TELUS and REACH Niagara launch Mobile Health Clinic to provide healthcare to the homeless

TELUS and REACH Niagara launch Mobile Health Clinic to provide healthcare to the homeless
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NIAGARA – Today, TELUS and REACH Niagra (Regional Essential Access to Connected Health Niagara) announced a new partnership through TELUS’ innovative mobile Health for Good program that will bring primary care to the underserved people in the Niagara Region. On any given day, Niagara has 50,000+ individuals living below the low-income measure, who face barriers to accessing mental health, primary healthcare and social intervention services. The REACH Niagara Mobile Health Clinic, powered by TELUS Health, is a specially-equipped clinic on wheels that provides trauma-informed, primary medical treatments, mental health services, addiction support and COVID-19 screening directly to those who need it most.

“At TELUS, we believe that everyone should have access to healthcare when and where they need it, regardless of their socio-economic status. Through our partnership with REACH Niagara, we are removing many of the barriers facing underserved and at-risk populations in the Niagara region by providing access to critical healthcare, social support, and COVID-19 screening,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS. “As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, today’s expansion of our Health for Good program will enable us to care for our most marginalized citizens at a time when access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare, including vital support for mental wellness, has never been more important.”

The REACH Mobile Health Clinic will bring much needed healthcare services to the Niagara Region. With support from local Community Health Centres and family health team partners, it will also extend support for migrant agricultural workers in the area during the summer months, providing care at sites where they are known to meet.

This mobile, innovative care model and partnership between REACH and TELUS Health will also serve as practical Social Medicine training for McMaster University Family Medicine residents. This unique partnership offers medical students a glimpse into the skills, knowledge and attitudes they will need to care for marginalized people in their future careers. Family Medical Residents will also have the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team on the clinic, learning how to care for marginalized people, and how best to support them in their journey toward housing and health.

“Bringing the REACH Niagara Mobile Health Clinic to the Niagara Region further builds upon our mission to put healthcare within reach for the homeless and marginalized communities in Niagara, reminding our fellow citizens that they are not alone, that they are cared for and that there is indeed the promise of a friendlier future for all,” said Dr. Karl Stobbe, Medical Director, REACH. “Many marginalized communities do not have access to primary care nor can they access virtual care. This partnership with TELUS Health combines technology with human compassion, bringing healthcare directly to the individuals who need it most, and ultimately, helping them move towards a healthier life.”

The Mobile Health Clinic is equipped with TELUS Health’s electronic medical record (EMR) technology, TELUS Mobility services and TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network technology to assist the onboard care team in delivering immediate, quality care. Leveraging TELUS Health EMR technology, skilled practitioners will be able to collect and store data, examine results over time, and provide better continuity of care to patients who previously had undocumented medical histories.

The vehicle is divided into two main areas: the first for patient reception and nursing care; and the second with an examination table and doctor’s workstation including equipment necessary to provide primary healthcare such as routine testing, contraception, women’s health services, STI treatment, harm reduction services, and mental health care and counselling. The clinic will also include:

  • Blood pressure monitor, thermometer and pulse oximeter
  • Otoscope and ophthalmoscope
  • Emergency and harm reduction supplies
  • Dressings, suture removal and other wound care supplies

Backed by a $10 million commitment from TELUS, the TELUS Health for Good program is active from coast-to-coast with clinics operating in Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey, Edmonton, Ottawa, Mississauga-Peel Region, Waterloo Region, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and, now, Niagara Region.

REACH Niagara works with and operates primary care medical clinics staffed by healthcare professionals. They primarily serve people who do not have a regular family doctor, or who cannot see their doctor, with a goal to put healthcare within REACH for the homeless and marginalized in Niagara. They connect people with local family practices or Community Health Centres, mental health services, required specialist services, foot care, wound care and dental assessments. Their initial “Out REACH” began with the establishment of 2 clinics in St. Catharines shelters with regular schedule times for patient drop-ins. REACH represents a new and growing collaborative between primary care, key stakeholders across the health and social care sectors, people with lived experience, and several academic institutions, including McMaster University, Brock University, University of Waterloo & Niagara College.

Since 2014, TELUS Health for Good has been helping to remove many of the barriers Canadians living on the streets face in receiving medical care and reconnecting thousands of patients to the public healthcare system. The Mobile Health Clinics provide essential primary medical care, including electronic medical records, and have enabled over 80,000 patient visits since the program’s inception. Today, through numerous partnerships, volunteers, and the power of technology, TELUS Health for Good is an efficient and innovative mobile healthcare delivery tool to reach communities in need by bringing healthcare directly to the people that need it most.

TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a communications technology company with $16 billion in annual revenue and 16 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security.

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