West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.
818.676.4000

Restoring your strength after spinal surgery

When nonsurgical treatments aren’t doing enough, spine surgery may help you reclaim your health and quality of life. For the best possible outcome, it’s essential that spine surgery patients have access to a comprehensive physical rehabilitation program. At West Hills Hospital, our spine surgery patients have the full support of our specialists at our Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation.

Starting a rehabilitation program

A physical therapist may begin working with you shortly after your spine surgery. Initially, he or she will focus on helping you manage pain and get back on your feet. After any surgery, physical movement is important to prevent post-operative complications, such as blood clots in the legs.

As you recover, your physical therapist will introduce you to a customized program of stretches and exercises. Your active participation in your rehabilitation and your willingness to follow your therapist’s directions will support your recovery.

Stretching key muscle groups

Slow, careful stretching of certain muscle groups will support your physical conditioning and reduce the risk of internal scar tissue. Your physical therapist may guide you through stretches for your hamstrings and quadriceps. For example, you can perform a seated hamstring stretch as follows:

  • Sit on the edge of a chair.
  • Extend one leg in front of you.
  • Keep the heel on the floor.
  • Keep the knee straight and the toes pointed upward.

Physical therapists generally recommend performing stretches slowly and holding them for 30 seconds. Patients may do two sets of three repetitions each day.

Doing core strengthening exercises

As you progress further in your recovery, your spine surgeon may clear you to begin performing core strengthening exercises. These can help support your spine health. Watch this featured video to hear a surgeon from West Hills Hospital explain the basics of improving core strength after spine surgery. You can do core strengthening exercises without stressing the spine. For example, your physical therapist may have you do the following exercise:

  • Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Extend your right arm outward.
  • Extend your left leg backward.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Extend the opposite arm and leg.

Your physical therapist will make sure you’re performing exercises properly to avoid placing strain on your spine.

At Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation at West Hills Hospital, you’ll find dedicated rehabilitation specialists who provide the compassionate care you deserve. We are a renowned spine hospital located right here in the West Hills community to give you the resources of a major medical facility without the lengthy drive. You can contact our nurse referral line at (818) 676-4321.


Recognizing National Public Health Week this April

From April 3-9 this year, West Hills Hospital joins other medical centers and healthcare organizations around the country in celebrating National Public Health Week. This year, the public awareness campaign is continuing its theme of working toward making America the “Healthiest Nation” by 2030. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the hospital, consider making an appointment for a check-up with your family physician. Your doctor can help you understand your current health status and work toward improving it.

Vaccinating all children

Vaccines are an inextricable part of a strong public health system. Pediatricians agree that vaccinating children is one of the safest and most effective ways to save lives, prevent the discomfort of serious illnesses and build strong communities.

As part of National Public Health Week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put the spotlight on the Vaccines for Children Program. This nationwide program provides no-cost vaccines for eligible children.

Improving access to healthy food

National Public Health Week recognizes the importance of improving access to nutritious foods for all families. It highlights the necessity of building a robust food system that gives families access to affordable, nutritious foods that are free from unsafe contaminants. Organizations that recognize National Public Health Week have called for:

  • Eliminating food deserts
  • Improving school nutrition policies
  • Developing stronger nutrition policies

Stamping out cigarettes

Cigarettes are widely recognized as one of the most serious threats to public health. Smoking cigarettes doesn’t only harm the smoker. Tobacco smoke harms everyone near the smoker, and it’s thought that tobacco residue left on surfaces can cause health problems long after the cigarette has been extinguished.

If you smoke and you’re ready to quit, your family physician can give you the support and resources you need. You can also ask your loved ones for their support while you work toward a healthier you.

West Hills Hospital is an award-winning, state-of-the-art hospital with a firm commitment to uncompromising patient care and safety. We continually strive for healthcare excellence in all that we do, and we learn directly from our patients about how we can serve the West Hills community better. Call a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 or explore our website for information about our hospital services, including Cancer Care, Grossman Burn Center and maternity healthcare.


Safety Guidelines for Dogs and Kids

Most children love to play with cute animals, but unfortunately, this isn’t always safe. Even if a puppy or dog is usually gentle, it’s easy for a dog to interpret a child’s quick movements as signs of aggression. This is one reason why children are more frequently the victims of dog attacks than adults. The emergency care physicians of West Hills Hospital can help children heal from an animal bite, but prevention is always better than a trip to the hospital.

Approaching Unfamiliar Dogs

Kids need to hear information multiple times before they remember it—and even then, they may need frequent reminders. Don’t be shy about reminding your child to never approach unfamiliar dogs, even if a dog wanders into your family’s own yard. If your child does see an unfamiliar dog while playing in the yard, he or she should immediately go inside the house and inform an adult. To reinforce this lesson, consider comparing unfamiliar dogs to human strangers. You could remind your child that he or she wouldn’t hug the cashier at the supermarket and that petting an unfamiliar dog is much like this scenario.

Petting Dogs Safely

When it is permissible for a young child to pet a dog, he or she should only do so with adult supervision. Young kids need plenty of reminders to let the dog sniff the back of the hand first, then to pet the dog gently. Remind your child not to pull on the dog’s ears or tail, try to climb on the dog, or take toys or food away from the dog.

Dealing with Aggressive Dogs

Despite these safety precautions, aggressive dogs may still attack children. Emergency care physicians recommend teaching kids to be quiet and “still like a tree” when a dog approaches them. Kids should avoid looking directly at the dog, making sudden movements, yelling, or hitting the dog. If a dog does knock a child down, he or she should curl up into a ball. Emergency care physicians recommend covering the ears and head with the hands.

If your child is attacked by a dog, please call 911 without delay to request emergency care in the West Hills area. In addition to our unsurpassed emergency care, West Hills Hospital recently opened our Advanced Wound Care Center, which offers specialized care for patients with traumatic and hard-to-heal wounds. Non-emergent healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.


Can Driving Yourself to the ER Delay Your Treatment?

Despite knowing that a 911 dispatcher’s job is to handle emergencies, many people hesitate to call 911 when they need emergency care. Some patients mistakenly assume that driving to the hospital right away is preferable to waiting for an ambulance. Others worry about using Emergency Medical Services (EMS) if they aren’t truly sure whether they have a medical emergency. But the bottom line is that, when emergency care is needed, every second counts. Here at West Hills Hospital, our emergency care physicians strongly urge our neighbors not to hesitate to call 911.

Driving to the ER does delay life-saving interventions.

One of the most damaging myths about driving oneself to the ER is that it facilitates faster emergency care. Patients reason that when they drive themselves, they can leave right away instead of waiting for the ambulance. But in fact, patients can receive certain medical interventions as soon as the ambulance arrives. EMS personnel can bandage bleeding wounds, put on a stabilization neck collar, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or use a defibrillator. Patients can continue to receive medical attention in the ambulance while on the way to the hospital.

Calling 911 is better for public safety.

When a medical emergency develops, a patient’s condition can rapidly deteriorate. This means that you might think you’re able to drive yourself to the ER initially, but you might become dizzy, need to vomit, or even lose consciousness while you’re in the car. Attempting to drive in these conditions jeopardizes the safety of everyone else on the roadways.

Calling 911 activates a comprehensive emergency response system.

Another reason why driving to the ER can delay your treatment is because EMS teams are in frequent contact with staff at the hospital. After assessing your condition, the paramedic contacts the ER to advise the staff of the medical interventions you may need upon arrival. If you’re experiencing a life-threatening problem such as a heart attack or stroke, the ER team can prepare to treat you as soon as you arrive.

West Hills Hospital is the leading destination for patients with medical emergencies in the West Hills area. With our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center, Accredited Chest Pain Center, and Approved Stroke Center, our state-of-the-art hospital is fully equipped to save lives and improve outcomes for patients with all sorts of medical problems. A registered nurse is available at (818) 676-4321 to answer questions of a non-emergent nature.


How to Help Your Child Care for a Rash

Most skin rashes are relatively harmless, although they can cause uncomfortable itching. Still, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician at your community hospital, especially if this is your child’s first rash or if you’re not sure whether the rash is serious. Here at West Hills Hospital, our physicians are committed to providing high-quality, child-friendly care.

Know When to Seek Medical Care

Sometimes, skin rashes can indicate a serious medical problem that requires emergency care. If your child has a fever, it may be time for a trip to the ER. Other red flags include the appearance of tiny red dots that do not fade when pressed, the development of bruises not caused by injuries, and rash-related symptoms that last longer than a week. If you’re ever unsure of whether your child should be evaluated by a doctor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call your family physician or visit the ER.

Treat the Skin Gently

If a physician has seen your child, follow his or her discharge instructions carefully. Otherwise, you can help your child feel more comfortable by treating the skin gently. Draw a bath for your child with warm—not hot—water and add a few cups of oat flour. You can easily make oat flour at home by adding a few cups of uncooked oatmeal to a food processor and pulsing until finely ground. After your child bathes, pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. Try to leave the rash exposed to air as much as possible.

Discourage Scratching

Skin rashes can be itchy, but your child should try to avoid scratching. You can reduce the itchiness of a rash by keeping your child in a cool area out of the sun. Dress him or her in cotton clothing that has been laundered with hypoallergenic detergent. Keeping the skin well-moisturized can also help your child feel more comfortable.

From skin rashes to broken bones, you can find the compassionate care your child needs at West Hills Hospital. Our hospital is proud to serve West Hills-area families with unparalleled maternity services, emergency care, specialized burn care, and cancer care. Parents can call (818) 676-4321 to speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.


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