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Willing Helpers launches monthly diabetic foot care clinic in Newton
Willing Helpers
Willing Helpers Medical Clinic - photo by Special Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — Willing Helpers, a free medical clinic serving Newton County, now holds a monthly foot care clinic for uninsured county residents with diabetes to help prevent foot ulcers that could lead to amputation.

The foot clinic typically runs from 9 a.m. until noon on the fourth Monday of every month. Willing Helpers held the first clinic in July; the next is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 29. Appointments are required.

Susan Beacham, manager of Wound Care Services at Piedmont Newton Hospital, oversees the foot care clinic; each month, a nurse who has specialized training in wound care joins Beacham. They provide foot cleansing, assessment, moisturizer application, treatment for callouses, and basic nail care. For cases that require a podiatrist, Dr. Scott Roman, accepts referrals from the Willing Helpers foot clinic. 

“We wanted to meet the patients where they were and try to prevent them from ever having to come to the hospital,” Beacham said. 

The goal of the new clinic is to prevent ulcers, which diabetics are prone to because they can lose some feeling in their feet due to nerve damage and poor blood flow. This means that a minor sore, like a blister from a shoe, can go unnoticed until it is an ulcer that can easily become infected and lead to amputation.

The clinic also provides educational resources about foot care to diabetic patients. Beacham’s top recommendations for day-to-day foot care are: 

• Don’t go barefoot anywhere.

• Wear white, cotton socks to more easily spot wounds.

• Look inside shoes before putting them on for obstructions, like rocks, nails, tacks or needles. 

• Check your feet thoroughly at least once a day. If you cannot see your feet, ask a friend or family member to help or use a mirror. 

Diabetes—and diabetic foot ulcers—affect many Newton County residents. According to the Newton County Health Department, the number of residents with diabetes increased by nearly 70% between 2004 and 2010. 

Diabetes can be particularly difficult to manage without health insurance. The American Diabetes Association reports that uninsured people with diabetes are six times more likely to go without necessary health care for the condition, greatly increasing the risk of amputation. The foot clinic at Willing Helpers is an important resource because about 16,000 Newton County residents do not have health insurance and some patient assistance programs require more documentation than the free clinic.   

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Willing Helpers is striving to raise $10,000, which would provide insulin for Newton County residents in need for about a year. The clinic is selling raffle tickets for a Big Green Egg grill until Nov. 22 to meet this goal.  Standard ticket bundles range from $10 to $50.

Willing Helpers, which treats many chronic conditions, is located at 4186 Mill Street NE in Covington, Ga., on the grounds of Piedmont Newton Hospital, which leases the building for $1 per year. To make an appointment, call 678-625-8317.