Cool Aid Takes Comprehensive Healthcare on the Road

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Photo © Courtesy of Cool Aid Society

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The Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic, powered by TELUS Health, provides primary healthcare to marginalized people in the Victoria area.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is bringing primary care to underserved people in the Victoria area. Through partnerships with the TELUS Health for Good program and Island Health, the Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic is a fully equipped clinic on wheels that provides trauma-informed, primary medical treatments, mental health services, supplements, harm reduction supplies and addiction support as well as COVID-19 assessments, testing and vaccinations.

The Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic, one of many clinics operating nationwide as part of the TELUS Health for Good program, is breaking down barriers and improving health outcomes.

“Bringing the Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic to the Victoria region further expands our community health centre model of care and services for those who experience barriers to primary care and services,” said Mary Chudley, director of health and support services at Cool Aid.

Many marginalized communities, including those who are under-housed or experience homelessness, have not had access to primary care in years or do not have a documented medical history that can be referenced by healthcare practitioners. By facilitating better continuity of care, these services help those who cannot easily access traditional medical care yet are in urgent need. With the mobile clinic, we can provide primary care to individuals who need complex care. This kind of outreach is already leading to better patient outcomes.

Mary Chudley

The vehicle is divided into two main areas: the first for patient reception and nursing care; and the second with an examination table and workstation including equipment necessary to provide primary healthcare such as routine testing, contraception, STI treatment, and mental health care and counselling. It is also equipped with TELUS Health electronic medical records technology that allows practitioners to access patient records wherever they are.

Locations that the clinic visits throughout Greater Victoria—including several Cool Aid locations, Our Place, Tiny Town, Mustard Seed, the Rainbow Kitchen, and others—have been determined in collaboration with community partners to reach people in need where they are—in parks, shelters, supportive housing locations, soup kitchens, food banks, and on the streets. Staffed by a comprehensive team including physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and outreach workers, the clinic delivers specialized care to the target population where and when they need it.

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Karen Lundgren, Clinical Nurse Lead for Cool Aid, at the organization’s Rock Bay Landing shelter. © TELUS

“By going to our clients instead of asking them to come to us, we get to step into their world and see the many barriers and challenges they are facing that may not be apparent when meeting with them in a more clinical setting,” said Robyn Kyle, Cool Aid Health outreach worker. “Part of what makes outreach workers so crucial, especially in a healthcare context, is that we have the tools to address those barriers and challenges, which inevitably leads to better healthcare engagement and better outcomes.”

Since launching in July, the mobile clinic and Cool Aid team have made possible 3,449 encounters to people in the unhoused community—people who might otherwise not have accessed care at all.

Donate today at coolaid.org / 250-383-1977

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At Cool Aid, we believe that everyone deserves home, which is why we create hope and opportunities for people who are homeless and living in poverty.

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