Early Detection

Early Detection – Tests That Can Save Your Life

By: Susan Layeux, MD
Boundary Community Clinic Medical Director
March 2020 Bonners Ferry Living Local

Screening for the most common cancers is highly recommended by organizations like the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).  As primary care providers, it is our goal to detect treatable cancers early, to decrease the burden of disease and death.

Many people decline screening tests because they do not have symptoms.  But the reality is, most cancers do NOT have symptoms in their early stages, when they are the most curable.

The four most common cancers are: Prostate (in men), Breast (in women), Lung, and Colorectal cancer.

Lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths than colorectal, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Some current screening recommendations:

  • LUNG cancer screening is recommended for any person age 55-80 who has smoked the equivalent of 1 pack per day of cigarettes for 30 or more years, and is either still smoking or quit less than 15 years ago. That is done with a limited (lower radiation dose) CT scan of the lungs.
  • COLORECTAL cancer screening is recommended for all adults aged 50-75. The three most common ways to screen: 1) Colonoscopy every 10 years; 2) a stool test for blood and DNA shed from cancerous/precancerous cells (current one on market is Cologuard) every 3 years; 3) or a stool test for blood, every year. Colonoscopy is still considered the “gold standard”, and people must understand that if they have a positive screen in one of the stool tests, a diagnostic Colonoscopy will then be recommended.
  • BREAST cancer screening is recommended for all women from ages 50-75 using a 3-D Mammogram. The various societies have disagreement with how often to screen between the ages of 40-50, and the interval of screening (every 1 or 2 years). Much depends on family history.
  • PROSTATE cancer screening recommendations have changed. The only current available test is a blood test called PSA (prostate specific antigen), used to test men from ages 55-69. However, it is an inadequate screen because a high PSA is not only seen with cancer. It can be high because of an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection. Screening is individualized based on your history.

The details about benefits and risks of each type of screen can be found on the USPSTF website www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.  They give the recommendations for the average person as well as every exception.  Our goal at the Boundary Community Clinics is to keep current with the guidelines and present each patient with the best recommended screening based on their personal and family history, and to answer questions about risks. The good news is, Medicare and most commercial insurances cover screening costs at 80-100%.

Early cancer detection saves lives. Please do not wait until you have symptoms to be screened. Talk to your Primary Care Provider about what screens are right for you.

The Time to Act is Now

The Time to Act is Now

By: Alana Temple, RN, BSN
Boundary Community Hospital

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Boundary Community Hospital has made various efforts to improve cardiac care and outcomes for those presenting with heart-related problems.

Life Flight Network, Boundary Community Hospital and Boundary Ambulance work together in a Time Sensitive Emergency to get patients to the highest level of care as fast as possible.

On July 10, 2019, Boundary Community Hospital received designation from the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Registry as a Level II STEMI facility. This means that anyone seeking treatment due to cardiac issues from either Boundary Community Hospital (BCH) or Boundary Ambulance can expect to receive the best of care as defined by the Idaho State Registry guidelines. Two years of cardiac patient data were reviewed by state surveyors to ensure compliance with the designation.

When patients present to the hospital with chest pain, they must be quickly triaged. This begins with our Health Unit Coordinator, who is usually the first person on the hospital team that you will meet. When you state that you are having chest pain, they will quickly alert the Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department, and you will be taken into a room. Once your care begins, the guideline timer begins. Ultimately within the first 10 minutes of arrival into the treatment room, an EKG will be performed. This is the first diagnostic tool that is used for cardiac care. Blood will be drawn for laboratory testing, you will be placed on a cardiac monitor, and vital signs taken. You may be given baby aspirin to quickly chew.

A STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction) is the most life threatening cardiac event that can happen and quick intervention is the key. A STEMI is a very serious type of heart attack where a major artery to the heart has been blocked and it is detected on an EKG. Time is of the essence as oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the heart muscle is not able to circulate properly and causes damage. Once a STEMI is recognized, the goal of the TSE team is to have you on your way to a cardiac catheterization lab (the closest facility is Kootenai Health) within 90 minutes of the diagnosis. Cardiac catheterization may have the ability to re-open the blocked cardiac artery. In the course of the state survey, Boundary Community Hospital’s Emergency Team was found to meet and/or exceed all of these parameters.

Quick intervention is vital in any type of cardiac emergency. It is extremely important that care is initiated as soon as possible. Call 911, which will dispatch Boundary Ambulance with their life saving equipment and highly trained Paramedics. In addition, all Boundary County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicles have been equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AED). When a 911 chest pain is dispatched, the Hospital TSE Emergency Team is alerted so they can begin preparation.

Boundary Community Hospital is proud to have received the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Level II STEMI Center designation and will continue to strive to provide excellent care for our community. Together, we can save lives.

You Can’t Spread It If You Can’t Catch It

The Gift of Caring

For the Ones

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.