You might not think of going to get your blood pressure checked as a fun thing to do, but residents in Bottineau, N.D.—young and old—enjoy catching up on the local news at the weekly blood pressure clinics held at St. Andrew’s Health Center.
From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. each Tuesday, a nurse is stationed in a conference room near the cafeteria to conduct the free blood pressure checks. Participants like the location because they don’t have to walk through St. Andrew’s Clinic and expose themselves to sick people. If someone’s blood pressure is high, the nurse will walk them to the clinic to be seen.
“If we didn’t do the blood pressure clinics, patients would have a missed opportunity. Routine blood pressure clinics provide patients the opportunity to monitor and maintain better blood pressure ranges,” says St. Andrew’s Clinic Manager Brandy Hahn. “They really look forward to the clinics and enjoy sitting and catching up with others.”
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for chronic conditions such as heart disease, vascular disease, stroke and kidney failure. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
St. Andrew’s Health Center advertises the blood pressure clinics in the local paper and a permanent sign hangs above the conference room door for visitors to see as they pass through.
The blood pressure clinic is not only a service to the public, but also to St. Andrew’s in-house staff. Hahn says the employees also stop in for routine blood pressure checks.
Because St. Andrew’s is a rural health clinic, it conducts the screenings as part of its community service. Staff also conducts screenings outside the facility at community and business events such as the North Central Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting. What’s more, staff provides a monthly blood pressure clinic in a café in Willow City, which saves its residents a 20-minute drive to Bottineau.
St. Andrew’s has offered blood pressure clinics for more than six years. Through a special grant from the North Dakota Department of Health in 2012, St. Andrew’s received blood pressure cuffs to distribute to patients whose health care provider recommended daily monitoring. The Department partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) to help increase awareness of high blood pressure throughout the state using BCBSND’s MediQHome program.
BCBSND salutes St. Andrew’s for its efforts to fight blood pressure in its community.
Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.