HCA Healthcare Volunteers Answer the Call

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 12, 2020 2:27:01 PM

Ten months ago, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded battered the Bahamas. With peak winds at 185-mph, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 and damaged structures, took hundreds of lives, erased entire neighbors and left survivors traumatized.

Amid the chaos, a handful of HCA Healthcare Heroes spread light in a dark moment by providing critical medical aid.

With the Bahamas often being considered the back yard of Florida, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration cruise ship became a lifeline – delivering supplies and volunteers to the devastated area.

When the call went out for volunteers, physicians, nurses and other colleagues from affiliate Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida packed their cars with supplies donated from the hospital and drove to the cruise ship’s port in West Palm Beach. They boarded the ship as part of the Bahamas Relief Cruise without hesitation.

(September 2019) Providing aid to the Bahamas, colleagues at
HCA Healthcare’s Memorial Hospital packaged and
sorted medical and disaster recovery supplies.

Caring for others is at the heart of everything we do as an organization. “We are all individually, and as an organization, really great about being involved and jumping into whatever we think is going to help the community,” said Allie Biess, ICU nurse at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville.

“If you see someone hurting, and you can do anything, I just don’t know why you wouldn’t,” Allie adds.

As Hurricane Dorian inched toward the Southeast U.S., HCA Healthcare emergency response teams operating out of regional offices in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and our corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. stood ready to respond. Our CodeReady system allows us to monitor and assess the situation and provide real-time perspective to command teams, while our evacuNATE algorithm helps us reduce hospital evacuation time using real-time triage data.

The cruise ship was transformed into a makeshift hospital, and Dr. David Siebert, a hospitalist at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, and his team were assigned the role to set up a ‘home triage’ hospital on the ship.

Once the ship had docked in the Bahamas, medical relief teams were sent on land to deliver roughly 225,000 pounds of medical equipment along with other supplies to the city of Freeport.

(September 2019) Memorial Hospital Jacksonville nurse Allie Biess
collaborated with medical relief team
members to address, clean
and properly dress 16-year-old Ezequiel’s wounds in the Bahamas.

Dr. Frederick Jenkins, emergency department medical director at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, asked to drive around the island going door to door to see what help was needed most. It became evident that dehydration and treating patients with chronic issues who had lost everything, including medication, were the highest priorities.

The makeshift medical bar in the cruise ship quickly saw an influx of survivors from the island needing medical treatment. Diabetics lacked insulin. Those with high-blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias and stroke issues were without medication. Skin issues, including fungal rashes, were on the rise as a result of no running water.

In addition to the medical treatment given, Dr. Michael Baptista, bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville explained that the relief efforts delivered so much more.

“I think the thing we brought the most for the people there was hope,” said Dr. Baptista. “We gave them hope that someone cares about them. We gave them hope that the help will continue.”

“We were absolutely carrying out the mission of HCA Healthcare by doing this – to provide wonderful care to the people in the community, and obviously in this case the community extended a lot further out,” said Dr. Jenkins.

He continued, “To help people directly like this that were so devastated, is just tremendous. I mean we do that every day in the emergency department, but this was kind of on a different level and in a totally different context – so it was really rewarding to do it. I would encourage anybody who has the opportunity to do the same thing.”

(September 2019) Palms West Hospital nurse Brittany Reidy
served as the medical
director for the Bahamas Relief Cruise.

Serving as the medical director for the Bahamas Relief Cruise, nurse Brittany Reidy was determined to continue helping in the most ravaged areas. After the Bahamas Relief Cruise completed its maiden voyage, the relief mission made additional trips, under Brittany’s medical leadership, to continue serving those in need. Brittany – who specializes in critical care trauma and emergency services – serves patients at HCA Healthcare sister facility, Palms West Hospital, in Loxahatchee, Fla.

Thank you to Travis Horn and Cristy Nielsen for their work in capturing images to help document this story.

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Topics: Healthcare, Health & Safety

COVID-19 Back to School Tips

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 10, 2020 3:16:55 PM

Across the country, school districts are announcing reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released advice, with a number of caveats that advocated “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”  At the local-level, public health leaders and school officials are considering reopening alongside a myriad of factors – including local COVID-19 spread – before determining how and when students will return to school.

Schools are being asked to be flexible and responsive to new information about the virus. For some families, this may mean remote learning. For others, children may have the option to return to school in-person. Now is the time to prepare for what that may look like.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released guidance for schools to open during COVID-19, which advises schools to “ensure adequate supplies are available to support healthy hygiene practices, and to routinely clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.” In order to support these efforts, the CDC recommends parents reinforce good prevention habits, including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The CDC endorses face coverings as an important COVID-19 mitigation strategy, and some schools have opted to include masks in their back-to-school safety plan. While getting kids to wear masks can be tricky, Laura-Anne Cleveland, associate chief nursing officer at HCA Healthcare’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children offers the following tips to help:

Practice is key

The best advice we can give is to start practicing. Don’t expect things to be perfect at first, but know that the more they wear masks, the more comfortable they will start to feel in it. By practicing at home, you give them a safe space to take it off for a break as needed.

Build mask endurance

As with any new habit, we recommend starting small. By starting in increments, you can see how they are tolerating it and build up accordingly. It is also particularly important to practice early if you have a child with sensory issues. Try to find a comfortable mask and reward them for the time they wear it by doing fun things while they have it on.

Make it fun

In addition to doing entertaining activities while wearing a mask, you can also make the mask itself fun by having your child decorate it to make it their own. If it’s a paper mask, they can use stickers. If it’s fabric, they can use fabric paint on the outside. Find fabrics that reflect their personality, like their favorite sports team or superhero. You can even attach wings to them if you want to be an angel or something similar. The masks should be something children enjoy wearing.

Explain the ‘why’

Talk to them about germs and how the mask can prevent them from spreading viruses. Older kids may have reservations because they think it is not cool or they are afraid it will contribute to acne, so it’s important to discuss the why behind wearing a mask so they are armed with information if they experience peer pressure to stop wearing it. The CDC has some great tips on how you can discuss COVID-19 with your kids, including remaining calm and reassuring.

Discuss breaks

It’s important for parents to have a discussion with children to make sure they understand that if they need to take the mask off for a breather at school, to make sure they are away from people.

6 questions to ask before returning to school

As plans begin to take shape for schools to reopen, here are some key questions to ask in order to prepare yourself and your children for some of the changes they may see:

  • Will masks be required for students? If so, when and where should they be worn?
  • Am I required to provide a mask for my child or will masks be provided? If I am required to provide a mask, will extras be on-hand if my child forgets or loses their mask?
  • What transportation-related changes should I be aware of? (E.g. pick-up/drop-off protocol, changes to bus routes/times/protocol, etc.)?
  • Will physical distancing be set up within classrooms? What other guidelines on distancing will be adopted that my child should be aware of?
  • Will extracurricular activities resume? If so, what precautions or protocols should I be aware of?
  • Will students or staff at our school be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, and what will happen if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

Supporting mental health during the school year

As kids return to school, it’s important to keep an eye out for stress and anxiety in your child that could be a result of these changes. This can take shape in many different ways, including an increase in physical symptoms, changes in sleep patterns, continually seeking reassurance despite already receiving an answer and acting out.

It is important that adults manage their own emotions regarding the pandemic and remain calm, listen to their children’s concerns, speak kindly and reassure them. In order to help support your child’s mental health about the changes at school as a result of COVID-19, parents should:

  • Encourage conversation about the new protocols and safety rules
  • Practice the new safety rules before starting school
  • Acknowledge and validate the child’s feelings if they are scared or anxious
  • Reassure the child that a lot of adults are working hard to keep everyone safe

If your child’s behaviors persist despite the above interventions, consider contacting a counselor such as an advanced practice nurse, a social worker, a licensed practical counselor or a psychiatrist for further evaluation.

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

1.8 Million Jobs Returned in July; Job Growth Pace Slows

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 7, 2020 3:17:56 PM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) July 2020 Hiring Situation revealed that 1.8 million jobs were gained during the month of July, a pace that is slowing since explosive job gains in the months of May and June . Unemployment edged down  from 11.1% to 10.2%. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. The economy has regained only 9.3 million of 22 million jobs lost between February and April.

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

Partnering Today For a Healthier Tomorrow

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 7, 2020 1:29:31 PM

HCA Healthcare East Florida Division (NYSE:HCA), today announced that it has received a donation of 2,800 face shields from Bombardier Aviation, a global leader in the design, manufacturing and entry into service of cutting edge business jets. The shields were delivered to Fort Lauderdale International Airport aboard a Global 7500 aircraft and were transported to HCA’s Supply Chain distribution center. The materials will then be distributed to HCA’s 15-affiliated facilities across East Florida.

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

Young Texas Woman Home After Nearly Three Months in the Hospital Battling COVID-19

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 27, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Paola Castillo spent more than a month in the ICU and on a ventilator at Medical City North Hills, an HCA Healthcare-affiliated facility located in Texas. Nurses, therapists and other staff worked around the clock to provide compassionate care and meaningful connections to the 24 year old patient to keep her motivated and positive during rehabilitation. Castillo, who was released from the hospital after 79 days, regrets not wearing a mask during the pandemic and is thankful to be alive. 

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

Mother Who Nearly Died Due to COVID-19 Finally Meets Newborn Son

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 23, 2020 1:29:03 PM

While on a ventilator due to the effects of COVID-19, Jessica Rowlett gave birth to her second child, a son named Rowdy, on May 31 in an emergency
C-section at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Rowdy was born premature, but healthy. Over the course of several weeks,
Jessica moved out of the ICU and was eventually discharged from the hospital on June 26, the
same day as her son. Although the road to recovery will be long for Rowlett due to decreased lung capacity, she is optimistic that her recovery will go smoothly and is thankful to be home with her family.

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

Caring During COVID-19: One Nurse's Experience

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 22, 2020 11:24:27 AM

Doctors Hospital of Augusta, Ga. ICU nurse and graduate of HealthTrust Workforce Solutions' StaRN program, Ashton Crocker provides a detailed, personal and unfiltered glimspe into the hard fight against COVID-19. As shared by Ashton Crocker, "Witnessing families lose their loved ones is one of the hardest parts of nursing. I'm a words person, and in these moments there are never enough adequate words. It is hard." Ashton Crocker's story serves as a powerful reminder for all of us to do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by wearing a face covering, practicing safe social distancing and avoiding large crowds. 

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

First Patient To Receive Gene Editing For Sickle Cell Disease Is Thriving One Year Later

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 16, 2020 12:30:00 AM

Victoria Gray is the first person in the U.S. with sickle cell disease to be treated with the revolutionary gene-editing technique called CRISPR. As the one-year anniversary of her landmark treatment approaches, it appears that the billions of genetically modified cells doctors infused into her body are alleviating virtually all the complications of her disorder. "It's wonderful. It's the change I've been waiting on my whole life," Victoria says about the treatment she's received at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, an HCA Healthcare-affiliated facility located in Nashville, Tenn.

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Topics: Healthcare, Health & Safety

Florida Patient Beats COVID-19 After Six-Week Coma

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 15, 2020 3:30:00 PM

Pamela Myers spent six weeks in a coma at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, an HCA Healthcare-affiliated facility, in Panama City, Fla. after what she thought was an asthma attack turned out to be a COVID-19 diagnosis. As Pamela woke up unable to take care of herself, she was thankful to have a strong community of peers and healthcare heroes by her side and now strongly urges others to take precautions against COVID-19.

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

Mother Gives Birth To Triplets After Battling COVID-19 For More Than A Month

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jul 14, 2020 3:45:16 PM

Maggie Sillero is a caring mother who was shocked to hear the news that she was having triplets. Due to the high-risk nature of her pregnancy, she was admitted to The Woman's Hospital of Texas in Houston, an HCA-Healthcare affiliated facility. However, Maggie was even more concerned to learn that she had tested positive for COVID-19, despite not leaving her house since March. Understanding the risk that COVID-19 presented to both Maggie and her future babies, the healthcare heroes at The Woman's Hospital of Texas in Houston took extra precautions to make sure both Maggie
and the babies were being well taken care of. 

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety


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