Riverside Community Hospital
Riverside Community Hospital is committed to the care and comfort of our patients and improving the overall health of our community.

Why Is It Important to Recognize Heart Attack Symptoms?

Heart attacks can present themselves in surprising ways. They don’t just affect older men and they aren’t always indicated by crushing chest pain or pressure. A heart attack can affect virtually anyone, including young adults in their 20s. But there is one thing that all heart attack patients have in common: They all require emergency medical intervention. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our heart care team encourages our neighbors to become aware of the signs and symptoms of heart attacks. Getting to our heart hospital quickly via an ambulance can not only save lives, but may also reduce the risk of post-heart attack complications.

Heart Failure
A heart attack occurs when blood supply to the heart is disrupted, such as when a blood clot blocks a coronary artery. The longer the heart is deprived of oxygen-rich blood, the more damage it can sustain. Damage to the heart tissue can impair the organ’s ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. This condition is known as heart failure. Some heart attack patients suffer temporary heart failure, while others develop chronic heart failure.

Heart Arrhythmia
The damage inflicted on the heart muscle can lead to other complications besides heart failure. Damaged heart tissue can disrupt the electrical signals that the heart relies on to contract and pump blood. This causes an arrhythmia, which is a heart rate that is too fast, too slow, or irregular. An arrhythmia can be minor or life-threatening. It may cause symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Heart Rupture
Heart rupture is a serious complication that may affect a relatively small number of heart attack patients. A heart rupture may occur in cases of significant damage to the heart muscle. It generally develops within one to five days of the cardiac event. This condition, which involves the rupturing of the heart muscles, walls, or valves, can be fatal.

The HeartCare Institute at Riverside Community Hospital is a leading provider of cardiac care for the Inland Empire. Our heart hospital is proud to serve our Riverside community by providing access to the latest medical innovations and advanced interventions. Direct all medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher; non-emergent questions may be directed to a registered nurse at our heart hospital by calling (951) 788-3463.

When Should You Seek Medical Care for a Stroke?

Stroke is often referred to as a “brain attack” because it involves the disruption of the blood supply to the brain. When brain tissue is deprived of oxygen-rich blood, it begins to die. Stroke can be fatal. Even when stroke patients survive, they often face a lifetime of physical and cognitive disabilities. This is why it’s essential to get emergency care without delay when stroke symptoms develop. The sooner a patient reaches a Certified Primary Stroke Center such as Riverside Community Hospital, the better the chances of survival are.

Identify the Signs
When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital explain some of the common signs of stroke. These include one-sided weakness, confusion, walking difficulties, and speech problems. Stroke care experts teach their communities to use the F.A.S.T. acronym to simplify the recognition of stroke symptoms. The letters stand for face, arms, speech, and time. If you think someone is having a stroke, ask that person to smile and observe whether one side of the smile droops downward. Ask the person to raise both arms so that they are parallel to the floor and observe whether one arm drifts downward. These signs, along with slurred speech, indicate that a stroke may be occurring and time is of the essence. In addition to these stroke signs, this life-threatening condition may cause dizziness, visual impairments, loss of balance, impaired coordination, and a sudden, severe headache.

Know What to Do
Never wait to see if these signs and symptoms will dissipate; it’s essential to call 911 immediately. The longer the blood supply to the brain tissue is cut off, the more brain damage there will be. People who are suffering a stroke may have trouble getting to the phone. This is one reason why seniors are advised to wear medical alert buttons to summon emergency help from wherever they are. After calling 911 or pressing a medical alert button, the patient should lie down and turn his or her head to the side. Never take aspirin for a stroke and avoid swallowing anything else while waiting for emergency responders.

The stroke care team at Riverside Community Hospital urges our neighbors to call 911 immediately if any potential signs of stroke develop. It’s our mission to save lives, improve long-term outcomes, and connect patients with resources and information necessary to reduce the risk of stroke. For non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Riverside, call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463.

When Is a Fall a Serious Injury?

In many cases, a fall is not a serious problem. It may cause a few bumps and bruises that heal by themselves within a matter of days. But for some patients, injuries from falls can lead to hospitalizations, long-term disability, or even death. It’s important to know when to seek emergency care at Riverside Community Hospital.

When Serious Injuries Are Evident
A fall can cause a wide range of injuries, most notably fractures and head injuries. An emergency medicine physician can diagnose, stabilize, and treat patients who have sustained bone fractures and concussions, as well as less severe injuries like sprains. Bone fractures are generally indicated by an inability to use or place weight on the affected body part. Patients may feel intense pain and notice swelling or signs of deformity. Head injuries can be less obvious, since they do not always involve bleeding lacerations of the head. A concussion occurs when the brain moves around inside the skull, striking the interior walls of the skull and inflicting damage. This can cause problems such as dizziness, loss of consciousness, and confusion.

When It Affects a Pediatric or Geriatric Patient
Unfortunately, not all patients are able to clearly articulate their symptoms. When a young child falls, it’s wise to take the precautionary measure of bringing him or her to the ER—just in case. The ER physician can determine if the child has sustained internal injuries. Seniors are at a particularly high risk of falls, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than half of seniors who fall inform a doctor. Since seniors have a higher risk of bone fractures due to osteoporosis, it’s advisable for them to seek a medical evaluation after every fall.

When It’s a Fall from an Elevated Position
Even when an individual has an average risk of sustaining serious injuries from a fall, a fall from an elevation can inflict considerable damage such as internal bleeding. Internal injuries may be indicated by dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, and pain. For individuals who are taking blood-thinning medications, it’s particularly important to seek emergency medical care when internal injuries are suspected.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a true medical emergency, please call 911 without delay. For non-emergent inquiries about the medical services available in Riverside, call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463. Riverside Community Hospital is a leading provider of high-quality emergency care, family medicine, and specialty medical services.

Medication Safety Guidelines for Seniors

Advanced age is often associated with having multiple medical conditions that may be managed with prescription medications. Proper medication management becomes particularly important when there are multiple medications prescribed to a single patient. At Riverside Community Hospital, our physicians are dedicated to providing extensive patient education regarding medication management.

Reducing the Risk of Interactions
The changes that occur within the body increase the risk of drug interactions among senior patients. In senior patients, the liver, kidneys, and circulatory system may function a little more slowly, which affects how the body responds to a drug. A drug interaction occurs when a drug reacts with another drug, with a medical condition, or with food or alcohol. There are several steps seniors can take to minimize the risk of interactions. Before taking any new prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medication, seniors can ask whether it will interact with their current medications or medical conditions. A pharmacist or physician can advise seniors as to whether it’s important to avoid alcohol consumption or certain foods. Some foods, including grapefruit products, affect the way some medications are absorbed by the body.

Keeping Track of Dosages
It’s easy to forget whether a dosage has already been taken. Unfortunately, lapses in memory may lead to a drug overdose or to skipped dosages, both of which can be dangerous. There are many tools that are helpful for tracking dosages. Consider using a weekly pill organizer, which features little containers to hold pills for a particular day. Some organizers have separate compartments for morning and evening dosages. There are also timed medication dispensers available. Some seniors like to use a special pill bottle cap available from many pharmacies. The cap features a timer that resets automatically when the bottle is opened. This lets the patient know if he or she already took a dose.

Evaluating Side Effects
All medications carry the risk of mild, moderate, and severe side effects. Not every patient will experience side effects, but it’s important to keep track of any that do arise. If side effects become troublesome, a physician might be able to prescribe a different dosage or different medication.

Inpatient Pharmacy Services are available on a 24/7 basis at Riverside Community Hospital. Our protocols-driven system is designed to support the safety and well-being of each of our patients. You can reach a registered nurse at our hospital in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.

How Do EMS Personnel Communicate with Trauma Centers?

Trauma centers are distinct from emergency departments. Emergency departments evaluate and treat patients who are suffering from a wide range of medical problems—from ankle sprains to heart attacks. Trauma centers provide specialized, emergent care for patients with life-threatening and critical injuries that are in need of immediate resuscitation or stabilization. In the Riverside area, patients can be directed to the Emergency Room or the Level II Trauma Center at Riverside Community Hospital.

When EMS Arrives on the Scene
When someone calls 911 to report a critically injured patient, the 911 operator will dispatch Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the scene. Watch this featured video to hear a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital explain what happens as soon as EMS arrives on the scene. The EMS team quickly assesses the nature and extent of the patient’s injuries, and checks the patient’s vital signs. Paramedics may perform certain life-saving interventions as needed, such as administering oxygen or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The EMS team contacts the hospital and advises the mobile intensive care nurses about the patient’s condition. Based on this information, a nurse will direct the ambulance to the ER or to the trauma team.

When Patients Arrive at the Hospital
Thanks to the communication between the EMS team and the mobile intensive care nurse, the appropriate trauma team is ready and waiting to immediately attend to the patient’s needs as soon as he or she arrives in the trauma resuscitation room. Communication between the trauma center and the EMS team eliminates the possibility of any waiting period between a patient’s arrival and his or her treatment. In a life or death situation, every second counts.

Riverside Community Hospital is proud to serve the needs of our community members in Riverside with our dedicated trauma resuscitation rooms, operating suites, and 40-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Please direct all medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher. Questions about our hospital services may be directed to a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463.

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