The COVID-19 pandemic has created many innovative ways to ensure the physical and mental health needs of individuals and families continue to be met. Not only have these creative solutions unfolded within hospital and clinic walls, but in Agnesian HealthCare’s case, it has also quickly transpired outside of those walls.
For many years, Agnesian HealthCare - as a member of SSM Health - has had a strong collaboration with the Fond du Lac County Health Department. That longstanding partnership has blossomed into some fruitful experiences that have ensured that the most vulnerable in our communities receive COVID-19 testing and follow-up care.
Reaching Fond du Lac’s Hispanic population emerged as an essential need thanks to a partnership with the health department and Holy Family Catholic Community Parish. Working with the church’s Hispanic priests and health department interpreters, extensive promotion of a free COVID-19 testing site was completed and Agnesian HealthCare’s Fond du Lac Regional Clinic offered testing at an offsite location convenient for Hispanic residents.
“We took the clinic to them,” according to Dawn Vandenberg, regional director of Mission Integration with SSM Health. “Holy Family helped us pave the way and the health department donated the test kits. Collectively, we were able to reduce fear in receiving a COVID-19 test by reaching outside our walls and going directly to this underserved population. This first encounter will help us continue to build relationships and trust with this community especially among the undocumented.”
Agnesian HealthCare and its partners have also responded to other onsite screenings including an area business with immigrant workers and a low-income housing apartment complex where many residents would not have been able to physically access this critical testing process. More than 100 residents of this complex were visited by a Fond du Lac Regional Clinic nurse insuring that no one was left behind. In particular, those whose mental, emotional and social conditions put them on the margins of society.
“Our dedicated team of providers have demonstrated a tremendous dedication to taking care of our people, keeping them safe,” says Kathy Luedtke, Agnesian HealthCare director of Clinic Services. “It’s important that we do everything we can to make those in need within our communities have better lives.”