Keys for Sister Georgette
On May 11, 2006, at the Sherbourne Health Centre, Sister Georgette Gregory received a commemorative key to the two new health buses that were donated by the Rotary Club of Toronto. Sr. Georgette, pictured above receiving the keys from Sylvia Milne, President of Rotary Club of Toronto, was honoured on behalf of all the volunteer nurses because she has volunteered on these buses since 1997 and at one time chaired the committee that facilitates community input for the buses.
The bus began in 1996 as a Wellesley Hospital Urban Health Initiative with The Rotary Club of Toronto donating the vehicle and various business supporters provided start-up assistance. The health bus provided a point of entry to health care for people who faced barriers to the more traditional setting of the hospital’s services. Because of continued growth and the need for back-up support to staff, the bus was transferred to Sherbourne Health Centre on Sept. 20, 2002.
The health bus provides health care through a dedicated team of volunteer and over 60 nurses. They serve those who cannot easily access heath services — the homeless and socially isolated, street youth, and those struggling with mental health issues. Needs for these buses have risen steadily since they were first instituted.
The bus makes several regular stops at a number of community locations which include shelters, hostels, drop-ins, community centres and Out of the Cold programs. Each stop averages two hours and provides health care for 15 to 70 people. The services include nursing care, health teaching and promotion, support and informal counseling, information and referral. Services are provided in a caring and understanding manner with an emphasis on prevention and harm reduction.