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Community Health Workers in Vermilion County are meeting patients where they are – in their homes

Community Health Workers in Vermilion County are meeting patients where they are – in their homes

Ask Donna Ross what she has been up to lately and she may say she is actually down – down 5 pounds since she started making healthier lifestyle habits with support from Community Health Workers at Carle Health.
“They have helped me be a success and I would like to help them be successful too. I want my family to join in with me,” she said.

Thomas Halloran, MD, at Carle at the Riverfront in Danville referred the 56-year-old grandmother of 13 to the grant-funded program in Vermilion County. He understands the women who has been a patient for many years has complex health needs.

The Community Health Workers act as a bridge from the primary care provider to vital healthcare services, community organizations and agencies. Looking at non-medical factors that influence health outcomes, each worker meets individuals where they are in life by conducting home visits and coming up with ways to help clients overcome obstacles and barriers to living their best lives. There are currently 33 clients provided those healthcare connections by the workers.

“Community health workers who go to the homes of patients are a valued resource as they learn the culture of each home setting and address healthcare gaps in understanding, nonjudgmental ways,” Halloran said.
Community Health Workers from Carle discovered a few options for Ross and explained the benefits and cost of each. They also support her in establishing goals.

Ross reduced her consumption of sugary soft drinks by more than half each day and replaced what she does consume with brands that use less sugar. She also dramatically reduced her overall caloric intake per day. Community health workers helped her with reading nutrition information on food labels and using a phone application on how to count calories in the food she eats. “I crush it every time,” Ross said.

“I was so proud I was down five pounds in four weeks,” Ross said. “They are doing a wonderful job and I love them to death.”

Maria Sermersheim, supervisor for Community Health Workers, said, “Donna was so willing to get started with the program. Sometimes people just need someone to motivate them.”

Support is a true motivator, Ross said. On a recent visit, she said she walked 3 ½ miles at nearby Forest Glen Preserve and felt great afterward. “Before I wasn’t active at all. I didn’t care. But now I do.”

Go to Community Health Workers | to learn more about what Community Health Workers do to support Vermilion County.

Categories: Redefining Healthcare, Community

Tags: Community Health, community health initiatives, , Vermilion, Vermilion County