Career Quest Learning Center (CQLC) in Lansing teamed up with Homeless Angels to host a free health fair for 30 Homeless Angels clients on Friday, April 15. CQLC students and faculty members assessed vital signs, blood sugars and hematocrit and also completed a urinalysis. “Many Homeless Angel clients haven’t had preventative care due to lack of resources,” said Nichole Rolfe, Career Quest program faculty supervisor. “This health fair allowed us to help the community we serve, while also giving our students hands-on healthcare experience.”
“Many of these families are living in cars, tents or under bridges and they’re not getting the healthcare they need,” explained Mike Karl, Homeless Angels founder and director. “If we can help them get access to the services they need, it helps them but also our entire community as we are potentially catching bigger health issues earlier.”
“We had two patients who were in a hypertensive crisis, which means that their blood pressure levels were too high. And both have a history of high blood pressure and cardiac issues,” said Rolfe. “I had them sit quietly and then re-tested them. When the blood pressure readings were still too high, we recommended they visit the emergency room.”
It looks like one man will require surgery as they found a blockage between his throat and stomach. Karl said both clients were happy to be made aware of the resources available in the community.
All Homeless Angel clients were given information on free healthcare resources in town where they could get further treatment if necessary. Rolfe says the referral portion of the event is just as important as the hands-on care they received that day. “There are many different organizations that provide services for the underserved members of our community, but they may not know about them,” she says. “We’re here to make sure they understand what those resources are and how they can access them.”
An additional take-away for CQLC students was the importance of patient advocacy. “Our healthcare students need to understand the importance of healing and helping everyone, not just those with insurance,” Rolfe said. “I had many students come up to me afterward and tell me they took away a greater appreciation for the homeless population. It helped them understand how many struggles they have when they can’t just pick up the phone, make an appointment and go see a doctor.”
Homeless Angels, based in Lansing, has a mission to “rebuild and restore faith in humanity through innovative ideas, programs and events with the main goal of involving the community in real change for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.” This health fair is part of the mission.
Since 1995, Career Quest Learning Centers has implemented its mission to change lives by putting people to work in their chosen field through technical and personal skills training. Career Quest provides quality education and training with the equipment and technology found in the current workplace. For more information, contact Career Quest Lansing at (877) 481-4930 or visit www.careerquest.edu.