Health in Brief

Bayhealth’s pet assisted therapy program is a success. Plus, weight loss with a spiritual twist, family caregivers get a break, and more.

Terry Schrenker, Bayhealth Medical Center’s director of volunteer services, consults with a couple of helpers. Photograph by Jared CastaldiA Patient’s Best Friend

Bayhealth’s pet assisted therapy program makes a hospital stay more pleasant.

Terry Schrenker remembers a 2-year-old’s screams shattering the quiet and order of Bayhealth’s Kent General’s halls. Then, as two cocker spaniels entered the room, as part of Bayhealth’s “pet-assisted therapy” program, the screams immediately melted into smiles. “Bayhealth began the program in 2006,” says Schrenker, Bayhealth’s director of volunteer services. “Today we have three teams that operate at Milford Memorial and Kent General.”

Pet assisted therapy is but one aspect of the medical center’s goal of becoming a Planetree Model of Patient Care affiliated facility, according to JoAnn Glenn-Lewin, guest relations director. “Planetree is a patient focused program that emphasizes making the hospital experience as pleasant as possible,” she says.

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Schrenker says the trained and certified pooches range from Chihuahuas and border collies to labs. The dogs are trained not to bark and jump, among other disciplinary behaviors. Currently Bayhealth operates three teams, each consisting of a dog, a handler and a volunteer assistant.

“We offer dogs on a random basis to whoever requests the visit,” Schrenker says. “The visits vary in time, according to patient’s wishes and stamina, but each dog is limited to a maximum of two hours on the floor.”

Basic hospital hygiene is preserved by providing strollers to convey the dogs to avoid contact with the hospital floor, and wipes are provided to patients who wish to pet the animals.

In addition to screaming 2-year-olds, the dogs bring comfort to elderly pet owners who will be away from home and their pet for an extended period of time. “The dogs remind these patients of home, and also provide a diversion and distraction, helping patients to take their mind off their physical pain and their separation from home,” says Schrenker.

Page 2: Faithfully Fit | Dynamic Devotion Fitness Ministry promotes weight loss with a spiritual twist.

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Lisa Reale cofounded Dynamic Devotion Fitness Ministry, which offers a six-month weight-loss contest with no entry fee. Photo by Jeff BinnsFaithfully Fit

Dynamic Devotion Fitness Ministry promotes weight loss with a spiritual twist.

It was a weight-loss competition at work and a visceral dislike of gyms that ultimately led Lisa Reale of Newark to a personal dietary and fitness awakening.

“I changed my diet and developed a passion for fitness as a result of that weight-loss competition,” says Reale, who, with Brandon Munn, cofounded Dynamic Devotion Fitness Ministry in October of 2010. The faith-based group features a no-fee admission to a six-month long competition with prizes to meet your personal fitness and weight loss goals. Reale also offers a personal training business called Reale Solutions.

“We began with simple word of mouth at churches and fitness centers. Our October sign-up drew more than 120 participants here in Delaware,” says Reale.

Team Fit 4 Life competed in a recent weight-loss competition. Photo by Matt PettinellaThe team members focus on learning how to eat well and to be accountable for your choices. “We also sponsor a Sunday book study that includes workshops and seminars,” Reale says.

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A notable success story, according to Reale, is one participant who lost 100 pounds in a competition that began last July.

Support comes directly from the Bible as well, with weekly verses related to good physical health. “Honor God with your body” from Corinthians is the spiritual motto for the ministry.

“My faith is important to me,” says Reale. “And I’ve seen how faith and fitness tie together. It’s about eating, but it’s also about what’s eating you.” For more, visit or

Page 3: Rage Against Machine | Crunch Time Fitness builds the body’s core sans contraptions.


Rage Against Machine

Crunch Time Fitness builds the body’s core sans contraptions.

Crunch Time Fitness grew out of what founder Nick Sembiante believed was a popular aversion to machines and gyms that he shared.

“I also saw a need for individuals with certain physical problems who couldn’t get out of the house, so we provide in-home training,” says Sembiante, a certified personal trainer since 1997.

Crunch Time Fitness features a workout geared around strengthening the body’s core, which is centered in the abs and lower back.

“Another problem I see with machines is that the body adapts to routines and repetitions, and that lessens the effects of a workout routine on a machine over time,” says Sembiante.

Crunch Time routines are never the same twice. “The body requires change to grow and gain strength.”

Sembiante can combine multiple exercises into one dynamic full-body exercise, such as utilizing lunges, presses and dynamic moves that move the body outside its center of gravity. That’s where the core’s strengthening takes place.

Clients sign up for as little or as long as they wish. “I structure my training to assist clients to meet their personal goals, and then enable them to maintain on their own,” Sembiante says.

Crunch Time Fitness specializes in post-rehab therapy and sports specific training as well as increasing flexibility and toning for all clients.

Visit for more information.

Page 4: When You Need a Break | The Lifespan Respite Care Network helps family caregivers of people with special needs or disabilities. Now you can take that trip.


Easter Seals Delaware and the University of Delaware formed the Lifespan Respite Care  Network to help caregivers.When You Need a Break

The Lifespan Respite Care Network helps family caregivers of people with special needs or disabilities. Now you can take that trip.

“Eighty-percent of all long-term care provided in the Unites States is provided by family caregivers,” says Barbara Snyder, director of corporate and foundation relations for Easter Seals Delaware and Maryland Eastern Shore. “And one of the things we learned in our studies and surveys of respite care here is that those services are very fragmented.”

With the help of UD’s Center for Disability Studies, the Lifespan Respite Care Network was formed to provide “a one stop shop” for caregivers looking for services and support for their loved one.

“The network, through its Web site, serves caregivers of children and adults with special needs or disabilities, as well as issues involved with aging.

“Many family caregivers are providing care alone, limiting their ability to work and to afford provider services,” Snyder says. “Those who can do both face enormous pressures working full time and providing 24/7 care.”

The Lifespan Respite Care Network functions as a database for some 200 agencies that provide respite care for caregivers, if even for a short time. In cases where there is a corresponding financial need, the network provides cash grants to offset the cost of those outside agencies.

“The caregiver contracts with the agency, and then sends us the agency invoice for reimbursement,” Snyder says.

Cash grants through the network range from as little as $25 up to a maximum of $500.

“One client used his grant to put his family member into an assisted home long enough to take his grandchildren on a trip,” Snyder says.

“These caregivers daily face issues of emotional burnout, physical stress and conflicts within the family,” she says. “Sometimes all they need is a break, and that’s why our motto is: ‘When you need a break.’”

Page 5: Creating a Movement | Foundation takes brain tumor awareness national.


Members of the awareness team (from left), Kristin Davis, Chris Grundner and Joe Harris, proudly display their Brain Tumor Awareness Movement T-shirts. Photograph by Sandra KimballCreating a Movement

Foundation takes brain tumor awareness movement national.


The Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation’s 4th annual Get Your Head in the Game Walk in April was also the public announcement of the national launch of the Get Your Head in the Game Brain Tumor Awareness Movement. The announcement came a year after the Delaware-based foundation merged with the National Brain Tumor Society.


Chris Grundner, the foundation’s founder and husband of the late Kelly Heinz-Grundner (who died of a brain tumor at the age of 31), says Get Your Head in the Game is not just an awareness campaign, but rather an awareness movement aimed at helping people to learn the facts about brain tumors and encouraging them to take action in the fight against the disease.

“For the movement to be successful, we need members of the brain tumor community to become message bearers for us in a grassroots way,” Grundner says.

Grundner says an estimated 210,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with either a primary or metastatic brain tumor each year. Grundner says the foundation struck a responsive cord in Delaware from the beginning.

“There had never been a walk organized in Delaware for brain tumors,” Grundner explains of the inaugural 2008 event. “We figured it would be successful if we drew 500 participants and raised $50,000.” Instead the walk drew 2,000 participants and raised $200,000.

“Yes, it happened faster than I expected,” admits Grundner, “but I also knew from Kelly’s experience that people with this disease want to fight back.”

While the National Brain Tumor Society has done a good job with advocacy (in addition to leading the way with research and patient support), it never had a formal awareness program prior to merging with The Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation, Grundner says.

“There are so many people who have been affected by brain tumors who want to get involved, but have never felt they had a real opportunity to do so,” Grundner says. “The fact that the movement is now going national means that people across the country will have the opportunity to take action in the fight against brain tumors.”

For more information, visit


Page 6:  Healthy Connections | Health coaches link uninsured to affordable resources.


Kathy CannatelliHealthy Connections

Health coaches link uninsured to affordable resources.

Begun in 2007 Christiana Care’s Health Coach program seeks to link the uninsured to low-cost or no cost insurance programs ranging from the Community Health Access Program (CHAP) to Medicaid.

“When an uninsured patient accesses healthcare, whether it be through the ER, public health centers or private physicians, health coaches are assigned to both help the patient access low-cost insurance providers, as well as educate those patients on the importance of finding a medical home, i.e., a primary care physician,” says Kathy Cannatelli, Health Coaching program director for Christiana Care.

The current program of social work-trained health coaches operates out of Christiana Care’s department of Family and Community Medicine, Wilmington Hospital’s Health Care Center and the Wilmington Hospital Emergency Department.

“We’ve served more than 1,600 clients since the program’s inception in 2007,” says Cannatelli. With funding provided by CHAP and private firms such as AstraZeneca, Health Coaching resources are limited only by funding. Cannatelli says growth of the program has progressed “exponentially,” as it continues to seek more effective means of reaching the uninsured.

“We communicate with area healthcare centers to identify uninsured patients before they have to access the healthcare system through avenues such as the ER,” she says.

Health coaches determine the healthcare needs of referrals and then assist the client in “navigating” the healthcare system to locate an affordable “healthcare home.”

Cannatelli notes that efficiencies and innovation in Health Coaching have been driven by recent healthcare reform, and its biggest strides have been in the areas of pediatrics and adult medicine.

Page 7: Good Neighbors | Nanticoke Memorial Hospital keeps its finger on the pulse of its community in Western Sussex County.


Nanticoke Memorial HospitalGood Neighbors

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital keeps its finger on the pulse of its community in Western Sussex County.

When it comes to healthcare, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital CEO Steve Rose says partnering with local community groups is key to reaching Nanticoke’s underserved.

“We have a significant Hispanic community here in Sussex County,” Rose explains. “That’s why we’ve developed an alliance with groups such as Esperanza and La Red to identify residents who are not receiving basic care and screenings.”

Nanticoke, based in Seaford, does much the same to reach Sussex’s growing Haitian population, as well. It’s all part of the hospital’s strategic plan developed by its Community Benefit Committee.

“It’s very important that we understand the unique cultural differences of our ethnic populations,” says Rose. “We miss the boat when we try to impose our culture on them.”

Rose says it’s also important to understand the area-wide demographics.

“We’re located on the western side of Delaware, where the rural demographics couldn’t be more different from the eastern side,” he says.

Among the initiatives that Nanticoke has launched, in addition to its outreach to ethnic groups, is an alliance with West Seaford Elementary to provide teachers with tools and resources to help improve the wellness of its students.

“We start with children, but when it comes to screenings for chronic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, we’re looking at all age groups.”

Because of the cultural differences and demographics that drive the area, Rose says Nanticoke cannot afford to pretend to know everything.

“We can’t assume a ‘if we build it, they will come approach,’” he says. “We’ve got to continue to see healthcare through the eyes of the community and not just our own.”

Page 8: Getting Good Results | Beebe Medical Center’s testing labs earn high grades from inspectors. That’s good news for everyone.


Getting Good Results

Beebe Medical Center’s testing labs earn high grades from inspectors. That’s good news for everyone.

Beebe Medical Center in Lewes operates seven testing labs throughout its healthcare network, producing more than one million comprehensive lab tests per year. Needless to say, Beebe’s recent re-accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) was an important milestone for its continued development as one of the best-known and regarded testing labs in the region.

“There are only about 7,000 accredited labs worldwide,” says Dr. Richard Palmer, Beebe’s lab medical director. “We have been accredited for the past 20 years, but the re-accreditation process, which is conducted every two years, demonstrates that Beebe continues to show compliance to these global standards of operation.”

The CAP review is comparable to a government-level inspection and passing it is an affirmation that all lab results can be trusted as accurate and reflect the highest standards of operational and administrative standards. In order to receive accreditation, Beebe opened its doors to 10 inspectors who spent the entire day and received answers to approximately 3,000 inquiries required by the CAP. All seven of Beebe’s lab operations are staffed by board-certified pathologists, who also possess sub-specialty certifications. Overall, Beebe’s lab operations employ more than 100 staff members. Accreditation also means Beebe can confidently move forward with plans to make its operations even more efficient, Palmer says.

“We are working to develop more automated verification analyses, which will improve the time between testing and reporting results to providers.”

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