Pilot project becomes integral service to needy

What started as a pilot project to provide basic health care to people in Red Deer’s downtown core is growing into an integral part of the services available to a vulnerable part of the city’s population.

What started as a pilot project to provide basic health care to people in Red Deer’s downtown core is growing into an integral part of the services available to a vulnerable part of the city’s population.

The street nurse program, located at Turning Point at 4611 50th Ave., is a Red Deer Primary Care Network program that started last September.

Nurse Practitioner Marlee MacDonald offers clinic hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, doing everything from wound care and management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, to certain lab tests and sexually transmitted infection testing. She also helps people navigate the social and health-care services they need in the community.

MacDonald has served on average 71 patients a month, with twice as many men as women served. More than half of her clients — 53 per cent — have been between the ages of 41 and 59, 23 per cent between 25 and 40 and 16 per cent were between 18 and 24. Eight per cent were of an unknown age.

She has been impressed by how the different agencies and groups in the downtown have been willing to work together.

The street nurse program, in conjunction with the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society, has done a series of “tune-ups” during each season of the year, giving people access to a variety of agencies and services, ranging from free clothing to medical care. MacDonald said the tune-ups have also helped the program gain better exposure to the people who might want to use it.

Her clientele can include the homeless, people dealing with drug addictions or mental health issues, and those without Alberta Health Care coverage.

“The people we see down here, it’s just been so long since they’ve trusted a health-care worker. I feel like it is an opportunity to get them on track again with their health,” MacDonald said.

“There are definitely challenges every day, but when you do see some successes, it’s pretty rewarding down here.”

She said working in the nurse practitioner role has enhanced her love of nursing by allowing her to work more autonomously. She also appreciates being part of the Red Deer Primary Care Network, which she said has brought innovative ideas and initiatives to the city and helped enhance primary care in Red Deer.

The street nurse program has moved from a pilot project to a regular part of the Red Deer Primary Care Network programs.

MacDonald hopes that now that the program is better established it will be able to grow in coming years, with it continuing to be well accessed by the vulnerable population in downtown Red Deer.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rocky Mountain House crime reduction unit seize firearms following vehicle search

The Rocky Mountain House Crime Reduction Unit seized firearms, drugs from a… Continue reading

Red Deer man arrested for break and enters in Innisfail

Innisfail RCMP thank public for their help

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 6 briefing from Ottawa

WATCH: Red Deer emergency call centre hours change starting next week

Hours at the City of Red Deer’s COVID-19 emergency call centre will… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Name sought for new Red Deer Catholic school

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has found a site for its new… Continue reading

Opinion: Once again, the Queen leads while others let us down

“We will meet again.” Queen Elizabeth channelled her inner Vera Lynn on… Continue reading

Powell hopes to compete for Canada after promising NBA season cut short

Dwight Powell was enjoying a season unlike any other. His Dallas Mavericks… Continue reading

Raptors coach Nurse ‘100 per cent’ committed to Canada’s push for Olympic spot

TORONTO — Three weeks into global basketball’s shutdown, Nick Nurse isn’t just… Continue reading

Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival postponed to fall, Jazz Festival cancelled

Montreal’s renowned Just for Laughs Festival has been pushed to the fall… Continue reading

Queen delivers message of hope to UK amid virus outbreak

Britain needed a message of hope Sunday. The queen delivered it. Queen… Continue reading

Most Read