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New components enhance improved MRH bariatric program

| Date Posted: 9/6/2011

Raymond Washington, M.D.
Raymond Washington, M.D.
David Grantham, M.D.
David Grantham, M.D.
Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN

Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN

PINEHURST – The multidisciplinary weight-loss surgery program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital offers indefinite follow-up under the direction of a specialized surgical team.

The program also offers the services of a patient navigator – a specially trained nutritionist – to ensure that patients get timely care from the various health care services they require before and after surgery. Nutritional and behavioral counseling are among the program features designed to ensure long-term weight-loss success.

“Our program is built on indefinite follow-up based on surgery, nutrition and education,” says Raymond G. Washington Jr., a general and bariatric surgeon. “Surgery is just one component of the program. It is also important to develop good eating habits and a good understanding of what exercise and nutrition can do regarding weight loss.”

Dr. Washington and general and bariatric surgeon David W. Grantham, M.D., comprise Moore Regional’s weight-loss surgery team. Both are affiliated with Pinehurst Surgical.

Now the program’s medical director, Dr. Washington began his extensive bariatric training by assisting on more than 250 bariatric cases. A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, he completed his internship and residency at Christiana Care Health Systems in Wilmington, Del.

He is a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons and is certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Grantham, who is also certified by the American Board of Surgery, received his medical training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his residency and a fellowship in advanced laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Patient navigator Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian who specializes in working with bariatric surgery patients. She counsels patients about diet concerns before and after surgery, and creates diet plans that are individualized to patient needs.

Herman’s role also involves coordinating physician visits, maintaining contact between patients and physicians, and helping patients overcome barriers to care as they progress through the extensive process of education, medical and psychological evaluation, surgery and follow-up.

She also leads a monthly weight-loss support group that encourages shared patient experiences and peer support.

“As part of our team approach, I serve as a patient ‘health coach,’ providing education and support and ensuring that patients have a consistent advocate throughout their weight-loss journey,” Herman says.

Another new component to FirstHealth’s bariatric program, in addition to the services of the patient navigator, involves a partnership with the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst. Participating bariatric patients meet with a personal exercise trainer in the center’s Exercise is Medicine (EiM) program to develop an individualized exercise routine to help them become more fit before surgery and more physically active afterward.

The program includes a free two-week fitness center membership as well as the free trainer evaluation.

“We’re excited to have this partnership with the Center for Health & Fitness,” Dr. Washington says. “It’s important to have a regimented program of exercises with information on how to do them in a safe way.”

Patients are considered morbidly obese and may be candidates for bariatric surgery if they:

  • Are age 18 to 60
  • Are more than 100 pounds over their ideal weight
  • Have a Body Mass Index greater than 40 or greater then 35 with other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
  • Have a history of failure to control their weight through other methods such as diet and exercise

Surgeries offered in the Moore Regional program include Roux-en Y divided gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band and gastric sleeve.

“With each, there are benefits to patients depending on their individual problems,” Dr. Grantham says. “There’s a lot of opportunity that goes with each in terms of problem-solving.”

Free information sessions on the weight-loss surgery program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital are held at 6 p.m. the first Thursday and the third Monday of each month in the Renaissance Room of Pinehurst Surgical, 5 Village Drive, FirstVillage Campus, Pinehurst. For more information, you can call (800) 213-3284.

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