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Health & Fitness

West Side Health & Fitness News & Notes

12/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Hospice of the Western Reserve presents Volunteer Education Series

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Hospice of the Western Reserve is seeking volunteers to assist in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living communities, its two Hospice House locations and hospital settings.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and skill levels, according to Hospice officials. Opportunities to serve include visiting patients and families, helping with legacy work, transportation, light housework, meal preparation, running errands, making phone calls, helping with clerical work, attending health fairs or making a presentation. 

Volunteers with specialized professional qualifications and training also are needed, including attorneys, licensed hair dressers, massotherapists and pet therapy dogs and their handlers.

The next series of volunteer classes will take place at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St., in Meeting Room 2AB, Feb. 3 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Teen and nonclinical volunteers need to attend only the first four hours of class Feb. 3, while most other volunteers must attend both classes.

Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, call the volunteer team at 800-707-8922, ext. 6881.


Dedication ceremony honors Hamlins

DOWNTOWN AKRON — On Dec. 5, Summa Health System honored Richard and Yvonne Hamlin for their donation of $4 million for the creation of a hybrid cardiovascular operating room that will be housed at Summa Akron City Hospital.

In honor of the benefactors, Summa’s 95 Arch St. building will be renamed The Richard M. and Yvonne Hamlin Pavilion. The facility is home to numerous cardiopulmonary patient services, as well as medical and surgical offices.

The gift from the Hamlin family is the largest philanthropic gift in Summa’s history, according to Summa officials. The Hamlin Operating Room Suite, when complete late next summer, will include the dual functionality of a traditional operating room and cardiac catheterization labratory that will allow Summa physicians to offer services to cardiovascular patients that previously were only available outside of Akron, according to Summa officials.

The suite is expected to serve 1,000 people in its first year of operation. 


CEO Dennis Allen celebrates 25 years at Hattie Larlham

TWINSBURG — On Dec. 5, Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen celebrated his 25th anniversary at Hattie Larlham. 

In 1988, Allen joined the organization. He is a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year regional finalist and a two-time Smart Business Visionary.

Allen was introduced to the field of developmental disabilities when he interned with Weaver School. According to Allen, one moment inspired him to dedicate his career to people with developmental disabilities.

“I was standing in the lobby waiting for someone to come back,” he said. “I was looking at all the ribbons and trophies, and the preschool teacher came around the corner with a little pull cart with about eight preschoolers. I looked over, then back at the trophies. One little girl got off the cart and came up and took my hand. I looked down immediately, and she looked up at me and had a big smile with teeth missing from the front, and big thick glasses and curly hair like Shirley Temple. And I looked at her, and she smiled at me, and I smiled back. Here I am 42 years later.”

As for joining Hattie Larlham, Allen recalled, “The thing that drew me to Hattie Larlham was the fact that it had an incredible reputation. With the reputation the organization had and the presence in the community, we could really influence the direction of disability services in the state of Ohio, all for the good.”

In 1988, Hattie Larlham consisted of the Center for Children with Disabilities in Mantua, one group home in Solon and 20 to 30 people in foster care. Hattie Larlham served 178 people with developmental disabilities and their families in Portage and Cuyahoga counties with a $7.3 million annual budget. Under Allen’s leadership, Hattie Larlham has since expanded to now serve 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities in more than 20 Northeast Ohio counties on an annual budget that has grown to $33 million.

In 1993, Allen began the process of increasing the number of Northeast Ohio community homes for adults with developmental disabilities from one to 16. The homes provide 24-hour medical care and give people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live independently within their community.

In 2002, he led the organization to launch Constant Companions, a day program that focuses on the mutual and beneficial interaction between people with developmental disabilities and domestic animals. There are now seven Constant Companions locations in Ohio, including Twinsburg, Green and North Canton.

In 2006, Allen spearheaded the creation of Hattie Larlham’s social enterprises, which now include Hattie’s Café & Gifts, Hattie’s Doggie Day Care & Boarding, Hattie’s Gardens, Hattie’s Vending, Hattie’s Assembly, Hattie’s Catering and a bakery. Today, the vocational programs employ 211 adults with developmental disabilities.


Akron General offers new treatment option for Heart Rhythm Disorders

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron General Heart and Vascular Center now uses balloon catheter cryoablation.

This minimally invasive procedure efficiently blocks troublesome electrical impulses in the heart that cause an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib. Cardiac tissues are then ablated through the use of a freezing energy rather than heat, which is delivered through a balloon catheter.

“For many patients with Afib, it is important to restore normal heart rhythm to improve quality of life,” said electrophysiologist Dr. Robert Schweikert, chief of cardiology at the Akron General Heart & Vascular Center. “By using balloon cryoablation, patients spend less time undergoing the procedure, and the effectiveness is impressive. This procedure is one of the newest, most clinically advanced treatment options for Afib, proven safe and effective in clinical studies worldwide in tens of thousands of patients. With this addition to our other advanced technologies for Afib catheter ablation, we now have more treatment options available for patients with Afib.”

Afib will affect more than 5.6 million Americans by 2050, according to Akron General officials. Today, approximately 3 million Americans suffer from this potentially dangerous form of irregular heartbeat, with many more left undiagnosed, according to Akron General officials, who added that half of all diagnosed Afib patients fail drug therapy, face two times the risk of death from heart-related causes, have five times higher risk of stroke and may contract other serious heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure.


Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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