Deb Luginbuhl
Valley Voices

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July 3, 2014
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Vail Daily column: A care community for all ages

You may think Castle Peak Senior Care Community will serve only older generations, but it will also provide rehabilitation — also known as transitional care — for all ages. That’s good news for Eagle County residents.

As Medicare guidelines have shortened hospital stays, transitional care is more crucial to the recovery process. If you’re not ready to go home after surgery or a serious illness, transitional care provides the time and therapy you need to recover.

Most people find recovering at home is not the best option. Family members often work and can’t provide round-the-clock care. Those who live alone lack the support they need to recover. Meanwhile, studies show frequent physical therapy helps people get well faster and typically, people receive more frequent therapy in transitional care settings.

I had partial knee replacement surgery last winter and can speak from personal experience. My surgery went well, but I developed “aspiration pneumonitis” and was hospitalized at Vail Valley Medical Center for a week. I was lucky to have a great husband as well as a mother willing to travel from Florida to help me get well.

Unfortunately, Vail Valley resident Nancy Burton wasn’t as lucky. She experienced a traumatic ski injury in March, which resulted in bi-lateral tibia fractures and a double knee blow-out requiring multiple ligament replacements. Nancy needed 24-7 transitional care for six weeks following her VVMC stay. Her rehab choices were limited between Glenwood Springs and Denver. She chose Denver because her sister lives there, but it was far from the circle of support she cultivated since moving to the valley as a single woman in 2009.

“I wish I had been able to recover closer to home. Having to travel more than 100 miles for transitional care presented significant safety, logistical and financial hurdles that I wouldn’t have had if I’d stayed in Eagle County,” Burton said. “For starters, my insurance company required me to leave the hospital for a rehab facility, but wouldn’t pay the $12,000 tab for medical transport; I made the trip sliding around in the back of an SUV, without a seat belt and feeling motion-sickness for two and a half hours. Miserable, not to mention unsafe.”

“People at the (Denver) facility lacked familiarity with my doctors’ protocols for therapy and care. That was problematic. Similarly, no one at the facility had knowledge of services and resources in Eagle County, so I had to research and manage the transition back home myself. It’s a lot to handle when you can’t even manage the daily functions of living! I was lucky my sister could help me quite a bit and a good friend from St. Louis flew out once I was home. It would have been much easier on my recovery had I been able to go from VVMC to transitional care in Eagle County.”

When Castle Peak Senior Care Community opens, 10 private transitional care suites will be available to Eagle County residents. Patients will have ready access to physical therapy, skilled care and the services of experienced professionals.

Castle Peak Senior Care Community is becoming a reality because people like you contribute funds to make it happen. To learn more about how things are progressing, visit www.CastlePeak.org. Information about donating or volunteering is also on the website or available directly from campaign coordinator Matt Scherr at mscherr@augustanacare.org.

And if someone you know says Castle Peak Senior Care Community is only for older generations, please tell them everyone — young, older and in between — will reap the benefits. That means people like Nancy Burton won’t need to recover hours away from home.

Deb Luginbuhl serves on the capital campaign committee for Castle Peak Senior Care Community and is on the Board of Trustees for The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.


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The VailDaily Updated Jul 3, 2014 06:56PM Published Jul 3, 2014 05:08PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.