Archives for March 2016

Free Class: Matter of Balance

Winona Health is offering a free program to help improve balance and prevent falls. A Matter of Balance will meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. for four weeks beginning Monday, April 18.

Matter of Balance is designed for anyone who is:

  • concerned about falling
  • interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength
  • has fallen in the past or has restricted activities due to falling concerns

Participants will learn how to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance.

The program will be at Winona Health Sarnia Square, 420 E Sarnia in Winona.

There is no charge for this program, but class size is limited and RSVP is required.


If you have additional questions, please call 507.453.3741.




Free Health Talk: The Right Fit

Donnenwerth_webWinona Health’s Mike Donnenwerth, DPM, AACFAS, a doctor of podiatric medicine with special expertise in rear foot and ankle pain and injuries, will present The Right Fit, a free Health Talk, Thursday, April 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the B.A. Miller Auditorium at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue in Winona.

“April is when many people start spending more time outside, whether it’s for more fresh air and walks, or to resume or start a running program,” said Nicole Schossow, Winona Health community relations coordinator. “Dr. Donnenwerth’s program is a great opportunity ask questions and learn about preventing foot and ankle injuries.”

Get get an overview of the basics of athletic footwear—what’s important and what’s not—and learn how to choose the right shoe for the exercise of your choice. Bring your questions!

Dr. Donnenwerth earned his doctor of podiatric medicine degree at Des Moines University – College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery in Iowa and completed his residency in La Crosse, Wis. He is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

RSVP is requested by Tuesday, April 19.

RSVP Here!

Spirit of Women at Winona Health is a free program that comes with a few fun perks. It’s open to all women, no matter where you receive healthcare services.

Learn about Spirit!

If you have additional questions, please call 507.457.4161.





Are YOU ready? HealthyFit begins Thurs., April 7

Thank you for your interest. As of Friday, April 1, the spring HealthyFit classes are full. If you are interested in being notified when the next HealthyFit classes are scheduled, please click here.

Want to lose a little—or a lot?  HealthyFit is Winona Health’s new, 14-week, adult weight-management program. The one-hour sessions are led by a registered dietitian and also feature tips and information from exercise and behavioral health specialists.

The spring program meets Thursdays beginning April 7. There are two meeting time options: 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.

Topics covered include effective goal setting and problem solving, label reading and grocery shopping, handling setbacks and maintaining your weight loss. Participants can track their progress through weekly weigh-ins, and a pre-and post-program body composition analysis.

The 14-week program is $175 and includes resource materials. Financial assistance may be available to those who meet specific criteria.

Class size is limited. To sign up or for more information, click here or call 507.457.4161.

Living Well – Free six-week program

Winona Health is offering a free six-week program to help people who are living with a health condition. Living Well with Ongoing Health Concerns meets Thursdays, April 7 through May 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

During the program participants will develop action plans to help with pain control, healthy eating, healthy activities, and ways to Communicate with family, friends, and healthcare providers.

There is no cost unless you choose to purchase the manual for $20.

The program will be at Winona Health Sarnia Square, 420 E Sarnia in Winona.

There is no charge for this program, but class size is limited and RSVP is required.

RSVP online here or call 507.453.3741.

Massage Therapy discount for military personnel and veterans

American Flag“Serving in the military is generally a stressful job, and these selfless people deserve our thanks,” said Lucas Barbknecht, DPT, Winona Health Rehabilitation Services manager.

To say thanks, Winona Health now offers a discount on massage therapy services to military veterans and those currently serving in the military.

“Massage therapy provides so many benefits to a person’s physical and mental health from easing muscle aches and pains to helping someone de-stress,” notes Barbknecht. “This is a way we can give back, show our appreciation and offer a little comfort.”

The discounts range from $5 off a 30- minute massage to $15 off a 90-minute massage, and the discount applies to therapeutic or hot stone massage.

Morning and evening appointments are available. Staff will ask for military identification at time of payment. This discount does not apply to gift certificates.

For more information or to schedule a massage, call Winona Health Rehabilitation Services at 507.457.4329.






Want to be Smoke Free? FREE help is available.

Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, smoking cessation program facilitator

Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, smoking cessation program facilitator

Improving your health is a gift to yourself—and your family and friends. Winona Health’s next smoking cessation program is FREE and it begins Thursday, April 7.

This free program includes four sessions meeting Thursday evenings 6 – 7:30 p.m. in the Parkview Conference Room on the first floor of the hospital at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue.

“Quitting smoking can be the number one best thing people can do to improve their health,” said Lynn Sprain MS, RT, RCEP, program facilitator. “Quitting is worth the effort, and it can be done. We’re here to help.”

Winona Health’s smoking cessation program will:

  • help individuals recognize and understand their reasons for smoking
  • cover the variety of benefits to quitting
  • provide ways to handle physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms
  • share tips and techniques for becoming and remaining smoke free
  • provide a supportive atmosphere for you to ask questions and get helpful information

“Quitting can be such a relief,” said Sprain. “Relief from worrying about your health, relief from the feeling of dependency on cigarettes—and relief from the high cost of smoking.”

This four-session program is free. RSVP is appreciated, but walk-ins the first night of the program will be welcome as space permits. For more information or to sign up in advance, call Lynn Sprain at 507.474.3324.

RSVP Online

Winona Health also offers CT lung screening.
For more information, call:
Radiology and Imaging Services

To test or not to test. Strep is the question.

By Pediatrician Sarah Lallaman, DO

Lallaman_small_RGBIf you are one of the many who feel that you or your family have been trounced with a strep infection or four, you are not alone. For an illness that is well known and so common, it seems that testing and treatment protocols would be more straightforward. However, when all details are considered, it’s not so simple. We receive many questions about strep testing, and I hope to clear up some confusion.

Strep throat is most common in school-aged children (5 years -15 years) during the colder months from fall to spring. The presence of specific symptoms helps us rule out strep from other possible causes. Along with a sore throat, a fever of over 101 degrees is usually present along with a lack of other cold-like symptoms, such as cough or congestion. Other common symptoms associated with strep throat include headache, stomachaches, vomiting and rash. A young child may have some respiratory symptoms, but these are generally mild and do not necessarily mandate treatment.

Strep throat can occur in other age groups, but the younger the patient, the more careful we all should be. Medical research has shown that children under age 2 years can be natural carriers and harbor strep over 25 percent of the time without it being a problem. Additionally, while toddlers are more likely to carry strep (and test positive), they are also less likely to have the strep be the cause of their illness. Young children are less frequently affected because they have fewer receptor cells in their throat to allow strep to be an active problem. For the same reason, toddlers and infants have a near negligible risk for some of the more severe complications of strep.

When strep is truly the culprit causing the problems, it is important that it be identified. Treatment is indicated to help decrease the severity and duration of symptoms, prevent the spread to others and to prevent serious complications, such as acute rheumatic fever and rare heart disease. Acute rheumatic fever resulting in heart disease has life-long complications.

It is quite reasonable to check a school-aged child or even adult, if the symptoms do seem to fit for strep throat. A common misconception is that if a child has tested positive for strep, household members should also be tested. Medically, only patients who have symptoms should be tested unless other circumstances arise. Testing and treatment is not recommended for family members or close contacts unless they are ill.

Occasionally, a situation will arise of a patient getting recurrent strep throat infections. While we try to convey the importance of hygiene to prevent repeat infections, it can be tricky for sure. Changing to a new toothbrush while on antibiotic therapy and cleaning or discarding anything else that routinely goes in the mouth is recommended. Household contacts can sometimes be a reason for a person to have multiple episodes of strep. There is debate whether testing and treating everyone in the house is worthwhile and effective – especially knowing that it is harder to rid a person who is a carrier of strep than one who has an acute infection from strep.

In some cases, Winona Health allows for walk-in strep testing, but only under the right circumstances. Given the low frequency of an active strep infection and low risk for strep complications, we don’t routinely do walk-in strep tests for children under age 2 years. We’ll ask a series of questions to determine whether a visit with a healthcare provider is necessary. If an appointment is needed, we do our best to accommodate people as soon as possible.

Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine

Group diabetes education program now available

Theresa Hoyles, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Winona Health

Theresa Hoyles, RD, LD

Winona Health’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education department is now offering group diabetes education classes.

“People with newly diagnosed diabetes or who have had diabetes for years report enjoying learning from others who have the same diagnosis,” said Theresa Hoyles, a registered dietitian at Winona Health.

Hoyles also explained that research shows diabetes education improves blood glucose control when added to usual diabetes care and decreases the risk of long-term complications associated with diabetes.

The group programs meet at various times. People can join a group program after an initial assessment visit with the nurse diabetes educator.

Ann Heesacker, RN, MSN, CDE

Ann Heesacker, RN, MSN, CDE

Ann Heesacker, a certified diabetes educator at Winona Health, noted, “What’s nice, but something many people don’t know, is that Medicare provides benefit coverage for diabetes education received through an accredited program.” Winona Health’s diabetes education program is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Medicare coverage provides:

  • 10 hours of initial diabetes education to individuals who have not previously received diabetes education with Medicare insurance
  • two hours of follow-up diabetes education each year

“Nationally, only four percent of people who have diabetes and are covered by Medicare receive diabetes education,” said Heesacker. “At Winona Health, we want to improve on that national statistic. Helping people use the resources available to them will help them improve their overall health and preserve—or improve—their quality of life for years.”

In addition, people covered by Medicare who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease can receive three hours of initial education with a dietitian for Medical Nutrition Therapy, plus an additional two hours per year of follow-up education.

For those who are not covered by Medicare, Heesacker recommends checking with their insurance. “Commercial insurance plans most often provide diabetes education,” she said. “However, because plans vary, we recommend that people review covered services with their own insurance plan.”

Those interested in meeting with a diabetes educator or nutrition therapy expert, or in participating in the diabetes self-management group program, should contact their primary care provider to be referred for diabetes education.


Learn more about Diabetes Education



Welcome Laura Stussy, CNP!

Laura Stussy, CNP

Laura Stussy, CNP

Laura Stussy, CNP, has joined the Winona Health staff and is caring for patients of all ages at Urgent Care, 420 E. Sarnia Street in Winona, Minn.

Prior to becoming a certified nurse practitioner, Stussy served as a registered nurse for several years in the Emergency Departments of Winona Health and Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisc. She began her nursing career on the Medical/Surgical/Pediatric unit at Winona Health and will return as a Nurse Practitioner at Urgent Care after most recently caring for patients in the La Crosse area.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to come back to Winona Health,” says Laura. “I’ve always enjoyed caring for patients and their immediate needs in the Emergency/Urgent Care setting. The teamwork, collaboration, and focus on providing excellent patient care at Winona Health is very impressive and definitely something to be proud of.”

Stussy (pronounced STEW-See) earned her Master of Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Viterbo University School of Nursing in La Crosse, Wis. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

In her free time, Laura enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and biking with her family. She and her husband live in Winona and have three young sons.

Winona Health Urgent Care hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Urgent Care wait times are updated online during clinic hours. For current wait times, click here.



Temporary visitor limitations due to influenza

Winona Health has implemented temporary visitor limitations to allow visits from immediate family only in the hospital, Lake Winona, Adith Miller and Roger Metz Manors and Senior Living at Watkins until further notice.

“The flu is in our community, and we’ve experienced an increase in the number of patients seeking care for flu-like symptoms,” noted Sara Gabrick, vice president of Specialty Care Services at Winona Health. “We’re implementing visitor limitations to minimize our patients and residents’ potential exposure to the influenza virus.”

Family members who are coughing or showing other respiratory symptoms also are asked not to visit their relatives in the hospital or nursing home.

Patients and family members coming to the clinic for appointments who are coughing, sneezing or seeking care for respiratory symptoms are asked to wear a mask. Masks are available at the hospital, Lake Winona Manor and clinic main entrances.

In addition, Winona Health encourages everyone to adopt these simple practices to help limit spread of the flu virus:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Then throw the tissue away. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve rather than into your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you have additional questions about the flu, contact your primary healthcare provider or the Winona Health Urgent Care Clinic at 420 E. Sarnia. Winona Health’s Urgent Care Clinic is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To check current Urgent Care wait times, visit:

Symptoms of Cold versus Flu
Symptoms Cold Influenza
Fever Rare in adults & older children, but can be as high as 102o F in infants and small children Usually 102o F, but can go up to 104o F and usually lasts 3-4 days
Headache Rare Sudden onset & can be severe
Muscle aches Mild Usual & often severe
Tiredness & weakness Mild Can last 2 or more weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Sudden onset & can be severe
Runny nose Often Sometimes
Sneezing Often Sometimes
Sore throat Often Sometimes
Cough Mild, hacking cough Usual & can become severe