Street nurse service answers need

The downtown street nurse program in Red Deer could continue until at least 2012.

Street nurse Marlee MacDonald

The downtown street nurse program in Red Deer could continue until at least 2012.

The pilot project, operating out of Turning Point at 4611 50th Ave., started last October to improve health care access for people who may be homeless, dealing with drug addictions or mental health issues, and have difficulty getting the services they need.

“We’re pretty happy with the results,” said Dr. Lauralee Dukeshire, with Red Deer Primary Care Network.

“Business is steadily increasing. It’s great. They’re getting care they just weren’t getting before,” said. Dukeshire.

Red Deer Primary Care Network has budgeted money to pay the nurse practitioner’s salary until March 31, 2012.

Central Albert AIDS Network Society is also committed to the program and is providing the space until at least the end of the year.

For now, Alberta Health Services is still supplying the medical supplies and equipment.

Nurse practitioner Marlee MacDonald can order diagnostics, prescribe some medication and make referrals.

She can help patients navigate through the health-care system to get needed services, as well as provide wound care.

Since December, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy testing has also been available to clients.

“Testing is a big priority for public health and (CAANS) in relation to the work they do and what they’re seeing on the street,” MacDonald said.

Protocols are now being finalized to provide free over-the-counter topical creams and medicine for pain relief, allergies, coughs, bowel problems, lice and scabies.

“It will be a huge step to offer treatment without prescribed medications,” said MacDonald, who expects the medicine will be available by summer.

About 30 clients drop by each week at the office, which is open three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Without an Alberta Health Card, it’s difficult for people on the street to get medical attention unless they go to the hospital emergency department.

MacDonald said emergency staff are also becoming familiar with the program.

“There’s been a nice liaison. I’m getting direct referrals to follow up with some folks that are being discharged from emergency.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month