Beginning July 1, the Waynesboro Community and Human Services Community Nurse Program will expand into Washington Township.
Currently, the free, in-home nursing care is provided only to those who live in the Borough of Waynesboro.
“We have been wanting to go into the township, but we didn’t have the available funds to do it,” said Greg Duffey, vice president of Waynesboro Community and Human Services.
Duffey said thanks to an $85,000 grant from the Summit Endowment fund, the nursing service can now be offered to township residents.
The grant period is from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, according to Karlee Brown, a spokeswoman for Summit Health, which created the fund in 1998.
“It’s a preventative thing. We’re just trying to keep people healthier and keep them out of the hospital,” Duffey said.
The in-home nursing care is provided to those with chronic or acute nursing needs and includes medication management, wound care, dressing changes, blood-pressure checks and more.
“The idea is to be a conduit so we can take care of people when they come out of the hospital or when they are referred by their doctor that they need some kind of home visitation,” Duffey said.
Full-time Community Health Nurse Margie Rouzer said the grant money is helping fill a need in the community.
“I get a lot of phone calls from people living in the township that need the same services that we provide in the borough, but, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to provide it. So it’s exciting that we can soon,” Rouzer said.
Last year, in the borough of Waynesboro, the community nurse program made nearly 4,000 visits, she said.
The current staff consists of Rouzer and two part-time nurses.
Duffey said the organization plans to hire two additional part-time nurses and an administrative person to handle the anticipated demand from the township’s nursing needs.
Duffey said anyone interested in the nursing positions or the administrative position should send a resume to Waynesboro Community and Human Services, 123 Walnut St., Waynesboro, PA 17268.
Rouzer said the community nurse program is filling a void for many people who couldn’t otherwise afford to pay for an in-home nurse.
“They wouldn’t meet the criteria for another home-nursing agency to come in because they either don’t have insurance or insurance doesn’t cover for somebody to fill a medicine box for them or help them with their insulin,” Rouzer said.
With the face of health care changing, Duffey sees the community nurse program as a pilot program for others to follow in an effort to control costs.
“If this goes like we think it will go, it will be kind of a model for other health organizations who want to implement it. So, we are kind of blazing new trails here,” Duffey said.
Currently, the Waynesboro (community nurse program) is almost 75 percent funded by a trust fund. The other 25 percent comes from the Waynesboro borough, Duffey said.
Since the township is relying on a grant, Duffey said he would eventually have to secure other funding sources to keep the community nurse program alive in Washington Township.