March 01, 2013 - 3:31 PM
Three new programs have been launched by Interior Health aimed at helping frail seniors as well as patients with substance abuse, chronic disease and mental illness.
"The shift is to improve the patient and client experience while at the same time managing health-care costs," MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thomson said.
Initiatives announced by the province investment of up to $50 million in projects to strengthen primary and community care throughout B.C.
The three areas targeted in Kelowna include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which is a chronic condition that obstructs air flow in a person's lungs, the health needs of seniors and mental health and substance abuse.
Kelowna is one of eight communities within Interior Health to receive funding. Communities were selected based on a number of factors, including the prevalence of related conditions and the demand for additional community based supports.
Interior Health will direct $2.2 million to a program called BreatheWell. In Kelowna, Interior Health has hired two respiratory therapists to work with COPD patients in the community, to manage symptoms and help avoid unnecessary hospital visits. There will also be a role for expanded rehabilitation efforts and education.
In the area of seniors' services, the Home First initiative will help keep seniors who may be destined for residential care or at risk of hospitalization at home a little longer, through the support of a team of dedicated health care workers offering individualized care.
New staff (23) will be hired to create small support teams in the community with the help of $3.5 million to be spread across the health authority.
The King Street Clinic in Kamloops will take a portion of $2.7 million intended to supplement nine Interior Health communities, to direct toward mental health physician services. In Kelowna, 5.5 full-time equivalent new positions will be added including social workers, a nurse, and life skills workers in 2013 - 2014. The program is expected to reduce the use of more expensive but less effective points of care such as hospital emergency department by ensuring access to a doctor's care and other support services.
The initiative are being rolled out over three years in Kelowna as well as other select communities throughout Interior Health.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013