CHW Success Stories: Carissa, August 2016

Through a generous grant via the United Health Foundation and in cooperation with KC Care Clinic, CHC of Wyandotte County’s Community Health Worker initiative seeks to improve health across Wyandotte County. From time to time, we want to showcase some of the success stories from our health workers:

A woman, new to the United States, moved to Kansas City in 2015 from Africa. Since then, a refugee agency has been assisting her and her four children with housing, utilities, food, clothes and establishing healthcare to name a few. The agency reached out to the CHW Program when they found that she was no longer attending her doctor’s appointments but complained of constant body aches. She did not understand the healthcare system in the U.S. She also had transportation issues getting to those appointments.

As a Community Health Worker (CHW) employed by KC CARE Clinic, I have the advantage of using the CyraCom Interpreter Services to understand and communicate with clients who speak different languages. During my initial home visit with the client, she explained how she didn’t like the confusion and chaos at the current doctor’s office she was attending and desired to go somewhere else for care but didn’t know how to go about it. I gave her a couple of locations closer to her place of residence where she can receive care. She chose one closest to her. Her next concern was that she didn’t know how to get there on the public bus transit. So I agreed to ride the bus with her to show her how to get there.

I went with her to her first doctor’s appointment and she felt comfortable and at ease. She has not only learned how to catch the bus to her clinic of choice by herself, but she is attending all of her doctor’s appointments and was able to find out why she was experiencing pains in her body. She is now receiving the care and medications that she needs to become healthier. She is getting enough rest throughout the night and currently has energy to do activities with her children as well as household chores. Now when I follow-up with her in person, her face lights up with happiness. She even tries to read books and magazines written in English to me to expand her vocabulary.

When we are at her doctor’s appointments, she advocates for herself and asks questions when she doesn’t understand something. If there is ever a time you could see empowerment, it would be in her face.

Carissa Redmond serves NBCCDC and the Historic Northeast Midtown Association communities.

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