All posts by Jason Glogau

Damian Meza

At RHSNM for inpatient rehabilitation following a spinal cord injury, Damian found something he’d been missing: hope.

That Tuesday started like any other for Damian Meza. At 5:30 am, he got on his motorcycle and left for work. But Damian never got to his job because an oncoming car cut off his bike.

Two days later, Damian woke up in the hospital, remembering nothing and experiencing extreme back pain. But he woke up. That fact was huge for Damian’s family, who counted the days, hours, minutes, and seconds to see his eyes again.

Though this was leaps and bounds of progress, the lifelong injuries Damian sustained in the accident would drastically change his way of life. Damian suffered a spinal cord injury, among other traumatic injuries, in the crash. Nurses told Damian that he would spend the rest of his life with paraplegia and no hope of moving his lower limbs again.

This news crushed Damian. As an avid car lover and racer, how could Damian ever do what he loves again without the use of his legs?

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Marilyn Watson

Marilyn admitted to RHSNM for “intense, rigorous, much-needed therapy following a stroke.

The night Marilyn Watson had a stroke seemed like any other. Marilyn and her daughter were grocery shopping at the local Walmart, as they had done so many times before. Marilyn had a faint dizzy spell but shook it off and continued down the aisle. A second one followed, but again, she brushed it off. They finished shopping and headed home.

The following day, Marilyn woke unable to move her right arm, which quickly progressed to her entire right side. Marilyn’s daughter rushed her to the emergency room, where tests revealed that Marilyn had a stroke.

The diagnosis left Marilyn with many thoughts. “How could I have had a stroke?” she wondered. Marilyn was an avid reader, a retired music teacher, and a choir singer. She attends a book club at her church and just got a new apartment. “Why was this happening to me?” Marylin continued to ponder as she traded in her books for a hospital gown and wondered if she’d ever use her dominant right hand again.

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Vanessa Amaro Hinojosa

Vanessa leaned heavily on her husband during her long battle with COVID-19.

October 4, 2021, is a day that will forever be ingrained in the Hinojosa family’s minds and hearts.

Feeling a bit unwell, Vanessa Amaro Hinojosa thought she simply had the common cold. But things rapidly turned for the worst. In what seemed like an instant, Vanessa was admitted to the hospital, intubated, and sedated. She had contracted COVID-19, and like thousands of others, Vanessa had no idea if she would ever leave the bed again, let alone live.

Before COVID, Vanessa enjoyed life as a stay-at-home wife and mother. She loved the outdoors, spending time with her family, her two favorite dogs, and cooking tacos. Basics like mopping the floors and doing the dishes were part of her everyday life. But after COVID, Vanessa couldn’t even walk, let alone stand.

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Manny Ybarra

Manny Ybarra started rehabilitation determined to get back to the active life that he loved.

Manny Ybarra is a vibrant man who has a passion for the outdoors. He loves spending time with his family including his wife, four children, and six grandchildren. In March, Manny suffered a tragic accident on his tractor that resulted in a spinal cord injury. From that point on, his life was completely different.

Manny said, “Before the accident, I could do everything. I was a very strong man, worked a lot outdoors and on the tractor.” Unfortunately, the accident left him unable to walk or complete basic self-care tasks. Overcome with emotion, Manny began the long and difficult road to recovery.

For a while, Manny went back and forth between a nursing home and the hospital. Once he stabilized, he transferred to Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico (RHSNM). His family heard great things about their spinal cord injury program. They were happy to have Manny closer to home working with a great care team.

Upon arrival at RHSNM, Manny began working with his care team right away. He explained, “I saw how hard the therapists and nurses worked, and I decided that I had to prove myself. I wasn’t going to waste their time or let my family down.” He said that during his time at RHSNM, everyone contributed to his morale and success. “Everyone from the doctors, patient techs, nurses, therapists, to the case managers, was absolutely amazing to me. My therapists pushed and encouraged me and made me believe in myself.”

Manny said he achieved his goals because of the support he received from the staff and his family. During his time at RHSNM, Manny improved his mobility and increased his independence.  He looks forward to getting back to his hobbies like being outside with his dog, going camping and fishing, and spending time with his family. After 57 days of therapy, education, and a lot of hard work, Manny returned home surrounded by his loved ones.

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Jesus Galindo

Jesus Galindo chose RHSNM because of their expertise in treating spinal cord injuries.

 My life before my injury was a great life. I studied at college, I went to the gym every day including holidays, and I went out with friends, my girlfriend and my family. This is what I liked to do the most—spend time with my family, my girlfriend and my daughter. I never tried alcohol, much less cigarettes. 

On December 7th, I went to Juarez City to visit my mother and my brother. Around 8:30 pm, I decided to leave my mother’s to go home to my house in El Paso. When I went down the steps, I opened the door, turned my back, and heard a shot that in seconds I felt in my back. This made me turn my body and fall to the sidewalk. While my body fell, I saw a man walk towards me with a gun pointing at me and he shot me three more times. These shots damaged 8 vertebrae in my spine, perforated my two lungs, fractured two ribs, and a bullet remains in my left scapula. 

We choose RHSNM because of their experience and certification in treating spinal cord injuries, as well as it’s experience in health care and knowledge. What influenced my recovery was always my family and the way the therapists made me feel while I was doing the exercises. There were many highlights of the staff members who had an impact of me. The one that had the most impact on my motivation was Arturo, COTA. In him, I found a friend who from the first day had the right words to motivate me to get excited for therapy. He was always looking for a way to make me feel confident and comfortable in all aspects. Every day he would make me smile. He always worked toward my goals and celebrated my progress. Without a doubt, he was the one that most impacted my motivation. On the other hand, Jacqueline, PT, made most of my progress. Her exercises and the way she used them was great. She always had ideas to improve my progress. Her way of being happy when I achieved something new was motivating and I felt certain that nothing bad would happen to me. And of course, Jaime. He always made me try something new, challenge myself, and made sure that I gave more than I could. He taught me different ways of being able to perform exercises and made therapy fun by making jokes. 

My motivation to recover in addition to my family, my daughter and my girlfriend were three quotes, “the worst shame of a man is not knowing the limit of his body, ”you are not what you achieve, you are what you overcome” and the most important thing my mother told me, “if you do something, be the best at it.” These quotes were my greatest motivation to overcome and give my best in each therapy session. Success for me is to surpass myself and to achieve what I thought was unattainable. 

Going forward, I’m excited to learn more about my capabilities and what I can achieve with my injury. My goals and future plans are to be as independent as possible, to do everything by myself, and to be more like I was before my injury. 

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RHSNM helped strengthen Nellie’s communication skills, which boosted her confidence.

In March of this year, Nellie’s life changed when she went to the ER after experiencing stroke-like symptoms. Doctors decided to fly her to another hospital for a higher level of care, where she successfully had a blood clot removed. After her surgery, Nellie’s physician recommended that she come to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico (RHSNM) to begin therapy and to participate in the stroke program.

Nellie says that before her stroke she was very active and enjoyed cooking, cleaning and maintaining the household, and spending time with her family. She and her husband enjoyed traveling to places like Hawaii, Indiana, Arizona, and other states around the USA. So, her goals were clear for her time at RHSNM. Nellie wanted to, “Get better and go traveling.”

Upon her arrival at RHSNM, Nellie stated that she was experiencing significant difficulty communicating her thoughts, wants, and needs. After being assessed by her speech-language pathologist, it was determined that she was experiencing moderate anomic aphasia. She worked diligently throughout her stay and had daily speech, occupational, and physical therapy sessions. Nellie says, “My speech therapist and physical therapist have really kept me motivated and I wanted to get well. Everybody has been so nice and swell, they took care of me, especially my therapists. Of course, Emily Grandle, my speech-language pathologist is helping me a whole bunch”

Since beginning her therapy, Nellie said it has become much easier for her to participate in social settings and communicate. Nellie continues to experience word-finding difficulty, writing, and communicating more complex thoughts, but has now transitioned to outpatient therapy at RHSNM.

Nellie has returned to cooking, cleaning, and spending much-deserved time with her husband and family since returning home. She says that her neurologist has been very happy with her progress since starting therapy at RHSNM. Nellie also shares that she is very proud of herself and excited for the progress she will continue to make.

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Isaac Zavala

Isaac Zavala came to RHSNM to recover from a stroke and serious brain injury

Before his brain injury, Isaac Zavala, a father of two, was an active guy. He worked at a chili plant as a machine operator and spent his free time with friends playing darts and shooting pool.

One morning, Isaac woke up with a massive headache and felt dizzy. When he tried to stand up, he fell and hit his head. Isaac had suffered a stroke and a serious brain injury. After an initial hospitalization, he was admitted to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico to begin his recovery.

As with any recovery from a serious injury, there were tough days. But Isaac was inspired to push through the tough days by staff members like Joanna, his speech therapist. “She was always on me and motivated me. She would tell me to focus, scan to the left, and take my time.” He has worked hard to achieve his rehabilitation goals and wants to prove to everyone that he will walk again.

Joanna developed a bond with Isaac that helped him push through the tough days of his recovery

With a desire to pay it forward, Isaac has advice to share with others who have suffered a brain injury. “You gotta keep fighting your fight. Go to therapy and do your best every day. As hard as it is, think positive. Keep fighting because there is light at the end of the tunnel. At times it seems like you can’t accomplish your goals, but you can.”

Isaac’s stay at RHSNM involved not just therapy, but education, as well. He now knows the signs and symptoms of a stroke and will incorporate preventative measures into his routine. He continues to work on getting his old life back. For him, that starts with not taking the little things for granted like walking, going to the bathroom, and taking showers by himself.

“When you least expect it, you will look back and see how much progress you’ve made, and it’s shocking.” He views success as walking on his own again so he can take his kids to do their favorite activities like going to the beach.

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Ramon Segobia

Ramon Segobia regained his strength at RHSNM after a bout with COVID-19
After a bout with COVID-19, Ramon Segobia regained his strength and function at RHSNM to facilitate a safe return home.

Ramon Segobia is a 68-year-old gentleman from Las Cruces, NM. He has lived an active and independent lifestyle with Irma, his wife of 50 years. Ramon loves to garden and spend time outdoors, hiking and fishing with his grandchildren. He also enjoys officiating high school sports such as football, basketball, and baseball.

Believing he was having a severe allergy attack one October day, Ramon went to the hospital. Tests revealed that the symptoms he experienced weren’t due to allergies, but COVID-19. Irma also tested positive for COVID-19. They were sent home with medications to rest and recover. Ramon’s symptoms worsened and he had to return to the hospital where he was placed on a ventilator. After almost a month in the hospital, Ramon received a tracheostomy and PEG tube for nutrition, remaining on the ventilator. Irma, meanwhile, was able to remain home and recovered well there.

In mid-November, Ramon was admitted to Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico (ACHSNM) to wean off of the ventilator and recover from the effects of COVID. When he arrived at ACHSNM, Ramon was completely dependent and had only awakened for the first time in almost a month. Ramon recalls being unable to move his left arm and leg when he first woke. He thought to himself that he had to do something to get better, so his family wouldn’t have to bear the burden of taking care of him forever.

With what he described as some “tough love” and the support of the ACHSNM staff, Ramon successfully weaned off the ventilator in just two weeks. He was decannulated two weeks after that. Soon after he passed his swallow study and gradually increased his ability to participate in therapy. He expressed his thankfulness for his occupational therapist, Nate, his nurses, Angelica, Alex, and Margarita, and his respiratory therapist, Rachel, who all pushed him to participate in his care and get stronger. After 37 days at ACHSNM, Ramon had progressed enough that he was ready to move to the next level of care where he could get even healthier, gain endurance, and prepare to go home.

Ramon was then admitted to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico (RHSNM) in late December. At RHSNM, he quickly progressed with therapy and was able to tolerate a regular diet again. He says that his physical therapist, Brian, and his occupational therapist, Art, supported and pushed him to get moving quickly and motivated him to get better and get home. Ramon was successfully discharged home after only 15 days at RHSNM. He returned home to his wife, who thankfully had fully recovered herself, and began outpatient therapy at RHSNM in late January.

To this day, Ramon continues to improve with his mobility and endurance and says that he looks forward to getting healthier, losing more weight, and getting back to fishing with his grandchildren again very soon!

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Las Cruces Campus Honored with “The People Award”

Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico and Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico have been announced as the 2019 winners of the “People Award.” The award is presented annually to the hospital(s) with the highest employee retention rate in the Ernest Health system.

“We often celebrate our nationally-recognized patient outcomes, but know very well these outcomes could not be achieved without the passionate individuals that make up our great team,” said Sabrina Martin, CEO of Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. “Each and every one of our team members play a vital role in ensuring our patients receive world-class care. To be recognized as the leader amongst our company for the lowest staff turnover validates what a cohesive team we have built and the commitment each one of them has towards each other, our patients, and our Guiding Principles.”

“We are extremely proud of receiving the People Award for our campus,” added Claudia Saiz, CEO of Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico. “Our staff made it happen, our culture makes it special, and our patients make it all worthwhile. Thank you for the honorable recognition!”

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Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico awarded Spinal Cord Injury Certification from The Joint Commission

Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Spinal Cord Injury Certification by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

The certification recognizes health care organizations that provide clinical programs across the continuum of care for Spinal Cord Injury. The certification evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.

Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review on July 25, 2019. During the visit, a Joint Commission reviewer evaluated compliance with related certification standards including program management, selecting and analyzing quality performance measures, and delivering and facilitating clinical care specifically designed for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“Spinal Cord Injury Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for Spinal Cord Injury patients.”

“Our team is privileged to care for those that have gone through extremely difficult, life-changing events and to be able to keep their care close to home,” says Sabrina Martin, chief executive officer of Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. “Spinal Cord Injury Survivors require highly specialized care and our team dedicated themselves to earning this certification to help these survivors, in our region. I am so proud of the hard work put forth by our hospital and very proud to be the first Spinal Cord Injury program certified by The Joint Commission in our entire company.”

In preparation for this certification survey, staff training and competency for clinical and non-clinical staff was completed and is ongoing. Education includes elements of the program such as Critical Practice Guidelines, bowel, and bladder program, signs and symptoms of Autonomic Dysreflexia, and positioning to prevent skin breakdown. All Spinal Cord Injury Survivors are placed in the Transitional Outcomes Program for follow up for at least 30 days after discharge. A Spinal Cord Injury patient education manual was developed, as well as a 3-day checklist, to guide the interdisciplinary core team in assessment and implementation of care components upon admission.

To assist with community reintegration and preventing readmissions, the Spinal Cord Injury team instituted a community support group and established a peer support list provided to the patients upon discharge.

For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.


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Marina Atma

After suffering a pair of strokes, Marina Atma’s goal was to dance with her husband again.

At the age of 62, Marina Atma suffered a stroke. Today she is a stroke survivor living an active and good quality of life. Two years ago, in August, Marina suffered from a stroke while at work. She worked at a local community college and taught Professional Development courses.

Marina said, “While I was at work one afternoon, I was walking from my office to the front desk and the secretary told me I needed to go to the hospital. When I ask her why, she told me the left side of my face was droopy & drooling and my speech was slurred. I went to the emergency room, where I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, discharged and asked to follow up with my primary doctor. When I went to my doctor, I had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, which showed that I had had 2 strokes. My doctor sent me straight to the emergency room where the staff was waiting for me and I was admitted for treatment of my strokes.”

Marina went on to say, “Six weeks earlier, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension. These new diagnoses put me at a much higher risk for stroke along with high levels of stress.” She had no idea she was at such high risk for stroke.

She was referred to Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico, which at the time “didn’t mean a lot to me,” said Marina. “Sam (the driver) was the first person I met when he came to pick me up,” she recalled. “I will never forget him, he is so nice!”

“I was scared and thought if they are all like this (Sam), it will be okay.”

When she arrived at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico (RHSNM), all the staff came in to meet her and told her what to expect. They put her anxiety and fears at ease. Marina said, “Dr. Kim (Encapera) was my doctor there at the rehab. She was so kind and caring and really helped me understand everything that was going on with me and my strokes. She answered my questions.”

The second day she was at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico her therapist, Linda, asked her what one of her goals were. Marina replied, “to dance with my husband when I get out.” That day, Linda (the therapist) put on some music and worked on dancing with her so she could achieve her goal.

During the course of her stay, Marina and her husband received a lot of education on how to better care for her and manage her diet, diabetes, hypertension, and exercises from all the staff. “They gave me a stroke book when I was there to take with me and use as a reference. I still have it and use it”, said Marina. “One of the most important things I learned was what F.A.S.T. stands for,” she said. F.A.S.T. is an acronym used to help people recognize the signs of a stroke.

The difference in Marina from arrival to discharge was more than just physical. It was emotional, as well. When she transferred and admitted to Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico she was weak and scared from recent strokes.

“The day I left was awesome. I walked out using a walker and all the staff were lined up, clapping and cheering for me!”

Marina discharged home with her husband and went through outpatient therapy services at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico for about six weeks. She now uses a cane for steadying her walk and is living a full, active life with her husband and family. She made a lot of friends during her stay at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico and keeps in contact with them. Marina is active in community stroke support groups and is appreciative for the opportunity to recover from her stroke here.

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Florencio Luna

Mr. Luna suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was involved in a roll-over motor vehicle accident.

One late afternoon, Florencio Luna was traveling with his wife and uncle on their way home from Durango, Mexico. They were involved in a roll-over motor vehicle accident, which totaled the truck they were driving. The accident left Mr. Luna unconscious, and his wife could not wake him.

Fortunately, a passerby stopped to help. This good Samaritan took Mr. Luna, his wife and uncle to the nearest hospital in Chihuahua, Mexico. There, they were all treated. But Mr. Luna, was transferred to a level I trauma center in El Paso, Texas. The trauma center treated him for multiple injuries including a severe traumatic brain injury.
“He spent three weeks there,” said Mrs. Luna, “in ICU on the ventilator, then was moved to the neuro-floor once he came off the ventilator. Someone from [Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico] came to see us. His name was Jesus. He talked to us about going to rehab and getting help in Las Cruces, and that the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico specialized in brain injury recovery.
Mr. Luna transferred and admitted to Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. “When I came here I could not talk or move my right side at all,” said Mr. Luna.
He remembered being in the gym close to a month after admission when he started to walk with help from therapy. Working with speech-language pathologists, his speech started to return, as well.
“We are so grateful to all the staff here (Lisa, Molly, Sherri, Teresa and so many more) for all their help,” Mr. Luna said. “Everyone helped me real good and I am very happy.”
During this time, Mr. Luna’s adult son had become injured, as well. He also recovered at the hospital in El Paso and at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. Both discharged home with good family support.
“When I left, I walked out and everyone was cheering and clapping,” Mr. Luna said of his discharge day. “I was surprised, my wife video taped it all.”
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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.


  • 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)


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


  • 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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How to Spot a Stroke

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Every four minutes, someone dies.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for about one out of every 20 deaths.

As many as 80% of strokes may be preventable. But if someone is suffering a stroke, one of the most important factors is time. Knowing the signs of stroke, and what to do in that situation, could save a person’s life.

All you need to remember is F-A-S-T.

F: Face Drooping

Look at the person’s face. Does one side droop? Do they feel numbness on one side of their face?
Action item: Ask the person to smile. Is their smile lopsided or uneven?

A: Arm Weakness

Does the person feel numbness or weakness in one arm?
Action item: Ask the person to raise both arms above their head. Are they able to lift both arms? Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficulty

Is the person making sense when they speak? Are their words slurred?
Action item: Ask the person to say a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Can you understand what they say?

T: Time to Call 9-1-1

If any of these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1 immediately. Tell the operator you think someone is having a stroke. Do this even if these symptoms disappear. Time is critical, so it is important to get them to the hospital right away. Be sure to note the time when the symptoms appeared.
Action item: Call 9-1-1!

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3 Tips for Keeping Yourself Flu-Free

It’s that time of year again…flu season. With the constant risk of catching the virus, educating yourself can be the key to being flu-free.

The flu typically is spread when someone who has it coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets from his or her mouth spread to the mouths or noses of people nearby. Additionally, you can catch the flu from touching an object that has flu germs on it, and then touching your mouth or nose.

Once flu germs get inside the body, they go to the respiratory system. There, they attach to those cells, essentially turning them into more flu germs. That’s when your immune system begins to fight back. It does so by creating two different proteins that attack the virus – cytokines and chemokines. Cytokines multiply to help fight off the virus. Chemokines create white blood cells (called T cells) to help fight against the virus, as well.

Eventually, the fever that comes along with the flu is your body’s way of killing off the virus.

As it turns out, many symptoms you feel from the flu aren’t the virus itself. Rather, it is your immune system working to fight it off.

While it’s great that your body has the ability to fight the flu, the best defense is always prevention. To keep yourself flu-free, try these 3 tips:

  1. Get a flu shot. This vaccine is the number one way to keep the flu out of your body.
  2. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: wash, wash, wash your hands. When you wash your hands, you wash flu (and other) germs away, limiting your risk of catching them.
  3. Last, keep the surfaces clean in your house to help remove any flu germs.
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Physical Therapy vs. Opioids

Who among us hasn’t suffered the nuisance of a minor pain now and then? Usually, we can find quick relief with over-the-counter medications. But for those with chronic pain, stronger painkillers like opioids may be prescribed.

Americans have increasingly been prescribed opioids – painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, and methadone, and combination drugs like Percocet. The use of these prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999, although there hasn’t been an increase in the amount of pain Americans report.

In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions. That’s enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.

In response to this growing opioid epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released opioid prescription guidelines recognizing that opioids are appropriate in certain cases such as cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and in certain acute care situations – if properly dosed. But for other pain management, the CDC recommends non-opioid alternatives such as physical therapy to cope with chronic pain.

Physical therapy is a safe and effective way to treat long-term pain. Physical therapists can provide evidence-based treatments that help not only treat the pain, but the underlying cause of the pain. They can provide exercises that focus on strength, flexibility, posture and body mechanics. Strengthening and stretching parts of the body that are affected by pain can decrease the pain, increase mobility, and improve overall mood.

So before agreeing to an opioid prescription for chronic pain, consult with your physician to discuss your options for a non-opioid treatment.

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