• What is occupational therapy?

    Occupational therapists are specially trained to help individuals identify challenges, overcome these challenges and get back to doing the things they love. Occupational therapy can help people of all ages, backgrounds and health statuses—from the permanently disabled to the temporarily injured. Here at West Hills Hospital , we place a high priority on personalized healthcare. At our Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation, our licensed occupational therapists look forward to meeting you and getting to know your health goals.

    How occupational therapy works

    The goals of occupational therapists are to help their patients overcome limitations that prevent them from completing the necessary tasks in life and from enjoying the lifestyle they love. An occupational therapist’s approach is holistic in that it considers the needs of the whole person and all areas of that person’s life.

    Occupational therapy is unlike other healthcare specialties. It is uniquely adaptable to each individual patient. With the help of the licensed provider, the patient decides what he or she wants to get out of occupational therapy.

    Occupational therapists often practice in hospitals. However, a patient’s particular needs can vary across different settings. In some cases, it may be appropriate to evaluate the patient’s home, school or workplace in person in order to best meet the needs of that individual.

    Who occupational therapy is appropriate for

    Occupational therapy can be helpful for young children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens. The following medical conditions may prompt a physician to refer a patient to an occupational therapist:

    • Stroke
    • Arthritis
    • Autism
    • Work-related injuries
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Chronic pain
    • Substance abuse

    Occupational therapists often work with patients who are recovering from surgeries, such as spine surgery. They may work with patients who have had cancer care or extensive burn treatments. Occupational therapists can also work with individuals who may not have specific medical conditions, but who do have concerns about their overall safety and well-being, such as aging adults.

    At West Hills Hospital, we are committed to providing superior care in all that we do. We’re pleased to offer our world-class Occupational Therapy program in addition to our superior emergency care, maternity healthcare and Cancer Care. To request a referral to an occupational therapy specialist in West Hills, call (818) 676-4321 and speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.

  • 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.

  • What to Do in the Event of an Eye Injury

    During the warmer months, emergency care physicians tend to treat eye injuries more frequently than in other months. It’s a wise decision to wear protective eyewear when using power tools, operating lawn equipment, or playing certain sports. Emergency care doctors strongly recommend that parents keep children away from areas where tools and machinery are being used. If an eye injury does occur despite these precautions, West Hills Hospital is always open to provide care.

    Chemical Irritants
    When chemical irritants get in the eye, they often cause painful burning and stinging. In most cases, acidic substances cause the most redness and burning, yet can usually be flushed out easily. Alkali substances might not cause as much redness or pain, yet can lead to very serious eye health problems. When the eye is exposed to chemicals, the first step you should take is to flush out the eye with lots of sterile saline solution or plain water. Then, go to the ER. As you’ll learn by watching this featured video, emergency care physicians can check for serious eye injuries and visual impairment.

    Eye Contusions
    An eye contusion is also called a black eye. Although black eyes typically fade within a week or two, it’s best to see an emergency care doctor to make sure there is no internal damage. Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the pain, since these can worsen the bleeding. Instead, apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel for 20 minutes at a time, every one to two hours. Do not apply pressure against the eye.

    Foreign Objects
    Most foreign objects that get into the eye are dust particles or eyelashes. You can remove them by irrigating the eye with sterile saline solution. Blink frequently to dislodge the object and avoid rubbing your eyes. Less commonly, penetrating objects like shards of glass may enter the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that has penetrated the eye . Instead, call 911 right away.

    If your child sustains an eye injury, don’t hesitate to call 911 or rush your child to the hospital. At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care department is available around the clock to respond to every type of medical emergency. General questions about our hospital services may be directed to a registered nurse in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.

  • Taking a Closer Look at ER Wait Times

    Although physicians do try to see patients as quickly as possible, emergency care departments are notorious for having long wait times. However, some hospitals, such as West Hills Hospital and other HCA-affiliated medical facilities, have implemented streamlined protocols to significantly reduce ER wait times. If you’re in need of emergency care in the West Hills area, our staff members will evaluate and treat you as quickly as possible.

    Identifying Solutions to Long Wait Times

    It’s commonly believed that long ER wait times are primarily caused by the use of the emergency care department by individuals with non-emergent medical conditions. However, boarding is actually the main cause of extremely long wait times. Boarding is the practice of admitting patients to the hospital despite the lack of available rooms, which means that these patients must wait on gurneys in the halls. This means that the emergency care staff is hard-pressed to provide care for additional patients who arrive in the waiting room. Some hospitals have eliminated this practice, and instead admit patients to different floors and departments.

    Checking the Wait Times in Advance

    If you’re concerned about ER wait times, you may be able to check them in advance. Some hospitals post regularly updated ER wait times on their website. Or, you may be able to get this information via text message. Bear in mind that these wait times represent an average.

    Notifying the Staff About Symptom Changes

    Once you’re at the emergency care department, you’ll be assessed by a triage nurse. The provider will evaluate the severity of your symptoms. At an ER, patients with the most serious medical conditions are seen first. If you have a less serious medical problem and you’re asked to wait, you should notify the nurse if your symptoms become worse or you develop new symptoms.

    At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care staff is committed to maintaining ER wait times of equal to or below the national average, which means you can receive the care you need faster. If you’re experiencing a true medical emergency in West Hills, such as a heart attack, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can reach our hospital at (818) 676-4321 for general information about our healthcare services, which include cancer care, maternity services, and spine care.