There’s nothing like a real life emergency to serve as an urgent reminder of the importance of accessible health care. Such was the case during the recent grand opening of NCC Commons Senior’s new Visiting Physician Clinic.
Officials from New Community and The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey gathered at 140 South Orange Ave. in Newark with residents for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the new health clinic. But mere moments before NCC Health and Social Services Director Sharon Pleasant-Jones began the program, a resident at the event became disoriented and unresponsive.
Immediately, Pleasant-Jones, a registered nurse, and Dr. Nicholas Guittari, who will regularly staff the new clinic, were both by the elderly resident’s side. They checked the resident’s vital signs on the spot and assessed any immediate needs. Then Guittari and Health and Social Services staff wheeled the resident into the clinic as they waited for EMS to arrive.
When Pleasant-Jones took to the podium, she began with a prayer and reminded the audience of the crucial services the new clinic provides for the elderly and disabled.
“This is what we do every day,” Pleasant-Jones said. She later confirmed that the resident returned from the hospital stabilized and is in the care of a family member.
The grand opening celebrated a milestone for NCC, which has expanded its Visiting Physician Clinic program, thanks to a grant from The Healthcare Foundation. NCC now boasts four on-site health clinics in eight of its senior buildings.
“I firmly believe health care is a basic human right,” Richard Rohrman, CEO of New Community, said.
Marsha Atkind, Executive Director of The Healthcare Foundation, said she was excited to partner with New Community to expand its Visiting Physician program.
“We knew this would be a great match,” said Atkind, who awarded NCC a grant of up to $120,527 to set up the clinic.
Attendees like Lisa Block, Senior Program Officer at The Healthcare Foundation, toured the 300-square-foot clinic, which features a fully outfitted doctor’s office with brand new equipment including an examination bed, electrocardiogram (EKG) machine, scopes to examine eyes and ears, blood pressure monitor, digital scale, and medical supplies, as well as a separate room for the nurse.
“This is gorgeous,” Block said after walking through the clinic, which is located on the ground floor adjacent to the Community Room.
Resident Raymond Hopkins is especially grateful that he can receive his primary care services just steps from his apartment. He was among 18 people who were signed up to see the doctor that day. “We don’t have to run around,” he said. Afterwards, Hopkins and all new patients received a complimentary brown bag lunch prepared by Paul Hsu of Guardy’s Pharmacy in Newark. The health clinic at Commons Senior is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the office number is 973-585-9608.