Prevention programs, screenings, and other health information

Downsizing is Workshop Topic at Mercy Circle Open House 

Downsizing is Workshop Topic at Mercy Circle Open House 

Ric Roemer, president of Creative Home Services, will present “What do I do with all this stuff?” during an open house Sun., June 23,11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Mercy Circle continuing care retirement, 3659 W. 99th St. The workshop will be held at 12 p.m.  

“Picking what to keep, what to sell and what to give away to charity or your family is a challenge before moving for older adults who are downsizing,” said Marge Everett, senior living advisor at Mercy Circle. “That’s why seniors can benefit from using a relocation expert like Ric.” 

Since it opened to the public in 2013, Mercy Circle has referred prospective residents to Creative Home Services, an Orland Park-based company that specializes in helping older adults downsize, declutter and prepare their homes for sale. Roemer founded the company 13 years ago, originally to assist real estate agents market their listings. After four years, he niche-focused his efforts to exclusively assisting seniors moving into retirement communities or other down-sized living accommodations. 

His presentation at the Mercy Circle open house will help determine what should stay and what should go using tips like these: 

Take into account the size of the new space; consider the floor plan and cabinet area. 

Think first in terms of “must haves” such as a bed, kitchen table and chairs, couch and lighting. 

Start by sorting items one room or closetduring the process, ask yourself whether you I used or worn that in a year.  

For photos of trips and events, toss pictures without people in them 

For household items and clothing, ask yourself: Would I buy this today?  

For items in basement, garage and storage sheds, ask: Will I be using these when I move?  

Light refreshments will be served, and there is ample parking in Mercy Circle’s lot. Everyone who attends will be able to tour the CCRC’s apartments and amenities. To reserve space at the event or to learn more about moving to Mercy Circle, call Everett at 773-253-3603.  

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Crisis Center of South Suburbia team to combat domestic violence

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers partners with the Crisis Center of South Suburbia to provide screenings, referrals, education and support to patients and staff related to Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Abuse. It is so important for parents to be aware of the potential for unhealthy relationships as their teens enter into the world of dating.  Here is a brief article from the National Domestic Violence Hotline Project Love is Respect to guide parents in “Helping Your Teen Through an Unhealthy Relationship”. 

 

As a parent, the scariest thing you can imagine is your child getting hurt. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that among women and men who have experienced intimate partner violence, 26% of women and 15% of men first experienced violence by a partner before they turned 18. 

 

One thing we can do to help protect our children is take steps to teach them about building safe, respectful relationships. Start by talking to your teens about what healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships look like and how to know when something isn’t right. The signs of abuse can be subtle and teens might not recognize behaviors as unhealthy or abusive, so help them understand the warning signs. At home, you can model healthy behaviors in your own relationships and call out unhealthy and abusive behavior in relationships on TV. Lastly, remind your teens of their self-worth and value as their own, independent person. 

 

What should you do if you suspect your teen is in an abusive relationship? You might feel angry, confused, protective, or scared. Your instinct may be to demand information or jump into the situation to help your child in whatever way you can. While well-intentioned, rushing into action can sometimes backfire and stop the conversation before it begins. Here are some ways you can help your teen if he or she is experiencing abuse. 

 

Listen and Give Support  

When talking to your teen, be supportive and don’t make accusations. If they do open up to you, it’s important to be a good listener. They may feel ashamed of what’s happening in their relationship. Many teens fear that their parents will overreact, blame them, or be disappointed. Others worry that their parents won’t believe them or understand. If they do come to you to talk, let it be on their terms, and meet them with understanding, not judgment. You might say something like, “It seems like you might be worried about something. Want to tell me about it?” Of course, if your teen is in immediate danger, call 911 or go to an emergency room. 

 

Accept What Your Child Is Telling You 

It’s important to know that your teen might be experiencing physical or emotional abuse. Emotional abuse includes insulting or attempting to scare your partner in an attempt to wear down their self-worth and isolate them from their support systems. Abusers may tell their partners things like, “Nobody will believe you.” Showing doubt, then, may reinforce that idea and make your teen hesitant to tell you when things are wrong in the future. It might also drive your teen closer to their abuser. Offer your unconditional support and make sure they know you are taking them seriously. 

 

Show Concern 

Show your teen concern by reminding them of how they deserve to be treated. Try saying things like, “You deserve to be with someone who treats you with respect,” “This is not your fault,” or “I’m worried that you feel scared and unsafe in your relationship.” 

 

Talk About the Behaviors, Not the Person 

Since people who abuse seek to isolate their partners, your teen may be hearing things like, “Your parents hate me. They’re trying to sabotage our relationship and control your life.” Because of this, it is often more effective to speak to your child about specific behaviors you don’t like, rather than being critical of the abusive partner or the relationship as a whole. For example, instead of saying, “Your partner is controlling,” you could say, “It concerns me that they tell you who you can or can’t text. In a healthy relationship, partners trust(link is external) each other to talk to anyone they want.” Remember that there still may be love in the relationship, and respect your child’s feelings. Talking badly about your child’s partner could discourage your teen from asking for your help in the future. 

 

Avoid Ultimatums 

Resist the urge to give an ultimatum. For example, “If you don’t break up with them right away, you’re grounded.” For a breakup to be truly successful, your teen must be ready to walk away from the relationship. If you force the decision, they may be tempted to return to their partner because of unresolved feelings. Also, leaving is the most dangerous time for those experiencing abuse. Trust that your teen knows their situation better than you do and will leave when they’re ready. If they’re not ready to leave the relationship, or if they do leave and then get back together many times, it’s still important to be supportive. You can brainstorm ways they can stay safer(link is external) in their relationship. 

 

Decide on Next Steps Together 

Creating a safety plan can help someone who is experiencing abuse feel prepared for different situations and be more independent when they are ready to leave the relationship. When you’re talking to your teen about a safety plan, know that the decision has to come from your teen. Ask what next steps they would like to take. If they’re uncomfortable discussing this with you, help them find additional support. Suggest that they reach out to a trusted friend, counselor, or advocate, and direct them to free and confidential resources for help. 

 

As a parent, you play an important role in helping your teen develop healthy relationships and can provide life-saving support if they are in an abusive relationship. 

 

Here are some resource to obtain more information about domestic violence and to seek help: 

A New Direction https://www.anewdirectionbmp.org/ 

Archdiocese of Chicago Domestic Violence Ministry https://pvm.archchicago.org/human-dignity-solidarity/domestic-violence-outreach 

Crisis Center of South Suburbia 708 429- SAFE; https://www.crisisctr.org/  

National Hotline for Domestic Violence 1-800-799-SAFE or 800.787.3224 TTY 

Illinois Hotline for Domestic Violence 877.863.6338.  

Visit www.batteredwomensnetwork.org for more information. 

 

Together, we can make a difference. 

 

Little Company of Mary Hospital Excels in Patient Safety 

Little Company of Mary Hospital Excels in Patient Safety 

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (LCMH) was awarded an A” from the Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. The designation recognizes LCMH’s efforts in protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care. The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns grades to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.  

“Receiving an improved ‘A’ Grade Hospital Safety Score further validates our commitment to the quality and safety of our patients and is a significant milestone on our journey toward High Reliability,” said John Hanlon, MD, MMM, President and CEO of LCMH. “My vision is to keep quality and safety at the forefront of all that we do and continue these efforts, providing high quality care for our patients and community.” 

Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s  

methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public. To see LCMH’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.  

LCMH achieves accolades for quality, provides new medical advances and offers a convenient range of services to the community. For more information, or to see all of LCMH’s recent quality accolades, visit www.LCMH.org 

Little Company of Mary Hospital Health News: Calling All Men

 

By Eileen McNichols MSN, RN 
Director, Pastoral Care Services and Community Health 
Little Company of Mary Hospital  

Men can be so busy taking care of home and family that they may neglect their own health. Studies show that men make only two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do. Some men who know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a problem, may suffer in silence, afraid to find out whether something is wrong.  Others may attribute changes in physical health to aging, and accept symptoms that could easily be relieved as a normal part of life.  These behaviors can have a negative effect on quality of life.  

Take prostate health for example.  The prostate gland becomes enlarged with advancing age, leading to obstruction of the urinary system, a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). More than 30 million men suffer from BPH. Symptoms include sleepless nights and urinary problems, loss of productivity and depression.  

There are a few lifestyle changes that can help manage mild symptoms of BPH Relax and allow plenty of time to urinate. Drink fluids throughout the day. During the night, if you awaken frequently to urinate, limit your fluid intake in the evening and empty your bladder before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol. It is a bladder irritant. If possible, avoid medicines that can make urination difficult, such as nonprescription antihistamines, decongestants (including nasal sprays) and allergy pills. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all of the medications you take. 

Many men fear that treatment for their urinary symptoms will lead to erectile dysfunction. The urologists at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) have treatment options that can preserve sexual function while at the same time relieve the urinary problems associated with BPH.    

Some men express concern that the symptoms they experience are related to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, usually causing no symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. It can often be found before symptoms start by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. Another way to screen for prostate cancer is the digital rectal exam in which the doctor actually feels the prostate gland.  Want more information about your personal risk factors for prostate cancer? Visit tests.lcmcancercare.org to take a free online test offered by LCMH. 

Top Programs in June 

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Info/registration: Health Education Center708423 5774  

In Balance: “Radiculopathy- Pain, Numbness, and Tingling” presented by Neck and Spine Surgeon. Gurpal Pannu, MD, Thurs., June 6, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Free.  

Annual Men’s Wellness Event, Sat., June 8, 7:30 to 10:30a.m., featuring Comprehensive Wellness Screening with labs, blood pressure, BMI, oxygenation, and visit with Wellness Nurse Educator; Prostate Cancer Screening for men who meet the criteria: and “Be Your Personal Best” health seminar with Michael Hurtuk, MD. $85 (no PSA/exam) or $100 (with PSA/exam). Registration required.  

Health Academy, Lifting the Veil on Viruses: West Nile, Lyme’s Disease and Zika Virus presented by Wellness Nurse Educator Marilyn Cronin, Mon., June 10, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free. 

Wake Up Call Screening, comprehensive stroke screening that includes lab work, ultrasounds of the carotid artery and abdominal aorta, peripheral vascular screening, heart rhythm screening and more, Sat., June 22, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Reservations required. $160. 

20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk Set for Mother’s Day  

20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk Set for Mother’s Day  

Last year, more than 14,000 men, women and children walked the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood in commemoration of the countless wives, daughters and mothers who fought the war on breast cancer. Flash back 19 years, the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk (BBCW) only consisted of three pioneering women whose vision would inspire the Southland community to think pink on Mother’s Day. 

Nearly two decades ago, area resident Carol Moriarty sought treatment at Little Company of Mary Hospital’s (LCMH) Comprehensive Breast Health Center to aid her in her battle with breast cancer. After a successful plan of treatments, Moriarty found herself cancer-free with a new profound vision for life.  

In 1999Moriarty, her sister Nancy Mulcahy and longtime friend Lisa O’Brien decided to give Southland residents a local option in raising funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. What started as a walk among a group of friends and family on Mother’s Day quickly grew into thousands of participants and community-wide event that today has raised more than $6 million with proceeds benefiting the programs and technology at LCMH’s award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center. For two decades, a talented group of committee members have donated their time and talents to make the BBCW a bigger success each year 

The countless hours spent by the committee and dedicated volunteers on registration, marketing, fundraising, entertainment, and merchandising has not gone unnoticed, and  

our gratitude for what all the effort accomplishes is immense,” said Brian Lepacek, MDiv, Executive Director of the Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation. “This year’s 20th anniversary milestone is living proof that if we join hands and talents together, we can make a difference – and save lives.” 

Over the past 19 years, BBCW support of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center has impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors. With generous community support in 2018, the BBCW was able to sustain its support of current breast health programming and continue deepening its impact with the establishment of a BBCW Crisis Fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs within our community. Additionally, a portion of the 2018 event proceeds supported a “sister-walk” partnership with the international organization, People Helping People, bringing much-needed medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in poverty-stricken El Salvador. 
The 20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk will take place on Mother’s Day, Sun., May 12, starting at 8 a.m. at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. 

Register early to receive a t-shirt with the $30 entry fee. The entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15. Same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children. T-shirt availability is not guaranteed for day-of registrants. To register, go to www.BeverlyBreastCancerWalk. 

Think FAST… 

 

Eileen McNichols MSN, RN 
Director, Pastoral Care Services and Community Health 
Little Company of Mary Hospital  

May is the month that we really believe summer is coming. In healthcare, we celebrate May as National Stroke Awareness month.  With early recognition and management, the number of people surviving stroke with improved functionality is steadily improving. The old saying “knowledge is power” is certainly true when it comes to stroke. The more people are aware of risk factors , signs and symptoms, and appropriate response to stroke, the more likely we are to prevent and manage stroke in such a way that quality of life is enhanced. 

According to the American Stroke Association, “most strokes are preventable and a large percentage of the ones that happen are treatable with the right care, right away. It’s a matter of knowing what to do, taking action and spreading the word.  The risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, carotid artery and peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation and sickle cell disease.  Working with your primary care provider to manage these risk factors decreases the chances that you will have a stroke.   

Recently, stroke has gone from the third to the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. which is monumental achievement.  If you can remember the phrase Think FAST, you can be a stroke champion and help to continue the success of minimizing the number of people who experience stroke, maximizing early access to care and improving the quality of life for stroke victims. 

FACE: Drooping on one side of the face. Ask the person to smile. 

ARM: Weakness on one side. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? 

SPEECH: Slurred speech. Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?  

TIME:  If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 to get the person to the hospital immediately. Treatment that begins within 4.5 hours of the first sign of a stroke results in the best outcome.  

Little Company of Mary Hospital is a primary stroke center, recognized by the Joint Commission of Hospital Accreditation as a place where stroke patients receive excellent care To learn your personal risk factors for stroke, sign up for the Wake Up Call screening. You can help prevent stroke and its long term consequences if you remember to Think FAST. 

Top Programs in May 

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Registration: 708423-5774. 

Health Academy — Updates on Stroke Management from the Experts: A Panel Presentation, Mon., May 13, 11 a.m. to noon. Free.  

CHEER puts the power of humor to work in your life with “Live, Laugh, Love, Wed., May 15, 11 a.m. to noon. Free.  

Wake Up Call screening, Sat., May 18, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., a one-hour screening that could save your lifeIncludes lab work, ultrasounds of the carotid and abdominal aortic arteries, peripheral vascular screening, heart rhythm screening and more. Appointment required. $160. 

Free blood pressure screenings, every Tues. and Thurs., 10:30 a.m. to noon,  West Pavilion outside the Women’s Center. No appointment required.  

 

May is National Stroke Awareness month.  With early recognition and management, the number of people surviving stroke with improved functionality is steadily improving. The more people are aware of risk factors, signs and symptoms, and appropriate response to stroke, the more likely we are to prevent and manage stroke in such a way that quality of life is enhanced. Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St.presents  Updates on Stroke Management from the Experts: A Panel Presentation, Mon., May 13, 11 a.m. to noon. Free. Registration: 708-423-5774. Read more about preventing and surviving a stroke in The Villager  

 

 

Think FAST to Recognize Signs of Stroke

Eileen McNichols MSN, RN
Director, Pastoral Care Services and Community Health Little Company of Mary Hospital

May is the month that we really believe summer is coming. In healthcare, we celebrate May as National Stroke Awareness month. With early recognition and management, the number of people surviving stroke with improved functionality is steadily improving. The old saying “knowledge is power” is certainly true when it comes to stroke. The more people are aware of risk factors , signs and symptoms, and appropriate response to stroke, the more likely we are to prevent and manage stroke in such a way that quality of life is enhanced.

According to the American Stroke Association, “most strokes are preventable and a large percentage of the ones that happen are treatable with the right care, right away. It’s a matter of knowing what to do, taking action and spreading the word.” The risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, carotid artery and peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation and sickle cell disease. Working with your primary care provider to manage these risk factors decreases the chances that you will have a stroke.

Recently, stroke has gone from the third to the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. which is monumental achievement. If you can remember the phrase Think FAST, you can be a stroke champion and help to continue the success of minimizing the number of people who experience stroke, maximizing early access to care and improving the quality of life for stroke victims.

FACE: Drooping on one side of the face. Ask the person to smile.
ARM: Weakness on one side. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH: Slurred speech. Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?
TIME: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 to get the person to the hospital immediately. Treatment that begins within 4.5 hours of the first sign of a stroke results in the best outcome.

Little Company of Mary Hospital is a primary stroke center, recognized by the Joint Commission of Hospital Accreditation as a place where stroke patients receive excellent care. To learn your personal risk factors for stroke, sign up for the Wake Up Call screening. You can help prevent stroke and its long term consequences if you remember to Think FAST.

Top Programs in May
Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Registration: 708-423-5774.

Health Academy — Updates on Stroke Management from the Experts: A Panel Presentation, Mon., May 13, 11 a.m. to noon. Free.
CHEER puts the power of humor to work in your life with “Live, Laugh, Love,” Wed., May 15, 11 a.m. to noon. Free.
Wake Up Call screening, Sat., May 18, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., a one-hour screening that could save your life. Includes lab work, ultrasounds of the carotid and abdominal aortic arteries, peripheral vascular screening, heart rhythm screening and more. Appointment required. $160.
Free blood pressure screenings, every Tues. and Thurs., 10:30 a.m. to noon, West Pavilion outside the Women’s Center. No appointment required.

You’re the Boss When it Comes to Healthcare

By Eileen McNichols, Little Company of Mary Hospital

Most adults prefer to make important decisions about their life for themselves. Not that you don’t seek input from trusted friends and family members, a pastor or other personal counselor, but ultimately the decision is yours. This is known as autonomy. When it comes to healthcare, autonomy means the right of a competent adult to make informed decisions about their own medical care.

Typically, you don’t ponder the intricacies of medical care when you are doing well. However, when crisis occurs, you may be compromised intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Is this the best time to make decisions that can affect the rest of your life? If you were to become incapacitated, does anyone know what your preferences in a difficult medical situation would be? Would your spouse or adult child be comfortable or have the emotional ability to make a decision about medical care on your behalf if you were incapacitated?

While this may seem like a difficult topic to throw out at the dinner table, consider the alternative: Living a life in a compromised state in which you no longer have control over what is happening to you. Give your loved ones a valuable gift. Relieve them of the burden of making these difficult decisions. Make them yourself.

National Health Care Decision Week is Apr. 15-21.  Utilize this week as an opportunity to have a conversation with a trusted person about your preferences for healthcare. Complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA) document and designate a trusted person to be your healthcare agent, your voice if you cannot speak for yourself. This form is simple to fill out yet will play a crucial role should the time come when it is needed. You do not need an attorney and the document does not need to be notarized. This form simply ensures that your preferences will drive the decisions that need to be made about your medical care.

On Sat., Apr. 13, 2to 3 p.m., Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., will hold a free seminar on Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Seminar. For information or to register, call 708- 4223-5774. For more information, and to access a simple HCPOA to download and complete, visit www.lcmh.org/yourchoice.  In other words, no matter what happens, and God willing nothing will happen, You’re the Boss.

More April Programs at Little Company of Mary Hospital (info/registration: 708-423-5774)

Annual Adult Health Fair, Sat., Apr. 6, 7:30 to 10 a.m., comprehensive lab work including a take home colon rectal screening kits. Learn about our Primary Stroke Center, how to minimize your risk of having a stroke and what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke. Fee $75. Registration required.

Health Academy: “Here We Go Again – Updates on Colon Health,” Mon., Apr. 8, p 11 a.m. to noon, presented by Dr. Michael Hurtuk. Little Company of Mary Hospital. Free.

Skin Cancer Screening with Dr. Sonya Kenkare, Thurs., Apr. 18, 1 to 3 p.m. Free. If you have an area of concern, Dr. Kenkare will exam and provide guidance to prevent melanoma. Registration required

 

 

Home Cooking: Sticking to Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

By Kristin Boza

The magical time of year when New Year’s resolutions are made is here. At the top of most lists is getting healthy, including eating better and working out more consistently. Jenny Harkins, BAPA business member and owner of Treadfit, 10458 S. Western, shares her tips on turning a New Year’s resolution into a lasting lifestyle change.

Track Calories Realistically
What you eat must be used by your body, otherwise those calories will end up as fat around your midsection. Harkins stays on track by using the MyFitnessPal app. “The app allows you to track your food and workouts throughout the day. I set realistic goals and program my macro percentages to 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein,” she said. “By setting realistic goals and eating a balanced diet, I am not depriving myself of a specific food group and am able to maintain my goal weight.”

Find an Accountability Team
While calorie tracking is a great way to hold yourself responsible for what you eat, let’s face it — it’s hard sometimes. That’s one reason why Treadfit started the Focus on You Challenge to urge participants to eat right, work out, and lean on one another when the healthy lifestyle change gets difficult.

The five-week challenge begins on Jan. 7. Participants commit to completing four to five Treadfit classes a week, plus following the Treadfit Focus Food List. “Everyone who joins will attend a pre- and post-assessment, plus a nutritional workshop. During our first Focus on You Challenge, participants lost an average of seven pounds and eight inches,” Harkins said. The fee for the challenge is $25, which does not include Treadfit classes.

Simplify Your Menu
Harkins finds it easy to stay on track by eating almost the same thing for breakfast and lunch each day. “I usually have an RXBAR for breakfast with a coffee, and Crunchmaster crackers with some type of nut butter for lunch,” she said. “I aim to make a healthy dinner five nights a week for my family, usually with a balance of healthy protein, like ground turkey or chicken, carbs and fat.”

Snack Smartly
Three p.m. is the time when even the healthiest eaters hit a slump. Plan ahead by making a quick and healthy snack to avoid the pitfall of chocolate and cookies. Harkins makes a smoothie bowl, which satisfies her sweet tooth and gives her a much-needed protein boost late in the day.

Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Place the ingredients in a blender:
A splash of skim milk
Greek yogurt
Frozen berries
Two scoops of collagen protein (available at Southtown Health Foods)

Blend.  Harkins tops off her smoothies with a sprinkle of granola, coconut and honey.

Cherished Angels Brings Solace to Grieving Parents

By Abby Johnson 

They are Angel Moms and Angel Dads. Once a month, they gather at Little Company of Mary Hospital’s (LCMH) Family Birth Center, 2800 W. 95th St., for the Cherished Angel monthly perinatal loss support group. This is a safe zone, a place where the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillborn or infant death can be felt- and grieved.  

Dr. Kathryn Gardner, a volunteer on the LCMH Perinatal Loss Committee, leads these sessions. She is a psychologist who helps women cope with fertility, pregnancy and perinatal loss. The grief and anger that follows a perinatal loss can be overwhelming, she said, adding that Cherished Angels provides a needed outlet. 

“People don’t know what to do when this kind of thing happens to them,” Gardner said. “They’re experiencing such turmoil that just taking the step to look for help can be too much.” 

Gardner believes every woman should receive specialized care. When LCMH contacted Gardner with their idea for the Cherished Angels program, she was thrilled and immediately hopped on board. It was the perfect opportunity to show parents that there is hope, and that peace can be found. 

This month is especially important for the Cherished Angels. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a good time for spreading the message that resources are available.  

“It’s common to feel lonely after experiencing something like this,” she said. “This group helps show the Angel Moms and Angel Dads that they’re not alone. Other people are going through the same thing. There are others who understand.” 

Even those who aren’t comfortable talking openly about their pain are welcome at the coping sessions, said Gardner.  

“If you’re someone who just wants to listen, that’s fine, too,” she said. “Everyone is welcome to speak as much or as little as they like.” 

This month’s Cherished Angels support group will take place on Thurs., Oct. 20, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the hospital’s West Pavilion. Guest speaker Rachael Sedor will discuss skills for coping with anxiety and anger, as well as her own experience with perinatal loss. 

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of Cherished Angels. Gardner’s main goal remains the same: To provide emotional support for parents during this difficult time. 

“I just want everyone to know that tranquility is within reach.”  

For more information, email cherishedangelsupport@lcmh.org.