Driver Safety

As summer approaches we begin to look forward to camping trips, long weekend visits to provincial parks and even the odd day trip to our favourite beach. Of course as summer gets busy, so do our highways. I have reviewed Manitoba Public Insurance’s (MPI’s) website and I will review some driving tips to help everyone enjoy their summer road trips as safely as possible.

According to MPI there were 96 vehicle-related fatal collisions in Manitoba in 2016, causing the deaths of 107 people. MPI cites three major behaviours that are most responsible for traffic fatalities. They are, distracted driving, speeding, and impaired driving. Not surprisingly, these three behaviours are all preventable. 

There are many distractions drivers face, but the one recently targeted by police could be the most dangerous. It is the use of hand-held electronic devices such as cellphones. When you are driving, your focus should be on driving. Have your passenger answer your phone when possible or let the call go to voicemail. If you have to make a call or send a text while driving, find a safe place to pull over and stop your car before doing so. If you know you’ll be tempted to check your phone, turn it off or silence it and put it somewhere out of reach. 

Speed kills! Your speed affects your reaction time and the distance it takes for you to stop in an emergency. Your speed determines the amount of energy transferred to to other objects or people during a collision. As MPI says, “the faster you go, the harder you crash”. Adjust your speed accordingly for bad weather or road conditions. Pay attention in school zones and slow down to 30km/hr. In the summer, when school is out, slow down when passing parks and playgrounds where children may be nearby. Give yourself extra time so you are not rushing to get to your destination. 

When we hear impaired driving, we usually think of alcohol intoxication. There are other sources of impairment we also need to consider. Illicit drugs, prescription and non-prescription drugs and fatigue can all lead to impairment as well. You need to be alert and in control at all times while driving. Do not operate a motor vehicle when you are impaired. Call a friend, get a cab or in the case of fatigue, pull off to a safe spot and get some sleep before continuing. 

To err is human. We will all make mistakes behind the wheel. Do your best to drive defensively to do your part to help prevent a collision when someone else makes a mistake on the road. Please wear your seatbelt. A properly worn seatbelt, added to the many safety features in today’s vehicles, can help save your life. 

Visit www.mpi.mb.ca and click the heading Road Safety for many other great tips, including sections on child car seats, cycling, and wildlife. Be safe of the roads and have a great summer. 

Dr. Kevin Convery, MD

2019 AMC Walking/Activity Challenge

May 1- June 30
Walking across the USA
31,554,003 combined steps

Register Online

worldwalking.org
(Create a profile and then Join Group: Walking Agassiz Medical Centre)

or Register at AMC

Agassiz Reception:  drop off weekly walking totals

Prizes

  • Log in (or Drop at Reception) steps weekly to be entered for weekly gift card prizes
  • Achieve more than a 250,000 step total and be eligible for Grand Prizes

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

We live in a society where health seems to be highly valued. We feel that we should all be entitled to some level of health. We often go to great lengths and spend a lot of money and resources treating and managing disease and chronic illness. There have been incredible advances in science and technology over the last century that make this more possible than ever before. Being healthy, however is often taken for granted and it is often when we lose health, that we appreciate what we had and wonder how we can get it back.

What we do to our bodies has an impact on our health. This is something that has been recognized for millennia. Hippocrates, (460-377BC) who is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine” had a few thoughts on healthy life-styles. He compared people’s habits and noticed that “bodies grow relaxed and squat … through their sedentary lives,” which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more, stayed well longer. He often prescribed exercise. He observed that “those who are constitutionally very fat are more apt to die quickly than those who are thin” recognizing that people who ate mainly a fresh, plant-based diet, developed fewer diseases. His advice was that of improving a patient’s diet. He recognized that the same remedy could heal in one dose but harm in a greater one. For example, he prescribed wine as part of a healthy diet and to ease pain in childbirth. Hippocrates also noticed that his patients developed gout if they continually drank too much wine. When he convinced them to change their habits, the painful condition improved.

Fast forward to 1997, where a group of researchers from the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden started a study. They selected a group of 20,721 men aged 45 to 79 with no history of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol and followed them over the next 11 years. They were categorized according to 5 healthy lifestyle habits:

  1. A healthy diet, including legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish
  2. Moderate alcohol intake (10-30gm of alcohol a day – equivalent of 1-2 glasses of wine)
  3. No smoking
  4. Being physically active (walking or bicycling more than 40 minutes a day and exercising more than 1 hour per week.
  5. Having no abdominal fat or a waistline of less than 95cm (38inches).

Over the 11 years they looked at the risk of heart attacks as a measure of health. They were able to identify a reduction in risk of developing heart disease in each of the 5 categories compared to the group that did not meet these criteria. 

  1. Maintaining a healthy diet reduced the risk by 18%
  2. The moderate alcohol intake group had an 11% reduction in risk
  3. Not smoking showed a 36% reduction in risk
  4. Being physically active reduced the risk by 3%
  5. Having a smaller waistline reduced the risk by 12%

It is interesting to note that the combined effect of a healthy diet and moderate alcohol intake reduced the risk of having a heart attack by 36 %, which is the same risk reduction as not smoking. The group of men that were able to maintain all 5 healthy lifestyle habits amounted to only 1% of the study group, but showed an 86% reduced risk of having a heart attack.  In other words 4 out 5 heart attacks may be preventable by following healthy life style habits. The sobering reality is that there is no amount of medication that I as a physician can prescribe, that can come close to achieving these risk reductions mentioned above. 

Our health is a partnership. You and your health care provider have a valuable input into your eventual health outcome.  As a physician I can measure and monitor some physical parameters and provide you with certain remedies in the form of medicine or prescriptions, as well as advice. Much of the advice I give, you have probably heard before. The physician’s part in this partnership is small and often easy, compared to what you, as the patient, have to do. Changing habits is difficult and takes consistent effort, determination and personal motivation. It may help to stop and ask, “Is this good for me?” before mindlessly continuing in a comfortable habit. You will then be well on your way to being kinder to your body.

The message here is not new, it is not complicated and is certainly not financially draining. The cost, however, is significant in personal discipline, time and planning your day ahead. Investing in your health today, will ensure a rewarding pay-out later. Our health is largely in our own hands. 

What one, new healthy decision are you making today?

Katie Cares partners with AMC to give stuffed animals

Thanks to Katie Cares, children coming for their 5 year old school immunizations will be getting a stuffed animal. 

We will also be giving them to the children who are having a hard time with getting a needle. We are very excited to partner with Katie Cares in supporting our patients.

We Are Expanding!

That’s right! The vision of developing clinic space at Agassiz Medical Centre has been on the minds of the AMC Community Board for several years. The time has come for the Clinic Development Project to become a reality in our community.

The Agassiz Medical Centre Community Board provides the equipment (both medical and technology based) and furnishings that our physicians, nurse practitioners and staff need to provide the healthcare services that our growing community needs today, and will need in the future.

With the Clinic Development Project we will be able to provide the space and facility that will continue to attract physicians and other health care professionals to our community.   Three reasons why we need to develop more space:

  1. When all of our providers are in the clinic there are often not enough exam rooms available to accommodate everyone.
  2. If we want to recruit more physicians to this area we need more exam rooms.
  3. Due to the amount of patients and staff at the Agassiz Medical Centre, many of the work spaces are too small or no longer function efficiently to continue to provide the best patient care experience.

This is exciting as we prepare to grow with our community.

Menzies Medical Centre

One of Dr. Bob Menzies wishes was to practice until 2020 which would complete a century of family practice by the Menzies name. Unfortunately he passed away in 2017, unable to reach his goal. 

To fulfill the vision of one hundred years of care within this community we are renaming ourselves the Menzies Medical Centre.

This recognizes all the Menzies family members; each of whom have contributed to the vision, passion and support for their community that we all knew the Menzies physicians stood for.

We will officially change the name to the Menzies Medical Centre on completion of the development project.

Life Got You Stressed?

Feeling overwhelmed? Not coping? This is a common feeling felt by many; you are not alone! Why is it that day to day life can become too much to handle? Stress develops when we feel the demands of life outweigh our capabilities to meet them, and let’s face it in this 21st century demands are quite high! From children being encouraged to participate in every activity possible with hopes that they will excel to their highest potential, to teenagers who are paving their path of independence and making important life decisions; then there are young adults facing new transitions such as marriage, parenthood or establishing careers, and those facing retirement. 

Some common signs of stress include feeling worried, angry and depressed. People lose confidence and have a more negative perspective.  Some describe poor concentration or having difficulty making decisions. Others note changes in behaviours like withdrawing from loved ones, avoiding stressful situations or resorting to illicit substances. Physical symptoms could include muscle tension, changes in appetite, increased respirations and heart rate, headaches, difficulty sleeping and fatigue. 

Here are some helpful tips to manage stress: identify your stressors and concentrate on what you do have control over as a common temptation is to run away, avoid or give up. Fight this urge as this isn’t helpful in the end.  For the situations where you may not have control, practice acceptance.  Emotions are high!  Pushing feelings away or ignoring them seems like a quick solution because after all who wants to feel sad, grumpy or worried?  Unfortunately this is not a helpful solution as these feelings will continue to resurface. Instead, try acknowledging emotions & express them to a friend, family member or by writing them out. Seek out support from those you trust & ask for their advice or get help with decision making. Accept help and remind yourself that this doesn’t mean you are weak or have failed. Focus on the positives because when we are stressed it’s easy to dwell on the negative which is less likely to lead to positive action. Pay attention to your self-care such as eating habits, exercise and sleep. What about relaxation exercises? There is evidence that suggests belly breathing activates our body’s natural relaxation system! Have you heard about mindfulness? This can be a helpful discipline to learn to let go of worries and uncertainties. Take a yoga class or spend time in nature. Evaluate your work-home-life balance & try problem solving to make some adjustments. For some, spirituality is an important way of coping. Distraction can be useful for coping with stress that is out of your control. Some examples are leisure activities, hobbies, housework, gardening, or movies.   

There are times when we need to seek out professional support to build our toolbox of coping. Speak with your physician about potential options. Some of the information obtained for this article can be further explored on website heretohelp.bc.ca.

Lindsay Hainsworth  RPN,
Shared Care Mental Health Clinician
Agassiz Medical Centre

Bob’s Bed Push

Agassiz Medical Centre will be honoring Dr. Bob Menzies’ spirit and passion with a modest fundraising effort. Clinic staff have modified an old Morden Hospital ER bed with a large banner and will be pushing it from Agassiz Medical Centre to Boundary Trails Health Centre and back on September 29th, 2018 starting at 9:00am. We feel this will be a special tribute to Bob who spent many years travelling that stretch of road serving the community he loved.

We will also be collecting donations during this time as well for Boundary Trails Cancer Care. Any donations larger than $20.00 must have the individual’s name and address attached to receive a Tax Receipt. Any cheques are to be made out to BTHC Foundation (memo line: Cancer Care and/or Bob’s Bed Push). The bedpans are a ‘cheeky’ container that we feel Bob would support by giving us one of his deep bellow laughs.

The Bed and Sign currently sit in the AMC waiting room and you can donate there as well at any time until the 29th. So come on down and make the “Tin Ring”.