Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:01

Discussions on future of health care in Cabri-area continue

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Discussions during the past year about health-care needs in the Cabri area are starting to show results and the Prairie Health Care Committee is eager to continue consultation with the Cypress Health Region.

The Prairie Health Care Committee consists of community member representatives from the area serviced by the Prairie Health Care Centre in Cabri. The committee was established in November 2011 to address the health-care concerns of area residents after the loss of 24-hour care at the Cabri facility.
As a result of discussions between the committee and the Cypress Health Region, a needs assessment process took place to determine the health-care needs of the area. A community planning event was held at the Cabri Seniors’ Hall on March 28-29 that was attended by more than 70 area residents.
Kendall Wicks, who is the Town of Cabri representative on the Prairie Health Care Committee, said it has been a good learning experience that involved people in identifying the way forward.
A community planning forum, which was attended by about 60 area residents, took place Nov. 6 to provide feedback about the results from the March needs assessment process and to established community-based working groups to address the three top priorities.
“So now, we have three subcommittees and we’ve pulled in a lot more community members to be on these committees,” Wicks said.
She is also excited about the involvement of around 10 Cypress Health representatives in that forum and the fact they have signed up to be involved with the three working groups. This will make the discussion about the area’s health-care needs more effective.
“The ball is finally rolling because our committee has worked for a year and the outward appearance is that we haven’t really done anything,” she said.
“But we meet very often and it had to be a formal process. Now we get to move on and we’re really hoping that the health region will join in that.”
All three working groups are scheduled to meet during December to discuss how they are going to approach their task. Each group will focus on one of the key priorities identified during the needs assessment process — better utilization of the Prairie Health Care Centre by working towards comprehensive 24-hour care, maintaining and enhancing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and improving primary health care services.
The loss of 24-hour health care was a shock for area residents, but Wicks emphasized the community needs to focus on finding solutions by working with the health region.
“Now it’s time for us to sit down together and think outside the box a little bit because we really have to get over the past and what happened,” she said. “It’s time that we show that as community members we can work with them and do something. So this is the critical moment now where the health region needs to join in.”
According to Wicks, the Prairie Health Care Committee wants to foster a healthy relationship between the community and the Cypress Health Region.
“We decided as the representatives that we needed to be a positive voice that was willing to work with our community members and with the health region to get somewhere,” she said. “We’re really optimistic that the health region is going to step up now and meet us halfway.”
There are various issues that will be part of the committee’s future discussions with the health region, including staffing needs, an activity director for long-term care patients, improving the home care program and using the locum who was recently hired by Cypress Health to also work in the Prairie Health Care Centre.
Wicks said they are also interested to learn more about the Collaborative Emergency Centres (CEC) model, which is used in Nova Scotia to provide emergency and primary health care in rural areas.
A Cypress Health Care delegation has already visited Nova Scotia to find out more about this model and the Saskatchewan provincial government has indicated it is exploring the implementation of CECs in the province.
“The fact that our region is looking at that model so closely has really been a huge advantage for what we’ve been trying to do here all along, because it really is so similar to what we had,” Wicks said. “If 24-hour care is something that this community wants back, that CEC is their best shot.”

Read 1799 times Last modified on Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:04

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