2018 Greatest Hits #4: Ascension Medical Mission at Home, brought to you by Providence

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

Answering a call to provide compassionate care to those in need

by Paige Reinke

When I think about what led me to a career in healthcare, I can’t help but think of the time I spent in a pharmacy growing up. My mom worked in a pharmacy, and I always enjoyed science and health classes in school, so becoming a pharmacist seemed like a natural fit. It wasn’t long before I realized that my desire to help others made becoming a pharmacist more than just a career path, it was a calling.

Our Mission calls us to serve all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, to provide care that sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities and to be advocates for a compassionate and just society—and that is what Ascension Medical Mission at Home is all about.

Multiple barriers prevent many in our community from getting the care they need, especially dental and vision services.  Ascension Medical Mission at Home offers free health, social and support services to those who might not otherwise have access. It’s also more than just a day of free healthcare. This event helps establish patients with follow-up care and connects them to various resources available in our community.

For our first Ascension Medical Mission at Home in 2016, I served on the steering committee.  I knew it would be a lot of work, but that it would be worth it. I also knew this special day of care would make a difference in the lives of many, but the impact extended far beyond what I had imagined.

A well-orchestrated team of over 600 associates and community partners worked in harmony to bring this day of free care to our community.  We provided medical, dental and vision services to nearly 1,000 people.

I was humbled by the stories of gratitude that quickly began flowing in: a woman who had been struggling with pain from an infected tooth for three years, got it pulled; a dad who had been saving for months to buy his son glasses got them for free; women who received mammograms for the first time; many who got prescriptions they needed to improve health, enhancing their quality of life.

When asked to serve on the steering committee again for this year’s event, I jumped at the chance.  No doubt, this experience will forever be imprinted on my heart, as my life was enriched just as much as it enriched the lives of those we served. I feel so fortunate to be a part of something so big and look forward to serving our community again on January 27. (Here’s a link to the flyer in English and Spanish.)

The Waco Convention Center will be turned into a medical arena, outfitted with medical bays, a pharmacy, and areas for spiritual care, and vision and dental services. Patients will be served on a first come, first served basis. Registration will go from 8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. The following services will be provided for free, no insurance necessary: 

  • Medical care for the entire family
  • Dental for adults only
  • Vision for the entire family – Child prescriptions will be filled on-site while adult prescriptions will be mailed or delivered to a pre-designated location.
  • Spiritual Care – Prayer partners will roam the facility to pray with the patients but will also have a more private area for more serious discussions
  • Foot washing – In the spirit of representing Jesus, we will provide a foot washing, toe nail trimming and foot massage to all who wish to participate.
  • Diabetes screenings for adults only
  • Breast Health Exams
  • Lab Services – Full lab services provided
  • Pharmacy – Prescriptions filled at the event
  • Shoes and Socks – during triage, patients will be assessed for the need for new shoes
  • Flu Vaccines – adults only
  • Food – volunteers will be passing out water, fruit or granola bars to patients.  Caritas will also be on-hand to distribute food and provide resources for the future.
  • Community Services – Community resources will be on-hand to assist patients with personal or family needs.

Other Ascension sites across the nation have held medical mission events in their communities. This is the fifth Ascension Medical Mission at Home event in Texas. Ascension’s Seton Healthcare Family in Austin has hosted three. To see the impact of our first Ascension Medical Mission at Home event in Waco, watch this video. For more information go here.

Paige Reinke, Pharm.D., is the Clinical Coordinator in the pharmacy department at Providence. Providence is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. Her main responsibilities are managing the pharmacy clinical programs at the hospital and antibiotic stewardship. She earned a doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas. She met her husband, David, in pharmacy school and he is also a pharmacist at Providence.  They have two children who attend school in China Spring.