Archive | April, 2014

Health Bus moves to new downtown location

(April 28, 2014) Saskatoon – Saskatoon Health Region’s Primary Health Bus is heading downtown this afternoon to a new location. On Mondays the bus will be located at The Lighthouse Supported Living to provide health-care services to residents and other clients downtown. “We knew when we started the Primary Health Bus there was a need in the community for us to reach out and make health care more accessible,” says Sheila Achilles, director Primary Health Care, Saskatoon Health Region. “Making one of our stops The Lighthouse means we will be able to make our services more accessible to those in the downtown core who wouldn’t otherwise receive this type of care.”


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The Primary Health Bus is a partnership with MD Ambulance and is staffed by a nurse practitioner and a paramedic. Since beginning as a pilot project in the summer of 2008 the Health Bus has been able to bring services directly to under-served populations, reach those who may not receive care, and provide an alternative for those seeking care for minor conditions at hospital emergency rooms. In 2012-13, 5,717 clients visited the Primary Health Bus. Fifty-seven per cent of those clients were adults between 20 and 60 years of age and 35 per cent were children and youth.

The Lighthouse operates The Dubé Lighthouse facility, which houses supported living units for some of the most vulnerable citizens in the community, including the working poor, people with physical or intellectual disabilities, and people with addictions. The Lighthouse also operates emergency shelters for men and women, a Stabilization Unit for intoxicated individuals, and 58 affordable housing suites.

“Many clients of the Lighthouse and the wider downtown community are in need of greater health care support but are reluctant to use walk-in clinics or do not have a family doctor,” says Don Windels, Executive Director of the Lighthouse. “By providing services closer to where clients live, we hope that use of emergency services and ambulance rides will be reduced.”

The City of Saskatoon has shown its support for this initiative by making parking stalls available for the Primary Health Bus to park at The Lighthouse on Mondays. Saskatoon Health Region and The Lighthouse thank the City for making this location accessible.

Saskatoon Health Region’s Primary Health Bus operates seven days a week from noon to 7:45 p.m. See the complete schedule on our website at


Assisted living centre gets tax money for renovation, new unit

Reported by Bryn Levy
First Posted: Apr 11, 2014 4:03pm | Last Updated: Apr 11, 2014 5:00pm

A commitment from the provincial government means a major facelift for the Lighthouse Supported Living facility in downtown Saskatoon.

Health minister Dustin Duncan was on hand to announce $1.5 million in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan.

“It’s just a very worthwhile program and organization that’s been serving the people of Saskatoon for many years,” Duncan said.

The money caps a $4 million fundraising blitz started by the Lighthouse 11 months ago. A portion will go towards renovations to the facility, which provides housing to about 70 people in what was formerly the Capri Hotel.

The Lighthouse’s DeeAnne Mercier said the renovation will bring the building “into this century.”

“We’re going to be taking out the carpeting, re-doing the drywall, re-doing the plumbing, re-doing the bathroom fixtures. Making accessible doorways for people. Just those little things that are so important when you want to provide a safe home for people,” Mercier said.

Another piece of the project will see the construction of a 38-bed stabilisation unit.  The new unit will provide temporary emergency shelter to people who may be too intoxicated to be housed elsewhere.

Tracy Muggli is director of mental health and addictions services for the Saskatoon Health Region. She said the new unit will help reduce costly emergency room visits when the region’s eight bed Brief Detox Unit (BDU) fills up.

“We know that we can provide shelter services for far less. And, it’s a far more appropriate placement for people that are struggling,” she said.

For the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS), the issue of where to house intoxicated people is particularly important.

The service was rocked by three deaths in its holding cells back in 2010, and has been pushing to get out of the business of being the city’s housing of last resort ever since.

“We did have three in-custody deaths within a short period of time. And nobody wants to see that, whether it be in cells, whether it be in a park, or in your own home,” said Inspector Larry Vols, who heads up the SPS Headquarters Division.

Vols said the new unit will be another step in relieving pressure on the holding cells.

“People that need housing, that need other assistance, don’t need to be in our cells. We’re happy to see that there’s money being put aside for them,” he said.

SPDAT Training

Today organizations who work with those experiencing homelessness are at the Lighthouse to learn from Ian De Jong from OrgCode about using SPDAT.
SPDAT is a Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool. The goal is that through this assessment individuals will spend less time in emergency shelters, be provided more individualized care, and we will be able to collect better data. Better data will allow all of us to know where the greatest needs are in our community.

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Thank you to the United Way for bring this to Saskatoon so that organizations can have a common language to discuss the needs of those we serve.