Reaching out from Obici

Published 10:28 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It’s somehow fitting that a hospital with such deep roots in the community as those that extend below Sentara Obici is now being recognized for a program whose focus is on allowing medical professionals to better interact with that community.

Obici’s Community Outreach Program provides services for patients below the federal poverty line who are in need of at-home health care because of chronic diseases like diabetes or heart failure. The program serves mostly elderly patients and patients with certain social issues that make it difficult for them to maintain a good quality of life without special assistance. Many of the patients that the Community Outreach Program serves have limited reading abilities, and one-third of them live alone.

In short, the Community Outreach Program at Obici Hospital is designed to intervene and assist some of Western Tidewater’s most at-risk, medically underserved individuals. True to its name, the program reaches out into the community to do good, instead of waiting for those who need help to show up in the emergency room — or fail to do so entirely.

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A healthcare support company has recognized the program for its success, for its vitality and for its unconventional approach to providing medical services. That company has named the program one of 33 in the nation to have a chance at earning one of ten $10,000 grants.

The hospital would use the money to expand the Community Outreach Program by setting up a “tele-health” option that would allow nurses to keep in contact with and monitor the status of their patients by phone. It’s a nifty bit of technology that would give the patients even better care while also contributing to an improvement in their quality of life and a feeling of independence.

Suffolk has many reasons to be proud of Obici Hospital. But it’s always nice to find one more.