OnCentral | Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Survey: Support for government health policies varies based on whether public feels intruded upon, coerced

Although more than three in four survey respondents supported government-backed efforts to prevent tobacco use, only 38 percent said making smoking in private spaces illegal was a good idea.
Stephen Burch/Flickr Creative Commons

People don't mind when the government tries to fight health problems like diabetes and obesity through policy and other legal means.

What they do mind is when that maneuvering seems intrusive or coercive.

So says a study appearing in Health Affairs, which surveyed more than 1,800 U.S. adults regarding their opinions about various types of public health policies.

Public support for government intervention in the following areas was high:

  • Cancer prevention (nearly 89 percent were in favor)
  • Heart disease prevention (about 86 percent)
  • Obesity prevention (more than 81 percent for child obesity and about 76 percent for adult obesity)
  • Preventing tobacco use (about 76 percent)
  • Helping diabetics control their condition (about 84 percent)
  • Reducing alcohol consumption (more than 70 percent)


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Feds 'strongly encourage' health providers to adopt 10 safety measures

One of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's recommendations is that health providers continue to take special care to wear masks, gloves and gowns to reduce the spread of infection.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A federal agency that focuses on quality within the health care system has released 10 "strongly encouraged" recommendations for maintaining patient safety.

Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) said health providers "should not delay adopting these practices":

  1. Making use of safety checklists when a patient is about to undergo surgery and/or anesthesia.
  2. Better hand-washing practices.
  3. Avoiding the use of any abbreviations on the "do not use" list.
  4. Making use of safety checklists when an IV type known as a "central line" is placed into a large vein in the neck, chest or groin in order to help prevent the development of bloodstream infections.
  5. Taking ultrasounds in real-time as central lines are inserted into a patient.
  6. Reducing the use of urinary catheters.
  7. Using barrier precautions – face masks, gloves, gowns – to prevent the spread of infection.
  8. Improving preventive care measures aimed at staving off pulmonary embolisms.
  9. Using "multicomponent interventions" to reduce pressure ulcers – that is, treating them them via a blend of patient education and individualized treatment.
  10. Taking certain precautions with patients who are on ventilators so they don't acquire pneumonia during their stint on the machine, including "sedation vacations" – daily interruptions of sedative drug infusions – and regular mouth suctioning.


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90-year-old school auditorium gets massive makeover, visit from Miss America

The school's original 90-year-old auditorium was transformed with Measure Y funds to become a 700-seat, state-of-the-art space.

A $7.5-million makeover has transformed a 90-year-old South L.A. school auditorium into a state-of-the-art performing arts theater.

The James A. Foshay Learning Center located of Western Avenue and Exposition Boulevard is an expansive campus that hosts kindergarten through 12th grade students.

Eduardo Mollinedo-Pinon is a former student at the school, who now attends USC and helps direct Foshay's music program. Mollinedo-Pinon said that prior to the renovation, many school shows had to be held outside or in the gym because there was no working air conditioning  in the theater, making it uncomfortable for students to perform during the hotter months.

He added that the auditorium, built in 1923, had almost no acoustical design and no curtains; the stage was in need of repair. Thanks to funding from Measure Y, Foshay got the money needed to turn the theater into a space that includes a new sound and lighting system, rehearsal room, improved acoustical design and 700 seats.


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South LA facing large nonprofit 'service gap': report

A young South L.A. resident participates in A Place Called Home's gardening program. A Place Called Home, located on Central Avenue, is one of the relatively few nonprofits in South Los Angeles.
José Martinez/KPCC

There's a major gap in South Los Angeles when it comes to nonprofit human services, according to a new report that mapped and analyzed more than 6,200 such organizations in L.A. County.

The report, from UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, noted that that nearly 70 percent of the people who are served by nonprofit organizations are below the poverty line. The thrust of its findings:

[Nonprofits] in poor neighborhoods are often quite small and often work in isolation from community resources and expertise. Moreover, these organizations face challenges of reaching the poor and marginalized, whose life circumstances can make it difficult to access the services offered.

Like South L.A., East L.A., Central L.A. and some parts of the San Fernando Valley were found to have big "service gaps." Thirty-one percent of L.A. County's 2,300-plus census tracts are considered poor; UCLA researchers found that several of those poor tracts in South L.A. didn't contain a single human services nonprofit, including ones in Vermont Knolls, South Park, Central Alameda, Florence and Watts.


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Improving patient safety and making anesthesia more effective: In health news today

In a new study, researchers say they've found a way to track brain activity that could help health providers better identify when patients lose and recover consciousness while under anesthesia.
Carsten Koall/Getty Images

In today's health news:

A new report from the federal U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality urges health care providers and professionals to follow 10 strategies in order to improve patient care and safety, reports HealthDay. Making that list: hand-washing; "barrier precautions" like masks, gloves and gowns; use of electronic medical orders; and better use of safety checklists for surgical procedures.

There's a high level of public support for government efforts to change the lifestyles that lead to obesity, diabetes and other communicable diseases – but not if those efforts are seen as intrusive or coercive. That's according to a new study in Health Affairs, which also found that people prefer that the government supports healthier decisions (e.g. menu labeling requirements) rather than penalize certain conditions or choices (e.g. higher premiums for obese people).


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