The Health Needs of Ottawa’s Most Vulnerable Continues to Grow: The Ottawa Mission Increases Capacity for Health and Dental Care Through Its Expanded DYMON Health Clinic
Ottawa, ON – Today, The Ottawa Mission unveiled its newly expanded DYMON Health Clinic to serve Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in response to the significant increase in both the number of patient consults and the acuity of patients’ needs.
“From last year to this year, patient consults increased from 7,600 to 13,250, a staggering 74%,” stated Ottawa Mission Executive Director Peter Tilley. The clinic is operated in partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health. While OICH provides health services across Ottawa, no site has more patient visits than the Mission’s clinic.
People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have a much higher burden of disability, serious mental and physical health conditions, and addictions. “Many of our patients have multiple physical and mental co-morbidities which makes providing care more challenging,” noted Dr. Jeff Turnbull, OICH Medical Director.
The Mission began planning an expansion of health services over 2 years ago. In addition to existing services, the clinic will offer new services such as women’s care, a Hepatitis C community clinic and foot care to keep vulnerable community members as healthy as possible. “Treating patients onsite will reduce the strain on hospital emergency rooms and contribute not only to the health of Ottawa Mission clients, but also to the sustainability and accessibility of the entire healthcare system,” said OICH Executive Director Wendy Muckle.
The Mission clinic also provides oral health through its dental clinic within the health clinic, staffed by over 100 volunteer dentists, denturists and hygienists, with 579 consults and treatments this past year. “Accessible dental care is especially important since it is not included within publicly funded healthcare, rendering it out of reach for those who live in poverty. In addition to the ability to eat properly and daily social interactions, good oral health supported by regular dental care is essential given its relationship to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes,” stated Dr. Tom Harle, founder of the Mission dental clinic.
“The City of Ottawa is committed to providing access to health services to all its residents, and is proud to work with our community partners to reach that goal. I’d like to congratulate the Ottawa Mission and Ottawa Inner City Health for their leadership in expanding these much needed services that will help our most vulnerable residents,” stated Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa.
“We applaud the expansion of this clinic and the incorporation of new services. The increase in patient visits show just how valuable these health services are in our community,” added Councillor Mathieu Fleury.
“The Mission provides emergency housing while also supporting their clients to find a way out of homelessness,” stated Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Ottawa. “With the recognition that being homeless affects physical, mental and social well-being, The Mission also makes a difference in people’s quality of life and well-being through clinical services.”
DYMON has provided a very generous gift of $300,000 to support this important project. “DYMON has passionately supported The Ottawa Mission’s mandate to provide food, shelter and hope to our neighbours in need for several years, and it’s even more rewarding now to have the chance to significantly expand our partnership by providing these much needed health and dental services.” noted Glen Luckman, Founder and CEO, DYMON Group of Companies.
“As an important local community partner, we’re thrilled by DYMON’s commitment to giving back to our community, and the newly named DYMON Health Clinic could not be more appropriate,” concluded Ottawa Mission Board Chair Matt Triemstra.
About The Ottawa Mission
Since 1906, The Ottawa Mission has been serving the homeless, the hungry and the lost by providing food, clothing, shelter and hope. In 2017- 2018, The Ottawa Mission sheltered an average of 236 men every night and served an average of 1,312 meals every day. The Ottawa Mission also provides health services, mental health and addiction treatment programs, hospice care, dental services, educational support, job training, spiritual care, and men’s clothing to thousands in need in our community.
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