News/Blog

Carl Sullivan

Carl Sullivan’s prognosis wasn’t good after contracting COVID-19.

Carl Sullivan is a 68-year-old gentleman from Las Cruces, NM who along with his wife of 37 years, Shelly, was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Before he contracted the virus, Carl was a very active retiree who loved spending time with his large family of four daughters and nine grandchildren. He enjoyed fishing, hiking, and riding in his Jeep with his beloved dog, Zoee.

Carl and Shelly both experienced mild symptoms to start, but over a week’s time, Carl’s shortness of breath worsened, his fever spiked, and he began to shake. He and his wife knew it was time to call an ambulance. Carl was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for COVID, sepsis, and acute respiratory failure. He said that his prognosis was not looking good and that the team at the hospital were very worried for him. 

After a week of treatment for COVID and being on very high oxygen, he became stable enough to be transferred to Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico (ACHSNM) for increased therapy and to help him wean from the high levels of oxygen he was requiring. Carl shared that he and his family chose ACHSNM because of other family members that had been with the hospital before, and the very positive experiences they had, which earned his family’s trust.

Carl reunited with his beloved Zoee after discharging home from ACHSNM

Upon arrival, Carl says that the team at ACSHNM gave him a renewed sense of positivity about recovery. He says that the entire staff cared and encouraged him. He says that his doctor always had a smile and took time to explain everything, answer questions and help him to understand each step of his care, while at ACHSNM.

After twenty days at ACHSNM, Carl was able to make enough progress to go home with home health services. He says that he is so excited to get a second chance at life, get back to the simple things like being able to care for and bathe himself, and to get back to spending quality time with his family, and of course, his dog Zoee.

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Ramon Segobia

Ramon Segobia came to ACHSNM for ventilator weaning after contracting COVID-19
Ramon spent a month on a ventilator due to COVID-19. To wean from the ventilator and begin his recovery, he came to ACHSNM.

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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Victor Duran

While at the Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico, Victor Duran learned how to manage his COPD.

Victor Duran was enjoying his retirement, spending his days on the go and much of his time working in his yard. One day, he began to experience shortness of breath and found himself at the hospital and quickly admitted to the ICU. Doctors found that Mr. Duran had suffered a heart attack and fallen victim to COPD. Mr. Duran needed to be placed into a coma and be intubated. After spending quite some time in the ICU, he got a little stronger. His doctors and family members decided that the Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico was the right choice for his next level of care.

During his time at ACHSNM, Mr. Duran continued to regain strength. He also began to get his COPD under control. He made great progress over his stay. When the time came, he and his family chose to continue his recovery at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico.

During his two week stay at RHSNM, Mr. Duran continued his progress with specific goals in mind. He was motivated by his desire to make his daughter Cassandra Marie proud and to return home with Topaz, his beloved cat. Mr. Duran and his family worked very hard with his doctor, therapy, and nursing to achieve these goals.

Rosa, Mr. Duran’s respiratory therapist, noted how special it is to care for patients like him. “To serve our community and help patients like Mr. Duran be able to breathe easier, be educated about their COPD disease, and manage the disease so that they can enjoy life, is not only our passion, but our honor.”

The day he discharged home, Mr. Duran reflected on his stay. “It has been wonderful and all the staff have been great,” he stated. “The way the people treat you, you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I would definitely recommend this place!” He said that he plans to, “continue therapy, go to all his follow up appointments and get better!”

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Ramona Pacheco

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Ramona Pacheco, 86, is the kind of grandmother we all know

Ramona Pacheco is the kind of grandmother we all know. Widowed from her husband of 53 years, Ramona has four daughters and as many grandchildren. Originally from Rincon, NM, she has lived in Las Cruces since 2011. The 86-year-old homemaker loves visiting with her family and neighbors and going to the store.

That was until one day when Ramona began having issues with her breathing. “I was at home and I couldn’t breathe right,” she recalled. “I started feeling very warm and weak. Just overall yucky.”

Over the past year, Ramona had spent the past year in-and-out of hospitals with infections. Gradually, she became weaker. Ramona returned home from a skilled nursing facility on a Friday. On Saturday, the breathing incident occurred and Ramona’s daughter took her to a local emergency room. Ramona was admitted to the hospital where things progressively got worse.

On Sunday, Ramona was transferred to Intermediate Care. On Monday, she was moved to ICU, intubated, and put on a ventilator. After 16 days, a tracheostomy and PEG tube were placed surgically. Ramona had developed severe pneumonia. Her physician, Dr. Shet, recommended a transfer to Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico.

Ramona transferred to ACHSNM where the ventilator weaning process began. Though Ramona doesn’t remember much of her stay, her daughters were by her side and involved all the way through. The teamwork between the doctors, staff, and Ramona’s daughters produced results.

While at ACHSNM, respiratory therapists helped Ramona with treatments to wean from the ventilator. Speech therapists worked with her on talking and eating. Occupational therapy taught Ramona how to perform the daily tasks she used to perform with ease. Physical therapy helped her regain some mobility.

Ramona spent a little over a month at ACHSNM. Liberated from the ventilator and feeding tube, she transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. There, she participated in additional therapy as an inpatient. Ramona has since discharged home with her family, participating in outpatient therapy at RHSNM to further her recovery.

Ramona and her family wished to thank the staff who helped her regain her independence: Annette and the respiratory therapists, Taylor, Nathan and Bradyn, Bernie, Sandra, Desiree, and all the nursing staff. “Not once did the staff ever complain when Mom wanted to get up to the chair and then back to bed,” said her daughter, Teresa. “Everyone would come in happy to help and were compassionate.

But the moment that Ramona and her family will always remember is her discharge day. “When Mom was discharged, the staff lined up in the hallway and cheered and clapped for her,” Teresa said with a smile. “This brought tears to our eyes, it was so beautiful!”

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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.

Clothing

  • 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)

Toiletries

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

Miscellaneous

  • 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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Physical Therapy and Respiratory Failure

Physical therapy can play an important role in many patients’ recoveries. And this holds true for patients who are on ventilators as well.

Studies have shown that early movement in patients on ventilators – like sitting, standing, and even walking – can provide better recoveries.

Physical therapists can help patients on ventilators begin moving as soon as possible. This may include progressing from arm movements to sitting on the edge of the bed to even walking down the hall. This is all while the patient is still on a ventilator.

If it doesn’t sound like an easy feat, it’s because it’s not. It requires determination from the patient. Often, it also requires the help of several healthcare professionals to ensure the patient’s safety.

But, it’s worth it.

Every step the patient takes – literally and figuratively – provides for a better chance of recovery.

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