Stepping Into Good Health With the Help of Donors



Donors to a unique fund at the Sanford Health Foundation are providing important support for a special ministry that’s helping people step forward in good health.

“You feel like a million bucks when you leave here,” said Guy Brown, of Sioux Falls while getting his feet scrubbed and nails trimmed at the Stepping Into Good Health (SIGH) foot clinic. “They do a good job.”

SIGH, which is supported through the Parish Nursing SIGH Fund, provides foot care to underserved, uninsured and homeless residents, usually 45 years and older, in the Sioux Falls region. Clients often have calluses, ingrown toenails, fungus and thick nails. In addition, they spend much of their days on their feet without wearing proper footwear and socks.

“Many just can’t see well enough or reach their toes to do a good job of taking care of them themselves,” said Joy Scholten, SIGH Coordinator.

Another concern is diabetes. “People with diabetes have to be careful with their feet as many have lost some sensation in them,” she said. “They may have an issue and not even know it because they can't feel it or see it.”

Brown’s doctor told him about the foot clinic in 2008. Since then, he has visited the clinic once a month. He takes advantage of the clinic because as a diabetic, who is also retired and on a fixed income, Brown knows it’s important for him to take care of his feet. Through SIGH, clients have their toenails trimmed and their feet buffed, cleaned in a foot bath and massaged. They also receive a new pair of socks.

“That seems like a small gesture, but it’s a huge deal,” said Scholten.

The SIGH Fund provides special diabetic socks, diabetes screening supplies, blood pressure screening, blood sugar tests, diabetes and heart health education. It even helps fulfill unique needs, such as orthopedic shoes.

The community outreach program was started by Sanford Health’s Parish nurses in 2005 to fulfill their purpose of integrating faith and health. From there it developed into a ministry. The clients converse with each other and the volunteers, from seven Sioux Falls churches and one community organization, during the clinics held every Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.

“It’s almost like a family for those who come back,” Scholten said.

Most SIGH clients are referrals, and they are encouraged to return every four to six weeks. “Our goal is to provide the foot care and screenings, but we want to be able to touch all aspects of their lives in mind, body and spirit,” Scholten said. “We want to make everyone feel welcome, safe and comfortable.”

In 2012, nearly 1,000 clients – at an average rate of almost 10 clients a day – received foot care during the SIGH clinics at the Falls Community Center.

To learn more about the Parish Nursing SIGH Fund or to make a gift, visit foundation.sanfordhealth.org or call the Sanford Health Foundation at (605) 328-5700.

Posted Date: November 2013

Stepping Into Good Health With the Help of Donors

Donors to a unique fund – Stepping into Good Health — at the Sanford Health Foundation are providing a special ministry to the underserved, uninsured and homeless residents in the Sioux Falls region.