When it comes to seeking assistance with chronic health conditions, honesty is usually the best policy, which is one of the reasons primary health care nurse Julie Reid enjoys working in Lake Cowichan.
“Community members are not afraid to tell you what their needs and wants are. And that’s a big thing,” said Reid. “We don’t try to push programs on people that don’t want them.”
Reid has been a member of the primary health care team since its inception in 2013. She is the first person new clients meet with when joining the program, which is a free service for any adult in the area living with chronic health problems. Reid is at the clinic from Monday to Friday and does intake with new clients.
“[I] discuss with them what their goals are. A lot of times they get referred by the physician and what the physician kind of wants the patient’s not really ready for, so we work on a compromise that will work for both of them,” she said, adding if clients require services not offered through Reid’s team, she will help them find other places to meet those needs.
Because travel to Duncan and fees for services there like changing wound dressings, IV clinics and foot care can all present barriers for some people — particularly seniors — Reid has begun providing some of those services to clients.
“We’ve started to do some dressing and IV clinics out here,” she said.
And although Reid is a certified foot care nurse, she can’t provide those services in her role on the primary health care team.
“So I try to give them all the information and the techniques so they can do it at home with minimal check-ups with a podiatrist,” she said.
Reid said one of the joys of her job is getting to see the long-term progress clients are making.
“We had one gentleman who was in lots of chronic pain, was down and out,” she said. “He started seeing the dietitian and we got him enrolled in the fitness program. And he came in six months later, he was a totally different man… His fitness was so much improved and his chronic pain was controlled so that he felt that he could do anything.”
Reid urged members of the public to come to the Kaatza Clinic for an assessment to see whether they qualify for the program.
“Just drop in. I’m always here and there are no stupid questions.”