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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.
     
    Election for Health District Board of Directors on May 3 (2016)

    Three people are running for the board of directors of the Health District of Northern Larimer County. They will compete in a May 3 election for two open seats on the board.

    Candidates are Robert Calhoun, 66, a licensed psychologist; Faraz Naqvi, 55, a physician focused on elderly care, skilled and assisted living care and management of health professionals; and Deirdre Sullivan, 41, a program supervisor for CanDo and Vida Sana at UCHealth Community Health Improvement and a facilitator with the Family Leadership Training Institute of CSU Extension. All three candidates are residents of Fort Collins.

    The Health District is governed by a five-person board of directors whose members are elected to alternating four-year terms. Board members are elected at large by eligible voters in the district, which encompasses the northern two-thirds of Larimer County and includes the cities of Fort Collins, Timnath, Laporte, Livermore and Wellington. Elections are held every two years.

    To be eligible to vote in the election, a person must be a U.S. citizen aged 18 years or older who is registered to vote in Colorado and is also a resident of the Health District. Non-district residents may vote if they or their spouse own property within the district.

    Voting on May 3 will take place at two polling locations in Fort Collins: the Health District main office at 120 Bristlecone Drive, and Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church at 4501 S. Lemay Ave. (corner of Lemay and Harmony).

    People also may vote by mail, and all completed ballots must be received at the Health District by 7 p.m. on May 3 in order to be counted. To vote by mail, request an absentee ballot by completing and submitting an Application for Absentee Ballot, which is available on the Health District website. Ballots will be sent automatically to people who have voted in previous Health District board elections and who requested to be on the permanent absentee ballot list.

    More election information, including details on obtaining an absentee ballot, as well as personal profiles provided by the candidates, is available at healthdistrict.org/2016-election.

    The Health District is a public agency that 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.
     
    SummitStone Health Partners Walk-in Crisis Services (Aug. 2015)

    SummitStone Health Partners has expanded their 24-hour mental health and addiction crisis services. 24/7/365 walk-in and mobile crisis response are available at 1217 Riverside Ave., Fort Collins. In fall 2015, a short-term residential unit will be available as well. For more information about these services, go to the SummitStone Health Partners website.

    If you or anybody you know feels they are in mental health crisis, please do not hesitate to contact us. Walk-in and mobile services are free of charge. To access mental health crisis support services, call 970-494-4200 (SummitStone Health Partners) or Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners at 1-844-493-TALK (8255). However, in a life-threatening emergency that requires medical care, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
     

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