Winter can feel like a long season regardless of where you live. But for those staying in a homeless shelter like ours, the winter can seem extra-long indeed. On top of the cold weather, many people are struck with bad colds or flu bugs during this time of year.
That is why our Primary Health Clinic is a very important and busy place. Before the clinic opened in 2007, people staying in downtown shelters – many of whom do not have a family doctor – had to find their way to a hospital emergency room if they became ill. This was especially challenging for those dealing with mental health or addiction issues. Often, they didn’t seek help and became so ill that an ambulance would have to be called.
Now, thanks to our partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health, two Nurse Practitioners are in The Mission’s Primary Care Clinic every day and can help people very quickly. People like Sam, who was staying in our shelter and began experiencing a high level of joint pain.His pain was so severe that he could only walk very short distances. A consultation with a nurse practitioner saved him from a trip to the emergency room. After receiving an x-ray at a nearby clinic, Sam learned he was dealing with arthritis, and he was quickly given medication to alleviate the pain.
Sam will continue to receive treatment, but he is now much more mobile, and is able to continue his search for a job and housing.
For people like Sam, the Primary Clinic makes a huge difference in maintaining good health and providing timely access to vital medical care, and it also gives hope to those who need it most.