Vanderhoof’s health unit is now the one-stop shop for community health care services in town.
Northern Health’s home and community care, previously housed in Stuart Nechako Manor, moved in with mental health and public health services at Vanderhoof Health Unit on Hospital Road this June.
It’s about having every door being the right door, said Brad Van Dolah, lead of the Interprofessional Team.
“When you come in for a service and you realize that you may need some other type of care, it isn’t about sending a referral and having to wait,” Van Dolah said. “We can make those decisions quickly as a team, or even within that same appointment, where you’re getting all your healthcare needs met at one time, without telling your story over and over again.”
Family doctors are also kept up-to-date with their patients’ progress, through open lines of communication between the health unit and Omineca Medical Clinic via phone or electronic record messaging.
A patient looking for a community health service can now call one administrative phone line, at 250-567-6900, in order to be directed to the relevant professional.
“You don’t have to search around and call four different places to find the service you’re looking for,” Van Dolah added.
The move is part of the health authority’s recent shift to be more person or family-centred — the primary care model, explained Raquel Miles, community services manager for the Omineca District.
“It’s about making access easy,” Miles said. “The individual in the middle is surrounded by a care team, who are connected around the needs with a purpose of helping the individual achieve the best possible outcomes.
“Sometimes I think the system can get in its way, and we’re trying to improve it and make it easy.”
While the transformation is a work in progress, changes like co-locating the interprofessional team is a step in the right direction, Miles explained.
“We’re focusing on access, establishing the interprofessional team, communication, and care plan,” she said. “There’s a lot of process pieces that need to be worked out, and we can only do so much at a time, but we’re very clear on what the vision is.”
Bill Floyd, who was visiting home care services — then housed at Stuart Nechako Manor — for a leg injury daily since April, was not much affected by the move.
“It’s a less of a walk [from parking lot to door],” Floyd said, adding that he hoped the decreased space for the moved departments would not deteriorate the service.