Dick Baumgarten is thankful that a partnership between Tomah Health and Viterbo University of LaCrosse is helping area residents have healthy feet. The Tomah resident was one of 32 people to get complimentary foot care during a daylong Foot Care Clinic held at Tomah Health March 29. “It’s hard at my age to get down to my feet and get a decent job, so this really works out good,” said Baumgarten of the treatment he received.
Viterbo University nurse practitioner students cleaned and moisturized the feet, assessed each foot for areas of concern, trimmed and clipped the nails to eliminate any friction, which can lead to further issues.
Baumgarten attended the last clinic held at Tomah Health in 2019 before future events were canceled due to COVID. “I do the best that I can on my feet but it’s good to come back where someone knows what they are doing,” he said.
Viterbo University assistant professor LuAnn Fowler, DNP, FNP-C, helped coordinate the event saying the training is unlike anything students obtain in the classroom. “I think it’s really valuable especially in light of the COVID restrictions we have had over the last several years,” said Fowler. “Students have not had an opportunity to participate in community health care events and I think this is critically important for them and is very different than an in-clinic type of appointment setting evaluation.” She said the event allows for a one-on-one conversation and an opportunity for direct patient care.
Fowler stressed the need for healthy feet, which can reduce future health issues including an increased risk of diabetes and circulatory diseases. “Just being able to see your own feet and reach your own feet is really important in terms of being able to care for them.”
The clinic was made possible thanks to a $500 donation by the Tomah Health Community Foundation and a $500 donation from the J.W. Etzelmueller Trust. “As a trustee, I was looking for areas to help support our community members who have health and wellness needs, so this is a natural fit to partner with the Tomah Health Community Foundation to support a great cause,” said Etzelmueller trustee Pete Reichardt.
Tomah Health Community Foundation president Brian Eirschele said the support aligns with the mission of the organization. “It’s a smile to my face because when they first came to us in 2019 and asked for money for foot care I was perplexed to find out that it is really a worthwhile program and well received in the community,” said Eirschele. “You can see that the money that is donated is being received right back to the local community,” added Eirschele.
Hospital officials plan to discuss the possibility of additional foot care clinics in the future.