Jackson Hospital’s MedWheels Provides Free-Health Screenings and Health Coaching
Stewardship is a core value of Jackson Hospital. Each year the Hospital’s education unit fulﬁlls this value by dispatching MedWheels to promote community awareness and provide community education about health issues in the numerous hamlets and towns that make up rural, and medically underserved Jackson County.
Through the Hospital’s adaptation of the American Heart Associations’ “Know Your Numbers” campaign, Medwheels travels to public areas throughout the county to provide free health screenings. Free tests oﬀered include blood pressure readings, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.
The technology built into the MedWheels equipment provides real-time test results. The on-board nurse discusses results with the patient, provides a pamphlet explaining their numbers, and identiﬁes how to change behaviors if any value is out of normal range. Also on-board is a health coach who provides information about diet and exercise and speciﬁc tips for lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
One individual participated in the free screening during a 2011 MedWheels event and had results so out of range that the machine couldn’t read them. After receiving counseling from the MedWheels nurse, the participant lost weight, began exercising and presented at a 2012 MedWheels event where his test results were nearing normal ranges.
Since 2008, MedWheels has served approximately 2,500 people. In 2012, about 200 members of the community participated in the MedWheels Know Your Numbers screenings campaign. Of those tested, 15 percent had dangerously high lab values and 60 percent had slightly abnormal values, meaning they were potentially at risk for a heart attack or stroke. In each instance, the on-board MedWheels’ Nurse Counselor interpreted the test results and conveyed to each participant the importance of getting their values within normal range, and referred them to see a physician for follow-up.
“Without Jackson Hospital’s Free Medwheels ‘Know-Your- Numbers-Campaign’ I would still be living with dangerously high total cholesterol. The nurse educator and the American Heart Association information put me on the right path to a better diet and a healthier lifestyle, which now includes exercise.” – Marc Garcia, Med/Wheels Participant