For your health: Local wellness news and events

Intensivist and nurse monitor data as part of Park Ridge Health's telemedicine system.

Park Ridge Health enhances ICU care with advanced telemedicine

Park Ridge Health is currently providing around-the-clock monitoring of intensive care unit (ICU) patients by physicians and critical care nurses through its new tele-ICU program. Using this technology, two-way video access in each patient’s room enables face-to-face consultations between the bedside and Advanced ICU Care team, and vital signs and medications can be monitored continuously. Independent studies demonstrate that this 24/7 intensivist monitoring significantly improves patient outcomes and patient safety in the ICU, according to a press release.

To implement its program, Park Ridge Health has partnered with Advanced ICU Care, the nation’s largest provider of tele-ICU services. “This is a new horizon in health care, because it takes the concept of telemedicine to the bedside,” said Dr. Carlo Mainardi, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Park Ridge Health. “When a Park Ridge Health patient is admitted to the ICU, there will automatically be a connection to Advanced ICU Care. They will then do an initial evaluation of the patient and participate in their care. This will not in any way hinder the day-to-day care that our staff and our physicians provide, but will supplement it.” Learn more at



Southeastern Sports Medicine Hosts Second Annual WNC Concussion and Injury Prevention Symposium

In a recent survey of 778 athletes, 69 percent of those with concussion reported playing with symptoms, and 40 percent reported that their coach was not aware of their concussion, according to a press release from Southeastern Sports Medicine. These statistics underscore the need for education surrounding concussion and injury prevention. For the second year, Southeastern Sports Medicine will bring Western North Carolina medical providers a concussion symposium based on the most current research and updates from the N.C. Athletic Trainers’ Association.

The symposium takes place at the DoubleTree Hilton in Asheville on Friday, July 25 from 8-11:30 a.m. The event is free for coaches, parents and students. Physicians, physician assistants and nurse assistants will be charged $20, and athletic trainers, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and physical therapists will be charged $10. Learn more and register here.


Side by Side Singing for Wellness group improves health of those with memory loss

Sometimes achieving better health and wellness is as simple as singing a song. That’s the premise of the Side by Side Singing for Wellness group, where People who have mild to moderate cognitive impairment such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or brain injuries are encouraged to socialize and sing well-known songs in a group setting. “Each session will begin with musical ice-breakers and vocal warm-ups, followed by singing of rounds and well-known songs,” according to the group’s website. “Though not designed to be a performance choir, simple harmonies will be taught, and those with a knack for singing harmonies will be encouraged to do so. Songs will be chosen to promote feelings of joy and well-being.” Organizers remind attendees that the group isn’t a respite program, and that caregivers are encouraged to attend and participate as well.

In addition to providing a fun, social atmosphere, singing in groups has been proven to aid memory, ease symptoms of depression and even make people live longer. The group meets Wednesdays, 1-2:30 p.m., in UNCA’s Sherrill Center. Please check the Mountain Xpress wellness calendar for the latest schedule.


Asheville National Organization for Women to hold ‘Bitter Pill’ rally Saturday, July 26

The Asheville Chapter of the National Organization for Women will hold a “Bitter Pill” rally in response to recent Supreme Court decisions limiting women’s rights. From the press release: “The announcement comes within days of the Supreme Court landmark cases of McCullen v. Coakley and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. The former ruling decreases the buffer zones between violent protesters and women exercising their right to safe, legal abortion, and the latter upholding corporation’s rights to make decisions about women’s private health care, including contraception.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision increases the financial burden of health care on working women everywhere,” says Debbie Metcalf, president of Asheville NOW. “As a working woman, I am aware we already pay 68 percent more in out of pocket costs than men for our health care.”

The rally will take place at the Vance Memorial in downtown Asheville on Saturday, July 26 at 7 p.m.


‘Waterkeeper Swim Guide’ app helps locate safe swimming spots

Summer weather often means scoping out swimming holes, but some waterways are cleaner and more safe than others. To help people make informed choices about where to swim, the Western North Carolina Alliance partnered with the Waterkeeper Swim Guide to create the The Waterkeeper Swim Guide. It’s a website and free app that displays water quality data in simple terms, so people can determine safety based on E. coli levels.

EPA and the state have a lot of water quality data, but it’s often outdated and buried in complicated reports, says Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper with WNCA, in a press release. “The existing water quality data is interesting, but it wasn’t very helpful to tubers, boaters and people who love to take a swim in many of our beautiful streams and rivers,” he continues. “What the public really needs is a tool that would tell you where the closest swimming areas are located and which ones are safe for swimming.”

Visit to check it out, or download the app from your Apple or Android store.


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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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