Speaking out

Dr. Forand Town Hall July 2016

Anesthesiologist Joseph Forand, M.D., left, chats with Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following a town hall meeting hosted by Vilsack and Sen.Claire McCaskill (D – Missouri) at the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse headquarters in Olivette. Dr. Forand spoke at the event, which focused on opioid and heroin abuse and Missouri’s standing as the only state without a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

De-fusing aggressive patients: STARR program fills the bill

In her job as Patient Care Technician at Hyland Behavioral Health, Briana Petty deals regularly with patients who become aggressive.

And these days, Briana has a helpful skill: her recent training in the Safe Training and Responsible Restraints (STARR) control system. The STARR control system is based on a common sense approach to resolving crisis situations with proven principles and techniques.

"Using STARR techniques, it was very effective for us to gain control of our patient and prevent her from hurting herself or us," Brianna said. "I just used it today. I’ve benefited 100 percent from the STARR techniques." 

First implemented last May at St. Anthony’s, the STARR program replaces the medical center’s earlier program of primarily verbal de-escalation techniques and minimal hands-on protective techniques, said Clinical Education Specialist Dawn Wotawa Bennett, R.N.,  course coordinator.

“Our main goal with the course is training advanced verbal de-escalation techniques: how to manage people verbally when they’re acting out,” Dawn said. “We run the staff through at least six scenarios throughout the day on verbal de-escalation, we train how to keep from going hands-on, and what you do if you have to go hands-on, using the least invasive technique while dealing with a person who is trying to do great harm. We try to manage out-of-control behaviors safely for the acting-out person and the staff.

The "acting-out person" could be a patient, family member or employee, Dawn said, and the day-long course is geared to anyone who deals with people. So far, 350 employees have taken the course. The results are encouraging, said Ken Moorman, Director of Safety and Security.

"In 2015 we were able to decrease the number of incidents that require physical intervention by 14.32 percent, which includes a decrease of 5.43 percent in the total number of combative patients,” Ken said. “We were able to decrease the total number of employee injuries by 30 percent."

The program was developed by those in the military and law enforcement, whose spouses or significant others were nurses or healthcare workers who experienced abuse while carrying out their duties. The techniques used are considered a standard of care by the Joint Commission.

“My favorite part of the course is learning things that people say and situations that are helpful,” Dawn said. “We’ve implemented some things that other people have said, or how they’ve responded to situations in our de-escalation scenarios. During the scenarios, the instructors are the ones acting out and the staff is de-escalating them – and there are some people who have wonderful de-escalation skills.”

The course is open to all employees; upcoming classes are scheduled for Aug. 2 and 17, Sept. 8 and 15, and Oct. 6. Enroll today through e-Learning by searching STARR.



Back-to-school drive continues through Aug. 8

For years, our employees have contributed generously to those less fortunate through the annual back-to-school drive, hosted by St. Anthony’s Franciscan Outreach Team. The 2016 drive began July 25 and continues through Aug. 8.

School supplies will be donated to Salvation Army Jefferson County and Lemay Child & Family Center.

Back-to-school drive ambassadors are needed to assist in spreading the word and help with donations in their departments and satellite locations. For more information or to become an ambassador, contact Alissa McNace at ext. 1851, Amy Barker at ext. 1960, or Travis Paluck at ext. 2380.

Supplies needed:

  • Backpacks
  • Fiskar scissors
  • Highlighters
  • Wide or thin-line markers
  • Pocket folders (with brads)
  • Colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencil boxes/pouches
  • Pens (blue, black, red ink)
  • Wide-rule filler paper
  • 2” three-ring binders
  • Composition books (wide-and college-ruled)
  • Spiral notebooks (wide-and college-ruled)
  • Post-it notes (3x3)
  • Dry-erase markers
  • #2 pencils
  • Rulers
  • Solar scientific calculators
  • Index cards
  • Earbuds