McDOWELL – In an effort to measure the impact of current public health efforts, identify respective health concerns and priorities, and guide the appropriate use of local resources, McDowell ARH Hospital with the assistance of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) at the University of Kentucky recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in the community. This assessment consisted of the formation of a local steering committee made up of members from community organizations and businesses, distribution and completion of 240 surveys and several community focus groups.
The results from all of these different forums were compiled, analyzed, and priorities established for the next three years. This year’s final CHNA report for McDowell ARH is now available on ARH’s website along with the final reports for ARH’s other 10 hospitals. The full report can be found at www.arh.org/CHNA.
Some of the selected priorities from the recently completed CHNA process at McDowell ARH include: increasing access to health services and educational opportunities in the community and increasing communication with community and patients regarding hospital events, services and physicians.
This recently completed CHNA process is the second time McDowell ARH has undergone this process. Three years ago, McDowell ARH chose priorities from that CHNA and has been focusing their resources on implementing those priorities over the past three years. Three of those priorities are highlighted below:
Educating the community of the risks of obesity and the high prevalence of obesity in our area, especially with children – McDowell ARH hosted three school fitness fairs at South Floyd Middle School in 2014-15. The hospital also hosted several health and nutritional education sessions with children throughout the year, and hospital staff participated in health fairs at senior citizen centers to address the issue of obesity. Dietician Sabrina Hicks discussed healthy food choices as well as portion size. “Hosting fitness fairs at South Floyd Middle School has been rewarding,” said McDowell ARH Community CEO Russ Barker. “The kids were so competitive yet cheered each other on during the events. The best news is that the majority of the kids actually decreased their BMI from one event to the next as they became more aware of the importance of exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
Providing after-hours medical services at outlying clinics – McDowell ARH established after hours clinics on Mondays at both Wayland and Wheelwright Family Care Clinics until 7 p.m., and expanded hours in the McDowell Professional Clinic with hours from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Providing more specialists, including cardiology – McDowell ARH has more specialty physicians, including Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, podiatry, oncology, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, nephrology and general surgery for stereotactic breast biopsies.
With the success in achieving these previous CHNA priorities in mind, the staff at McDowell ARH has been able to listen and identify needs and concerns expressed by the community’s citizens once again with this year’s CHNA process, and the staff will continue to work in partnership with the community to execute the newly established CHNA implementation plan and realize the goals that have been positioned to build a healthier community—a healthier Kentucky.