“They Were Like a Silent Army of Love”

After giving birth to Ruby less than three hours after arriving at Athens Regional, Lora and Solomon Smothers were in for a long night.

“Ruby ended up having some pretty severe health issues that we didn’t know about,” Solomon says.

Their daughter, Ruby, was born in cardiac distress, but the Smothers family remembers their time in the delivery ward for their positive interactions with the nurses and staff.

“The thing that was great about our interactions with them was how well they listened to us,” Solomon says. “They’ve learned the beautiful skill of caring for people and serving people without using words.”

Lora and Solomon anxiously waited for the Athens Regional NICU to stabilize Ruby before she could be transferred to the Cardiac NICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“The life-saving work really happened in those first five hours,” Solomon says.

Lora is thankful for the emotional and physical care the staff at Athens Regional provided her family.

“The nurse believed for our child when I couldn’t – I will never forget that,” Lora says.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in NICU


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U.S. News & World Report Ranks ARMC Top Hospital in Northeast Georgia

Athens Regional Medical Center Ranked 10th in “Best Hospitals in Georgia”

Athens Regional Medical Center has been named the top hospital in Northeast Georgia by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine ranks ARMC tenth in its 2015 “Best Hospitals in Georgia” issue out of 170 hospitals throughout the state. ARMC is one of only four hospitals outside the metro Atlanta area in the top 10.

“This ranking reinforces that our doctors, nurses and support staff are exceptional and the patient care they provide is nothing short of excellent,” said Dr. Chuck Peck, President and CEO of Athens Regional Health System. “This is a tribute to all of the people committed to the mission of this hospital. We are very proud to earn this distinction.”

Four specialties at ARMC were cited in the report: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Heart bypass surgery, Heart failure and Hip replacement.

“I could not be more proud of this recognition,” said Athens Regional Health System Board Chairman Jim Hopkins. “I know firsthand the excellent work that we do in the system, so it is rewarding to have this external validation.”

More information about the report


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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in News, Recognition


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Partnership Search Announcement

To ensure our organization continues to thrive and meet the needs of the community we serve, our Board of Directors has made an important decision that we want to share with our community: Our Board has decided to explore a strategic partnership with another hospital, health system or healthcare organization who shares our mission, culture, values and commitment to excellence.

Read more about this search announcement and let us know the questions you have.

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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in News, Service



Getting Good Sleep Can Be Challenging

By Joe Granato, RPSGT/RST | Assistant Director ARMC Sleep Disorders Center

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your body’s good health — both mentally and physically. Practicing good sleep hygiene techniques will provide you with good quality of life and will keep you safe.

Sleep deficiency can put you at risk by promoting health problems. Sleep deprivation can slow your thinking and your react time. Subsequently, your work will begin to suffer because you will slow down. When you are tired and sleep deprived you are unable to learn well, comprehension of what you hear may suffer and you may make poor decisions.

What Causes Sleep Interruptions?

Things that can interfere with a good night’s sleep are pressures at work, lay-offs, family responsibilities, relationship issues, and illness.

Computer use before bedtime can induce stress and give you an adrenaline rush. As you become stressed, your body can go into a “fight or flight” response, which releases cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland. When left on, the light and sound of a TV might make your brain think it is time to wake up and will make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Looking at your cell phone and reading messages or sending messages can raise your stress levels. Negative email messages can promote anger and cause an adrenaline rush as well. Texting, emailing, and searching the internet can be very frustrating and challenging. Using this technology prior to sleep can induce insomnia, restlessness or in some instances nightmares.

Good Sleep Hygiene Techniques

  • Avoid technology for 15-30 minutes prior to bed.
  • The television in your room or the kids room should be off.
  • Stick to the same schedule every day, including weekends, holidays and days off.
  • When you lie down and do not fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing, but remember that electronics cause stress and can cause a melatonin delay.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry or “stuffed.”
  • Limit drinks before bed, especially drinks that have sugar or caffeine.
  • Nicotine is a stimulant and can take hours to wear off.
  • Alcohol can make you sleepy at first but can get you up later because it can make you sweat or have to go the bathroom multiple times.
  • Avoid long naps especially in the afternoon. A short power-nap is great but too long a nap can interfere with your circadian rhythm.

Following these simple suggestions will ensure your body has the best possible state and environment conducive to restful sleep.

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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Wellness


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Driven to Help

Patient Praise for our Patient Care Team:

“We haven’t been to Athens Regional in several years. We parked in the Talmadge Tower deck and Norm immediately offered a ride in a golf cart directly to the door. Norm walked us inside and instructed us where to go. We were then walked to the testing area. The tech took great care of my husband and he called the next tech when he was finished and walked us to the appropriate area. When we left, we asked the Security Guard about getting a ride back to the parking deck. The golf cart was in use and Officer Bill took us in his security vehicle. We were most impressed with Athens Regional. Every single person we met offered to and did help us. I promised our drivers I would send a note about our experience. Thanks to all of your employees. They really treated us well and we appreciated it.”

Thank you, volunteers!

We’re proud to say Athens Regional is filled with wonderful volunteers like Norm. In fact, Norm’s wife, Ruby, volunteers at the 4th floor information desk!

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Posted by on July 14, 2015 in Recognition, Service


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How Can Complementary Therapy Help You?

Lauren Richards, LCSW | Published in the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support Newsletter

If you are a cancer survivor and have not yet attended one of the many complementary therapy classes offered at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support, mounting research shows you may be missing out on significant opportunities to improve your overall well-being and reduce your risk of developing recurrent and/or secondary cancers.

The Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Cancer Institute is a fantastic resource for information about complementary medicine. I’ve provided references to a few research articles below, however I highly recommend checking out the website for additional studies on the myriad CAM therapies used by cancer survivors.

New Research Suggests Yoga May Help with Fatigue-Related Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors — This study examined the impact of a 12 week Iyengar Yoga class on female breast cancer survivors, and found participants experienced “significant decreases in fatigue severity and increases in vigor.”

MD Anderson study suggests acupuncture given alongside radiation may help reduce xerostomia (dry mouth) — The patients in this study who received acupuncture concurrent with their radiation treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer experienced significantly less dry mouth (self-reported) and significantly better production of saliva (measured) than patients in the control group.

One year pre–post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients — This study examined the impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on patients with breast and prostate cancer and found those who received MBSR experienced reductions in stress symptoms, blood pressure, and improved cortisol levels.

As a practitioner, it’s exciting to see the positive impact therapies offered at the Loran Smith Center have on the quality of life of our patients and caregivers. However, it’s even more gratifying to see research throughout the world validating the use of these supportive modalities. We strive to offer you the best cancer support care and will continue to evolve and grow to serve your needs.

More About Loran Smith Center

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.


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“Why I Donate Blood”


About 30 blood donations later, and Lindsey Crider is still going strong.

Crider is a Patient Financial Services Representative here at Athens Regional and she is one of our dedicated blood donors. Over her career as a donor, she has saved approximately 90 lives.

Even though Lindsey never had a personal or family illness that compels her to donate, she still believes it is a worthy cause.

“If I was in the situation needing blood, I would hope it would be there.”

Crider began donating when she was in high school. Now, she tries to give at every Athens Regional Drive.

“I remember when I’m eligible by when [the drive] comes back here,” Crider says. “Every time it comes, I try to go.”

Crider encourages other employees and community members to donate as well because the need is so overwhelming.

“I think we need to slow down and put ourselves in that position — in a hospital bed and needing blood. Then, I’m sure more people would donate.”

For more information about our upcoming drive, check out our flyer or visit our website.

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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


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