Meetings offer information on value of patient navigation for cancer victims

CROWN POINT | Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point is offering free informational meetings on the advantages of patient navigation for cancer care from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the hospital’s Marian Education Center, located on the hospital campus at 1201 S. Main St.
Patient navigation benefits include:
* Access to information on resources available during the course of treatment.
* Improving access to health information and services.
* Enhancing the health care experience.
* Assuring accuracy of appointment times and locations.
* Facilitating interaction and communication with health care staff and providers.
* Making care delivery more efficient.
For more information, call (219) 757-6407, or (219) 757-6008.

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Pastoral Care Week: October 19-25

Submitted by Josef Dou, Director, Spiritual Care Services, Franciscan St. Margaret Health

Dear Friends,

Can you imagine embracing suffering that comes your way as a giver of “gifts?” Can you remember to look for a gift when you’re in those “places that hurt most?” When it “feels like you’re dying” or “losing it,” can you trust God to be at work for your good in the very thing that is “killing” you?


Embracing any kind of defeat or humiliation is certainly not the American way, but surely it is the way of faith, the way of the Cross. As Father Henry Nouwen put it: “… in the middle of the pain there is some hidden gift. I, more and more in my life, have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that hurt most.” Spiritual journey is not at all a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self in order to make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in, heal us and transform us anew. That’s the gift of suffering. Simone Weil once said that suffering that does not detach us from false self is wasted suffering.

October 19-25, 2014 is Pastoral Care Week. Every day across the world – in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, prisons – Chaplains and Spiritual Caregivers empower all God’s people to do just that: to uncover the gift of suffering. Chaplains empower others to see that our falling down can become falling upward into God’s grace, that there’s hope in despair, that there’s light in our darkest moment, and that it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. The beauty of faith and the way of the Cross is that the solution is found precisely within the problem itself – the paradox. And if we stay there long enough, the supposed worst place can become the best place where the gift is uncovered.

Please join me in congratulating our Spiritual Care Staff – especially our unit chaplains – who every day help others uncover the gift of suffering.


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Team Franciscan Alliance makes strides against breast cancer

Breast Cancer Walk

Some 187 Franciscan Alliance members were among 2,469 participants in the annual Lake County Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk that took place at Hidden Lake Park in Merrillville during October, which is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Team Franciscan Alliance was flagship sponsor of the event and raised $9,995 to support breast cancer awareness and treatment programs.

Team captains were Janice Lubbehusen and Joan Filipowski, representing Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point; Cindy Duran and Sharon Malecha, representing Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer and Hammond; Kim Grantner and Liza Sargent representing Franciscan Healthcare-Munster, Franciscan Medical Specialists and Franciscan Hammond Clinic; and Kammi Fox-Kay, representing Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City.

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Triathlon team effort supports LaPorte County United Way


United WayFranciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City was a major sponsor, along with the Northwest Athletic Club and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, of the recent City By the Lake Triathlon, to benefit the LaPorte County United Way.

The organizations presented a $2,500 donation from event proceeds to United Way representatives during a program at the club Oct. 15.

James Callaghan, MD, hospital president (back-row, far left), said Franciscan St. Anthony Health “wanted to support an event that promoted fitness and the Washington Park lakefront was a great stage.”

He added, “Franciscan Alliance is involved in efforts to improve overall population heath – this is a great way to support that.”

Some 300 volunteers, and the same number of athletes, participated, said Nicole Caylor (foreground-right), club president.

“We want to see people in LaPorte County who need help, get help,” she said.

Kris Pate (foreground-left), United Way executive director; and David Sisk (back row, second from left), the organization’s director of corporate engagement, praised the effort.

“The Parks Department made the event flow nicely and United Way and Franciscan Alliance volunteers helped make sure everything was logistically organized. People had fun and supported the community at the same time and everyone had a great time,” Pate said.

Also shown are Mark Rowley (back row, second from right) a shareholder and club treasurer; and Jeremy Kienitz, parks department recreation director.

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Rehab care worker praised for dedication, teamwork, patient care


Deborah Gitersonke (third from right), received an inscribed glass bowl and a monetary gift after being named winner of the coveted, 40th annual Magnuson Founder’s Award, presented by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, to staff members who work above and beyond to ensure quality patient care.

Gitersonke is rehabilitation care coordinator at the RIC at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, where the award was presented.

The honor is named for RIC founder and physician Paul Magnuson and is presented to individuals whose actions “consistently demonstrate the RIC’s values of hope, compassion, discovery, collaboration and commitment to excellence, particularly when those actions are beyond the scope of his or her immediate responsibility,” said Karen Ortmann, RIC regional executive director of rehabilitation services.

Gitersonke’s actions also were lauded in award recommendations she received from others, who praised her sense of teamwork, leadership and professionalism.

“Patients and their families love working with Deb; she is an invaluable member of our team,” Ortmann added.

Shown with Gitersonke are (from left) are Albert DeRubertis, DO, medical director of the RIC-Michigan City; Brooke Nack, therapy manager; Ortmann, Yolanda Davis, rehabilitation department manager; and Debbie Pitchford, director of the RIC-Michigan City outpatient therapy center.

The RIC has partnered with Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region hospitals since 2008.

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Hospital provides funds to support community business growth


James Callaghan, MD (second from left), president of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, presents the first of three $10,000 annual installments on the hospital’s behalf to representatives of the Economic Development Corp. of Michigan City and the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp. Oct. 15, in an effort to support community business growth and development.

Callaghan said the hospital, as one of the area’s largest employers, wants to be part of future efforts to expand economic growth in the community.

Accepting the check is Clarence Hulse, executive director of the EDC-Michigan City, who said the agency is excited to have the hospital as one of its supporters.

“They have been key partners in the past and I am happy they will be a key partner moving forward.”

Hulse said the funds will be used to promote marketing efforts in the city and county to help present businesses expand and invest in the area.

Also shown are (from left) Chuck Compton, EDC-Michigan City board chairman; Kim Ramsey, assistant development director of the LaPorte EDC; and Bob Schaefer, EDC-Michigan City investment campaign coordinator.

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Darla Ream hospital’s October Ambassador of the Month

Darla Ream

MICHIGAN CITY | Darla Ream, a 14-year executive assistant to the hospital president, is the October Ambassador of the Month for Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City.

The award has been presented by the hospital’s Social and Recognition Committee since 1988 and recognizes employees who exhibit the mission and values of Franciscan Alliance – compassion for those in need, respect for life and the dignity of mankind, wellness and prevention of illness, restoration to health and acceptance of death as the final step toward wholeness. Recipients also have demonstrated courtesy, the proper attitude and enthusiasm for their work.

Besides in her current position, Ream, of Michigan City, has been a hospital pharmacy technician and Human Resources assistant. She has three children and a grandson.

Ream was nominated for the award by the spouse of a patient, who called her “awesome” for assisting him with a concern.

Ream said she was “stunned, nearly speechless and flattered” to learn she would receive the honor. She added she enjoys her work and the new challenges each day brings, adding, “There is never a dull moment.” 

Ream said she is “honored and blessed” to serve the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and their mission to continue Christ’s ministry, which she called powerful.

When she’s not working, Ream enjoys traveling, reading and cooking. 

In recognition of the honor, Ream, as are all Ambassador recipients, was honored with a special billboard display for the month, a privileged parking spot, an Ambassador badge holder, a photo on the Ambassador of the Month wall that displays the previous 12 months’ winners, $150 cash and an invitation to the annual Service Awards and Recognition Banquet.

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