Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Mamie Nilsen and Ruby Shumway, sisters and PMC nurses, finish the Paddle Battle together.
▲ Maelle Boitor participated in the Paddle Battle with her family.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Most of the Paddle Battle participants.
Stay safe as COVID case severity rises in Petersburg
RISE IN CASES: There has been a large increase in the state with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Petersburg has seen a decrease in cases but an increase in severity with the cases in July. Sadly, we also had a COVID death as noted on the state's DHSS website. Things you can do to help keep yourself and others safe:
  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a mask
  • Get tested if you have symptoms

BLOOD DONATION: The Blood Bank of Alaska is collaborating with Petersburg Parks and Recreation and Petersburg Medical Center to host two days of blood donations. Join us in the community gym on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7, to help us meet our goal of 60 participants a day.

If you are able to donate, sign up here.
Walk-ins are welcome!

RAINFOREST RUN: The annual Rainforest Run will be happening Monday, Sept. 6. Participants can walk or run a half-marathon or 10k. The course is the same as in previous years, with participants starting at Sandy Beach and traveling Cabin Creek Road. Come out and join the fun!

Register for the run here.

COVID-19 HOTLINE: Please call our COVID-19 hotline 907-772-5788 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, traveling and would like to test, need asymptomatic or symptomatic testing, or are interested in receiving your first or second COVID-19 vaccine. Let's get to herd immunity. Stay safe!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
Ashley Kawashima recognized for positive impact on Petersburg
Ashley Kawashima, PMC Behavioral Health clinician, has been named WAVE's 2021 Person of Distinction.

"The award is given to someone in the community who has made an impact on Petersburg in some way. Ashley has certainly done that," said Annette Bennett, WAVE director.

Ashley spends countless hours volunteering in the community. Ashley was the Public Health deputy for the EOC implementing hand wash stations around town and advocating for at risk population with our community. She has served on the Mitkof Dance Troup as the board Vice President and is the President of Humanity in Progress. She also serves as a member of the Share Coalition. Ashley helps organize and deliver free meals every Monday night. This is only some of the work she does within our Community.

Ashley was nominated by Celeste Fenter, board treasurer for WAVE (Working Against Violence for Everyone). The organization supports and advocates for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the community of Petersburg.

"I nominated Ashley because quite frankly she’s my favorite 'do-gooder!'" said Celeste.

"She spends not only her entire professional life but also a giant portion of her personal life trying to help others and better our community. So many people talk of change but she takes it seriously and goes out there ever day trying to make a better Petersburg."

The WAVE board has given this award out every other year for the last six years to deserving Petersburg community members.
▲ Ashley Kawashima (left) with Erin Michael, Public Health nurse and WAVE board member.
▲ Phil Hofstetter, PMC CEO, donned a sea fairy costume for the Paddle Battle as community members donated over $1,500 to the PMC Foundation, sponsors of the event.
Paddle Battle gets 22 participants out to raise funds for education
The 2021 Paddle Battle took place on Saturday, July 17. Nineteen paddlers left from Scow Bay and three left from South Harbor. The water was flat calm, but paddlers still had to navigate through heavy fog that lifted beautifully as they finished the route, landing at Sandy Beach.

Phil Hofstetter arrived first, completing the journey in under an hour dressed in a sea fairy costume. The PMC Foundation, sponsors of the event, challenged the community to donate $1,500 and in return Phil would paddle in this costume. Donations topped $1,500 and are still coming in. Funds will support continuing education for PMC staff members.

Participants and spectators enjoyed bagels and a fruit platter from Hammer and Wikan Grocery store while donated prizes from Petersburg Medical Center, Lee’s Clothing, Common Grounds, Inga's Galley, and Petersburg Chamber of Commerce were distributed.

Thank you to the operators of our safety boats: U.S. Coast Guard, Liz and Sid Bacom, Kaitlin and Josh Rathmann, Tom Abbot, Elizabeth Hart and Cynthia Mathisen.
Holistic approach keeps Jessica Baker on her toes
“Occupational therapist” may be her job title, but Jessica Baker brings far more to the patients she treats at Petersburg Medical Center.
Jessica takes a holistic approach to treatment—meaning she always considers the physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs of each patient.
Prior to earning a graduate degree in occupational therapy from Louisiana State University in 2017, Jessica had earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and communications and was employed as a social worker. Occupational therapy clinicals in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alaska gave her experience in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, aquatic pain therapy for those with chronic pain, and pediatric outpatient therapy.
Since completing her O.T. degree, Jessica has gone on to become a certified dependency counselor, a Parkinson’s specialist, a certified clinical anxiety specialist, and a certified stroke rehabilitation specialist (one of just four in Alaska).
“The education I got from these certifications plays a role with all my patients to help support my holistic practice,” Jessica explained.
Jessica joined PMC in June 2019. She moved to Petersburg to be closer to her mother, who had married and moved to Petersburg years before.
Jessica treats patients across the lifespan. She is part of PMC’s CAPABLE Team, which helps people age in place at home. She works with pediatrics, inpatient and outpatient clients, and home health patients. She also helps with end-of-life care.
The variety of patients and patient needs are what Jessica likes most about her work. She also enjoys general lifestyle management—helping patients improve their personal health and well-being with a goal of also preventing chronic disease.
“I love problem-solving with my patients,” Jessica said.
With so many interests, the most challenging part of Jessica’s job is staying up-to-date so that she can deliver current, evidence-based treatment to each patient. She devotes much of her spare time to reading and researching ways to become a healthier and better self. In September, she will take a lifestyle management course on chronic pain, autism, sleep, and obesity.
Over the past ten years, Jessica has enjoyed volunteering at hippotherapy farms. Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. Patients ride and interact with horses to help improve neurologic functions and sensory processes. “I love the farm atmosphere,” Jessica said.
Jessica and her new fiancé love traveling, going on adventures on their boat, fishing, taking their dogs out exploring, and cooking. She also loves helping friends with home design projects.
▲ Jessica and her mom, Tina Buschmann.
▲ Fiance Jason Grone and Jessica out for one of their many adventures.
▲ Jessica loves exploring around Petersburg.
▲ Jessica and her dog, Tulsa!
▲ After getting help from PMC Home Health with medication management, Joseph Tannon is ready to head home to Bellingham, Wash. Joseph was living in his truck in Petersburg for over a year.
Good for Petersburg: Patient grateful to PMC Home Health program
Joseph Iannon wants Petersburg to know that the Home Health Department at Petersburg Medical Center is here for them—and is a great resource.

Joseph, from Bellingham, Wash., has been living out of his truck in Petersburg for over a year. Dealing with multiple issues that had even led him to consider suicide, Joseph was extended a lifeline when Home Health staff reached out and offered help.

“Even though not much physically was helping for me, I could see the care in your eyes,” Joseph told Kirsten Rioux-Testoni, Home Health manager. “You helped me emotionally, mentally. You gave me hope. There was literally nothing I could do for myself at these times.”

PMC's Home Health Department provides an array of services to patients who are able to live at home or who must stay home due to medical complications.

Home Health is meant to be short-term care; the goal is for patients to improve and be discharged. Staff worked with Joseph for three months. The medication management guidance and support they gave him is allowing him to head back home, more prepared to deal with life’s challenges.

Joseph was grateful that Home Health staff reached out to him—and continued offering help until he was finally ready to accept it.

“Petersburg needs this place,” Joseph said. “This place is good for Petersburg, because you all have the right understanding and heart. You're not labeling people. And I thank you guys for not giving up on me. I'm going home to be loved and love others. And now I get to enjoy life. Be comfortable. I don't have to be alone.”

Home Health services include skilled nursing care, laboratory/in-home blood draws, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and personal care. Staff are developing a behavioral health component and may someday add traditional hospice services, infusion therapy and pediatric care.

Is Home Health right for you or for a loved one? Get more information at: https://www.pmcak.org/home-health.html
Warm weather, walks, visitors, and sunny skies highlight July at LTC
July brought sunshine and fun to the Long-Term Care community. Residents and staff alike have appreciated the warm weather and the outdoor adventures the month has brought.

The month began with a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. Residents had the opportunity to see friends and family around town while enjoying singing, dancing, and lots of food. Lemonade was a crowd favorite for the sunny weekend and our residents all loved to see the parade and festive costuming throughout the community.
The residents have spent lots of time going on walks around town, visiting, enjoying time on the patio, and working in our gardens. Resident Linda Reller got to enjoy the first strawberry of the year while resident Ray Olsen got to bite into our first tomato. We have taken many walks to see local fisherman departing our harbors.

Despite the increase in COVID cases July brought, we have been able to come up with ways to keep our residents safe, healthy, and happy.
Ray Dugaqua, LTC resident, with Ruby Shumway, RN, and her son, Owen.
▲ CNA Avery Skeek and LTC residents Linda Reller (left) and Brenda Treffry giving a thumbs up to July's beautiful weather.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | pmcweb@pmc-health.org