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August 28, 2007

Owners Of Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital Offering More Options For Patients In Northern Colorado Add to Favorites Print This Page Tell A Friend! Two hospitals in Johnstown, just east of I-25 and Highway 34, are making it easier for patients to receive the care they need locally. The Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital and the Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (LTACH), both owned by Ernest Health, offer inpatient treatment to patients who formerly had to drive to the Denver area for care. The lack of local options for patients is part of what attracted Ernest Health to northern Colorado. "Ernest Health likes to develop hospitals in areas where there's a need," LTACH's CEO, Brooks Stewart, said. "They do a market needs assessment to make sure that we're not over-building and over-bedding the community." The Rehabilitation Hospital helps patients with functional deficits as a result of severe illnesses or injuries such as amputations, brain and spinal cord injuries, and hip fractures. With just 40 private rooms, the staff can concentrate on treating each patient's unique needs. Around-the-clock nursing care and a variety of rehabilitative therapies are utilized to help individuals recover quickly and function at a higher level. In business since August 2005, the Rehabilitation Hospital recently celebrated its one-thousandth patient. Tracie Johnson was honored with flowers, balloons, a T-shirt, and a gift basket from Palmer Flowers upon her dismissal. Johnson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, received therapy at the hospital to help her walk better. She appreciates the nice and helpful attitudes of the hospital staff, and the care she received from them "I thought it was great," she said. Individualized care is also a hallmark of the 20-bed LTACH, which opened next door to the Rehabilitation Hospital on July 10. However, LTACH treats a different kind of patient. "They might already have an assortment of medical issues they live with chronically, and then they have something bad happen like a stroke or a bad fall on top of everything else they're dealing with," said Stewart. These patients need 24-hour nursing assessment and daily visits from a physician. They also need more time in the hospital. "Our length of stay is 25 days or greater, and the reason it's long is because the patients are more medically complicated, and they need longer time to make a significant difference in their health-care status," Stewart said. Patients receive rehabilitative therapies as tolerated, and doctors treat the underlying illnesses the patient deals with on a daily basis. But the hospital is concerned with more than just the individual's physical well-being ­ they believe in responding to patients' psychological and social needs as well. "I see the LTACH as sort of a window of opportunity for a month," said Stewart. "(They) come here and we devote all our resources to focus on these problems that are changing their life, and see if we can't give them an opportunity to get better." The staff at LTACH hopes to enjoy the same kind of success the Rehabilitation Hospital has had. "We look forward to being a resource," said Stewart. by Sandy Perlic Forum Correspondent

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