Thursday, November 02, 2006
Great American Smokeout coming - get ready to quit
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I first became an Air Force Hospital Commanding Officer in 1986. One of the things I did at that hospital was to make it a non-smoking hospital. Twenty years ago that was unusual. Now it is the norm for hospitals. Most hospitals still have smoking areas for visitors and staff members. However, they are outside the building. A few years ago, Delaware restricted how close to the entrances those smoking areas can be. There is a new trend in smoking awareness. Hospitals are moving to smoke free campuses. That means that smoking will not be allowed anywhere on the hospital property. That will be true for hospital staff. That will be true for visitors. That will be true for patients. A reaction to this might be that it is not fair to smokers to have their ability to smoke in public decreased. In a way that might be true. However, hospitals are in the business of health care. That health care is sometimes in the form of inpatient care. It is sometimes in the form of outpatient care. It is sometimes in the form of community education. Sending a strong message about the dangers of smoking to the community is in line with the mission of hospitals. Telling people that smoking is bad for their health is important. Acting on that moves it to a higher level. It is not a matter of inconveniencing the smokers. It is a matter of stating clearly that smoking is bad for your health. When I took my hospital smoke free, I did not allow patients to smoke at all. They could not get permission to leave the hospital to smoke without a doctor's order. The doctors could only write those orders if they came to see me to justify it. I rarely allowed it. The exception was usually the alcoholic who was coming in to get dried out and go into rehab. Giving up nicotine in addition to the alcohol made it that much harder. I pointed out to the patients that they were entrusting their health to our care. We were going to give them the right medicine for that. We were not going to allow them to injure their health by smoking. Occasionally patients would try smoking in their bathrooms. When we caught them, we would send them a further message. If they were active duty military, I would give them a direct order to cease and desist. If they disobeyed that order, I could court martial them. If they were dependents or retirees, I would transfer them to a civilian hospital. Their cost share would go from the military rate of $8 per day to 20 percent of their entire hospital bill. That offered financial incentive to not sneak a cigarette. Those kinds of options are not available in the civilian world. Smokers sometimes start hospital fires. Hospitals cannot allow that level of risk. As we approach the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday in November, all of this needs to be taken into consideration. Now is the time for smokers to think about planning to stop smoking on Nov. 16. Then it would not be an issue regardless of what rules are made. It would not be an issue regardless of how inconvenient smoking becomes.

Dr. Anthony Policastro is medical director at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Public Health flu vaccination
Delaware's Division of Public Health announces its influenza vaccination schedule for Delawareans without a healthcare provider or whose insurance does not cover flu shots. While many DPH adult clinics accept walk in clients, DPH will vaccinate children by appointment only on scheduled days. Medicare Part B and donations are accepted. Sussex County adult clinics
Nov. 14, Tuesday, Laurel Fire Hall, 205 West 10th St., Laurel, 4-7 p.m. Walk In
Nov. 16, Thursday, Laurel Fire Hall, 205 West 10th St., Laurel, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Walk In
Nov. 28, Tuesday Blades Fire Hall, 200 East 5th St., Blades, 4-7 p.m. Walk In
Dec. 7, Thursday, Blades Fire Hall, 200 East 5th St., Blades, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Walk In

Flu shots for children under 18
Children under the age of 18 will be seen by appointment only at the DPH Clinics and State Service Centers. Parents or guardians interested in making appointments for flu shots should call one of these DPH clinics. Sussex County, Georgetown State Service Center, 856-5213 Sussex County, Shipley State Service Center, 628-2006 For more about flu clinic locations and dates, go to

Four join Delaware Hospice
Linda L. Betts, R.N., B.S.N., joined Delaware Hospice as a registered nurse.Ê Betts has 34 years of experience as an occupational health nurse and 15 years as a certified employee assistance professional.Ê She also served as an instructor for the C.N.A. program at Sussex Tech for two years.Ê Betts is a member of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and of the Employee Assistance Professional Association.Ê She earned her B.S.N. and R.N. from Wilmington College. Rose Bussard, M.S.N., R.N., L.P.N., joined Hospice as a registered nurse.Ê Bussard has experience in all phases of nursing, including the holistic approach to nursing care.Ê She was director of nursing at Lewes Convalescent Center and Milford Center.Ê Rose attended B M Spurr School of Practical Nursing for her L.P.N., Hocking College in Ohio for her R.N., and Wesley College in Dover for her M.S.N. Sally Laux, R.N., B.S.N., has been appointed a registered nurse.Ê Laux holds a B.S.N. from Ohio State University.Ê Her healthcare experience includes 25 years of teaching and providing care in the acute care setting and in home health care.Ê She currently has a private practice in alternative healthcare as an acupuncturist. Krystal J. McCoy was appointed medical assistant for Delaware Hospice.Ê She has 15 years work experience with a physical therapy organization. For more information about Delaware Hospice, call 800-838-9800 or visit,

Fine Jewelry Fund Raiser
A Fine Jewelry Sale fund raiser at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in the Main Lobby on Monday, Nov. 6 and Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Presented by Gold Coast and sponsored by Nanticoke Health Services Auxiliary. Open to the public. Sterling silver and 14 kt. gold jewelry - great selections, many new items. Payroll deduction available. All Major Credit Cards accepted.

Reversing aging Biomarkers
A health seminar will be held on November 9, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at St. John's United Methodist Church, Seaford. Participant's will learn how to slow down the aging process and delay the "disability zone" at the end of life using scientifically validated health principles. Question & answer time will follow. For more information call 302-875-1292.