High on Life – Not Pain Meds

Caring for Your Loved Ones – Close to Home

Keep Doing What You Love

By Dr. Yahtil Huaute, OT, DOT
Boundary Community Hospital

April is, among many other things, Occupational Therapy Month. Most people have never heard of occupational therapy, or if they have, they assume it has something to do with employment. Occupational therapy was founded over 100 years ago with the idea that hospital patients deserved better treatment and more meaningful lives.  It has grown and developed over the years to something pretty amazing. Occupational therapy focuses on getting you back to your life! These can be activities such as taking care of yourself, gardening, playing cards with friends, or any other activity that is important in your life.

Occupational therapists (aka OT) can work with people from birth to death. An OT can work with children in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, and homes. They have become notorious for working with children with Autism, so it is no surprise that April is also Autism Awareness Month! They can work with children struggling with development, sensory processing, learning, and so much more. You can often find OTs playing with children and calling it therapy, but children learn through play, so there is no better way to engage them in learning.  Occupational therapists are also known for working with sensory processing disorder (SPD), this is when a child’s senses are either over or under responsive to information.  SPD happens in approximately 20% of the general population and can be as common as 88% of children with any other diagnosis.

When it comes to the adults, OTs can be seen treating people with shoulder issues, people who have suffered a stroke, had hand surgery, or even for bladder leaks.  OT’s can treat adults on an outpatient basis, in hospitals, and in homes.   If someone has a hobby or role in life they can no longer do, OTs can help either retrain them to get back to what they love or even teach coping strategies to make the task/hobby easier to do.  Adaptations are sometimes the best way to return to what you love, and OTs are amazing at teaching those methods.  

Older adults are another group of people that occupational therapy can help.  This is seen in hospitals, homes, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes. Whether it is arthritis, lower tolerance to activity, surgery, or illness, many older adults want and need to be able to be self-sufficient as long as possible. It can be depressing to lose the independence we’ve had all our lives, and as much as we love our families and friends, nothing surpasses independence.  Overall, maintaining independence is physically and mentally healthier. 

Occupational therapists can help you get back to living the life you want to live; doing the activities you want to do.  This therapy is based on your needs and desires first and foremost. So when someone says, “I am an occupational therapist!” you can now tell them you know a bit about what they do. Happy Occupational Therapy Month and Autism Awareness Month everyone!


Yahtil Huaute, OT, DOT is the Occupational Therapist at Boundary Community Hospital. 

Making Your Wishes Known

By: Tari Yourzek, RN, BSN
Chief Nursing Officer, Boundary Community Hospital

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16, 2019

While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance Directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.

Do you have Advance Directives on file with your physician and/or the Hospital? Boundary Community Hospital staff want to be sure your wishes are known if the need arises. Advance Directives are documents that state your choices about medical treatment, or name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. They are called “Advance” Directives because they are signed in advance, to let your doctor and other health care providers know your wishes concerning your medical care. Visit the Advance Directives booth at the Hospital’s Annual Health Fair on May 11, 2019 and talk with healthcare professionals about the importance of advance directives and pick up a copy of “Idaho Advance Directives, Legal Documents to Assure Future Health Care Choices.”

An important part of your advance directives is considering organ and tissue donation which can save lives in our community. When people are asked about registering to donate, they often think of organ donation. Many don’t know what tissue donation is or that it is just as life-changing.

Just one tissue donor can enhance more than 150 lives, providing hope to the estimated one in 20 Americans who will need some type of tissue transplant in their lifetime. Local organizations like LifeNet Health, a full-service tissue bank, help recover and prepare donor tissues for transplantation and ensure they get to those in need.

Donated tissue implants, called allografts, can be used to repair injuries to bone as well as a range of damaged tissue such as tendons, ligaments, skin and more. They can also come in the form of a life-saving heart valve or grafts for post-mastectomy reconstruction for breast cancer patients.

Many people are registered donors, as demonstrated by the red heart on their driver’s license, and it’s important to understand that tissue donation is part of that. By educating families on the donation process, the hope is that even more people will be able to donate, providing critical allografts for patients within our community.

According to the California Healthcare Foundation (2012), 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about wishes for medical treatment toward the end of their life. 82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing. 23% have actually done it.

Discover the Health Fair Advantage and find out more about healthcare options in Boundary County at the Annual BCH Health Fair from 9 am to Noon on May 11th.

Welcome Pain Clinic to Bonners Ferry

February 22, 2019

Bonners Ferry, ID – Boundary Community Hospital welcomes Idaho Pain Clinic as a Specialist Provider Clinic in Bonners Ferry.  J. Sorin Ispirescu, MD, Clinton Thome, MD, A. Cipriana Niculaescu, PA-C, and Magda Sneddon, NP-C will be seeing patients on Thursdays in Outpatient Services at the Hospital.

According to Clinic Manager Kayley Zilinskas, “Idaho Pain Clinic understands the unique circumstances of each patient and their needs. We offer the most advanced treatment options in pain management and are committed to providing the highest level of care to our Boundary County patients.”

Contact Idaho Pain Clinic at 208-263-9757 to make an appointment, right here in Bonners Ferry.

For more information: www.boundarycommunityhospital.org/outpatient/pain-clinic

Auxiliary Pie Sale 2019 A Success

February 21, 2019

Bonners Ferry, ID – Thank you to everyone who donated or purchased pies at the famous Boundary Community Hospital Auxiliary Pie Sale on Thursday, February 21. The fifty six pies were sold out by Noon and the Auxiliary raised over $1,100.

A special thank you to Chic-n-Chop, Safeway, Super1, Soul Shine Bistro, multiple local churches, and Hospital employees.  Hospital staff purchased 27 pies and desserts from the event, some of them shared with their co-workers.  We appreciated folks stopping by for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee, including Sheriff Kramer and several Hospital Trustees, so we could visit with them and catch up on County news. And thank you to Dr. Roland Hall from Bonners Ferry Veterinary Clinic for purchasing the last pie of the day!

Over the past year, monies raised through the annual pie sale and Hospital soda pop sales have been used to purchase two-way radios for the nursing staff in the Extended Care Facility; rolling stools and stainless steel instrument table for Surgery; isolation room door caddies and hangers; patient scale with handles for Boundary Community Clinics; and a commercial grade vacuum for Housekeeping.

The Hospital Auxiliary, started in 1954 originally to assist at the Hospital, is seeking new active members to join the group. If you are interested, please come to the next meeting on March 12 at 11:30 a.m. at Chic-N-Chop. Women and men are welcome.

Amy Andersen, Irene Rice, Claudia Reno, Edna Eby, and Jan Weaver show off this year’s pie selections.


When Your Life Is On The Line

Bonners Ferry Living Local February – Time Sensitive Emergency

By Alana Temple, RN, BSN
Boundary Community Hospital Emergency Department

Every year approximately 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack and for 580,000 it is their primary or first time attack, while 210,000 occur in individuals who have a history of a prior attack. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction occurs when a part of the heart does not receive the correct blood flow. Most cases of heart attack occur due to underlying coronary artery diseases.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack so that medical treatment can be obtained, reduce the risk of damage, and help prevent cardiac arrest. The more time that passes before restoring blood flow to the area, the greater the damage and risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Not everyone will have the same symptoms or the same severity of symptoms. Some may have no symptoms but may just experience sudden cardiac arrest. Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain or pressure with or without radiation to one or both arms, jaw pain, pain in the mid back, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and feeling sweaty or clammy, and pale skin.

If you, or someone else, is experiencing any of these symptoms, CALL 911 !  Getting medical treatment on the way to the victim is key for survival.  In a rural area it is tempting to place the person in a vehicle and rush to the Emergency Room. It is much better and safer to call 911 and get medical treatment headed to the victim. Emergency medical personnel that respond can start treatments as soon as they arrive. They are equipped to perform an electrocardiogram to determine the heart’s rhythm, start an intravenous line to administer medications, draw blood for laboratory testing and, most importantly, they carry an automated external defibrillator (AED) to use if needed to provide a shock to the heart. Calling 911 also alerts the team in the emergency department of the hospital that there is a chest pain call in progress.

If you witness a person with sudden cardiac arrest, immediately call 911 and then begin hands only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Place your hands in the center of the chest, push fast and hard and do not stop until help arrives. A good way to determine how fast is to think of the song “Staying Alive” and push to the beat. Hands only CPR is CPR without rescue breaths and it has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for sudden arrest at home or in the public. According to The American Heart Association 2016 statistics nearly 46 percent of out of hospital cardiac arrest victims survived when bystander CPR was administered.

Unfortunately, only about 45 percent of people in sudden cardiac arrest received bystander CPR. You may fear doing CPR incorrectly or injuring the victim, but please remember that the emergency is that the heart is not beating and the loss of the circulatory system.  If in doubt, always call 911 and start CPR, you quite possibly can save a life!

February is American Heart Health Month and the perfect time to learn your risk for heart disease and the steps to reduce them. Heart disease does not just occur in older adults, it can happen at any age. Some risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, being diabetic and smoking. The biggest part of heart health comes down to making healthy choices. Age and family history cannot be changed but the good news is that modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by up to 80 percent.


Boundary Community Hospital has been designated as Level IV Trauma Center and is in the process of being designated as a Level II STEMI Center by the State of Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Program

NW Hospital Alliance Nurse Leaders – 2018 ID Rural Health Heroes


Date: November 15, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mary Ann Reuter idahorha@gmail.com

Idaho Rural Health Association Honors Idaho Rural Health Heroes at Annual Meeting and Awards Reception on November 7, 2018

IRHA President Mary Barinaga, MD (L) presents a 2018 Idaho Rural Health Hero Award to Tari Yourzek (R) of the Northwest Hospital Alliance.

Tari Yourzek of the Northwest Hospital Alliance was one of eight Idaho healthcare professionals to receive an Idaho Rural Health Hero Award at the Idaho Rural Health Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Awards Reception on November 7.

The awards are given a week before National Rural Health Day in Idaho (November 15th this year) to recognize rural health educators, community advocates, healthcare providers and program administrators who demonstrate outstanding service and dedication to rural communities.  Nominations described the many contributions of this year’s awardees as advocates, communicators, educators, collaborators and innovators.

The Northwest Hospital Alliance is a network of hospitals whose members include rural critical access hospitals (Boundary Community Hospital, Bonner General Health, Benewah Community Hospital and Shoshone Medical Center) and Kootenai Health Medical Center.

The Nurse Leaders Peer Group of the Northwest Hospital Alliance is comprised of the Chief Nursing Officers of these facilities. Tari Yourzek, CNO at Boundary Community Hospital, is chairperson for the group.

The Peer Group was nominated to receive an Idaho Rural Health Heroes award because of the many ways its members work to lift the profession of nursing to its highest level, and because of the Nursing Grand Rounds program that formed from the group’s efforts.

The Idaho Rural Health Association is a nonprofit membership organization that provides leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communication, education and collaboration.  As the recognized voice for rural health issues in Idaho, IRHA offers a forum for health professionals, community members and healthcare organizations to work together to identify and find solutions to rural health problems.

Read the stories of all the 2018 Idaho Rural Health Heroes at idahorha.org.


Nurse Leaders Peer Group Story

Neighbors Caring for Neighbors

We Saved Lives Today

By: Dennis Dinning MPA, HSAC, Boundary Community Hospital Trustee

Bonners Ferry, ID – As a Critical Access Hospital in a rural community, many folks think Boundary Community Hospital is defined as an emergency department only. What they do not realize is that we are more than “just a hospital” but a health resource for the community with many services offered locally.

In 2016 the Hospital Board of Trustees reached out to voters with a request for a special levy to fund some much needed equipment and upgrades.  The Levy was passed by voters and the funds were collected in 2017 and in your current property taxes for 2018 for a total of $828,000 over the two years.  The Hospital received the first half of the funding in 2018 and we expect to receive the second half in 2019.

We specified when we asked for the levy funds that we would:

  • Dennis Dinning (far right) congratulates Shannon Rust, RN, Outpatient Surgery Manager and Orthopedic Surgeon Michael DiBenedetto, MD after the successful completion of a total knee replacement surgery in the new Surgery Suite at Boundary Community Hospital.

    Upgrade the surgery suite so that we can perform more procedures including joint replacement surgery. The surgery suite infection control system and remodeling have been completed and the endoscopy scopes have been purchased.  In 2019, we will purchase arthroscopic instruments and other medical devices for orthopedic surgery. Dr. Michael DiBenedetto has been performing total knee and hip replacement surgery since September 2018, right here in Bonners Ferry.

  • Purchase new equipment for the Clinical Medical Laboratory so that testing can be done locally for faster, more accurate results. The new equipment has been installed and our local laboratory is one of the best equipped in the state including the Microscan Array to test virus and bacteria (in hours instead of days), so the correct antibiotic can be prescribed.
  • Purchase Diagnostic Imaging equipment. The C-Arm Portable X-Ray machine for orthopedic surgery and emergency use has been purchased. The CT Contrast Injector is planned for 2019, so we can expand our capabilities in Computerized Tomography (CT).
  • Replace the Fire Alarm panel which was originally installed in 1992 – scheduled for 2019.
  • Replace the Climate Control System with a computerized control center to better regulate the HVAC system throughout the Hospital and Nursing Home – scheduled for 2019.

These equipment purchases expand the services available and is attracting more Specialists for clinics and surgery, enabling patients to recover and receive occupational and physical therapy in Bonners Ferry. This also allows the health care dollars to be spent locally, saves the patient and their family travel and lodging expenses, and keeps jobs in Boundary County, which helps the local economy.

In 2016, I had serious health issues and was forced to take early retirement. I grew up in Bonners Ferry and we had a weekend place here, so my wife and I decided we would consider moving back home, after being gone for over 40 years. One of our biggest concerns about coming back to Boundary County was my ongoing health issues and access to quality health care. This is a very common concern for many people looking to retire, as well as companies looking to relocate to a new area. I decided to research health care systems in the community and evaluate how it would fit into my situation. I saw an opportunity to serve as a Trustee for Boundary Community Hospital and although I have physical limitations, I had past education, work, and volunteer experience, which would not only allow me to serve, but to be hands on with our local health care.

Boundary Community Hospital plays a distinct and critical role by leading efforts to address the unique healthcare needs of our rural citizens. As a trustee, our vision is “Neighbors Caring for Neighbors” and I have definitely seen this vision in action since moving home and becoming part of the Boundary Community Hospital “neighborhood.”