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Person and family-focused care: NH Board meeting highlights

February 21, 2017

At the latest regular board meeting in Mackenzie, the Northern Health board of directors received an update on their commitment to putting the needs of people and families at the core of service delivery. Person and Family Centred Care is an approach to health services that focuses on partnerships between health-care providers, patients and their families, and is core to the values that Northern Health adheres.

“Meaningful collaboration with patients, families and caregivers on the design, development and delivery of health care services is foundational to the services we provide,” said Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health Board Chair. “We are committed to services that put the person and family first.”

A renovation project at Mackenzie & District Hospital is an illustration of a Northern Health strategic priority behind this work; coordinated and accessible services. A former ambulance bay is being converted into new integrated care space for the local inter-professional team, connected to the primary care clinic for easy communication and team work. The $700,000 project, funded partly by the Fraser Fort George Regional Hospital District, will be complete in April 2017. Board members toured the space and heard how the project will improve service for patients and their families.

“Mackenzie is an example of a northern community where the integration of primary and community care is well underway,” said Cathy Ulrich, president and CEO for Northern Health. “Improving our services requires an innovative approach that is not one size fits all and it may look different in every community.”

Ulrich also advised board members that Northern Health has recently been named as one of BC’s Top Employers for 2017, a designation recognizing companies and organizations that lead in their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Other highlights from the February 2017 meeting:

Northern Health’s Office of Health & Resource Development is seeing changes in how health services are being managed by large industrial projects in the region. This includes the first project to use Northern Health guidelines to develop a Health and Resource Management Plan aimed at minimizing the impact of large industrial operations on local health services. The Brucejack Gold Mine in Northwest BC offers access to nursing and other primary care providers at each of its three camps, and an employee assistance program, recreational opportunities, and on-site wellness programs for its approximately 1,000 employees. Board members heard that several projects in the region, including the Site C Worker Accommodation Camp, are increasingly aiming to manage a significant percentage of the health needs of their workforce with on-site services.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Sandra Allison updated the board on Northern Health’s response to BC’s overdose emergency, sharing surveillance data showing a dramatic spike in emergency department visits related to overdose in November and December 2016. Northern Health’s response includes ongoing expansion of the Take Home Naloxone program across the region, and enhanced surveillance of overdose activity.

In addition to the presentations and information, there were three re-appointments and one new appointment to the Northern Health Board. Gaurav Parmar, Edward Stanford and Rosemary Landry have been reappointed to the Northern Health Board for an additional three year term, ending March 31, 2020. Pat Bell has been appointed to the board for a two year term starting Dec 31, 2016.

Pat, a former provincial cabinet minister and MLA for Prince George north, was born in Vancouver, educated at UBC and has spent much of his life in the hospitality industry. Pat and his family moved to Prince George in 1988 to become franchisees for two Wendy’s which they still own today. In 2000, Pat embarked on 12 years in politics including roles as Minister of State for Mining, Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Minister of Forests and finally, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. In 2015, Pat, his wife Brenda and son Doug opened British Columbia’s northern-most winery; the Northern Lights Estate Winery on the banks of the Nechako River.

“I am excited to be a part of an organization committed to the health care of northerners,” said Pat Bell. “As a passionate northerner, I look forward to participating in decisions that help make the north a special place to live.”

The next Northern Health board meeting will be held April 23 & 24, 2017, in Dawson Creek.