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Monday, May 3, 2010

Health Care for the Uninsured

“It was one of those glorious California mornings: clear, full of sunshine and cool breeze. What could possibly go wrong? It was my day-off from a sewing factory job downtown. But I felt a generalized discomfort and a queasy stomach. What did I have for breakfast?

“Along Occidental Blvd. next to the Church office was a sign: "Parish Nurse Here Today." It wasn't the first time I'd seen it. But today, I really felt rotten and it was only ten in the morning. The whole day was still ahead of me and feeling this way will surely spoil the rest. With no insurance to see a private doctor, I thought: ''what the heck! I'll see what the nurse can do for me." I rang the doorbell. There was only one client ahead of me. So, I was next.

“That Tuesday morning visit with the parish nurse made a world of difference in my life! Without knowing it, I was slowly, but steadily shortening my life. I was only 45 years old with a dangerously high blood pressure and a blood sugar of over 250 mg/dl. The kind parish nurse struggled with her broken Spanish to make me understand how very serious my condition was if left untreated. She was firm and determined to get me help. She set me up for an appointment in one of the QueensCare low-cost clinics close to the church.

“That was some two or more years ago. Now I have my health under control guided by nursing and medical professionals of the QueensCare Clinic who truly care.”

This brief account of one of the many clients can be multiplied many times over with varying degrees of success. QueensCare is a faith based organization that strives to provide accessible health care for the uninsured and low-income individuals and families in our area. Precious Blood Church and St Kevin Church (two parishes served by the Missionaries of Jesus) are affiliated with QueensCare through the parish health ministry known as the Health Cabinet. Members are parishioners who volunteer to serve the uninsured and low-income fellow community members.

QueensCare Health and Faith Partnership provide a public health nurse for health consultations and referrals every Tuesday in the parish office of Precious Blood and every Thursday at St Kevin Church. Every month a health event or program is offered by QueensCare and the Health Cabinet. Most of the services are free: blood pressure and glucose screening, bone density testing, vision screening, cholesterol and blood glucose tests, mammogram, Pap Smear, etc. All these services include an important, central element of health education, which is essential in empowering the patients to take control of their health; thus, avoiding or minimizing preventable diseases.

Each client is provided with a whole person health care involving the mind, body and spirit. The unique capacity of the human spirit for relationships of trust hope, faith, meaningfulness and purpose is seriously recognized and used to bring about health and wholeness.

- Cande Bak
Health Cabinet Ministry
Precious Blood Church

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