VICTORIA, British Columbia, July 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, TELUS and the Victoria Cool Aid Society announced a new partnership through TELUS’ innovative mobile Health for Good program that will bring primary care to underserved people in the Victoria area. According to a 2020 survey1 studying Victoria’s homelessness and housing needs, over 1,500 individuals experience homelessness in Greater Victoria on any given night. These individuals face additional barriers outside of homelessness and are in need of health services including primary care, harm reduction services, and mental health supports. The Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic, powered by TELUS Health, is a specially-equipped clinic on wheels that provides trauma-informed, primary medical treatments, mental health services, addiction support as well as COVID-19 assessments and testing directly to people who need it most.
“At TELUS, we believe that everyone should have access to healthcare when and where they need it, regardless of their socio-economic status. Through our partnership with Cool Aid, we are removing many of the barriers facing underserved and at-risk populations in the Victoria region by providing access to critical healthcare, social support, and COVID-19 testing,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS. “As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, today’s expansion of our Health for Good program will enable us to care for our most marginalized citizens at a time when access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare, including vital support for mental wellness, has never been more important.”
The Mobile Health Clinic is equipped with TELUS Health’s electronic medical record (EMR) technology, TELUS Mobility services and TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network technology to assist the onboard care team in delivering immediate, quality care. Leveraging TELUS Health EMR technology, skilled practitioners will be able to collect and store data, examine results over time, and provide better continuity of care to patients who previously had undocumented medical histories.
“Bringing the Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic to the Victoria region further expands our community health centre model of care and services for those who experience barriers to primary care and services,” said Mary Chudley, director of health and support services at Cool Aid. “Many marginalized communities including those who are under-housed or experience homelessness have not had access to primary care in years or do not have a documented medical history that can be referenced by healthcare practitioners. By facilitating better continuity of care, these services help those who cannot easily access traditional medical care, yet are in urgent need. With the mobile clinic, we are able to provide primary care to individuals who need complex care. This kind of outreach will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.”
The vehicle is divided into two main areas: the first for patient reception and nursing care; and the second with an examination table and doctor’s workstation including equipment necessary to provide primary healthcare such as routine testing, contraception, STI treatment, harm reduction services, and mental health care and counselling. The clinic will also include:
- Blood pressure machine with thermometer and pulse oximeter
- Otoscope and ophthalmoscope
- Emergency and harm reduction supplies
- COVID-19 assessments and testing
Locations that the clinic will visit throughout Greater Victoria continue to be determined in collaboration with community partners to reach people in need where they are – in parks, shelters, supportive housing locations, soup kitchens, food banks, and on the streets. Staffed by a comprehensive team including physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and outreach workers, the clinic will be able to deliver specialized care to the target population where and when they need it.
“By going to our clients instead of asking them to come to us, we get to step into their world and see the many barriers and challenges they are facing that may not be apparent when meeting with them in a more clinical setting,” said Robyn Kyle, Cool Aid Health outreach worker. “Part of what makes outreach workers so crucial, especially in a healthcare context, is that we have the tools to address those barriers and challenges, which inevitably leads to better healthcare engagement and better outcomes.”
Backed by a $10 million commitment from TELUS, the TELUS Health for Good program is active from coast-to-coast with clinics operating in Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton, Ottawa, Mississauga-Peel Region, Waterloo Region, Montreal, Halifax and Toronto.
For more information about TELUS Health for Good, visit telus.com/healthforgood.
About TELUS Health for Good
Since 2014, TELUS Health for Good has been helping to remove many of the barriers Canadians living on the streets face in receiving medical care and reconnecting thousands of patients to the public healthcare system. The Mobile Health Clinics provide essential primary medical care, including electronic medical records, and have enabled over 70,000 patient visits since the program’s inception. Today, through numerous partnerships, volunteers, and the power of technology, TELUS Health for Good is an efficient and innovative mobile healthcare delivery tool to reach communities in need by bringing healthcare directly to the people that need it most.
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $16 billion in annual revenue and 16 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. We leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. In 2020, TELUS was recognized as having the fastest wireless network in the world, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better. TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture provides innovative digital solutions throughout the agriculture value chain, supporting better food outcomes from improved agri-business data insights and processes. TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that delivers next-generation AI and content management solutions for global brands across the technology and games, ecommerce and FinTech, communications and media, healthcare, travel and hospitality sectors. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 25+ countries around the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.
Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $820 million and 1.6 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.
About the Victoria Cool Aid Society
The Victoria Cool Aid Society believes that everyone deserves home, health and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty and we make a difference through housing, health and dental care, community, and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps more than 12,000 people in the Capital region every year, at 20 locations in Victoria, Saanich and Langford, including more than 7,000 Community Health Centre patients. For more information about Cool Aid, visit coolaid.org.
1 2020 Greater Victoria Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Housing Needs Survey, Page 5 https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/housing-pdf/housing-planning-and-programs/crd-pit-count-2020-community-report-2020-07-31.pdf.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2b098471-13f4-43e4-89ed-645f54085808
Cool Aid Mobile Health Clinic Powered by TELUS A photo of the Cool Aid Health Clinic powered by TELUS Health. Photo Credit: Karen Mackenrot, TELUS