The Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® Initiative

The Cause

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta operates Canada’s only two mobile care units, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles®. The Mobiles are state-of-the-art vehicles that deliver free and cost-effective medical, dental and health education services directly to under served families in east Calgary and the Siksika Nation, operating as a partnership between Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta, Mosaic Primary Care Network, Siksika Nation Health Centre and, Ronald McDonald House Charities® Canada. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® develop and deploy programs for screening and diagnosis as well as, educational services, preventative services and resource navigation tailored to the specific needs of children, youth, and families of the identified communities.

The Care Mobiles provide services directly to those unable to access medical care due to language and cultural barriers. With the recent arrival of Syrian refugees to Calgary and many Calgarians struggling through a downturn economy, the demand for the Care Mobiles has never been higher. In east Calgary, the Mobile works with Mosaic Primary Care Network (PCN) to ensure delivery of the right service at the right time in the right place. We bring our Care Mobile where the community needs us most and Mosaic PCN provides the dental hygienists, nurses and supplies. In addition to pediatric oral health programs, child health screening and education, adult health screening and influenza vaccines, we also help patients navigate available city resources.

The issues and needs of providing optimal healthcare addressed by this Initiative are due (in part) to a public health care system that continues to struggle with growing costs, increased health needs and a shortage of health care practitioners. In Alberta, where the population has grown significantly over the past 10 years, almost 40% of the population does not have a family doctor. This faltering situation results in non-critical visits to emergency rooms or health conditions not being treated until they are in a critical state. Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® is a proven need for communities.

The Field Law Community Fund will support needed resources to address this response as we continue to provide care and medical relief to communities who need it the most. We are requesting funding for program cost support to help administer the children and youth health clinics and education programs of the east Calgary Care Mobile unit.

Who Will it Benefit?

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® Initiative is an ongoing program requiring annual support to achieve success. Through collected data, we project that 1,500 to 2,000 children, youth and families will be served through the east Calgary Care Mobile unit in 2017/2018.

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® provide health care that is easily accessible in safe, comfortable environments of familiarity – direct to the communities where clients live. The Calgary Mobile delivers services to various public locations throughout east Calgary including shopping malls and organizations within local communities such as Sunridge, Westwinds, Applewood, and Marlborough. Our programs support all families in need with predominant focus on health education for children and youth.

All programs including dental, nutrition, active living, and the walk-in clinic offer health education as a component of the consultation process. Oral health, for example, is one of the most important components of the dental service provided. A Dental Hygienist provides full details regarding bottle feeding, bedtime routine, healthy eating, high risk factors for cavities, and information on how to brush one’s teeth and take care of one’s oral health. Under the nutrition program, a nurse or dietitian consults with families regarding the eating habits of their children including how to encourage a child to eat, portion sizes, etc. and engages a growth chart as a measurement tool.

Health education is provided through one-on-one discussions as well as, in pamphlets and referrals to other health programs as needed and offered through the Mosaic Primary Care Network. The Care Mobile ensures all clients receive ongoing healthcare support and provide referrals and follow-up appointments with a healthcare practitioner to every child and youth. The dental program provides a 3 to 6-month follow-up for each child, and if a child is deemed high risk for dental care (cavity, abscess or other issue), they are referred to a pediatric dental partner working with the Mosaic PCN. Funding support is provided for those who do not have access to insurance or who are unable to afford a dentist. It is common for the Care Mobile to receive children and youth clients who have been referred to us through their schools.