Boundary-Similkameen Candidates answer SOHC’s health care questions.

Questions to Boundary-Similkameen candidates.

  1. What will your party do to relieve the financial hardship of travel for medical care?
  2. What will your party do to increase specialist services in rural areas?
  3. What will your party do to provide family physicians in areas that have none?
  4. If elected, what will your party do to ensure adequate financial and planning support is provided to rural communities expressing an interest in establishing a Community Health Centre?
  5. If elected, what will your party do to ensure continued funding for existing Community Health Centres?
  6. If elected, how will physicians be paid in Community Health Centres?
  7. What is your party’s position on private, for-profit healthcare?
  8. What is your party prepared to do to defend further challenges to Canada’s public health care system?
  9. What would you and your party do to improve long term care in BC?
  10. What is your party’s position on P3s in healthcare?
  11. As a candidate in the provincial election, what are you and your party prepared to do to address these barriers to mental health and addictions services in rural BC communities? (transportation and out-of-pocket costs, small town stigma, physical distancing)

Princeton Community Health Table

News Release
Saturday, September 25  2020 

In response to growing concerns with mental health and substance use services, the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society has formed the Princeton Community Health Table (PCHT). 

On June 29 & 30, 2020 members of SOHC participated in the BC Rural and First Nations Health and Wellness Conference. It included over 900 participants from around the province. 

Our cohort focused on mental health and substance use issues. It was from this productive collaborative discussion that the PCHT originated. 

Various barriers have been identified to accessing mental health and addictions
services in rural communities. Transportation acts as a barrier, as there are limited options to get from rural areas to facilities located in urban cities that offer the services needed. Costs associated with transportation, food, travel, and accommodation to access those facilities may not be affordable for some service users. Further, the current availability of information may not be sufficient to direct community members to the services they need. Communication platforms that advertise information on where to access services are needed in sites that will reach populations that are at increased risk of mental health challenges. It also appears that stigmatization around mental health treatment plays a role in the barriers to accessing treatment, particularly in communities where the small population size has the potential to reduce the level of confidentiality between service providers and service users. Finally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic decreases access to services, and has resulted in the need for social distancing. This puts individuals at risk of isolation and related mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, and depression, amongst others. 

The goal of the PCHT is to improve access to mental health and substance use
services for people living in Princeton and surrounding area. The group aims to include key stakeholders in projects that address the root causes of mental illness and improve access to mental health and addiction services in the community. To accomplish this the group plans to review the community’s current resources and determine a path forward together to address current and new challenges. 

The PCHT held its third meeting on Thursday, September 24 where the group
developed prioritized action items and identified volunteers to work on the delivery of an action plan. Participants included the Assistant Superintendent of School District No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen), the Executive Director of Princeton and District Community Services, the President of the Princeton Metis Society, a health researcher from UBC Okanagan, members of the Support Our Health Care Board of Directors, and other stakeholders from the Princeton community. 

Representatives who have agreed to participate but were unable to attend include the Executive Director of Princeton Family Services Society, the Nurse Manager of Princeton General Hospital, and a student representative from Princeton Secondary School. 

The PCHT hopes to expand the group to include participants from local government, healthcare practitioners, the RCMP, and people with lived experience. 

BC Rural Health Network – September Newsletter

A selection of what you can find In this issue:
– Letter of the President
– Member of the Month: Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society
– Message from the Canadian Doctors for Medicare
– Feature article Restoring Trust: COVID-19 and The Future of Long-Term Care
– New petitions on the BCRHN website and much more….

Click on the Download button, or scroll through the screenshots.

An Investigation of Rural Citizen-Patient Priorities for Health Planning: Survey

The Rural Evidence Review project in collaboration with the BC Rural Health Network has launched a provincial survey to understand rural and remote community experiences and responses to COVID-19.

We are interested in engaging and learning from rural and remote citizens and communities across British Columbia about their communities’ experiences of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Participation is open to all residents of rural and remote BC communities. The survey is available on an ongoing basis, with no established end date. For individuals who do not feel comfortable to complete the online survey, there is the option to participate in a telephone interview.

The findings will be shared with rural and remote BC communities to support learning and collaboration across communities, and with health care decision-makers to support rural health care planning.

Click here to access survey: Rural Community Responses to COVID-19

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Rural residents spending $2,200 in travel per medical condition: survey

By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
Rural B.C. residents who travelled outside their community for medical care paid an average of $2,200 in out-of-pocket expenses for visits related to a single health condition between 2017 and 2020, according to a survey by UBC’s Centre for Rural Health Research.

“When I actually saw the number, that blew me away,” said the Centre’s co-director and UBC associate professor Dr. Jude Kornelsen. “That’s a lot of money.”

Whereas people living in urban centres can reasonably access non-urgent care such as specialists’ consultations and diagnostic testing, those living in rural areas often need to travel long distances to receive similar care, according to the Out-of-Pocket Costs for Rural ResidentsWhen Traveling for Health Care report.

“The disproportionate impact of being rural and trying to access specialist services is huge,” said Kornelsen. “Most people who are urban-dwelling don’t realize this.”

The survey findings show the severity of a problem everyone knew existed, said Ed Staples, president of the BC Rural Health Network, a cross section of rural community organizations advocating for health care policy improvements.

“What we didn’t have was the evidence, the facts, the data, to support what we already knew.”

For some people it’s an inconvenience, Staples said. “But on the other end of the spectrum, people are actually not getting the care that they need because they can’t afford it. And that’s wrong.”

Next Steps
The next step is to use this document as a starting point, said Staples. “It needs to be the beginning of discussion so that we come up with solutions.”

Kornelsen envisions pulling together a multi-disciplinary team to figure out how to correct the situation.

“We have to figure out where the locus of change is,” said Kornelsen, “because right now we don’t know which policy needs to change.”
To read the full article, click on:

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COVID-19 Has Exposed the Perils of ‘Financialized’ Seniors’ Care

The pandemic has highlighted worse outcomes and more deaths in for-profit care homes.

In May, Orchard Villa, a long-term care home in Pickering, Ont., made headlines for a bad COVID-19 outbreak. Just two months into Ontario’s lockdown, 77 patients in the 233-bed home had died. A report by Canada’s military revealed horrifying conditions, short staffing and neglect.

Some family members blamed for-profit ownership, arguing that COVID-19 had simply exposed, in tragic fashion, the impact of prioritizing profits in the operation of seniors housing.

Notably, Orchard Villa had been purchased in 2015 by private equity firm Southbridge Capital, adding it to Canada’s growing stock of “financialized” seniors’ housing — bought by financial firms as an investment product.

To access the article, please click on: COVID-19 Has Exposed the Perils of ‘Financialized’ Seniors’ Care

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IT’S TIME FOR GOVERNMENTS TO LISTEN TO WORKERS IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES

The Council of Canadians is calling on governments across the country to do more to support and protect both the residents of long-term care and those who work to care for them.

Jan Malek July 2020
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a video conference where long-term care workers from across the country spoke about their experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Their stories echoed with sadness and frustration as they described the tragedy that has transpired in many homes across the country. 

To date, more than 8,800 people have died in seniors’ care homes across Canada from COVID-19, the majority of them in long-term care homes, according to numbers compiled by freelance journalist Nora Loreto. This number represents more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in the country. 

Canada’s shameful record of COVID fatalities in long-term care is the highest of all developed country in the world. A report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that “the proportion of deaths occurring in long-term care (LTC) is double the OECD average.” It is a national tragedy that cannot be ignored, especially as the threat of another wave of COVID-19 infections looms. 

Workers in long-term care homes have unique insights on what is needed to avoid additional tragedies. Governments should be listening to their experiences closely – not to the managers or the corporate faces representing the homes – but the people who work and provide care in the homes (and whenever possible, the people who live in them too).

 To read more, click on IT’S TIME FOR GOVERNMENTS TO LISTEN TO WORKERS IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES 

Presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance

Presentation to the Select Standing Committee of Finance on rural health care. Edward Staples, President of BC Rural Health Network and Support Our Health Care – Princeton
Main topics:

– Access to Specialists
– Rural Health Councils
– Recruitment and retention of healthcare providers
– Transportation

A longer, written submission will be presented next week.

E.S. Presentation to SSC 2020 June 10