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Northwest Salmon

 

NEWS

 

New healthcare program will bridge health

and home for elder Day County residents


by Amanda Fanger

reporter@reporterandfarmer.com


A new, first-of-its-kind healthcare program geared specifically towards older residents is coming to Day County next month because of a grant from an anonymous donor.

The $1.2 million grant will fund three years of “Bridging Health and Home” in this and one other community, according to Program Manager Carley Swanson.

“Bridging Health and Home” will be a nurse-led, once a week pop-up clinic intended to fill the gap between patients and providers in rural areas by answering prescription and health related questions and doing blood pressure and glucose checks.

“Our goal is to improve the lives of older adults,” Swanson said. “This will be a place they can get their questions answered without having to go see their providers... We don’t want them to have to pay for another visit just to get their questions answered... We want to bridge the gap.”

According to stats from the National Council on Aging, 92 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease and up to 77 percent have at least two.

“What we really want to be there for is a resource, to help them stay at home,” said Swanson.

The weekly “Bridging Center” will begin Aug. 30 and be held Wednesdays at the Day County Arts Center in Webster. Appointments will be on a first-come, first-served basis and the pop-up clinic will be free of charge.

Another aspect of the program, according to Swanson, will be to help patients meet their health goals. Nurses with the program will make contact with primary providers if follow up is needed for more serious issues. Although the program will be run by Sanford Health, according to Swanson, “Bridging Health and Home” will not be an insurance-specific program, meaning they’ll work with patients whether their main provider is through them or another healthcare network.

The grant – split between Webster and Mayville, ND – will last three years, or until September 2019. When looking for locations to launch the program, the grant funder and Sanford searched for “communities with good support and an aging population. When they looked at Sanford’s footprint, Webster and Mayville fit,” Swanson said.

While the program is based on a combination of three former Sanford programs which focused on elder healthcare, this is the first time such a program as this has been implemented in a rural area.

“Bridging Health and Home” is being guided by an advisory council comprised of local individuals from across the county. A survey with elder residents has been taken to discover what health risks most concern elder adults living on their own.

“We want to know what’s out there so we can help build on those (programs). There are a lot of resources here,” Swanson said. “We want to make sure we’re headed in the right direction. We don’t want to duplicate any program – we want to connect those pieces.”

Besides the advisory council, the program will also work with local church congregations.

“This is going to be really holistic,” Swanson said. “We’re able to focus on the mind, body and the spirit, that’s affecting their health. We can pull those resources (a traditional healthcare provider wouldn’t be able to).”

Becky (Wagner) Weitbrecht, a Webster native, will be the head nurse for the program.


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