Week of December 21, 2018 – Celebrating the Holiday Spirit

Special thanks to the staff of Food Services for putting out wonderful holiday meals in our hospital cafeterias! And to Management Forum members who donned aprons and picked up spatulas and serving spoons to dish out the holiday fare.

This past week was a festive one thanks to the many decorations and holiday giving “Angel Tree” projects, lots of ugly holiday sweaters (and also some very attractive ones), and the many extra lengths UM SRH team members go to support our patients and each other during this special time of year.

PLEASE NOTE: Compass will not be published next week – look for us again in 2019! In the meantime, best wishes to all from the staff of Marketing & Communications for a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Above & Beyond

The following reports from patients and their family members that reaffirm our staff’s commitment to teamwork and putting our patients’ needs first.
Please take a minute to say THANKS!


Each person I encountered during my surgery at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown was kind and helpful. I felt that they cared for my well-being and comfort. Everything was clean and orderly. I was well prepared and knew what to expect. The nurses were so kind and gentle. I had total confidence in my surgical team and no reason to doubt the skills of my doctor and nurses.


I was seen and treated at UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown before I gave them any insurance information. Excellent attention to detail and my concerns about my eye. I was pain free walking out and am very happy with the service in this ED.


Mary Hynes at Shore Rehab in Easton was thorough and specific when describing each aspect of treatment.  This included initial assessment, goals, exercises, limits and changes as strength returned and pain decreased.  She left me w/an assessment & an understanding of what to do. One of the best health care experiences I’ve seen w/family & friends. I was referred to Mary & already referred two people to her if their doctor prescribes OT. The exercises Mary taught me are part of my new routine.


During an extended hospital stay at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, every single person I have been in contact with has been noticeably trained to be “patient first” … I don’t know how to thank all the nurses who have cared for me with kindness and professionalism…. Likewise for all the medical professionals I’ve encountered, from the staff in the Emergency Department to the hospitalists who treated me like their only patient, to my team of pulmonologists.


Emergency care given by doctors and nurses at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester is always excellent and timely, unlike other facilities in the area.

October Team Members of the Month Named

Belinda Wixon

Congratulations to Belinda Wixon, clinical technologist in the lab at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, and Brian Gast, physical therapist, UM Shore Rehab at Cambridge, on their selection as Team Members of the Month for October 2018.

Of Wixon, nominator Koreen Smith wrote,”Belinda, wonderful, Belinda! You are always the peacemaker.  You always have a smile. You are always willing to help.  You’ve cancelled your plans on the weekend to cover a shift when no one else would. Thank you for agreeing to cover the night shift. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

Brian Gast


Of Gast, nominator Chanere Christian wrote, “Brian went above and beyond the call of duty for our lab patient today. He assisted us with obtaining the specimen that was needed meanwhile still giving the patient his therapy session. It’s truly a pleasure to work with Brian. Thank you and Keep up the great work.”

As part of UM Shore Regional Health’s Celebrate with Heart recognition program, the Team Member of the Month honor promotes UM SRH values of Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence.

NOTE: All Team Member of the Month honorees receive 12,500 points in the UM SRH HEART Recognition and Rewards Program.

X-Ray Services at Denton Diagnostics Suspended Beginning January 1

Beginning after close of business on Monday, December 31, X-Ray services at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Denton Diagnostics, located at 838 S. 5th Avenue, will be unavailable until the practice opens at its new location in the UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Denton. The new Pavilion is slated to open for business on February 5, 2019.

Laboratory services along with all other diagnostic services offered at UM SRH Diagnostic will continue operating under normal business hours, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., during  this time.

For more information and to find other UM SRH diagnostic locations, visit umshoreregional.org/imaging or call 410-479-3510.

2018 UM SRH Community Health Improvement Report Available Online

The 2018 Community Health Improvement Report has been published and is available for viewing at https://www.umms.org/shore/news/2018/um-shore-regional-healths-2018-community-health-improvement-2018

As noted in the introductory message by Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, and Kathleen McGrath, regional director, Outreach and Community Health, the report “reflects UM Shore Regional Health’s commitment to building community partnerships that help foster better health outside the walls of our hospitals and outpatient facilities, while enhancing access to care and the overall quality of life in the five counties we serve … The value of our community benefit programs and services, including charity care, exceeds $40 million, but the value is stronger than money. It is building healthier communities and our steadfast commitment to helping our patients and their families enjoy their best health and quality of life.”

Cancer Center Team Surprises Patients and Families with Holiday Gifts

Staff members of The Cancer Center at Shore Regional Health provided Christmas gifts for cancer patients and their family patients in need this holiday season. “We touched 28 families with surprise gift items ranging therapeutic weighted blankets to pet food, household items, clothing and accessories (such as a sports team sweatshirt and a replacement for a ripped wallet), or a special gift for their child or grandchild that they could not afford due to lost work time during their cancer treatment,” explains Patty Plaskon, oncology social worker at the Cancer Center.

Another 25 Cancer Center patients received Christmas hams and other food items provided by members of First Baptist Church in Easton, who delivered the items to the Center on Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Auxiliary of Dorchester General Hospital Announces New Officers for 2019

Back row (left to right): Alexandra Anderson-Snell, Catherine Gullion and Joy Loeffler. Front row (left to right): Karol Redline, Nancy Duvall, Michelle Mitchell and Nancy Linder.

The Auxiliary of Dorchester General Hospital recently announced their new officers for 2019, as follows:

  • President – Nancy Duvall
  • 1st Vice President – Alexandria Snell
  • 2nd Vice President – Joy Loeffler
  • Recording Secretary – Michelle Mitchell
  • Treasurer – Catherine Gullion
  • Membership Dues Secretary – Karol Redline
  • Corresponding Secretary – Nancy Linder
  • Members-at-Large – Halyna Pagano, ,Barbara Weiss and Pat Wood

“We welcome our new and continuing Auxiliary officers and appreciate the many fundraising efforts they lead to support projects that advance the quality of patient care at Shore Medical Center at Dorchester,” says Brian Leutner, executive director, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester. “Our volunteers make a wonderful difference in the day to day experience of our patients and also our care providers.”

In addition to their volunteer efforts at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, the Auxiliary generates income for programs, services, equipment and patient care at the medical center through the Hospitality Shop and the Robin Hood Shop in Cambridge.

For additional information about Dorchester General Hospital Auxiliary projects or to become a volunteer, contact an Auxiliary member or call 410-228-0091.

2018 Angel Tree at Chestertown: Making Holiday Wishes Come True

Front row: Shannon Temple, RN; Brande Burke, RN; Rebekah Hock, Kent Center; and Lindsay Herr, Kent County Social Services. Middle row: Auxiliary volunteers Lois Smith, Gwinn Derricott and Jeanette Ryan; Kathy Elliott, executive director, UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown; Eden Kinser, RN; Dawn Young, Kent County Social Services; and Debbie Pippin, pharmacist. Back row: Jone Taylor and Daniel Johnson, Queen Anne’s County Social Services.

The Chester River Health Foundation sponsored its eighth annual Angel Tree on which “holiday wishes” were hung for children in the Kent and Queen Anne’s counties’ foster care programs and also for adults with disabilities who are served by the Kent Center. Some of the wishes were surprising again this year and included basic needs, such as clothes, winter coats and shoes – and of course, toys, lots of toys were requested!

More than 60 brightly packaged holiday gifts were donated by the members of the Auxiliary and the staff of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, UM Chester River Home Care and the Chester River Health Foundation.


Above & Beyond

The following reports from patients and their family members that reaffirm our staff’s commitment to teamwork and putting our patients’ needs first.
Please take a minute to say THANKS!


In the Cath Lab at Easton, registration was quick, polite and professional. Before my procedure, staff were VERY PLEASANT with my scared little heart and very reassuring that I was in good hands, which  put me at ease. You are the best – I tell everyone about you and feel very proud when doing so.


My experience in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Easton could not have been more pleasant or professional – I am very grateful. Staff were very comforting – I felt like I was the only patient there.


At Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown, staff are excellent, well informed, and give all attention to your well-being and your understanding during procedures, meds and discharge instructions. The doctor felt he saw something on my x-ray and asked radiology to take a look at his area of concern. Called me right away, advising not to delay visit to primary physician, they x-ray did reveal fracture. God Bless doctor and staff. The caring, no raising of eyebrows when I advised I was in pain and they would not release me to my son’s care until he understood care and follow-ups required.


I had a very good stay at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. The doctor’s & nurses were very good with my care and questions.


At Shore Behavioral Health in Dorchester, staff were very caring and made sure I got what I need during admission. They listened to my concerns and I was heard. They made my stay very comfortable and when I was in need of a wheel chair or walker it was provided. They were there for me –  Raynette was very caring. Food was very good.


At Shore Rehab in Cambridge, therapists are very professional and treat each patient with the greatest respect.  Excellent at keeping to time of patient’s appointment. My two therapists Riely & Terry have been exceptional.  They are there for me in every way during my PT sessions – understanding my condition and assisting 100%.

Welcome, New Team Members

Please join Human Resources in welcoming the following new team members to UM Shore Regional Health:

  • Zakiya Collins, Nursing Tech, 2 Multi Specialty Care, UM SMC at Easton
  • Holly Daly, Multi-Modality Tech I, Diagnostic Imaging, UM SMC at Easton
  • Tierra Dupont, Environmental Tech, Environmental Services, UM SMC at Dorchester
  • Glenn Foxworth, Medical Lab Assistant, Laboratory Services, UM SMC at Easton
  • Nicole Harleston, Ultrasound Tech, UM SMC at Chestertown
  • Michelle Molock, Access Representative, UM SRH
  • Penny Olivi, Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Radiology, UM SRH
  • Angel Saunders, Nursing Tech, 2 Multi Spec Care, UM SMC at Easton

UM SRH Nurse Creates Recovery Home to Address Opioid Addiction in Her Community

Editor’s note: The following article featuring UM SRH nursing team member Sara Rissolo was published on the website, https://inpublicsafety.com and in the magazine, A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE ON THE OPIOID CRISIS. The author is Stacey Kram, DNP, program director, Nursing, American Public University. Kram is a former nursing team member at UM SRH.

Sara Rissolo, center, at Gratitude House

In many rural communities, where the opioid epidemic is disproportionately widespread, there continues to be a lack of services available to provide comprehensive care to those suffering from addiction.

The lack of long-term solutions to this crisis is evident as more than half of individuals treated for an addiction relapse after treatment is completed—most within the first 90 days. Communities and healthcare providers need to take action to provide better assistance and resources during this critical gap of time to help addicts stay drug-free. One nurse, and her husband, recognized the need for such a program and found a way to provide such services to opioid addicts in their small town on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Patients of Addiction Need More Resources

Addiction, like other chronic diseases, does not discriminate. It affects a large and rapidly growing number of Americans and yet long-term treatment and management programs are not nearly as available as they are to those suffering from chronic diseases. Unlike patients suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, and asthma, those suffering from addiction often do not have access to transitional care programs like discharge clinics and telehealth monitoring programs to help them stay clean after treatment.

The opioid crisis is one that can no longer be ignored and many states, counties, and towns across America have taken some action to curb this crisis. Some are taking action by spearheading local opioid awareness campaigns or joining the CDC’s Rx Awareness campaign to call attention to this epidemic and garner resources for solutions. While excellent work is being done throughout the country, in many areas there simply aren’t enough resources to provide effective and ongoing treatment to help individuals recover from opioid addiction.

Building The Gratitude House

In June 2017, Mike and Sara Rissolo opened The Gratitude House, a recovery residence to bridge the gap between professionally directed addiction treatment and peer-led mutual aid groups. A recovery residence is not a treatment center, but a hub for coordination of care that requires ongoing collaboration among those in recovery, healthcare providers, employers, 12-step programs, and peer recovery specialists.

According to the Society for Community Research and Action, studies have demonstrated that participation in recovery residences decreases relapse rates and significantly increases recovery outcomes. While thousands of these residences exist across the nation, there was an identified need for one within the Rissolo’s community.

Resident Population

The Gratitude House serves men and women suffering from addiction. These individuals come to The Gratitude House from rehabilitation centers, acute care facilities, the county jail, and are even welcomed straight from the streets. When The Gratitude House first opened in 2017 it only served men, but a second house soon opened down the street that serves women suffering from addiction.

Applicants undergo criminal background checks to ensure they do not have a history of sexual or violent crimes that would put the other residents at risk. Their medical histories are reviewed, as well as current medication prescriptions to ensure they are able to provide self-care and are not taking medications with a high potential for abuse.

When residents first enter the house, Sara Rissolo says the most important action is to show these men and women that they are cared for and supported. Many residents come to the house with nothing more than the clothes on their backs; The Gratitude House provides fresh linens, towels, toiletries, and a food pantry comprised of donations from local community organizations.

Developing the Program and Setting

Sara Rissolo is a master’s prepared nurse who has spent 10 years working within the local community. She spent about four months extensively researching and developing The Gratitude House’s programming, although it’s constantly growing and evolving. She combined evidence-based practices using elements of the Social Model of Recovery as well as Watson’s Theory of Care to produce a unique and innovative program.

The programmatic structure of the house includes weekly house meetings with a house manager, who is a staff member, and residents who together set goals for the following week, assign chores, and discuss house issues. The house manager also conducts monthly meetings with each resident to set individual goals and identify steps required and resources needed to achieve them.

The Rissolos also took particular care creating the physical layout of the facility. It has a large outdoor area providing ample space for groups, including designated family gathering areas and a large dining area. These gathering spaces promote a sense of community and togetherness and exemplify Bruce Alexander’s mantra that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection.” To promote further sense of connection, children are welcome at The Gratitude House, as research shows that children provide motivation to patients in recovery to stay clean.

Rules and Privileges

Rules are in place to establish limits with the residents and ensure a safe and quality environment for recovery. There are three fundamental rules that, if broken, will result in immediate dismissal from the home:

  • No drug use
  • No violence
  • No stealing
  • Residents are subject to random urinalysis as part of their residential agreement and are required to provide weekly evidence that they are attending 12-step recovery meetings.
  • Residents work through a level system to increase privileges that include later curfew times, use of a personal vehicle, overnight passes, and the ability to have guests at the house.
  • New residents have 30 days to seek gainful employment; if they are unable to, they must engage in community service activities within the community on a regular basis while continuing to seek employment.

Educating Residents On Medication

Rissolo also provides education about medication usage to residents. After the program started, Rissolo started noticing that many of the residents were prescribed various medications, but did not know what those medications were for or how to properly manage them. Using her nursing knowledge, she provides information about medications, provides pill organizers and lock boxes, conducts weekly or monthly check-ins with the residents about the effects of their medication, provides referrals to community health providers, and assists with disposal of old medications.

Ongoing Success of The Gratitude House

Since opening, The Gratitude House has assisted 43 men with addiction by providing a safe and nurturing environment where they can focus on recovery while being meaningfully engaged within a community.

This success has led to expansion, with the recent opening of a women’s recovery home in the same neighborhood. This new women-only facility follows the same guidelines and practices and has already assisted 13 women suffering from addiction.


The Gratitude House is an excellent example of how communities can successfully address the gap that exists between rehabilitation and integration back into the community by demonstrating care and compassion to help people recover from addiction.


About the Author: Stacey Kram, DNP, RN-BC, CCRN, PCCN serves in both academics and health outreach in the School of Health Sciences at American Public University. Dr. Kram completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Salisbury University and has been a nurse for 17 years, and in education for 11 years. Her clinical experience is primary care of critically ill adults and their families. Prior to joining the university, Dr. Kram worked as a Nurse Manager for a novice nurse residency program within a community hospital system on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Dr. Kram also served in the Army Reserve Nurse Corps as a First Lieutenant with the 2290th USAH at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for three years. To reach the author, email IPSauthor@apus.edu. For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety’s bi-monthly newsletter.