By LISA WHALEY
Nursing care at the Jonesborough Senior Center is about to expand.
Currently, the center offers a rotating visiting nurse every Tuesday between the hours of 9 to 11 a.m. for blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks and other basic services.
But thanks to an agreement between Mountain States Health Alliance and the town, which was approved by the Board of Mayor and Alderman at its January meeting, that visiting nurse is soon to become more of a part of the Senior Center team.
“It has been a worthy service,” said Senior Center Director Mary Sanger of the current Wellness Clinic program. “It’s just time to move to the next level.”
That level will be to offer the services of one nurse provided by MSHA through its “Faith Community Nurse Program,” eight hours a week to offer a more consistent level of care and a greater knowledge for the center’s senior members.
”This person will be more like a staff member,” Sanger said. “They will be able to build more of a rapport with the patients.”
In addition, she said, a regular nurse will be more likely to spot health changes and help seniors address them more quickly and more effectively.
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, the arrangement seems like the perfect solution as the center moves to expand its Wellness Clinic offerings.
As part of the program, MSHA will incur half the expense for the new nurse and will advertise for the position, Sanger said. The center director will also be able to play a part in the interviewing process, so as to ensure a better fit for the center’s new nurse.
All of this fits well with the Senior Center’s wellness focus — a key component from the moment the doors opened in 2015.
With an expansion of the nurse’s role and presence at the center, Sanger said “our members can develop comfort level. They can get to know the nurse and the nurse can get to know them,”
And that, she believes, will continue to enhance the health and well-being of all of their members.