By Gregg McQueen
When all else fails, call the super.
Reaching out to the building superintendent in times of trouble is a mainstay of apartment living, especially in densely populated cities like New York City.
Nurse Practitioner Marie Carmel Garcon, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing at ColumbiaDoctors, knows to turn to the super to reach her patients.
“Many of our patients live alone. They don’t have any family or caregivers to help them,” explained Garcon, who provides regular checkups at home. “One patient, I sometimes need to go to the [building] super to let me in. They don’t have anyone else.”
Secundino García, now 100 years old, does have assistance – in the form of his daughter Hildelisa García, with whom he lives.
Still, Hildelisa, 72, has struggled to provide comprehensive care for her elderly father.
“It was very difficult to see a doctor or go to a hospital for tests,” said Hildelisa.
Her father lacks the strength to move around easily. “We needed to take a wheelchair. Sometimes it could be rain or bad weather. It was a huge process to go out.”
In 2017, a social worker referred her to a program run by Columbia University School of Nursing, which offers primary care to uptown patients in their home – and Nurse Practitioner Garcon has been with them since.