Community Health Benefit
We believe community outreach brings the light of giving and goodwill to the community.
We believe community outreach brings the light of giving and goodwill to the community.
The Trinity Free Clinic of Hamilton County provides free medical, dental and health services with dignity and respect to uninsured, under insured and low-income residents in the county. Franciscan Health Carmel’s medical staff, volunteers and employees are among those lending a hand.
In 2017, registered nurses from Franciscan Health Carmel volunteered their time and talents at Trinity, which provides a wide variety of services to more than 3,000 patients annually. Nurse volunteer hours totaled 144.75. Stephen Wheatley, director of operations for the Franciscan Health Carmel campus, donated 24.75 hours serving on Trinity’s board of directors.
Additionally, Franciscan Health was the title sponsor of the Trinity Free Clinic 5K, and it provided free volunteer sports medicine and physical therapist expertise at the October event.
Franciscan Health Carmel also provided financial assistance to the Enhance Fitness program at the Fishers YMCA facility. This program provides low-cost, evidence-based group exercise activities and is geared to help older adults at all levels of fitness and empowers them to sustain independent lives.
Physical therapists at Franciscan Health Carmel also promote to their patients their participation in Enhance Fitness. Through these partnerships, the YMCA agreed to make the program free to anyone in the community and not require YMCA membership.
In 2017, the Community Paramedicine program – a partnership between Franciscan Health, the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, Montgomery County Community Foundation, Wabash College and the Women’s Resource Center of Montgomery County – completed its pilot program focusing on heart failure in conjunction with chronic disease management.
“Community paramedicine works great in a community our size because of our ability to connect to community resources and navigate people accordingly,” said Paul Miller, EMS division chief for Crawfordsville Fire Department. “Franciscan Health has had a huge impact on expanding the capabilities of the delivery system within the Crawfordsville Fire Department. They’ve been able to develop training resources for us and financial mechanisms to put this into place.”
Living a philosophy of “man’s best friend also can be a healer,” Franciscan Health Crown Point celebrated the second anniversary of its Pet Therapy program in 2017, with a gathering in the hospital’s Marian Education Center that was attended by most of the team members and their canines.
The program has brought relief and improved spirits to hundreds of patients and their families throughout the hospital since its inception, thanks to the two-year effort of coordinator Julie Canady, an administrative assistant in the Franciscan Health marketing department.
Six dogs initially joined the effort, which now has 27 canines, along with owners and other members. During the celebration, handlers received gift bags that included portraits of their dogs, created on computer software, copied from photos. The bags also contained blankets and T-shirts. Owners enjoyed lunch, while the pets sat by quietly and patiently.
During the 31st annual prayer Service and celebration of Life, messages of hope, acceptance and love were reached out to over 1,200 school students and faculty. These messages were delivered by speakers such as Rev. Donald Hying and Franciscan Health Dyer’s hospital president, Patrick Maloney.
The theme of the event is “Be not afraid,” which stressed ideas of seeing the good in each individual and elevating the spirit and worth of others. Alongside pro-life activities, Franciscan Health Dyer donated coats, mittens, scarves, hats as well as holiday baskets, food and hygiene products to local families in need.
In the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, the age-adjusted ER rate due to pediatric asthma for Lake County was 93.90 per 10,000 which is close to the state average 104.2 per 10,000 (INdicators, 2015). The Indiana state average for asthma-related ER visits was 49.2 per 10,000 yet Lake County’s rate was 71.8 per 10,000 (ISDH, 2015).
Franciscan Health Hammond, Munster and Dyer conducted quarterly asthma educational workshops within one East Chicago School during the 2017 school year in order to reduce asthma occurrences. This free program is a way that Franciscan Health is providing expertise in healthcare and giving back to their community.
Four sessions were held in March, May, August and November 2017. Topics included:
Franciscan Health Indianapolis offered local parents and caregivers the opportunity to seat their youngsters safely in road vehicles based on recommendations issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The hospital’s Child Passenger Safety Clinic provided free inspections with certified technicians and demonstrated the proper use of car seats and booster seats on Sept. 21, 2017, in the parking lot of Franciscan Health Weight Loss Center, 5230 E. Stop 11 Road.
Franciscan Health partnered on the project with the Automotive Safety Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for this event. The event coincided with Child Passenger Safety Week.
Language interpreters also were on hand to assist Hispanic and Burmese/Chin parents and adult caregivers. Children’s car seats will be provided for families who can prove they are receiving public assistance, and the child must be present. More than 50 families participated in the event.
“Increasing child passenger safety is a primary goal of ours,” said Sharilyn Wagner, a postpartum nurse and Child Passenger Safety Technician. “Statistics show the leading cause of death for children ages one to 13 is automobile accidents. This is why it is so important we ensure children are properly buckled and within the right car seat.”
Adults can arrange for free inspections any time of the year by calling Franciscan Health Indianapolis at (317) 528-5774.
Everett Williamson of Lafayette went to see his doctor for his annual exam and was surprised by what his physician told him with the results of his A1C test.
It was 13.1, which is extremely high and meant he had diabetes. “They tried to put me on insulin, but I wanted another option,” said Everett.
After being referred to the Franciscan Healthy Living Center in September 2017, Everett attended education sessions and came back for follow-up appointments. Since the beginning of 2017, he lost more than 20 lbs. and his A1C level decreased to 6.3.
“This type of improvement is staggering. His results demonstrate that he was living everything he learned,” said Ann Brown, RN, CDE, a diabetes educator at the Healthy Living Center.
Everett is looking forward to being healthier so he can be around for his grandkids, working in his shop and driving his 1923 red T-bucket to car shows.
In 2017, several community organizations came together to talk about and create the gardens in the Eastport neighborhood of Michigan City. The garden was later launched in 2018 in Walker Park.
The gardens will work to address several issues facing the Eastport neighborhood – childhood obesity, access to healthy food and more.
“Eastport has been identified as a food desert,” says Mandi Eggert, manager of Service Excellence/Telecommunications at Franciscan Health Michigan City and a representative to the community garden. “A lot of planning and preparation went into this and so it was wonderful to see if finally come together.”
In addition to all of the planning just to get a garden, there were several town hall meetings for community residents to attend and learn about the gardens. “They have been very involved and excited for this project,” says Eggert.
The front half of the garden is for the community and the back half of the garden is designated as family-owned plots in which four different families selected their own plants and planted their garden.
In Central Indiana, May is the month of strawberries, remembering moms and fast cars roaring around a storied oval track. To that end, Franciscan Health and Senior Promise honored older Americans with its 4th annual Spring Fling Strawberry Festival in 2017.
This free event was held May 22 at Pioneer Park in Mooresville. A model of the 2017 Indianapolis 500 pace car – a Chevrolet Camaro SS – and several 2017 500 Festival princesses were on hand at the event. Visitors also enjoyed strawberry shortcake, live music from The Tides, giveaways and door prizes.
More than 200 Mooresville-area residents participated in this 2017 event.
Since 1987, Senior Promise has been keeping a pledge with more than 33,000 Central Indiana seniors. The program offers a variety of benefits and events to help those ages 55 and older stay in good health and prepare for the future.
One of the largest issues facing Lake County is infant mortality. Franciscan Health is working with healthcare providers and social service agencies to help new and expecting parents to have access to resources that will decrease Lake County’s infant mortality rate.
One of the ways to help raise healthy children is through providing proper breastfeeding education and support to new parents. Franciscan Health Hammond, Dyer, Munster and Crown Point sponsored The Big Latch On with Community Healthcare System, Mental Health America of Lake County and Nurse Family Partnership. The Big Latch On was held on Aug. 5, 2017. This free event was designed to provide breastfeeding and infant safe sleep education to mothers and caregivers. There was a total of 30 breastfeeding mothers and close to 85 participants overall.
Franciscan Health Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields partnered with the Ford Heights Community Service Organization to present its fifth annual Ford Heights Health and Wellness Fair on Aug. 26, 2017. This event, which is free to the public, brings much-needed healthcare services and information to a large, low-income population just three miles from the hospital’s Chicago Heights campus. The 2017 event attracted more than 200 attendees.
According to the U.S. Census, 44.8% of Ford Heights families and 61.1% of those under age 18 live below the poverty line. This is among the highest rates in an urban area in the entire United States. Its population of 2,763 is 95.6% African American, and its median household income is $23,220, compared to $59,196 in all of Illinois.
The Ford Heights Health and Wellness Fair has featured awareness and education on key health topics, including women’s health, men’s health, breast health, stress, stroke and heart attack prevention, as well as Lupus, Hepatitis C and senior programs. It also offered free screenings for blood pressure, bone density, blood oxygen, body mass index and Hepatitis C, as well as dental, hearing and vision screenings and flu and shingles immunizations.
When Germaine Schenk of Rensselaer began using her inhaler three times a day following a recent double-knee surgery, she thought it was either allergies or a bad reaction to medication.
She called her family medicine office and was able to be seen the same day by Wanda Gifford, FNP-BC, at Franciscan Physician Network Rensselaer Medical Center.
In 2017, the office was able to add two nurse practitioners under medical collaborations with Dr. Christopher Louck to expand access to care for the community. The office has also expanded hours to provide care for patients – some of them same day if needed.
“Wanda is thorough,” said Germaine, who also has great things to say about all of the nurses and staff at the office.
“It’s a big issue to get medical care in Rensselaer,” said Germaine. “We’ve had a shortage of medical providers in the community for years. There are people who have to travel; that’s not good when you are sick.”
By having the specialists at Franciscan Health and the expanded hours and additional providers at Franciscan Physician Network Rensselaer Medical Center, it helps the community a lot. “It saves a whole lot of time and worry if you don’t have to travel,” added Germaine.