Good Samaritan Hospital
Through leadership in research and adopting the latest technological and clinical practices, Good Samaritan Hospital offers excellent medical care for the people of Silicon Valley.

What happens during a mental health screening?

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as protecting your physical health. Mental health screenings are performed to diagnose various mental health conditions, just as blood tests, medical imaging, and other screening exams are used to diagnose physical health problems. Mental health screenings can take place at your primary care provider’s office, in the office of a specialist, or at the hospital. If you’ve never had a screening, consider talking to your doctor about performing one. Here’s what you can expect.

What is the process for a mental health screening?
Mental health screenings can be adapted to test for specific conditions, or used to determine broader diagnoses. Typically, a screening will involve one or more of these components:

  • Interview – Your physician will ask you questions designed to assess your emotional state and cognitive functioning.
  • Journal – As part of a screening, you may be asked to keep a journal noting your symptoms and feelings for a few days before you see your doctor.
  • Tests – You may undergo a written or verbal test to assess your ability to perform day-to-day activities, your memory, and your symptoms.
  • Lab tests – Blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and EEGs are sometimes used to determine if a physiological issue is causing or contributing to your symptoms.

Your doctor will decide which of these screening components is appropriate for you, based on factors such as your symptoms, health history, and age.

Why are mental health screenings performed?
A mental health screening may be performed as part of your regular preventive care regime when you have a physical. Screenings may also be ordered if your physician suspects you have a mental health condition. These are some of the reasons mental health screenings are performed:

  • To diagnose problems like depression, schizophrenia, dementia, and anorexia
  • To determine if a health issue is caused by a physical or mental health problem
  • To determine if someone has a learning disability, ADHD, ADD, or conduct disorder
  • To determine if a mental health problem contributed to criminal behavior

Good Samaritan Hospital offers extensive behavioral health services in San Jose, including mental health screenings, inpatient and outpatient care, and inpatient detox programs. Request a referral to one of our behavioral health specialists by calling (888) 724-2362.

Better Outcomes: The Most Cutting Edge Breast Cancer Treatments

Breast cancer treatment is constantly evolving, giving women ever-increasing chances to beat the disease and live long, healthy lives. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a number of cutting-edge therapies that could become part of an effective treatment plan. Read on to take a look at some recent improvements in breast cancer treatments.

Targeted therapy drugs
Targeted therapy involves the use of medications that act against specific changes that that occur in cancer cells, which help them to grow and spread throughout the body. For breast cancer, a type of targeted therapy using PARP inhibitors has shown promise.

PARP inhibitors are best at treating breast cancer cases that are positive for BCRA mutations. Through genetic testing, your doctor will determine if you have BCRA-positive breast cancer and if treatment with PARP inhibitors could help stop the growth of your cancer and prevent it from spreading. So far, the PARP inhibitors that have shown the most promise for breast cancer treatment are olaparib and veliparib.

Oncoplastic surgery
For many women, a traumatic part of breast cancer treatment is surgery that either changes the appearance of the breast or removes the breast entirely. Even cancers that are caught in their early stages and can be treated with a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy can leave women with breasts that are no longer the same size or shape.

Oncoplastic surgery can make surgical treatment more positive for patients. With this kind of surgery, the breast is reconstructed as part of the same procedure as the tumor removal surgery. From moderate reshaping to full breast reconstruction involving implants, women now no longer have to wait to undergo a future surgery to restore the appearance of their breasts.

Chemotherapy supportive care
Chemotherapy is part of most breast cancer treatment programs, and it is the only medical treatment available for triple negative breast cancers. Although chemotherapy can provide powerful cancer treatment, it also comes with serious side effects.

Fortunately, new supportive therapies for chemotherapy for breast cancer patients are being studied and showing promising effects. These therapies can reduce the memory loss that can occur after chemotherapy and protect the heart from chemotherapy-related damage.

The Breast Care Center in San Jose at Good Samaritan Hospital is a designated Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and works in conjunction with our world-class cancer team provide women with the best possible breast cancer outcomes. Get a referral to our cancer department or learn more about our services by calling (888) 724-2362.

Why folic acid can be essential in a woman's diet

Folic acid is essential for everyone, but it’s particularly important for women of childbearing age. It’s a form of folate, which is a B vitamin. Folic acid plays a vital role in the production of new red blood cells. When a person doesn’t get enough folic acid, it’s possible to develop folate-deficiency anemia. Here at Good Samaritan Hospital, our doctors and nurses look forward to meeting you and answering your questions about your nutrition. Women who are pregnant can work with our maternity specialists to create a healthy nutrition plan.

The role of folic acid in health
Red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. Without enough folic acid and folate, the body may not produce enough new red blood cells. As a result, it’s possible to develop anemia, which causes symptoms like chronic fatigue and weakness.

Folic acid is perhaps best known for its role in preventing birth defects. Maternity experts strongly recommend folic acid supplements to women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant. This B vitamin substantially reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.

The women who need folic acid supplements
Compared to men, women of childbearing age are more likely to develop folate-deficiency anemia. It’s possible to get enough folic acid through food alone, but your doctor may recommend supplementation if you’re deficient. Supplementation is also recommended for women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant.

Additionally, because of the risk of neural tube defects, doctors recommend folic acid to all women of childbearing age, even if they aren’t trying to conceive. Roughly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and a fetus needs folic acid during the crucial early weeks of pregnancy—before most women realize they’re pregnant.

The recommended amount of folic acid
In general, women need at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. Women who might be pregnant or could get pregnant need between 400 and 800 micrograms daily.

For certain women who want to get pregnant, a doctor might recommend an unusually large dose of folic acid. This may be appropriate for some women who:

  • Have previously had a baby with a neural tube defect
  • Have a family member with spina bifida
  • Have spina bifida

Only a healthcare provider can give you the personalized recommendations that are appropriate for you.

Family Birthing Center at Good Samaritan Hospital brings together a team of compassionate maternity specialists who genuinely care about each of our patients and their families. If you’re expecting, we invite you to take a tour of our maternity wing, including our spacious and comfortable labor and delivery suites. Call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 to request a referral.

Reduce the risk of workplace fall accidents

A serious fall can happen in any workplace, including offices, hospitals and construction sites. Workers and employers in high-risk industries, such as roofing, should ideally have a comprehensive fall awareness and prevention plan to minimize the risk of disabling injuries and death. Here at Good Samaritan Hospital, our emergency care team is available around the clock every day of the year to initiate life-saving interventions for injured workers in the San Jose area.

Know how falls happen
Unanticipated hazards can be the most dangerous. A deadly fall can occur when a worker stumbles and falls off an elevated platform or down an unguarded shaft. Falls are more likely to affect workers who are new to the job, haven’t received the proper safety training or are unfamiliar with the work area.

Some of the most common causes of falls include the following:

  • Lack of guardrail systems
  • Lack of personal protective equipment, such as restraining systems
  • Mechanically unsound scaffolding or equipment
  • Improper employee training

Falls from elevated positions are the most serious type.

  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding
  • Aerial lift platforms
  • Roofs and roof openings (skylights)
  • Hoist areas
  • Stairways

Once employers have identified the hazards, they can develop written fall prevention guidelines.

Improve surface traction
Sometimes, deadly falls don’t happen because of a major equipment malfunction, but because of something as simple as a spilled cup of coffee. All areas of the worksite should have proper traction, which means spills must be cleaned promptly. Employers can also take the following steps:

  • Use non-slip mats at entrances
  • Use anti-skid paint or anti-skid adhesive tape
  • Display “Wet Floor” signs
  • Require employees to wear appropriate shoes

Use appropriate safety devices
The use of fall protection systems may be required by law, depending on the specific situation. Depending on the industry and the particular hazard, employees may need:

  • Safety line and harness
  • Safety line and belt
  • Safety nets
  • Surface opening protection (guardrails and removable covers)

A small investment in safety equipment and training time can make the difference between life and death or disability for high-risk workers.

Please direct all serious and life-threatening injuries to a 911 dispatcher. For non-emergent, general questions only, a registered nurse is available at (888) 724-2362 to assist you. The entire team at Good Samaritan Hospital is committed to providing superior, personalized medical care because our patients are our neighbors in San Jose.

Which foods are the worst offenders for food poisoning?

Any food can potentially be contaminated and cause food poisoning—even flour. In most cases, food poisoning symptoms are unpleasant but do not require emergency care. If you have severe symptoms or possible dehydration, however, the doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital urge you to seek medical care promptly. High-risk populations should also exercise caution, including pregnant women, young children and seniors.

Contaminated vegetables and fruits
Fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw pose a risk of food poisoning. Washing these items is strongly recommended, although it’s still possible to fall ill if the item is contaminated.

It’s possible for a vegetable or fruit to become contaminated anywhere along the supply chain—from farm to supermarket to your home. Fresh manure that is used to fertilize the crops can harbor illness-causing microbes. Raw sprouts, including alfalfa sprouts, are at a particularly high risk of contamination in this manner.

At a processing plant, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale may be washed with contaminated water or placed into unsanitary containers.

Protect yourself by using a commercial produce cleanser product, which is commonly available in supermarkets, and a vegetable scrub brush to clean your produce under running water. Wash all items, even bagged lettuce that has been previously washed by the processor. Additionally, wash foods like cantaloupe before cutting into them—otherwise, the knife can transfer germs from the rind to the interior of the melon.

Contaminated meat and fish
For your protection, you should assume that all raw or undercooked poultry, beef, pork, fish and shellfish are contaminated. It’s essential to cook animal products to the recommended internal temperature (use a meat thermometer).

One of the reasons why meat and fish are at such a high risk of contamination is the sheer vastness and complexity of the nation’s food system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just one hamburger can contain fragments of meat from hundreds of cows.

Additionally, purchasing a whole chicken isn’t necessarily any safer than purchasing a pack of chicken tenders. This is because a whole chicken carcass can be exposed to the byproducts of thousands of other birds that were processed in the same facility.

For all of life’s unpredictable medical emergencies, your family can count on the compassionate healthcare providers at Good Samaritan Hospital. Our hospital, located in San Jose, has been privileged to serve families throughout Silicon Valley since 1965. Call a caring member of our nursing staff at (888) 724-2362.

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