Being Well Blog

“We know you well” means we not only know what it takes to keep you healthy, but that we actually get to know each other. No other group of doctors can do that like we can, because only the North Ottawa Medical Group is made up of doctors employed by North Ottawa Community Health System. We’re your neighbors, fellow parents at the school, coaches to your kids, and as much a part of this community as you are.

We want you to be healthy, and we want you to get to know us a bit better, so this blog will provide you with health and wellness information as well as fun ways to learn about who your home-town Medical Group doctors are. After all, being well is more than just great care. To the North Ottawa Medical Group, it’s also about building genuine personal relationships.

Feel free to browse the information below or choose from one of the categories found in the left margin.

Ask A Doc: ADHD

March 30, 2018

Kimberly Fenbert, DNP, CPNP from NOMG’s Pediatric office answers your questions about ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. Adults are also affected by ADHD. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. Many ADHD symptoms such as high activity level, difficulty sitting still for long periods and limited attention spans, are common to young children in general. The difference in children with ADHD is that their hyperactivity and inattention are noticeably greater than expected for their age and cause issues and/or problems functioning at home, school or with friends.

When is someone typically diagnosed with ADHD?

There is no lab test to diagnose ADHD. Diagnosis involves gathering information from parents, teachers and others, filling out checklists and having a medical evaluation (including vision and hearing screening) to rule out other medical problems. Other conditions that can coexist with ADHD include anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorders, learning and language disorders, tics and sleep apnea.

What are the signs of ADHD?

Children with ADHD will often lack focus, forget or lose homework, “act as if driven by a motor” –moving, squirming, and talking at inappropriate times. They can be impulsive, impatient, and interrupt others. They are often disorganized and cannot complete a task when asked due to lack of focus. They may not seem to listen when spoken to directly. They don’t follow through on instructions and fail to finish homework, chores or duties due to getting sidetracked. They may have trouble waiting his or her turn and be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly.

How do you treat ADHD?

There is no cure for ADHD, but there are treatments that can reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication and behavior therapy. The goals of behavior therapy are to encourage positive behaviors and discourage unwanted or problem behaviors.  Parents learn to use skills to better manage their child’s behavior. Children learn new behaviors to replace behaviors to replace behaviors that cause problems. Often behavior therapy is started first in children aged 4-5 years, but in combination with medication in children age 6 years and up.

For many people, ADHD medications decrease hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work and learn. Anyone taking medications must be monitored closely. Two types of medications are used in the treatment of ADHD: stimulants and non-stimulants. Patients work closely with their provider to determine which type of medication is best for them. Sometimes several different medications and dosages need to be tried before the right medication is found.

Top Safety Tips From the NOMG’s Pediatric Team

June 28, 2017

Summer brings a lot of fun and outdoor activities, especially in this beautiful lakeshore community. How can you keep your kids safe while enjoying what West Michigan has to offer? Here are the top safety tips from Karly Hiser, CPNP-PC, a member of the new NOCHS pediatric group.

  • Sunscreen. For children younger than 6 months, protective clothing is recommended instead of sunscreen. For older children, Karly recommends a sunscreen with zinc oxide as the active ingredient. “It washes off at the end of the day, so your child is not absorbing the chemicals into his or her skin,” she says. “Don’t forget to reapply often, especially after swimming.”
  • Bug spray. The Pediatrics group gets a lot of questions about bug spray. “Bug spray is not recommended for children younger than 2 months,” Karly notes. “You can use it with caution on older infants, but be careful not to overuse it. As children age, bug spray becomes more safe for them. Just make sure you pick something with 30% DEET or less.” Concentrations on bug spray can vary widely, so make sure you read the label.
  • Water safety. Did you know a child could drown in 20-60 seconds? You should never be more than arm’s length away from a baby or toddler in the water. As soon as your child is old enough, Karly recommends swimming lessons to help mitigate the risk. But never leave your child alone in or near the water!
  • ATVs. This one might not have popped up on your radar screen, but all terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be extremely dangerous. “Always make sure your child wears a full protective helmet, like a motorcycle helmet. A bike helmet is not enough,” Karly asserts. “Also, remember that children who do not have a driver’s license should not be driving an ATV. It is a motorized vehicle.” Adults – you are also responsible for the safety of the children who are with you. Make sure you only ride during daylight hours, with proper lights and reflectors. And whatever you do, don’t drive an ATV under the influence. You’re risking your own life as well as that of your child.
  • Bike safety. Karly has one word: helmet. “All children should wear bike helmets every time they are on bikes, even in the driveway.” Make sure the helmet fits properly or it won’t do much good. Also, parents: don’t push your child to go without training wheels before he or she is ready. A frightened or unwilling rider is a lot more prone to accidents than one who is confident and ready.
  • Lawn mowers. While it’s great to teach kids responsibility by having them mow the lawn, remember that they are operating a dangerous power tool. Children younger than 16 should not operate a riding lawn mower, and children under the age of 12 should not operate a power mower. When a child is old enough to mow, sturdy shoes should be the rule, not flip flops. And never take your child as a passenger on a mower.

If ever you have a question about your child’s safety, make sure you call your pediatrician. “We’re happy to help parents make smart choices to balance safety with fun,” Karly says.

North Ottawa Medical Group | Pediatrics
1310 Wisconsin Street, Suite 204, Grand Haven, MI 49417
To schedule your appointment, please call our office at 616.844.4523.

NOCHS Pediatric Service Line Established

May 12, 2017

North Ottawa Medical Group, a division of NOCHS, is pleased to announce the establishment of its newest practice area, Pediatric Medicine. Cynthia DeMeester, MD, PhD, is returning to her hometown of West Michigan to lead the practice. Dr. DeMeester was recruited from Children’s Hospital of Boston, where she was the Community Neonatal Hospitalist within Southcoast Health System.

She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and earned her medical degree and doctorate in molecular biology from UCLA. She completed her residency at the University of Hawaii and is Board Certified in Pediatrics.

She has extensive experience working inside hospitals with inpatients and newborns, as well as in an office-based practice focusing on well child care, developmental assessments and coordinating care for medically complex children. Her office will start seeing patients March 23 and has already begun scheduling appointments at (616) 844-4525. Her practice will be in the Dunewood Medical Building at 1310 Wisconsin St., on the main hospital campus.

She will be joined by Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Karly Hiser, who will also practice in this office. Karly is also originally from West Michigan but comes to us most recently from Pittsburgh, PA where she served patients as part of Children’s Community Pediatrics, and also worked within Children’s Express Care. Similar to Dr. DeMeester, Karly has extensive experience working on inpatient units – specifically the teaching hospitals of George Washington University and Duke University.

“Beyond their outstanding credentials having experience in inpatient and outpatient care, they are both natives of West Michigan with a love of community health, which makes them the total package for our community,” said Connie Gnegy, North Ottawa Medical Group Executive Director. “We are delighted to welcome them home and into the NOCHS family.”

Helpful Tips for Parents to Teach Their Kids About Emergencies

May 11, 2017

Adults know that ambulance lights and sirens usually mean an emergency of some sort. However, we also understand that the ambulance is on its way to help.

For kids, emergency vehicles can be much more scary. From a child’s perspective, they’re huge, and loud, and they have lots of frightening lights. While we hope an emergency situation never happens, they do. So it’s important for kids to get past their fear, and understand how to interact with ambulances and EMS staff.

“It’s very common for us to get 911 calls from kids, or to find kids at home when we respond to a call,” says Tom Stanley, director of NOCHS EMS in Grand Haven. “Parents can help their kids feel less afraid and more confident by teaching them some basic facts about emergency medical services.”

Here’s what NOCHS EMS recommends.

  • Emphasize help. Any time you see or hear an ambulance, remind your kids “someone is on the way to help.”
  • Explain the scary stuff. The bright yellow coats, horns, and flashing lights intimidate kids. Explain that those are safety precautions so that other people see and hear paramedics (especially in the dark) and can get out of the way.
  • Teach them about 911. Explain that calling this number will bring immediate help if someone is unconscious, or bleeding badly, or unable to communicate. (And make sure they understand it’s only for emergencies!) Kids should also understand that an ambulance, fire truck or police car will come to the house quickly when they call 911, and they need to let people in to help.
  • Discuss road etiquette. When you pull over for a fire truck or ambulance, explain what you are doing and why. Help kids understand that they should always get out of the way, even if they are on bikes or walking, so that the responders can get where they are going quickly and safely.