November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Linda Allen

Linda Allen

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, as designated by the American Diabetes Association, to raise awareness of diabetes, which affects one person in 11.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and one in four don’t know they have it.

Linda Allen, a patient at Swope Health Services, was one of those people. She didn’t realize the cause of her poor health until she was diagnosed with diabetes during a checkup. That changed everything.

“I feel much better,” she said. “I feel cared for and healthy, and that’s very important to me because diabetes can wear you down.”

Diabetes, as Linda learned, is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. According to the CDC, most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (called glucose) and released into your bloodstream.

Your body makes insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. But if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes.

When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, and, over time, this can cause serious health problems including kidney disease, vision loss, and limb amputation.

Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure and the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

diabetesLinda now manages her diabetes and maintains a healthy diet.

“There are different things you have to know about in diabetes – like what’s got sugar in it, what’s got carbohydrates in it, what will cause your blood sugar to go up or down,” she said.

“By education through Swope Health, I have found out how to take good care of myself,” she continued. “I no longer eat excess sugar and candy and excess cakes – it doesn’t mean you can’t have any of that, you just have to learn how to have the right amount.”

Symptoms of diabetes include feeling fatigued, thirsty or hungry, urinating frequently, and having blurry vision.

Type 2 Diabetes, which affects 90 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes, is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. Higher body weight increases diabetes risk for everyone.

In this month of diabetes awareness, it’s a good time to make an appointment for an examination. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment. SHS can help prevent diabetes in some cases, and if you have diabetes we can help with medication and education, including nutrition guidance, to lessen its impact on your life.

Independence Clinic launches full-team initiative to tackle diabetes

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

The staff at Swope Health Services-Independence has launched an all-hands-on-deck initiative to identify diabetes in their patients, help manage the chronic disease, and most importantly, work to prevent it.

The program is the brainchild of Dr. Naiomi Jamal, who holds both a medical degree and Master’s degree in public health.

“I am always focused on prevention,” said Dr. Jamal, noting that the clinic serves a high number of patients with hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Diabetes is the No. 7 cause of death, and the No. 1 cause of kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness, Dr. Jamal said.

In addition, one in three people have pre-diabetes, and 90 percent of them do not know they are at risk, she said.

“To a large part, diabetes is preventable,” she said. “We are working to create an environment to do that.”

The initiative at the Independence clinic begins with a specific diabetes checklist used with every patient to look for early signs of those three dominant diabetes-related issues: kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness. At least once a year, all patients are asked to complete lab tests to evaluate kidney function and receive a foot screening.

toolkit_badge_NovDiabetics are also predisposed to infections such as pneumonia and influenza. Their vaccination status for both these conditions is updated and monitored at every visit.

Starting in November, the clinic will add one more exam: an annual eye test to capture images of each patient’s retina. Those images are then examined by an optometrist for abnormalities linked to diabetes.

“In every visit, we try to make sure we are not missing anything,” said Dr. Jamal.

A second component of the initiative is counseling. In addition to medical treatment, patients are offered personal sessions with a chronic disease counselor and group visits with a trained and certified diabetes educator.

These small group sessions – 10 or fewer patients and their family members – are held every six to eight weeks at the Independence clinic. Topics include a detailed explanation of diabetes, insulin and medications, and steps to take to better control diabetes with diet and exercise.

Dr. Jamal has seen the group sessions produce results. She recalled one patient who had been under care for about a year but had difficulty controlling her diabetes.

The patient reported to Dr. Jamal that she was taking her medications, but in reality, she wasn’t. When she came to a group session, she encountered another woman from her neighborhood who talked about how she had been able to manage diabetes – using the same regimen the patient was prescribed.

“That peer interaction did something,” Dr. Jamal said. “My patient decided she, too, could be successful, and she started taking her medication.” That patient now has been able to control her diabetes.

The diabetes initiative has been operating for nearly a year in Independence, and as checklists are completed on more and more patients, the results are starting to show promise.

This includes higher rates of diabetic foot exams, vaccinations, renal disease screening, and overall diabetic control (compared to the same period last year, before the program was introduced).

NDPP-prevention

“This truly is a team effort,” Dr. Jamal noted. Starting with Patient Service Representatives who schedule and remind patients, to nurses and medical assistants who review patient histories in pre-visit sessions, to clinic staff who print out flyers and educational materials, counselors who educate and providers who diagnose and treat – all play important roles in reaching patients and encouraging the changes that drive results.

In 2019, this checklist approach – with lessons learned from Independence – will be rolled out across all SHS clinics.

“It is so very difficult to make healthy choices,” Dr. Jamal noted, “but we can make it easier.” For people who are diagnosed as pre-diabetic, lifestyle changes can frequently mean avoiding medication. “Prevention is possible,” she added.

There has never been a better time to come in for a checkup, at Independence or any of the Swope Health Services locations.  “We want to see you,” Dr. Jamal said. “We want to partner with you to help you achieve your health goals.”

In this month of diabetes awareness, it’s a good time to make an appointment for an examination. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment. SHS can help prevent diabetes in some cases, and if you have diabetes we can help with medication and education, including nutrition guidance, to lessen its impact on your life.

Don’t Delay – Get Your Flu Shot Today

Did you know the best time to get a flu shot, providers say, is before the flu starts circulating?

That’s because it takes about two weeks from the time you get a shot for the vaccine to take effect in your body. You want to have the vaccine antibodies BEFORE the flu season kicks into high gear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest people should be vaccinated by the end of October.

While it’s impossible to predict exactly when the flu will start appearing in Kansas City, flu activity across the U.S. typically peaks between December and February.

If you don’t make the October deadline, the CDC says, it’s still a good idea to get vaccinated, even into January.

Vaccinations are recommended for everyone ages six months and older. Pregnant women should also get flu shots to protect themselves and their babies.

At Swope Health Services, we are ready. When you come in for any kind of visit, your provider can give you a flu shot. Call for your appointment today: 816-923-5800.

“We encourage all our patients to get the flu shot to build a healthier community,” says Julie Richards, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, at Swope Health Services.  “Remember, you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you are sick or while you are sick.  Getting the flu shot protects all of us!”

Why is it important to get a flu shot? To prevent the disease from spreading, especially to the very young and very old and other people who are most vulnerable to flu complications.

For most people the flu is an inconvenience, but for some, the flu leads to hospitalization. Annually, an estimated 12,000 people die from complications of the flu – that’s the equivalent of about 23 747 jet planes full of passengers.

In addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine, there are other basic steps you can take to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid being around people who are ill
  • If you become ill, don’t go to school or work or any place where you can spread the flu to others

What can you expect if you get the flu? Usually, flu symptoms, like a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat will come on quickly.

Most people have a fever of 100 degrees or more, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry cough, nasal congestion, and sore throat. They also may feel fatigued and weak. In short, having the flu is no fun.

Most people can recover from the flu on their own, although it can take a week or more for some people.

If you have risks of complications, don’t hesitate to see your provider, who can prescribe antiviral medications to help fight the infection.

More information about the flu:

Swope Health Services wins five federal Quality Improvement Awards

NCHWSwope Health Services was honored with five Quality Improvement Awards from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration last week.

The awards cap off the annual celebration of National Community Health Center Week, highlighting the critical role community health centers play in providing high-quality affordable healthcare.

SHS was recognized with Quality Improvement Awards for:

  • Achieving status as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).
    This is a program focused on coordinated organization and delivery of primary care, emphasizing access to quality and safety in comprehensive care services.
  • pcmh-badgeEnhancing Access to Care.
    This award recognizes health centers that increased the total number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2016 and 2017.
  • access-enhancer-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement with an increase in Clinical Quality Measures.
    This recognizes health centers that achieved at least a 10 percent improvement in one or more Clinical Quality Measure between 2016 and 2017. These clinical measures assess the care given to patients and show how the organization performs, leading to improved care.
  • hit-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement through the use of electronic health records data.
    This award recognizes health centers that use electronic records to report and manage all clinical quality measures for all patients.
  • Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality.
    This award recognizes health centers that used IT systems to increase access to care and advance quality of care.

“Here at Swope Health, we are proud to be a perennial recipient of HRSA quality awards and recognition,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., SHS Chief Medical Officer.  “Last year, we worked especially hard to identify areas for improvement and this most recent award validates our efforts and teamwork.”

Dr. Thomas emphasized that the awards are the result of a team effort, across the entire organization, to focus on quality care.

“These awards should show our patients that we value quality and safety,” he said. “We are creating innovations to make their experiences better, safer and of the highest quality.”

Wael Mourad, M.D., Associate Chief Medical Officer, noted the awards show a focus on patient outcomes.

“We look forward to building on this success to propel Swope Health as a quality leader amongst Community Health Centers in not just Missouri, but in the entire Midwest region,” he said.

Swope Health was one of 29 award-winners in the state of Missouri, according to the HRSA Awards report. Along with the recognition, SHS received $137,000 in award funds, which will be used to further develop quality programs, said Dave Barber, President and CEO of Swope Health.

“We are honored to receive these awards,” he said. “This demonstrates that our commitment to quality to every patient is making a difference.”

Be in the Know: National HIV Testing Day

badge-national-hiv-testing-dayThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other healthcare agencies, including Swope Health Services, are partnering to raise awareness about HIV with National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and is spread through body fluids.

This virus can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS.

It’s important to know if you have the virus so you can be treated. It’s important because once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body forever.

It’s important because there is no cure for AIDS, but it can be controlled with proper care.

“At SHS, HIV testing is available every day,” said Dan Gillen, Nurse Practitioner in Adult Medicine, and Director of Medical Informatics. “We encourage everyone to get tested. It is important to know if you are HIV positive so you can start treatment and prevent giving HIV to others.”

He continued, “Once you know your HIV status, you can make decisions based on facts. If you test negative for HIV – you don’t have HIV – you can make healthy decisions to avoid getting HIV. If you test positive for HIV – you have HIV – you can get connected to the resources and providers to help treat it as soon as possible.”

HIV info sheet

Click the image to download an HIV information sheet (PDF)

SHS partners with the Kansas City CARE Clinic, which specializes in HIV and AIDS primary care.

Services include disease monitoring and treatment, clinical and behavioral research and a range of supporting services like health education, peer support, counseling and case management.

HIV testing is important also because more than a million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but one in seven of them don’t know they have it, according to HIV.gov.

And, the CDC reports that African Americans account for a higher percentage of HIV and AIDS diagnoses compared to other racial or ethnic populations.

If you are interested in learning your HIV status, come in for a visit. HIV testing is available during regular hours with a walk-in or scheduled appointment.

The test is fast and confidential, and takes only a small amount of blood to screen for antibodies, the telltale signs of the virus. If the test is positive, typically a second test is ordered to make sure. Testing is covered by most insurance programs and may be free to qualified individuals.

Call 816-923-5800 to make an appointment or walk-in and talk with your provider about any questions you have about HIV and AIDS. We’re here to help.

Make it Bright: It’s a Great Time to Reach for Salads!

appetizer-bell-peppers-cilantro-128391Now that it’s really springtime, it’s time to add some color to your meals. Break some rules!

“It’s a great time to reach for salads,” said Ozella Jones, Nutritionist at Swope Health Services. “I like to encourage using leftovers in salads and making a bright salad.”

She recommends using leftovers in salad, even though they might not be traditional salad fare. For example, leftover green beans, peas, corn or beets make great additions to a green salad.

Cut up with some onions and red, green or yellow peppers and toss with some oil and vinegar, and you’ve got a brand new healthy salad.

Salad making is one place where you can safely experiment and make something that’s filled with your favorites. Do you like blueberries? Go ahead, put them in the salad with anything else you like.

Using leftovers is a great way to avoid wasting food and also an easy way to add nutrition. That ½ cup of leftover peas isn’t really enough for another meal, but it will provide 4 grams of protein and only 67 calories, she said. If you toss it in with lettuce, carrots, onions and whatever else you like, suddenly you’ve got a very tasty and nutritious salad.

“If it looks good, bright and colorful, you are more likely to try it,” she said. “I want you to feel good about your food and try foods that are healthy for you.”

If salad’s just not your thing, consider smoothies as a way to enjoy fruits and vegetables. “Strawberries are a good source of Vitamin C, and blueberries are a great way to get antioxidants,” she said.

Spring vegetables, like asparagus, are plentiful now. Just one cup of asparagus provides a low 32 calories along with plenty of Vitamin C and D, she said. You can also get vitamins from herbs, like basil. Just adding fresh basil leaves to your meal adds color and flavor, as well as potassium and Vitamin C.

For a main dish that might be a little bit lighter fare, try fish. Ozella recommends halibut and salmon, even canned tuna in water, as options offering the good kind of unsaturated fat – Omega 3.

“It’s time to break away from bland,” she recommends. “Go for color! Use what you like and make it attractive.”

Are you interested in learning more about your own nutrition? SHS Providers can refer patients for nutrition consultation. Ask your SHS provider at your next appointment.

Rainbow Fresh Chopped Salad

Prefer Following a Recipe? Here’s an easy one from Colorful Recipes:

INGREDIENTS

Salad
  • Mixed Greens – 2 cups.
  • Chicken – Rotisserie, ½ cup, chopped.
  • Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans – ½ cup, drained from can.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – ½ cup, halved.
  • Snacking Cucumbers – 2, sliced.
  • Sweet Peppers – ¾ cup, chopped.
  • Red Onion – ¼ cup, chopped.
  • Avocado – ½, chopped.
  • Artichoke Hearts – ½ cup, quartered.
  • Fetta – ¼ cup, crumbled.
  • Cilantro – to taste, chopped.
Simple Dressing
  • Lemon – ½ or to taste, juiced.
  • Olive Oil – to taste.
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper – to taste.
  • Sea Salt – to taste.
 INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a serving dish, lay the mixed greens in a flat layer.
  2. Arrange the remaining salad ingredients on top of the greens in sections as desired.
  3. Top off with chopped cilantro and dressing ingredients.
  4. Enjoy! ?

Primary Care Health Home: Where the Heart Is

Patient Care Coordination (1)

Mary Patterson-Lawson, L.P.N., Patient Care Coordinator, left, meets with Melanie Chaffin, R.N., Nurse Care Manager, about providing social services for a Primary Care Health Home primary care patient.

Every month, more than 700 patients participate in Swope Health Services’ “Primary Care Health Home” program for primary care.

What is a Primary Care Health Home?

“It means we are the home for our participants to receive their healthcare and assistance with managing their chronic diseases,” said Brittney Hazley, SHS Health Care Home Director. “It’s like having a family member inside SHS.”

The program is open to anyone insured under MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, who have certain diagnoses.

A diagnosis of obesity or diabetes will qualify, as will a combination of any of the following: hypertension, anxiety, depression, tobacco use, asthma or any cardiovascular disease.

The purpose of the program is to help patients live healthier lives, Brittney said.

“We want to understand the patient’s situation so we can find out what they need and provide resources to help,” said Brittney.

That help might include arranging transportation, scheduling appointments, assisting with referrals to specialists, obtaining medical records and coordinating care within and outside of SHS.

Patient Care Coordination (2)

Care coordination is an important part of the Primary Care Health Home program. Here Natalie Myer, R.N., consults with Susan Livengood, M.S.N, R.N., to make sure a patient’s healthcare records are up to date.

The services can include education about chronic conditions for the patient and family, as well as support from a nutritionist, diabetic education program, tobacco cessation program and behavioral health programs.

“We’ll do whatever we can to help the patient take ownership of their healthcare,” Brittney said. “We want patients to be empowered to take control of their health.”

The National Committee on Quality Assurance, a private not-for-profit organization, reports the program is working. In Missouri, rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits have declined by 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively, for patients in the program, and patients are demonstrating better management of their chronic conditions.

For example, between 2012 and 2015, the percentage of patients with diabetes who had controlled blood glucose levels increased to 61 percent, from 18 percent, according to a report on Missouri healthcare homes.

SHS has offered the program since 2012 and is now planning to expand the initiative to its satellite clinics. Once patients enroll in the program, they are encouraged to stay in touch at least monthly with their care team, which includes three Nurse Care Managers, a Patient Care Coordinator, a Behavioral Health Consultant and the Director.

“We work on building rapport and trust,” said Brittney. “We want to make it easier for our patients to manage their chronic conditions.”

It’s time for your flu shot!

flu season

From left, Sheila Shipley, Infection Control Nurse, and Bobby Mickens, Interim Director of Nursing and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, encourage you to get a flu shot. Call for an appointment or ask your provider during your next visit.

Welcome to October! It’s the time for cooler mornings, sunlight angling through the trees, even a bit of fog in the early hours.

It’s also time to get ready for flu season.

Experts say October is the best time to get your annual flu shot because you want to be vaccinated before the virus is circulating widely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting a flu shot between October and the end of the year.

At Swope Health Services, we’re ready!

“Getting a vaccine means you’ll have a better chance of avoiding the flu, missing work or school, and spreading the illness to others around you,” said Bobby Mickens, Interim Director of Nursing at SHS.

“I’m encouraging everyone to get a flu shot,” she said. “It’s a good prevention measure for everyone. And the more people who get the shot, the more protection we have to avoid spreading illness to the people who are more vulnerable to flu complications.”

Most health insurance programs cover flu vaccinations.

So what are you waiting for? Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment or visit any of the SHS locations for a walk-in appointment.

Myths about the Flu Vaccine

Sheila Shipley, Infection Control Nurse, spends a lot of time debunking myths about the flu and the flu vaccine. Here are the most common ones:

  1. The flu shot will make me sick.

The vaccination is not made with a live virus so it can’t make you sick. It takes the vaccine about two weeks to become effective and provide protection, so it is possible you can be exposed to the flu and get sick during that period. That’s why it’s important to be vaccinated before the flu is widespread in the community.

Also, after the shot, some people may have soreness in their arm, a low-grade fever or achy feeling.  That’s normal, and to address it, she recommends exercising the sore arm and taking either Tylenol or Motrin for the fever and aches.

  1. I’m allergic to eggs so I can’t get a shot.

The vaccine is safe even for people with egg allergies. Most people with egg allergies are still able to eat foods made with eggs, and so would not have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. People with serious allergic reactions to eggs are monitored after receiving the flu shot.

  1. I’m healthy and the flu is nothing more than a bad cold. I don’t need a shot.

Healthy people can get the flu. If you haven’t had it before, consider yourself lucky! But even if the flu affects you with only mild symptoms, you should remember that you are still carrying the virus and potentially spreading it to others who may be more vulnerable.

“In patients whose health is compromised, the flu can be truly life threatening,” she said. “They can be susceptible to pneumonia and other complications leading to death. Every year, thousands of people die from the flu.”

New Specialty Clinic Opens! Cardiology and GI Specialists Now at SHS

Swope Health Services has opened a new Specialty Clinic to provide patients with easier access to specialists in diseases of the heart and digestive system.

The Specialty Clinic at SHS Central launched in mid-June with service on Wednesdays each week for cardiology and gastrointestinal (GI) referral patients. SHS providers refer patients to the clinic for diagnosis and care of their special needs.

According to SHS records, in 2016, 700 patients with heart disease received care at an SHS clinic and more than 1,400 patients were referred to a GI specialist. Providing the specialist services directly at the SHS Central facility will remove barriers and make it easier for patients to get the care they need, said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, SHS Chief Medical Officer and a pediatrician.

“Many of our patients lack options for specialty care,” said Dr. Thomas. “The new clinic gives us a way to help these patients by making it easier and more convenient to access specialists. Our hope is that this new service improves their overall health and quality of life.”

SHS provides all registration support, clinical support staff, exam rooms, supplies and equipment for the specialists. For patients, there is no change to the normal process for registering, scheduling and qualifying for co-payments through insurance, Medicaid or Medicare or sliding fee discounts.

The specialists in heart and digestive system health come to SHS through a partnership with University Physicians Associates and Truman Medical Center (TMC).

In addition to the specialists, TMC will also offer financial counseling services at SHS for patients who are referred to TMC for any reason. The counselors will help patients determine if they are eligible for medical coverage assistance programs and provide assistance with registration at TMC.  The goal is to make those referrals easier for SHS patients, speeding access to TMC hospital care.

The SHS Specialty Clinic is located in newly renovated space on the first floor of SHS Central, just to the right of the main lobby. The clinic is equipped with three exam rooms, a lobby and reception area and a provider office.

Join us at 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 26 for our grand opening celebration in the lobby at SHS Central. We’ll have refreshments and an opportunity to tour the clinic and meet representatives from Truman Medical Center and SHS.

 

SHS Peer Group Supports Chronic Disease Self-Management

IMG_3910

From left, Dr. Patty Rebeck with peer counselors Stephanie Greer and Tyrone Ferguson at a recent counseling meeting.

Sometimes, we all need a little help from a friend.

With that idea in mind, SHS Health Care Home for Primary Care has launched a Peer Advisory Group to provide support for patients learning to manage a chronic disease.

The group meets 1:30 to 3 p.m. every Thursday in the Building C office of Dr. Patricia Rebeck, licensed clinical psychologist and Behavioral Health Consultant. The meetings are open to any adult patients enrolled in Health Care Home for Primary Care.

“We’re inviting patients to come in and talk with people who’ve been in their shoes,” Dr. Rebeck said. “Our peer advisers are willing to share what they’ve been through. Their testimonials have more impact than I could.”

The discussions might cover topics like taking medications regularly, changing to a healthier diet or developing – and sticking with – an exercise plan. The program is designed to support patients dealing with diabetes, obesity, asthma and other chronic conditions or diseases.

“If you see that others can do it, you are more likely to believe that you can, too,” Dr. Rebeck said.

Peer counseling is not a new idea. It is well established that we rely upon recommendations and advice from peers, believing that we see a reflection of ourselves in others like us, Dr. Rebeck said. Brittney Hazley and Joan Uta of Health Care Home-Primary Care also support the peer counseling programs as part of the array of services available.

The program launched last fall, just after a similar program for ex-prison inmates achieved a milestone of success.

In that program, former inmates gather to provide support to others who are re-entering society. The group named itself “Focus and Refocus,” which is a kind of code for how participants can control their thinking and support each other to maintain a positive perspective.

The group developed a website and a brochure, part of a larger mission to share their voices with the community. One member of the group, Tyrone Ferguson, delivered a presentation titled “How We Want You to Help Us,” to 215 attendees at the Missouri Corrections Association/Missouri Probation & Parole Officers Association conference in September at the Lake of the Ozarks.

“This is a testament to self-efficacy,” said Dr. Rebeck. “There’s power in believing in yourself and in seeing others believe in you.”

Dr. Rebeck noted that the peer advisory discussions are informal and down-to-earth. One patient was discouraged by obesity, which made her feel ugly and unwilling to be seen in public. But in one meeting, she learned that others in the group found her interesting, and that gave her “a burst of willingness” to try to live, Dr. Reback said.

“Our members each care about helping others,” she said.  “It helps you take care of yourself when you know you have value. We all need a reason to get up in the morning.”

Learn more about the Focus and ReFocus support group at its website. Or contact SHS at (816) 922-1070).

Focus graphic