Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

Public Health to host open house

By DIANE VANCE | Mar 29, 2013

Jefferson County’s public health staff invites the community to an open house from 2-4 p.m. Thursday in recognition of Public Health Week.

The office, at the corner of Briggs Avenue and Second Street, shares a building with Fairfield’s fire station.

“We’re having an open house during Public Health Week to help the community be more aware of our services,” said Chris Estle, administrator.

“Public health is part of the health care wheel that’s sometimes invisible.”

The open house will include snacks, tours of the office, meeting the staff and information about the role of county public health in the community.

“We go out to the senior center and apartments and do blood pressure checks and have given presentations on healthy eating or other topics as requested,” said Estle.

The public health office seeks grants and has offered different programs through the years according to available funds, such as visits to preschools to talk about healthy eating or one year, provided bicycle helmets and safety tips to all fourth graders in the county.

“We are involved in so many aspects of health and safety in the community,” said Estle. “We participated with the county’s emergency preparedness drill in October with the school scenario shooting.

“We learned about a grant and received funding to purchase emergency preparedness backpacks we will distribute to school classrooms in the county,” she said.

“We’re working with the city on its Blue Zones designation; Heather Miller [a public health nurse] is working on a Community Transformation grant we received to make the intersection at 12th Street and Burlington Avenue safer and more pedestrian friendly,” said Estle. “Our office will be a first aid station during RAGBRAI.”

Estle said her office works with school nurses throughout the county, including the nurse at Maharishi University of Management.

Her department is responsible for audits to the state about immunizations and immunization waivers, dental checks for kindergarten and ninth grade students, communicable diseases and more.

Any resident of the county can access public health services, there are no income guidelines, but costs are based on a sliding fee scale. Jefferson County Public Health has been Medicare certified since 1977. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance payments are accepted and services also are provided through waiver programs.

People might be referred to the public health office or decide to access the programs on their own. Some of the services do require a doctor’s referral, but call the office with any questions to find out.

Jefferson County Public Health office is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except closed for an hour lunch, noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number is 472-5929. Information also is available on its website at www.jeffersoncountyiowa.com/publichealth/

Services include:

• Registered nurses are available to manage medications, monitor progress, provide wound care, catheter care, injections, ostomy care, IV therapy and other treatments prescribed by a physician.

• Home health aides can provide personal care in individuals’ homes, such as bathing, dressing, hair care, oral hygiene and shaving. A physician prescribes personal care services.

• Homemaker services — trained staff are available to assist with light housekeeping, grocery shopping and laundry.

• Various therapy services are contracted out and provided to patients who meet homebound criteria. Therapies include physical, occupational and speech therapies as ordered by a physician.

• Communicable disease follow-up.

• New mom and baby visits.

• Blood pressure screenings.

• Health education.

• Nutrition education.

• Resource referrals.

• General health promotion.

Skilled nursing and home care aide and homemaker services, not covered by insurance, may be provided based on income.

Jefferson County Public Health office provides children and adult immunizations. No appointments needed immunization clinics are 1-4 p.m. every Tuesday.

Children’s immunizations are for newborns through 18 years old. Free immunizations are available for children enrolled in Medicaid or underinsured. Donations are accepted for vaccines.

Adult immunizations are available for a fee for adults age 19 and older. These vaccines include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Twinrix (Hepatitis A and B combined), Tetanus/Diphtheria booster shots, Tetanus with pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), seasonal influenza shots and Tuberculosis skin testing.

“We’re also a resource to direct people to clinics for birth control, STD testing and the travel clinic in Iowa City for immunizations needed for global travel, such as malaria shots,” said Estle.

“One thing I’m very proud about our staff, all our nurses and home health aides live in Jefferson County,” she said.

Jefferson County Public Health employs four nurses, including Estle, two full-time aides, one full-time and one half-time office staff.

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