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Imagine what life would be like if you had nowhere to go, no place to call home. That would be hard enough. But it’s even more difficult when you’re sick.

People who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless bear a much higher burden of disability, mental and physical health problems and addictions. Before the Ottawa Mission opened its primary care clinic, those who were homeless often ended up in emergency rooms if they were sick. We are now expanding the clinic to enhance our ability to provide care to those who are homeless and allow us to treat up to twice the number of patients within our new space.

At our clinic, operated in partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health, nurse practitioners provide compassionate and evidence-based care for our community’s most vulnerable.

Carole has been a client of The Mission’s primary care clinic since 2007, when it opened. Before that, she didn’t have a family healthcare provider and was instead relying on drop-in clinics. Carole visits the clinic once a month. “The service at the Mission clinic is incredible. The staff are very friendly, welcoming and thorough. They get things done, including referrals for tests and other follow-up care. They’ve also pointed me in the right direction for additional supports. At the clinic, I know I’m getting the best possible service. I have a lot of anxiety, and the clinic has a very caring atmosphere that alleviates fear. I know all the staff, and, for me, it’s my safe place,” Carole notes.

This week is National Nurses Week, and we applaud our wonderful colleagues.