• 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.

  • Coping with the Flu When You’re Pregnant

    Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. Many cases of the flu are mild, but certain people are at a high risk of severe flu symptoms and complications. This high-risk group includes women who are pregnant. In fact, expecting mothers who contract the flu are at a higher risk of premature labor and delivery, and their babies are at a higher risk of birth defects. If you’re pregnant and displaying signs of the flu, you can find the expert medical care you need at Riverside Community Hospital.

    Getting the Flu Shot
    Prevention is preferable, and the flu shot is safe for using during pregnancy. The flu shot, unlike the nasal-spray flu vaccine, contains inactivated flu viruses. In other words, it is not possible to contract the flu from the vaccine. It’s advisable that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant receive the flu vaccine as early as possible during the flu season.

    Seeking Early Treatment
    If you do develop symptoms of influenza, early treatment is available to reduce the risk of complications. Flu symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, and nasal congestion. Consider calling your doctor or visiting the hospital for a medical exam if you develop these symptoms. Antiviral medications can be prescribed, but they must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) fever reducers or nasal decongestants, discuss these medicines with your doctor. Some medications are not advised for use during pregnancy.

    Recognizing Serious Symptoms
    Doctors recommend calling 911 right away if serious symptoms develop in pregnant women. These can include sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
    Pain in the abdomen or chest, confusion, persistent high fever, and decreased fetal movement are also red flags.

    The Emergency Room in Riverside is available 24/7 for patients with serious flu symptoms and other severe medical problems. The obstetricians of the Family Birthplace at Riverside Community Hospital specialize in providing high-risk pregnancy care and neonatal intensive care to help every baby get a healthy start in life. You can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (951) 788-3463, but please direct medical emergencies to 911.