LAKEPORT, CA – Worldwide Healing Hands (WHH) volunteers conducted free health screening events at the Warming Center on two dates in March, offering consultations and health checks at the center set up in the Lakeport Community Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The events were the first of four health screening opportunities planned by the organization to assist Lake County’s homeless and indigent this year.
Dr. Paula Dhanda, health screening organizer and team leader, was joined by Family Nurse Practitioner Christine Dalva and nurses Carol Stahr and Stephanie Allen, staff members from Specialty Care & Surgery Center who volunteered their time along with several other people who assisted. The team checked blood pressure and other vital signs and discussed health concerns with individuals.
Food was provided by the Warming Center operators, the Lake Ministerial Association, a coalition of area churches.
Following the screenings, Dalva summed up her feelings about being involved with providing care to some of the people who were staying at the Warming Center. “Everyone we spoke with was so nice and grateful for the support,” she said. “They had such relatively simple health problems, but the issues can get out of hand quickly and cause major suffering because the individuals do not have fundamental resources to take care of themselves, like access to healthy foods or bandages. They face so many daily challenges that even getting themselves to places where they can receive care is too much of a barrier.”
Over the course of the two screenings and assisted by 13 volunteers, the practitioners screened 13 people — 5 females and 8 males – ranging in age from 35 to 70 years old. Patients were screened for health problems and were referred for appropriate services depending on their needs, said Dr. Dhanda. The individuals were given written recommendations and contact information for follow-up.
Health issues identified during the consultations included diabetes, hypertension, skin conditions and wound care. Depression is another issue for which the healthcare providers provide support and make referrals to local specialists.
Also noted was the lack of knowledge about availability of health care coverage or how to get it, according to Dr. Dhanda. Worldwide Healing Hands provided Lake County Transit vouchers for individuals in need of transportation so that they may follow up with doctors or clinics.
WHH plans to conduct similar screening clinics in the future. Volunteers will continue to inform individuals about health care availability at upcoming sessions. “Helping to coordinate their care and connecting them with resources is such a simple thing, but it’s an essential and meaningful way to support these vulnerable people in getting back on their feet,” Dalva added.
Volunteers assisting with the screenings included Dr. Paul Farley, Dr. Ken Cartwright, nurses Debbie Majestic and Lorene Watson, Nurse Practitioner Mike Mietz, Carly Alvord, Jasmin Clarke, Lisabeth Cuppoletti, Lacey Deas, Irene Lopez, Sandy Mietz, and WHH Administrative Assistant Susan Stout.
“Worldwide Healing Hands would like to thank all the doctors and volunteers who gave their time during our two recent free screenings to care for members of our community,” said Dr. Dhanda. For information about upcoming screenings, Worldwide Healing Hands missions and volunteer opportunities, visit the WHH website, www.worldwidehealinghands.org.
by Susan Stout