Health clinic set up in Kapuskasing for forest fire evacuees

An interim primary care clinic has been set up in Kapuskasing to help meet the health care needs of evacuees from Pikangikum.

People from Pikangikum relocated to a number of communities due to fire concerns

An interim primary care clinic has been set up in Kapuskasing to help meet the health care needs of evacuees from Pikangikum.

More than 400 residents from the northwestern Ontario First Nation community are staying in Kapuskasing since their home is under threat from forest fires.

Chantal Boyer-Brochu is the chief financial officer at Sensenbrenner Hospital.

"They come in with different problems health wise," she said. "Anxiety, diabetes. They arrive here with no prescriptions or health cards and they need to use our facilities."

Boyer-Brochu says whenever it hosts evacuees from other communities it puts pressure on the emergency department and hospital staff.

She says that's why the hospital sought funding from the province to create a pop-up clinic specifically for evacuees.

"With the clinic they don't have to go and see a doctor in the emergency room and also they do have a chance to come back and talk to that nurse again," she said. 

"If you go to the emergency room then it ends there right. But the clinics there is a way to go everyday and see the progress of their health."

Boyer-Brouchu says this isn't the first time the community has set up a clinic for evacuees.

"Last evacuation, we saw a huge decrease in the emergency department and we saw that they are using the clinic," she said. "It does alleviate the pressure."

Boyer-Brouchu says staff meet the evacuees at the airport to let them know about the clinic and what services are available. The clinic is currently set up near the Civic Centre where evacuees get their meals.

Once the evacuees return home, the clinic will close.

With files from Angela Gemmill


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