Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital First in State to Earn National Certification

Bringing nationally recognized healthcare to the local community

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is the first hospital in Colorado to earn The Joint Commission’s disease-specific certification in respiratory failure.

Certification is voluntary and given after a rigorous on-site review of the hospital’s practices, programs, and outcomes in treating patients with respiratory failure. It is available only to acute care hospitals that are accredited by The Joint Commission.

“This certification is significant because it means that we’re providing the highest level of respiratory failure services available in the nation right here to our own community,” says Lamar McBride, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Being that we’re the only long-term acute care hospital in the region , we take this responsibility seriously to ensure that our area is offered this higher level of care.”

Respiratory failure occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen passing from the lungs into the body’s bloodstream.

“Oxygen-rich blood is needed to help the body’s organs – such as the heart and brain – function properly,” explains Dr. Gary Pearson, Medical Director of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Respiratory failure also can occur if a patient’s lungs can’t remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Carbon dioxide is a waste gas that also can harm a body’s organs.”

Different types of diseases can cause respiratory failure, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, or cystic fibrosis. Respiratory failure also can be caused by conditions that affect the nerves and muscles that control breathing such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, and muscular dystrophy.

“To get the best possible results for our patients, we use best practices and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines,” Pearson says. “These include prolonged mechanical ventilation, mechanical ventilation weaning, patient nutrition, and patient positioning”

At the hospital, a long-term acute care team tailors medical services to the complex needs of each patient, creating a personalized plan of care that is guided by the patient’s attending physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, case managers, dietitians, and other medical professionals. All patients receive 24-hour nursing and respiratory care services, and daily physician management. Patients have access to all private rooms, including a 4-bed high-observation unit. Every room is monitored and includes any specialty equipment needed such as ventilators and cardiac monitoring equipment.

“Respiratory failure can be a serious and life-threatening,” McBride says. “It’s an extremely stressful time for patients and their family members. That’s why we’ve gone the extra step to earn The Joint Commission’s certification to provide better outcomes for our patients. We want to offer hope and quality of life to members of our community who experience this debilitating event.”