Once or twice a week, Cindy Hiatt hits the road to visit residents in area counties and share all of the health offerings available to them at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early.
Hiatt brings LifeBrite health fairs and screenings to senior centers in Early, Calhoun, Seminole and Randolph counties in Georgia. She also crosses into Alabama periodically to bring her message to residents of Ashford and Columbia in Alabama.
“We are trying to educate the residents in these communities about diet, nutrition, our physical therapy program, and rehab programs,” Hiatt said.“We also want them to know about our skilled nursing facility and our 117-bed nursing home facility.”
In addition to her seven to eight visits a year to senior centers in the region, Hiatt also meets with patients at nearby hospitals and health facilities with referrals to LifeBrite for hospital rehab services.
It’s all part of LifeBrite Hospital Community of Early’s efforts to get the word out about all the health services offered by the facility.
‘Heart for this community’
Hiatt returned to Blakely, Ga., two years ago after 25 years in Atlanta to act as the hospital’s community outreach representative and educator. She restarted the outreach initiative, which had been on a three-year hiatus, modeling it after a program operated by The Southwest Georgia Council on Aging.
“I have a heart for this community. I feel strongly about what we have to offer. I want patients to know they don’t have to go out of town to get the care they need,” said Hiatt.
During Hiatt’s visits, a phlebotomist with the hospital’s lab is also on-site to take blood for free lab work. Health fair attendees who participate in the free testing receive results within five days, along with information about the results.
“We ask them to write down the name of their family physician. We let them know they need to follow their physician’s guidance once they get the results. We are just encouraging good community health,” she said.
Rural Hospital in Georgia is more than an ER
Hiatt says people are surprised when they hear about the services offered at LifeBrite, a designated critical access hospital.
“People don’t realize we can also do sleep studies, endoscopies and colonoscopies. Those are the things I’m trying to get out there,” she said.
Other services include:
- Acute care for illnesses or injuries requiring a short hospital stay and basic nursing, respiratory, laboratory, rehabilitation and diagnostic services.
- 24/7 emergency room services to treat those unexpected injuries and ailments.
- Surgical services include wound care, endoscopy, and colonoscopy.
- Swing-bed services for patients who no longer require acute care, but still need nursing and rehabilitative care to help them recover.
- Physical and occupational therapy as well as respiratory therapy for inpatients and outpatients.
The hospital will soon offer pulmonary rehabilitation services as well, Hiatt said. “Not a lot of rural hospitals offer that. But we will have a 12-week, physician-directed program for patients with cardiopulmonary disease.”
Hiatt loves her job and loves promoting a facility that she says makes the community healthier and stronger.
“Coming back here after my time in Atlanta, I was blown away at the service, attention and time our patients get when they come into this hospital. We have patients that don’t want to go home. That’s a great thing to hear,” she said.