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Sanibel Health Fair to offer abundance of free screenings, information

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

A free community health fair will make a stop on Sanibel at the Center 4 Life next week offering an abundance of health screenings and information.

“It’s a good thing for the community to see that we are all working together for one common goal,” Frankette Rinaldi, parish nurse with St. Isabel Catholic Church, said about the four parish nurses located on the island.

Lee Memorial Parish Nurse Program Manager Nancy Roberts said they have held six or seven fairs on Sanibel over the years in collaboration with their regional health events held throughout Lee County in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Downtown Fort Myers.

“We have five geographical areas,” she said. “All the Lee Memorial parish nurses gather to support the health fairs. We invite other churches in the geographical area to join.”

This year the Sanibel Health Fair will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at Center 4 Life, 2401 Library Way.

Rinaldi said before the Sanibel Health Fair became a collaborative effort with Lee Memorial Health System, Shell Point Retirement Community and Right At Home as sponsors, the parish nurses held a health fair at their own churches.

“It’s a collaborative effort and we really do appreciate the City of Sanibel for helping us with this,” she said of working with Trish Phillips and the Center 4 Life location. “They really have been almost a God send to us. We have been going there year after year and they have been welcoming.”

A few years ago, she said, they all thought if they would pick a more neutral location it would become more consumer friendly. The thought process was deemed a success with the fair attracting on average more than 100 participants.

“It’s a walk through fair. You pretty much do what (screenings) you want to do,” Rinaldi said. “You don’t have to do everything. It doesn’t have to take too long.”

The screenings will include memory; vein; balance test; pulse O2; vision test; glucose; skin cancer; hearing test; body mass index; blood pressure and ask the pharmacist.

“We are very fortunate to have health professionals in the community to volunteer their time to do health screenings,” Roberts said. “We really want to have individuals that maybe are not seeking annual physicals to be aware of any health concerns they might have through these screenings.”

She said such screenings as memory, balance and blood pressure are an important part of the fair because they are really core to many chronic diseases.

“What it will give you is some insight whether some additional testing needs to be done,” Roberts said of the screenings. “The purpose of the screening is to give you information, so you know whether to seek a formal appointment with a physician for additional testing.”

The screenings, she said are not diagnostic in nature, but rather informational, so an individual look deeper into the results of what might be an abnormal finding.

The fair will also have information regarding F.I.S.H.; Hospice care; heart health; advance directives; assisted living; brain health; injury prevention; in-home care; pharmaceuticals and skilled nursing care.

There will also be a health wheel at the parish nurses table. Roberts said attendees are encouraged to spin the wheel and see if they can answer the health question correctly. After an answer is provided, she said they provide additional, detailed information about the program and offer a healthy treat such as an apple of orange.

Roberts said they have 26 nurses throughout the community in a variety of faith communities.

“Some are in a paid model and some are in the volunteer model. The choice is up to the nurse and the faith community,” she said.

The four parish nurses on the island are Rinaldi; Debora Stevens with Sanibel Community Church; Linda Convertine with Congregational United Church of Christ and Wendy Warner with St Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church.

Rinaldi has been a parish nurse at St. Isabel Catholic Church for almost 14 years.

“I enjoy so much about it,” she said. “I get to see people one-on-one in the comfort of their home. I go to the hospital and visit. I check on them and see if they have what they need when they get home from the hospital. I go to Hospice and rehab and see how they are doing.”

Of course, those visits are if the family wants her to come, or she knows them really well.

Rinaldi also checks their homes to make sure they are safe. She said she also works with F.I.S.H. to make sure those she works with have all the resources they need.

“It can be very challenging at times, but all of my years, I have had very few things that haven’t worked out well,” she said.

Every year Lee Memorial holds a course that prepares registered nurses to becoming credentialed parish nurses. This year the foundation is holding the six day, 40 contact hour course on June 3, June 4, June 5, June 10, June 11 and June 12. It is $425 to attend. For more information, call Roberts at (239) 343-5182.

“The course is a great course,” she said. “Lee Memorial nurses take the course, retired nurses from the area take the course and nurses from other areas and states.”

The parish nurses meet on a monthly basis to share practice highlights and listen to speakers from the community helping them become aware of the most recent resources and information on healthy living.

“People love to hear that our community is in-tuned and our health system is in-tuned and our faith community is in-tuned,” she said.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.