Evergreen nurse developing plan for community health care service

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By Sandy Barnes

For many years Evergreen nurse practitioner Mary Pat DeWald has had a dream of making health care more accessible to local residents in need of services.

To move forward with her goal, DeWald is planning to launch an initiative through the Nightingale Center for Human Caring, a nonprofit organization based in Evergreen.

Services that DeWald would like to provide include direct patient care, referrals and advocacy for those with medical issues.

DeWald and other neighborhood nurses would be one-on-one mentors for patients, going to schools, churches and other places such as the Seniors’ Resource Center and the fire department to provide assistance.

The service she envisions would be dedicated to promoting optimum wellness and helping people affected by illness, trauma and violence, DeWald said.

“What I’m looking at is across-the-lifespan assistance, going into the homes,” she said.

The initiative is also designed to benefit nurses in Evergreen who are looking for employment, DeWald said. Many nurses living in the area have to travel to Denver and other areas to find work, she said.

“I feel strongly about tapping into this resource,” she said. “I really want the nurses in this community to work and play here.”

DeWald also wants to raise awareness of health issues in the community through the initiative.

Twelve years ago DeWald held a community forum on domestic violence and sexual trauma that drew 78 people, she said.

Out of that forum, and the response she received, came the idea for providing health services to people, DeWald said.

“I would hope we would get grants,” DeWald said when asked about the funding source for the health care service.

Organizations such as the Colorado Health Foundation provide grants for health initiatives, she noted.

People receiving services would probably be charged fees, DeWald said.

Those interested in learning more about the health initiative plan may attend a meeting at the Tuscany Tavern on March 13 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, e-mail DeWald at  nursemarypat@gmail.com or call her at 303-674-WELL.

DeWald holds a master’s degree in nursing science and has lived in Evergreen with her family for 27 years She currently travels down the hill to teach classes at the Denver School of Nursing, Regis University and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

She also provides medical assistance to clients through the Evergreen Nursing Service and serves as a trainer for the Secondary Trauma Resiliency Training program of Vital Hearts, a support service for health professionals in Denver.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.