What is the Health Bus?
Sherbourne Health’s The Rotary Club of Toronto Health Bus is a mobile unit that provides an entry point to healthcare services for people who often face barriers in accessing traditional health care services. The program works in close partnership with local agencies to ensure it is meeting the needs of the surrounding community.
Who does the Health Bus serve?
The bus operates in Mid-East Toronto, one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in North America. The neighbourhood has a high number of Toronto’s shelters for homeless people and many services for street youth. It also has a large number of residential units that often house low income people, and a high proportion of isolated seniors living in the community.
These groups, plus others marginalized individuals in the community, often live with serious illnesses, and complex mental and physical health concerns. Individuals may also face issues around social determinants of health, such as trouble securing food, inadequate housing, financial insecurity and lack of identification.
Why is the Health Bus needed?
Accessing health and social supports is the key to helping individuals in the community manage their wellbeing and prevent further illness. However, many factors can stand in the way. Some individuals are often too wary to approach standard health care due to stigma. Others are unaware of the services available to them or are physically unable to access these services. Competing priorities, such as obtaining food or housing, can also make accessing health care challenging.
For these individuals, the Health Bus is an important contact with healthcare professionals and outreach workers. The Health Bus can offer immediate care, and provide an important connection to ongoing health services at Sherbourne Health and community partners.
Where does the Health Bus stop?
The Health Bus makes regular stops at community locations, such as shelters, drop-ins and specialized community agencies. At each stop, individuals come onboard the bus to receive a variety of services targeted to their needs.
View/download the current Health Bus schedule (PDF).
What services are provided?
Services are provided by a nurse practitioner, mental health counsellor, program workers, and other specialized health and service providers.
The program also provides harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention education including Naloxone distribution, and safe sexual health supplies, like condoms.
Some hygiene products are also given out to those clients receiving healthcare services. Seasonal supplies are distributed as needed to address health and safety during temperature extremes.
Services on the Health Bus are compassionate, non-judgmental and confidential. No Ontario Health Card is required to access the services.
Click here to download the current Health Bus Schedule