Health Care Clinic
Our onsite Health Centre offers compassionate care to our kids to heal the physical and psychological tolls of the street.
When kids are homeless, they are unable to plan beyond the next meal, so healthcare is not a priority until the need is great. Their bodies weakened from street life and the elements, youth often come to us in poor health after trying to cope on their own for too long.
Unlike most clinics, we serve their immediate needs whether or not they have ID or health coverage.
We assess the overall health of kids who come to our clinic. Our caring nurses build trust with our youth as they work together in a non-judgmental way on long-term goals for well-being.
The changes you see from when youth enter Covenant House to when they leave us are incredible. Their resiliency is an amazing thing to witness. Our kids are especially honest and really open up with the nurses here. Given all they’ve been through, that tells you a lot about how important the nurses become to them.”
– Shannon, RN, Health Care Team Leader
About 35% our youth struggle with mental health issues. Kids come to us with post-traumatic stress, depression or other serious conditions.
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Youth in need visit the clinic in their first week at Covenant House. The youth and our nurses determine health goals to work on with the support of their youth worker.
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Our clinic is open to kids with or without an appointment, five days a week. We have five nurses, three family doctors, two psychiatrists and one adolescent medicine specialist. Our volunteer nurse practitioner provides onsite care at our drop-in centre. We also have a volunteer chiropractor and massage therapists.
We collect lab samples, so youth don’t need to find an outside lab. We also have rapid HIV testing onsite, so our kids are never left alone to wonder. Our clinic stocks over-the-counter medication and first aid supplies to treat youth immediately.
We thoughtfully coordinate their care with other medical services in the community that will serve them best. We are well connected with many agencies, including those that offer free dental and eyeglasses. We also refer our kids to our health partners because of pregnancy, drug and alcohol addictions and the early stages of psychosis.
Eighty percent of the youth who use our shelter are in residence and the remainder usually access other Covenant House services like our drop-in centre, school or job centre.
Navigating the system
We serve the immediate health needs of our kids with or without a health card. Kids often run away from home suddenly to escape an unsafe situation, so planning to take their health card is never the first thing on their minds. We are one of the few clinics that will serve someone for free without a health card, coverage or address.
We help our kids replace their health cards and apply for Ontario Drug Benefits. If our kids are not currently eligible for assistance or have an immediate need, we pay for all necessary medication.
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| Success stories
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Cooking for her life
When Sophie’s mom was angry at the world, it was Sophie who would suffer. Her mom was overwhelmed and alone with six kids.
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