Global Health Team Helps Homeless With Foot Care

May 04, 2016

“Because the homeless are at risk for poor foot health, the idea of a foot clinic began to germinate,” she said. She met with the Hartford Hospital’s Community Relations Department and members of the Global Health Team, whose Domestic Health Committee is focused on local issues and addressing community health priorities. The team helped solicit volunteers and coordinated the efforts of Hartford Hospital, Trinity Episcopal Church, Christ Church Cathedral, the University of Hartford, Aeromed Medical Distributors, First Congregational Church of Glastonbury and the Church Street Eats Manna Program to gather supplies and volunteers.

Bonnie Matthews, RN (left) speaks with Patricia Coppola, RN (right), at the Hartford Hospital Foot Care Clinic at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford.

More than 30 participants attended the clinic, held at Christ Church Cathedral and staffed by 24 volunteers, including nurses, chaplains and a ministry dog. Almost all supplies were donated by individuals and manufacturers, including Hartford Hospital staff members, who donated not only their time and caring but also many of the white socks that were distributed to the patients.

Volunteers met each participant and washed their feet, taught them about proper foot care, and referred them for additional care as necessary.

GlobalHealth_Foot-Care-Clinic_AnaCalleVicie Brooks, RN, Hartford Hospital community nurse liaison, helped with washing feet and shared tips and important health cues about examining feet daily for cuts, bruises, red spots, swelling and blisters and told them when to seek medical care early to avoid developing more serious foot problems. “I discussed the function of our feet and toes: to balance our posture, transmit weight and walk,” Brooks said. “Many of the community participants shared their stories with the group. It certainly made me reflect and realize how blessed I am.”

“It was a pleasure to work at the foot clinic for the homeless population,” said Patti Coppola, RN. “We made referrals for pain, new diabetic shoes, wound care and nail care. The patients were given an assessment form to bring with them to either Charter Oak or the Brownstone Clinic for follow-up.”

“The clinic was about much more than foot care.” Matthews said. “The participants were given an opportunity to tell their powerful stories. The volunteers listened with concern and empathy and treated their charges with gentle, loving care. In meeting with the Global Health Team, we hope there will be an opportunity to conduct another clinic in the future, maybe offering additional care.”

Photo Above Right: Hyperbaric technician Ana Calle works with a client at the Foot Care Clinic. Each client received two pairs of new white cotton socks donated by the Hartford Hospital staff.

Hartford Hospital’s Center for Global Health’s mission is to improve the health of communities, domestically and abroad, through excellent and innovative clinical care, education and research, while building sustainable relationships with partner organizations.

Ann Sullivan, RN, speaks to a client about foot health.

Center for Global Health

  • Government & Community Alliances

    Hartford Hospital
    80 Seymour Street
    Hartford, CT 06102

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