Library takes healthcare initiative

Rhett Breedlove/Torrington Telegram The Goshen County Library in Torrington is proud and excited to present the introduction of an easily accessible and operable Telehealth booth. Pictured are Goshen Chamber Ambassador Mariah Harkins (left to right), University of Wyoming’s Center on Aging Regional Coordinator Andrea Shipley, and Goshen Library Director Cristine Braddy.

GOSHEN COUNTY – Goshen County Library  Director Cristine Braddy and a dedicated staff have made it abundantly clear that the library is so much more than just a public library.

As Braddy herself has advocated in the past, the facility is a warm and safe haven for anyone wishing to have some peace, quiet and an area to just feel sheltered.

“It’s really about human services,” as Braddy once conspicuously put it.

While most Goshen County residents certainly agree with Braddy on that statement, her and the staff at the library have taken that initiative one giant step further with the introduction of a Telehealth booth.

This introduction marks the Wyoming launch of the Public Access to Telehealth Spaces (PATHS) Program, and was made possible by a tremendous joint effort by the University of Wyoming’s Center on Aging Regional Coordinator, Andrea Shipley.

“The whole goal behind this project is healthcare access,” Shipley said. When we think about that, we think about the doctor’s office, and we don’t always take into consideration what fosters good health.”

As Shipley would dig deeper into the matter, what fosters good health is, “housing, food, security, representation, a sense of belonging, all of the things that rural and frontier life thrives on.”

According to Braddy, this particular tool can help all in Goshen County who may need a bit of medical assistance in a tremendous way.

“We knew we wanted to invest in this as soon as we had heard about it,” Braddy said. “When I was at the Wyoming Library Association last October, I was told that another library was supposed to have this but backed out. Our library needed to put this in.”

Braddy noted discreetly that regular patrons of GCL are continuously looking, and researching for matters related to their health. As the GCL director put it, the matter had become concerning to the point that certain patrons in fact may have risked compromising their own health privacy.

With that, Braddy and those at GCL knew precisely that installing a Telehealth booth was more than the right thing to do.

“Now we have a sound spot where people can have private meetings,” Braddy continued. “This never bothered us until we heard people sharing private information. This allows people to come in and get all the hands-on assistance that they need. The door is closed, and the password is coded so nobody can walk in on anyone. They can have a completely private meeting, and it also comes with resources from around the state. We have blood pressure cups that will be available in there, and we are working on getting a scale and pulse-ox. That way when they are talking to their providers, they can have all the vitals.”

With access to healthcare becoming a constant source of concern for most rural residents these days, GCL has demonstrated great resourcefulness in introducing a fast and easy way for Goshen residents to receive proper input when it may be crucially needed.

“The best use of it will be people who can use their providers or referrals,” Braddy continued. “These have been popping up in malls, and we are nonprofit so that’s very helpful. Instead of going to the ER for sniffles, even if you don’t have access to the internet, you can come in here and access a provider this way. I can really see people who would need access to a specialist, or follow up after a surgery. We even had one person doing a follow up after a hip replacement.

“I really hope to see people have access that don’t generally have access,” Braddy continued. “That’s the great part about a library. We provide contact whether it’s information or a warm space. Now we have entry to healthcare for people who didn’t have access previously. Maybe for a lot of those people they have access to urgent care for basic things, but when it comes to a specialist or that depth of care, I think this is a nice place for it to go. And a library is the perfect place.”

As Braddy further explained, a vast majority of patrons who enter the GCL are either very young and small, or are getting more on the older side of life’s natural process.

Doubling down on the prior statement, once again it would be more than understandable to see why a Telehealth booth would fit in perfectly with that equation.

“I think this is going to be helpful to a lot of people in our community,” Braddy explained. “What we have seen in the library is a lot of older adults who can get Telehealth, but may not know how. This way they don’t have to leave Torrington. We can assist in that, along with a lot of follow-up appointments to specialists that aren’t in our area, especially pediatrics. Generally we have a lot of little people and a lot of older people, which is often the case in the library. It’s not really different than what we normally do, and it’s really exciting. The primary purpose here is healthcare, which will always take precedence.”

If you would like more information or have further questions regarding the GCL Telehealth booth, feel free to call 307-532-3411.

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