Pieces coming together for new health team

November targeted: Crowd gets to hear what a nurse practitioner can do as more feedback collected

A chance to hear first-hand what a nurse practitioner can do left a group of local residents feeling better about their health future.

At least that was the impression given to Choose Cowichan Lake’s Bob Day during a Sept. 5 meeting attended by about 40 people to discuss, and learn about the future of Cowichan Lake area’s health care.

The main topics discussed during Thursday’s meeting, hosted by the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the local health advocacy group Choose Cowichan Lake, were the new nurse practitioner, and the multidisciplinary primary and community care team.

According to Day, residents were quite receptive to the services offered by the nurse practitioner, .

“They were quite happy about it, we had a nurse practitioner there, and she explained what she can and cannot do,” he said. “After they heard what the nurse practitioner can do, they were pleased that it was happening.”

The nurse practitioner will work out of the public health building, sharing space with the public health nurses. Creating a centralized health care hub has been a major focus for residents in past health care meetings.

Day says that the results from Thursday’s meeting are trending in the same direction, but he does not want to draw any conclusions before formal results come back from VIHA.

“The next step is to get the results, and then VIHA, along with the working group will go look at what the team will consist of,” says Day. “The next step would be to put out some job postings once they solidify what the team will look like.”

The nurse practitioner is expected to be in place in November and there is hope the multi-diciplinary care team may be in place by that same time.

“They are going to shoot for November, but personally I think it’s give or take 30 days,” said Day.

“It’s another 30- to 60-day process to get people hired and in place,” said Day. “In reality it could take up to 90 days, but we are still targeting November.”

Day believes the health care meetings have been a success despite relatively low turnout.

“Even though we’ve only had, roughly, a total of 80 people come and give input, all input is good, and I think those are the people who are most interested—so we got really good input,” he said.

“I’m not discouraged by the amount of people that came to talk about it. I think we got the right answers, and now the professionals at VIHA can look at the health area data and figure out exactly what we need.”