Two registered nurses are setting up shop at the Salvation Army Chapel.
The clinic will help “Yukoners who have no fixed address,” said Health Minister Glenn Hart in a release Tuesday.
“We get lots of street feet,” said shelter manager Judy Lightening.
That’s when her clients have been out walking all day, often in dirty socks, or no socks, and the skin wears off their feet and they get bad blisters.
“The nurses can help treat that,” she said.
They can also help encourage people to take their medications, said shelter worker Ryan A., sitting outside the Sally Ann on Tuesday afternoon.
“We try to convince people to go back on their meds, because it changes their personality,” he said.
“And maybe a nurse could explain the positive things about taking meds and why they were prescribed to them.”
Ryan A. has been at the shelter for eight years, and hasn’t seen too many “major situations.”
“Mostly people have seizures and are just sick with alcohol,” he said.
Nurses have set up clinics at the Sally Ann before, said Lightening. Kwanlin Dun First Nation used to send nurses, she said.
The new initiative is a partnership between Kwanlin Dun and the Yukon government.
The only issue was figuring out a spot for the clinic, said Lightening.
“The shelter is jam-packed,” she said. “So we talked about using the chapel.”
The problem with the chapel is it’s not in the shelter – it’s next door.
“There’s a lot of distractions between here and there,” she said.
But government has opted to use the chapel anyway, according to the release.
“It’s a familiar space,” said Salvation Army Captain Jeff Howard.
Many of the Salvation Army’s regulars have trouble keeping appointments, or have issues with transportation, he said.
Howard hopes, by bringing nurses to them, “it will help remove some of these obstacles, and help people be a little bit healthier.”
For years, Sally Ann regulars have frequented the Whitehorse hospital’s emergency room.
Now, with fewer doctors in the territory – many moved away after being denied permanent licences – things have worsened at the ER.
“The departure of several special-licence physicians and the closure of several walk-in clinics have left an increased number of individuals, particularly marginalized individuals, without access to health-care services except for those offered through the emergency department,” said the government release.
The new nursing clinic at the Sally Ann will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays.
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