A mobile outreach unit offering health and support services is now travelling to Port Hardy every two weeks to help people there.
The Mobile Outreach Unit for Health and Support Services (MOUHSS) is a project led by Kwakiutl District Council Health. It offers a range of services including counselling, social work and medical services, such as wound care, overdose response and testing, from a modified motorhome ‘bus’ that travels around town.
In Campbell River, MOUHSS goes to Spirit Square and Willow Point on Tuesdays, Roberts Reach and the curling rink on Wednesdays and Nunns Creek on Fridays. But now it will be hitting the highway to offer its services in Port Hardy, once every two weeks.
“We’re going to connect to other community resources, work with the Nations that are there and offer support to people in Port Hardy,” explained Leanne McIntee, Kwakiutl District Council Health Mobile Outreach Coordinator. “This will be the first time we’ve gone up to North Island, but it was a vision for the vehicle when we started just a week before the pandemic.”
A working group has been collaborating for the past five months or so to see who wants to be a part of the project, what gaps or barriers exist in Port Hardy and what can be done to alleviate those issues, explained McIntee.
“The most important piece is gathering your partners,” she said.
These partners now include community members and representatives, local RCMP, First Nations, and health authorities, she said.
McIntee will be working as a clinical counsellor and will be accompanied on the vehicle by a nurse provided through Gwa’sala First Nation. They will also be joined by a mobile hearing unit providing hearing testing and devices that has been working alongside MOUHSS in Campbell River.
The move north will serve as a pilot project to see how the community responds to a mobile outreach unit, and whether a similar unit should be established there permanently, she explained.
“Part of what we’re doing by going there is to help them identify and put together a program like we have in Campbell River,” she said.