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!

Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital is recognized among Top 10 Percent

Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital has been ranked in the top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States. The ranking was provided by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a not-for-profit corporation that was developed with support from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, a component of the U.S Department of Education.

The UDSMR ranks rehabilitation facilities based upon care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient, and timely. Corpus Christi Rehab Hospital was ranked this past year out of 783 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a national leader,” says Nick Nilest, CEO of Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. “I believe it’s a reflection of our serious commitment to the Corpus Christi community to continually strive to provide high quality rehabilitative care to our patients. But, what I’m most excited about is that we’re bringing nationally recognized care right here to our own community – meaning that our patients don’t have to leave the area to receive it.”

“Through UDSMR, we’re also able to help elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States because we collaborate with peers to share information and establish best practices for patients,” Nilest continues.

UDSMR, which administers the world’s largest medical rehabilitation database, provides common language and measurement tools to monitor patient results. The data used for the most current ranking was based on 12 months of information from 2014 from both Medicare and non-Medicare patients. The results were combined and weighted into a score, and each facility was then assigned a percentile rank.


Sharing the Scoop on Alternative Rehabilitation Services with Nicholas Nilest, CEO

Due to a vast array of medical conditions, rehabilitation services are needed by many patients throughout the state. Depending on what the patient’s needs are, these 3 highly respected professionals in the medical field share what their facility offers and how treatments differ to facilitate the recovery of the patients and educate the readers looking ahead.

Nicholas Nilest PT, DPT is the Chief Executive Officer at Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky where he attended Bellarmine University, Nick received his Bachelor of Health Sciences and Minor in Biology. He further continued his education and received a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Board certified and licensed to practice physical therapy by the Texas State Board of Physical Therapy and Kentucky State Board of Physical Therapy, Nilest is also Neuro-IFRAH certified to treat and manage adults who have suffered a brain injury or stroke. Nick has worked in many different settings of healthcare including Outpatient, Short Term Acute Care, Long Term Acute Care, Skilled Nursing, Home Health and Inpatient Rehab.

For six years, Nilest has been with Ernest Health System and in January of 2014, he accepted a position as the Chief Executive Officer of Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, the only free-standing rehabilitation inpatient facility in Corpus Christi. Earnest Health owns and operates…

Click here to read the full article.


Nationally Ranked Rehabilitative Services Provided through Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital

The other day, I spent 10 minutes searching for my car keys, only to find them in my jacket pocket. Like most people, I tend not to pay much attention to something until I need it – even if it’s in an obvious place.

I think my situation is similar to rehabilitative care. Unless you need it, you may not give it much thought. But, did you know that most of us will require at least one rehabilitative service at some point in our lives?

Approximately 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and there are 6 million stroke survivors living in the United States. Most of these people will require some type of rehabilitation service during their healing process. That’s why we have been pleased to offer rehabilitative services for the past 2 years to the community through the Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, a 35-bed free-standing hospital. It’s the only free-standing inpatient rehabilitation facility in Corpus Christi.

Rehabilitation is a medical specialty that helps people recovering from disabling diseases or injuries. It can be effective for a myriad of people, including those recovering from orthopedic injuries, strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries, and other impairments as a result of injury or illness.

Patients who receive rehabilitative services often experience positive results in regaining or improving productivity and independence. For example, a recent national study shows that patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation facilities have better long-term results than those treated in skilled nursing facilities. The study, which was commissioned by the ARA Research Institute, shows that patients treated in rehabilitation hospitals live longer, have less hospital and ER visits, and remain longer in their homes without additional outpatient services.

These patients:

  • Returned home from their initial stay two weeks earlier.
  • Remained home nearly two months longer.
  • Stayed alive nearly two months longer.

In addition, patients who were treated in inpatient rehabilitation facilities experienced an 8% lower mortality rate and 5 percent fewer emergency room visits per year. These findings illustrate how significant inpatient rehabilitative care is to a patient’s healing process.

In addition to improving lives, rehabilitative care saves money as well. For example, for every $1 spent on rehabilitative care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs.

While I don’t wish for any of us to need these services, the good news is that we have rehabilitative services available to us through the Ernest Health system — of which Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital is a member — that is ranked in the top 10 percent nationally. That means that we need to look no further than our own backyard to find the best rehabilitative care available in the United States.

The ranking for the hospitals within the Ernest Health system is provided by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a not-for-profit corporation that was developed with support from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, a component of the U.S Department of Education. It ranks rehabilitation facilities based upon care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient, and timely.

We continually strive to provide high quality care to our patients, so it’s exciting to be recognized as a national leader. But what I’m most pleased about are that patients right here in our community can receive the highest level of rehabilitative care available nationally without having to leave the area. And, through UDSMR, we collaborate with our peers throughout the United States to share information and establish best practices for patients. This helps us elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States.

Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital provides 24-hour rehabilitation nursing care and daily physician management through our full-time medical director – Dr. Michael Fuentes, who possesses more than 20 years of experience in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is joined by a highly-trained, specialized team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, therapists and other professionals who create individualized treatment plans to allow each patient to progress at his or her ability level.

The hospital also features all private rooms, a well-equipped therapy gym, and an outdoor therapeutic courtyard. Patient services include occupational, physical, and speech therapy, a stroke program, and an amputation program.

We treat about 600 people a year whose average length of stay is 2 weeks. We consider it a privilege to be able to offer high-level rehabilitative care to the Corpus Christi area, and are honored to be a vital part of the community.