VNA Mobile Unit Provides Care for Hurricane Victims

VERO BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 20, 2004) - The Visiting Nurse Association's Health Care on Wheels mobile unit headed to Charlotte County Thursday morning to help victims of Hurricane Charley.

The Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast's Health Care on Wheels mobile unit will be stationed in Charlotte County for the next two weeks to help the victims of Hurricane Charley.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Nancy Mace, along with drivers Mary Miller and Pam Waddell, will deliver food and supplies, as well as provide health care services to Charlotte County residents. The team is expected to stay for two weeks and will live on the 37-foot bus, which was purchased this summer by the Indian River County Hospital District. While the new bus is stationed in Charlotte County, the VNA is bringing its old mobile unit out of retirement to continue services for Indian River County residents.

Sharon Broome, president and CEO of VNA of the Treasure Coast, contacted Indian River County Health Department Administrator Jean Kline on Wednesday morning to find out what the VNA could do to help.

Nancy Mace, ARNP, and driver Pam Waddell of the VNA of the Treasure Coast sort supplies on the mobile unit before leaving Vero Beach on Thursday morning to deliver supplies and provide medical assistance to victims of Hurricane Charley.

“Jean called the health department in Charlotte County and they requested that we come as soon as possible. They were desperate for help. Our employees and community members collected food and supplies on Wednesday, then the mobile unit crew loaded up the bus and headed to Charlotte County around 10 a.m. Thursday morning,” Broome said.

She added, “It’s a great example of a state-wide partnership and how we can all pull together. The fact that we are able to help our neighbors in another county shows such good will and reinforces the mission of the VNA. And, it’s our local partnership with the hospital district that provided the funds to purchase and operate the mobile unit in the first place.”

The VNA Health Care on Wheels began service in 1992. It was created as a partnership between the VNA and the Indian River County Hospital District to help alleviate high costs incurred at hospital emergency rooms for non-urgent care by the uninsured and/or medically indigent. The mobile unit is funded by the IRCHD, which is supported by taxpayers. Last year, there were 4,187 visits to the mobile unit, and this year the VNA is expecting to have more than 5,000 visits.

VNA’s Health Care on Wheels is stationed at various locations throughout Indian River County. An advanced registered nurse practitioner cares for patients of all ages with minor illnesses, including colds, ear infections, sore throats, pink eye, urinary tract infections and minor cuts. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, and the services are free to Indian River County residents without health insurance or a private physician; however, patients must show proof of residency. There are also additional services provided for a nominal fee, such as cholesterol screenings, tuberculosis tests, and sports or work physicals.

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