News/Blog

Take Part in Your Healthcare

It’s normal to have questions and anxieties when facing any kind of health issue, whether it’s an illness, injury, surgery, recovery, etc. Every patient wants to receive the best care possible, but did you know that patients play a big role in the care that they receive? Inherent in any medical care is relationships — relationships between the patient and practitioners (physicians, therapists, nurses, etc.). When patients come prepared with the best knowledge of their symptoms, medical history, and current circumstances, the practitioners have a better understanding of their patients and can offer the best treatment plan.

So what does it mean to “come prepared”?

PARTICIPATING IN YOUR HEALTHCARE: 1. MAKE A LIST

Time with practitioners is often limited, so by making a list of things you’d like to address you will make the most of that limited time. What symptom(s) is worrying you the most? Try to pinpoint when it started and anything that makes it better or worse. Avoid waiting until the practitioner is leaving the room to bring up another symptom or concern. Undivided attention is important in patient/practitioner communication.

PARTICIPATING IN YOUR HEALTHCARE: 2. COMMUNICATE YOUR CONCERNS AND DESIRES

Patients will often hesitate to discuss financial or family concerns to practitioners. Health issues can be scary and it’s not easy to talk about them, even with your own doctors. Practitioners understand that medical problems and treatment are both financially and emotionally taxing. Don’t be afraid to communicate those concerns! Are you worried about how you will pay for your healthcare and prescriptions? There may be programs to help you. If your practitioner doesn’t immediately know the answer he/she will direct you to a staff member who can help. Does your family need help coping with the stress of your illness or recovery? Support groups and/or counseling can do that. Let your practitioners know you need it!

PARTICIPATING IN YOUR HEALTHCARE: 3. ASK QUESTIONS

Don’t hesitate to ask, “What does that mean?” if a physician says something that goes over your head. If you don’t ask, the practitioner will assume you understand all that is being said. Ask about surgery risks, expected outcomes, prescribed medications and therapies. Tell your physician, therapist, nurse, etc. what you hear them saying. Make sure you’re all on the same page before anyone leaves the room. You might even think of questions in the middle of the grocery store or while watching TV — write them down and ask them at your next appointment.

Remember, you are an active participant in your own healthcare. You are an expert on your body, your circumstances, your life. Your doctors are experts at what they do but they need your expertise on YOU in order to provide the best healthcare.

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Winter Care Tips for Seniors

The winter season presents specific risks and challenges that can be exaggerated for older adults. We value the safety of our patients while they are with us and certainly once they go home. Because of this we believe that it’s important to be prepared for the risks that winter weather can bring. Here are seven safety tips to help mitigate those risks.
  1. Keep warm. Older adults are at a greater risk of developing hypothermia — a dangerous drop in body temperature — during cold weather. Aging lowers one’s ability to withstand longer periods of cold, even from just sitting in a colder than normal room. Certain conditions and medications can also affect a person’s ability to sense cold, making them especially vulnerable. Because of this, older people should keep indoor temps above 65 degrees and look for the warning signs of hypothermia – shivering, cold and pale or ashy skin, abnormal fatigue, sudden confusion, and/or slowed breathing and heart rate. If you notice these symptoms call 911 immediately.
  2. Avoid falls. While falls are a constant concern regardless of weather, seniors need to be especially vigilant in avoiding falls during the winter. Ice, snow, and mobility impeded by cold temperatures can wreak havoc on a normally safe environment. Given the particularly dangerous nature of falls in older adults, it is crucial for individuals and their loved ones to keep steps and walks clear of snow, ice, and other potential fall hazards. Be especially cautious when using canes, walkers, crutches, etc. on snow and ice.
  3. Watch for wintertime depression. It’s not uncommon for older adults to alter their social engagements during the winter months because of the cold and inclement weather. While this seems like a good idea in terms of limiting exposure to winter illnesses and avoiding fall risks, it can actually have a negative impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Staying active and finding alternative social outlets is a big factor in avoiding wintertime depression. If you have older family members who are at risk of becoming isolated, make an effort to visit, call, or arrange activities to keep their spirits high.
  4. Eat a varied diet. When it’s cold outside we’re less likely to get the sun exposure that we need for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, and we tend to eat a less varied diet. Eating foods with Vitamin D, like milk, grains, and certain seafood can help with this deficit. You might even talk with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
  5. Prepare for emergencies. Winter storms can cause a variety of problems including long-lasting power outages and snowed- or iced-in conditions. It is essential to be prepared for such events before they occur. The CDC website has a wealth of information on preparing for extreme cold conditions. They have created a printable document – Extreme Cold Guide – that includes information for what to do before, during, and after a winter storm. Tips include storm preparation, safety checklists, and health information. This guide is a valuable clearinghouse for anyone preparing for winter weather. [1]
  6. Drive safely. While safe driving practices are always paramount, hazards can be exaggerated during inclement weather. It is important to know one’s limits when it comes to operating a vehicle. If you don’t feel comfortable driving in ice and snow, ask a friend or family member for a ride. Another concern on the road is emergency preparedness. Make sure you have supplies in your car to keep you safe in case of a stranding or accident. Warm blankets and clothes, food, a flashlight, and an ice scraper should be standard equipment in the car. Always travel with a cell phone and charger in case you have an emergency. Another way to avoid problems is to have your car winterized by a trusted professional.
  7. Maintain safe heating. It is vitally important to keep heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, etc. in good working order and free of clutter to avoid fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Beyond having these devices checked by a professional, you should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure the detectors are properly installed on every floor and are in good working condition. Each bedroom and sleeping area should have its own smoke detector. [2]
By following these basic safety tips you and your loved ones can reduce the risk of serious problems this winter. Stay warm and be safe!
Resources:
  1. http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/guide.asp
  2. http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/fire-and-safety-equipment/smoke-alarms
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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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LAREDO SPECIALTY HOSPITAL HONORS EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

Laredo Specialty Hospital hosted its annual Hospital Employee of the Year Banquet. Mario Rodriguez, Laredo Specialty Hospital Chief Executive Officer presented Jose Longoria with the 2014 Employee of the Year Award. Mr. Longoria was recognized for his diligence and commitment to the Hospital’s Guiding Principles. Mr. Longoria is a Licensed Pharmacist and has been employed at Laredo Specialty Hospital for 9 years.

longoria

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