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Health Data on Health Tracker Website for Larimer County (Oct. 2016)

Community organizations, students, reporters and interested county residents will find a useful source of health data from the Larimer Health Tracker website. This website can be valuable to those who previously relied on the Health section of the Larimer County Compass website, which was discontinued in 2012.

The new tool can be found online at www.larimerhealthtracker.org and serves as a hub for Larimer County health data collected by local, state and national organizations. Overall, more than 700 health indicators are available, including selected socioeconomic and environmental measures that strongly affect a community's health status.

While national and state health data resources currently exist, they can be difficult to find and to navigate. The Larimer Health Tracker provides a user-friendly way to search for specific health indicators, while also displaying the information by age, gender, income and education level, where available. The site includes results of the Health District of Northern Larimer County's triennial Community Health Survey, as well as Larimer County-specific health data from national and state data sets.

In 2012, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment began conducting a comprehensive community-wide assessment of the health status of the community. This assessment was part of the initial phase of a five-year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) headed up by LCDHE. In discussions with local leaders, human service agencies, and nonprofit organizations, the need for a centralized location for local health data was identified.

Agencies in Larimer County rely on health data to identify areas of concern, assess gaps in services, as well as to support the need for funding to help fill those gaps. The Larimer Health Tracker has the ability to show historical trends over time, as well as compare local, state and national health indicators.
 
Loveland Connect on Oct. 14 (2016)

The fifth annual Loveland Connect will take place on Friday, October 14, 2016 from 8:00am to noon at Truscott Elementary, 211 W. 6th St. This event is based on the national best-practice model called Project Homeless Connect that has been replicated in many communities across the country.

More than 40 services will be offered for the homeless or near homeless at the Loveland Connect event. This event also provides an important opportunity for volunteers to interact with Loveland citizens who are facing homelessness or may be close to becoming homeless. Event guests are paired with a volunteer. The volunteer will walk with the guest through the event, starting with a shared meal, and then help access services available. Services include housing information, dental care or medical health screenings, bike repairs, and haircuts.

To volunteer, please go to www.honservice.org/loveland-connect/ or contact the Community Partnership Office for more information at 970-962-2517.
 
Planning for End-of-Life Care Just Got a Little Easier (July 2016)

You never know what the future holds. Who would make your medical decisions if you were unable to speak for yourself? The Larimer Advance Care Planning Team can assist adults in deciding their wishes for end-of-life care and in documenting those wishes through advance care directives. These services are provided free of charge. We want to make advance care planning a part of the continuum of health care for all adults.

Advance directives document your health-care wishes and are used if you are unable to communicate for yourself. The most common directives include:
  • Medical Durable Power of Attorney. A document that legally appoints a health-care agent to make medical decisions for you when you are not able to
  • Advance Directive for Surgical/Medical Treatment (also known as a Living Will). This directive is used only when a physician (or physicians) has determined that the patient has a terminal condition or is in a permanent vegetative state. The directive documents your wishes related to life-sustaining procedures and artificial nutrition.

  • The Larimer Advance Care Planning Team is a collaborative effort funded by the Colorado Health Foundation, with contributions from the Health District of Northern Larimer County and community partners, to engage and support individuals in completing advance care plans. The Health District is proud to partner with UCHealth's Aspen Club, Colorado Health Medical Group, the Palliative Care Team at UCHealth, Associates in Family Medicine, Columbine Health Systems, the Larimer County Office on Aging and Sharing the Care Campaign to encourage advance care planning in our community.

    It's time to start talking about the way we want to live at the end of our lives, and it's time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don't want for ourselves. Together, we can make these difficult conversations easier. For those in the community who are 18 and older, the Larimer Advance Care Planning Team can assist you in creating a plan for your end-of-life care that represents your values and what is important to you.

    For more information and to download advance care plan documents, go to the Larimer Advance Care Planning website or call 970-482-1909.
     
    Summer Ozone Season Along the Front Range (June 2016)

    June 1 marked the beginning of the summer ozone season along Colorado's Front Range. Ozone Action Alerts are issued on days when meteorologists from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment expect weather conditions to lead to increased ground-level ozone concentrations in Denver and along the Front Range. The cities of Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley are included in the alert area.

    Ground-level ozone is an important air pollutant. Elevated levels can cause symptoms that include stinging eyes and throat, chest pains, coughing and respiratory distress. Those at highest risk of symptoms due to elevated ozone levels include the elderly; young, active children; and anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition such as emphysema or asthma. Even healthy adults who spend a lot of time working or exercising outdoors may be affected by elevated ozone levels. During ozone alert days, people can lower their risk of developing symptoms by limiting prolonged outdoor activities.

    Ozone is different from most other air pollution in that it is not emitted directly into the atmosphere. Instead, ozone forms in the lower atmosphere when other primary emissions react in the presence of heat and sunlight. Those emissions are volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. The sources of these ozone-forming emissions include cars and trucks, industrial operations, oil and gas wells, residential activities such as mowing lawns and using paints and stains, as well as from naturally occurring sources such as volatile organics from evergreen trees.

    Ozone alerts serve two important purposes: They provide specific health advice for people who may be affected by elevated ozone levels, and they inform the community about steps that can be taken to help reduce ozone during those times. Because ozone formation occurs when air emissions bake in the hot summer sun, people can help by taking voluntary steps to reduce these pollutants. Some suggestions for individual action include:
  • Keep your car tuned and tires well-inflated to increase mileage and reduce fuel use
  • Avoid unnecessary idling at drive-thru windows and other places
  • Stop at the click when refueling your car or truck to limit vapors at the gas pump
  • Refuel after dusk in the summer to avoid the period of intense sunlight
  • Combine trips, take the bus, or postpone a trip during an alert if possible
  • If you use a gas-powered lawnmower, delay mowing until evening to avoid the period of intense ozone formation

    Ozone also occurs in the upper atmosphere at an altitude of 10 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface. This upper-level ozone is not a form of air pollution, and in fact, it blocks ultraviolet rays thereby helping to protect us from skin cancer and cataracts.

    More information about ozone in our area is available at www.ozoneaware.org. In Colorado, the Regional Air Quality Council is leading the planning efforts to reduce ozone levels and attain compliance with the ozone air quality standard. Technical information about this planning process is available at www.raqc.org.
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    Naqvi, Sullivan Elected to Health District Board of Directors (May 2016)

    Faraz Naqvi and Deirdre Sullivan have been elected to the board of directors for the Health District of Northern Larimer County. Three candidates ran for two open seats on the Health District board. A total of 1,102 people voted in the special district election.

    Naqvi, 55, is a physician focused on elderly care, skilled and assisted living care and management of health professionals. Sullivan, 41, is a program supervisor for CanDo and Vida Sana at UCHealth Community Health Improvement and a facilitator with the Family Leadership Training Institute at Colorado State University Extension. Both are residents of Fort Collins.

    The Health District is governed by a five-member board of directors. Members serve staggered, four-year terms and are elected at-large from the community. Elections are held every two years in even-numbered years.

    The Health District provides residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health and preventive health services, in addition to connecting people to more affordable prescription and health insurance options.
     

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