New Kingston-area baby wellness clinic to support infants without doctors

Image by PublicDomainPictures.

A newborn and early childhood clinic will soon be available for infants without a primary care physician in the Kingston area. The Partnership for Well Baby Care Clinic is a result of the collaboration of the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team, Queen’s School of Nursing, Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC) and KFL&A Public Health.

According to a release from Queen’s University, the clinic will offer interprofessional educational experiences for undergraduate nursing, nurse practitioner (NP), medical students, and post-graduate medical trainees in family medicine and pediatrics by providing well-baby health care to area infants — all while addressing the ever-growing physician shortage in the region.

“Newborns and young children are extremely vulnerable and ongoing health care is essential for good health outcomes. We are very pleased to offer this service to babies and young children in our region and provide our learners with exceptional interprofessional and team-based opportunities to advance their knowledge,” said Dr. Roger Pilon, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and licensed Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHC-NP) who is helping lead this initiative.

Newborn infants and their parent(s) or caregiver(s) in the Kingston area who are unattached to a primary care provider will be referred to this clinic, according to the release. It will operate two half days per week, staffed by three primary care nurse practitioners (NP) from the School of Nursing and supported by nurses from KFL&A Public Health.

According to Queen’s University, the focus of the clinic is on providing wellness care, monitoring growth and development, milestone screening, and delivering immunizations critical to early childhood health. If a child needs specialized care, the NP will make a referral to a pediatrician or other specialists. Acute care will continue through the Children’s Outpatient Clinic (COPC) at Hotel Dieu Hospital and local emergency departments.

KCHC and KFL&A Public Health are providing administrative and immunization support, as well as clinical space at 221 Portsmouth Avenue. The Queen’s Chair in Pediatric Education and Research and the Department of Pediatrics has also provided $50,000 in start-up funding to support this clinic, the university stated.

“It is important to KCHC to work with our community partners to ensure the health of everyone in our communities, particularly priority populations,” said Dr. Rupa Patel, Family Physician at KCHC and Assistant Professor at Queen’s Department of Family Medicine. “This clinic is vital to the health and well-being of babies so they get a healthy start in their growth and development.”

For the past eight months, the MD/NP providers at KCHC have been providing well-baby care for infants without a primary care provider, according to the release. Dr. Patel and the team at Weller Clinic identified this community health care need and brought the partners together to help design the clinic.

“We are thrilled to partner with KCHC and Queen’s School of Nursing to provide much-needed space and knowledgeable healthcare professionals to make a real difference in the lives of families in our community who may not have access to primary health care providers,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health with KFL&A Public Health.

It is estimated that 20 babies a month are born in the Kingston area who are not attached to a primary care provider. This initiative also benefits the larger health care system by providing essential wellness health care to infants and young children, resulting in fewer visits to COPC and emergency departments.

Queen’s Health Sciences and School of Nursing, KCHC, and KFL&A Public Health are partners in the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team (FLA OHT) network, which is focused on the critical health needs of people in the region and finding opportunities for stronger, more connected care.

According to the university, this initiative aligns with two of the priorities identified in Queen’s Health Sciences’ strategic plan: integrated health sciences education and clinical impact in the community.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!