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IMCU strikes gold in prestigious nursing award - 04/19/18

Salem, Ore. — Salem Hospital’s Intermediate Care Unit has earned the Gold Beacon – the highest level award given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. This makes Salem Health one of only four hospitals in Oregon to hold this designation. The AACCN awards Beacons at bronze, silver and gold levels.

The Beacon recognizes excellence in patient care, collaboration, and work environments with high staff morale. Beacon honorees are also known for their emphasis on evidence-based care and low hospital-acquired infection rates. High patient satisfaction with pain management and respect for cultural diversity are other strong measures.

The IMCU includes 95 staff and 25 physicians from various specialties: registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, care managers, pharmacists, wound care specialists, dietitians, plus physical, occupational and speech therapists.

 “To achieve gold, we are simply putting into words our daily care practices, staffing effectiveness, continuous improvement and leadership structures,” said IMCU nurse manager Sheila Loomas. “We collaborate to provide high quality care and are very proud of our team. Reaching gold means that our outcomes have exceeded our previous silver levels – and, we often exceed national benchmarks.”

Salem Health’s critical care staff have a strong Beacon history. The intensive care unit was the first Oregon hospital to earn this award in 2006 – then earned three more consecutive Silver Beacons, awarded about every three years. The ICU is currently working on its fifth application. The cardiovascular care unit earned its first Silver Beacon in 2013 and is in the process of applying for another.

About Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics: It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, a Level II Trauma Center, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at; “Like” us on; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at

Salem Health and Oregon Center for Nursing host award-winning suicide prevention film May 1 (Photo) - 04/05/18

What if watching a simple, hour-long movie could make a huge difference in someone’s life? Would you watch it? Mark your calendar for May 1 and tell others.

Salem Health has partnered with the Oregon Center for Nursing to present Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope for free at Northern Lights Theatre Pub on Tuesday, May 1, at 6 p.m. The theatre, at 3893 Commercial St. SE Salem, is donating the venue. A panel discussion will follow.

The documentary explores the rising epidemic of suicide and health conditions caused by toxic stress early in life, a relatively new science. Salem Health has become proactive in recognizing – and addressing – toxic stress in hospitals and clinics through an approached called “trauma-informed care.” Examples of trauma include violence, neglect and abuse.

“There’s an amazing body of science now that explains how and why the body responds to changes in the brain as a result of childhood traumas,” said Michael Polacek, Salem Health professional development specialist and psychiatric-mental health nurse, referring to the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. “The body does not forget, so developing resilience by retraining the brain can help a person recover and enjoy a satisfying life.”

The first step is to raise awareness, so right after the showing a group of experts will stage a panel discussion with audience participation. While geared to the general public, this discussion is especially relevant for health workers, educators, parents and community leaders. 

The panel includes Hong Lee, PhD (facilitator), Salem Health medical ethicist; Satya Chandragiri, MD, Chandras clinic psychiatrist; Danielle Vander Linden, Central High School trauma informed care coordinator; Doug Gouge, Polk County family and community outreach supervisor; Ann Kirkwood, Oregon Health Authority suicide intervention coordinator; and Jesse Lippold, Salem Keizer School Board member.

The free screening is part of Salem Health’s effort to show popular health-related movies and documentaries with an opportunity to ask questions of experts following the show. The Oregon Center for Nursing has embraced trauma-informed care in training nurses, and Northern Lights Theater is donating one theatre for free, for the May 1 event. The Salem Health Foundation is also sponsoring.

More about the film: The critically acclaimed Resilience directed by James Redford chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, clinicians and educators using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease. The ACES began in 1997 by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It traces health outcomes of children into young adulthood, demonstrating a connection between early trauma and social problems, even health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Findings show toxic stress as a major cause of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression. Extremely stressful experiences in childhood can physically alter brain development, with lifelong effects on behavior. In the film, experts share how to break this cycle.  Watch the trailer; Learn more about Salem Health’s approach to trauma-informed care. 

About the co-sponsors

Oregon Center for Nursing

Northern Lights Theatre

About Salem Health: Salem Health offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at; “Like” us on; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at

Salem Health Foundation invests $270,000 in medical respite facility (Photo) - 04/02/18

Salem, Ore – Salem Health Foundation’s board of directors has approved $270,000 in funding for medical respite in a new affordable housing facility in Salem. At his State of the City address on March 28, Mayor Chuck Bennett announced an innovative partnership between City of Salem, Salem Housing Authority, Salem Health and Salem Health Foundation. The partnership will provide medical respite in SHA’s newly-acquired housing property on Fisher Road, which will have 29 units of single room occupancy affordable housing.

Medical respite is a short-term, specialized program focused on homeless persons who have a medical injury/illness and may also have mental illness or substance abuse issues. Some homeless individuals aren’t sick enough to stay in the hospital, but are too sick to recover on the streets. Respite care bridges the gap between acute medical services currently provided in hospitals/emergency rooms, homeless shelters and more permanent housing options.

The funds provided by Salem Health Foundation will secure space for medical respite, and Salem Health’s care management team plans to support patients placed in the facility. Salem Health’s team of intensive care managers will support the complex needs of patients requiring medical respite after discharge from the hospital.

“This investment in our community will help us improve care to one of our most vulnerable populations,” said Kathy Gordon, Salem Health Foundation board chair. “It is wonderful to see the coordinated efforts of so many agencies in making this project a success.”

While in respite care, patients can access hospitality, medical and support services that assist in their recuperation. It focuses on respect for human dignity of all residents and staff. Residents actively participate in the process of their recuperation and discharge planning.

The Salem Health and Salem Health West Valley foundations are committed to raising, managing and distributing funds to help Salem Health achieve its mission of improving the health and well-being of the people and community it serves. The foundations offer scholarships to students pursuing medical or medically related careers, fund projects like Let’s All Play Place adaptive playground and the Connections Van, assist patients in need of financial help and sponsor nationally-known speakers on health topics. For more information or to donate online, please visit

Attached Media Files: SalemHealth-Foundation-web.jpg