New Nurse Practitioners Enhance Care for Vulnerable
June 15, 2015
VANCOUVER ISLAND – Vancouver Island’s frail, elderly and vulnerable residents will have enhanced access to primary health care services thanks to a $1.4 million investment in Nurse Practitioners (NPs) by Island Health.
Island Health will hire eight additional NPs to deliver care to high need, under-serviced populations in Mount Waddington, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, the Saanich Peninsula, Salt Spring Island and Victoria.
The NPs will work with primary care physicians and other health professionals to care for the frail, the elderly, those living with multiple chronic illnesses and mental health and substance use issues, as well as Aboriginal and maternity patients, and those without a family doctor.
“Adding Nurse Practitioners to the Island Health team will increase the number of primary care providers, enhance access to timely, primary health care in a cost-effective manner, and help decrease wait times,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “We are committed to keeping people healthy longer, anticipating and preventing illnesses from progressing, and reducing the strain on our hospitals.”
The Island Health investment is part of the Ministry of Health’s NP4BC three-year initiative to boost NP numbers across the province. In 2012, BC’s Ministry of Health made funding available for up to 135 new NP positions over three years – 32 were allocated to Island Health. The Ministry funded 24 positions, with the remaining eight covered by Island Health.
NPs add value to the health care team, said Dr. Brendan Carr, President and CEO of Island Health.
“Nurse Practitioners are able to diagnose, order tests and prescribe medications for many health conditions that in the past were treated only by doctors,” Dr. Carr said. “Working collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team, NPs are dedicated to meeting the needs of our patients in an increasingly complex and dynamic health care system.”
The eight NPs will work in the areas of Aboriginal Health, HIV/Hepatitis C, locum support, residential care, Home First and mental health and substance use.
Mark Schultz is a Nurse Practitioner in Courtenay. He says NPs are able to provide patients with the opportunity to receive care from a different kind of health care provider, one grounded in nursing practice.
“We combine our years of training and experience as nurses with advanced training in the prevention and treatment of disease,” he said. “It is our goal to help Vancouver Island’s population be the healthiest it can be by working with Island Health and our medical colleagues to meet our increasingly complex health care needs. Nurses are stepping up!”
New Nurse Practitioner Positions and Roles
||Nurse Practitioner Role
||Will improve access to Primary Care for Aboriginal people, providing services to Fort Rupert, Quatsino and the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations in the Port Hardy area.
||Beaufort Clinic, Nanaimo
||Care Model for HIV/Hepatitis C
||Working with physicians, will provide both HIV/HCV treatment to a vulnerable ‘hard-to-serve’ population with multiple, complex needs. Most do not have a family doctor.
||Will ensure a continuum of care to vulnerable populations by providing locum support (vacation/leave coverage when the regular NP is absent).
||Will increase access to primary care for four First Nations (W’SÁNÉC) situated on the Saanich Peninsula.
||Will act as the primary care provider, practising in a team-based care model with a core group of physicians and other health care professionals. Focus is on chronic disease management, injury prevention and seamless care transitions.
||Nanaimo and Victoria
||Will focus on the most vulnerable clients over 75, to facilitate discharge from hospital and/or assist with avoiding an acute care encounter (i.e. emergency department visit).
||Salt Spring Island
||Mental Health and Substance Use
||Working with a general practitioner/specialist(s), will focus on the most vulnerable and complex patients on Salt Spring Island— a geographically underserved area historically challenged to meet the needs of clients with mental health and substance use issues.
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