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.

Read More

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
Read More

Hospitalists Join Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

Hospitalists Join Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

JC Hospitalists, PLLC, recently joined Advanced Care Hospital of Montana to provide additional internal medicine services at the hospital. Advanced Care Hospital of Montana is a 40-bed freestanding facility providing long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It is the only long-term acute care hospital serving Montana and surrounding states. JC Hospitalists is a physician group that provides services to critical-access and long-term acute care hospitals in Idaho and Montana.

Healthcare professionals from JC Hospitalists who will have a routine schedule at Advanced Care Hospital of Montana include internal medicine physicians Drs. Ann Agnew, Dr. Julie Lyon, Dr. Carolyn Matzinger, and nurse practitioner, Heidi Gonzales.

“We’re excited to welcome JC Hospitalists to our healthcare team,” says Dr. Daniel Talley, Medical Director of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana. “By developing relationships and collaborating with physician groups like JC Hospitalists, we can provide the best care possible to our patients, helping them recover as fully as possible.”

Hospitalists are physicians who specialize in caring for patients in a hospital environment. Because hospitalists practice medicine only within the hospital, they can provide patients with physician-based medical care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Often it’s difficult for a patient’s primary care physician to see patients in the office and in the hospital at the same time,” Talley says. “A hospitalist acts as a patient’s primary care doctor while he or she is in the hospital, becoming the center-point for communication between the patient, family members, and the hospital’s healthcare team. The hospitalist can spend time with a patient and remain readily available for tests, results, and consultations. This can help eliminate wait time and possibly even help the patient return home sooner.”

When a patient is discharged home, the hospitalist and members of the patient’s healthcare team communicate with the patient’s primary care physician to ensure necessary follow-up care.

 

Read More

Heart Health – What Women need to Know

With most of the research into heart disease focused on men, how heart disease affects women is not nearly so well known, even though more women die of cardiovascular disease than men. In 1998, a study by the National Center of Health Statistics revealed that 46% of women perceived their most serious health threat as breast cancer and only 4% indicated they believed heart disease was the most serious threat. In fact, at that time the real incidence of heart disease in women was 36% and breast cancer was 4%. Hopefully, women are better informed now.

We’ve known for a long time that there are none of us who escape an increased risk of heart disease as we get older. It’s also fairly common knowledge that smoking, a high-fat diet, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of heart disease and an inactive lifestyle raise anyone’s risk at any age. Since 1998, we’ve learned more about how the risks for heart disease change during a woman’s lifetime and how symptoms of a heart attack can differ from what most men experience. We now know that women who have not yet experienced menopause seem to enjoy some unique risk-lowering benefits as a result of estrogen and that these benefits are lost with menopause.

At about the age of 50, the age when natural menopause often begins, a woman’s risk for heart disease increases dramatically. (The same rise in risk applies to younger women who undergo early or surgical menopause and don’t take estrogen.) In addition to changes in estrogen, the effects of aging usually affect heart health. Blood pressure may rise with menopause. Cholesterol levels may change. Certain types of fat in the blood may increase. Unknown factors are also likely to be at work. More research focused on heart disease in women suggests that these factors may be better understood in the future.

Meanwhile, we need to adopt practices that lower the risk of heart disease while also learning more about how to identify heart attack symptoms. For example, both men and women may have a tightness, squeezing, pressure or pain in the chest, shortness of breath, sweating, or pain that spreads to shoulders, neck, arm or jaw. They may also have a feeling of heartburn without indigestion, nausea or vomiting, as well as sudden dizziness or a brief loss of consciousness.

According to the American Heart Association, women also report experiencing an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that can last more than a few minutes, goes away and comes back. They can feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, as well as shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Some women report a sense of impending doom.

Because heart attack symptoms in women may be misinterpreted, women are more likely to die from their first heart attack. Rather than reporting a crushing pain in the chest, as men often describe a heart attack, women may feel pain under the breastbone. They may report indigestion, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, nausea or unexplained fatigue. If they are elderly or have diseases such as arthritis or diabetes, these symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to another cause or disease, delaying medical intervention.

If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, the first step is to accept that you may be having one. Denial can be deadly. Dial 911 for an ambulance. A patient being transported in an ambulance will begin receiving life-saving medical treatment while en route to the hospital. Only ambulances with medical personnel are equipped to revive a patient if her heart suddenly stops beating.

To lower your risk of a second heart attack, participate in both inpatient and outpatient heart rehabilitation programs. Inpatient rehabilitation should include comprehensive daily medical management by a board-certified rehabilitation specialist and rehabilitation nursing focused on development of self-management skills. Medical management should include respiratory care and wound care if surgery was performed. Every heart patient should receive individualized rehabilitation, including one-to-one therapeutic exercise and functional retraining by an interdisciplinary team. These therapies should include a program that addresses gait and mobility, training in how to safely accomplish activities of daily living, and nutritional instruction and counseling.

Read More

Talley named Medical Director of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

Talley named Medical Director

Daniel Talley recently was named Medical Director of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, a 40-bed freestanding facility providing long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It is the only long-term acute care hospital serving Montana and surrounding states.

Talley possesses more than 20 years of healthcare experience with certifications in critical care, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine and sleep disorders. Prior to joining Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, he served in various medical and leadership roles in hospitals throughout the states of Washington and Wisconsin. He is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

Talley earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He completed an internal medicine residency at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and a transitional residency program at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. His post-graduate education also includes sleep disorders medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, and pulmonary/critical care medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

doctorTalley

Read More

Powers named CEO of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

Judi Powers, our new Chief Executive Officer

Judi Powers has been named Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana located in Billings, Mont. The hospital is a 40-bed, free-standing facility providing long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It is the only long-term acute care hospital serving Montana and surrounding states.

Powers possesses more than 26 years of healthcare experience, having held various clinical and operational leadership roles at hospitals in Arizona and Montana. She also has provided consulting services for numerous organizations to include strategic planning, leadership training, project management, software implementation, and process improvement support. She joined Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, which is a part of Ernest Health, more than 5 years ago as its marketing and business development director. For the past three years, she served in a regional support role for Ernest Health.

Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Montana State University and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. She is involved in the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and outside member on the Northern Rural Electric-Cooperative Benefits Association board of directors.

Read More