August 14, 2022

madmenburger

Health for a better future

Local clinic bringing healthcare to Lincoln’s homeless

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – A free clinic is hitting the streets, finding Lincoln’s homeless population and figuring out how to help.

Three months ago, Clinic with a Heart started their Street Medicine Program. Right now it consists of just one volunteer, but he’s helping Lincoln’s vulnerable population once a month.

Street Medicine’s volunteer provider, Joel Ruiz, is using some of his free time to give back. Ruiz works full-time as a nurse practitioner at Bryan Health, and said this experience has been different than expected.

“I had this idea that I’d be going out doing all these physical exams, hands on patient care,” Ruiz said. “Not what I’m doing. A lot of it has been education talking about their already established health diagnosis, offering to try and refill prescriptions.”

Executive director of Clinic with a Heart, Teresa Harms Coder, said the street medicine idea has been in the works for some time.

“COVID has made me think about it even more because so many people have closed doors they come up to now,” Harms Coder said.

In order to find and best help Lincoln’s homeless, the clinic has partnered with Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach.

“They have an outreach worker that goes out every week,” Harms Coder said. “So he knows people. He’s a good navigator, he knows how to keep us safe and I think Glenn has known every single person we’ve encountered when we go out.”

For the first three months, street medicine has focused on downtown Lincoln and getting to know those in the area.

“Right now the goal has really been providing care to where they are at that moment,” Ruiz said. “I’m coming to them in the community so if they’re not actively seeking health care, I try to be approachable.”

The clinic says as time goes on and those relationships are established, they expect the need to grow.

“I imagine under a lot of those shoes and socks are wounds,” Harms Coder said.

If you’re interested in joining the street medicine team, more information can be found at clinicwithaheart.com.

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https://www.1011now.com/2022/07/12/local-clinic-bringing-healthcare-lincolns-homeless/