• What Is EMS and How Does It Work with the ER?

    Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a network of public and private organizations dedicated to saving lives by connecting critical patients to emergency room care. Although the need for emergency room care is ageless, the modern EMS system was developed relatively recently. In 1973, Congress authorized the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act. Since that time, EMS has played a pivotal and evolving role in the hospital and out-of-hospital settings. At Los Robles Hospital , trauma patients arriving by ambulance or helicopter receive immediate treatment by the trauma team and the on-site EMS team.

    EMS Functions

    EMS is perhaps best known for the ambulances that bring patients to the emergency room. However, EMS is actually a highly intricate network of public and private agencies, communication networks, trauma systems, community hospitals, transportation networks, and skilled medical professionals. EMS provides integrated care to support public health and safety. Although the primary focus of EMS systems is to respond to medical emergencies, by necessity, EMS personnel may work closely with law enforcement officers and firefighters when responding to various hazards and emergencies.

    EMS Providers

    There are different types of EMS providers , each with a different level of training and certification. In Thousand Oaks and throughout California, EMS providers maintain licensure through the California Emergency Medical Services Authority. Certified EMS providers must obtain training through authorized agencies. Paramedics are capable of providing a high level of care in an out-of-hospital setting. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are often the first medical responders dispatched to an emergency. They can provide basic life support services. An Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) is certified to provide limited advanced life support services. In certain areas in California, local EMS systems may certify Mobile Intensive Care Nurses (MICNs). Other EMS providers include public safety personnel such as peace officers, lifeguards, and firefighters.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is dedicated to saving lives by having highly trained providers available at our Emergency Room and Level II Trauma Center during every hour of every day. On average, patients brought to our Emergency Room in Thousand Oaks are seen in fewer than 15 minutes. If you do not have a medical emergency, but wish to contact a registered nurse at our community hospital, you can call (877) 888-5746.

  • Raising Stroke Awareness: Key Facts to Know

    Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. Since a stroke can affect anyone at any time, improving stroke awareness is crucial for saving lives. If you suspect that you or a loved one could be suffering a stroke, every second counts. By calling 911 right away, Thousand Oaks residents can reach the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center quickly enough to improve their chances of survival.

    Facts and Figures

    A stroke occurs when an area of the brain is deprived of blood. Without oxygenated blood, brain tissue begins to die. This results in irreversible brain damage and functional impairment. Although it is possible to fully recover from a stroke, more than two-thirds of stroke survivors suffer from a lifelong disability. The sooner a person reaches an emergency room, the better the outcome is likely to be. According to the National Stroke Association , a stroke affects someone in the U.S. every 40 seconds and every four minutes, a person dies from a stroke. Although these statistics are grim, up to 80% of all strokes may be prevented through proper medical management and lifestyle modifications.

    Risk Factors

    Some risk factors of stroke are not modifiable, including one’s age, gender, and family history. However, there are many risk factors of stroke that are controllable. These include certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, and circulation problems. Consider talking to your doctor about your medical conditions and how you can manage them properly. Lifestyle risk factors of stroke include leading a physically inactive lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet, consuming alcohol, and smoking. By making simple changes to these behaviors and habits, a person can lower his or her risk of life-threatening stroke.

    When patients who are suspected of suffering a stroke arrive at the Emergency Room of Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, a multidisciplinary team immediately performs rapid evaluations and initiates life-saving treatments. Our community hospital in Thousand Oaks is the only hospital in Ventura County to feature a Neuroendovascular Program for the sophisticated treatment of complex brain conditions. Potential stroke patients are advised to call 911 immediately to obtain medical help. Non-emergent inquiries may be directed to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746.

  • Knowing What Happens After You Donate Blood

    Blood donations are always needed in every community, including the Thousand Oaks area. Patients who come into the emergency room or trauma center may require multiple units of donated blood. However, there is also an ongoing need for donated blood for patients who are undergoing non-emergent surgery, cancer treatments, blood disorder treatments, and other medical procedures. The providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center would like to extend our thanks to first-time and regular blood donors.

    Collecting

    When you go to the hospital or blood drive location to donate, you’ll first undergo a medical screening designed to support your health and safety, and to ensure that every blood recipient only receives safe, usable blood. During flu season and throughout the year, it’s important for blood donors to be alert to the signs of a possible infection and to reschedule the appointment to donate blood if they are feeling unwell.

    Processing

    After you give blood, the technician scans the blood unit into a computer database. Then, the donated blood is processed in a centrifuge, which separates the various components of the blood . These primary components, which are plasma, red blood cells, and platelets, may undergo further processing. For example, the plasma may be processed into cryoprecipitate. This is a frozen blood product that may be used for certain patients, including those with hemophilia or excessive anticoagulation.

    Testing

    Every blood donation undergoes rigorous testing. The laboratory performs about a dozen tests on each test tube of donated blood to check for infectious diseases and to determine the blood type. In the event that a test for the disease is positive, the donated blood is discarded and the blood donor is made aware of the test results.

    Storing

    The blood that passes the testing process is labeled. Red blood cells are stored in refrigeration units for a maximum of 42 days. Platelets can be stored for five days at room temperature. Plasma and cryoprecipitate may be frozen for up to one year.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center encourages our neighbors in the Thousand Oaks area to help save lives by becoming blood donors. There is always a critical need for donated blood in our Emergency Room, cardiology department, and throughout our community hospital. For general information about donating blood, you can contact our hospital at (877) 888-5746 and speak with a registered nurse.

  • Guidelines for Safer Alcohol Use

    Alcohol is rapidly released into the bloodstream. When you consume alcohol, multiple functions of the body are affected. Your heart rate and respiration slow down, and your cognitive function declines. The consumption of alcohol, particularly when it is used to excess, can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, alcoholism, risky behaviors, and accidents, including falls, drownings, and car crashes. However, if you are of legal drinking age and you are not pregnant, you may choose to drink responsibly. In the event that a medical emergency does occur because of alcohol, the Emergency Room team at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks is here to help.

    Considering Your Health History

    If you choose to drink, you might consider talking to your doctor about responsible alcohol use. For certain people, alcohol may be especially risky because it can interact with certain medications and affect certain medical conditions. For example, patients with diabetes may be at risk of developing hypoglycemia when they consume alcohol. Women who are pregnant are strongly cautioned to avoid consuming any amount of alcohol. Those with a personal or family history of alcoholism may wish to avoid alcohol altogether.

    Identifying the Limits of Moderate Drinking

    Drinking only in moderation is another way to consume alcohol responsibly. Moderate alcohol consumption is generally defined as drinking less than the amount that would cause intoxication. For women, this limit is no more than one drink per day. A maximum of two drinks daily for men equals moderate consumption. The amount of one drink varies depending on the type of alcohol. For beer, this is 12 ounces and for wine it is five ounces. A drink of hard liquor is no more than one-and-a-half ounces. Additionally, it is advisable for drinkers to consume food before and during alcohol use. If you plan to drink away from home, you should designate a non-drinking driver or use public transportation to return home.

    The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is available 24/7 to provide life-saving interventions to individuals with alcohol poisoning and other medical emergencies. If you or a loved one in the Thousand Oaks area requires transportation to our Emergency Room, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can call (877) 888-5746 to ask a registered nurse general questions about our hospital services, including cardiology and orthopedic care.

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