Fall has arrived as the leaves are changing and the nights are already down into the 30’s and 40’s.  This is such a wonderful time of the year here in North Central Pennsylvania, but as we all know the snow is not far behind.

The weekend of September 10 and 11, Martha Lloyd Community Services held its annual day of SHARING and the Annual Festival.  These events are very important for our residents, their families, and friends.  I would also like to share my appreciation to our staff who in some cases become surrogate family members for the weekend.  The weekend is full of activities including presentations by staff and outside entities, games, dancing, B-B-Q chicken, raffle prizes and listening to a great band.  All of these are designed to improve relationships and display the talents of many of our residents.

I have always felt that in order for us to do good jobs, we must view the families and friends of our residents as partners.  Without this partnership, we could not provide the quality care that we are known for.  In all partnerships, our relationship is like a marriage, if we fail to talk, share information, and ideas, the relationship gets strained, and services may suffer.  This weekend in September creates many opportunities for administrators, staff, and families to meet face to face and renew the partnership.

In addition, Martha Lloyd has developed excellent partnerships with Pennsylvania Counties, many States, and other local service providers.  These partnerships are also critical to our mission of providing quality services to a diverse population.

One partnership that stands out is our partnership with the Guthrie Healthcare System.  For many years, Guthrie has provided doctors and other clinicians on-site to serve as the resident’s primary care physician.  We use the Troy Community Hospital as well as the full range of specialists available at the Guthrie Main Campus in Sayre, PA.  Dr. Them, Chief of Occupational and Environmental Health, is on our Board of Directors.  Many of Martha Lloyd’s Board members also serve as Trustees for the Guthrie HealthCare System.  As you can see this is a well-established relationship.

I believe now there exists an opportunity to take this partnership to a new level by incorporating Telemedicine into our treatment strategies.  For the past several years, Telemedicine has been a discussion topic at many levels of both organizations.  The discussion at SHARING with Dr. Kari Wood and our families was very positive regarding the use of this technology.  Even though the upfront costs would be significant, the over all benefits would be substantial.  Over the course of a year, we spend countless hours on the road taking our residents to specialists in the Guthrie System.  Many of our residents get very anxious about traveling and going to a large busy setting.  Then they see doctors and nurses that they do not know and sometimes react badly to all of this.  By using Telemedicine, we would cut down the number of trips, reduce anxiety, and in some cases receive a better set of services because of this technology.

I am hopeful that we can proceed with this Telemedicine initiative over the next year.  We may need some financial support to get this project moving.  We will explore all possible funding sources and continue to work with Guthrie to make this a reality.  Effective partnerships make the world go round even in Rural North Central Pennsylvania.

Live in Peace!