Trenton Health Team Expands to Help Residents of Kingsbury Towers
In its search to identify patterns of illness across the city, the Trenton Health Team today announced a combined effort by health care professionals, faith leaders and residents to help the high concentration of patients with chronic diseases at the Kingsbury Towers apartment building.
“The main challenge that we are finding is the great number of people here who face problems because of diabetes and hypertension,” said Minister Gregory Williams of Turning Point Methodist Church on South Broad Street.
In their consultations with residents, the new Kingsbury Health Team learned that over the last six months, 27 of the roughly 600 tower residents have died, he said.
Turning Point has joined with the faith-based community organization PICO and the Trenton Health Team to help residents like Iris Lovett, a 37-year resident of the Trenton who suffers from hypertension.
“You go to the doctor and you get your pills, and may be you take them for the first couple of days, but then you stop. That’s just what happens,” she said.
After learning about her illness, Lovett spoke with Nurse Practitioner Peg Nucero about the importance of regularly taking the medications prescribed to her.
One day, she said, she felt the signs of heart attack.
“I was sweating and I felt my arms tingling, and I thought, I better take those pills,” she said. “I would not be standing here talking for long, if I did not take my pills.”
Lovett and other residents are attending classes organized by the Health Team to learn more about the illnesses they face and how to better manage them through diet and exercise.
Hunger and poor nutrition is a common problem among residents of the towers, many of who are fed through a food program offered by Turning Point Methodist.
“Every Saturday we feed between 200 and 250 people from the area, and about 35 percent of them are Kingsbury residents,” Williams said.
Though the church and the Trenton Health Team, are working to address some of the daily struggles of residents, Williams said that a lack of family support, education and employment among many at Kingsbury continues to drive residents into poor health.
“It is important work, but it’s not what’s most important. The thing they need the most is family and love and encouragement,” he said.
The Trenton Health Team is an effort by local health providers, the city and other collaborators to improve health outcomes for residents and reduce their reliance on emergency rooms.
About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. Support for the Trenton Health Team was provided in part by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation. For more information, visit www.trentonhealthteam.org.