Happening at Forks Community Hospital

  • BEGINNING MONDAY, JANUARY 7TH – ADMITTING RENOVATION Monday, January 7th, renovations will begin in the admitting portion of Forks Community Hospital. We ask that you enter the hospital as usual...

  • Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. Viral illnesses CANNOT be treated with antibiotics. Click image below to view full PDF...

  • Friday, December 7, 2018 the Forks Community Hospital will be participating in an interdepartmental evacuation drill. The Long Term Care Facilities will be completely evacuated. No Long Term Care visi...

  • We have been working with Dr. James in hopes of him becoming part of our team as an employee, operating a Family Practice Clinic in his current clinic location. I thought he was going to sign a contra...

  • An instructor will guide you through the topics on pregnancy, childbirth, the newborn, and address your individual questions and concerns. Classes held each Wednesday, for six weeks from 6:30PM -8:30PM. Cycle 1: Feb 5, 2019  ending Mar 12, 2019 Cycle 2: Apr 30, 2019 ending......

  • The Forks Ambulance will be holding CPR class on the last Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost will be $50 per student. The class will consist of the American Heart Association Heartsaver Adult/Pediatric/Infant CPR with AED and 1st Aid. Each......

  • Thank you for your interest in the EMT certification program through Forks Community Hospital. Anyone interested in becoming a part of this dynamic and motivated organization, please look for upcoming classes in 2018. The course fee is to be determined. Feel free to contact us......

  • Diabetes Education is offered at the Bogachiel Clinic every other Tuesday. To schedule an appointment, please call the Bogachiel Clinic at (360) 374-6998....

  • According to the American Heart Association, “Every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than one in three women is living with CVD. Although heart disease death rates......

  • January is cervical health month. Why is this important? Each year around 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 will die from it. Cervical cancer is ranked 14th in regards to cancers that kill women. It used to be much higher before......

  • The top 10 most common New Year’s Eve resolutions are (according to Google): While each of these resolutions are important to living a fuller and happier life, number 7, to quit smoking, may be the most life transforming. We all know cigarette smoking causes lung......

  • Children are limitlessly creative. Which, I’m sure, is one of the reasons washer warnings now read, “High Spin Speeds: Do not put any person in this washer.” The reasoning skills of little humans are not fully developed and they are not good judges of safety.......

Do you have a question you would like answered by an expert from Forks Community Hospital? Please submit your questions to shannond@forkshospital.org and we will do our best to answer them here in the Forum.

Click on a question below to view the answer:

“How many years should pass between colonoscopies?”

“How many years should pass between colonoscopies?”

A Colonoscopy should be done at age 50, unless there is a family history of Colon Cancer. If there is a history of Colon Cancer the person should have a colonoscopy prior to that age – usually 5-10 years before.  Example:  Father had colon cancer at age 49, son should have a colonoscopy at age 39-44.

If a person has rectal bleeding or spotting, get a colonoscopy ASAP.  This holds true no matter the family history.
If polyps are found, colonoscopies need to be done 3-5 years thereafter.
If checked and no polyps are found, it is usually 10 years before you will need another colonoscopy.

“Do I need to see my Primary Care Physician prior to scheduling a colonoscopy?’”
Yes, see your primary care physician to get scheduled for a colonoscopy.  Most insurance companies require this visit.

“Does my Primary Care Physician do my prostate exam or do I have to get a referral to a specialist?”
Primary care physicians can do the prostate exam, and order labs or tests if needed.

“Do I have to go to Port Angeles to have a colonoscopy?”
No, General Surgeon Dr. Chang can perform your colonoscopy locally at Forks Community Hospital.

Melene Bourm RN, Surgery Manager

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

How does my prescription add to medication resistance? What is medication resistance?

How does my prescription add to medication resistance? What is medication resistance?

First, let’s look at antibiotic prescriptions only. Antibiotics are built to kill bacteria (bugs) or stop bacteria from growing. In people, antibiotics are used to fight infections caused by bacteria but can cause side effects and antibiotic resistance at the same time.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when the bacteria become able to live in the presence of the antibiotic even though the antibiotic is supposed to kill the bacteria. Then the bacteria multiply and another treatment is needed to stop the infection.

How does antibiotic resistance occur? By misuse which can be taking antibiotics when they are not ordered or taken incorrectly, and by overuse when antibiotics are unnecessary like for a cold or flu and are given too often. Every time a person takes antibiotics, even when it is the right thing to do, some bacteria live (resistant bacteria) and over time there are more bacteria that are resistant to that antibiotic.

Some antibiotics that were used in the past can no longer be prescribed for the same infections treated earlier due to bacterial resistance. This can be deadly. If a bug can no longer be treated with antibiotics, those infections can lead to disability or death. Projections are that in the next 50 years, unless we manage antibiotics correctly, people like the toddler or kindergarten child in the family may die in their middle age of what is now a simple infection because that bug will no longer be treatable.

Why should anyone be concerned about antibiotics that someone else is taking? Bacteria are everywhere. The resistant bacteria grow in general society too. Anyone who misuses or overuses antibiotics contributes to the increasing problem of resistance.

The smart use of antibiotics is very important to control the spread of resistance.

What is smart use of antibiotics? Many diseases can be prevented with a vaccination so make sure you are current. Tell your doctor you prefer taking steps to get better without antibiotics if possible. Ask if your condition is from a virus and if so, decline antibiotics designed for bacteria. It might be difficult to tell if you have a virus that will clear up in another day or so or if you have a bacterial infection that needs an antibiotic so the doctor may write a prescription but ask you to wait and fill it in a day or so only if you feel worse. If you do get an antibiotic, take it as directed by the doctor and avoid skipping doses. Most will tell you to stop taking it when you feel better in several days anyway. When your treatment is completed, throw away any remaining antibiotic by adding water to the bottle with soap or coffee grounds so it is unusable by anyone else. It is important that you avoid saving it for a future illness and do not give any to a family member or friend.
These actions help prevent resistant bacteria.

This is everyone’s problem. We are partnering with you to do something about this.

At Forks Community Hospital we have a multi-disciplinary team who started a focus on Antimicrobial Stewardship over 2+1/2 years ago. We have been participating in a tele-conference every week with the University of Washington to combat this problem. Our efforts have been well done and we have received awards annually from the Washington State Department of Health. Last year we presented our program at a conference of the Washington State Hospital Association, and even won a grant to enhance our services and education to staff.

During this holiday season, protect you and your loved ones by frequently and thoroughly washing your hands: Sing the Happy Birthday song twice in a row to make sure you spend enough time with the soap and water. Cover your cough and even wear a mask, even if you are well and want to stay that way by avoiding germs of others. Stay rested and minimize anxiety. Gratitude helps. The best gift for everyone is the gift of health.

Janet Schade, MS, RPh, Director of Pharmacy.

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

I saw an advertisement for a pharmaceutical on the television. Why did my doctor choose to prescribe something else?

I saw an advertisement for a pharmaceutical on the television. Why did my doctor choose to prescribe something else?

When going shopping, many people make a list. Often times, patients treat a trip to the doctor as they do a shopping outing, with a list of drugs they would like to try. Maybe a prescription ad on TV or in a magazine looked like something for you? Perhaps your friend or neighbor has a pharmaceutical they swear by? Maybe you just want to feel better and think a prescription might help?

Sometimes, a drug is exactly what you need. Drugs can identify a disease, treat the symptoms and basic condition, or even cure it.

However, the drug you want may not be the right one.

Let’s look at your trip to the clinic as an opportunity to get the best help from your doctor, whether it is better drug or a different type of treatment.

What is a better drug? It is the one that does what it is supposed to do (the benefit) with the least side effects (the risks). Picking the best drug is a detailed process your doctor carefully considers. If you want an antibiotic and your infection is caused by a virus, an antibiotic will not work. Some drugs do not go with other ailments you have or other drugs you are already taking. Several are not to be used if you are younger than the age of 18 years. A few may be beneficial but the side effects are too much of a risk. You may already have been caring for your condition with home remedies or medication from the store. It helps the doctor to know what you have tried so far.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs that you buy without a prescription can be very good for taking care of mild symptoms or for even treating a problem for a short time. They are labeled with directions for how to take them and with warnings about interactions with your conditions or other drugs you take so you know if you need to avoid them. Doctors actually recommend some OTC drugs. Also, certain herbal products can help. Often it takes longer for herbals to take full effect and they do not have the same labeling as OTC products so it is less clear if you should take them at all or what amount to take.

What is a different type of treatment? In many cases, Physical Therapy offers benefits. Here are some other ideas: For an injury, apply ice and elevate the area, use distraction like music or television; for a respiratory illness, use a humidifier or a dehumidifier as the case may be; for an infection, take a probiotic to prevent upset stomach that can occur when taking antibiotics.

Be involved in your healthcare. Be honest about what you have done and want to achieve. Be willing to follow your doctor’s instructions even if you do not get the drug on your list.

Janet Schade, MS, RPh, Director of Pharmacy.

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

Bogachiel Medical Clinic

Bogachiel Clinic provides a full range of high quality, comprehensive family health care. Located at 390 Founders Way.

Clallam Bay Medical Clinic

Clallam Bay Medical Clinic is a certified Rural Health Clinic and a department of Forks Community Hospital.

West End Outreach Services

West End Outreach Services has been serving the residents of Clallam and Jefferson Counties since 1976.

AED Presentation

The Forks Community Hospital Foundation. Active in our community.


Visit Ray Ellis Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corp.

Discover Forks

Visit our Area Information page for access to important links to the Forks area.

Forks Community Hospital is committed to delivering excellence in health care with the highest levels of skill, professionalism, and compassion while always maintaining a focus on patient safety.

We are committed to continual improvement and meeting all regulatory requirements; and we strive to consistently exceed the expectations of our patients and their families.