Health Notes

November 21, 2007

AAMC property to be smoke-free

Anne Arundel Medical Center will join 25 other Maryland hospitals when it becomes a smoke-free campus Jan. 1.

"All of the buildings at AAMC have been smoke-free for years," said Lisa Hillman, senior vice president and chairwoman of AAMC's smoke-free task force. "By making the entire campus smoke-free -- including the garages and outdoor areas on campus -- we are setting a clear example of good health practices, while creating a smoke-free atmosphere for our patients, visitors and staff."

As of Jan. 1, visitors who wish to smoke will have to do so off the medical center's property.

AAMC began to eliminate outdoor smoking areas on campus in July, setting a target date for Jan. 1 to give staff members and visitors plenty of notice for the change. The medical center will offer complimentary "quit kits" for employees, patients and visitors, and will make nicotine replacement lozenges, chewing gum and mints available for purchase in AAMC gift shops.

AAMC also offers smoking-cessation programs.

Information about these programs is available at 443-481- 5366 or 443-481-5367.

Hospital pledges healthy food plan

Anne Arundel Medical Center recently joined the growing number of U.S. hospitals that have signed the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. The pledge is a commitment to promote a healthy food system by serving nutritious foods and by treating food as preventive medicine that can protect and enhance the health of patients and the community. The pledge, a program of Health Care Without Harm, is part of an overall campaign for environmentally responsible health care.

AAMC is among the 101 U.S. hospitals, and only the third in Maryland, to sign the pledge.

"We are moving in every way we can toward a healthier food menu for our customers: our employees, patients and visitors," said Mary Ellen Tuma, director of food services at AAMC. "By making healthy choices more interesting, we've joining AAMC's overall approach in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle."

A second aspect of the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge is in the adoption of practices that have a more positive environmental impact. By encouraging the use of reusable cups and plates, buying biodegradable products, composting food waste and purchasing produce from local distributors, when seasonal, AAMC hopes to positively affect the local environment and limit the storage of foods, getting them to consumers more quickly.

Information: www.aahs.org, or 443-481-1000.

Make the holiday safe for eating

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health offers the following safety tips to cooks as they prepare seasonal foods:

At the grocery store, purchase cold foods such as meat and poultry last. Get them home quickly and put them in the refrigerator. Freeze meats if you do not cook them within two days.

Make sure to wash hands and surfaces with warm, soapy water before and after handling food or eating. Wash fresh produce thoroughly.

To cook meat safely, use a food thermometer and follow temperature guidelines.

Don't leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.

Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave. Cook immediately after thawing, if using water or the microwave.

Divide leftovers into shallow containers for rapid cooling. Put food directly in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cut turkey off the bone and refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately.

Use cooked leftovers within four days, reheating them thoroughly to 165 degrees or above. Reheating smaller portions of a large cut of meat or poultry ensures a more uniform reheat.

Information: the Housing and Food Protection Program at 410-222-7239.

Ceremony lights way for remembering

The Hospice of the Chesapeake Auxiliary is hosting its annual Tree of Lights ceremony at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, 200 School Lane in Linthicum.

This ceremony is an occasion during the holiday season to remember the loss of loved ones. It will begin with the lighting of the Tree of Lights followed by meditation and music.

For a contribution of $25, participants will receive an ornament hand-painted with the name of a loved one. In addition, a dove bearing that person's name will be placed on a memory wall.

All proceeds will benefit Hospice of the Chesapeake's Spiritual & Bereavement Care Center.

To order an ornament and dove, call Bev Coakley at 410-793-0342 or Hospice of the Chesapeake's Spiritual and Bereavement Care Center at 410-987-2129.

Hospice shop holding clearance

Chesapeake Treasures, the resale shop that benefits Hospice of the Chesapeake, is holding its fall clearance sale through the end of the month, offering 50 percent off on some items.

Donations are not accepted during the clearance sale but will resume in December.

Customers who spend at least $10 in the shop this month will be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket valued at more than $125. The drawing will be held Dec. 3.

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