28 WELLNESS s The Courier sun • wellness • JULY 21, 2016 for breaking news visit www.qns.com Experience compassionate women’s healthcare at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica By Suzanne Monteverdi email@example.com/@QNS Led by the pioneering efforts of founder and chief executive officer Merle Hoffman, Choices Women’s Medical Center has served the Queens community and provided comprehensive women’s health care for more than four decades. “My mission has always been to provide the highest quality, safe, compassionate care for reproductive health care services for women,” Hoffman said. “And then it started to expand.” Founded in 1971, Choices Women’s Medical Center was one of the first legal abortion clinics in the United States. Forty-five years later, Choices has grown to offer a wide variety of women’s health services, including a full gynecological practice, prenatal care, counseling services, cardiology and senior services. Today, there are even more expansions on the horizon. Future additions include a wider variety surgical services, as well as telemedicine and telecounseling sessions, which would provide remote medical consultations and sessions to patients. This month, the Center will usher in its newest service expansion: family medicine and primary care. “We have an inter-generational patient population at this point in time,” Hoffman said. “It’s really quite extraordinary. And it’s really quite a testament to the staff and what we do here.” Beginning July 26, patients will have the opportunity to get all of their healthcare in one place. Services offered will include physical and wellness exams, chronic disease management, and care for short term illnesses. One only needs to speak with Hoffman for a few moments about women’s health care to recognize her commitment to providing women with what she calls “Patient Power.” Patient Power is a philosophy developed by Hoffman and used at clinics nationwide. In practice, it seeks to fully involve women in their own health and endow them with the knowledge and education necessary to make informed medical decisions. Hoffman recognizes that patients may enter the Center with personal concerns and anxieties. Staff members at Choices are trained and prepared to help calm these worries. “Anyone who goes into a medical service is going to be naturally anxious,” Hoffman said. “You want to reduce the anxiety and increase the feelings of centeredness, respect, empowerment and determination.” Despite the many personal and political battles over the years, Hoffman knows the daily stresses of running the Center are outweighed by the impact of its services on women’s lives. “We’ve seen over a million patients over the years,” Hoffman said. “That’s a great responsibility, you know. And if I’m going to touch somebody’s life, I would want it to be as positive as possible.” Choices Women’s Medical Center is located at 147-32 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 718-786- 5000, text “CHOICES” to 27126, or visit choicesmedical. com. THE COURIER/Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi Founder and Chief of Operations Merle Hoffman Prescription Drug Safety By Craig W. Armstrong As we get older most of us need the help of prescription drugs. Whether it’s for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or even diabetes, with age come health issues and prescription drugs become a way of life. While these drugs help us, they also need to be taken with care. Many seniors take several different medications, several times a day. This would be confusing for anyone. The first and probably the most complicated part is understanding the guidelines for each drug. When the drugs are prescribed, make sure you go over the instructions thoroughly with your doctor. If your doctor is not available, get your answers from a nurse or physician’s assistant. The bottom line is to make sure you understand everything before you leave the office. It’s okay to take notes or have instructions written down for you. Your pharmacist is also a great resource in case you forgot something or have additional questions. Some drugs should not be taken with others and this is factored in when they are prescribed. But what if you want to start taking herbal supplements, vitamins, or over-the-counter medicine? Don’t do so without checking with your doctor or pharmacist. The last thing you want is an adverse effect which can jeopardize your health. Make that call and make sure it is OK to add anything to your regimen of drugs. Taking your medication every day and in some cases at the same time everyday can be crucial. You need to create a system. Try scheduling your doses around something you do every day like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Using a “pill minder” can make things easier. These plastic wonders will provide a section for each day and mark the day of the week. Pill minders come in many forms, some even have alarms, and there should be one to fit your needs. Speaking of breakfast, some medications need to be taken with or without food. Make sure you know which meds require a full stomach or an empty stomach and work it into your regime. Furthermore, some medication can make you drowsy. Know which meds will have this effect and plan accordingly. Once you have done your homework, make your schedule or regimen. At this point, its a good idea to have someone check your work. Have a friend or family member look over your plan and make sure it is sound. Better yet, have your doctor of pharmacist look over it. This is your health you are dealing with and it’s important to take the time to make sure you are safe. It’s also a good idea to give some extra medication to a family member or close friend to hold for you in case of emergencies. This will be valuable if you are unable to tell a doctor in an emergency situation. Getting older is no picnic and many things we took for granted can become a challenge. Taking your medication doesn’t have to be one of those challenges. Do your homework, make a plan and ask for help, it’s worth it.
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