All posts by Angelo Antoline

Don’t Let Driving Distractions Wreck Your Summer Vacation

Distracted driving is a growing – and dangerous – recurring event in the United States. Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off driving.

A study through the National Institutes of Health found that drivers eat, reach for the phone, text, or otherwise take their eyes off the road about 10 percent of the time. This behavior can endanger the drivers, passengers and bystanders.

Distracted driving can include a myriad of activities, including:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Looking at a GPS system
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Reaching for items elsewhere in the car

Probably the most alarming distraction of all is text messaging because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. Five seconds is the average time someone’s eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.

With summer vacations in full swing, many of us will be driving to our destinations. Let’s remove our distractions and pay attention to road. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to turn off your cell phone when you turn on the car ignition. It’s simple.

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Communicating with a Family Member in Critical Care

Sometimes it’s hard enough to say what we mean. So what do we do if we have a family member in critical care? Rest assured, communicating is an important part of the healing process for your loved one as well as your family.

Here are 5 tips to help you out:

  1. Even if your loved one is on a ventilator, he or she will most likely be able to hear you. Speak in a calm, clear manner in a normal tone of voice. There’s no need to speak loudly. Read your family member a favorite poem, book, or prayer. If the staff says it’s OK, you could even play some music.
  2. Use short, positive statements. Reassure your loved one that you’re there, and that everyone is taking good care of him or her. Help orient your family member to the surroundings by sharing the date, day of week and time of day. Help describe the noises in the room.
  3. It’s OK to acknowledge that your family member may be experiencing discomfort. You can help by explaining what is going on, “That tube is helping you breath.” Remind your loved one that this is just temporary and helping him or her to get better.
  4. Don’t ask questions that can’t be answered. Make it simple. Suggesting hand gestures to communicate may be helpful. For example, a thumbs up or thumbs could indicate pain level. A small dry erase board may also be helpful in communicating as well. You could write words that your family member could point to, or possibly your loved one can write a few words as well.
  5. Human touch goes a long way. Ask the hospital staff first, but holding a hand or touching your family member gently is a great way to express your love and concern.

If you’re unsure about the best way to communicate, don’t hesitate to ask a member of the hospital staff for help. If one way doesn’t seem to be working, there likely will be another way that can be more effective.

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6 Things to Expect When Your Loved One is in Critical Care

It’s difficult to imagine a loved one being ill or injured enough to require critical care. But being prepared for what to expect can help you manage the situation.
Here are 6 important things to know:

  1. You have an experienced team on your side. The hospital staff that’s caring for your loved one is highly trained and prepared to treat the sickest – and most medically complex – patients. From the physicians and nurses to the respiratory therapists and dietitians – they all are specially trained to care for your loved one.
  2. The tubes and equipment in a critical care unit can be intimidating. But, they all have a role and purpose in providing your loved one with the intensive healthcare that he or she needs. The healthcare team will be able to explain the role of any equipment to help you better understand what it happening.
  3. Information overload can – and most likely will – occur. Everything will be new to you from the equipment and noises to the procedures and health professionals. Take a deep breath. Once you get your bearings, think of how you can best keep track of information. Write in a notebook. Keep notes on your phone. Jot down items like key information, questions you want to ask, purpose of treatments, and names of hospital personnel.
  4. Expect peaks and valleys. Critical care can be a bumpy ride. Some days will be better than others. As much as possible, try to be patient and keep perspective.
  5. Talk to your loved one. Communicating with your loved one is important for not only him or her, but for your entire family. Often patients can hear while in critical care. Speak calmly and clearly, and make short, positive statements. Hold your loved ones hand or touch them gently if a member of the healthcare team says it’s OK.
  6. Take care of yourself. It may be a long road to your loved one’s recovery, so be sure to take time to do things like sleep, eat, and shower. Don’t be afraid to leave the room for a bit. The healthcare team will be there 24/7 to provide care.
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New Hospitalist Joins Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital

Dr. Enrico Versace has joined Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital as a hospitalist. Board-certified in internal medicine, Versace brings more than 20 years of experience to his role, which will include treating medically complex patients in the hospital with pulmonary, cardiovascular, infectious disease, and neurological issues. Versace’s vast experience includes wound care and hyperbaric medicine, which he has a special interest in.

Prior to joining the hospital, Versace worked at a critical access hospital in Del Norte, Colo. He also practiced at a long-term acute care hospital in Billings, Mont, where he served as medical director for two years. He earned his medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and completed an internal medicine residency at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Conn.

Currently, Versace is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians.

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is a 20-bed, free-standing facility that provides long-term acute care and critical care services to patients recovering from serious injuries or illnesses in Johnstown, Colo., and surrounding areas.

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Local CEO Appointed to Colorado Hospital Association Board of Trustees

Lamar McBride, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital, recently was elected to the Colorado Hospital Association’s (CHA) board of trustees. He will serve a two-year term on the board.

Members of the CHA’s board of trustees help lead and guide the Association’s strategy on a number of issues for Colorado Hospitals and health systems. These issues include policy and advocacy, quality and patient safety, data analytics, workforce and labor challenges, rural health and hospitals, and hospital emergency preparedness.

“Lamar will have the opportunity to inform our Association’s work on a number of issues that Colorado hospitals and health systems face,” says Steven Summer, CHA President and CEO. “His leadership and insights are critical to helping guide us through a time of great change in the delivery of health care, and we are grateful for his service to our organization.”

McBride possesses more than 18 years of extensive experience in healthcare strategy development and implementation. In addition to CHA, he is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is an active volunteer with the National Association of Healthcare executives, Shorter AME Church, The Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and Big Brother and Big Sisters of Denver.

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is a 20-bed, free-standing facility that provides long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious injuries or illnesses in Johnstown, Colo., and surrounding areas.

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Take a shot at avoiding the Flu

By Jeannie Lancaster, Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again. The kids are back in school. The leaves will soon be changing, and before we know it, flu season will be upon us.

But instead of just sitting back and dreading its advance, there is something one can do to take action — get the shot.

Flu vaccinations are now available in most doctor’s offices, pharmacies and public health agencies.

Understanding the importance of flu vaccination, Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital in conjunction with Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is offering a limited number of free flu shots to local residents on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

Free vaccinations will be limited to the first 180 registrants. Registration will be taken through Sept. 18. To schedule a vaccination time, call 970-619-3400.

“We do this yearly,” said Kristin Klipp, marketing coordinator for the two hospitals. “We’re really hoping to fill those spots this year. We give to the community by keeping the community well.”

Dr. Nathan Swartz, staff physician at the two hospitals, noted that the reasons for individuals to get a flu shot are two-fold. “First, to prevent them from getting the flu virus, but also to prevent them from spreading it to those who are at risk for developing complications from the flu. This includes older individuals, the young, those who are immune compromised and individuals with multiple medical problems.”

The Larimer County website notes that, “Every year an estimated 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications like pneumonia.”

Swartz, Larimer County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all stress the importance of those 6 months and older getting the vaccination. Some children may require two doses of the vaccine.

The CDC also recommends that, “This season, only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) should be used. Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses.”

In a change from past years, the CDC is recommending that the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) not be used during the 2016-17 influenza season, “because of concerns about this vaccine’s effectiveness.”

Is there a chance you may still get the flu, even if you have had the vaccination? Yes. It takes two weeks after the shot for the body to build up the antibodies that provide protection. If you are exposed before or during that two weeks, you can still get the flu. Also, you may be exposed to a flu virus that is not covered by the vaccine. Extensive research goes into choosing which viruses to target, but the CDC points out, “Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.”

There is often confusion about what the flu really is. One thing that can add to the confusion is that, “the flu can affect different people in different ways,” said Swartz.

“‘Stomach flu’ is a popular term for stomach or intestinal disease, whereas the flu is a respiratory (lung) disease,” wrote the CDC. “People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also can occur with flu, but are more common in children than adults.”

If you do suspect you have the flu, especially if you are at high risk for complications from the flu, check with your health care provider. He/she may run a test to determine if you truly do have the flu. If so, an antiviral drug may be prescribed. The CDC noted that these drugs work best if they are started within two days of getting sick.

Getting a flu vaccination is the most important step you can take to prevent yourself from getting the disease. To help prevent spreading the disease, if you are ill, stay away from sick people and those who are at high risk for complications such as babies under 6 months of age, who cannot receive the vaccination. If you have the flu, stay home from work and school.

It’s impossible to predict what this flu season will be like, but a few headlines from last year’s flu season provide a powerful insight into the impact the flu has had previously in Northern Colorado. Among them: “Severe Flu Season Hits Elderly Hard in Larimer County,” “Colorado in Grip of Widespread Flu Outbreak” and “Larimer County’s Young Hit Hard by Flu.”

Photo credit: Medical assistant Lindsay Cooper gives Jaxon Cabrera of Loveland a flu shot at the Banner Medical Clinic in this file photo from January 2013. (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald file photo)

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Names Lamar McBride as CEO

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital announced that Chief Operations Officer, Lamar McBride has been appointed to Chief Executive Officer.
“Lamar has provided strong leadership and a positive influence on the organization this past year and we are excited to see him promoted to CEO,” said Mike Phillips, Area Director of Operations for Ernest Health.

McBride possesses more than 18 years of extensive experience in healthcare strategy development and implementation. Prior to joining Ernest Health, he worked in major comprehensive academic and large health system environments, handling responsibilities for operational management, productivity improvements, physician relationship building, capital construction project management, strategic planning, and policy development.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with the organization’s leadership,” said McBride.
“I look forward to continuing to solidify the hospital’s position and partnerships with surrounding health care systems.”

In his role as Chief Operations Officer, McBride was responsible for driving strategic prioritization and accountability within Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. He will continue to be responsible for leading community outreach and ensuring operational excellence.

Phillips added, “We are counting on Lamar to continue the momentum he has created at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital as we continue to care for the patients in our community.”

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Hospital honored for life-changing care

West Nile virus survivor arranges legislative tribute for Northern Colorado Long Term Acute and Rehabilitation hospital

Some people get West Nile virus without ever knowing it. When Ken Summers contracted the disease last summer, it easily could have been the very last thing he ever knew. The Fort Collins resident, who represented the Lakewood area for six years in the Colorado House of Representatives, was diagnosed July 22, 2013, with the mosquito – borne virus.

The disease set off a life-threatening spiral into meningitis, encephalitis and a previously undiagnosed autoimmune disorder called myasthenia gravis that put Summers on life support for several weeks. Then followed an almost four-month-long stay in two specialized hospitals in Johnstown just east of Loveland, relearning how to breathe and then to walk.

Summers was so grateful for the life- recovering care that he received at the Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Care Hospital and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital that he asked Rep. Perry Buck, who represents the district that includes the hospitals’ campus, to sponsor an official legislative tribute.

Buck presented the tribute in the rehab side of the linked hospitals, with Summers and a large group of hospital staffers looking on. She noted that for eight years, the 10-year- old rehabilitation hospital has been ranked in the top 10 percent of almost 800 rehab facilities nationwide, and the acute-care hospital recently earned the Quality Respiratory Care Recognition designation from the American Association of Respiratory Care.

Summers, who walked slowly with the aid of a walker and sat for much of his speech, recounted his harrowing ordeal and praised the hospitals’ staff, “from physicians to the housekeeping staff to maintenance.” He said he continues to visit the rehab side weekly for outpatient therapy.

Elizabeth Bullard, chief operating officer for Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital, put Summers’ experience this way: “It was just over a year ago that he began a journey to the edge of life and back again.

After the formalities, the hospitals’ leaders gave Buck a tour of both sides of the 40- bed facility, accompanied by Summers in a wheelchair.

At the doorway between the acute-care and rehab sides, Summers recalled what he thought during his six tough weeks in acute care — the part of it that he remembers: “One of these days we’ll pass through those double doors.” He added with a laugh, “It’s better than passing through the pearly gates.

Summers said during his terms in theLegislature, he liked to visit the businesses and organizations in his district that were doing exceptional work, and he sometimes recognized them with official tributes. This particular tribute “had a very personal aspect,” he said, because the care he received “was vital to my recovery.

People are familiar with Craig Hospital,” the nationally known rehab center in Englewood. “This really is the Craig Hospital of Northern Colorado.

 

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Recognized Nationally for Respiratory Care

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Recognized

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital has earned the national Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) from the American Association of Respiratory Care. This designation is given to facilities that meet strict safety and quality standards related to the provision of respiratory care services by qualified respiratory therapists.  Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is one of 700 hospitals nationwide – or about 15 percent – that has received this award, and it’s one of only two long term care hospitals in Colorado.

The QRCR program was started in 2003 by the American Association for Respiratory Care. This designation is aimed at helping patients and families make informed decisions about the quality of the respiratory care services available in hospitals. This is the first year that Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital has applied for the designation.

“QRCR hospitals meet stringent national standards and guidelines for respiratory care services,” says Tracie Gunn, Respiratory Manager of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Earning this recognition validates that we embrace the ever-present challenge of achieving maximum, measurable results for our patients. We constantly strive to improve our quality of care.”

To qualify for the recognition, the hospital had to meet certain requirements, including:

  • All respiratory therapists employed by the hospital who deliver bedside respiratory care services are legally recognized by the state. Respiratory therapists are available 24 hours a day;
  • Respiratory therapists provide patient assessments and make clinical recommendations regarding patient needs and plans of care;
  • A competency-based training program is in place for all personnel administering respiratory care;
  • A physician is designated as medical director of respiratory care services.

At Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital, respiratory therapists work closely with physicians and staff to provide a wide range of respiratory services to patients. Ventilator weaning, tracheostomy care, and pulmonary disease management are a few basic services they provide. They are also key members of the Ventilator Wean Team; a multi-disciplinary approach to wean patients off ventilators. The team has experience with weaning patients with some of the most complex medical issues.

 

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New COO named at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital

Lamar McBride named Chief Operations Officer

Lamar McBride recently was named Chief Operations Officer for Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. The hospital is a 20-bed, free-standing facility that provides long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious injuries or illnesses.

McBride possesses more than 18 years of extensive experience in healthcare strategy development and implementation. He has worked in major comprehensive academic and large health system environments, handling responsibilities for operational management, productivity improvements, physician relationship building, capital construction project management, strategic planning, and policy development. Prior to joining Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital, he was the administrative director of ancillary services at an acute care hospital in Westminster, Colo., where he was responsible for the operational and administrative functions of all non-nursing departments.

McBride earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in health services administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is an active volunteer with the National Association of Healthcare executives, Shorter AME Church, The Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and Big Brother and Big Sisters of Denver.

 

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