track performance goals. At the end of the challenge, the contestant who has lost the greatest percentage of his/her original weight will win the grand prize. Last year's competition featured 101 contestants who lost a combined 1,116 pounds. To participate, visit Bayhealth Lifestyles Fitness Center in Dover or Milford during regular business hours to pick up a medical history form and registration packet. Costs include a $50 participation fee and three-month membership ($150 for Dover/$125 for Milford).

Go Red for Women 2013 The Southern Delaware Go Red For Women will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Tickets, which are $35 each, include extensive health screenings, $10 gift card from Macy's, guest gift bag and lunch, entertainment that includes fashion show and silent auction. Table sponsorships are $1,000 and exhibitor sponsorships are $1,500. The event begins at 10 a.m. with lunch and the program starting at noon. For more information, visit

Sussex Tech offers CEHRS program The nation's health care delivery system is rapidly being transformed by the introduction of computer based health information systems. The Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRSÂȘ) program offered by Sussex Tech Adult Division covers the information necessary to earn your certification in this exciting new field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is anticipating explosive growth in the number of jobs needed by the health care industry over the next five to seven years. Prepare yourself for employment in this area by enrolling today in this program and by earning a nationally recognized certification. Classes are forming now and will begin on Jan. 15, 2013. For more information or to enroll, call the Sussex Tech Adult Division office at 856-9035 or visit

Private imaging firm joins network The Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), the nation's first state-wide health information exchange, has announced that Papastavros' Associates Medical Imaging is now posting their results for Delaware patients on the DHIN network. Papastavros' is the largest diagnostic outpatient imaging firm in Delaware. Papastavros Associates joins a network that includes all Delaware acute care hospitals and other major laboratories and image providers. Together they post more than 9,000,000 clinical results annually to the network, ensuring a comprehensive record of results from all medical sources is available for physicians to use. For more information about DHIN, visit or call 302-678-0220.