Health notes: Parents of hospitalized children can get help with house paymentsA Minnesota nonprofit that helps parents whose children are hospitalized make a mortgage payment is trying to become better-known in the Northland.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A Minnesota nonprofit that helps parents whose children are hospitalized make a mortgage payment is trying to become better-known in the Northland.
Hibbing native Nikki Lignell, who is one-half of the paid staff at
Minneapolis-based Spare Key, traveled to Duluth and the Iron Range last week for that purpose.
Since 1997, Spare Key has helped 1,700 Minnesota families, taking on $1.7 million in mortgage expenses, Lignell said in an interview. Eligible are parents who have had a child younger than 18 in the hospital for at least 14 days within the previous 90 days and have suffered a significant decrease in income or increase in expenses and whose mortgage payments are current. There also are provisions for the parents of children who need full-time home care.
Spare Key pays the exact amount of one month’s mortgage, up to $1,200. The family becomes eligible again after 12 months.
Long before she was on staff, Lignell was a Spare Key recipient. Her daughter, Riley, was born in 2004 with Aicardi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by frequent seizures. As Riley’s condition deteriorated, a hospital social worker suggested Lignell seek help from Spare Key. Lignell, who lives in Dakota County, was approved. The help with the mortgage allowed Lignell to spend March 2011, her daughter’s last month, with her in the hospital.
Six months after Riley died that March 25, Lignell started volunteering for Spare Key. She joined the paid staff at the beginning of this year.
Spare Key expanded its scope this year to North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.
After paying for 209 mortgages last year, Spare Key will have exceeded that number by June 1 this year, she said, and it hopes to serve 500 to 600 families by the end of the year.
You can learn more about it at sparekey.org, or at (952) 406-8872.
May is Mental Health Month
Mayor Don Ness will proclaim May as Mental Health Month at the National Alliance on Mental Health meeting on Tuesday.
The mayor’s proclamation will be at 7 p.m. in Meeting Rooms 1-3 in the Miller-Dwan Medical Center at Essentia Health-
Duluth, 502 E. Second St. The rooms are in the lobby level near the auditorium.
That will be followed by a presentation by Robert Lyman on compassion fatigue. Both are free and open to the public.
Duluth practice is ‘health-care home’
Northland Family Physicians has been certified as a “health-care home” by the Minnesota Department of Health.
A health-care home provides partnerships to improve health outcomes and quality of life for people with chronic health conditions and disabilities. They’re being developed as part of the health reform package the Minnesota Legislature passed in 2008.
Northland Family Physicians is an independent practice at 1000 E. First St., Suite 108.
To date, the state has certified 244 health-care homes.
Compiled by John Lundy