BY LAURA GRUESER, CHW
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio – The Community Health Worker(CHW) Program in Meigs county is well under way via the Meigs County Health Department. Our County is privileged to be a part of this growing addition to diabetes healthcare. Community Health Workers were first introduced in Alaska. Because many health centers are far away from the rural communities in Alaska, they implemented the CHW programs to be a liaison between health care providers and their patients.
When I’m asked to describe what I do, the answer can sometimes be in-depth. I perform duties of a diabetes educator, a social worker, a cheerleader, and a friend. When my patients have a medical question concerning their diabetes, I answer it the best I can. Sometimes that involves having a conference with our Director of Nursing at the Meigs County Health Department or contacting the patient’s Care Manager. If my patients have prescription needs, I call their pharmacist to sort it out. If they need community help, I am able to get in contact with services and/or people who can assist them. I educate my patients on proper eating and exercise habits and use visual and exercise aids. I make sure they remember doctor appointments and I cheer them on toward reaching their goals.
I am a CHW for all of Meigs County. In addition to patient referrals, I also take phone calls from diabetic residents. Many times, I can answer a question or put someone in contact with help.
In November, the Meigs County Health Department, along with the Appalachian Regional Commission Power Grant, the Sisters Health Foundation and Marshall University sponsored a National Diabetes Awareness Month Community Open House at Farmer’s Bank in Pomeroy. We welcomed speakers from Meigs and Athens Counties and 37 participants benefitted from their knowledge. The event was a big success for our program and we will be offering more learning opportunities in the future.
Holzer Health System has been referring patients to our program since Fall. We are pleased to be partnering with Hopewell Health Centers for patient referrals in the coming year.
If you have any questions about the CHW program, please call me at the Meigs County Health Department at 740-992-6626 Ext. 1035.
Laura Grueser, CHW