The St. Clare Health Mission’s street medicine team reaches out to the homeless in La Crosse


LA CROSSE (WKBT) – St. Clare Health Mission, a free health care clinic in La Crosse, deploys volunteers from nearby hospitals to its street medicine team to work to help the homeless to stay healthy.

Employees of Gundersen Health Systems and Mayo Clinic Health System volunteer for the street medicine team. The team travels to the Econo Lodge in North La Crosse on Wednesdays to serve homeless residents.

“We provide services like traditional health care, medical appointments or the recovery (to residents) of the medications they need and things like blood pressure checks,” said Jason Larsen, executive director of St. Clare.

This year marks the first time that health workers have been included in La Crosse’s conversations on homelessness, a step they believe is necessary. Healthcare workers attribute homelessness to conditions such as chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and addictions.

Sandy Brekke, senior consultant at the Gundersen Population Health Office, said: “A large part of the root cause of homelessness lies in the health of the people. “

Those staying at Econo Lodge, some of whom are there because the town council decided to pay for their rooms this week, are grateful to be inside for the winter and to receive consistent health care each. week.

“They don’t freeze to death in Houska Park, and it has happened,” said Mary Breyer, a resident of Econo Lodge.

Housing the homeless at Econo Lodge makes it easier to provide efficient health care and keep records of all patients, Larsen said.

“It’s nice to have everyone safe in a space like this as we can provide health care on site and help people get to the Saint Claire health mission,” said Feedback.

But Brekke, who is also a nurse, has expressed concern about the future.

“You know, the biggest problem happens, what’s the real solution? ” she said.

Krishi Korrapati, an EMT who volunteers at the Mission at 916 Ferry Street., said that there are many factors involved in the provision of long-term housing and medicine.

“We have to address some social determinants of health, like housing, education, social resources – a lot of things we take for granted,” Korrapati said.

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