Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center
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Getting to know your hospital staff: How nurse navigators differ from primary care nurses

When you are admitted to the hospital, a multidisciplinary care team will be involved in your treatment. Hospitals rely on a variety of providers to ensure that every patient gets the personalized care they need and that patients have access not just to treatments for their acute problems but also to support when navigating recovery, paying for care and making treatment decisions. Two members of a typical hospital staff that you may encounter are nurse navigators and primary care nurses. Here is what you need to know about how they differ and the roles they play in your care.

Nurse navigators

If you are undergoing treatment for a chronic condition, then you may be assigned a navigator for your care. The nurse navigator will help you understand the roles of other people involved in your care and assist you in finding resources to make managing your care easier. A nurse navigator may do everything from acting as a spokesperson for the patient’s family with a physician to helping a patient get an appointment with a nutritionist if he or she is struggling with eating properly. As Cathy Cole, RN of Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, explains in this video, nurse navigators are also instrumental in providing emotional support to patients and their families.

Primary care nurses

Primary care nurses are directly involved in patient care. They may administer medications, draw blood, place IVs and monitor vital signs. Primary care nurses are more hands-on with treatments than nurse navigators, but they do not coordinate other aspects of your care beyond the scope of their specialty. If you ask your nurse navigator for information about your care plan or your treatment progress, he or she may consult your primary care nurse.

The staff at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center shares a singular commitment: to ensure every patient receives advanced, comprehensive care with compassion. You can learn more about the services of our hospital in Thousand Oaks or get a referral to one of our specialists by calling (877) 888-5746.


Teaching Your Family to Avoid Dog Bite Injuries

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even the gentlest and smallest of canines can bite without much warning. Emergency Room doctors typically treat children for severe dog bite injuries more often than adults. Kids may be more susceptible to dog attacks when they aren’t taught how to interact safely with animals. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room physicians recommend taking proactive steps to protect families.

Require Parental Supervision

Supervising children when they are near dogs is one of the most effective ways to protect them from dog bites. Adults can remind children to interact with their furry friends properly. An adult can also intervene quickly if need be. If you see a dog attack your child, immediately grasp the dog’s back legs and lift them up as if you were holding a wheelbarrow. Walk the dog backward until you can secure the dog in another room or the kennel.

Demonstrate Appropriate Petting Techniques

Use age-appropriate language to explain to your child why he or she shouldn’t approach unfamiliar dogs without permission and parental supervision. When it is appropriate for your child to pet a dog, demonstrate how you hold your hand out for the dog to sniff before gently petting the dog on the chest or under the chin. Tell your child that it is never okay to pull a dog’s ears or tail, or to take away food or toys.

Discuss How to Handle Aggressive Dogs

Every child should know how to respond to an aggressive dog. If a dog attacks, your child should stand “still like a tree,” remain quiet, and look at the ground instead of at the dog. If a dog knocks your child over, he or she should curl up into a ball, and cover the head and ears with his or her hands.

The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is available 24/7, every day of the year to treat all sorts of children’s health emergencies. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks features a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room with specially trained staff, private rooms, and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). You can call our hospital at (877) 888-5746, but please direct medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher.


Why You Should Avoid Driving Yourself to the Emergency Room

Even after recognizing the warning signs of major health problems, many people still prefer to drive to the Emergency Room instead of calling 911. Unfortunately, this mistake can have a tragic outcome. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room team strongly urges patients to avoid delaying medical care when a true emergency strikes.

It may not be safe for you to drive.

Many people who wouldn’t dare get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol still try to drive when they are ill or injured. Yet, the consequences can be similar. Some medical emergencies can cause severe dizziness, numbness, muscle weakness, or loss of consciousness. A patient’s reaction time and judgment may be impaired. Plus, there’s always the possibility of vomiting while behind the wheel, which can cause the car to swerve dangerously. If you’re feeling ill enough to need emergency care, you probably shouldn’t try to drive yourself to the hospital.

The 911 dispatcher can provide first aid instructions.

Another compelling reason to call 911 instead of driving to the hospital is that the 911 dispatcher may give you some simple instructions to follow while you’re waiting for the ambulance. If you might be having a stroke, the dispatcher may instruct you to lie down to avoid getting injured. If you could be having a heart attack, you may be asked to take a baby aspirin.

The EMS team can initiate life-saving interventions.

As soon as the ambulance arrives, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team will assess your condition and administer certain life-saving interventions. These can help stabilize you while you’re on the way to the hospital. The paramedic might give you oxygen, start an IV line, or bandage lacerations. The EMS personnel will also contact the hospital to alert them to your impending arrival, which lets the physicians get ready to treat you promptly.

The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is always open to provide life-saving care to our patients. Our hospital has long been a leading provider of specialized heart care, trauma care, and dedicated pediatric emergency care. A registered nurse in Thousand Oaks is available at (877) 888-5746 to answer general, non-emergent questions.


Following Up with Your Child's Pediatrician After an ER Visit

Even after your child is discharged from the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, he or she may need to be seen by a doctor again soon. The Emergency Room physician will advise you to follow up with your child’s regular pediatrician. This ensures a continuum of care. Your child’s pediatrician is familiar with his or her health needs, and he or she can use information about the Emergency Room visit to support your child’s wellness.

Ask the ER to send a report.

In many ERs, it’s standard practice to send a report to a child’s pediatrician after a diagnosis and treatment from an emergency care physician. However, it’s always a good idea to check on this before you take your child home. In some cases, the pediatrician will already be aware of the ER visit before receiving a report. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a registered nurse at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center explain that many local pediatricians meet their young patients at the ER to check on them and provide guidance about their overall health.

Call the pediatrician’s office.

After the ER visit, give the pediatrician’s office a call and ask if the ER report has been received yet. Provide a brief update about what your child was seen for and how he or she is recovering. The pediatrician will determine if your child should be seen for a follow-up exam.

Go to a follow-up exam.

During a follow-up exam, the pediatrician may review lab reports or imaging scans. Expect to be asked whether your child has shown improvements and whether there are any new concerns. The pediatrician may provide additional guidance on caring for your child at home. He or she might also request additional tests or imaging scans.

The dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center maintains short wait times and provides specialized care to the youngest of patients. Parents in Thousand Oaks will be comforted to know that all of our Pediatric Emergency Room Nurses have been PALS certified to care for children. Medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher, but you can call our hospital at (877) 888-5746 for questions of a non-emergent

When Is a Rash an Emergency?

It isn’t always easy to determine when a dermatological condition warrants a trip to the Emergency Room. Most skin rashes are fairly harmless, even if they can be unpleasant. But occasionally, a skin rash may indicate a serious medical condition, such as a severe allergic reaction or blood poisoning caused by meningitis. The Emergency Room physicians at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center respond swiftly to all types of medical emergencies.

Allergic Reaction
Some allergies that cause skin reactions only result in minor problems, while others can be life-threatening. If a skin rash starts suddenly and spreads quickly to areas all over your body, it could be caused by a serious allergic reaction. Patients will need to be evaluated at the Emergency Room if they have additional signs of an allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, facial swelling, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or shortness of breath.

Fever
If a skin rash is accompanied by a fever, it could be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. An Emergency Room physician can evaluate the patient for infections such as measles, scarlet fever, and mononucleosis. Shingles—a disease that primarily affects adults—can also cause fever, a blistering rash, burning, and pain.

Localized Infection
Some skin rashes might not be serious initially, but can later become cause for concern. If the rash is itchy, a patient may scratch it and break the skin. This leaves the area susceptible to a localized infection, which may be indicated by worsening redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness. An infection can cause an abnormal discharge from the area. An Emergency Room doctor can clean the wound and may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Blood Poisoning
Meningitis can be life-threatening. It is an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Some patients with meningitis may develop blood poisoning, which can cause a skin rash. Meningitis and blood poisoning both require emergency care. The defining characteristic of these skin rashes is their failure to fade when a clear glass is pressed firmly into the skin.

For all of your family’s medical concerns, you can put your trust in Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Our Emergency Room doctors and family physicians are committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care and safety. Patients in the Thousand Oaks area can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (877) 888-5746.


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