Health system broadens care with behavioral health practitioner
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By SARAH WEBER
Correspondent, The Capital-Democrat newspaper
ORANGE CITY — A new doctor has been working with the Orange City Area Health System to expand the range of care offered in the area of mental health. Dr. Dee Jay Donlin, Ph.D., brings experience in mental health services and is working with primary-care providers in the health system to offer behavioral health care.
“Inquiring about a move to northwest Iowa, I visited with a doctor I was friends in college with [Dr. James Clemens] and with CEO Marty Guthmiller, and I was so impressed with the progressive atmosphere, core values, emphasis on customer care, of integrity and innovation, it seemed like a good opportunity to integrate behavioral health with what was already offered,” Donlin said.
Donlin began his practice in May of 2015 and with the team of family-practice doctors, offering appointments for consultation whenever there is a concern.
He grew up just 30 minutes from Orange City. He’s familiar with northwest Iowa and its communities. His wife is also from the area, as is much of their family, all motivators for his return.
Donlin graduated from the University of Minnesota with initial training in pediatric psychology and continued with clinical psychology at the Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center. There, he helped develop programs for conditions ranging from developmental disabilities to types of behavior disorders.
A move to northern Minnesota offered more of a general practice, and Donlin began working with a broader base of clients, similar to his work in Orange City, helping people with mental illnesses.
Recognizing that mental health is a real and treatable condition is the first step, Dr. Donlin said. “We live in an area where there is a fair amount of stigma. People are reluctant to be open to difficulties.”
He encourages people to reach out, speak with their family practice doctor if they suspect they are struggling. “I want to work alongside family practice, helping people realize mental health issues are just as real and significant as physical issues. As we combat that and become more integrated, people will become more aware and accepting.”
Often times it is the people with the biggest smiles that hide the deepest pain, said Orange City resident Brian De Jong. He has been battling depression since the 1990s.
Conventional therapy and medical visits have helped him, De Jong said. He also advocates the importance of personal connections. “Share your story. Reach out and find people you can trust. You don’t need a ton of friends, but you do need at least one that will hold you accountable and will be honest with you.”
De Jong seconds Donlin’s thoughts about acceptance of the disease. “What frustrates me most is the hush-hush mentality of this illness. People just don’t want to talk about it.”
With the holidays in full swing, Donlin offers a few tips to help people cope with what can sometime be a stressful time.
“I would encourage people to be aware of their own expectations,” he said. “Having expectations of the perfect meal, perfect conversation, people often behave differently. And, when expectations aren’t met, that is when we start to see problems develop.
“Don’t set your sights on things you can’t control, and take care of yourself,” Donlin said. One of the most important things a person can do? “During the holidays we tend to overextend ourselves. People need to learn to say no. Learn stress-relieving strategies that work specifically for them. When we take care of ourselves, we are then able to better care for others around us.”
Stress-reducing techniques are different for everyone, Donlin said, and what may be good for one person may not be for another. Keeping a schedule, maintaining a budget so you don’t create new problems, exercise and not staying sedentary, writing, drawing, art, are all ways people can channel stress and take care of themselves.
Donlin’s most important piece of advice is a simple one, “I often remind people, remember to be careful what you look for, because you will probably find it.
“I encourage people to look for encouragement from others, thankfulness, gratitude rather than loneliness and disappointment… When you look for those things you are going to find them, and it will enhance your life experiences.”
Patients do not need a referral to see Dr. Donlin, and if anyone thinks help is needed, making one phone call is the first step — 712-737-2000 is the clinic phone number, and his hours are typically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A person may also speak with a family practice doctor to decide what the best treatment should be.
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Appointments can be made with Dr. Donlin by calling the Orange City Family Medicine Clinic at 712-737-2000, or through your family practice provider.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_button _builder_version=”3.0.89″ button_text=”Click here for information about our Behavioral Health Clinic” button_url=”https://www.ochealthsystem.org/medical-clinics/behavioral-health/” url_new_window=”on” background_layout=”dark” custom_button=”on” button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_bg_color=”#e09900″ button_font=”|700|||||||” button_icon=”%%204%%” button_icon_color=”#ffffff” button_icon_placement=”right” button_on_hover=”off” custom_margin=”12px|12px|12px|12px” box_shadow_style=”preset2″ /][et_pb_cta _builder_version=”3.0.89″ title=”%22Taking that step and getting help was the best decision I ever made.”” button_text=”Read more of Brian’s story…” button_url=”https://www.ochealthsystem.org/treating-depression-recognizing-help-needed-first-hardest-step/” url_new_window=”on” use_background_color=”on” background_layout=”dark” text_shadow_style=”preset2″ header_font=”|600|||||||” custom_button=”off” button_icon_placement=”right” custom_margin=”12px|12px|12px|12px” animation_style=”fade” body_font=”|700|||||||” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.89″ background_layout=”light”]
-by Jesse Nieuwenhuis, MD, Family Physician at Orange City Area Health System
It’s that time of year again: the Christmas lights, decorations, music, and good moments to be had with family and friends; what’s not to love? Unfortunately, wintertime also signals in the season for influenza, or simply known as “the flu.” We hear about getting the flu shot now every year, and so what’s the big deal with the flu anyway?
Back in 1918, an influenza epidemic of worldwide proportion infected an estimated 500 million people and killed 50-100 million (3-5% of the world’s population at the time), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Most disease outbreaks disproportionately kill the very young, old, and already weakened, but the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy adults. Pandemics of influenza have also occurred in 1957, 1968, 1977, and most recently in 2009 with the emergence of the current H1N1 influenza virus, or “swine flu.”
These outbreaks often occur when the influenza virus changes just slightly enough to catch our bodies off guard, making our immune systems less ready to fight off the virus. The flu vaccine was available already in 1945, but its wide acceptance didn’t come until about the late 1990s to early 2000s. Current recommendations are that most people 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine every year. The importance of getting the flu vaccine every year is that the vaccine changes every year to provide coverage for the most current strains of the influenza virus that are around. So, in general, how effective is the flu vaccine? No vaccine is perfect, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu between 40% and 60%. Although this doesn’t seem like a significant reduction in risk, the flu vaccine is also associated with other benefits including a reduced risk of flu-related hospitalization, lower rates of heart events in those with heart disease, protecting both mom and baby during pregnancy, reducing the risk of a child from dying from influenza, reducing the severity of the illness if you do get sick, and protecting those around you through “herd” immunity.
Peak flu season typically runs from late November to March but varies slightly from year to year. So what are the most typical symptoms of influenza? Contrary to common misconception, the “stomach flu” involving vomiting and diarrhea are not typical symptoms of actual influenza but can be seen with influenza more commonly in children versus adults. Typical flu symptoms include fevers or feeling feverish or having chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue or tiredness. These symptoms can be similar to the common cold and other upper respiratory viral infections, but there can be some key differences that can help determine if an influenza diagnosis is more likely. Below is a chart from the CDC that can help show some of the common nuances in signs and symptoms between the cold and the flu. The only sure way to make a diagnosis of influenza is to do laboratory testing, most commonly through swabbing the inside of the nose or the back of the throat.
Flu vs Cold
|Signs and Symptoms
||Usual; lasts 3-4 days
||Usual; often severe
|Chest discomfort, cough
||Common; can be severe
||Mild to moderate; hacking cough
For most people, treatment of influenza consists of treating the symptoms with over-the-counter medication, staying well hydrated, and lots of rest. If caught in the first 48 hours and/or for people at higher risk of complications from the flu, antivirals can also be used to treat the flu. These antivirals can lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness by 1-2 days and also prevent serious flu complications like pneumonia.
As flu season is now upon us, remember to get your yearly flu vaccine to not only protect yourself but also others as you spend time with friends and family this Christmas season. Please visit with your doctor and go to the CDC website on influenza (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/
) for more information and resources about the flu. This website also gives weekly updates on current flu activity in your local area; so stay tuned, get your flu vaccine, and stay healthy this winter!
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-by Alan Laird, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, I’d like to share a few tips on getting through what can be a stressful time. It requires taking a self-inventory and a look at our habits…
The first tip is to take care of yourself. While that sounds like common sense, most of us aren’t doing a very good job. It is even more important this time of year, when we get busy with extra things and cut corners on self-care. Make sure you’re eating healthy. A couple of treats from work are not a substitute for a healthy meal. Make sure you’re getting breakfast every day. Continue your exercise program. If you aren’t doing one, start one. Don’t wait for January 1.
Exercise not only helps us maintain our weight, but it helps us to sleep better and increases the chemicals in our body for healing and emotional well-being. Getting sunlight is important. Sunlight stimulates our body to make some of those hormones important in emotional well-being. We may find ourselves going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. If that’s the case, try to have some time during the day when you’re in a brightly lit room; preferably right after you get up for the day.
Secondly, regulate your schedule. This is often a time we over-commit. There are additional activities with friends, work, family and the church. Saying yes to everything means we’ll have time for nothing. Be a picky volunteer. Don’t over schedule. Make sure you also plan some downtime, so that you are ready to enjoy the events you have agreed to.
Third, examine your budget. If you don’t have a budget for the holidays, make sure you can afford to not have a budget. It is an easy time of year to overspend, which causes a lot of stress next year. Try to be realistic about what you can afford to buy and what you can afford to spend.
Last, consider your attitude. If you find yourself stressed out, dreading your upcoming commitments, feeling down or just plain “Humbug,” reexamine the above three points. Is it because you’re not taking care of yourself? Perhaps you have overcommitted? Maybe you have spent beyond your means? And of course, if you find you are really feeling low, talk to your healthcare professional.
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Chelsea Lampen (Harberts) is from Sibley, Iowa, and graduated from Northwestern College n Orange City. She met Jeff Lampen at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mchigan. They were married in 2011 and welcomed a daughter, Lorelei, in 2013. In 2015, they accepted a call to serve as RCA (Reformed Church in America) missionaries in Lupeni, Romania, where they work with youth education initiatives and character/spiritual development. A key piece of their work is welcoming college students from the United States, most notably from Northwestern College, as they study abroad and experience internships in a new culture.
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Hear Chelsea’s story, shared with us following the birth of their second child this past October at Orange City Area Health System …
“When we learned that we were expecting our second child, we considered whether to give birth in Romania or back home in the United States. While there were certainly high-quality health care options in Romania, we ultimately decided to come closer to family and a broader support system in Northwest Iowa to welcome our little boy. We are very well supported by a number of churches in Sioux County, and one of the ways in which we are cared for while in the area is by being housed at the RCA Missionary Home in Orange City. The convenience and comfort of Orange City led us to look into Orange City Area Health System, where we were immediately welcomed and made to feel at home. Even during our earliest conversations with the staff, calling from Romania, we really appreciated the warmth and ease in which appointments and tours were scheduled. And when we were able to make a visit in May, we found Dr. Moeller and the nursing staff radiated a rare combination of kindness and professionalism. They were responsive to our ideas and wishes and did everything they could to make our experience a pleasant one. After the experience of having our delivery doctor changed during the birth of our daughter, we were very happy to hear that Dr. Moeller would be present for the entire duration of the labor and delivery, no matter how long it took. The rooms were comfortable and provided a comfortable area for Jeff to rest at night, and the cafeteria food was great (try the bran muffins)!”