By CHERIL VERNON
The community had the opportunity to check out Palestine Regional Rehabilitation Hospital’s campus and learn about the services it offers during an open house for the public Thursday.
Palestine Regional Medical Center Emergency Department’s recently awarded 40-foot mass casualty transport vehicle and PRMC’s Flight for Life helicopter were on display for the public to view.
Palestine Regional Medical Center Emergency Department shift supervisor David Giles offered visitors tours of the new ambulance bus.
“It can hold up to 20 patients and can be used locally, regionally and statewide in case of a large-scale disaster,” Giles said.
PRMC’s EMS is the host for the vehicle, only one of eight assigned to the state of Texas, spawned by a regional disaster task force.
Locally, the vehicle can be used for wrecks, for example, that injure more than five people, or can be dispatched to help firefighters working a large fire to give the firefighters a place for rehabilitation or refuge from the heat.
The AmBus will primarily be used during a mass casualty incident, medical evacuations, state and regional training exercises and locally for special needs within Anderson County.
“We just picked this up in September and are still getting the equipment set up,” Giles said. “It’s very state-of-the-art.”
Also during the opening house, the public had the opportunity to learn more about the PRRH campus’s departments such as Behavioral Health, HomePoint home health, Orthopedic & Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation Services, Sleep Disorders Clinic, Rehabilitation Services, Therapy Services and Women’s Clinic.
“Our Intensive Outpatient Clinic is for those 55 and older. We offer group therapy three times a week for depression, anxiety and coping skills,” registered nurse Teresa Cole said.
Wendy Grantz, community education manager for PRMC’s Psychiatric Services, added that the services also can help the caregivers.
Those attending the open house also had a chance to learn more about the hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center.
“A pretty high percentage of people have sleep apnea and are not aware of it,” said Dr. Susan Barrows, who is board certified in sleep medicine. “Many of the symptoms are very common — sleepy during the day, never fully rested when you wake up, people who snore a lot or who make gasping sounds when they are asleep — these people have a very high chance of having sleep apnea.”
In fact, those with sleep apnea often have other health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, heart arrhythmia, depression, reflux, memory problems, etc.
“People with these problems who have sleep apnea often improve once treated and many times can reduce the amount of medication they are taking for these other health issues,” Barrows said. “Some people after getting help, find that they feel 10 years younger. They feel like they haven’t felt in years because the quality of their life improves.”
In addition, those with undiagnosed sleep apnea also have a higher chance of having a stroke or heart attack.
“Sleep apnea is so treatable — it’s one of the few things that can really make a difference,” Barrows said.
PRMC Marketing Coordinator Meredith Mahan said the open house event was an opportunity to reach out to the community.
“We wanted to give awareness to some of the departments housed in the rehabilitation campus. So many people in the community don’t know what we do here. We want to let them know what we have and what services we provide and that they don’t have to go out of town to get help,” Mahan said. “There are a lot of changes and improvements going on.”
In addition to an up-close look at the services the hospital campus has to offer, complimentary food and drinks were available during the event. Activities for children included a bounce house and face painting.