All posts by Jason Glogau

Daniel Morrison

Daniel and Debbie Morrison with their dog, Tucker and cat, Jack.

Prior to Daniel’s accident, he was in good health. For 26 years, Daniel worked as an electrical railroad technician with Union Pacific. He loves photography, trying new restaurants with his wife, Debbie, and traveling. He has four children and eight grandchildren.

On his way home from running errands one day, Daniel swerved to miss hitting a dog in the road. He wound up hitting another vehicle. Daniel suffered numerous injuries and complications from the accident. These included breaking both legs and feet and his sternum, requiring multiple surgeries. Daniel also suffered acute respiratory failure and required a ventilator.

After 26 days, Daniel transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (NCLTAH). He and Debbie chose NCLTAH at the recommendation of Daniel’s brother. A firefighter in Thornton, CO, his brother heard about the hospital’s great patient outcomes. Debbie toured the facility before the transfer and knew it was the right choice. She loved how involved families were in their loved one’s care plan. But most influential was when the spouse of another patient told her it was the “best care ever.”

“I made my decision to have Daniel come right then and there,” Debbie stated.

Daniel’s experience lived up to expectations. “The nursing care was awesome,” he stated, “and the therapists were always so happy. [They] really pushed you to get home faster. The meals were so good, and I loved that I could bring my dog into the front lobby!”

Dr. Mitri, Daniel’s physician, particularly stood out to the Morrisons.

“Dr. Mitri was outstanding driving my plan of care,” Daniel stated. “When I went to the acute rehab, he would come visit me weekly!”

Daniel made great progress at the long-term acute care hospital. When the time came to discharge to a rehabilitation facility, the choice was easy. Daniel transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital, which shares a campus with NCLTAH.

According to Daniel, two of his largest accomplishments was to stand again and then walk with a front-wheeled walker. His future goals including traveling again and returning to work.

“Putting the wheelchair in the garage and not having to use it again was one of the best feelings”

Thankful for the care they received at both hospitals, the Morrisons added, “We couldn’t have done it without you!”

 

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Terry Sykes

After suffering a major stroke, Terry Sykes’ doctors told his family he would likely never walk or talk again.

Terry Sykes’ motto is “I’m down, but I’m not out.” Terry has had to remind himself of this often since suffering a major stroke that required months of hospitalization.

However, this stroke wasn’t Terry’s first. Previously, Terry suffered a “minor” stroke, for which he underwent carotid endarterectomy. According to the American Heart Association, carotid endarterectomy is “surgery to remove fatty deposits (plaque) that are narrowing the arteries in your neck. These are called the carotid arteries. They supply blood and oxygen to your brain. If plaque and other fatty materials block an artery, it slows or blocks the blood flow, and you could have a stroke.”

Shortly after surgery, Terry suffered his second stroke. More severe, this stroke caused life-threatening swelling of his brain. The medical staff told his family it was unlikely Terry would ever walk or talk again.

But according to Terry, God had other plans. Terry’s wife, Cathy, chose for him to transfer to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. At NCLTAH, Terry continued to work to wean off machines that assisted his breathing and heart rate. This is where Cathy found her hope and Terry found out he was a “medical miracle.”

Terry improved rapidly and transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to begin intensive therapy. This therapy would help Terry relearn how to eat, talk and walk again. Participating in physical, occupational, and speech therapy challenged Terry. However, Cathy says, “he kept trying and never stopped.” Terry said his therapist at the hospital “never gave up on me”.

Determined to recover, Terry would often ask for additional therapy beyond what was required.

With Cathy as his “cheerleader,” Terry continued to fight. Every chance he got, Terry asked to do additional therapy beyond what was required. “It doesn’t come as fast you think,” he said. “Truly, if you do what the therapists tell you, you will get back on your feet.” And Terry did, walking out of the hospital to go home on his discharge day.

Terry continues to participate in outpatient therapy. He says that coming in for therapy “feels like coming home.” Terry is working towards returning to the back-breaking work of owning his own business. He hopes to be back hiking in the mountains and hunting. Cathy knows he will thanks to Terry’s determination, the amazing work of the hospital staff and the power of prayer.

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Donald Parker

The best moment at NCLTAH for Donald? When the CEO shook his hand and stated, “you’re a miracle man.”

Donald Parker is a 63-year-old, retired Vietnam-era veteran. Donald loved retired life, spending it golfing, fishing and taking care of his grandchildren. His favorite part of being a grandparent was babysitting his grandkids and taking them school.

One December day, Donald was found unconscious in his car. He had been headed to pick up his grandkids from school. Taken to an acute care hospital, Donald was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.

Donald’s condition prevented him from making decisions while hospitalized. His daughter, Katie McElderry, is a case manager at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Knowing NCLTAH’s capabilities, Katie decided to transfer her father there. Katie noted that “NCLTAH has fantastic physicians, caring staff, and great outcomes!”

“The nurses were so patient and kind,” Donald noted, reflecting on his stay at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Everyone had a good sense of humor in this difficult situation,” he added. While at NCLTAH, Donald even met a friend he used to work.

The best moment at NCLTAH for Donald? When the CEO shook his hand and stated, “you’re a miracle man.”

“He thrived at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital,” Katie stated. “He progressed so quickly due to working with a knowledgeable team!”

Donald discharged to acute rehabilitation for a few weeks, then home with his daughter for a month. He now is back living alone and independent.

Donald states his definition of success is “being able to play golf again and getting back to life.” Donald is now able to watch his grandkids grow up and be there for his family. He truly is a miracle man!

 

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Lois Van Mark

After spending months in the hospital, Lois Van Mark came to NCLTAH for ventilator weaning.

Lois Van Mark was enjoying her new job as the State Executive Director of Farm Service Agency. The 62-year-old from Torrington, WY is the fourth generation operating her family’s no-till dry land wheat farm in southeast Goshen County. An art major in college, Lois enjoys painting, drawing and making crafts. But that was all about to be put on hold.

Lois hadn’t been feeling well for about a year when she admitted to the local hospital in Torrington for edema and worsening cellulitis. Worsening acute respiratory failure during her stay required a transfer to Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, NE. Lois now required a ventilator, tracheostomy and feeding tube. For a three-month stretch, Lois doesn’t remember a thing.

That’s when Lois transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Her pulmonologist at Regional West Medical Center and her family felt NCLTAH could provide the best care for Lois.

Lois weaned from the ventilator while at NCLTAH. But the prolonged stretch of unconsciousness, paired with her time on a ventilator left Lois physically weak. Lois would need more rehabilitation to regain her strength. Her family chose to remain close and admit Lois to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

At NCRH, Lois learned how to stand and walk again. “The therapists were so encouraging, patient and always smiling,” Lois recalls. “My recovery was influenced by God, prayers, and family support. Dr. Pearson, Dr. Walker, the nurses and aides were all so helpful!”

“Both Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Care and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital were wonderful experiences,” Lois adds.

Her rehabilitation complete, Lois discharged home using only a walker. “God has put me on this earth for a reason,” Lois states, “and I take every day as it comes.” Lois is excited to be back at her job and back to painting, drawing and crafts.

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Welcomes New CEO

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (NCLTAH) is proud to welcome Blake Sims, MSHA, MBA, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Blake is an experienced operations leader with a proven track record of success.

Prior to joining NCLTAH, Blake worked for large complex healthcare organizations in Texas and Nevada. During that time, he developed expertise in operational management, productivity and process improvement projects, infection prevention, capital construction project management and strategic planning.

“I am honored to join this team of highly trained clinicians providing the most compassionate care to patients, who are often dealing with incredibly complex medical issues. Their passion for quality care is astounding,” said Blake.

“This hospital was the first in Colorado to receive recognition for the care of patients in respiratory failure. The passion of the caregivers for being the best at what they do is not only a driving force in our community, but throughout the state. I’m so lucky to be able to support this amazing team.”

Blake earned a master’s in health administration and a master’s in business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While at UAB, he also completed certificates in health care finance and gerontology. Blake is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Colorado Association of Healthcare Executives and Upsilon Phi Delta National Academic Honor Society. An active community member, Sims has served on a number of boards and is an alumnus of Leadership Amarillo & Canyon (Texas).

Blake and his wife, Melanie, have three young children. He loves the outdoors, especially running and all forms of cycling. Blake has finished thirteen Ironman triathlons, including Ironman Boulder on two occasions.

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Welcomes Hospitalist

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is proud to welcome Dr. Sami Mitri as its new Hospitalist.

Dr. Sami Mitri has joined Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital

Dr. Mitri is a board-certified internal medicine physician.

Dr. Mitri completed a residency at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital in Lansing, Michigan where he also had a private practice.  He earned his medical degree from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colorado. Dr. Mitri also received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Michigan along with his Master of Science in Biology.  He is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

Not only a dedicated and experienced physician, Dr. Mitri also has a passion for teaching and lecturing at colleges and universities.  He is passionate about delivering the highest quality and compassionate care to our hospitalized patients.

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Shelly Walter

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Shelly works as an RN in Loveland

Shelly Walter, 54, spent much of her free time enjoying the outdoors. She was an avid rock climber, skier, and travel enthusiast. When she wasn’t spending time outdoors or with her family, she worked as a registered nurse in Loveland, Colorado.

Over a few days, Shelly began experiencing fevers, followed by memory loss. She admitted to a local hospital. There, she received treatment for acute hypoxic respiratory failure and an influenza B infection. Shelly then transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital for follow-up treatment.

During her stay, Shelly’s condition continued to escalate. She endured additional complications including toxic shock syndrome, acute cardiomyopathy, dysphagia, protein calorie malnutrition, and anemia.

“My illnesses were great, but my support was even greater,” Shelly says. “From the very beginning, the staff was positive, compassionate, and encouraging. They treated me like a family member. They got to know me on a personal level, figuring out how much I love the outdoors. And so they incorporated the outdoors into my therapy. Even on my difficult days, they knew how to make me smile and kept my spirits high.”

After a few weeks of treatment at NCLTAH, Shelly transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. “Even there, I was still valued as a family member,” Shelly says. “The dietitian and nutrition manager customized my nutrition plan to accommodate my vegetarian lifestyle. And with the rehabilitation, they focused on not just the physical aspects, but the emotional and mental aspects of it, as well.” Shelly discharged a week later, able to independently walk out of the facility.

After discharge, Shelly biked over 25 miles at her family’s annual camping trip

Shelly was able to make her family’s annual camping trip to Leadville, Colorado this year. While there, she biked more than 25 miles. “I believe that whatever life throws at you, you have to stay positive and enjoy every moment you can,” she says. “Thanks to my family and the rehabilitation I received, I am back doing the things I love with the people I love.”

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What to Pack for a Hospital Stay

Whether you are a patient preparing for an inpatient hospital stay, or someone who’s loved one unexpectedly finds themselves in a hospital, having the right things for a hospital stay is important. Packing the right items will help make your stay less stressful and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Below you’ll find a summary of suggested items to pack for a hospital stay.

Clothing

  • 5-6 outfits of loose fitting pants and tops
  • Undergarments
  • Sweater or jacket
  • Supportive pair of athletic shoes with non-skid soles
  • Night clothes (gown, robe, pajamas)

Toiletries

  • Soap, if you prefer a certain brand
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash & dentures
  • Comb, brush, shaving supplies & cosmetics
  • Deodorant, lotion, perfume, & aftershave

Miscellaneous

  • Insurance cards & medical information
  • Eyeglasses & hearing aids
  • Incontinence pads (if needed)
  • Pillow, blanket
  • Family pictures
  • Laundry basket or bag

Click here to download a printable version of this checklist

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Understanding Influenza: 5 Facts to Know this Flu Season

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst. Understanding Influenza – how it’s spread, how to prevent it, and the symptoms of the flu – can help keep you, and your community healthy this winter. Below are five flu facts to know as we enter flu season.

Can a flu shot give me the flu?

The Influenza vaccine is safe and cannot give you the Flu. It takes 2 weeks to build up your immunity, so you can contract the flu before developing the antibodies.

How is the flu spread?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that spreads when you are exposed to an infected person that coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching your nose, mouth or eyes after touching a surface with the virus on it.

How can I prevent the flu?

There are several things you can do to keep yourself flu-free! The most important step you can take is to get a flu vaccine each year. You can also help prevent getting the flu by frequently using hand sanitizer or washing your hands. Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Avoid spreading the flu by covering your coughs/sneezes and by staying home if you are sick. Additionally, be sure to keep surfaces in your home clean.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms usually start 1-4 days after exposure and usually come on suddenly. You are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after the illness starts. However, you can infect others before you are symptomatic and up to a week after becoming sick.

Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can include fever, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, sore throat, cough and chills. Seek medical care for any worsening symptoms.

What is the treatment for the flu?

Rest, pain relievers and extra fluids will help to lessen your symptoms. While antibiotics are not effective for the flu, there are prescription antiviral medications that can help to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration. But, they must be started within 48 hours after onset.

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Resources for Caregivers

There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” – Rosalyn Carter

Caregivers often hide in plain sight. They make up a substantial portion of the United States population. In the US alone, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers for adults over the age of 65. We tend not to realize the strain put on an individual who cares for a loved one. Instead, we see only the selflessness with which they provide care. Unfortunately, there’s often more going on than we recognize.

Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, particularly when providing care for a spouse. It’s important to understand and utilize the resources available to you as a caregiver. Here are some great resources for caregivers:

VA Caregiver Support

If you provide care for a veteran, the Veterans Administration has a number of resources available to you. Services offered include mentoring, diagnosis-specific tips and guidance. Additionally, help is available to care for your loved one so that you have time to care for yourself. Many of these services are provided at no cost.

Diagnosis-specific Support Networks

Many organizations offer online support networks for patients and caregivers, focused on specific diagnoses. These support networks typically have segments dedicated to the unique needs of caregivers. Some of the organizations offering these support networks include:

Local Support Groups

Hospitals often host support groups on a variety of topics. Some are diagnosis-specific. Others focus directly on caregivers. It can be quite helpful to connect with individuals who have had similar experiences to yours. Contact your local hospital to find out what support groups they host and when they meet.

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown

As a caregiver, it’s important not to neglect yourself. The resources above offer support so that you can care for yourself, too. Additionally, you may speak with your healthcare provider for more resources. Remember, taking good care of yourself is part of providing care to another!

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