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Added Preparation
Delgado Charity School of Nursing has entered another level of high-tech medical care delivery with the introduction of the human patient simulator (HPS) that is part of a training lab designed to give nursing students practical experience in dealing with patients.

The school's Dr. J. Terence Kelly Human Patient Simulator Lab is designed to mimic a hospital with a patient room, nursing station, medical records, supplies and equipment. The HPS is a high-tech mannequin, which the faculty has affectionately named Kelly, that responds to interventions just as a human body would.

Three computers and sophisticated software give the HPS the ability to breathe, consuming oxygen and producing carbon dioxide, display measurable vital signs and pulses and even has pupils in its eyes that respond to light. By using a microphone with the HPS, faculty members can facilitate verbal responses to questions from training nurses as well as their treatment of the patient.

The purpose of the lab is to give nursing students hands-on experience in patient assessment, critical thinking and care delivery before they actually work with human patients. The HPS at Delgado is one of only 300 made by Medical Education Technologies Incorporated that is used in training worldwide.

Family Tree
Individuals and families interested in adopting a child can apply this month for acceptance into the Caring Alternatives program from Volunteers of America (VOA). The adoption program accepts applications for adoptive families only once a year, then works to place a child in appropriate homes within a year or two.

Applications for adoption can be made to VOA through Jan. 31. Potential parents will fill out a questionnaire, attend a general information meeting and go through interviews and background checks.

To qualify, interested individuals and couples must be between 27 and 40 years old; if married, they must have been married at least three years; applicants also must live in Louisiana. For more information or an application, call 836-8702 or visit www.caringalternatives.org.

The VOA each year accepts 15 to 20 people for the adoption pool. Caring Alternatives is a maternity and adoption program that provides free counseling, education, support groups and medical, financial and legal assistance to women who are pregnant as well as people who want to adopt a child. The program's specialty is open adoption, in which a birth parent chooses who will adopt their child and then maintains an ongoing relationship with the adopted child and their family.

Music for Cures
Roger McGuinn, founder of the legendary rock group the Byrds, will be a featured performer at a special concert Jan. 10, 2004, to raise funds for research into Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The concert, hosted by Ochsner Clinic Foundation, starts at 7 p.m. at Rosy's Jazz Hall (500 Valence St.); admission is $30. Organizers also are planning a patron party in which guests will be able to talk with McGuinn in addition to enjoying free food and drinks. Tickets for the patron party are $125.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 842-7113.

Reducing Disparities
Xavier University of Louisiana recently received $15 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to bolster its minority research and health programs and to support its College of Pharmacy.

The grant, which will be paid out over three years, will be added to a previous $7.3 million two-year grant from the NIH to endow the school's Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Program. That program endeavors to increase the number of minority practitioners in biomedical and behavioral science disciplines as well as the intensifying a focus on health disparities among minorities, particularly in regard to diabetes.

Research shows that almost 7 percent of the state's residents have been diagnosed with the disease and that it is among the top five causes of death in Louisiana. In addition, Xavier College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Wayne Harris says African Americans who have diabetes tend to more often have amputations, lose their sight and have kidney failure than non-minority patients. Using the grant funds, Xavier hopes to teach pharmacists to have a greater positive impact on reducing those outcomes.

The funds also will be used to establish a Center for Diabetes Prevention and Research, which will focus on clinical research, educating the community and providing pharmaceutical care services for diabetics in Gert Town.

New Therapy Stop
Physical therapist Lee Couret recently opened a new outpatient orthopedic and sports physical therapy clinic in Metairie, which provides comprehensive care for patients and the convenience of same-day appointments and flexible hours.

The 3,000-square-foot Southshore Physical Therapy (3000 Severn Ave., Suite 7, Metairie, 885-8969) includes cardiovascular exercise equipment, resistance training, whirlpool, iontophoresis, moist heat, ultrasound phonophoresis, transcutaneous electric stimulation and neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapies. Patients are accepted by physician's referral and most types of insurance are accepted.

Easy Depression Screenings
Tulane University Medical School students are working with city and state officials to help people who are receiving public assistance and are clinically depressed to receive the help they need.

The Public Outreach Depression Screening (PODS) program is a partnership of Tulane, the City of New Orleans Department of Health and the state Department of Health and Hospitals' Office of Mental Health. Under the program, Tulane medical students initially will conduct question-and-answer assessments for patients seeking treatment at the St. Bernard-Gentilly Health Center through May. Patients determined to be suffering from depression will then be referred to a physician at the clinic for treatment.

PODS was based on a similar program in Chicago in which residents were screened for depression as they stood in line at public welfare offices. The effort was organized after recent studies reported that about 40 percent of people who receive public assistance suffer from depression and that treatment of the condition makes it easier for them to become more productive and leave the assistance programs.

Currently the program is scheduled to last for four years at a cost of $65,300, which will be funded by Tulane, the city and the state. It eventually may be expanded to include other health clinics.

click to enlarge An instructor at Delgado Charity School of Nursing - shows students how to perform procedures on a - human simulator to help them hone their skills - before they care for live patients.
  • An instructor at Delgado Charity School of Nursing shows students how to perform procedures on a human simulator to help them hone their skills before they care for live patients.
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