In 2018, the CFFRV awarded a grant to Northwestern Memorial Foundation for the furnishing and renovation of the Vaccine Clinic at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva. According to their grant request, “[t]he Vaccine Clinic serves those who are uninsured or underinsured and who often come from low-income families, with little access to resources and quality healthcare.” We spoke with Karin Podolski, director of community health services at Northwestern Medicine, to get an update on the clinic.
What modifications were you able to make to the clinic with the help of the CFFRV grant?
We are so thankful to be able to expand our learning platform due to the funds provided by the CFFRV. We have worked to create a welcoming environment for families and the health educators. Here we work with families and caregivers to identify learning needs based on the age of the children, and then provide comprehensive education that is developmentally appropriate. One key component of our program is to identify needs and connect families with community agencies that can help address those needs. We also provide car seats and age-appropriate reading material that children can take home with them.
Can you explain some of the features of the vaccine clinic?
We have messaging regarding healthy behaviors posted in the clinic. We also have private rooms where the health educator can meet with the patient and caregiver(s), review their needs, and provide tailored education based on the stages of development as well as the needs of the caregivers. We provide education on topics such as healthy feeding, the importance of bonding and reading to children early, smoking cessation, and child passenger safety.
What did 2020 look like for the vaccine clinic?
We have modified our appointment scheduling to limit wait time and have implemented screening procedures. We have not been allowed to have our volunteer pet therapy friend, Sheco – so we provided her with her own iPad in order to FaceTime children that visit the clinic! This helps create a welcoming environment and encourages families to return on-time for future vaccines.
Why is it especially important for a clinic like this to be welcoming and inviting?
Creating a welcoming environment is essential to building a relationship with families. Vaccines are necessary to protect the overall health of our community and timely administration is so important. Creating an environment where families feel included in their care ensures that they are committed to returning when it is time for the next immunization, or if there is a new addition to their family.
Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about the vaccine clinic?
Please spread the word that we are available to provide immunizations to children as well as flu and Tdap immunizations to caregivers. We can be reached at 630-933-4234 for an appointment. Thank you so much for your generous support!