In 2007, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced the creation of 25 Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics across Ontario. These clinics, referred to as Health Zone, are a new health care delivery model which puts nurse practitioners on the front lines as lead providers of primary health care. Through a collaborative approach including registered nurses, family physicians and other health care professionals, the clinics provide valuable family health care to men, women and children who do not have access to a primary health care provider.
Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care had much to say about Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics: “[These] clinics are a made-in-Ontario initiative that demonstrates our government’s commitment to increasing access to primary health care. The Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic will mean more access to health care in the London community for years to come.”
In the fall of 2011, Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics opened their doors at various sites across London. These well received clinics brought valuable health care and information to a vulnerable community.
Jocelyne Laberge, Case Worker at Rotholme Women’s & Family Shelter had referred many of her clients to the Health Zone site at Merrymount Children’s Centre on Colborne Street, in London. “It’s such a warm and compassionate environment,” says Laberge. “ I thought it would be a great service to bring into Rotholme.”
Laberge approached the organizers of the program and soon, the idea of opening a Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic at Rotholme became a reality. “They told me they would be very interested in setting up a clinic here at Rotholme,” recalls Laberge. “Having the services right here on site will make it so easy for clients to receive continuous care.”
Rotholme Women’s & Family Shelter is a 41-bed facility that primarily accommodates families who are homeless and in need of temporary emergency accommodation or are in crisis and require emergency shelter and care. “Clients who are in crisis may get [medical] help for their kids,” says Laberge. “But they won’t necessarily get the help that they need.” The Health Zone clinic will provide essential vaccinations, illness management and prevention, education and much more to clients in residence at Rotholme.
“Nurse practitioners are clearly demonstrating how they can contribute to family health care through these Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics” says Doris Grinspun, Executive Director, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. “People in London will benefit from increased access to family health care as well as the comprehensive team based approach that this clinic will provide.”
Laberge expects residents of Rotholme Women’s & Family clinic to welcome this new initiative with open arms when the clinic arrives in the coming weeks. With so many obstacles and hardships to deal with, maintaining the health of themselves and their families can be a challenge. The Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic will make things that much easier.
For more information on Rotholme Women’s & Family Clinic click HERE