- Flu Cases Increasing Rapidly - But There's Still Time to Get a Flu Shot (Jan. 2017)
2017's flu season is taking off in Larimer County and across Colorado. So far this season, 26 county residents have been hospitalized with influenza - 21 of these have been since the beginning of the year. Visits to physician offices for respiratory symptoms are also increasing.
This season the predominant type of influenza has been A(H3N2), which is likely to be more severe in older adults. The average age of local residents hospitalized is 58; the median age is 65. Six nursing homes/assisted living facilities in Larimer County have been affected. Some hospital systems have implemented restrictions on visitors.
Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, Larimer County Health Department Director, stressed that even though most influenza cases are occurring in older persons, people of any age can still get very ill from the flu - especially if they have health conditions that put them at risk for flu complications. That's why she recommends flu shots for anyone over 6 months old. The component in this year's vaccine against the A(H3N2) flu has changed from prior years' vaccines and should provide better protection.
The Health Department recommends that those who have not yet had a flu vaccination get one soon, because it takes about two weeks to provide protection. The vaccine is especially important for pregnant women and people with chronic diseases. Vaccination is the best way to help prevent the flu. But it's also very important to wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading flu in schools and the workplace.
For more information on flu and flu vaccination, go to the CDC website. For information on Health Department's immunization clinics, go to the Health Department webpage.
- Health District's Community Health Assessment (Nov. 2016)
Every three years, the Health District collects information about the health-care needs of our community. We use this information to plan our programs and services, and we also share data with other organizations that are working to improve the health of local residents.
This process is called the Community Health Assessment, and we need your input. The Community Health Survey was mailed to randomly selected households in Larimer County. The survey asks people a wide range of questions about their health and use of health-care services. The information is kept confidential. If you received the survey in the mail, we hope that you will participate! The survey can be mailed back or completed online.
We also will host a series of open meetings in November to discuss local health-care issues, and you can tell us what you think about health care in our community. Forums are scheduled to get input from health-care providers, seniors, business leaders, mental health providers, the Spanish-speaking community and others. The forums are scheduled for Nov. 15-17. If you would like to attend one of the Community Health Forums, contact Katherine at email@example.com or call 970-224-5209.
If you have questions about the survey or the overall assessment process, please contact Sue Hewitt, Evaluation Coordinator at the Health District, firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-224-5209.
- 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.
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