All posts by Angelo Antoline

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)

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

 

Read More

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.

 

Read More

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.

 

Read More