In honor of National Health Center Week, an annual salutation to the mission and triumphs of health centers across the United States, NorthShore Health Centers invited the public to come celebrate with their team of healthcare professionals. Following the first leg of the fair earlier this week, NorthShore Health Centers took over Sk8 World in Portage to continue their Patient Appreciation Health and Fun Fair.
True to its name, the Patient Appreciation Health and Fun Fair straddled the line between acting as a helpful resource to citizens seeking information on affordable healthcare and a palooza for families seeking a carefree day. Tricia Hall, Director of Marketing and Patient Relations for NorthShore Health Centers, described the event as being mutually beneficial to the public and NorthShore employees.
“We’ve been doing our Patient Appreciation Health and Fun Fair for about five years, mainly as a way to celebrate our patients and thank them for choosing NorthShore,” Hall said. “Plus, it helps introduce some of our staff members to the community. Outreach gets to be out in the community, having conversations with patients that are struggling, reminding them what NorthShore can do for them, helping them in the door, but then once they’re in the door they’re dealing with the nurses and the doctors. I feel like this event is a nice way for both sides of our staff to be able to come together and see how we can affect the community.”
The theme for this year’s National Health Center Week is “Home of America’s Healthcare Heroes,” so Hall and her team embraced the subject matter through personalized superhero buttons for staff members, shirts with the NorthShore logo fixed into a Superman-esque symbol, and a pair of face-painting artists who transformed children into their favorite superheroes. A surprising bonus: the free roller-skating. Due to the rainy forecast, the event was moved to Sk8 World. Attendees looked especially on-theme with their capes fluttering behind them as they skated around the ring.
Jennifer Eades, Patient Care Coordinator at NorthShore Health Centers, enjoyed watching the families take to the ring together.
“What a treat!” Eades said. “This is awesome, because a lot of kids probably don’t get to do things like this very often.”
Eades formerly worked in a department that helped coordinate events like the fair; since transferring to patient care, she spends more time in the office and less time out in the public. Though she loves her job, Eades looked forward to connecting with the community in a more active setting.
“I love coming out to events like these and seeing the person holistically well; that’s part of what patient care does,” Eades said. “We reach out to patients with additional resources and help them get their appointments scheduled because it’s stressful sometimes! We want to provide that extra support for them. So, to see the families here, just able to relax and have a good time, wrapping up the summer—it’s going to be fun!”
Hall echoed Eades point about patients needing emotional care in addition to physical care.
“This is just a nice, relaxing way for our patients to get all of the resources they need,” Hall said. “And it’s not just physical: it’s stress and emotion and all those other factors that they’re dealing with. When they come here, they get to schedule their doctor appointments and dentist appointments, but they also get to interact with other agencies that have resources for them that are going to help the whole person.”
With its breadth of opportunities, from free health screenings to refreshments, the NorthShore Health Centers Patient Appreciation Health and Fun Fair really saved the day.