Mobile Outreach Clinic Celebrates 20 Years

Staff Logs More Than 40,000 Miles a Year Providing Care to Patients and Families When the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare […]

Staff Logs More Than 40,000 Miles a Year Providing Care to Patients and Families

When the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Mobile Outreach Clinic rolls into Mankato on May 10, they will be celebrating 20 years of bringing specialty healthcare services to patients throughout Minnesota. In 2004, Gillette’s Mobile Outreach Clinic offered almost 150 clinics in 20 communities throughout greater Minnesota.

The Mobile Outreach Clinic began in 1985, when seating and bracing specialists at Gillette realized that many families were frequently coming to the hospital from communities greater than 50 miles away. The specialists felt that they could better serve the families by bringing their expertise to these communities. Gillette’s adaptive equipment supervisor, Dave Wilkie, loaded some of the tools and supplies used to repair wheelchairs and braces into the sidecar of his motorcycle and drove to Windom, Minnesota. The trip became Gillette’s first Mobile Outreach Clinic visit. The Mobile Outreach Clinic is now a statewide program serving more than 1,500 children and adults annually.

Each year, Gillette’s staff put nearly 40,000 miles on three Mobile Outreach Clinic trucks — while saving families an estimated 275,000 miles in travel. “There are days when all three of our trucks are on the road, going to different places,” says Wilkie, now the manager of Assistive Technology Outreach Services. “When we’re that busy, it’s a good sign that we’re meeting some significant needs.”

In addition to providing assistive-technology services such as custom seating, orthotics, wheelchair modifications, computer access equipment aids, adaptive recreational equipment and augmentative communication devices, some clinics offer appointments with Gillette therapists and doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “Access to this array of services relieves the travel burden for families, enhances communication among patient providers, and allows us to train community professionals in the use of assistive technology,” says Wilkie.

Mobile Outreach Clinic celebration dates include: Willmar, May 17; Alexandria, May 31; Brainerd, June 2; Bemidji, July 12; Detroit Lakes, July 13; St. Cloud, Sept. 9; Owatonna, Sept. 14; Austin, Sept, 27; and Fergus Falls, Nov 2.

You’ll find more information about times and locations at www.gillettechildrens.org. For more information about Mobile Outreach Clinic services, call 800-578-4266 (toll-free).