North York General Hospital (NYGH) is co-launching a one-year pilot program that will deliver a convenient way for people living with diabetes to access essential foot care services.
In partnership with several hospitals and community organizations, the Mobile Diabetes Foot Care Bus will provide essential foot care services from specialized nurses for people registered through certain diabetes care programs. In North York the participating programs are NYGH’s Diabetes Education Centre and North York Family Health Team Diabetes Education Program.
“The mobile foot clinic makes it easier for patients, especially those with mobility challenges, to access the foot care they need closer to home," says Milijana Kecman, Registered Nurse, Master of Nursing, Clinical Team Manager at NYGH and team member of the working group that created the pilot.
“Delivering high-quality, accessible diabetes foot care to patients will go a long way to prevent the development of serious complications like amputations and ulcers, and will help individuals maintain a good quality of life,” adds Ana Offenheim, Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator at NYGH's Center for Complex Diabetes Care.
The Mobile Diabetes Foot Care Bus was launched in partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre, Mackenzie Health, Oak Valley Health, Humber River Health, North York Family Health Team, North York General, Vaughan Community Health Centre, SE Health and CareFirst.
The mobile clinic is expected to provide basic care and education to more than 300 patients in its first year and will focus on providing care for those with financial difficulties, no extended health benefits, transportation and mobility issues, cognitive and physical impairment, issues with activities of daily living and basic self-care, and those who have diabetes neuropathy (affecting the nerves), nephropathy (affecting the kidneys) and retinopathy (affecting the eyes).
“Broadening access to publicly-funded footcare services can help people who live with diabetes avoid complications no matter their background and complexity of footcare needs,” says Kate Carey, Registered Nurse with the North York Family Health Team Diabetes Education Program.
“This pilot project is an exciting initiative that will help better serve patients of our Diabetes Education Program and provide care that is accessible, equity based and improves quality of life.”
The pilot is currently funded until March 31, 2024 and will rotate throughout the local partner municipalities in northern York Region, South Simcoe County and Georgina Island in addition to North York starting this June, visiting each municipality at least once a month for a full day of patient treatments.