For many of us, a sense of community is very important. Although the word itself has several different meanings, the most commonly sought characteristics of a community probably include some combination of the following definitions:
The thread woven through these two definitions (as well as others) touch on the notion of a group or collective the members of which have one or more things in common. The things shared may be location, belief system, some other group identifier, or something tangible that binds people together. In short, something that engenders a sense of community.
Community hospitals are an example of a tangible, physical feature that can contribute to stronger communal bonds. But why are community hospitals essential to strong communities? What is it about a medical facility that can create a sense of commonality and togetherness essential to fostering community spirit?
To answer the question of why community hospitals are essential to strong communities, we should first agree on what a community hospital is. Although there are many definitions, perhaps the most relevant for our purposes is provided by Joe Lupica, chairman of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors: “A community hospital is a place where care can come to a patient, instead of forcing a patient to drive far away for care.” Perhaps we can put it another way: community hospitals not only serve their communities, their communities are fully aware they are being served.
Let’s consider this point for a moment. If individuals (whether they be residents of a neighborhood, a district, a small town, or a rural area) are provided a service available to all, those folks certainly know they have that service in common, that they share in it communally. They can then take great comfort in knowing that they have the health care they need when they need it and that it’s available locally.
Another compelling reason that a community hospital is important: it offers motivated individuals opportunities to become more involved in their community by participating in the facility’s volunteer program. Among the volunteer activities that exist at many hospitals:
Regardless of what activity is chosen, many community hospitals offer nearby residents a chance to provide vital support and engage in many of the services that contribute to the quality of care and comfort of patients. This arrangement enhances the relationship between health care facilities and the communities they serve.
Once people consider a hospital to be a “member” of the community, they learn to rely on it, to trust it. If we accept that trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, we can safely say that the mutual trust between community hospitals and the people they serve is a foundation upon which the sense of a strong community can be built. It should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that this is a healthy scenario for all involved.
Would you like to contribute to a community hospital? Consider a provider career with Elliot Health System.
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The modern definition of a community hospital
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