helath services

submitted by Larry Brierly

The East Shore Health Society, Chair Verna Meyers, has been working with community representatives, Selkirk College (School of Nursing, and Community Education Coordinator, Laverne Booth), RDCK, Riondel Fire Department, BC Ambulance representatives, Interior Health Authority (East and West Kootenay), Boswell Emergency Volunteers. The Society, the ‘umbrella’ organization, is bringing together individuals and groups, each contributing in their own manner to improved health services along the East Shore.

Residents completed the East Shore Health Survey from the Castlegar School of Nursing. Throughout March, community input meetings in Boswell, Crawford Bay and Riondel  were held. The survey results were well presented by the staff and nursing students. Certainly, the information about our concerns, interests and hopes for our health service created lively discussions. The students also presented some concepts on health technology and benefits for our future.

Now, residents are invited to attend the ‘round-up’ meeting in the Gray Creek Hall April 3,  6 PM until 8 PM.

The following are understood and accepted:

1.   The Crawford Bay Clinic and the three doctors working there will continue.

2.   Home Care and Home Nursing need to be expanded and serve the entire East Shore.

3.   Communication flow needs to be simplified and easily accessible. This does not minimize resident responsibility to learn, train and serve.

Three active areas have been identified:

1. Doing what we can locally

2. Working with other agencies

3. Requesting improvements from other agencies.


Doing What We  Can Locally:

Boswell Emergency Volunteers, with seven First Responders, have trained a further twelve First Responders from along the East Shore. First Responders deal with emergency medical incidents until the ambulance arrives. They can also assist the ambulance attendants. The Boswell Emergency Volunteers, a Canada Revenue Agency registered charity, have made application  for grants to purchase 9 defibrillators (Creston – Kootenay Foundation) and 12 First Responder Bags (Columbia Basin Trust). A first aid course has also been completed.

Garry Jackman and RDCK have made funds available for training of these volunteers and provided use of the Riondel Fire Hall.

IHA is receiving copies of all material and will receive copies of SelkirkCollege’s School of Nursing final report from the survey and public meetings.


Working With Other Agencies:

Selkirk College has provided a Community Coordinator to the East Shore Learning Center (Laverne Booth), two college staff and three student nurses to develop, circulate and compile survey results from resident’s replies to the medical needs survey. Three community meetings were held and a final report will be presented to the public at the April 3 public meeting in Gray Creek.

The health survey was developed with the assistance of the Rural Development Institute.

Through the efforts of Garry Jackman, in consultation with IHA, we learned IHA is developing new plans re: providing services to the East Shore. IHA will be making presentations on their efforts to our communities in late spring.


Working With Others To Improve Their Services.

First Responders, trained, aware and competent, need to receive 911 calls and be notified immediately of needs in their service area. RDCK’s authorization of passing 911 medical emergency calls only to Creston and Riondel Fire Departments is inappropriate in this decade.

BC Ambulance must address gaps in its rural service.


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