Clinic for the homeless brings down ambulance, pneumonia rates

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A clinic for the homeless has brought down ambulance and pneumonia rates in Oklahoma City.

"I try to keep my body healthy. Being 59, getting ready to be 60, you've got to take care of yourself,” Glenda Ford said.

Through the help of several nonprofits, she can.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation awarded the Open Arms Clinic with $40,000 to run the downtown facility for the homeless.

It's free for clients at the City Rescue Mission.

"A lot of people we see here, they've been on the streets 20 years and have not seen a doctor in 20 years, so they come in here. They have diabetes. They have high blood pressure," Jessie Eisensmith, a nurse at the clinic, said.

In the past, a lot of the clients' only option was to go to the emergency room to get help.

Since the clinic opened almost a year ago, ambulance calls to the City Rescue Mission have been down 26%.

"The pneumonia rate has decreased dramatically from last year because they do have access to cold medications like Mucinex or Zyrtec,” she said.

Over the counter medications they couldn't afford on their own.

This Nurse Triage Clinic is filled with medicine to treat a minor injury or illness.

"This clinic is a blessing," Stefanie Baird, a patient at the clinic, said. "It keeps me from having to go run out to a doctor in a city I'm not used to just to have my ear looked at.”

While the clinic helps with their physical health, there's a mental impact as well.

"They'll walk around like nobody cares because a lot of people won't make eye contact with them even, so when they come into the clinic, we show them value. We show them that we care," Jessie said.

Jessie Eisensmith is the only paid employee at the Nurse Triage Clinic.

However, the clinic does use medical students as volunteers.

For more information call 405-789-0458 or click here.

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