Saturday, July 25, 2015

Northern Health provides service overview for Council

Representatives from Northern Health
made a presentation to City Council
on Monday evening
Lost among all the talk of land use of last Monday evening's Council session were some interesting notes from officials of Northern Health, who provided a twenty minute presentation on some of the current Health and Harm reduction initiatives taking place in the city.

Michael Melia and Jane Boutette from Northern Health opened up their update for Council on the work of the Integrated Health, providing a short overview of the goals for health delivery and the status of some of those goals to this point of their Strategic direction plan, which they hope to extend until 2021.

Mr. Melia delivered the overall review of the Strategic plan, highlighting a number of aspects of how the plan is designed to engage with the community.

Among some of the focus points of that plan:

An Integrated Accessible health Service
A Focus on Our People
A Population Health Approach
High Quality Services

It is a plan that Northern Health launched in 209 and is hoping to extend until 2021.

As for the Healthy Communities Integration work, Ms. Boutette outlined the local groups that provide input into their program in the city, the main focus of recent years has to been to attend to the needs of vulnerable seniors and youth in the community.

They are constantly looking as to other areas of the community that they should be attending to.

Ms. Boutette provided an update on some recent grant money totalling up to $5,000 provided to the region and where it was allocated towards, including

She made mention of a popular event of the spring when Northern health hosted The Second Annual Seniors Wellness Forum of May

A concept known as the Bike Blender, which creates and generates interest in active living and active eating. The Bike Blender for health is to be used for fund raising and information sharing at community events around the city.

The final item that made use of the grant money was a Social Media Responsibility Conference designed to engage with students, parents and teachers of the Middle and High School in the city. Focusing on the safe use of social media by youth and educating them about such issues as Internet trolling and engaging with strangers online.

A psychiatric liaison nurse for
Prince Rupert Regional Hospital
is one new initiative for the city
As for some future support for the community, some of the plans they have in place include work on their Care in Place program, including the anticipated arrival of a Psychiatric liaison Nurse for Prince Rupert.

Other directions they will be exploring is more work on Care in the Right Place, ensuring that there is good flow through for the 24 beds at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. Northern Health is hoping to reduce the amount of time that patients are stalled in acute care at the hospital, looking to expand on services when it comes to alternative level of care which should reduce their time in the hospital.

Severe Addictions and Mental Illness concerns will also be addressed in the community, as Northern Health introduces care through its Psychiatric liaison nurse, with services available from Noon until 9 PM through the week at the hospital seven days a week.

They also highlighted some of the changes to their Trauma practices with increased training to be provided.

When it comes to Harm reduction in the community, Ms. Boutette provided a review of the current level of services to those at risk in the community, with Prince Rupert offering a needle distribution service for those that use injection drugs, as well as a drop off service for collection of used needles for disposal to keep them off the streets. They strive at that time to inform those in the community of the options available for counselling and addictions services available across the north.

As well, Northern Health takes advantage of the opportunity to inform and education their clients about such trends or issues as fake drugs or dangerous mixtures that could provide for deadly effects in the community.

As for some of the potential programs for the future, Ms. Boutette noted two programs out of Smithers that Northern Health is looking at for possible expansion.

Highlighting the work in Smithers on HIV issues and point of care testing in that community, advising that there is some discussion into bringing that program to Prince Rupert, as well as a program to help reverse the effects of an overdose, another initiative in Smithers that may migrate to the North Coast in the future.

Following the presentation, Councillor Thorkelson inquired about Northern health's efforts when it comes to housing issues in the community, focusing on what may be working in other communities when it comes to the issue.

Mr. Melia noted that while housing wasn't a core mandate for health, it was a key determinate of health and that Northern Health was an active partner in the process.  He made comment regarding the city's recent survey work on housing, and highlighted Northern Health's interest in becoming part of the steering group related to that topic.

A wider overview of the talking points from the presentation can be found on our City Council timeline feature.

The full presentation to Council can be viewed through the City's Video Archive, starting at the sixteen minute mark.

For more items related to Northern Health see our archive page here.

More on council discussion topics can be found on our Council Archive page.

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