Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) has reached a milestone with its Mobile Clinic, or primary care bus. The province’s first Mobile Clinic began making the rounds to select PMH communities five years ago, in mid-February 2014. Looking at the service in 2019, the region is pleased to recognize that these fully functioning primary care clinics—on wheels— are still going strong at designated communities.
The Mobile Clinic (MC) comes complete with two exam rooms, a wheelchair lift, and the same medical equipment and technology you would find in any other clinic. The MC is staffed with a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Community Health Nurse and a driver.
Some of the services provided on the MC include:
- regular health check-ups, physical exams and treatment of minor ailments;
- ordering and managing results of screening and diagnostic tests (eg. lab/x-ray);
- prescribing medications;
- helping manage with a chronic disease or condition;
- referrals to other health services/providers or specialists.
- health promotion and education.
Presently, the MC schedule visits four First Nation communities. They include Birdtail Sioux First Nation, Ebb and Flow First Nation, Keeseekoowenin First Nation and O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation.
PMH Primary Health Care Manager Kim Toews says the MC has provided services closer to home for residents during the past five years.
“Over time, the region has strengthened collaborative relationships with communities which has led to the successful MC model that is presently in place. We are attending communities that show consistent client volumes that also have allied health-care providers to provide the continuity of service needed when we are not there.”
Since 2014, estimates by PMH show that the total number of kilometres saved by clients who visited the Mobile Bus, instead of travelling to their nearest primary health care centre and back, was over one million. To put that in perspective, the average distance from earth to the moon is around 384,000 kilometres.
Health partners like Birdtail Sioux First Nation say the MC has improved the continuity of care in the community within a devoted, compassionate and professional care environment.
“Accessible health care in the community means our community members don't have to worry about leaving home for hours, finding child care or missing work," stated Felicia Hanska, Birdtail Sioux Health Centre.
PMH indicates that since 2014, nearly 3,000 clients have been seen on the MC for a total of over 12,500 clinical visits. PMH also has nearly 600 clients that registered the MC has their ‘home clinic’ as of December 2018.
Dawn Bass, Community Health Nurse at O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Health Centre says the MC is quick, convenient and health professionals are very friendly and generous with their time.
"We appreciate the convenience of the Clinic because we are so isolated and transportation for out of town appointments is not always available,” Bass stated.
“We have also situated the right staff for the services – they practice in a culturally safe manner and have allowed us to engage well with the communities we are serving. The MC has provided the opportunity for developing relationships and further programming with other PMH services, which has also been a strength,” Toews said.
Information on the Mobile Clinic schedule is available by calling 1-877-378-3077 or visiting the Mobile Clinic page on the PMH website under the Programs and Services section.
Mobile Clinic pictured at one of the four current PMH community sites—Birdtail Sioux First Nation —in October 2018