Mobile medical clinic rolls out to serve Edmonton's homeless population

The Boyle McCauley Health Centre rolled out a mobile health clinic Wednesday that will provide medical care to those Edmontonians who live on the streets.

The mobile unit will provide essential primary medical and mental health care similar to what people can expect to receive at the health centre itself, said Cecilia Blasetti, executive director.

"We can do chronic care, wound care, whatever people present with," Blasetti said. "Our goal is that we're not shuffling them here or there or sending them other places; that we actually will be able to address their needs as they ask for help."

Many of the clients who come to the health centre are homeless, poor, or have substance abuse or mental health issues, Blasetti said.

They are often uncomfortable using ordinary health services, she added.

The mobile unit takes the services to them at drop-in facilities they are already familiar with and "where their relationships are built and there's trust there," she said.

The clinic will operate four days a week and visit drop-in sites in north and south Edmonton.

The visits will be scheduled so people using the service know when they can access it, Blasetti said.

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The project is a collaborative effort with The Mustard Seed, Telus and Mint Health and Drugs.

Telus has committed $1 million over three years for the operation of the mobile unit in Edmonton, said Jill Schnarr, vice president of corporate citizenship.

The company has provided all of the technology in the mobile unit, including Wi-Fi so computers can be used to access electronic medical records, she said.

Telus is helping to provide the mobile units in 10 Canadian cities this year through its Health For Good program, she said.

The mobile units will help vulnerable people "survive and live a happier life," Schnarr said.

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