The Outreach Urban Health Centre on 455 Leon Avenue is moving to 1649 Pandosy Street. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

The Outreach Urban Health Centre on 455 Leon Avenue is moving to 1649 Pandosy Street. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Interior Health expands downtown Kelowna outreach health centre

The goal is to provide wraparound services for the area’s vulnerable population

Interior Health’s expanded downtown clinic will open in phases starting on Monday, March 29.

The new Outreach Urban Health Centre will move from 455 Leon Avenue to 1649 Pandosy Street and will combine the services offered there as well as those offered at IH’s community health and services centre at 505 Doyle Avenue.

The Leon location provides a range of primary care services to those who may not have access to doctors or care outside of downtown and includes checkups, access to physiotherapists, pharmacists as well as public health nurses. Health care staff also provide harm reduction supplies and services at this location.

READ: 2020 deadliest year of overdose crisis in B.C. history

The centre located on Doyle provides mental health and substance use services, including opioid agonist treatment (OAT).

Donna Jansons, with IH’s clinical operations, said the goal of the new location is to make wraparound care and services much easier to access for the city’s vulnerable population, especially residents experiencing homelessness who can only access downtown locations.

The new location features a supervised consumption site for those who need to use and want to do it at a secure place. Due to delays in shipping some of the materials, the site won’t open in full on Monday, which means IH’s mobile overdose prevention site will continue to operate until the centre is ready.

The centre’s primary care manager Luke Brimmage added the facility will prevent patients from having to be referred from one location to another.

“Combining the two sites is important and part of that is because a lot of the same patients and clients are accessing those services,” he said.

“So it helps bring those services into one building so that they don’t have to go to multiple buildings in the city.”

READ: Treat opioid addiction as a chronic disease, says B.C. addictions expert

Safety, both for staff and clients, is top of mind which is why consultation rooms and washrooms were designed so people don’t feel claustrophobic or have a way to harm themselves. Patients who don’t feel ready to come through the front doors but who need treatment are able to access bandages and medications through “pass-through” doors.

Workers are still putting finishing touches at the centre, but starting on March 29, the Leon and Doyle centres will operate out of the new location.

The centre is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Once fully open, the hours may change.

READ: 155 overdose deaths in B.C. marks deadliest February on record


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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