It’s hard to imagine a more difficult childhood than living on the
streets … or being a new mother faced with the possibility of homelessness.
In the South Bay,
Community’s Child—a nondenominational Christian program—has stepped in to help
this vulnerable population.
Open to homeless adult mothers who have an infant younger than 12 months,
Community’s Child helps women and their children get back on their
feet in a structured living environment. The maximum stay in the residential
living program is 18 months, and during that time women are expected to
attend school, college or job-readiness programs to gain the skills necessary
to provide for themselves and live self-sufficiently.
Although these women may have a temporary roof over their heads, access
to medical care is another story. That’s where Torrance Memorial
Medical Center is stepping in through its community benefit mission of
providing services to those in need. Over the course of three health fairs,
Torrance Memorial screened more than 80 children and their parents, according
to Catherine Hargrove, manager of health education at the hospital.
The fairs, held at Calvary Assembly in Torrance, were exclusively for the
families of Community’s Child and focused on concerns specific to
the population. “We offered blood pressure checks to screen for
high blood pressure; hemoglobin to screen for anemia; and if needed, hemoglobin
A1c to screen for pre-diabetes or diabetes,” says Hargrove.
The onsite laboratory staff allowed rapid turnaround on all blood tests
so members of the clinical team could discuss results with families right
away. As it turned out, many of the children were anemic—and some
pre-diabetic. Nurses explained the conditions to families and provided
education on managing dietary and lifestyle changes.
No treatments were given, but children needing additional care were given
information to contact physicians in the Torrance Memorial Physician Network.
Nursing staff also provided weight, height, blood pressure and BMI measurements
at the fairs.
Although it has just started, the partnership with Community’s Child
is in-line with one of Torrance Memorial’s top priorities: to provide
community access to quality health services. Because Community’s
Child is a nonprofit, it relies on fundraising and partnerships to provide
quality continuum of services for the many families in need of screenings
and care. Hargrove hopes to continue the partnership well into the future.