Nurse Angela McClelland and Dr. Sarah Culkin.

Nurse Angela McClelland and Dr. Sarah Culkin.

Salvation Army Medical Clinic transformation transforms lives

Clinic seeks community collaborations to meet growing need

Tucked away within the heart of the Abbotsford Salvation Army – Centre of Hope, a small medical clinic serves some of Abbotsford’s most vulnerable people.

Serving those who are homeless as well as those who may face barriers in accessing traditional medical services, the Salvation Army clinic was established more than five years ago.

Nurse Angela McClelland has provided care to clinic patients for the past five years, working tirelessly with limited resources to improve patients’ health outcomes and collaborating with many community agencies to provide optimal care.

Serving a growing need

In 2015, Nurse Practitioner Monica Gregory joined the team, bringing a wealth of experience including nine years of serving patients in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

In partnership with the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice and Fraser Health, a new model of expanded care brought expanded hours with physicians Dr. James Liu and Dr. Sarah Culkin. Today, the interdisciplinary team serves patients’ medical needs and connects them to resources such as housing, transportation and social support.

Community supports grassroots efforts

With its humble grassroots start, the growth of the clinic has also seen its challenges. Operating from limited space and working with modest supplies, the team at times had to get creative to meet patient needs.

Reaching out to the Abbotsford community for support, the clinic was met with true generosity from numerous supporters and partners. Judy and Kevan Siggs, owners of Nova Cabinets on Peardonville Road, provided a much-needed renovation to the clinic, creating a professional, functional and all-accessible workspace. They partnered with Rob Kuyek and Doug Lester from RDM Lawyers, Ray Yankena from Little Oak Realty, Dany Cassivi from Abby Locksmith and installer Andrew Steinbichler.

Medical Towers Pharmacy has helped find financial assistance for those without medication coverage, often donating needed medications when no coverage is available. They go above and beyond, also offering expert pharmaceutical advice.

The Division of Family Practice, Fraser Health, and Salvation Army provide key support and funding to improve infrastructure and build capacity, including key staff that make the clinic a reality.

Clinic yields positive outcomes

Fraser Health and the Division involved its research teams to analyze the clinic’s work and found patients who regularly used the clinic needed emergency room services less frequently and had access to follow-up care once discharged from hospital. This is a significant improvement for those most vulnerable in our health system.

Community collaborations and support welcomed

As the clinic continues to grow and develop, the team will look for new ways to work with the community to enhance services. Over the coming months, the clinic hopes to collaborate with other service organizations in Abbotsford to improve care delivery as a continuum.

As the homeless population increases, more resources are needed to continue to meet its needs. The clinic welcomes financial support as well as donations of medical supplies and equipment to further improve the services provided to patients. Please contact the Salvation Army Centre of Hope to make a donation.