Northern Wisconsin

Spirit Air 2 Begins Service

When seconds count, accessing the region’s premier critical care air transport services will be quicker and closer than ever for residents of northern Wisconsin. Ministry Health Care has announced that its new AS350 helicopter ambulance radio call sign “Spirit Air 2” went into service on Friday, May 27. Based at Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, this is the first AS350 or A-Star in the fleet of aircraft that also includes an EC145 radio call sign “Spirit Air 1.”

The AS350 will be the primary response air ambulance for the northern region cutting response times in half.

“Working with EMS organizations and other health care professionals in northern Wisconsin, we identified a need to reduce transport times for critically ill or injured patients in the region,” says Monty Gallegos, system director, Ministry Spirit Medical Transportation. “The addition of the northwoods-based helicopter will put critical care transport much closer to residents of the area. We like to have the patients to the trauma center in an hour or less, so decreased response times for air medical will definitely benefit the patient and save lives.”

According to Gallegos, the AS350 was the aircraft of choice because it provides the power, reliability, size and advanced technology needed to perform the varied missions and scope.

Ministry Spirit performs a wide variety of missions including inter-hospital transport, education outreach to the EMS community and area schools. Spirit Air was the first program in central and northern Wisconsin to operate the EC145. The aircraft is large enough and powerful enough to accommodate all EMS and advanced live saving mission equipment along with a crew of three. “Time is a critical factor in the outcome of treatment for trauma, heart attack, and stroke victims, “ said Heong P’ng, MD, Medical Director of the Spirit Ministry Medical Transportation service. “Basing a helicopter in the Northwoods will dramatically reduce the time it takes to transport patients to the region’s trauma and specialty referral centers in Marshfield and Weston/Wausau.”

Ministry Spirit Medical Transportation has been providing efficient, safe medical transport for nearly 18 years.

Ministry’s Spirit currently provides air and inter-facility ground ambulance transportation services to residents of central and northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. The service’s existing EC145 helicopter is dispatched from Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, while its ground ambulances operate from dispatch centers in Marshfield, Stevens Point, Weston, Woodruff, and Rhinelander. Its Weston base at Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital also includes an advanced life support intercept service that supports the paramedic staffed ambulances of Weston and surrounding communities.

The Ministry Spirit aircraft are owned and operated by Air Methods, of Englewood, Colorado. Flight nurses and other medical personnel are employed by Ministry Health Care.

Halo® SleepSack® wearable blankets help HYMC newborns sleep safer in birthing center

Ministry Health Care’s Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC) swaddles newborn babies in HALO® SleepSack® wearable blankets to keep babies safe and warm while they sleep and to model safe sleep practices for parents. In recent years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its guidelines to suggest the use of wearable blankets instead of loose blankets as a way to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies less than one year old.

The hospital’s focus on wearable blankets not only comforts and stabilizes the 325 babies born annually at HYMC, but also eliminates loose blankets loose blankets in bassinets.

“We’re always looking for new ways to continue improving Howard Young’s quality of care for patients, and our partnership with HALO Innovations ensures all babies in our birthing center are sleeping safely right from the start,” said Lynn LaFrenier, Birthing Center manager at Ministry Health Care’s Howard Young Medical Center. “Our well-baby and neonatal nurses are already educating new parents on how to properly position and set up appropriate sleep environments for newborns. The use of HALO SleepSack wearable blankets in our hospital is another way to demonstrate safe sleep practices to parents.”

The Howard Young Foundation granted a $5,800 donation to HYMC to support the HALO Safer Way to Sleep initiative. This donation gives every baby born at HYMC the opportunity to take his or her own HALO SleepSack Swaddle home, along with a packet of information for new parents about reducing the risk of SIDS. HALO SleepSack wearable blankets are also available for purchase in the Auxiliary Howard Young Medical Center Gift Shop.

“HALO Innovations is pleased to partner with HYMC to provide a product that keeps sleeping babies safe, gives parents peace of mind and makes safe swaddling of newborns easier,” said Bill Schmid, founder of HALO Innovations. “Our mission is to significantly decrease the number of babies lost to SIDS each year, and we believe our HALO SleepSack wearable blankets along with education on safe sleep practices are helping fight this battle.”

More than 600 hospitals across the country are currently using HALO SleepSack wearable blankets in their neonatal units or nurseries, gifting them to new moms or selling the product in hospital gift shops. A percentage of all HALO SleepSack product sales go directly to support medical research, education and family services in the fight against SIDS.

For more information about HYMC’s wearable blanket program, call 715.356.8500.

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital introduces the Abider Program

discuss the new Abider Program
Lisa Pepp (left), Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and Lisa Becker (right), Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital Case Management

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital (MERMH) will soon offer an abider program that provides a trained volunteer, or an abider, to sit beside patients during the last days and hours of their lives.

Abider volunteers are trained to provide a spiritual presence to persons who are identified as "actively dying." Reading scripture or poetry, offering prayer, playing soft music, or simply holding the dying person's hand are characteristic activities of an abider program.

“Oftentimes a dying patient is alone and does not have the support or presence of a family or friend, or the family or friend may be physically or emotionally unavailable to the patient,” said Lisa Becker, palliative care coordinator, Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital. “This program will ensure that a caring abider is there for patients in their greatest time of need.”

The Abider Program is part of the Eagle River Palliative Care Coalition through the MERMH case management department and is comprised of volunteers working under the direction of Becker, the palliative care coordinator. There are currently nine volunteers that have been trained for the abider program.

An abider is a member of the MERMH Auxiliary and is responsible for maintaining requirements on occupational health screening, confidentiality, patient rights, and infection control.

Lisa Pepp, MERMH Auxiliary and Wisconsin Hospital Association Partners, chair of health education, based the idea for the abider program on a similar program at Aurora Memorial Hospital in Burlington, Wisconsin.

“When I first saw this program in Burlington, I thought it was a great idea,” said Pepp. “They were kind enough to share the program with us, which nicely fits with the palliative care mission of improving end of life care in our communities.”

The development of this program exemplifies Ministry Health Care’s commitment to the four core values of Presence, Service, Vision, and Justice. The program encourages staff and volunteers to treat others with dignity and respect so each person feels important and worthwhile.

To learn more about the abider program, call 715.479.0286.

Celebration of Life – Together We Soar
Save the Date
Sunday, August 14, 2011 1 – 3 p.m.

This open house event will feature:

  • Guest Speaker Nina Miller, Cancer Survivor and Director of Breast Cancer Recovery, a non-profit, Madison-based organization
  • Butterfly release
  • Refreshments
  • Educational displays and support materials

On the grounds of Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital, 2251 North Shore Drive, Rhinelander

Ministry's Latest Social Activities
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