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Primary Care and Dental Clinic

The Ottawa Mission Primary Care and Dental Clinic opened in February 2007 thanks to a partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health.

The Mission funds 100% of the operating costs of the clinic and mental health services have been seconded from the Royal Ottawa Hospital. Dental services are provided by volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants and supplies are either donated by dental offices or funded through community donations.

The Mission Primary Care Clinic was established to provide quick access to primary and mental health care for people who are homeless and without health care services. It serves adults who are living in a shelter, on the streets or in a rooming house provided they meet the acceptance criteria and are referred to the clinic. The goal of the clinic is to treat homeless people in a timely fashion reducing medical complications and linking them to health care on an ongoing basis.

Who Is eligible for services?

Those eligible for service include people without a family doctor who are not eligible for service at a downtown community health centre. People who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and who are not able to access other mental health services can be assessed by the psychiatric nurse practitioner through a referral from the ROH Outreach team. The Mission dental clinic will only accept patients living in shelters or on the streets.

Who can make a referral?

Referrals to the clinic can be made by
1) Shelter workers
2) Staff of day programs serving the homeless
3) Nurses doing outreach to the homeless
4) CMHA outreach workers
5) Rooming house outreach workers
6) Wabano Outreach team,
7) CHC outreach teams
8) Oasis
9) Centre 507 outreach team
10) Options Bytown
11) Self referral.

Providers can make referrals on line using a system called CAISIE. You can also use this system to see if the client attended the clinic. Doctors and nurse working with the homeless can access patient/client charts using the OSCARsystem. In the meantime you can make a referral by sending the referral form with the client.

Who is staffing the Primary Care Clinic?

The Primary Care clinic is staffed 7 days per week by a primary care nurse practitioner with telephone back up from a physician. Mental health services are available one day per week from a psychiatric nurse practitioner with back up from a psychiatrist. There is also an internist at the medical clinic once a week. Dental services are available Monday to Friday.

What medical services are provided?

Primary Care Patients needing assessment and treatment of non life threatening medical problems can be seen at the clinic. Immunization, injections, blood work and simple diagnostic procedues will be provided. Examples of health problems which could be referred to the clinic include: cough, colds, rashes, infections, and wounds. Services will include completion of forms but not ODSP applications. Mental Health patients needing assessment, diagnosis, initiating medication, stabilization of medications, education about mental illness, education about the role of medications in managing mental illness and education about medication side effects can be seen at the
clinic. The Primary Care Clinic cannot provide crisis intervention, long term follow up or counselling. Clients who have been assessed by other mental health services can only be seen at the request of the mental health     service providers. Dental Care is provided to patients with dental pain, abscesses, simple denture work, preventative dental care, extractions, some restorative work, fillings and access to an oral surgeon who will attend the clinic periodically. Patients with an infection in their mouths should be referred to the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner for treatment prior to being booked for dental care.

What is the duration of service?

Patients will be seen and treated for their health problems and once the problem is resolved or they are referred elsewhere for ongoing care, they will be discharged. There are only 20 spacesper day for primary care and 8 per day for mental health services so it is very important to ensure that the clinic remains accessible to those who do not have care.

What is the difference in the role of the nurses who do outreach to the shelters and the Primary Care Clinic staff?

The role of the Outreach Nurses has not changed. They will continue to be the first contact to the healthcare system for many people who are homeless. The Primary Care Clinic will support the excellent work of Outreach Nurses by providing a resource where they can refer clients who need primary health care who would otherwise experience difficulty with access. Similarly, we hope that the Outreach Nurses will follow up on clients who have received treatment in the Primary Care Clinic to ensure that they are able to adhere to the recommended care.

Do Patients Need ID?

Patients do not need ID however, if they do not have a health card they will be welcome at a Community Health Centre. Clients will need a drug card to obtain prescriptions.

Can you prescribe narcotics or Methadone?

The Primary Care Nurse Practitioner will not prescribe narcotics and we cannot prescribe methadone.