By linking patients with the healthcare services and providers they require, Josie Gould, MSN, RN, is helping improve access to medical services for Schaumburg Township (Ill.) residents and those of nearby villages, particularly seniors.
Through a partnership between Arlington Heights-based Northwest Community Healthcare and Schaumburg Township, Gould, a NCH community health nurse, began providing healthcare services and educational programs to residents at the Township of Schaumburg Building in Hoffman Estates in mid-October.
A community nurse addresses the specific needs of the community, and in Schaumburgs case, although Josie is available to work with anyone in the township, a lot of her efforts will be concentrated on working with the senior population, NCH Director of Community Services Karen Baker, RN, said. The unique healthcare needs of seniors include chronic disease management, medication reconciliation and nutrition counseling, as well as referrals and linkage to other resources.
As community health nurse, Gould, a 35-year nursing veteran, said education is her top priority. She reaches out to people who fall in between the cracks of the system and seeks to link them to whatever services they might need. Key to addressing health concerns, said Gould, is making sure her patients understand what medical issues they face so part of her role is to simplify. Some medical professionals tend to talk over patients heads, and this can be especially confusing for seniors when it comes to managing their medication, she said.
Gould hopes to set up a medication management system for seniors and their caregivers. She also may offer an education session to help seniors reduce the strain of managing prescription medications. Keeping track of the time and amounts of doses, contraindications, volume of pills and other factors can be challenging for anyone, Gould said, and she hopes to help seniors develop coping strategies and adopt routines that will make that process less overwhelming.
She also wants to start a diabetes support group, which will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the township building. Starting on Mondays in January, Gould also plans to host a coffee and conversation group that focuses on a new health or wellness topic every week. Im here to answer any health-related question [the patient] might have, she said.
Gould also provides some basic wellness services such as diet and nutrition advice, healthy eating workships and stress management techniques, and also offers referrals. She works Mondays through Thursdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Schaumburg Township building. Walk-in hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Brendan Dabkowski is a freelance writer.