Getting a life-altering diagnosis is something of a nightmare for most people.
Some may experience searing pain, while others are cautioned by close friends and family members to seek medical help, but still choose to avoid medical assistance.
Being unable to afford basic medical assistance adds a whole new dimension to avoiding the doctor. In addition a diagnosis can sometimes feel very personal and can sometimes leave a patient feeling alone with their diagnosis.
But CHRISTUS Healthy Living Mobile Clinic is changing that.
CHRISTUS Healthy Living Mobile Clinic has been consistent at two things over the years; driving to underserved populations and a familial concern for every single patient.
CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare’s Mobile Clinics Coordinator, Nancy Bocanegra believes in a family philosophy from a community perspective.
“We believe in what we do,” said Bocanegra. “Sometimes we do have to work harder to help our patients understand the extent of their health issues. When we tell them the cost of treatment and medication, they often look at us in disbelief.”
“Our care giving isn’t about being the initial point of contact. It’s about being a reliable source of advice and information. Somewhere they can get their medical needs met. Sometimes that means making phone calls to reiterate the need for medical intervention.”
Bocanegra had more than 25 years of experience in community outreach before joining CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare.
“It’s always been the guidance to go above and beyond,” said Bocanegra. “The community trusts us and we have the access to help any patient who needs more treatment.”
Belief in Action
Certified Medical Assistants, Sheila Palomares and Janet Hernandez administer health screenings, which include blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, as well as well-women’s exams, vision, flu shots and more. They both testify to the ideology of remaining connected with patients.
“We all have a passion for wanting to help people,” said Palomares. “It’s the main reason why we do this. The idea is that when patients see someone who cares enough to stay connected, they will make better choices.”
Patients have gone as far as to attempt to reconnect with staff members to thank them for their concern and efforts.
“Unfortunately sometimes despite our efforts to stay connected, the outcome isn’t as wonderful as you would like,” said Hernandez. “There was a patient that I attempted to stay connected to due to us finding that she had dangerously high triglyceride levels. She ignored our attempts to get her help.”
“I ran into her months later and found out that due to her postponing medical treatment she experienced a stroke and had to be hospitalized,” Hernandez added. “Fortunately she made a turn-around and is taking better care of herself, crediting our attempts to help her live a better life,” Hernandez added.
Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
Every morning the mobile clinic has to be disengaged from the shoreline. The generator is started, followed by a walk-around, light and internal inspection, before it is warmed up. The staff board the vehicle and after securing their paperwork and luggage the mobile unit leaves its designated parking lot bound for a neighborhood near you.
Servicing the underserved and maintaining a line of communication is more than a theme for the mobile clinic staff. It is what they believe and what they practice. They’ve concluded as a group that it’s a necessity when assisting patients with limited means; ensuring that while they are fulfilling the mission one mile at a time, no patient feels alone.