A new mobile clinic in Kingston hopes to help the city’s most vulnerable.
The Portable Outreach Care Hub, or Porch, was installed in an RV. It was created as a joint partnership between the Kingston Community Health Center and the United Way, with provincial and federal funding.
United Way chairman Bhavana Varma says it is a traveling clinic for the most vulnerable.
“It’s designed so that we can actually go where the people are,” she explains. “People without homes, people who need help, it could be in rural areas, it could be in Kingston itself.”
Different sections of the vehicle are set aside for different needs, such as an area for group and private counseling and mental health support. A rear clinical bed provides space for a private consultation with a nurse.
Varma says it’s so people can access a wide range of services at once.
“There’s no one organization that can help people,” she says. “They need a host of services available to them, including health care, including counselling, including education and outreach.”
It comes as some hospital departments across the city face staffing shortages and are limiting patients to help ease the pressure on emergency care.
Meghan O’Leary, director of clinical services at Kingston Community Health Centers, says this mobile clinic will help with minor injuries, sexual health care and education, which hopes will ease the burden on emergency rooms in long term.
“By involving people in the community and providing care where they are, we hope this will reduce the need for urgent emergency visits so they can have preventative access to care,” he explains. she.
O’Leary says it cost $130,000 to set up the mobile clinic. By showing her around areas like Sharbot Lake and Verona, it obviates the need for a permanent clinic, which can be more expensive to build and staff, she explains.
“The efficiency is having this mobile unit that we can equip with counseling space and review space and being able to visit various places where these are needed instead of setting up physical infrastructure in various areas of the region,” she said.
The RV has already been used in a clinic, O’Leary says, and plans are underway to establish a set schedule for walk-in visits soon.