After-hours mobile clinic to help those in need
Zachariah Matysek is a case worker at Anglicare’s Quigley Street Night Shelter in Cairns, doing his part to help provide crisis accommodation and case management support to those experiencing primary and secondary homelessness in the region.
Zachariah sees first-hand the hardships that these often forgotten members of our society go through on a daily basis, including the lack of available support to maintain basic good health while they attempt to get their lives back on track.
Identifying this as a need, Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) partnered with Stratford Medical Centre to bring Wheels of Wellness, an after-hours mobile health clinic, to those in need in the Cairns community.
This after-hours service is run twice a month and visits various locations such as the Cairns Villas Caravan Park, Mission Australia in Sturt Street, Douglas House, and the Quigley Street Night Shelter where Zachariah is based.
The main focus of Wheels of Wellness is to work collaboratively with homelessness hubs and service providers to deliver professional and compassionate health care to the most disadvantaged members of the Cairns community.
“This much-needed service allows those who do not feel comfortable in a clinical setting to still be able to seek the treatment and help they need,” Zachariah said.
Wheels of Wellness is committed to working collaboratively with homelessness hubs and service providers as they have an established client base, prioritise those most in need, supply a venue to work from, and when possible even provide available staff.
“It has been wonderful to work alongside a group of healthcare professionals who it is clear care about providing our clients with the highest quality of care,” said Zachariah.
“Wheels of Wellness has gone above and beyond to ensure our clients are in good health, even at a cost to the clinic where we have not had the provisions to provide transport for follow-up appointments.”
Wheels of Wellness also had the opportunity to work with two very experienced nurses from Mission Australia’s ‘Going Places’ program. Their expertise with homeless clients, particularly around mental health issues, proved to be invaluable.
In March 2017, Queensland Health’s Tropical Public Health Unit were running a syphilis campaign which offered free screening.
The team collaborated with Wheels of Wellness to bring a free screening clinic to Cairns Villa and Leisure Park. This clinic proved to be extremely successful and was the largest attended clinic yet.
“Patients are overwhelmingly thankful that they have access to such quality health care and are treated with respect and dignity in a very confronting and difficult time,” added Zachariah.
With the help of NQPHN and Stratford Medical Centre, patients who would not normally have the opportunity to do so are able to consult not only with GPs and nurses, but also allied health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists, and dietitians.