By Bethany Langdon
Oakwood Specialty Clinic, located on the Bluegrass Oakwood Campus, held its grand opening in July in conjunction with its annual Celebration Day festivities. This new South Central Kentucky clinic will provide a central location for medical providers to serve the comprehensive health needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Nationally, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are recognized as a medically underserved population. The specialty clinic model sets a standard for other states to follow by creating a highly effective environment to address underlying concerns that improve the quality of life for individuals who may not be able to easily communicate information about their health and well-being.
CHFS Deputy Secretary Judge Timothy Feeley attended the grand opening and said the new construction is a welcome addition for community members with IDD and their families.
“Oakwood Specialty Clinic expands scarce healthcare resources in South Central Kentucky and provides them to a doubly under-served population left vulnerable by lack of specialized, holistic services. Being able to do so in such a beautiful location, supported by individuals, families, the community and agencies, is a tribute to the vision of those here at Oakwood who planned it for so long,” he said.
Don Putnam, father of David Putnam, said the opening of the clinic means a brighter future for his son and others like him. David is 51, with a mental age of 18 months. He is non-verbal and does not use sign language, and has multiple disabilities, including a profound level of intellectual disability (ID), total bilateral deafness and cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
He has no way of reporting acts of abuse, neglect or exploitation, and no way to explain to a nurse or doctor how he feels or where he hurts. David was already a resident of Bluegrass Oakwood, but with the recent opening of the new Oakwood Specialty Clinic, Don Putnam said his son’s chances of receiving the life-giving specialized care he so desperately needs are greatly enhanced.
“We and other parents like us can rest assured that knowledgeable professional staff will be there to understand complex medical needs and then take the appropriate actions to meet those needs,” he said. Don Putnam is also president of Parent-Relative Family Organization for Oakwood Facilities Inc. (PROOF), and he spoke for families celebrating together at the event.
“As President of PROOF, representing families of Bluegrass Oakwood residents, I want to express our complete support for the expansion of the Oakwood medical facilities and the formation of the Oakwood Specialty Intermediate Care Clinic,” Don Putnam said. “We celebrate this major service improvement available to many deserving persons that do not reside on the grounds of Oakwood.
“The clinic will bring much needed specialized primary care, psychiatry, epilepsy and dental services to all persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the region of Kentucky surrounding Oakwood,” he said. “Adding this clinic advances the concept we support of continuing to enhance Oakwood’s position of being a Center of Excellence for persons with IDD.”
Along with a full array of state-of-the-art medical, psychological, therapeutic and dental services provided on an outpatient basis, the clinic also offers education programs for direct support staff involved with individualized patient care and a centralized contact for all services provided by the clinic.
Oakwood Facility Director David Phelps called the clinic opening a landmark day.
“Even though we have been providing excellent inpatient and outpatient services for individuals for many years, we are excited to have a new modern building that matches our excellent service and reflects our continued efforts to be a resource for the community,” Phelps said. “The opening of our clinic is another milestone in our transformation of being a traditional long-term care facility to a short-term stabilization facility and medical services for the community.”
Celebration Day at the campus also featured activities for families of residents and tours of the new clinic.
Oakwood Specialty Clinic joins Lee and Hazelwood Specialty Clinics, which opened in 2014, in providing high quality, integrated medical care with dignity and respect for those individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Such facilities are unique across the country and have received both state and national recognition since their opening.
Bluegrass Oakwood is operated in conjunction with Bluegrass.org, the regional Community Mental Health Center, and Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Learn more about Oakwood and more information about BHDID at http://dbhdid.ky.gov/kdbhdid/.
–Bethany Langdon is Corporate Director of Marketing & Communications and bluegrass.org.