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

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read