The following article is Reprinted with Permission from Northern Pride Publications, Meadow Lake. The article was published in the Tuesday, February 11, 2014 edition of the Northern Pride newspaper.
Weekly clinic offered at Door of Hope
by Phil Ambroziak
Editor, Northern Pride
Meadow Lake, SK
PNHR Public Health Nurse Melissa Roenspies administers a flu shot to David Smith during a visit to the Door of Hope in Meadow Lake Feb. 6.
- Phil Ambroziak Photo
When you can’t come to the clinic, the clinic comes to you.
That’s what clients at the Door of Hope in Meadow Lake have discovered thanks to a new Prairie North Regional Health Authority (PNRHA) initiative introduced to the community early last month. While a walk-in clinic continues to be offered at the Primary Health Centre in downtown Meadow Lake, a satellite clinic is also now available in the building adjacent to the Door of Hope on 2nd Avenue East.
“I started in my current position at the end of August and later learned about a partnership between the Canadian Diabetes Association and Prairie North staff that was formed in 2011,” explained PNRHA primary health care team manager Paula Mercredi. “In 2011-12, they conducted a project at the Door of Hope that involved working with clients around diabetes prevention. The project generated some really positive results while, at the end, an evaluation showed people really liked having medical services brought to them.”
That’s why Mercredi and others at Prairie North decided now was as good a time as any to introduce a satellite clinic to Door of Hope clients.
“The Door of Hope was very open to that idea,” Mercredi continued. “Planning began back in November. In December, we met with clients to get a better idea of what services they require. The response was quite positive and we officially started the clinic Jan. 6.”
Each week, a nurse practitioner and RN case manager are on hand to treat common illnesses such as strep throat and ear infections, to assist patients living with chronic illnesses, as well as to help clients better manage high blood pressure and diabetes.
“They (staff) can basically do whatever assessment is needed,” Mercredi said. “If the patient needs to be referred to a doctor or if a doctor needs to be consulted, that link to the (downtown) clinic is still there.”
Door of Hope executive director Unita Esau is pleased to see PNRHA offering so many services to members of the community who, she said, may not make it a priority to visit the regular clinic on Centre Street or the hospital itself.
“They (Prairie North) are providing a decent range of services to downtown folk, especially those who frequent the Door of Hope,” Esau said. “A lot of these folks want to be treated, but they may not own any identification, are unable to keep appointments or simply have difficulty gaining access to the regular clinic. This is an important solution to helping people get the medical attention they need.”
While Mercredi said she couldn’t speak for individual patients, she believes many of them have decided to take advantage of the Door of Hope clinic because of the convenience involved.
“I have heard people say how comfortable it is for them to have access to a clinic at the Door of Hope,” she said.
Since this is still a relatively new initiative, a feedback session will be scheduled in the near future to allow patients an opportunity to offer feedback on how well the clinic is working and what, if anything, they’d like to see changed. In the meantime, the Door of Hope clinic will continue to welcome patients every Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 3 p.m. And, although not directly connected to the clinic’s efforts, a public health nurse has also been stopping by the building beside the Door of Hope in recent weeks to provide interested clients with access to the flu shot. According to Esau, it’s another effort that’s been embraced by the community.
“The building (that houses the satellite clinic) we’re in is owned by Dr. Merv Johnson,” Mercredi added. “He donated the space for us to use, and that’s really important. He is also a member of the Door of Hope board of directors, a group that’s been very supportive through this whole thing. We couldn’t do this without them.”