Since the addition of an NCH advanced practice nurse to the Center for Health and Wellness at LCF, weekday Immediate Care Center visits have decreased 75%, and weekday Emergency Department visits have decreased 39%.
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The Center for Health and Wellness at the Little City Foundation (LCF) in Palatine provides a wide range of services, including medical and dental care, for intellectually and developmentally disabled children and adults. Through a collaborative and unique vision of LCF and Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH), the Center opened in May 2010 and is one of the first of its kind in Illinois.
The Center is staffed by an NCH advanced practice nurse (APN) and five LCF-employed registered nurses. In addition to providing immediate care for most needs of LCF residents and clients, on-site clinicians offer preventive and primary care services, including chronic disease management of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. NCH's director of Internal Medicine provides physician consult services and oversight to the advanced practice nurse as needed.
When these individuals were previously seeking medical care outside of the LCF campus, the change of location was upsetting, making this population challenging to treat in the traditional medical setting. Bringing the medical treatment to a familiar location they see every day has helped to calm their fears.
The Center for Health and Wellness is also home to a two-operatory dental clinic, which is an extension of NCH's Mobile Dental Clinic (MDC) program. A dental hygienist employed by LCF, along with the MDC team and students from UIC College of Dentistry and the Harper College Dental Hygiene program, provide direct patient care and oral health education.
Previously, LCF residents would have to travel to Rockford for dental care, bringing about an extra level of anxiety, expense, and inconvenience. The addition of an on-site dental clinic has helped to alleviate these concerns. To further enhance the delivery of care, a dental desensitization program has been implemented – reducing the need for sedation and helping clients feel more at ease when receiving the oral care they need.