LRGHealthcare recently obtained two capillary blood lead level testing machines for use in both Westside Family Practice in Franklin and Newfound Family Practice in Bristol. The machines were purchased through a combined effort between LRGHealthcare and a grant from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) as part of an initiative of the Franklin-Newfound Area Healthy Homes Committee (a committee of the local public health network, Caring Community Network of the Twin Rivers).
Having lead testing machines located in the medical office practices makes it easier and more convenient to screen a child for lead. The machines in the medical office require only a finger stick to obtain the blood sample versus having to go to a laboratory to get a venous blood draw. Additionally, children can get screening during their regular office visit, avoiding a special trip to the lab.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that regular blood lead level screenings is especially important for children living in high risk communities. High risk areas are defined by communities with a large stock of pre 1978 housing where lead paint was heavily utilized. Recent data published by the NH Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention Program indicated that only 37.2% of children ages 12-23 months and 18.8% of children ages 24-35 months in the Franklin area have been screened for lead. There is much room for improvement as it is recommended that all children be screened in both of these age brackets if they live in a high risk community.
It is also recommended that a child in the age three to six ranges be screened if they have not previously been screened at a younger age. Thus, by having the machines easily accessible in the two area clinics rates of screening are expected to increase, and this will lead to earlier identification and treatment of potentially devastating health consequences.
LRGHealthcare is an active partner in the Franklin-Newfound Area Healthy Homes Committee along with other area partners such as the NHHFA, Seufert Law, the Fire Marshal’s Office, the NH Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force.
For more information on the partnership please contact Melissa Rizzo, Community Health Educator at Franklin Regional Hospital at 934-2060 ext. 8369.
LRGHealthcare is a not-for-profit healthcare charitable trust representing Lakes Region General Hospital, Franklin Regional Hospital, and affiliated medical providers. LRGHealthcare’s mission is to provide quality, compassionate care and to strengthen the well-being of our community.
PHOTO: Pictured are staff of Westside Healthcare in Franklin and members of the Franklin-Newfound Area Healthy Homes Committee. From left: Jackie MacDonald (WSH), Pediatrician Dr. Hala Tabbah (WSH), Mary MacCafferie of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Gloria Paradise of NHHFA, Melissa Rizzo of Franklin Regional Hospital, LuAnn Speikers of the NH State Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and Amy Alberts (WSH).