Sharla Norris, RN, Amelia Baker, RN, Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, and Jamie Brobst, RN of Ringgold County Public Health

Caring is our Calling is the ideal expression for Ringgold County Hospital. For the hospital staff, it’s not simply a job, it’s a mission. Luckily for area residents, the mission goes far beyond the walls of the hospital itself and extends across the entire county. Ringgold County Hospital works closely with Ringgold County Public Health to keep area residents as healthy as they can possibly be. The two organizations work especially close together with patients who have been hospitalized and are ready to be discharged.

“I start looking at discharges from the time they come through the doors of the hospital,” said Amy Mobley, BSN, RN, Utilization Review Quality Improvement Manager for Ringgold County Hospital. “I look at the home situation, the kind of help they have, and the kind of help they’re going to need.” That’s when Amy will pick up the phone and reach out to start lining up the needed resources.

Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, Nurse Administrator for Ringgold County Public Health explains, “Many people don’t understand the scope of what we can do. Public Health can provide skilled nursing, home health aids, even light housekeeping. We provide services to patients who need help outside of the hospital. We try to aid in the recovery process.” Becky adds, “We serve all county residents beginning at birth with the ‘Parents as Teachers Programs,’ immunizations for qualifying children, and seasonal flu shots for anyone, at any age.”

Becky acknowledged that Ringgold County has many elderly residents, and often they do not have family members living close by. Public Health can assist families to find available services so residents can stay safely in their homes for a longer period of time.

Amy shared that the hospital also works closely with the community. “We have a community care coalition,” she said. “We bring together all the health-care related entities for a monthly meeting. We include the department of public health, hospice, the emergency management director for the county, nursing homes in Ringgold County and even facilities in neighboring towns.” The coalition ensures that the right resources are available for all patients and that we are all working together.

When it is determined that assistance is needed from one of the many resources, it is as simple as a phone call to request a referral for the patient. “If we’ve determined a patient has a terminal illness and the patient desires hospice care, we’ll go the hospice route and set them up with their services. If someone is recovering from surgery or a more difficult illness and is just not quite independent yet, we will contact Public Health and they can assist them with services in their home. There is almost always some community resource that we can get to assist our patients when they need services outside of the hospital.”

“No matter what the situation,” added Becky, “We welcome communication from the hospital when patients are admitted to make sure there is no gap in service upon discharge.” The philosophy of the agency is to provide the highest quality in nursing, home care and public health services to all county residents. The agency assists and educates the public in the maintenance of general health, the prevention of disability and disease, and rehabilitation to the highest potential.

The ultimate goal of both the hospital and public health is keeping people as healthy as they can be throughout their lives. A Wellness Coalition was formed four years ago after a Community Transformation Grant was received from the State of Iowa. A community garden was planted, and the committee encourages walking and biking and hosts annual events. Anyone in the county is welcome to join the coalition which meets at least quarterly at the Ringgold County Hospital. For more information on the wellness coalition, contact Vicki Sickels, Ringgold County Public Health, at 641-464-0691.

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