How to Have a Realistic Relationship with Sunscreen

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By now, you know the importance of wearing sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that using it properly decreases your risk of skin cancer, including the deadliest type: melanoma. But squeezing sunblock into an already-packed daily routine can seem tricky, not to mention the fact that there are several guidelines to bear in mind. We’re sharing here some tips to make your sunscreen regimen more manageable. 

Simple Ways to Make Sunscreen a Priority 

Start with the Basics

At a minimum, The American Academy of Dermatology notes that these factors are key ingredients for your sunscreen to help protect against skin cancer:      

  • SPF of 30 or higher
  • Broad-spectrum protection to block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Water resistance 

Find a Product You Love

Once you have the basics in place, you can be a bit more selective about the brand and other ingredients. After all, you’ll be more inclined to apply sunscreen daily if you actually like the product. Elizabeth Hale, MD, board certified dermatologist tells Healthline that      mineral-based formulas, such as those with zinc oxide, “are often recommended for people with skin sensitivities, including acne, and are gentle enough to use on children.” They do tend to have a chalky finish that can transfer to other surfaces, but      newer solutions are a bit more sheer. You may also find a tinted version to blend with your skin tone.

While mineral sunscreens work by creating a physical barrier against the sun’s rays, chemical formulas have UV filters that are then absorbed into the skin. In recent years, there has been some concern over the safety of these ingredients. As a result, in 2019, the FDA proposed new rules to update regulatory requirements for sunscreen safety. Researchers are still investigating the long-term effects of some active ingredients, but for now, there’s no conclusive evidence that they pose risks of adverse health outcomes

To that end, Dr. Nana Duffy, MD, FAAD advises in Healthline that the best type of sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use. Many people are drawn to lightweight, non-greasy formulas. You might also consider a fragrance-free option to avoid any strong chemical odors.

Rely on Clothing

Sunscreen is most important for bare skin that will be exposed to the sun’s rays for extended periods of time. Chances are you won’t need sunscreen on your midriff every day, for example. Unless you’re heading to the beach or sitting poolside, rely on UV-blocking clothing to do most of the work for you instead. (But UV-protective clothing can still add extra protection those cases, too — particularly for children.)

Master the Application

On days when you will be less covered up, consider applying sunscreen right before you get dressed. That way, you won’t have to worry about getting the product on your bathing suit or clothing. It will also give you enough time for the sunscreen to settle on the skin and start protecting you, which experts say is about 15 minutes. For hard-to-reach areas such as your back, ask someone for help or use a spray product for application. 

Keep a Spare on Hand 

Board-certified dermatologist and director of Ethnic Skin Care at the University of Miami Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, advises Prevention readers that you must reapply sunscreen every two hours to achieve full protection, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. Keep a spare tube on hand for easy reapplication. You might keep one in your bag, car, or work desk. 
The providers at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes are here to make preventive wellness as simple as possible while providing personalized patient care. To schedule an appointment, call (336) 593-2831, or reach out to us online to learn more about our services.

Woman holding hand up saying no to wine glass

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

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The past few years have been a rollercoaster, and many have turned to drinking more alcohol to cope with these stressful times. But consumption of too much alcohol can lead to many short- and long-term health risks

Four extremely important organs in our bodies are especially impacted — the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas — and excessive alcohol can even lead to several types of cancer.

Whether or not you have noticed yourself leaning more heavily on the bottle of late, it is important to know and respect your limits to lessen your risk of health concerns.

Social Drinking

Some people only drink during celebrations or with friends — otherwise known as social drinking. Even in these cases, it is extremely important to know your short-term limits so that your celebratory night out with friends doesn’t turn into a bigger issue. 

Moderate Drinking

Even when drinking socially, alcohol should only be consumed in moderation. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), alcoholic drinks should be limited to a maximum of one daily for women and two for men — in all cases and situations. This moderation also prevents alcohol poisoning, alcohol overdose, and lessens the risk for negative health effects. 

This type of drinking is without a doubt better than heavy or excessive drinking, but consuming alcohol in any amount can greatly increase your risk for many health concerns

Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking includes binge drinkers and heavy drinkers, along with any drinking by pregnant women or those under the age of 21. 

Both chronic heavy drinking and drinking while underage have many very serious short- and long-term risks. Short-term risks include alcohol poisoning, violence, miscarriages or stillbirths, or risky sexual behaviors. Long-term risks may involve a weakened immune system, heart disease, alcohol dependence, mental health problems, or several types of cancers, including of the: 

  • Breast
  • Colon or rectum
  • Esophagus
  • Liver
  • Mouth
  • Throat (pharynx)
  • Voice box (larynx)

Healthy Alcohol

While alcohol is known to negatively affect our minds and bodies, red wine — when carefully moderated — has been positively linked to cardiovascular health, gut health, control of type 2 diabetes, normalized blood pressure, improvement of some neurological disorders, and may even combat certain types of cancers.

How to Drink Safely and Take Care of Your Health 

One of the most important tips for drinking safely is knowing the difference between binge drinking and controlled drinking. Binge drinking is drinking that quickly (usually in about 2 hours) brings your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher. 

Controlled drinking, on the other hand, focuses on setting limits and drinking in moderation while not giving up alcohol entirely. It may also help with treating alcohol use disorder in cases where abstinence does not work.

To be sure you are drinking safely, always eat and hydrate before you consume alcohol to slow its absorption and effects. Remember to not drink when you are tired, stressed, or upset. Do not mix alcohol with other drugs or medicines, and never drink and drive.

For more information on how you can take care of your health and drink safely, or to learn more about our services and facilities at Stokes, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

Learn More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories.

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How Healthcare Professionals Provide Acute Care

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Acute care is the branch of healthcare that treats short-term but severe medical needs. Whereas chronic care can often be made available in assisted living or at-home settings, acute care is only provided in hospitals and emergency departments, because it requires specially trained clinical personnel, technical equipment, and thorough sanitization. 

Each type of acute care provides specific services to the patient, depending on their need.

Who provides acute care?

Different healthcare professionals are needed to provide acute care services depending on where someone is receiving care, and the type of care needed. The emergency department, for example, includes ambulance paramedics, ER doctors, nurses, technicians and trauma surgeons. Experts of more specialized fields such as orthopedics can be brought in if required.

Urgent care centers, on the other hand, are often walk-in centers staffed by at least one physician, plus physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other nurses. Frequently, more specialized physicians also work directly in urgent care departments  — such as sports medicine and internal medicine physicians. 

How do I know what kind of acute care I need? 

Deciding what type of acute care you need in a painful and frightening situation can be extremely difficult. In general, your decision will most likely be between four options:

  • Your Personal Healthcare Provider
    • If your injury or illness does not require immediate attention, you can call your healthcare provider and schedule treatment with them.
  • Urgent Care
    • If you require immediate care but the injury or illness is not life-threatening and does not carry the risk of permanent disability, an urgent care facility should be able to accommodate your needs.
  • Emergency Care
    • If you (or your unborn child if you are pregnant) could die or become permanently disabled by your illness or injury, immediate emergency care is needed.
  • Intensive Care
    • Intensive care units (ICUs) are specialized hospital wards that provide treatment and monitoring for people who are extremely ill. While there are many conditions that could require ICU care, in general most patients in an ICU are having problems with at least one of their vital organs or systems — possibly more. 

Why is acute care important to your community? 

One 2018 study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reported that acute care facility visits to non-emergency facilities (like urgent care centers) increased by 140% from 2008 to 2015. But ER visits for non-emergency conditions decreased by 36%. While this means more patients may be going to urgent care (instead of the ER) when they need acute care, this may not be the case for more rural locations. A 2019 report concluded that “Rural EDs experienced greater growth in ED use simultaneous with increased pressure as safety-net hospitals.” 

This is potentially because, according to the CDC’s examination of rural health in 2017, people living in rural areas are at a greater risk for life-threatening effects of heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injury. (Deaths by unintentional injury in rural areas are 50% more common than in urban areas.)

Because rural areas are more at risk for injury and illness, acute care facilities of every type may be even more essential to residents.

At LifeBrite we are dedicated to providing our community with quality acute care, and getting you the services you need regardless of your circumstances. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

Learn More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories.

How to Talk to Loved Ones Who are Vaccine Hesitant

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It’s been a year since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, but there are still several citizens who feel strong hesitation. Unfortunately, our unvaccinated family members, friends, and neighbors are 14 times more likely to contract a fatal case of COVID-19. 

If your loved one is vaccine-hesitant, you can prioritize their safety by both acknowledging their anxieties, and encouraging them to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are medically able. 

Acknowledge Their Fears 

When asked about their vaccine hesitancy, 49% of the U.S. Census Bureau’s respondents said they were concerned about the side effects, and 42% claimed to not trust the vaccine. Others question how quickly the COVID-19 vaccines were made available, and their efficacy.

One of the first ways to help ease this anxiety is to acknowledge it, as Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine explains: “Their anxiety doesn’t have to make sense to you. What the person is experiencing is real and requires sensitivity.” Recognize how these fears may affect your loved one’s decisions, and avoid invalidating their experience. 

Highlight Vaccine Benefits

Remind your loved one of the many benefits of receiving the vaccine. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate of 97%, and the Pfizer vaccine of 95% for preventing severe disease. While neither completely eradicates the chance of contracting the virus, they significantly lessen the virus’s symptoms and the chance of hospitalization

Because COVID-19 vaccines reduce your risk of contracting the virus, they also reduce the chance of spreading it. While some individuals are unable to receive the vaccine due to their life situations or health conditions, if you’re able, doing so better protects this vulnerable population.

You can point out to your loved one that those vaccinated may save on medical bills. COVID-19 hospitalizations can cost an average of $24,033. 

Present Quality Facts

Some of your loved ones’ hesitations may come from common vaccine myths. You can help clear the noise of these misunderstandings with sound facts. 

Some may have hesitations because of how quickly the vaccine became available. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared on March 11th, 2020,  and the Pfizer vaccine was FDA approved on December 11th, 2020. It did not, however, take only eight months to form the mRNA vaccine. These mRNA vaccines have been researched for over 30 years, and the method has been similarly studied for Influenza, Zika, and rabies

Others worry that the COVID-19 vaccine can also cause uncomfortable side effects. While admittedly the vaccine may cause fatigue, headache, body aches, fever, and nausea, in a study of 954 healthcare workers at Johns Hopkins Medical, only 43% experienced side effects after their second dose. This left 57% who did not report symptoms at all. 

Take Next Steps Together

It may take time for vaccine anxieties to completely subside. Guide your loved one through by scheduling a vaccination appointment together, and then go with them the day of. After receiving the vaccine, they will have to wait 15 minutes to ensure they do not have an adverse reaction. Take this time to keep them company and continuously ease their worries. 

If they are worried about the side effects, create a care basket full of over-the-counter medicines and treatments to make them more comfortable. Check in on them in the days following their shot. While the vaccine can keep them medically safe, you can help them feel emotionally safe.  

At LifeBrite, we will ensure your loved one has a comfortable and worry-free visit when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Our health professionals are ready to answer any questions. Schedule an appointment with us online.

Learn More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and LifeBrite Laboratories

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Considering a Diet? Read This First

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Keto, gluten-free, flexitarian . . .  Chances are, you’ve come across at least one of these trending diets recently — possibly along with several others. And if you’re among the many folks who set New Year’s resolutions this year, eating differently in order to lose weight may be at the top of your goals list. 

But before you embark on an entirely new eating plan, there are a few things to consider.

The Dark Side of Diets

While dieting may once have been perceived as harmless or good for your health, in recent years, a darker side has emerged. “Diet culture,” or the set of beliefs that values slenderness over actual health and wellness, has revealed itself as potentially harmful, especially when “normalized” through social media channels that emphasize false images over substance. 

Any diet that encourages extreme cutbacks, for example, can have detrimental effects on your health, both short-term and long-term. Severe calorie restriction can lower your metabolism, cause nutrient deficiencies and fatigue, and even reduce immunity and fertility. 

There are also potentially harmful psychological effects that come with dieting. While most people planning to better themselves don’t set out with harmful thoughts in mind, restrictive dieting  “. . .  erodes a person’s belief in their own abilities, suffocates their sense of peace about their character, causes them to question their value as a person, and finally, sadly, diminishes what they believe they deserve in life,” Darice Doorn, RD, LD explained to HuffPost in 2012. “This trickle-down effect damages almost every area of their life — work, home, and relationships.” 

The good news is that there are ways to focus on weight loss without allowing the dark aspects of dieting to take over your life. Here are a few tips for striking a balance that works for you.

Explore Your Why

If you’re pursuing a diet, the first question to ask yourself is, “Why?” If it’s because you think you need to shed 20 pounds to be more “acceptable,” perhaps rethink your motivation. Wanting to have more energy, or to enjoy a long life by fueling your body more healthily may be more powerful long-term motivators (and better for you overall) than fitting into a specific clothing size.

Think Addition, Not Elimination

We already know that processed foods with added sugars, saturated fat, and excess sodium aren’t good for us. We also know that choosing minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods when possible is linked to a number of beneficial health outcomes, including:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancers
  • Improved bone health and reduced fracture risks
  • Lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol

But it’s easy to become discouraged when we focus on what we can’t have.

So unless there’s a medical reason to eliminate a specific food or food group, consider practicing moderation across the board. Better yet, focus on what you can add — not what you need to take away. Filling your plate with a combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, and proteins as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans allows you to emphasize nourishment and health over restriction. And may make you too full for the other stuff. 

As with creating a new exercise regimen, changing your diet can take time, and experimentation. At LifeBrite Stokes, we’re here to address your body’s unique needs in a way that helps you feel and operate at your best. To make an appointment, call (336) 593-2831 or visit us online.

Learn more about LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

Son helping father prepare vegetables for meal

Rinse and Repeat: How Often You Really Need to Wash Your Hands When Preparing Food

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For nearly two centuries, handwashing has been one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. According to a 2020 survey by the Bradley Corporation, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 37% of Americans washed their hands six or more times a day. This percentage then spiked to 78% in April 2020. Now people are much more attuned to the CDC’s recommendations to wash hands after coughing, sneezing, or touching anything unsanitary.

The CDC also encourages people to wash their hands before, during, and after preparing food, in order to prevent foodborne illness. If someone consumes food contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, or E. Coli, it can cause serious and even life-threatening ailments. But how often is it necessary, and in which cases?

Handling Raw Food

Your dinner recipe may require the preparation of meat, eggs, poultry, or seafood. While delicious when cooked, in their raw state these can contain harmful bacteria. Your hands could then spread the bacteria to other foods or surfaces in your kitchen, causing cross-contamination. Washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw food (and also washing any knives or cutting boards immediately afterward) can keep you and your dinner guests safe.

Touching Your Face

People touch their faces about 23 times per hour. It’s such a human habit that many don’t realize they do it. While cooking, you may have to push up your glasses, scratch your nose, or rub your eyes. But your eyes and nose are entry and exit paths for respiratory infections. Handling food after touching your face is one way to spread those germs accidentally. It is best to avoid touching your face as much as possible, but if you do, remember to wash your hands before getting back to cooking!

Picking Up Your Phone

These days, most of us are touching and carrying our smartphones constantly. We hold them up to our faces, put them in often-used pockets, and sometimes even cough or sneeze on them. Because of this, smartphones can carry 25,127 bacteria per square inch and are one of the dirtiest objects we touch daily. You may depend on your smartphone to show you the recipe you are working on, but wash your hands after tapping or scrolling to prevent spreading any bacteria to your meal. 

Connecting with Unclean Surfaces

When preparing food, you have to open the fridge, the oven, cupboards, turn the sink on and off, and more. Remember to keep these surfaces safe and sanitary, and wash your hands after touching unsanitized surfaces. As Dr. William P Sawyer, a physician in Sharonville, Ohio told the New York Times, “Your hands are only clean until the next surface you touch.” The key to clean hands and clean food is to stay conscious of what you touch, and wash your hands afterward if you’re unsure.

LifeBrite is here to help you learn more about the importance of handwashing and preventing the spread of germs. Our team is dedicated to serving our community with individualized and quality patient care. To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, visit us online or call (336) 593-2831.

Learn more about LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

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Diagnosed with Celiac Disease? Start Here.

By Uncategorized

Being diagnosed with celiac disease can be overwhelming, and can raise a combination of feelings.  You may be frustrated about having to live with a chronic illness, mourning the life you had pre-diagnosis, and relieved to finally have an explanation for your symptoms. 

After you give yourself some time to process the news, here are some ways you can move forward.

Look for the Positives

No one would blame you for feeling disheartened over the fact that you’re among less than 1% of the U.S. population diagnosed with celiac disease — an autoimmune condition that causes damage to your intestines when you consume and digest gluten. But being diagnosed in the 21st century does have some benefits. Today, we know far more about the disease than ever before, and being informed gives both providers and patients the tools they need to control the illness and prevent potentially serious symptoms.

Increasing awareness about celiac disease has prompted food manufacturers to provide more gluten-free food options. Nearly a decade ago (2012-203), sales for gluten-free foods jumped more than 80%, and by 2025, the gluten-free food market is anticipated to reach a value of $8.3 billion. As others adopt gluten-free foods into their diets as a lifestyle choice rather than a medical necessity, dietary options also continue to broaden.

While being gluten-free will impact your meal choices, there’s little else from which it will hold you back. From Olympian runner Amy Yoder Begley to actress Zooey Deschanel, you’ll be avoiding wheat right alongside plenty of other successful individuals. 

Get to Know Nutrition Labels

You already know to avoid gluten, but aside from that recommendation, you may feel as if there’s a large gray area in terms of what you should and shouldn’t eat. First, let’s start with the foods that are naturally gluten-free. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, these include:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Dairy
  • Fish and seafood
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

From there, things do become a little bit more complex. You’ll need to avoid all forms of wheat, including varieties such as semolina, couscous, bulgur, and farro. Rye and barley are also off-limits. Be mindful that other grain derivatives can be dangerous for people with celiac disease, including wheat starch, malt vinegar, brewer’s yeast, malt extract, and triticale. 

Until you become adept at scouring ingredients lists and nutrition labels, there’s one quick and easy way to weed out gluten-free packaged products in the grocery store: by looking for the Certified-Gluten Free emblem. According to the FDA, foods labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which is the lowest amount that can be detected within large volumes of food.

Look Out for Vitamin Deficiencies 

Having celiac disease means your intestines may not be able to absorb vitamins as effectively. People who have been newly diagnosed are more likely to be deficient in the nutrients calcium, copper, zinc, iron, and vitamins B12 and D. Fortunately, supplements can be used to address deficiencies.

If you suspect you could have a chronic condition like celiac disease or need help managing one, turn to LifeBrite Stokes. Our providers can help you get answers, manage chronic conditions, and receive exceptional care. To make an appointment, call (336) 593-2831 or learn more online.

More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. For more about our specific services and facilities, visit our website.

A symbolism of pulmonary fibrosis: an illustration of lungs with dead flowers as the airways

What Is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

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Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a family of more than 200 interstitial lung diseases (ILD) that share similar medical characteristics. According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, there are more than 250,000 Americans living with PF.

In honor of Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month this September, we’re spotlighting PF to help patients better understand this group of diseases.

The Basics of Pulmonary Fibrosis

“Pulmonary” refers to the lungs while “fibrosis” refers to scarring. So PF is characterized by lung tissue that becomes scarred and damaged, making it harder for the lungs to work effectively. As PF worsens, patients face increasing shortness of breath and lack of sufficient oxygen.

The American Lung Association notes that the most common type of PF is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. Unfortunately, there is no known cause for this scarring — that’s what “idiopathic” means — though there are treatments available. Other types of PF include environmental, occupational, drug- and radiation-induced, and autoimmune connective tissue disease.


In addition to shortness of breath, PF may cause a dry, hacking cough that doesn’t improve over time. Patients may also experience fatigue, unexplainable weight loss, and muscle and joint aches. Some also experience widening and rounding of the tips of the toes or fingers, known as clubbing.

The severity and progression of symptoms can vary significantly from one person to the next. Some may experience mild symptoms that progress slowly over years, while others become ill quickly.


Although IPF has no known cause, certain lifestyle factors can contribute. For instance, exposure to air pollutants and toxins such as coal dust or asbestos fibers have been linked to PF. Radiation treatment for lung or breast cancer, some drug prescriptions, and previous conditions such as pneumonia or lupus can also lead to PF. Experts believe certain viruses, genetic factors, and exposure to smoke could also contribute to the condition.

In addition to direct causes, other factors may also increase a person’s risk for PF, including older age (most people are diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70), and gender (PF is more common in men than women).


While the damage to lung tissue caused by PF cannot be reversed, there are medications available to help control the disease’s progression. Ofev (nintedanib), and Esbriet (pirfenidone) have both been approved by the FDA for treatment. 

Oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation such as breathing exercises to enhance lung efficiency, and lifestyle adjustments such as exercising and maintaining a healthy diet may also alleviate PF symptoms. If patients are in otherwise good physical condition and have no other life-threatening diseases, a lung transplant may be an option.

At Lifebrite Stokes, our practitioners are dedicated to helping patients receive an accurate diagnosis to create a personalized treatment plan for PF and several other respiratory conditions. Our team is here to help you find answers, manage existing conditions, and provide exceptional care. To make an appointment with one of our providers, call (336) 593-2831 or learn more about our services online.

Learn More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. For more about our specific services and facilities, visit our website.

Rural country view of a road and a truck driving down it

How Rural Hospitals Impact Their Communities

By Uncategorized

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or read the word “hospital”? Emergency rooms and maternity wards? Intensive care units? Maybe nurses, doctors, and technological equipment?

It’s true that all of these are essential aspects of a highly functioning hospital, but in actuality, there are many more ways in which a hospital impacts its community. Especially in non-metropolitan, rural areas like the one we at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes are dedicated to serving. 

Providing Comprehensive Care

“Small rural hospitals deliver not only traditional hospital services such as emergency care, inpatient care, and laboratory testing, but also rehabilitation, long-term care, maternity care, home health care, and even primary care,” the support team at Saving Rural Hospitals (a site maintained by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR)) asserts. For many in rural communities, there simply are no other healthcare alternatives.

Serving Those Who Need It Most

And citizens in rural communities may need the most medical assistance. According to a 2017 examination of rural health by the CDC, “Rural Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke than their urban counterparts.” The same report shows that rural Americans also experience an approximate 50% increase in unintentional injury deaths, in part due to long travel distances resulting in a greater risk of motor vehicle accidents, and lower seatbelt use.

Though it may come as a surprise, addiction and substance abuse can also be a larger problem in rural communities. “Rural adults have higher rates of use for tobacco and methamphetamines, while prescription drug misuse and heroin use has grown in towns of every size,” the Rural Health Information Hub reported in 2020. Where there are often limited resources for prevention and rehabilitation, these health problems can be even more challenging to combat.

Supporting the Local Economy

Rural hospitals are commonly one of the largest employers in rural areas. “On average,” the Rural Health Information Hub states, “the health sector constitutes 14% of total employment in rural communities. . . .”

But providing jobs isn’t the only way in which community hospitals can stimulate their local economies. Adequate health and emergency services also attract new businesses and industries, while bringing and retaining visitors, workers, and retirees to the area, as well.

Consider a hospital’s buying power, too. When well-funded, hospitals can create  “. . . billions of revenues in purchasing goods and services from other businesses,” as a currently ongoing study reported in the Rural Health Research Gateway reminds us.

Understanding the Community

Rural hospital professionals also live where their patients live. They know the local history, news, and weather reports. They understand the community’s concerns and values. The doctors, nurses, and staff aren’t simply hospital employees — they are also neighbors.

This is one of our primary values at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, where we provide high-quality care and education across a variety of health topics. Whether you’ve experienced an emergency, require laboratory testing or surgery, are looking for a pediatrician or general practitioner  — we are here to meet you, and your needs, in these areas and more

Learn more about Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities at Stokes, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.