All posts by Angelo Antoline

Diving into Summer

Summer is a fun time — and with a little patience and precaution, it can be kept that way.

When swimming this summer, think before you dive. Diving is one of the most preventable causes of spinal cord injuries there is. Yet more than 1,800 diving accidents occur every year that result in spinal cord injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. The majority of these injuries result in paralysis of all four limbs.

Don’t let one summer-time diving decision change your whole life. Diving injuries can be prevented with a bit of precaution.
Here are a few tips:

  • Always enter water feet first.
  • Never dive head first into shallow water. More than 90 percent of diving accidents occur each year in 6 feet of water or less.
  • Never dive into water that doesn’t have a clear bottom such as a lake or ocean. Rocks, logs, sand bars or other objects could be hidden below the surface.
  • Never dive into an above-ground pool.
  • Make sure you can see the bottom of a body of water at its deepest point.
  • Check the shape and length of the water to be sure the diving area is large enough and deep enough for a dive.
  • Carefully inspect home pools and hotel pools. Many – even those fitted with diving boards – are unsafe for diving. The deep end may be too short, which means the diver could strike his or her head on the slope of the pool leading to the shallow end.
  • Obey “No Diving” signs.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before or during swimming or diving. It affects balance, coordination, and judgment.
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Nutrition Administration and Ventilator Weaning in Long-Term Acute Care

Ernest Health, which includes Laredo Specialty Hospital, recently was recognized nationally for its work in nutrition management and administration for patients being weaned from ventilators in its long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs).

The initiative, which was introduced and led by Cindy Tew, Ernest Health’s Director of Clinical Programs and Resources, and Anne Woodbury, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Utah Valley Specialty Hospital, won the 2017 Quality Achievement Award from the National Association of Long Term Hospitals.

“We wanted to see if we could track specific nutritional indicators that could positively influence patients being weaned from ventilators,” Tew says. In particular, the team wanted to find if the level of protein provided to a ventilated patient had any effect on the success of weaning the patient off the ventilator.

“Mechanical ventilation is a life-saving procedure that’s used to support patients who are recovering from critical illnesses or injuries,” Woodbury explains. “Patients who require prolonged mechanical ventilation need specialized medical assistance in healing and weaning from ventilator dependence, and nutrition plays a critical role in this.”

A team of Ernest Health dietitians led by Tew and Woodbury created a nutritional tracking form to collect data from its LTACH hospitals to monitor tube feeding tolerance and nutrition administration. That data was collected from patients who had been on a ventilator longer than 96 hours and were in respiratory failure.

After two years of collecting data from 204 patients, the team found more successful ventilator weaning results when a patient could tolerate 1.6-2.0 grams of protein each day.

“Data of this nature has never been recorded before, so we’re optimistic about the potential impact of our findings,” Tew says. “These are promising results not only for our patients, but for other post-acute hospitals to consider for their patients as well.”

Ernest Health’s LTACH hospitals will continue to collect data and measure protein intake values to substantiate significance with a larger data pool of patients being weaned from ventilators. The intent is to publish the results in the future for other post-acute hospitals to consider.

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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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Laredo Specialty Hospital First in Laredo to Earn National Accreditation

Bringing nationally recognized care to the local community

 

Laredo Specialty Hospital is the first hospital in Laredo, Texas, to earn The Joint Commission’s disease-specific certification in Respiratory Failure. The hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Respiratory Failure after a rigorous on-site review this past month.

“This certification means we’re providing the highest level of respiratory failure care available in the nation right here to patients in our own community,” says Hanna Huang, Chief Operating Officer of Laredo Specialty Hospital, “It’s significant because it reflects our commitment to providing safe and effective care to our patients.”

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.

Dr. Benson Yu Huang, Medical Director of Laredo Specialty Hospital, continues to explain. “Respiratory failure also can occur if a patient’s lungs can’t remove carbon dioxide from the blood,” he says. “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.

Certification through The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Program is voluntary and addresses three main areas:

  • Compliance with consensus-based national standards
  • Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care; and
  • An organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

“Through our services, we want to provide hope and quality of life to our community members who are experiencing these debilitating events,” Huang says. “This certification provides us with the framework to continue a culture of excellence for patients in our community.”

The hospital provides hundreds of patients in Laredo and surrounding areas every year with long-term acute and critical care services. These patients, who are recovering from serious illnesses or injuries, often need care for medically complex conditions such as trauma, infectious diseases, wound healing, cardiovascular disease, stroke, amputations, and respiratory failure.

The hospital, which is located at 2005 Bustamante St., Laredo, features all private patient rooms, and a 6-bed intensive care unit. The hospital also features a 5,000-square-foot therapy gym with private treatment rooms.

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Laredo Specialty Hospital celebró 10 años de existencia

Laredo Specialty Hospital celebró 10 años de servicio a la comunidad el martes 17 de mayo.
Por tal motivo, realizaron una fiesta para celebrar con los empleados y comunidad en general.
Pollo asado, cabrito, fajita, costillitas, frijoles y música, fueron parte de lo disfrutado esa tarde.
Mario Rodriguez, director de operaciones de área para LSH, dijo sentirse honrado de poder servir a la comunidad.

Rodríguez agradeció a los médicos y empleados por su arduo trabajo.

También agradeció a los pacientes por permitir al hospital atenderlos.

Rodríguez dijo que cuando el oficial fue establecido, abrió con tres pacientes.

Actualmente, cuentan con 60 camas para servir a la comunidad.

Cuarenta camas están ubicadas en Laredo Specialty Hospital y 20 en Laredo Rehabilitation Hospital.

Laredo Specialty Hospital ofrece servicios de cuidado intensivo a largo plazo para pacientes recuperándose de una enfermedad grave o lesiones. Tales condiciones incluyen traumatismo, enfermedades infeciossas, sanar de heridas, llagas, enfermedades cardiovasculares, uso de ventiladores y falla respiratoria. Laredo Specialty Hospital también ofrece cuidado por parte de enfermeras, terapias físicas, ocupacionales y del habla, cuidado respiratorio, control del dolor, uso de ventilador y atención a heridas. El hospital ofrece cuartos privados para los pacientes, una unidad de cuidados intensivos con seis camas y un área de terapia con un gimnasio de 5.200 pies cuadrados.

10th_anniversarypics

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Laredo Specialty Hospital opens new Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) – The opening of Laredo Specialty Hospital’s new Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center could mean a breath of fresh air for it’s visitors.

Attendees were invited to Friday’s event to tour the service and meet the medical director and hospital staff.

The Hyperbaric Chambers provide oxygen therapy – involving breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used to treat serious infections, air bubbles in the blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.

The center currently features three hyperbaric chambers, with plans to expand to five of them.

Click Here to view this story on KGNS’ website.

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Another reason to Love Laredo’s Health Care

Laredo Rehabilitation Hospital is a new 20-bed freestanding facility that provides intensive physical rehabilitation services to patients recovering from strokes, brain, spinal cord and orthopedic injuries, and other impairments as a result of injury or illness. Individuals also are treated for chronic illnesses such as cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease.

The hospital is a member of Ernest Health, Inc., which consistently has its rehabilitation hospitals recognized in the top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals nationwide for care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

The hospital’s medical team works with patients and their family members to create individualized treatment plans so patients can progress at their own ability levels. The medical team includes specially trained physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers, and occupational, speech and physical therapists – among other medical professionals. All patients receive 24-hour rehabilitation nursing care and physician management. The hospital features all private rooms and a well-equipped therapy area. Patient services also include a stroke program and an amputation program.

“Patients are our priority,” says Larisa Higgins, Chief Operating Officer of the hospital. “We’re passionate about patient care and consider it a privilege to provide services to patients and their family members in the Laredo community.”

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Local Hospitals Exceed National Standards in Patient Care

Laredo Specialty Hospital and Laredo Rehabilitation Hospital provide patients from Laredo and surrounding areas with specialized medical and rehabilitative care, consistently exceeding national standards in patient care.

The hospitals’ patient care results are compared quarterly to other long-term acute care and rehabilitation hospitals throughout the nation. Laredo Specialty Hospital’s results are reviewed and provided by the National Association of Long-Term Care Hospitals. The organization compares hospitals nationally on patient case mix, discharges, ventilator weaning, and wound rate. Laredo Rehabilitation Hospital’s patient care results are reviewed and provided by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation, comparing patient case mix, discharges, and change of patients’ physical and cognitive skills from admission to discharge.

“I believe we have consistently exceeded national averages because of the hospitals’ multidisciplinary teams and the dedication of the physicians who practice here,” says Mario Rodriguez, Area Director of Operations of Laredo Specialty Hospital and Laredo Rehabilitation Hospital. “We are passionate about patient care and never take our responsibility to our patients for granted. I think that our commitment is reflected in these results.”

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