Founded in 1886 as Aurora City Hospital, Rush Copley Medical Center has a rich history of providing healthcare services to residents of Aurora and the greater Fox Valley area. And while we love and embrace the rich diversity of our community, we also recognize that this diversity includes inequities and barriers in health, employment, income, and education. Together, with residents and partnering community organizations and leaders, it is an ongoing priority to be a catalyst for community health by addressing the inequities and breaking down those barriers to health.
The following are examples of current programs and services Rush Copley provides to the community to help break down barriers to health, particularly economic barriers.
Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center
Waterford Place provides free integrative health treatments, support groups and educational programs for cancer patients and their families to improve health outcomes and emotional well-being. As the only cancer support organization in southern Kane and Kendall counties, Waterford Place offers a wide array of services, including workshops and speakers that cover topics from the latest treatment options to managing side effects to understanding insurance issues. Program evaluation in 2019 revealed that 98% of participants reported that our programs and services were easing the burden of the cancer experience. Specifically, Waterford Place has helped by decreasing feelings of stress, increasing access to helpful resources, increasing confidence in the ability to manage the cancer experience, improving perspective/outlook on life and decreasing feelings of anxiety.
Because Medicaid does not reimburse for the cost of diabetes education, Rush Copley provides (free of charge) individualized coaching and education to low-income patients who would otherwise struggle with self-managing their chronic disease. Preventative education not only improves patients’ health and quality of life, it can help them avoid acute episodes, hospitalizations and the potentially serious long-term complications of diabetes. Patients receive a broad range of coaching on a variety of topics central to managing diabetes. They learn how to make healthy food choices, the importance of regular physical activity for fitness, weight management and blood glucose control. Another topic is self-monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, urine ketones and weight, including equipment choice, timing and frequency of testing, target values, and interpretation of results.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are donated quarterly to a local non-profit community organization, and training is provided in their use. Oftentimes, these organizations do not have the ability to purchase their own AED and have vulnerable populations in their facilities every day. The use of an AED in the first few minutes after cardiac arrest can avert serious neurological damage or death. 27 AEDs have been awarded in the past six years to local organizations.
Step-by-Step to Wellness
People of Asian, African or Latin American ancestry bear disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease, as do individuals living below the federal poverty line with inadequate health insurance. In partnership with the VNA Health Care, Step-by-Step to Wellness provides comprehensive healthy lifestyle intervention that addresses heart-related risk factors and gives patients the tools to make lifestyle and behavior changes. This important collaboration improves the quality of cardiac care available to people in need, reduces the burden on the communities' healthcare system caused by unnecessary hospitalizations, and improves patient health outcomes through prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment.
Movement Disorders Program
The mission of Rush Copley Medical Center’s Movement Disorders Program is to help individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease or another movement disorder achieve the highest possible quality of life. This comprehensive program includes support groups, art and music therapy, exercise classes, and a wide array of educational programs, all of which are offered free of charge to approximately 120 patients in Kane and Kendall Counties, Illinois. Services are not only for the person experiencing the disease, but caretakers, spouses and partners are also encouraged to participate.
Reach out and Read
Rush Copley pediatricians have partnered with Reach Out and Read, an evidence-based nonprofit organization. The practice’s physicians and staff promote early literacy and school readiness in the pediatric office by providing a free book on every visit from 6-months through 5 years of age. Studies have shown that one of the most important things parents can do to positively influence a child’s development is to spend quiet time reading together. Not only does this activity lay the groundwork for things like improved concentration, cognition and imagination, it helps create a strong sense of trust and intimacy as essential to a child’s well-being as check-ups and immunizations.
Nutrition and Food Insecurities Initiatives
In Rush Copley Medical Center’s service area, an estimated 26.5% of families are food insecure, and 66% of food insecure households have to choose between paying for food or paying for medical care, especially those dealing with chronic illnesses. With COVID-19 in the mix, limiting the number of stops made outside of their home due to being immune compromised is a high priority to patients. The combination of these things has led to a partnership between Rush Copley and the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry to provide pop-up pantries for some of our most vulnerable patients, those suffering from cancer. The contactless pop-up pantries are hosted on the Rush Copley campus for safe and easy access for patients.