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Tomah Health, Viterbo Provide Needed Foot Care

Viterbo University DNP program third year student Monica DeClercq, RN, BSN inspected the feet of Tomah resident Tom Baumgarten during a complimentary one-day foot care clinic held at Tomah Health Oct. 18.

When Tom Baumgarten heard that Tomah Health had joined with Viterbo University to offer a foot care clinic, he decided to try it. “I actually had heard about it from my sister who had been here before and I felt that it was a good idea,” said the Tomah resident who was among 42 people to attend the complimentary clinic at Tomah Health Oct. 18. “I was a little apprehensive about it because it seems like kind of a personal thing, but I became aware that we had a team of professionals here and students training so it sounded like my feet were in good hands.”

A dozen Viterbo University nurse practitioner students cleaned and moisturized each person’s feet, assessed each foot for areas of concern, and trimmed and clipped nails to eliminate any friction, which can lead to further foot issues.
“I’m not getting any younger and to have the service being offered I thought was great so I’m happy to be part of it,” said Baumgarten, who attended the clinic for the first time. “I liked the idea to help the students get training so it seemed like a nice combination that is good for everybody.”

It was the second time this year that Tomah Health and Viterbo collaborated on the event. Thirty-two residents attended a similar foot clinic at Tomah Health March 29.

“There are lots of people who are unable to see their feet or reach their feet and the feet are our foundation. It’s a very needed service,” said Viterbo University assistant professor and nurse practitioner LuAnn Fowler, DNP, FNP-C, who helped to coordinate the event along with Tomah Health Community Outreach staff.
Fowler said the clinic was a way to help residents while providing a unique experience for students. “It allows students the opportunity to work within the community,” she said. “Feet are often forgotten about when people are being seen so this experience will help students remember how important it is to check their patient’s feet.”

DNP third-year student Monica DeClercq, RN, BSN, of Viroqua appreciated the opportunity to take part in clinic, which she hopes will help her in the future. “I am hoping to get a job in primary care so this definitely would an area that would be seen in primary care especially in our older population.”
She said the event also reinforced the need for the care. “Foot care is not a service that is often covered by insurance. I can really see what a need there is in a community. It’s pretty eye opening to see the demand. If our feet hurt, it really limits what we are able to do so keeping our feet healthy is really important.”

Fowler said if students identified any issues, they encouraged residents to contact their primary health care provider for additional care.

The clinic was made possible due to a $1,000 donation from the Tomah Health Community Foundation and a $1,000 donation from Kurt and Louise Olson of Warrens.

Viterbo University DNP program student Kelsey Lomas, left accepted a ceremonial check from Tomah Health Community Foundation president Brian Eirschele, foundation board member Alex Egstad, foundation vice president Jeremy Haldeman, board member Kyle VonHaden and foundation treasurer Deb Welch.

Tomah Health Community Foundation president Brian Eirschele said supporting the foot clinic underscores the importance of healthy feet and the organization’s mission. “Something as simple as trimming your toenails and having a good fit with a shoe is vitally important to being able to get a round, being mobile and having a good life. So we are trying to do exactly that,” said Eirschele.
“Without the support of the Tomah Health Foundation and Tomah Health we would not be able to offer these clinics,” added Fowler. “They have supported us in many ways including the purchase of state-of-the-art rotary tools that helped us provide the foot care for our participants.”

She said officials are planning two more foot care clinics in 2024.

Tomah Health