A Simple Registration Saves Lives

You read it all the time: “register here for an exclusive coupon” or “sign-up now to receive a gift card.” The constant ads that crowd your email about the latest consumer goods get tiring. In these instances, registration seems like an invasion of your privacy—but what if registering could save a life…or three?

Why should I register to be an organ donor?

We all know that the human body is the ultimate group project. Each body system works together to keep you living your life. Unfortunately, some people might experience some trauma, disease, or dysfunction with their organ-based body systems. Sometimes these failures require a transplant of the dying organ for a healthy one—that’s where you step in!

How can I help?

Organ donation saves lives. To help, you can start with registering as a donor online. Your legacy could live on through the post-mortem donation of essential organs to bring back life to someone else. But, respecting your bodily autonomy—even after death—is important, too.

What can I expect of the registration process?

Your legal consent to be a donor comes in the form of registration in your state. Signing up does not guarantee that every tissue or organ will be donated. Usually, registration takes place several years before a donation even becomes possible.

If I were seriously hospitalized, will my medical services be negatively affected because I am a donor?

Absolutely not. If you were to need serious medical help for a traumatic event or long-term disease, you would still be the hospital’s priority. Your status as a donor does not come into play until the providers have done everything medically possible to save your life.

Brain death must occur before the donation process can begin. People cannot “come back” from brain death, so once that’s established, donation becomes a possibility.

For more information on your local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), click here.

How is the donation process authorized?

The OPO representative searches if the deceased has registered as a donor. If not registered, the next of kin will be asked for authorization. After authorization, a medical evaluation takes place—including the complete medical history from the family.

Where can I learn more?

It’s important to be well-informed about the donation process. To keep learning about the matching process, recovering and transporting process, and the actual transplanting of lifesaving donations, click here.

Occupational and Physical Therapy aren’t the same?

Do you know the difference?

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy focuses on the rehabilitation of a patient’s physical symptoms, together with the emotional need to accomplish day to day living skills. Occupational Therapy may work with people from newborn to older adults with an illness or disability to do things that are important to them (i.e. dressing, eating, preparing food, etc.) They can also work with patients who have mental illnesses or emotional conditions, which may limit one’s ability to perform daily tasks.

Occupational Therapy work to make the necessary changes to a patient’s environment, a method of doing a task, and overall mindset to help their patients live a fulfilled life regardless of the disability or illness.

 What is Physical Therapy?

Both types of therapy handle the rehabilitation of any physical or cognitive disability, temporary ailment, or injury due to an accident. Physical Therapy, however, focuses on improving a patient’s ability to perform movements of the body. Physical Therapy zones in on the physical, bioscience side of an injury to treat it with guided exercises, postural training, and other techniques.

Can a patient require both Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy?

Yes! A patient suffering from an injury may need Physical Therapy to help rebuild critical muscle movement before relearning key aspects to daily living in occupational therapy. For example, a person recovering from a stroke may need to rebuild lost muscle from the affected area, but only Occupational Therapy works with the patient towards reestablishing those necessary life skills.

What types of Occupational Therapy does Culbertson specialize in?

Culbertson’s Occupational Therapy team evaluate and treat patients of all ages with physical, sensory, or cognitive dysfunctions which affect their ability to function in their daily lives. From elbow, hand, and wrist injuries to training in social and self-care activities, Culbertson providers want their patients to excel beyond their physical goals and feel satisfied with their entire wellbeing. A patients ability to succeed at the job of living is the ultimate goal for each of our patients.

For a complete list of condition specializations, click here!

When does Culbertson offer Therapy Services?

The outpatient therapy department can be reached via the main office at (217) 322- 5286. Appointments are available Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

In order to qualify for therapy services, you need to have a current prescription from a licensed medical provider and be aware of what therapy coverage your health insurance offers.

Contact us with any questions or to set up an Occupational Therapy appointment!

Think fast—Are you spring break body ready?

Healthy food options of salmon, chicken, lettuce, bread, milk, strawberries and peppers

It’s mid-March and you’re looking forward to the blossoming warmth of Spring. As the weather heats up and the artic layers of clothing slowly shed off, you might be googling the latest “get fit quick” crash diet popularized by your favorite (maybe not so favorite?) social media celebrity. But we already have the secret to an amazing warm-weather body: you already have it!

What food should I eat?

The best body type is one that’s well-fed with healthy and yummy foods as appropriate to your personal needs. There is more than one way to eat healthfully and everyone has their own eating style. Your culture, personal preferences, traditions, and budget help shape the foods your family enjoys. So, branch out! Healthy food does not equal tasteless food. Look up those slow cooker meals or ask Grandma for the stew recipe she just posted on Facebook—your palate will thank you.

How do I fit healthier eating into my busy life?

Life gets in the way of always planning a perfect plate of the most nutrient-dense foods. We get it. But, you can slowly integrate healthy changes into your family’s favorite recipes.

    1. Oodles of Noodles Pasta night is a family favorite, right? Try switching out those wheat flour noodles for a whole-grain variety. If you’re feeling extra saucy, use a vegetable alternative like zucchini or spaghetti squash!
    2. Fats are…good? Well, some are! Use healthy fats (avocado, olive, nut) as cooking oils to replace butter.
    3. Go Explore Switch it up with global varieties of your favorite food. Try out some Mediterranean or Asian dishes—they tend to be healthier while losing no tastiness!
    4. Be Mindful Keep portions reasonable when loading up your plate with food goodies! Actively try to load half your plate with fruits or veggies at every meal to get the maximum nutrient intake.

Aim for a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and limit saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars!

What about my favorite sweet treat?

 Eat the cookie! There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to your favorite treat. Still try to limit saturated fat, excess sodium, and added sugars, but completely avoiding those guilty pleasures could do more harm than good later. Rule of thumb? Eat it because you want to eat it, not because you may be bored at work and there’s donuts in the breakroom.

What if I have questions about my nutrition?

Culbertson Memorial Hospital offers Nutritional Counseling with a Registered Dietitian every Wednesday. To schedule an appointment, please contact Patient Registration at 217-322-4321 ext. 5271.

Maybe that 5th cup of coffee is a sign of a bigger problem?

Let’s face it, most of us will commonly hit an afternoon slump where coffee or some tasty caffeinated beverage helps get us over the hump.  And, there are times in our lives where we constantly feel tired due to working late nights, caring for a newborn, cramming for finals or a multitude of other activities. BUT, if you are noticing more times than not, your overwhelming feeling of tiredness is not going away, or you have abnormal sleep patterns or consistently lack sleep, you might be dealing with a sleep disorder.

The CDC estimates that more than 1/3rd American adults don’t get the sleep they need.

What are the warning signs of a sleep disorder?

  • Constant fatigue and irritability, even after getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Difficulty concentrating throughout the day
  • Drinking caffeine (or taking other stimulants) to keep you awake during the day
  • Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep regularly
  • Waking up multiple times in the middle of the night with difficulty falling back to sleep
  • Loud snoring, breathing or gasping noises while you sleep
  • Frequent napping
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Waking up unusually early
  • Experiencing an irresistible urge to move your legs or a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs, around bedtime

What should I do if I think I have a sleep disorder?

If you can identify with some or many of the items listed above, start journaling and becoming aware of your experiences.  Keep a log of everything you are going through and then schedule an appointment to see your doctor.  The more you can arm yourself with information, the better your doctor can work with you to diagnose your problem.  Depending on your situation, a sleep study might also be necessary.  These studies are done through sleep labs which observe your heart, brain and breathing functions during sleep.  They can help determine if you are suffering from a sleep disorder.

A staggering 40 million people are estimated to suffer from some sort of long-term sleep disorder as reported by the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

What are the most common sleep disorders?

Believe it or not, but there are over 70 different sleep disorders!  Luckily, they are grouped into three categories: lack of sleep, disturbed sleep, and excessive sleep.  The most common disorders are:

  • Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking early, fatigue
  • Sleep Apnea – breathing is interrupted and temporarily stops during sleep; heavy snoring can be a sign of this
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – Occurs during resting periods like sleep or sitting for a long period of time with lack of movement; legs have irresistible urge to move, can be accompanied by tingling
  • Narcolepsy – Uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Suffering from a sleep disorder can really put your health at risk.  Being well rested helps support your body’s ability to fight sickness, promote healthy cell growth, think clearly, physically function effectively and overall alertness.  It is important to not ignore your tiredness.  Untreated sleep disorders can lead to more serious health issues like high blood pressure, depression, stroke, and heart attacks.

Remember, knowledge is power and for most sleep disorders, they can be easily managed once they are properly diagnosed.

Prevent Colorectal Cancer with Timely Screenings

Did you know colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in  women and 3rd for men?  However, when caught in its very early stages, can have up to a 90% 5-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society.  “This is a largely preventable or curable cancer with early detection and removal of precancerous polyps. Unlike breast, lung or prostate cancer, we can prevent many colon cancers,” said Dr. John Bozdech of Quincy Medical Group.

1 in 20
The likelihood of developing colon cancer in your lifetime.

Unfortunately, many avoid colorectal screenings out of fear or wait until symptoms show.  “Fear of what might be found is a common thing I hear, yet a cancer with symptoms is much less likely to be curable, so waiting until you have problems is a bad idea. By detecting and removing polyps, we can prevent most cancers and most of the cancers detected by screening colonoscopy are curable. Needing a colostomy is very rare. Some people worry about pain, but with our current sedation most people have little or no memory of the test. The preparation is much easier than it used to be,” Dr. Bozdech said.

Number of new cases of colorectal cancer each year in the United States.

How can I reduce my risk for Colon Cancer?


The American Cancer Society recently began recommending screening colonoscopies begin at age 45, but insurance may not cover the screening until age 50.

Exercise and Nutrition

Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and make sure to get moving!

What can I expect during a colonoscopy screening?

Your colon needs to be empty prior to the screening, therefore, the day before it’s necessary to stick to a clear, liquid diet, no solid foods.  That evening, you will need to drink a liquid “prep” that will help clear out the colon, meaning you’ll want to stay close to the bathroom.

1 in 3
American adults who aren’t screened for colorectal cancer as recommended — almost 23 million total.

The colonoscopy procedure lasts between 30 – 60 minutes.  Light sedation will be administered.  A colonoscope is inserted into your colon and used to look for abnormal growths or polyps.  If something abnormal is found it will either be removed or biopsied.  It’s advised to have someone with you to drive you home as you might be groggy from the procedure.

Number of years recommended between colonoscopies for average-risk individuals.

Several other options exist, such as virtual colonoscopies or mail-order tests. “Even though they are not as gold standard as colonoscopy, any screening is better than no screening,” said Dr. Harsha of Blessing Physician Services. “Meet with your primary care physician or a specialist to have a discussion about any specific concerns or find out about alternatives for a colonoscopy,” he recommends.

To read further on this, check out our Fall newsletter.  And, if you are 45-50 or have a family history of colon cancer, and have not yet had a colonoscopy, make the call. Dr. Harsha Polavarupa sees patients at Culbertson the second and fourth Thursday. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Harsha, call the Registration Department at 217-322-5271.

Swing Beds: The Next Stop in Recovery Before Home

Maybe you’re on the road to recovery but not quite there yet. You no longer need full hospital care, but you aren’t ready to return home, either. You need something that’s a step in between, a place with some care and with rehabilitation services. Maybe you need to swing on over to Culbertson’s Swing Bed Program.  The Swing Bed Program serves patients with conditions such as hip or knee replacements, stroke, pneumonia, post-surgical procedures, and extended IV therapy

What is a ‘swing bed’?

This is a Medicare program, so-called because it allows you to “swing” from one level of care to another. You may start as an inpatient, receiving acute care, and as you recover, you can enter the Swing Bed Program. You might not stay in the same bed in the same room.

How is this different from a regular hospital stay?

Swing Bed patients still receive hospital meals and assistance, but the level of care is different. You don’t need the more intensive care involved in being a regular patient of the hospital but are not yet ready to go home and take care of yourself on your own. Culbertson nurses may give assistance with daily self-care or may need to teach you to care for your own medical needs. They will work with you to allow you to return home as soon as possible, decreasing the level of care as your recovery continues.

What if I have a setback?

If something happens that requires traditional hospitalization, you can “swing” back to it. The program’s flexibility allows you to have the right level of care at all times. The care might include physical, speech and occupational therapy or other treatments.

What if I had treatment at another facility and now need the Swing Bed Program?

Culbertson’s Swing Bed Program is open to patients who have had treatment at another facility. Their hospital discharge planner can contact Culbertson’s Discharge Planning at 217-322-4321, ext. 5295

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Heart Disease Affects Younger People Today

Are you at risk of heart disease? It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths, and is now striking younger people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So even if you think you’re too young to worry about heart disease, the reality is that increasing rates of obesity and high blood pressure in younger people means you do need to pay attention to things like diet, exercise, sleep and stress levels — whatever your age.

What are the danger signs?

Everybody knows feeling pressure or pain in the chest is a sign to seek immediate medical help. But symptoms also can include discomfort or pain in places like the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, according to the American Heart Association. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness are also possible signs. Women should be aware heart attacks may present differently for them, and should seek attention if they have any of the symptoms listed. Women are less likely to feel chest pressure, and more likely to feel the other symptoms, to faint, or to feel extreme fatigue.

What can you do for yourself?

First of all, remember heart disease is preventable. Follow these tips from the American Heart Association:

• Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.

• Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?

• Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

• Improve your diet, focusing on heart-healthy meals.

How can Culbertson help your heart?

If you need a bit of inspiration to encourage you, February is American Heart Month. You can celebrate it not with a box of chocolates but with making any necessary changes to your lifestyle to help keep your heart healthy. Need some help coming up with a more heart-healthy diet? Book an appointment for a Nutrition Consultation. Are you having regular annual exams with your primary care provider? If you don’t already have a primary care provider, choose one at whichever of our clinics is most convenient for you and book an appointment.

Can Culbertson provide custom heart rehab?

Culbertson’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program includes exercise and education, and all the monitoring is done by nurses. Your program is individually designed especially for you. You will likely attend rehab classes two or three times a week, which each hour-long session including warming up, stretching, exercising and cooling down. The exercise equipment includes treadmills, rowing machines, arm ergo meters, stationary bicycles, free weights and more. Our computerized equipment will monitor your condition throughout each session and will help our staff know exactly how your heart is responding to the exercise. For most patients, the program runs eight -12 weeks.

What if my family member wants to join me?

For years, the cardiopulmonary department focused on helping our cardiac and pulmonary clients regain their health through a monitored exercise program. During that time, many of our clients stated other members of their family would benefit greatly from a similar exercise program and so we established our Partners for Life Program. The program is open to all spouses, significant others or siblings of current cardiopulmonary patients. A physician authorization and complete evaluation process is required.

How can I reach the Cardiopulmonary Department? Call us at 217-322-4321, ext. 5285.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

The National Cervical Cancer Coalition says nearly 13,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. However, the disease is preventable with proper medical care.

What is cervical cancer?

Cancer of the cervix usually grows slowly and is closely associated with HPV infection. Preventing HPV infection and early detection of pre-cancerous cells on the cervix via Pap smears are key in preventing this cancer.

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus is so common that nearly everyone will get it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people will experience no health problems from an HPV infection, but in some cases it can lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus and back of the throat.

How can cervical cancer be prevented?

HPV vaccination and early detection via regular Pap smears, which detects pre-cancerous changes, are the best preventions. You can also have an HPV test at the same time you have your Pap.

Does safer sex help prevent cervical cancer?

The American Cancer Society notes that using condoms is only partially protective against HPV, because condoms don’t cover the entire area susceptible to infection.

How often should women get a Pap test?

The American Cancer Society recommends all women begin screening at age 21, that women aged 21-29 be screened every three years, that women aged 30-65 get a Pap and HPV test every three to five years and that women 65 and older who have had regular screenings should not be screened. However, women aged 65 and older who have had pre-cancers should continue screenings.

Have you had your Pap?

If you are looking for a medical provider, contact one of Culbertson’s clinics, conveniently located in Astoria, Beardstown, Rushville and Table Grove.

Fall Prevention

Stay Safe When Walking in Winter Weather

Many older adults fear falling, according to The National Institute on Aging. And with good reason: Falls can lead to broken bones and other serious injuries. But don’t let fear make you a prisoner in your own home.

What are the dangers of falling?
If you have osteoporosis, a fall is more likely to result in a broken bone. But even if your bones are strong, a fall could result in another injury, including a head injury.

Are there conditions that make falling more likely?
There are medical conditions that may increase your risk of falling. If you have any such condition, take extra care and talk to your doctor about what affect your condition could make and what steps you can take to reduce your risks. Some of these conditions include poor eyesight and hearing, poor balance and muscle weakness. Certain medications that make you sleepy or disoriented can increase the risks, as can alcohol.

How can I safely go outside in winter?
Be aware of your limitations and take whatever precautions are reasonable. For some, that is choosing non-slip footwear, while for others, it might mean waiting until a helper is available to accompany you. Brace yourself exiting cars by holding on to the door fully as you step out. Use handrails when available for additional stability.

What precautions can I take?
Assistive devices such as canes or walkers can help. Change your environment if necessary, eliminating items like rugs in your home. Outside, ice and snow add to the danger. Arrange to have your porch and sidewalk areas cleared and salted.

What if I do fall?
It’s a very good idea to consider carrying a phone on your person or wearing an emergency response device on a necklace or bracelet if you’re at risk and live alone. If you fall, assess whether you are able to get back up without assistance or if you need to call for help.

The Importance of Proper Car Seat Installation

You know how important it is that children be protected in car seats. But just having a car seat isn’t enough: It’s vital that you install the seat correctly.

What are the available types of car seats?

There are several types of car seats:

  • Infant car seats
  • Convertible seats
  • All-in-one seats
  • Boost seats

Where can I get more information?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has lots of information on car seat safety, including a handy chart that tells you what kind of seat is appropriate for your child depending on age and weight. But even the right seat does little good if it’s not installed correctly.

Read the car seat manual!

This may sound obvious, but even if you’ve installed seats before, take the time to read the manual to be sure you’re following the manufacturer’s directions. Read the car seat information section in your vehicle owner’s manual as well. Each seat is different, and not every seat is appropriate for every vehicle.

How do I know if the seat is correctly installed?

If the seat is easy to move back and forth or forward and backward, it’s too loose. If there’s a tether strap, and the car has a tether anchor, use it. Make certain you install a rear-facing seat at the correct recline angle. Look for a built-in angle indicator.

Is there someone who will check my installation?

Yes! We have staff at the Taylor Clinic who are certified car seat installers and will be glad to perform a car seat installation check for you. In addition, the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program offers CPS technicians who can help. Click the link to find a certified technician who can check your installation and offer help if you need it.

How do I put my child in the seat?

Once the seat is installed correctly, make sure you adjust your child correctly every single time you go somewhere. Harness straps must be flat. Buckle the harness, situate the chest clip at armpit level, and tighten.

What about winter coats and car seats?

A puffy coat can prevent the car seat from being tight enough. To prevent this, cover the strapped-in child with a blanket instead. Consumer Reports offers more information on how to safely use a car seat in winter.