NKU Nursing Program Brings Care to Seniors at Covington's Golden Towers

Northern Kentucky University’s Nurse Advocacy Center for the Underserved (NACU) unveiled the Spotlight on Seniors program designed to bring healthcare to seniors living in Covington’s Golden Towers.

As the winner of the Northern Kentucky Funders’ Grant Competition 2019, NACU Director Jennifer Hunter received $7,500 to bring her idea to fruition.

NKY Funders’ Grants is an ongoing program that brings foundations and funders together to support nonprofits that serve Northern Kentucky. 

Out of 80 applications, Hunter was named one of the 14 finalists selected to give a final “pitch off” in front of 300 community agencies and residents. The Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky sponsored the Health and Wellness category and selected Spotlight on Seniors as its first place winner.

To develop the program, Hunter collaborated with the Covington Housing Authority and identified Golden Towers for NACU’s first senior clinic site. NACU, housed in NKU’s College of Health and Human Services, brings free health services directly into underserved communities, and this program serves an especially vulnerable group.

“These seniors have complex medical needs, live at the poverty level and have no medical personnel on site to answer health related questions. They often do not have access to healthcare or healthcare coverage, are disabled in some manner and use the Emergency Room as their primary medical home. I realized how absurd this is and knew we had to address it,” said Hunter. “Spotlight on Seniors brings healthcare to where they live, instead of having seniors go out and navigate the healthcare system on their own.”

With the grant funding, Golden Tower residents will be able to visit the clinic for any of their medical needs- from routine screenings to ongoing care plans. The clinic will also provide health education classes on topics such as nutrition, carb counting, women’s health, smoking cessation and more. All of these services fill a need in the community and provide NKU nursing students with a valuable experience.

“Not only does this program decrease non-emergency ER visits, it offers our students a chance to work with a population they may not exposed to and learn on the frontlines how to care, build trust and be an advocate,” said Dean Dale Stephenson, the College of Health and Human Services. “There’s no one better than Jennifer to lead NACU. She can leverage her experience with the Northern Kentucky Health District to find opportunities for NACU to serve those in need.”

The grant funds go towards purchasing the necessary medical supplies and equipment to set up the Spotlight on Seniors clinic. Retired volunteer nurses staff the clinic every Wednesday from 3-6:00 p.m. with support from NKU nursing students. Hunter hopes the Golden Tower location is the first of many Spotlight on Senior clinics in the area.

-Staff report