CPR in Schools Training Kit Donated to Holy Cross

A CPR in Schools Training Kit was recently presented to Holy Cross High School through a partnership between Allied Services Integrated Health System and the American Heart Association. Shown at the presentation are, from left: Amy Skiba, Senior Director of Development American Heart Association; Jim Brogna, Vice President Allied Services Integrated Health System; Benjamin Tolerico, principal, Holy Cross High School, and Alex Higley, Health and Physical Education Faculty at Holy Cross

Thanks to a partnership between Allied Services Integrated Health System and the American Heart Association, a potential life-saving donation was recently made to Holy Cross High School.

Representatives from both organizations were in Dunmore to present the school with a CPR in Schools Training Kit™. The kit is specifically designed to help schools meet the required cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) curriculum that was signed into law in June of 2019.   

In Pennsylvania, the law requires schools to teach “hands-only” CPR, a no-breath, compression-only method that the American Heart Association recommends in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. The law also states that the lessons must include the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).   

The CPR in Schools Training Kit™ includes 10 “mini-Annie” inflatable manikins, watch-while-training DVDs, and a facilitator guide, as well as 10 AED trainers, and much more.     

“The kit contains everything that staff needs to teach the hands-only method of CPR in one class period, as well as AED use and choking relief” noted Amy Skiba, Senior Director of Development American Heart Association.      

About 90 percent of people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do not have a good outcome. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.   

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the annual partnership between Allied Services and the American Heart Association aims to raise awareness about heart-related emergencies and the signs and symptoms of a stroke. As one of the nation’s leading stroke rehabilitation providers, Allied Services is enthusiastic to educate the community and students on both the warning signs of a stroke and cardiac-related issues – and how their rapid response could save a life.  

“Because of our partnership with the American Heart Association, we are able to make an investment in saving lives, through educating the community and providing the tools needed for direct teaching and practice of this life-saving technique. We want all students and educators to have the opportunity to learn CPR and recognize the signs of a stroke, thereby putting more qualified lifesavers in our communities” remarked Jim Brogna, Vice President Allied Services.

In addition to Skiba and Brogan, Holy Cross principal BenTolerico and Alex Highley of the school’s health and physical education faculty were on hand for the presentation.

February is American Heart Month

american-heartmonth-3February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs urge everyone to get a blood pressure screening.

Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes.

While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions the good news is that a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as going to your local Y and take part in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

YMCAThe Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs are increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained lifestyle coach leads the program over a 12-month period. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. For more information on the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Patti Goodenow at 570-828-3230.

Reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure and sodium intake are effective tools in the preventing heart disease,” said Patti Goodenow, Senior Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs.  “Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease or want to keep your heart healthy the Y has resources that can help achieve better health.”

In addition to programs and services offered, the Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet.  

  1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Adjust your taste buds:  Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
  5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

The Greater Scranton YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting www.greaterscrantonymca.org or www.wbymca.org or by stopping into your local Y.  

Little Hats Big Hearts Campaign

little hats

Commonwealth Health Moses Taylor Hospital and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital are partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) in February for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign.  The program aims to raise awareness about congenital heart defects, which are structural problems with the heart present at birth.

The American Heart Association put out a call to knitting and crocheting enthusiasts across Northeastern Pennsylvania in December.  Volunteers then knitted or crocheted small, red hats.  The hats were dropped off at ten hospitals in NEPA.  

Members from the American Heart Association collected, washed and packaged all of the hats and distributed them to each of the ten hospitals, including Moses Taylor and Wilkes-Barre General.  

During the month of February, American Heart Month, babies born in each hospital will receive a hand-knitted hat.  The hat is meant to encourage mothers to live heart-healthy lives and to help their children do the same.  AHA distributed 180 hats to Commonwealth Health Moses Taylor Hospital and 90 hats to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Little Hats

Principals involved with the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign include, standing from left: Andrea Kocher, nurse manager, Mother-Baby and Pediatrics, Moses Taylor Hospital; Elaine Walker, Director of the Heart and Vascular Institute, Regional Hospital of Scranton and board member of the American Heart Association; Lindsey Fredericks, communications coordinator, Commonwealth Health; Amy Skiba, American Heart Association; Melinda Spear, Director of Women’s Services, Moses Taylor Hospital, and Angela Harashinski, nurse manager, NICU, Moses Taylor Hospital.