MEDICINE ON WHEELS
The Saint Peter’s Community Mobile Health Unit Brings Health Screenings and Education to People Throughout the Area
WARM WEATHER IS NEARLY UPON us, and that means it’s time for outdoor health fairs. These events offer a wealth of information and services designed to help area residents assess their health and to screen them for potential problems so that timely treatment can be arranged if needed. At many of these fairs, you’ll find Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Mobile Health Unit.
The Mobile Health Unit, run by a hospital department called Community Mobile Health Services (CMHS), is a bus-size roving medical office that provides a place for staff to perform dozens of health screenings—including blood pressure, cholesterol and skin cancer, and provides health education and counseling. (See “Mobile Health, By the Numbers,” at right.) The unit is busy all year—it visited 243 community sites, for example, in the year 2012. “But spring and fall are our busiest times,” says Marge Drozd, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N.-B.C., director of CMHS. “Now people are thinking ahead to becoming more active and thinking about their health. Spring is a time of renewal, and people think of their health that way.”
Most services are free and are geared to the population being served, she says. “When we hold a fair in an area with many people of Southeast Asian descent, we concentrate on heart-disease markers because they are at high risk for that condition,” she says. “We make it convenient—it’s easier than going to the doctor.”
The unit works closely with doctors and nurse practitioners. And if a screening raises a red flag, the individual is referred to a physician, and CMHS follows up to make sure he or she has addressed the issue in some way. “We get in touch with 60 to 80 percent of these patients,” she says, noting that some are hard to find due to homelessness or lack of phone service. “Out of those we get, 90 to 92 percent take an action to address our findings, whether it’s filling a prescription, calling a doctor, altering their diet or exercising more. We are very proud of that; that’s a very high compliance rate.” —D.L.
MOBILE HEALTH, BY THE NUMBERS
Screenings aimed at catching disease early and information to help people manage their health better—these are the twin offerings of Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s 34-foot Mobile Health Unit, which travels Middlesex and Somerset counties taking a proactive approach to community health.
In 2012, 7,314 individuals were provided with one or more of the following health services:
• blood glucose screening
• blood pressure screening
•body mass index screening
• bone mineral density screening • cholesterol screening
• facial Dermascan screening
• hearing screening
• height/weight screening
• hepatitis B immunization
• influenza immunization
• Mantoux (tuberculosis) testing • physical examination
• pneumococcal immunization
• prostate cancer screening
• skin cancer screening
• sports physical examination
• stroke screening
• vision testing
If you would like the Saint Peter’s Community Mobile Health Services staff to perform health screenings or participate in an event for your organization, please call 732.745.8600, ext. 8903.