Milwaukee, WI May 26, 2016
Contact: Sharon Selz
414-977-5064; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care will host an open house for its new dental and medical clinics on Friday, June 3, from 8 to 11 a.m. The clinics, located at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus, 2450 West North Avenue, will provide dental care specifically for people with disabilities, and on the medical side, will offer health services and education focused on the unique needs of the central city.
The Bucyrus Campus, which opened last September, provides day care for children, adults, the elderly and people with special needs, all under one roof. The clinics expand on St. Ann Center’s mission to serve the underserved. The dental clinic is scheduled to open this summer and the medical clinic will open later this year.
“Many people with disabilities and frail, older adults struggle to gain access to dental services,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades. “We applaud St. Ann Center for helping to address this critical need.”
The Gardetto Family Community Dental Clinic will specifically serve children and adults with moderate to severe cognitive or physical disabilities that prevent them from being treated in standard private practice or community clinics. “People in wheelchairs or with other physical limitations often find it difficult to maneuver in the tight quarters of a dental office, and getting into a dental chair may be impossible,” said Laura Cherek, director of dental services at St. Ann Center. Others dealing with cognitive issues may not be able to express where they’re feeling pain and become agitated. “Our staff has experience in treating people with these special needs,” Cherek added.
Dr. Russ Dunkel DDS, St. Ann Center’s dental director, and a hygienist will offer exams, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, sealants, all forms of X-rays, restorative work including fillings and crowns, and extractions. The clinic’s goal is to serve 500 patients a year. Patients will need a referral from a dentist or medical doctor and must be a resident of Milwaukee County. All forms of Medicaid will be accepted.
The three-chair clinic’s operatory will be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. It will also be equipped with a Hoyer lift to comfortably transfer people into the extra-large dental chairs. In addition, each chair has a reversible headrest that can turn around so a wheelchair can be backed up to it, allowing the patient to remain in their wheelchair during treatment. Other adaptive features include a portable, handheld X-ray machine and extra-wide corridors and doorways.
Due to the lack of accessible dental clinics and practices that accept Medicaid, people with disabilities often remain untreated, leaving them vulnerable to gum disease, tooth decay and related health problems, Cherek said. “While working at St. Ann Center, I’ve heard from caregivers whose loved ones are on long waiting lists for the few clinics equipped to treat people with disabilities. One mother was traveling with her daughter to Minnesota for check-ups,” she said.
The primary focus of St. Ann Center’s new medical clinic will be on preventative care and health education. The clinic will provide basic health screenings (for pregnancy, diabetes, high blood pressure and more) and treat minor illnesses. Unlike a walk-in clinic or urgent care, the clinic will serve as a resource center directing patients to community programs that will help them identify and address their health concerns. Service at the medical clinic will be by appointment only.
Dr. Paul Nausieda, the clinic’s medical director, and Stephanie Ghojallu, an Advanced Practice Nurse, will collaborate with community members to determine what types of educational programs would be most beneficial. Examples of programs that could be offered at the Bucyrus Campus include children’s inoculations, dietary and lifestyle counseling and exercise classes.
Donors for construction of the dental clinic include the Gardetto family, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Delta Dental and the Ziemann Foundation. A grant of $250,000 from Aurora Health Care’s Better Together Fund is supporting the completion of the medical clinic.
For information on St. Ann Center’s dental clinic and to make appointments, call Laura Cherek at (414) 210-2450 or email email@example.com. For more on the medical clinic, contact Stephanie Ghojallu at (414) 210-2450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.