Night Ministry: Health Outreach Bus
From 2008-2010, Night Ministry received a $300,000 core grant to improve and support the Outreach and Healthy Ministry Bus. The bus provides services at night to youth and adults in neighborhoods where they live, including outreach, HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, hospitality, social service referrals, and caring support. Funds from the Health Trust were used to improve staff development and information technology, thereby increasing service efficiency and quality. Through this grant, Night Ministry was able to achieve its main objectives: develop electronic patient charting, increase the program's connections and collaborations within the communities served, and provide professional development for nurses on the outreach bus. A major achievement was the implementation of an electronic health record, enabling staff to enter patient information electronically, and allowing them to provide advanced, more personalized care to the community. Through the Outreach and Health Ministry, Night Ministry staff made a total of 78,929 contacts with youth and adults during fiscal year 2010.
Brief Agency Overview
The Night Ministry connects with Chicago’s vulnerable youth and adults, providing basic supplies, self-care supplies, free healthcare, housing and supportive services for youth, referrals to other resources, and more.Since 1997 The Michael Reese Health Trust has provided support for Night Ministry’s Health Outreach Bus which travels at night to specific locations in Chicago to build relationships with vulnerable youth and adults, many of whom live on the street. Staffed by volunteers and nurses, the Health Outreach Bus is a reliable source of support providing no-cost quality health services and health education to individuals who do not have an established relationship with a regular provider.
$300,000 over three years for a Core Grant
- Implement an electronic patient charting on the mobile Health Outreach Bus
- Increase the program's connections and collaborations within the communities served; and
- Provide professional development for nurses on the outreach bus and managerial training for employees across the organization’s programs
- Hire an additional registered nurse to address workload issues
- In April 2010, Night Ministry’s electronic health record went “live” on the Health Outreach Bus. This represents one of the first actual implementation of such services in the country connected with mobile care. A significant achievement for a mobile health center, the electronic health record allows Night Ministry’s staff to spend less time documenting services and more time providing them. It also allows staff to keep a record of services provided for each patient, which helps manage care across the organization’s multiple providers improving consistency and avoiding duplication of services. The electronic health record allows Night Ministry to track demand for services, which advances program planning based on empirical information.
- Partnering with the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services for the electronic health record has allowed nurses on the Health Outreach Bus to increase patients’ access to multiple health services not provided on the Bus.
- Training for managers, many of whom were direct service providers, has strengthened the organization’s infrastructure and increased consistency of management practices across programs.
Christy Prassas, Vice President, Development & External Relations
The Night Ministry
4711 N. Ravenswood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640-4407