New Mobile Outreach Van Takes Health Care to the Streets

 

Today, the Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH) program announced the official launch of a mobile van service with a community celebration that took place at the Brunswick Street United Church in Halifax. The outreach van is like a ‘health office’ on wheels – providing on-the-spot care for those living on the street, homeless and underserved populations living in Halifax.

A partnership between the North End Community Health Centre, Capital Health and a number of government, business and community partners, the goal of the outreach van is to proactively take health care beyond the hospital walls and into the shelters, community centres and soup kitchens. The program provides primary health care services – from vaccinations, blood work, and chronic disease management to birth control, HIV and Hepatitis C testing – in a safe, welcoming and comfortable space.

“We’ve created an innovative and collaborative approach to delivering primary health care services to those who are sometimes underserved,” said Patti Melanson, MOSH street nurse and program collaborator. “This allows people to take on their own health care, on their own terms. More importantly it works for people who are homeless, who are on the streets and whose lives are upside down for whatever reason.”

MOSH is made up of a team of frontline health workers including local physicians, nurses and occupational therapists with a common goal of improving access to health care for those on the street. The MOSH team saw more than 80 individuals during the first week of operations and cared for more than 226 people during the month of September 2009. With the introduction of the mobile outreach van, MOSH hopes to provide even more care and services for the homeless.

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