Dinosaurs may be extinct in our world, but one is very much alive in Ailynne Ballard’s life.
When she’s not playing with her stuffed dinosaur, the 9-year-old loves riding bikes and running near the Kentwood, Michigan, home she shares with her grandma, Michelle Carlisle.
But a recent outdoor playdate left her with a broken left wrist.
“The neighbor kids were chasing her,” Carlisle said. “She tripped and broke her wrist.”
Carlisle rushed her granddaughter to the Spectrum Health Medical Group South Pavilion Urgent Care Center on 68th Street in Cutlerville, one of six Spectrum Health locations in Kent County offering curbside urgent care service.
“We pulled up and they did a curbside check-in,” Carlisle said. “They asked our name and phone number and why we were there. Within five minutes of pulling in, they provided masks (Mickey Mouse mask for the Ailynne) and got us straight into a room. It was so quick.”
Shortly after settling into the room, Joshua Hobson, PA-C, arrived and ordered an X-ray.
“The lady who did the X-rays was absolutely wonderful with her,” Carlisle said. “Ailynne had never had an X-ray before. She got back in the room and then the (person) that helped us was so sweet.”
The urgent care team pulled a prehistoric calming technique, with the help of Strawberry, Ailynne’s red and black stuffed dinosaur.
“(She) put a splint on the dinosaur first,” Carlisle said. “The whole time the girl was wrapping up Strawberry, she said, ‘Now I’m going to be real gentle with Strawberry, like I am with you.’ Ailynee was like, ‘I think Strawberry handled that pretty good. I think I can now.’ It was awesome.”
Carlisle felt so moved by the experience, she shared it on Facebook.
“Oh my gosh, what a great experience,” she said. “They were so nice to keep reassuring her and Strawberry that everything was going to be OK. We were in and out of there in 30 minutes, including the splint and everything.”
Depending on the injury or illness, some patients may be screened, given a mask and escorted inside, where team members perform thorough and extensive sanitizing, especially in high-touch areas. Social distancing signage is also in place.
Things such as strep tests with cultures, monospot testing and influenza swabbing may all be performed carside. Additionally, with video visits through the Spectrum Health app and primary care physician referral visits, patients may receive rapid urinalysis and some other tests with just a brief trip from their car.
“The pertinent tests are run and the provider calls to discuss the result with the patient still safely in their vehicles,” Hobson said. “Overall, the goals of eliminating the traditional waiting room, ensuring patients receive efficient and appropriate care, and expanding the ease of health care access are achieved.”
Hobson has heard a lot of positive feedback from patients and their families.
“Our patients love that they can receive efficient, thorough, and coordinated care in an environment that limits exposure to others and keeps their personal health as the top priority,” he said.
Team members also appreciate the precautions being taken.
“Simply eliminating the waiting room through the process makes all staff and patients alike feel safer,” Hobson said. “Everyone benefits.”
Another customer who appreciates this mode of health care delivery is Wayland resident Shelly Blanksma. The 56-year-old felt intense pressure in her right ear recently and couldn’t get into her primary care physician or her ear, nose and throat specialist.
“I felt I couldn’t wait,” Blanksma said. “I reached out to a friend and she told me she had gone to a Spectrum Health urgent care. She suggested the one by Division and 68th Street because I live by Gun Lake. I hadn’t been to an urgent care in 30 or 40 years.”
When she pulled in, she followed cones with directions to curbside check-in.
“Once I got there I rolled down my window and (someone) came out with a clipboard,” Blanksma said. “She took all the information down and told me where to park. When I walked in, they gave me a mask and immediately took me to a patient room.”
Hobson entered the room, examined Blanksma’s right ear with an otoscope and noticed excessive ear wax buildup.
“It was putting a lot of pressure on my ear,” she said, noting how they were quick to diagnose and treat her condition. “Less than an hour after I arrived in the parking lot, I was out. It was very, very easy. I had an amazing experience. I would go back there in a heart beat. I feel back to myself.”