Hospitals Corner – October, 2018

Hospitals Corner – October, 2018

On a beautiful Thursday earlier this month, as the first frost of the autumn covered the Sierra, several Lefa L. Seran residents traveled to the extreme western edge of the Great Basin.  Our destination: Lundy Canyon.  Our purpose: sightseeing at the height of fall leaf colors among the aspen, cottonwood, and willows.  The transition from green to gold, orange and russet is a hallmark of autumn in many parts of the country, but only a handful compare to Lundy; in fact, this nearby canyon is unique in the Eastern Sierra as well—another bonus of living less than an hour away in Hawthorne.  By the time this column is printed, those leaves and colors will be long gone, but the memories will last far longer for the adventurous residents who made the journey.

We have a piano—and not just any piano.  George Gazaway stopped by the hospital early one morning and caught me in the hallway.  He had read about our failed efforts to obtain a piano for the Lefa L. Seran Skilled Nursing Facility and told me he was donating Joanie’s, his dearly missed wife who passed away recently.  Of course, most readers remember Joanie, a true Mineral County treasure with an engaging smile, quick wit and contagious laugh.  Her piano has already been put to use in the day room of the nursing home; Dr. Ventura sat down as soon as it arrived and played a medley of blues and jazz standards.  Piano players looking for a gig are encouraged to call me at the hospital so we can arrange a time for you play for our residents.  Thank you to George, Bud, and the Gazaway family for this generous and heartfelt donation; your kindness is appreciated by residents, patients and staff.

A community forum was held on October 23 to give county residents the opportunity to provide input on our planned expansion of the nursing home.  Representatives from the University of Nevada-Reno were on hand to share demographic information and projections for the coming decades.  Our goal is to design a facility that will meet the long-term care needs of our area for years to come.  Your assistance is highly valued during this process; if you missed the meeting and still want to be involved, stop by and see me; I have architectural drawings and plans for your review.

Speaking of community, our Community Paramedic Charlie is busier than ever (wasn’t that long ago I was complaining about last-minute holdups preventing this program from getting started).  As they say, be careful what you wish for!  Charlie spends full days (and more) working with homebound Medicaid patients with chronic health issues.  He starts his morning at the hospital and then is off and running the rest of the day, going house to house to check on his patients.  Lots of positive feedback from them and county residents in general about the good work he is doing.  This is the future of healthcare in rural America; Mt. Grant is proud to be on the leading edge of this population health outreach program.

Telehealth, of course, is part of this rural outreach as well.  While our efforts here have been noteworthy, there is still so much more we can do to help western Nevadans see their specialists without making the long drive to Reno or Carson City.  One challenge continues to be the availability of Renown specialists for telehealth appointments; our plan is to expand beyond, utilizing additional providers from other hospitals as well.  Look for more information in the coming months about this.

Reminder: Get your flu shot ASAP.

Hugh Qualls, Administrator