Speare’s 7th Annual Wine, Women & Wisdom was Truly Exceptional

7th annual wine, women & wisdom plymouth nhOn May 11, 2017 we held our 7th annual Wine Women & Wisdom at the Common Man in Plymouth for 200 energetic women from all over central New Hampshire.

The event sold out several days in advance and included three featured speakers, a vendor room with fifteen women-owned businesses, a light dinner buffet, wine tasting, and raffle prizes included concert tickets, weekend getaways, and fashion items. Our keynote speaker – Nancy Witter a life coach, and comic had the audience roaring with laughter to cap off a truly exceptional evening.

Scroll down to see photos from the event

Thank you to the generous sponsors and local women-owned business vendors who helped to make this event possible. (Please click on their names below for more information about their products and services.


Lupus Foundation New England


Smartsource LLC

Please click on the thumbnail images below to see the full picture.

Thank you to the generous sponsors and local women-owned business vendors who helped to make this event possible. (Please click on their names below for more information about their products and services.


Helms & Company, Inc.


Brand & Sawicki DDS            Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative                 Venture Print Unlimited Inc

VENDORS (also donated raffle prizes)

Dressers Unlimited,    Lularoe Susan Dugas,    Norwex,    Kelly Libby – Meditation/Alternative Healing,    Newfound Grocery,    Mind Over Matter – Weight and Health Management Group,    Design of Mine,    Donna Von Gunten – Maxfield Real Estate,    Perfectly Posh with Lauren Lacasse,       BeautyCounter


Innisfree Bookshop,    Mill Falls at the Lake,    Simply Sunflowers,    Thai Smile,    NHDevenir Esthetics & Massage,    Common Cents Jewelry,    Northern Roots Massage,    Swiss Herbal Care,    Jack O’Lantern Resort & Golf


Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) 2017 – FACILITATOR Education Program


polst training 2017POLST-trained facilitators are often physicians, APRNs, social workers or nurses responsible for developing plans of care for residents of long-term care facilities, home health, or hospice. Without an emphasis on the importance of ACP discussions and qualified facilitators, completion of the POLST form runs the risk of repeating the failures of past standard AD efforts that have focused only on form completion.

POLST was implemented statewide in New Hampshire in 2013 and we are offering training to health providers who want to be certified as POLST facilitators for colleagues and staff in their organization and community.

The course focuses on communication skills— initiating POLST conversations, assisting in making informed end-of-life decisions, and learning techniques to create POLST plans. The successful implementation of a POLST program must be complemented by professionals who have developed the necessary communication skills to initiate advance care planning discussions that help individuals establish medical and non-medical goals of care.

For more information about POLST go to: http://healthynh.com/index.php/provider-orders-for-life-sustaining-treatment-polst.html

To Register: Email mkane@spearehospital.com with your name, agency, and contact information by June 9th to ensure space is available

This Event is Free of charge and funded by a grant from Community Health Services Network, LLC



  • Brian Kugel is a licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in community and institutional health care, mental health, and geriatric settings.
  • Phil Lawson is a board certified hospice medical director and palliative care consultant with over 20 years experience in providing end of life care in New Hampshire.

To Register: Email mkane@spearehospital.com with your name, agency, and contact information by June 9th to ensure space is available

This Event is Free of charge and funded by a grant from Community Health Services Network, LLC

National Nurses Week 2017: The Balance of Mine, Body, and Spirit

Nurses week 2017Every year, National Nurses Week focuses attention on the diverse ways America’s 3.1 million nurses work to save lives and to improve the health of millions of individuals. The American Nursing Association has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.”

Join us during National Nurses Week, May 6–12, as we celebrate our nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness every day at Speare Memorial Hospital.


Speare Memorial Hospital Now Accepting Applications for Community Health Grants

speare hospital community health grant


Speare Memorial Hospital is committed to ensuring that our community achieves optimal health.  This takes the efforts of many organizations working together toward a common vision.

The SMH Community Health Grant Program provides funding to organizations with activities and initiatives that address a community health need. Grants are awarded to groups that significantly improve the health of the citizens in our region.

Grant requests must be for a minimum of $2,000.  No applicant is assured of grant funding for any given year or from one year to the next.

Eligible organizations must be tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and serve a region that aligns closely with Speare’s service area. The funding period is October 1-September 30th.

Applications and supplemental information are due by June 15th.

For more information contact: Cheryl Callnan, Director of Development, Speare Memorial Hospital at 603-238-2211 or ccallnan@spearehospital.com

Don’t Take the Flu on Vacation With You

Flu Season AheadDon’t give or get the “gift that keeps on giving” this holiday season. If you’re traveling to celebrate with friends and relatives festively wrapped gifts aren’t the only thing you can bring back from your travels. A  nasty cold or even the flu could be “hitching a ride” with you back home. Wondering why?

Coming into contact with more people than usual, deviating from your normal exercise and sleep routines, can leave you susceptible to germs because you’re coming into contact with more people than usual.




Mary Rupert,RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Prevention Coordinator at Speare Memorial Hospital, offers the tips listed below to help fend off the flu and colds as you travel.

Before you leave:

  • Get a Flu Shot at least two weeks before your trip –  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly encourages everyone,  especially young kids, pregnant women, those over 65, and anyone with a chronic illness, to have annual immunizations. It takes two weeks for antibodies to develop to provide the protection your body needs to fight the flu.
    • Speare is hosting a series of flu clinics at the hospital and out in the community. Click here to visit our event calendar for dates, times and locations.
  • Give your immune system a boost with dietary supplements like Emergen-C or Airborne

While traveling:

  • Pack in your carry-on – antibacterial hand sanitizer, tissues, eye drops, nasal spray, and lip balm. It’s tempting to rub dry lips and eyes. Saline spray can help dried out noses. And share tissues if needed. The flu is transmitted by tiny droplets that can travel up to three feet during a sneeze.
  • Practice common-sense habits – Don’t touch your face—especially your eyes, nose and mouth. And, avoid people who are visibly sick. If you’re next to someone on the airplane who’s coughing and could be contagious, ask for a different seat. It may not be possible if you’re on a crowded flight, but it’s worth a try.
  • HandwashingWash your hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice). If warm water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Use disinfecting wipes to clean the airplane’s seatback tray and armrests before using.
  • Hydrate yourself with plenty of water. Dehydration leads to headaches, drowsiness and an immune system that can quickly become overloaded.
  • Bring your own pillow. Bring your own pillowcase too!

If you get the flu while traveling:

 Get medical attention quickly if you’re at high risk: Be vigilant about symptoms and seek medical attention. High-risk individuals are those with compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, organ transplants, asthma and neurological conditions, those 65+, pregnant women, and young children

•  Take antiviral flu medications: Antiviral medications, available by prescription, can be used to treat influenza. They may lessen symptoms and shorten the time you’re sick. Also, they can help prevent serious complications, like pneumonia. For those at high risk, antiviral treatment may mean the difference between a milder illness instead of very serious ‘bout that could result in a hospital stay.

Reason Enough To Get VACCINATED!
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.

Need health coverage? Come to Health Insurance 101

Health Insurance 101

Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace can be a daunting task when you’re not sure what all the terminology means, and what coverage you should choose that will fit your budget and meet your needs.  Whether you’re uninsured, or just want to explore your choices, Speare Memorial Hospital can help you find coverage through the Marketplace that’s right for you and your family.

Health Insurance QuestionsOn Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Speare Hospital Café annex, Carrie Mason, Certified Application Counselor, will offer Health Insurance 101. She will explain different terms used on the Marketplace, and include examples of what different plan levels cover. Ms. Mason will do her best to answer questions and give advice. To help educate the public on the resources available in the community, representatives from Mid-State Health Center will join Carrie to assist attendees in evaluating health insurance options.

This is an open forum for asking general questions. Those people who have specific questions about their health coverage needs or those who would like assistance with enrollment are welcome to make appointments for one on one help.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that meets your needs and fits your budget. The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. You may also be eligible for a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premium right away. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins November 1.  the sooner you enroll the sooner you get covered!

For more information, contact Carrie Mason, Patient Access Coordinator at (603) 238-6489 or cmason@spearehospital.com

Speare Memorial Hospital Now Offering State-of-the-Art, 3D Mammography


IMG 2239

3D Mammography 

Detects 41% more invasive breast cancers

Speare Memorial Hospital is excited to offer Genius™ 3D Mammography™, a breakthrough in the early detection of breast cancer.

“Early breast cancer detection saves lives for women screened annually, beginning at age 40,” says Rebecca Zuurbier, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Speare Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “Advanced 3-D tomosynthesis mammography, like that now available at Speare, is a significant technological leap forward in this process because important breast cancers can be found even earlier. This saves lives while helping women avoid disfiguring surgeries and debilitating chemotherapy treatments. This technology detects 41% more invasive breast cancers and results in fewer recalls for additional views from screening mammograms, compared to 2D mammography.”

Faux PatientIn conventional 2D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. A Genius exam at Speare includes a three-dimensional method of imaging that can greatly reduce the tissue overlap effect.

Speare’s mammograms now include both 2D images and 3D tomosynthesis scans. During the tomosynthesis-DIMENSIONAL portion of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing Dr. Zuurbier to review the breast tissue one layer at a time. The exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D breast cancer screening exam.

Speare Memorial Hospital has a dedicated and experienced team of mammography staff. Appointments can be made from 8am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. Late afternoon appointments are also available.

3D Mammography team at Speare memorial Hospital

Speare Memorial Hospital —a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving Plymouth and the communities of central New Hampshire—is nationally ranked as a HealthStrongTM: Top 100 Critical Access Hospital and a Becker’s Top 50 Critical Access Hospitals to know in 2016. Visit online at http://www.spearehospital.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fueling Your Future: Diet & Exercise to Help Fuel Everyday Life

Dr. Mike Watto
Dr. Mike Watto

“Everything is connected, you can’t separate the parts,” says Dr. Michael Watto, a family physician at Speare Primary Care. “Your positive or negative mental outlook can affect sleep, which can impact your diet and how much you exercise — all of which are underlying factors in your overall health, including weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.”

Dr. Watto believes that this is where his relationship with patients is critical as he helps to make a difference in each individual’s health.

“I consider myself a medical advisor/expert,” he says. “It is my job to help people make the right choices. As a primary care provider,I like to develop a relationship with my patients so we can see the big picture and pull it all together for the healthiest future.”

Watto’s Words on Nutrition

The US Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture have experts reporting to them on the most recent body of scientific evidence regarding diet, nutrition, health, and physical activity.

Dietary guidelines have evolved since 1980 and are worth noting. This chart shows what changes have been made over the decades, with Dr. Watto’s take home message about the evolution.

Watto Words On Dietary Guidelines

Watto’s Words on Activity Guidelines

To improve or maintain your overall health, or to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, you should exercise according to the chart below.

Watto Words On Overall Health

Dr. Michael Watto is a family physician at Speare Primary Care at Boulder Point in Plymouth. He is accepting new patients ages 13 and older. To make an appointment, call Speare Primary Care at (603) 536-1881.


Are You Sleep Sick?

Sleep SickIf you sleep less than six hours a night, you are four times more likely to catch a cold after being exposed to the virus than people who sleep seven or more hours a night. Several studies have shown that people with less sleep are more susceptible to illness. It turns out that sleep may be one of your best preventative health measures.

If you or a member of your family is experiencing difficulty sleeping – either falling asleep or not sleeping through the night – the specially trained staff at the Speare Memorial Hospital Sleep
Lab can help. Our Sleep Lab, under the direction of Dr. Michele Gaier, medical director, brings “better sleep” to the greater Plymouth area. For more information call (603) 238-2232.

Update on Consumer Antiseptic (antibacterial) Soaps

by Mary E. Ruppert, RN, BSN, CIC
Infection Prevention Coordinator, Speare Memorial Hospital
One infection is one too many.

HandwashingWhen you buy soaps and body washes for use at home, do you reach for products labeled “antibacterial” hoping they’ll keep your family safer? Do you think those products will lower your risk of getting sick, spreading germs or being infected?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there isn’t enough science to show that antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. In addition, some of the ingredients in these products may have negative long-term effects on both people and our environment.

The recent (FDA) ruling on the elimination of antibacterial products applies to antibacterial products – liquid, gel, foam and bar soaps and body washes. The ruling is banning the marketing of consumer products with antibacterial ingredients, primarily and triclocarban. Some manufacturers had already started removing these ingredients before the FDA ruling.

Triclosan and/or triclocarban are also used in many other consumer products: toothpastes and cosmetics (which are regulated by the FDA) and clothing, kitchenware, furniture and even toys (which are not regulated by the FDA). In animal studies triclosan has altered the way that some hormones work, we don’t know if there are similar effects on humans. Studies also indicate that the antibacterial ingredients may contribute to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.

What does this mean to you and your family?

Washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease and infection. Washing your hands is simple, and it works.

Plain soap works to clean your hands and the action of washing your hands removes germs.

Read the labels of products you have at home. If your soaps contain antibacterial ingredients replace these with soaps that do not have this claim or these ingredients.

Click Here for more information about this consumer update from the FDA.

What does this mean for healthcare workers?

The antibacterial additives in soaps can also increase hand irritation. Speare Memorial Hospital has been using a plain hand soap (no antibacterial ingredients) in the soap dispensers in staff and public bathrooms and at sink locations since I started working here as the Infection Preventionist in December 2011.

This FDA rule is for soaps sold to consumers only and does not apply to hand sanitizers or hand wipes, which generally do not contain triclosan or triclocarban.

What about hand sanitizers and wipes?

The FDA is not recommending any changes to the products that are currently on the market for either consumers or healthcare use. The FDA is reviewing antiseptic hand sanitizers and wipes for both consumer and healthcare use.

Click Here for more information on sanitizers and wipes is available at this link (opens as a pdf document)

Click Here for more information on healthcare antiseptics (hand washes and rubs, surgical hand scrubs and rubs and patient preoperative skin preparations and pre-injection preparations).