Greetings all! Here’s the latest news from the BCRHN.
Our first Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, May 11 beginning at 1:00 pm in the CB Murray Ramsden Board Room (room 1346) at Kelowna General Hospital (see attached map). For this important first meeting, we encourage each member organization to make representation in person. However, if this is not possible, we are making arrangements for teleconference participation. The AGM planning committee is putting the finishing touches on the agenda which will be sent to the membership shortly. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.
The April Member of the Month is the Hornby Denman Community Health Care Society (HDCHCS). Thank you to James Leslie for submitting the following article:
The HDCHCS began serving the residents of our two rural island communities in 1979. The year round population on each island is approximately 1000 people. The number of residents increases dramatically during the summer months, most markedly on Hornby Island where the numbers can grow to beyond 7000 people.
Home Support Services, our largest single service, is funded through the Island Health Authority; this funding was over 70% of our 2016-17 revenue of $1.6. To complement Home Support we also provide Home Assist services; unfortunately this must be on a user pay basis. In addition we maintain a quite ample home equipment loan cupboard and raise funds for an emergency aid fund.
As a result of recognition of the excellence of our services we were selected to be the lead agency to provide the Better At Home program across the entire Comox Valley Region.
In our ongoing battles to meet community needs we have obtained funding to provide, on a part-time basis, youth and family counselling services and in-community youth workers who focus on prevention and early intervention.
On Hornby Island we are the owner of a community built medical clinic that we lease to Island Health for their provision of a salaried primary care physician and a rural extended practice nurse.
With our commitment to team based approaches, we organize and facilitate regular monthly meetings of the networks of health and health related service providers and engaged community members on each island. We also play a leadership role in sustaining a cross-discipline senior’s table for the Comox Valley. Our community development work is not funded and our broad community health networks are supported by efforts far beyond what is contained in the job descriptions of key HDCHCS staff.
Among the challenges we face are:
- Remote, ferry dependent communities
- Difficulties in learning about and accessing needed services
- Small populations with large seasonal fluctuations
- Large numbers of frail elderly and physically vulnerable individuals with complex chronic illness, many of whom have become socially isolated
- Inadequate, often unsafe housing for many residents
- High poverty levels
A mental health needs assessment completed in 2016 with support from the BC Divisions of Family Practice verified what the local health networks on each island have long identified as two high priorities for our communities: community based mental health services and assistance in accessing needed services. Dedicated support for these services is urgent.
Our Board has recently established a Community Health Plan working group. We are putting in place a process to better identify and understand the particular qualities of our communities. We intend this to be one key means of identifying how best to go forward by:
- Locating services within the socio-economic context of our communities,
- Identifying the network of connections within our communities,
- Identifying blockages in services as well as opportunities for change and or growth,
- Developing an overall multi-year model for service provision and development.
Please visit the BCRHN website and pages on Facebook and Twitter. They are updated frequently and provide members with a way to stay informed and get involved. If you have something you would like to see added to our online sites, please contact Nienke Klaver at email@example.com.
To your health,
Ed Staples, Board Chair
Greetings from the snowy Tulameen Valley. As we head into March, there are several interesting and important items to share with you, including our Member of the Month article featuring Johanna Trimble, our first “Individual” member.
The BCRHN Interim Board of Directors met on Wednesday, February 13th. Items on the agenda included the approval of a letter to Minister Dix, an update on the Rural Evidence Review project, and the setting of the date for our first Annual General Meeting. Board members also gave updates on membership and various conferences and workshops.
The BCRHN has sent a letter to Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, providing an overview of our organization’s goals and an update on our recent activities. The purpose of the letter was to congratulate Minister Dix on raising the profile of rural health issues and to update him on the work of our Network. As the letter states, we “believe our Network is well positioned to work together with [the Minister] to advance BC’s rural health agenda and improve population health outcomes for all residents of the province.” We look forward to receiving a reply from the Minister and will share further developments as they come available.
The Rural Evidence Review (RER) project has been surveying rural residents from across the province on their experiences and priorities accessing healthcare, and received close to 800 surveys. Jude Kornelsen is leading this initiative and is now working with UBC to get ethics approval for further research. The BCRHN is excited to be a part of this project as it promises to support strategies for recruitment and retention of healthcare providers in rural BC. An article on the RER project is in the February issue of the Ubyssey online news source: https://www.ubyssey.ca/science/rural-health-review/
Our Network continues to grow with two new members joining in February. Johanna Trimble, our first “Individual” member, joins us from the Sunshine Coast and the Castlegar & District Hospital Foundation joins us from that community. If you know of an organization or individual who would be interested in joining the BCRHN, please provide contact information to Ed Staples at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first Annual General Meeting of the BCRHN will be held in Kelowna on May 11, beginning at 1:00 pm. Detailed information on agenda and location will be provided soon. In advance of the AGM, the Board is working to have our organization become a registered BC society.
Members of the BCRHN attended the Provincial Healthcare Partners Retreat held in Vancouver, January 27 – 29. The event was co-sponsored and organized by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC, Doctors of BC, and the BC Ministry of Health. The purpose of the gathering was to “engage in learning about primary health care re-design and transformation, with a focus on rural and remote communities.” Participants had several takeaways including recognition that partnership is key to the transformation process; developing relationships between policy makers, health administrators, health providers, community organizations, and academic institutions is the most effective way to make change happen. The BCRHN was an active participant in this event and there are plans to have our Network involved in follow-up discussions.
Please visit the BCRHN website and pages on Facebook and Twitter. They are updated frequently and provide members with a way to stay informed and get involved.
If you have something you would like to see added to our online sites, please contact Nienke Klaver at email@example.com.
To your health,
Ed Staples, Board Chair
On behalf of the BC Rural Health Network Board of Directors I’d like to welcome you to the first in a series of monthly newsletters that will be sent to Network members and supporters. It’s our goal to provide a summary of BCRHN activities and plans. We will also be including a “Member of the Month” article featuring one of our active members. Thank you to Colin Moss and the Slocan Valley District Chamber of Commerce Health Committee for volunteering to be our first feature. If you would like to have your community and organization featured in future issues, please send me an email or give me a call.
Over the past several months the BCRHN has been active in two main areas: the development of our governance model and working with the Ministry of Health (MoH) on the development of Community Health Centre (CHC) policy.
On November 24th of last year the BCRHN held a general meeting in Kelowna where the membership ratified the Terms of Reference and Constitution developed by the governance committee. I’d like to acknowledge the excellent job done by Sue McCrae, Elaine Storey, Bill Day, and Colin Moss who served on the committee. Their efforts have laid the groundwork for our future development and activity.
We also elected an interim Board of Directors consisting of Sue McCrae (South Shuswap), Pam Beech (Sicamous), James Leslie (Hornby-Denman), Colin Moss (Slocan Valley), Curt Firestone (Salt Spring), Jude Kornelsen (Centre for Rural Health Research-UBC), Stuart Johnston (Rural Coordination Centre of BC), and myself (Princeton). The Board has been given the mandate to incorporate the BCRHN as a registered BC society and make plans for our first Annual General Meeting this coming Spring. More on that in upcoming newsletters.
The other area of activity is our collaborative work with the MoH on the establishment of new CHCs and the upscaling of existing CHCs in rural BC. In June 2018, BCRHN members participated in a consultation on the development of a policy that would include CHCs in existing Primary and Community Care policy. Following that activity we were told that we would be consulted further in the implementation of that policy. We’ve been waiting since then for further news and it now appears that our Board will be meeting with MoH in the next few weeks to receive an update and discuss our future involvement in this initiative. Stay tuned.
BCRHN has a website and pages on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks go to Nienke Klaver for all her work in setting this up and providing us with updates and information. I invite you to visit these sites regularly:
Ed Staples, Board Chair