There's news today that the late, great comedian Robin Williams had Parkinson disease. We may never know whether that influenced his decision to take his own life. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know a bit more about the disease - in particular the depression that can accompany it - and the resources available in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.
Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.
The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.
Local efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths could get a boost, if Congress passes new legislation to expand funding to such programs.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill that would make funding available to community organizations and public health agencies to buy and distribute naloxone, or Narcan. That’s a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose on prescription painkillers or heroin.
There's an informal but vital network of health care providers, toiling away in neighborhoods and towns everywhere. They may not be doctors or nurses, or CNAs, or techs, but they care for elderly parents and spouses with dementia, children with disabilities, and relatives with injuries. They're family caregivers, and sometimes they need a break.
Here's some help, or at least some promising news, for them.
Baby boomers are five times as likely to have chronic hepatitis C as any other age group. That's why the CDC launched a public health campaign to encourage boomers to get screened for the disease. And so, in honor of World Hepatitis Day, I invite---no, I encourage--boomers to get tested for hepatitis C. Why C and not the others? Because we've got effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, but not for hepatitis C. So let's focus on that one. More information for boomers, below.
A new program aims to connect people who have accidentally overdosed on opioids with addiction treatment – before they leave the emergency room. The state’s largest nonprofit mental health service organization, The Providence Center, is providing what it calls “recovery coaches” to Kent Hospital through a program called AnchorED.
For babies, healthy brain development is like a tennis game. A caregiver "serves" up an interaction, like a facial expression, a coo, or a word, and the infant "returns" that serve, imitating the expression or sound.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have announced the second round of Health Care Innovation awards. These are big grants for projects that are trying to reduce the cost of health care and/or improve care delivery, often for some of the sickest or most complicated patients.