For many, the emergency department (ED) is not always the most appropriate place to seek medical care. In fact, many health issues can be better addressed at another care setting—if patients know how and where to access it.
That is the goal of a new partnership between the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) and the AIDS Committee North Bay and Area (ACNBA), which sets out to expand health care options for patients in vulnerable communities.
The NBRHC and ACNBA’s collaboration is providing more options for treating wounds in the early stages, minimizing complications before they can occur, helping reduce emergency visits and hospitalization.
Wounds are a disruption of the normal structure and function of the skin. Factors like age and chronic illnesses have a direct impact on the body’s natural ability to heal from a wound, putting individuals at risk of developing infections and other complications. To support ACNBA to be able to respond effectively to common injuries, the Health Centre is supplying products for wound care.
“ACNBA has long been a low-barrier access point to the medical system and place to access wrap-around medical care for those in our community who are vulnerable, stigmatized, underserved, and unhoused,” explains Stacey Mayhall, Executive Director, ACNBA. “This collaborative partnership supports us in a very tangible way in continuing to provide low-barrier care and follow-up treatment in the community. We look forward to the ideal of a community with no wrong door when it comes to accessing care and the benefits to both patient and providers of that model, and we look forward to collaborating for the benefit of our clients and community.”
This partnership comes at a time when hospitals across the province are facing staffing and capacity pressures. “With the usual seasonal surge in respiratory illnesses combined with the sustained strain on our healthcare system, our ED continues to be extremely busy, leading to long wait times for some non-urgent care needs,” says Paul Heinrich, President & CEO, NBRHC. “The opportunity to collaborate with ACNBA allows many patients to receive low barrier medical care and follow-up treatment in the community, diverting as many as 125 emergency visits a month.”
This new, collaborative effort is part of the City of North Bay’s Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) Plan to foster a safe, healthy and inclusive community.
The plan, which is required under the Police Services Act, sets out how partners across different sectors can work together to build upon the community’s strengths while also addressing gaps in the community’s safety and well-being landscape. Ultimately, the Plan aims to meet locally identified goals, outcomes and objectives through evidence-based outputs and actions.
“This simple acknowledgement and sharing of medical supplies for greater efficiencies, demonstrates what can be done when we take a step back, listen, and learn, with our community partners,” says Brent Kalinowski, City of North Bay CSWB Coordinator. “Guided by our Community Safety and Well Being Plan, the emergency room benefits, the systems benefit, and most importantly, our community and medical patients benefit when we adopt a collaborative mindset for common goals.”
For more information on the CSWB Plan, visit https://www.northbay.ca/our-community/community-safety-and-well-being/
Paul Heinrich, President and CEO of North Bay Regional Health Centre; Keri McGuire-Trahan, Hepatitis C Nurse Practitioner at AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area; Brent Kalinowski, Community Safety and Well Being Planner at the City of North Bay; and Stacey Mayhall, Executive Director at AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area.
Keri McGuire-Trahan, Hepatitis C Nurse Practitioner at AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area; Paul Heinrich, President and CEO of North Bay Regional Health Centre; and Stacey Mayhall, Executive Director at AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area.