For more information about community outreach programs at NCH, click here.
In July, the NCH Foundation was awarded a $36,800 Community Partners grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) in support of NCH's Community Nursing Program. The purpose of the Community Nursing Program is to help NCH's underserved neighbors manage their health through triage, assessment and referral services—as well as preventive health education.
It is often difficult and confusing for people with few resources and limited English skills to navigate the healthcare system.Rose Jensen, RN, BBS, MSM, NCH's community nurse, helps those who are uninsured or on public aid to assess the severity of their condition and to find affordable healthcare resources. Bilingual in Spanish, Rose works at the Palatine Opportunity Center (POC), which houses a full range of social service agencies and chiefly serves the low-income, predominantly Latino population of northeast Palatine. Because the majority of her patients do not have a primary care physician for regular checkups and wellness management—leaving them without a "medical home"—Rose is also available to conduct routine checks for weight and blood pressure, and advises patients on nutrition, exercise and other preventive health strategies.
"We are grateful for the support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois for this vital program," says Karen Baker, NCH's Community Services director. "Our community nurse bridges socioeconomic, language and cultural gaps by working with patients to assess their immediate healthcare needs, educate them about healthy choices and refer urgent cases to community clinics." Baker adds that the goal is to address health issues before an illness becomes so serious that it can only be treated in the Emergency Room.
Another duty of the community nurse is to oversee NCH's Promotoras de Salud (Promoters of Health) program, a nationally recognized model in which bilingual women from the Latino community deliver important health education to their peers. Nine promotoras have received leadership training, as well as medically sound instruction on various health topics. Several promotoras, who are specially trained as breastfeeding peer counselors, also provide expectant Latinas with prenatal education on the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as post-delivery, one-on-one support for new moms. Through all of their classes, the promotoras improve the health knowledge and behavioral choices of more than 500 underserved families each year.