Thursday, March 22, 2007
Importance of staying positive

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There is an old saying that goes: "Familiarity breeds contempt." One of the steps of infant development is the social smile. When the infant first smiles, everyone gets excited. Phone calls are made. Everyone is called to watch the infant smile again. This goes on for several weeks. During that time, the infant learns that the smile causes a ruckus. For that reason, he/she does it more. It becomes a habit. Once the habit is developed, we take it for granted. Sometimes we try to get a smile. However, we do not make a big fuss out of it. The habit continues so the infant smiles even without the reinforcement. We do the same things with others in our life. Telling our spouses and children we love them is not done often enough. Thanking our spouses for the little things they do every day is not done often enough. Thanking our children for eating their dinner is not done often enough. Once things become habits, we take them for granted. There are lots of opportunities to give positive reinforcement to those we love. We just don't think about is as much as we should. When things go wrong, we do not hesitate to complain. For example, if a child usually gets straight A's, we give them praise. If that same child were to get a C, we would make a big to do about it. The message that gets sent is that A's are no big things, however a C is a big thing. If the child wants attention, the way to get it is to get more C's. We send the wrong message. If our spouse is thrifty, we take their spending habits for granted. The one time they do some impulse buying, we get upset with them. The message that gets sent is that they spend foolishly. In actuality, the only reason, it becomes a big thing is that it is unusual. However, that is not the way it seems. Each of us interacts with other family members multiple times each day. That interaction should include praise as much as possible. If your spouse cooks dinner, you should thank him/her for doing so. Otherwise, you would have had to fend for yourself. If your child comes home and finishes his/her homework without needing prompting, thank him/her. Otherwise you would spend time having to get on him/her to get it done. They have saved you time. There are many opportunities to provide this kind of feedback. The result will be that when negative feedback is needed, it is rare. Each of us needs to feel wanted. It is important to hear our loved ones say so. We need to make sure we do it consistently. Otherwise familiarity will indeed breed contempt.

Dr. Anthony Policastro is Medical Director at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Four communities join to promote healthy Lifestyles
The four Mayors from the City of Seaford and the towns of Georgetown, Laurel, and Bridgeville will be coming together in one room on March 23, at 7:30 a.m. along with Nemours Representatives and the Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition representatives to meet with the press to get the message out to the community "that the health and welfare of the citizens of Sussex is important to them and they are committed in helping promote that health." Each community has committed time and resources for the up-coming community walks to be held March 31 in each of the four communities. The Mayors hope that out of this awareness activity more people will commit to living a healthier lifestyle. The communities would like to see walking clubs started in their community for citizens to help and support one another to live a healthier lifestyle. Mayor Ed Butler of Seaford, Mayor Joe Conoway of Bridgeville, Mayor John Shwed of Laurel and Mayor Mike Wyatt of Georgetown will sign proclamations taking a stand on the importance of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and will talk about the ways each town is helping to support those lifestyles. This Press conference will last approximately 20-30 minutes. This is part of an overall Initiative to promote Healthy Lifestyles in Youth and prevent early onset diabetes and obesity in children. The Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition in Partnership with Nemours Health and Prevention Services is helping get the message out using the 5-2-1-Almost None Message. The five stands for you should eat a healthy diet that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The two stands for limiting children's screen time (TV, Videos, Internet) to no more than two hours of use per day. The one stands for one hour of physical activity each day and almost none is the sugar sweetened drinks by promoting increased water and low fat milk. If you would like to know more about the 5-2-1AN program and other programs that might be running in your area log onto the Coalition Website at or call the Sussex County Child Health Promotion Coalition at 1-302-444-9062.

Cancer rates continue to decline
Delaware's cancer mortality rate has declined for the ninth consecutive time while the state's cancer incidence rate increased slightly, continuing a fluctuating pattern for four consecutive times, according to the report "Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware," released today by Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH). Delaware's cancer mortality rate declined 2.2 percent from 211.6 per 100,000 people from 1998-2002 to an estimated 206.9 per 100,000 people in 1999-2003. Delaware's cancer incidence rate increased less than 1 percent from 500.0 per 100,000 people to 503.5 per 100,000 people during this same time period. Delaware's African American population has experienced a 25.4 percent reduction in cancer mortality since 1990-1994. The U.S. cancer mortality rate for 1999-2003 was estimated at 195.7 per 100,000. But Delaware's cancer mortality rates declined more rapidly than in the U.S., dropping 15 percent between the 1990-1994 and 1999-2003, as compared with 8.4 percent in the U.S. The most commonly diagnosed cancers for men were prostate, lung, and colorectal. For women, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers were most commonly diagnosed. The most common cause of cancer deaths for men were lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. For women, lung, breast, and colorectal cancers were the most common causes of cancer deaths.

Family Caregiver Training
The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter sponsors The Family Caregiver Education Series four times per year in each of Delaware's three counties. Easter Seals at 22317 N. DuPont Blvd. in Georgetown will host the training on April 26, from 8 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.. This program includes a Medical Overview; Legal and Financial Issues; Communications, Behaviors and Activities of Daily Living and Community Resources. This training for family caregivers is free and lunch will be provided, but pre-registration is required. For additional information or to register, call Jamie Magee, Branch Office Coordinator, at (302) 854-9788.

Medicare NPI implementation
Delaware Health and Social Services' Division of Medicaid & Medical Assistance will transition from its own program-issued Provider ID numbers to the new Federally-required National Provider Identifier numbers (NPI) on March 26. This change was mandated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA. The use of NPIs is required by Medicaid Programs and by Medicare and all other commercial insurers. The HIPAA law is designed to streamline and reduce the cost of transactions. An important part of the NPI implementation is the requirement that all prescriptions must now identify the prescribing doctor. That means physicians must remember to share their NPI number with pharmacies so their patients can fill prescriptions without disruption. The new NPI numbers must be used by providers completing electronic claims transactions and by healthcare clearinghouses and public or private health plans when processing or paying electronic bills. The NPI provision of the HIPAA law requires that a standard, unique health identifier be adopted for all HIPAA-covered health care providers. Once assigned by the federal government, the 10-digit NPI will never change and will remain with the provider regardless of job or location changes. The Department and Division urges healthcare providers who have not applied for an NPI to do so. Providers who do not have an NPI may call the Medicaid Provider Services helpline at 800-999-3371, Option 0, followed by Option 2, for help.

Relay for Life Friendraiser
The Western Sussex Relay for Life committee members are busy making preparations for this year's Relay for Life. This year's event will be held on May 18, at the Mears Campus in Seaford. If you have participated in previous years, you know that the Relay for Life is an overnight event that helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people walk laps and each team tries to keep at least one team member walking at all times. But, Relay is much more than a walk. It is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. More importantly, Relay gives you the power to help in the fight against cancer. If you are interested in receiving information on how to register a team or for further information, contact Mary Catherine Hopkins at 302-875-7308.

Health and wellness program
Governor Ruth Ann Minner and the state employment benefits committee officially launched DelaWELL, a voluntary state employee health and wellness initiative that will include a confidential health risk assessment and a comprehensive education and lifestyle plan tailored for participants. The program begins with a health risk assessment through a confidential, personalized questionnaire designed to evaluate participants' health status. After completing the health risk assessment, participants will receive a personal report that includes feedback, tools and resources to assist in making lifestyle changes. The program will also offer: personalized lifestyle and disease management coaching programs for conditions such as asthma, diabetes and coronary artery disease; online health resources including a wellness library, health education centers, a drug database, health calculators, recipes and daily health news updates; periodic health-related prizes and limited financial incentives; and unlimited access to a helpline with a professional healthcare coach for those in a high risk category. DelaWELL is designed to target individuals with modifiable lifestyle health risk factors and focuses on long-term behavior changes for these individuals. The state is partnering with StayWell Health Management, an industry leader in health management programming and an independent provider of health promotion programs and services.