Northern Health focus on youth and seniors on the North Coast

Jane Boutette and Sheila Gordon-Payne of Northern Health talk to Port Edward about health care in the region.  - Shaun Thomas photo
Jane Boutette and Sheila Gordon-Payne of Northern Health talk to Port Edward about health care in the region.
— image credit: Shaun Thomas photo

Sheila Gordon-Payne and Jane Boutette of Northern Health were in attendance at the Nov. 26 Port Edward council meeting to provide an update on the work of the Healthy Communities Committee.

The committee was established to promote healthy living and health care on the North Coast, and includes municipal leaders, health care workers, residents and people from social health organizations like the Salvation Army and the North Coast Transition Society. Within the committee are two working groups, one to look at youth issues and one to address seniors care.

On the youth side of thing, Boutette said the focus is on addiction mitigation and treatment and youth sexual health. The group has been speaking with stakeholders involved in youth activity in Prince Rupert and Port Edward, and will now be taking the discussion to those who matter most.

"We're hoping our next step is to meet with a group of youth to see what programming they see as needed and what programs would be palatable," said Boutette.

"The idea is to think outside the box and look at ideas that Northern Health and the school board may not typically do," added Gordon-Payne.

When it comes to seniors care, people across Prince Rupert and Port Edward can expect to see an Independence Information Card in the mail in the coming weeks as part of a committee initiative.

"We have heard clearly that seniors want to live at home as long as possible, but they and their caregivers are not aware of what services there are to help accomplish that. This card will contain a list of all programs and services that help seniors live independently and contact information," said Gordon-Payne.

"They will wait to hear what the response from the community is around that to determine what the next steps are."

For non-youth and seniors, Boutette said Northern Health is beginning to offer new services and testing for women at the health clinic and pursuing ways to reach out the men.

"At the health clinic we will be able to see more women who may not have a family doctor or who may not want to go to the family doctor their parents have ... we want to be a safe place where they can feel comfortable getting testing and information," she said of women's health.

"What we're constantly finding is groups of men who have a family doctor but don't go for regular check-ups and who may not have been for five years but who certainly need a referral," said Boutette, pointing to a 90 per cent referral rate during voluntary screening of ILWU workers.

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