Inside Giving Summer 2018
Going Where the Need Is Greatest — Carle Mobile Health Clinic
We all have our “a-ha” moments. For Malcolm Hill, MD, a Carle pediatrician for more than 35 years, his came a couple years ago when he saw one of his patients struggling to get off a bus. It was a young mom with three kids and an infant. He knew she’d been late for some appointments and
missed others altogether. That revelation led him to partner with Julianna Sellett, vice president of
Community Health Initiatives at Carle, and other likeminded colleagues to create a mobile clinic taking Carle’s world-class care where it was needed most.
“Many people find it difficult to come to Carle from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive the care they need. They may be working two jobs or have transportation issues or just have a chaotic life,” Dr. Hill says. “Now we can bring care to neighborhoods with services on a mobile clinic.”
Starting in July, the Carle Mobile Health Clinic will see patients in neighborhoods with the least access to healthcare with a dedicated team of physicians, nurses, social workers and others providing a wide range of basic care needs. Funding for the new clinic came from the 2017 Carle Golf Open, as well as generous donations from countless Carle and Health Alliance employees and physicians who raised more than $375,000 through Carle’s annual employee giving campaign.
“Launching the Carle Mobile Health Clinic is the next step in our Community Health Initiative to bring care to more people in need in east central Illinois,” Lynn Ullestad, MHA, director of Critical Care Transport Program and Mobile Health Services, says. “We know thousands of community members and families do not have the ability to get to a care provider on a regular basis. With these underserved areas in mind, the Carle Mobile Health Clinic bridges that gap in the care continuum.”
Mobile Health Clinic services include:
• Links to primary care and other community resources
• Chronic-condition screening and education
• Treatment of acute illnesses
• Basic wellness care and assessments
• School/preschool physicals and immunizations
• Basic lab testing
Clinic staff will also help identify and address the root causes of healthcare issues and provide referrals and applications for social services.
“I’ve worked for many years in the clinic setting, which has really been wonderful, but I have not been able to help a whole group of people in our community because they can’t get to my office,” Dr. Hill says. “Bringing care to their neighborhood and being in the homes is critical as we work to become their partner in their healthcare journey.” As part of the mobile clinic’s work, Healthy Beginnings is another part of Carle’s Community Health Initiative; it hopes to reduce the impact of poverty by connecting low-income families with a pipeline of coordinated community services.
“The mobile health clinic goes beyond simply providing acute care and screenings,” Dr. Hill explains. “We know to make a real difference we need to address the chronic issues in our community members’ lives to improve their health.”
Enlisting Beauty in the Fight Against Cancer
You can read about it and brace yourself for it. But nothing really prepares you for the moment when chemo treatments affect the hair that’s been part of who you are since your first awkward grade-school photo.
Kyla Cox understands that. As a certified mastectomy fitter at Carle Medical Supply, she has long played a role in helping patients regain their self-confidence after a significant physical change. So when Carle began offering free wigs for cancer patients undergoing treatment, she was the perfect person to lend a hand.
“If you feel good, it’s going to help with your health. That’s my opinion anyway,” says Kyla. She’s already helped about 45 patients since the program began in December 2017.
Funds for the program came from “Pinkasso: The Art of Giving Hope,” a fundraiser held at Mills Breast Cancer Institute and other third-party fundraisers hosted in October 2017. A matching gift from the Busey-Mills Community Foundation helped raise more than $100,000 for new patient-infusion chairs and the wigs program.
Wigs are provided free of charge to all cancer patients who need them, and Kyla says the shop – tucked inside Carle Medical Supply in Urbana – is well-stocked. They offer around three dozen styles, and satisfied customers have sometimes returned to buy additional wigs with their own resources.
“I just enjoy working with the patients, and I take my time with them,” says Kyla, whose passion for people hasn’t gone unnoticed. In the few months the program has been in operation, she’s already received a “gold star” comment card from a patient’s sister, as well as a beautiful arrangement of flowers.
“They’re very appreciative,” says Kyla, who’s seen the impact first-hand of Carle’s commitment to provide compassionate care. “It makes them happy that someone is willing to do this for them.” As for her role in the whole program, Kyla says, “I’m just here to make them feel good. That’s all I want them to know.”
Packed with Care
For the Women’s Legacy Circle, it was a simple way to help. Just a box with a few onesies, a thermometer and other basic necessities for new moms. But for those on the receiving end, it was something far more. “I felt like I was drowning,” one struggling young mom says. “And now I feel hope.”
The Women’s Legacy Circle Newborn Kits are just one small part of Healthy Beginnings – a large community initiative, led by Carle, working to reduce poverty by bringing government and community organizations together to help families in need.
The Home Visiting Services – a major component of the new initiative – matches expectant moms with a nurse who helps them prepare for their baby’s arrival and provides continuing in-home visits once the child is born. The kits, made possible through a generous $11,820 grant from the Women’s Legacy Circle, provide helpful necessities while giving nurses the tools they need to educate new parents.
Anne Mikalik, BSN, a Healthy Beginnings nurse homevisitor, says one of her fellow nurses recognized a teaching moment after a panicked mom in the program rushed to the ED with a choking baby. While the baby was okay, the nurse used her next home visit to demonstrate how to remove choking hazards with a helpful tool provided in her kit. “In her client’s home country, they don’t have bulb syringes, so she didn’t know how to use it or what it was for,” she shares, adding that the new mom was extremely grateful for the gift.
Altogether, the Women’s Legacy Circle provided 200 newborn kits for the home visits, which began in October 2017. Over 80 percent of those eligible for help are already enrolled. But Anne doesn’t have to see any statistics to know she’s making a difference. “One of our nurses had a client grab her by the hand and take her to the kitchen to point out the picture of her daughter in a Healthy Beginnings fridge magnet that we’d given her,” Anne recalls. “It was so sweet to see how grateful she was for this small gift and how proud she is that her baby is a Healthy Beginnings baby.”