Through a partnership with the Salvation Army, the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Chiropractic Association (NLCA) has been helping patients in need at no cost since November 2015. Two days a week, Wade sets up at the New Hope Community Centre — temporarily housed at the George Street United Church — and works with people who otherwise couldn’t avail of the service.
Maj. Hedley Bungay of the Salvation Army said the organization, through its outreach programs, met numerous people who don’t have insurance and can’t afford the service.
“They live with minimal income and they can barely meet their basic needs — you know, food and rent and practical things like haircuts,” he said.
The NLCA, which was already partnering with the Salvation Army on another program, was keen to offer its services in such a way.
“I think at the root of being a health-care professional is a desire to help people regardless of financial circumstances and, unfortunately, that’s not the way that the whole health-care system works,” said Wade. “The Salvation Army is just a wonderful organization that’s based its whole existence on helping people, so when you see something like that going on, you can’t help but catch the bug and do what you can to help out.”
Clients grateful for free chiropractic care
Wade sees clients two mornings per week. He said it’s not only clients of the New Hope Community Centre that avail of the service, but also the working poor.
“What we know is that musculoskeletal issues, which are one of the most significant burdens of disability in society right now, affect those in lower socioeconomic demographics more significantly than they do in most: people who have adverse living conditions, people who can’t afford proper nutrition, people who don’t wear proper footwear, their beds are not probably as good as we would like them to be, and if they are employed, a lot of times they are employed in jobs that are more labour intensive,” he said.
“Also, there’s a segment of this population, as there is in any population, that has struggles with substance addictions, so sometimes the treatment alternatives for them from a medical perspective are limited, so it’s nice to have a non-drug type of therapy that has been proven to be effective for treating these types of conditions.”
Wade said most of the clients he sees there experience lower back pain as well as upper back, shoulder and neck pain.
“Also, we see a lot of people with foot and lower leg conditions from the fact that these people do a lot of walking as their mode of transportation,” he said.
“We’ve been very fortunate that the results that we’ve been having are quite good for this population, and most patients are very pleased to have access to a service that they’ve never had before. It also gives a sense of normalcy that they would have access to a service that anyone in the general population would.”
Bungay said the clients are very happy with the service, and recalls one woman’s comments after seeing Dr. Wade.
“She said, ‘This is like Christmas,’ meaning that she has been given a wonderful gift just to see Dr. Wade and to deal with some of the pain issues that she was experiencing,” Bungay said. “The physician that she was seeing was giving her medication to deal with the pain, but really not dealing with the pain, if you get what I’m talking about. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on, but not really dealing with the real issue.”
Wade sees clients on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the George Street United Church, where the Salvation Army’s centre outreach services are housed temporarily until its new facility on Springdale Street is open.