Essex County Warden Gary McNamara says a mobile health clinic will help health professionals to better respond to residents in crisis in high-priority neighbourhoods.
“I believe it’s a model for many other regions in the province to mirror themselves to,” he said.
Health Minister Sylvia Jones has seen variations of the idea work across the province.
“During COVID, we had a team that was going out into these vulnerable communities,” explained Claudia Den Boer, the local Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) High Priority Community lead. “It became very clear we needed to continue.”
Den Boer says EMS vehicles were being used during the pandemic to support vaccination, testing and other supports in high-priority communities. Given its success, her group was able to leverage part of the $1.2 million High Priority Community funding received from the province to create the $400,000 mobile clinic.
“In this way, we could now become more self-sufficient and we would have our own vehicle to go out into these communities to do this work,” she said.
The mobile clinic runs through the Windsor Essex Ontario Health Team (OHT) and will provide various supports including mental health and addiction and dental.
“We have 45 health care partners who have the same vision and mission for servicing our community and providing access to care,” said Kristin Kennedy, CEO of Erie Shores Healthcare.
Neelu Sehgal, outreach director of Windsor Essex OHT added, “we’re working with each community partner and leaders directly at the site to see where those needs are. then we’re going to try and occupy that need within the truck.”
The clinic will have between five-seven staff for each trip and has already been on the road. During a recent 12-week soft launch, mobile clinic staff remarked some of the people seen were initially going to use the hospital’s emergency room for acute care.
“We’re seeing that connectedness. We’re able to provide those warm handoffs to community partners, those referrals and we’re building trust in that community so it’s being very well received,” said Sehgal.
The mobile clinic will be at Brentwood for a two-day stay starting Tuesday morning and will be parked at the Bridge Youth Centre in Leamington Thursday and Friday.
Check the Windsor-Essex OHT website for future stops.