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Preventing Occupational Injuries

Occupational injuries cost businesses in the United States more than $250 billion dollars1 a year in missed work, medical care and legal costs. But for every dollar spent on injury prevention, businesses can expect six times the return on investment.2

Common causes of occupational injuries include:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Repetitive motions
  • Defective equipment
  • Hazardous materials
  • Vehicular accidents

These tips can help employers prevent occupational injuries in the workplace.

  • Establish a comprehensive injury prevention program. This includes general procedures that apply to everyone, as well as job-specific procedures and the mandated use of personal protective equipment as appropriate.
  • Conduct regular safety training seminars.
  • Create an open dialogue with your employees about reporting unsafe conditions and any injuries that occur in the workplace immediately.
  • If unsafe conditions are reported, all work in the affected area should cease until the situation has been corrected.
  • Maintain all equipment with regular inspection and service.

Some jobs, such as construction, have inherent risks, but employees can still do their part to help prevent occupational injuries.

  • Follow all established procedures, including the proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Focus on the task at hand.
  • Maintain awareness of surroundings and/or changing conditions.
  • Report any unsafe environments or behaviors immediately.
  • Report any injuries immediately.
  • Communicate openly with supervisors about how to improve safety.

Despite rigorous safety practices, accidental occupational injuries can still occur. Physical rehabilitation can help these injuries heal faster and more completely, and help workers prevent re-injury in the future. Our Industrial Rehabilitation program provides area employers with a variety of services to help keep their employees safe at work. Call 740.439.8000 for information.

 

Sources:
1. U.S. Work-Related Injuries, Illnesses Cost $250 Billion Annually: Study. Occupational Health & Safety. Available at: http://ohsonline.com/articles/2012/01/23/us-workrelated-injuries-illnesses-cost-250-billion-annually-study.aspxAccessed 1/20/2015.
2. Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. United States Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Available at: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/Accessed 1/20/2015. 

Southeastern Med President & CEO on Talk of the Town

In his first of many appearances on the Talk of the Town, Mr. Chorey reflects on 2014 and shares what's in store for Southeastern Med in 2015. Watch the full segment below, and tune in to Talk of the Town on YouTube for future episodes.

When to Seek Emergency Treatment for the Flu

It's that time of year again when we gather in groups, pass it around, and it seems like it lasts forever. No, it's not your leftover holiday turkey or that fruitcake that never seems to get eaten. It's influenza (the flu).

Winter is the time for food, festivities, and the flu. Flu season in the United States usually starts in November and lasts through March – just in time to interfere with all of your holiday get-togethers. Anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the flu causes approximately 150,000 hospital admissions and 24,000 deaths annually in the United States.

With so much traveling, visiting, and excitement, it is easy to get run down and feel sick. The biggest problem for most people who become sick is identifying whether they have a common cold or the flu. Southeastern Med has gathered some facts to help you tell the difference.

The flu is contagious. Anyone can get it. It is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze can be propelled through the air up to 3 feet. A person can spread the flu starting one day before he or she feels sick. The flu continues to be contagious for another 3 to 7 days after symptoms appear. It usually takes longer to get over the flu than a cold.

The flu is different than a common cold and comes on suddenly. Some symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Although wintertime is when colds and the flu can be spread the easiest because of many people gathered in enclosed quarters, there are preventative measures that can be taken. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a yearly vaccination. There are also other good health practices that you should always follow in order to prevent respiratory illness, including the flu. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your nose, eyes, and mouth. Try not to touch people or their things when they have a cold or the flu. It is important that those with the flu try to stay away from places where they can easily spread their viral germs to others. Get regular exercise, eat well, and plan for adequate rest in your busy schedule.

Most people who get the flu will recover in one to two weeks without further treatment. Unfortunately, life-threatening complications may develop in some people as a result of the flu. People age 65 and older; pregnant women; people of any age with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or congestive heart failure; and very young children are more likely to get complications from the flu. "These are the persons who need to contact their physician or other healthcare provider if they are concerned with symptoms they are experiencing such as high fever that will not reduce with over the counter medicine. After reviewing the symptoms with the patient, based on knowledge of previous health conditions and/or age, the patient will be advised if they should come into the office or be seen in the Emergency Department. Also, if persons cannot reach their physician or have any fear about what they are experiencing, they should take steps immediately to be examined by a physician or healthcare provider," said Anthony Kitchen, MD, Southeastern Med's Emergency Department medical director.

"Many people become ill with the flu and, if the case is mild, continue to attend school or work. Unfortunately this spreads the flu to others fairly easily. To help keep flu or other illnesses from spreading, stay home from school, work, or other activities if a fever, respiratory symptoms, vomiting or diarrhea are present. These signs of illness are all capable of making others sick. Remember, the best action to prevent flu is still an annual flu vaccine. Ask your doctor or visit a local pharmacy or the Guernsey County Health Department to get yours today!" noted Cathy McIntire, RN, CNOR, Infection Prevention director at Southeastern Med.

If you do get a cold or the flu, there are a few simple ways you can take care of yourself. Stay home and rest, especially if you have a fever. Avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Avoid secondhand smoke, which can make flu or cold symptoms worse. Drink plenty of fluids like water, fruit juices, and clear soups to help prevent dehydration and loosen mucus. Gargle with salt water several times a day to relieve a sore throat. As always, remember to follow proper hygiene and get the flu shot if you haven't done so already.

Is It a Cold or the Flu?

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Common and high (100ºF to 102ºF); lasts 3-4 days
Headache Rare Common; almost always present
General Aches, Pains Mild Common; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Mild Common; can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and severe
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Common Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate;
hacking cough
Common; can become severe


*Information gathered from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

How Long Of An Emergency Room Wait Is Too Long?

If you've been to the emergency room lately for an illness, you know the wait can take hours, depending on how busy they are and what treatment you may need. A patient waiting in a typical Emergency Department would have time to watch more than four one-hour long episodes of the iconic television show "Grey's Anatomy". Reducing the time patients remain in the Emergency Department is a constant challenge that all hospitals face.

You may feel as though you are spending a long amount of time in the Emergency Department. However, it is important to understand there are many steps that need to be taken during your visit to ensure you receive the best care. Before visiting the emergency room ask yourself if this is a true emergency. If you are alarmed by unusually severe symptoms, it is best to seek immediate care. In case of an emergency, dial 911. When possible, call your primary care physician and describe your symptoms to find out whether emergency treatment is necessary or if you need to be scheduled for a visit to their office.

After arrival in the emergency room you will be triaged by an emergency nurse. Triage is a system of sorting that is based on giving treatment first to the patients who need of it most. Patients are not seen on a first-come, first-served basis. When you are brought into to the Emergency Department, a skilled triage nurse will start by conducting a brief exam. Based on this assessment, the nurse will decide what immediate steps should be taken. Patients who arrive by ambulances or with life-threatening conditions are generally seen right away, depending upon their condition and stability. As a result, you may not be taken to a treatment area in the order that you arrived.

Once a patient is placed in a treatment room, an emergency care provider will complete a thorough examination. Clinical tests such as blood work, X-rays, a CT scan or an ultrasound may need to be ordered. These testing procedures will take time and the patient will need to wait for the results before their physician can make a decision about proper treatment. Any time further testing is added, your wait time will increase.

Once testing is complete, a chance of further waiting happens as the physician contacts the patient's primary care physician and/or any specialists required to determine if the patient can be discharged or should be admitted to the hospital. After the decision has been made to admit a patient to the hospital, a short wait may occur due to bed availability, patient census, or additional factors.

Wait times are critical to patients' perceptions because the emergency room is often the "front door" to the hospital, the only threshold through which many patients will ever pass. Patients are paying ever more attention to waits, even shopping around to see where they can be treated the fastest. Southeastern Med's Emergency Department is making improvements to patient wait time. On average, a patient visiting Southeastern Med's Emergency Department will be seen, treated and on their way home in around 127 minutes. This is slightly better than the national average of 128 minutes and the state average which is 134 minutes. "It's a great number but we've always got room to improve. Our hospital's put a lot of practices in place to make sure that we get the patient to see the doctor as quickly as possible," stated Ray Chorey, President and CEO.

One of the largest changes came this past year as Southeastern Med hired a new Emergency Department physician group, Emergency Consultants Inc. (ECI) due to their reputation and high commitment to patient care. The Emergency Department physicians are hired as a group and work with Southeastern Med employees to provide patients with exceptional healthcare. ECI, lead by Anthony M. Kitchen, M.D., have been working together to revamp the Emergency Department. Dr. Kitchen has been working with Southeastern Med associates and administration to make changes that are already improving experiences when visiting the Emergency Department. This includes procedures on when higher volumes of patients visit the ED and ways to decrease 'door to doc' times.

When choosing where to receive care when an emergency occurs, know that your health is important to us at Southeastern Med. We are committed to providing you with a positive patient experience, whatever your need may be. We hope that you'll never need our emergency care services, but, if you do, please know that you're in good hands at Southeastern Med. Learn more about our Emergency Mepartment here.

Hayes Named Assistant Vice President at Southeastern Med

Jeff HayesSoutheastern Med is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey Hayes as the new Assistant Vice President.

Hayes is a Zanesville, Ohio, native and a graduate of Tri-Valley High School. He earned his associate’s degree in business from Zane State College, bachelor’s degree from Wheeling Jesuit University, and his master’s degree from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. Hayes began his career at Southeastern Med in 1992 when he worked in the medical center’s Registration Department as a registration clerk/ PBX operator. During his career, he has served in various capacities including Billing Clerk and Telecommunications Supervisor. In April of 2004, he was promoted to director of Telecommunications and later that year the role of fire marshal and safety officer was added to his responsibilities. In 2009, he assumed additional duties as corporate compliance officer and privacy officer. In explaining why he accepted his new role after serving seven years as Southeastern Med’s senior director of facilities, Hayes says, “Anytime an opportunity presents itself to work closely with such wonderful physicians and staff, while broadening responsibilities at such a great institution, one has to embrace it. I thank leadership and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

With his new position comes many new responsibilities. Hayes has the challenge of simultaneously overseeing the success of numerous departments within the medical center. He holds the executive position of overseeing telecommunications, maintenance, plant operations, clinical engineering, environmental and nutrition services, compliance, risk management, wellness resources and emergency preparedness. Ray Chorey, president and CEO of Southeastern Med, noted, “The senior leadership team is eager to continue working with Jeff. We have steadfast confidence in him and his role as compliance officer in an ever-evolving world of healthcare regulation.  Along with his outstanding work maintaining an aging facility, Jeff will be a welcomed addition at our weekly senior leadership meetings.”

Despite many challenges his new position presents, Hayes is looking forward to accomplishing many goals that he has set for himself and Southeastern Med. He explains, “My main goal in this position is to work with our whole medical center team in contributing to the enrichment of the health of the community of which we serve in this ever-changing healthcare environment.  I feel this can be accomplished through providing our customers access to affordable, high quality healthcare in a transparent environment.”

Hayes serves on the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and enjoys staying involved in our community. He currently resides in Norwich and has been married for 24 years to his wife, Leisa. They have one daughter, Cesley, who is a graduate student at Kent State University.

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