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Health Care Assistants training for Princeton residents

April 14, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE
March 29, 2017

Okanagan College

HCA students Princeton March 2017:: (1)

Aging populations and retirements among baby boomer health care workers could spell a shortage of Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in many B.C. communities over the next decade. A special one-time intake of Okanagan College’s HCA program completed in Princeton recently and is already opening doors to health care careers for students in that community.

Natasha Smith has dreamt of a career in health care for more than fifteen years. On March 16, she became one of eight students to complete the program in Princeton.

A mother of three school-aged children, Smith says the hour-plus commute to the Okanagan College’s Penticton campus where the program is also offered, is not feasible for her. So when she learned the College would be offering an intake of its HCA program right in her hometown, she jumped at the chance.

“Being able to attend classes and secure practicum placements in Princeton made all the difference,” says Smith. “It brought the training within reach for me, and at a time when there is such a need for HCAs.”

The intake in Princeton came about as a result of extensive input from the community and support from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

“There are shortages of trained health care workers in small rural communities,” explains Angela Godler, Chair of the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College. “Being able to offer the HCA training within those communities is of immense benefit to students, employers and ultimately those receiving care.”

The College’s HCA program is 25 weeks in length and includes a combination of theory classes and an eight-week clinical practicum, covering areas of complex care, home support/assisted living and dementia care, and acute care.

Striking the right blend of classroom learning and practical experience is critical, says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.
“Given the diversity of care situations HCAs face in their day-to-day work, there needs to be an extensive amount of hands-on experience in real-life environments,” says Moritz. “We deeply appreciate the way the Ministry of Advanced Education, Interior Health and the community of Princeton have supported this intake and helped us enrich the learning experience for students.”

The class completed practicum placements with Ridgewood Lodge, Orchard Haven and Princeton Community Services.

“I loved every aspect of the program, but especially the practical element,” adds Smith. “It boosted my confidence and confirmed for me that this is what I want to do. I can’t wait to get out into the industry and start working now.”

Princeton isn’t the only centre feeling the pinch when it comes to HCAs. The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, released in 2014, listed Health Care Assistants as one of the top priority health professions in need of replenishment over the next five to 10 years.
Students are already reaping the benefits.

According to recent B.C. Student Outcomes data, 97 per cent of graduates from the College’s program are in the labour force, making an average hourly wage of $19.

More information about the HCA program at Okanagan College is available at http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.

Walk with your Doc

April 3, 2017

Walk with your doc

Dr. Ella Monro gave a report on recent activities at Cascade Medical Clinic and announced that several Princeton practitioners will be participating in this year’s Walk with your Doc event.

Last year more than 4600 walkers from across the province joined over 300 doctors in promotion of the health benefits of daily activity. This is the first year that Princeton docs will be participating in the event and they look forward to healthy involvement from the community.

For more information phone Nadine McEwen at the Princeton Visitors Centre at 250-295-6067.

From: Princeton Health Care Steering Committee
Monthly Meeting – March 21, 2017
Ed Staples

RCCbc recognizes SOHC

March 30, 2017

SOHC at Rural Locum Conference - Nanaimo
SOHC Secretary Nienke Klaver and President Ed Staples meeting a delegate at the Rural Locum Conference held in Nanaimo on February 25. (photo by Sharon Mah, RCCbc)

The following article appeared in the March 2017 issue of BC Rural Update, the online news letter of the Rural Coordination Centre of BC:

“In 2012, the community of Princeton was in crisis. There was only one physician on-call for the community of nearly 3,000 people, the ER was closed for four nights a week, and there was a shortage of nurses, medical office assistants, and laboratory staff. Through the combined efforts of the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) group, the Cascade Medical Centre, the Princeton General Hospital, and allied health care workers, the community was able to recruit and retain additional health care staff and work with several stakeholders to restore existing services, and even introduce new specialist clinics to the community.

Princeton locals Ed Staples and Nienke Klaver, are two of the founding members of SOHC who have worked tirelessly to advocate, coordinate network, and support the community’s health care professionals. In a conversation with RCCbc last year, Nienke mentioned tongue-in-cheek that SOHC has become a retirement project for her and Ed! We salute the efforts of SOHC in enabling the transformation of Princeton from a community in crisis to one that is now stable, and look forward to seeing what innovative programs the community will put forth over the next few years.”

Click the following link for more RCCbc information:
RCCbc online newsletter

The Twisted Business of Donating Plasma

March 21, 2017

Since 2008, plasma pharmaceuticals have leapt from $4 billion to a more than $11 billion annual market. Donors desperate for the cash incentive from high-frequency “plassing” may be putting their health, and the public’s, at risk.
plasma

I needed the cash.
That was how I found myself laying in a plasma “donation” room filled with about 40 couches, each equipped with a blood pressure cuff and a centrifuge. A white-coated attendant (workers aren’t required to have medical or nursing degrees) pricked my arm. He separated my plasma from my whole blood into a large bottle, and returned my protein-depleted blood, which flowed back into my arm to rebuild my nutrient supply.

“My house is so noisy with four kids so I come here for my relaxation,” said a middle-aged, haggard-looking woman on the next couch, the plasmapheresis machine at her side whirring. A clinician instructed us both to pump and relax our fists, like cows milking our own udders.
Before leaving I received a calendar that mapped out my pay, if I maintained a twice-weekly schedule for subsequent donations. Even a $10 bonus on my next visit!

How did I get here? My rent was due. I had insufficient funds in the bank. I was 48-years-old, a journalist running short on cash from writing assignments and odd jobs. That was when I saw an ad offering $50 per plasma donation: blood money, or more specifically, payment for my time and any small pain involved in the process of having protein-rich plasma extracted from the blood. Regulars call it “plassing.” Read more »

Alberta passes legislation banning payment for blood donation

March 21, 2017

Alberta has joined the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in banning payment for the collection of blood or plasma from donors.

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman commented, “Donating blood should not be viewed as a business venture, but as a public resource that saves lives every day.”

The legislation protects Alberta’s voluntary blood donation system, banning payment to donors and advertising for paid donations.

SOHC urges the BC government to join Alberta, Ontario and Quebec and pass similar legislation. (click on the following link to read SOHC’s position paper on the subject of paying for plasma)
Do Blood and Money Mix – SOHC position paper

Report on Princeton’s Specialist Care

March 20, 2017

To read about specialists visiting Princeton please click the link below.

Princeton Access to SPs Phase 1 Report Sept.2015
shared care

Excerpt:
AIM
The aim of the Princeton Access to Specialist Care project was to improve and sustain access to specialist care in the Princeton area, and to support Princeton family physicians.

Patients from Princeton with significant health concerns often need to travel to Penticton or Kelowna for investigations and specialist appointments.

Barriers to travel prevent about 30% of Princeton area patients from receiving specialist care, creating an added burden on rural family doctors. Initiated in the fall of 2013, the intention of the project is to improve health outcomes and quality of life of Princeton patients, and to increase the likelihood of retaining Princeton family physicians.

INTENDED OUTCOMES
• Increase number and variety of specialist clinics in Princeton
• Improve processes, knowledge transfer, and relationships between specialists, family physicians, other healthcare providers and patients
Improve physician, healthcare provider and patient experience

MAJOR OBJECTIVES
An interdisciplinary project team, including representatives from Princeton family physicians, Penticton specialists, their MOAs, Princeton General Hospital (PGH) management and staff, Community Integrated Health Services administration, and Shared Care project staff set out to:
• Develop, implement and test outreach clinic formats to provide appropriate specialist care in Princeton
• Provide Princeton physicians with customized education and relationship-building opportunities through on-site CMEs (Continuing Medical Education) with visiting specialists
• Engage feedback from physicians, healthcare providers and patients about their experience with the new approaches to care

ART for HEALTH

March 20, 2017

DSC_2114
In the Princeton Health Care Action Framework (July, 2013), the development of a “more welcoming and healing space for patients in the health care buildings” was identified as an important component.

An aesthetic improvement working group called ‘Art for Health’  was formed, comprising Nienke Klaver, Merrilyn Huycke, Susan Delatour, and Ed Staples.

There is extensive evidence supporting the benefits of enhancing health care facilities for patients:

In a 2002 study completed by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the UK, they concluded that “placing original artworks within the healthcare environment can:

  • reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression
  • reduce patientsʼ length of stay in the hospital
  • reduce the use of some medications
  • improve communication between patients and healthcare professionals”

On March 13 Merrilyn Huycke’s mural was installed in the lobby of the hospital. This is the fourth project of the ‘Art for Health’ committee. The first 3 being: a Japanese garden at the entrance of the hospital, a Children’s Corner at Cascade Medical Clinic, and several new framed posters in the hallways. Staples is currently fashioning a ceramic tile mural for the nurses station.

While none of the contributing artists are paid for their creations, the Princeton Arts Council is reimbursing the artists for most materials.
DSC_2111

BECOME A MEMBER

To become a member of SOHC, please
email the secretary.
Annual membership is $2.
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SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here