Caring Circle Resource Centre in Need of Printed Material and Volunteers

Categories: Caring Circle Health Resource Centre, Health Navigator/Coordinator, Self Manage Health, VolunteersTags: , , , , , , Author:

Bowen Island Undercurrent
Published: April 11, 2013 2:00 PM

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Caring Circle is asking for printed materials as well as volunteers. Photo Joanne Raymont

Since the Caring Circle Health Resource Centre opened on February 20, 80 people have visited our volunteer health navigator/coordinator, Colleen O’Neil. Her role is one of helping people find the support they need as our health system is becoming increasingly complicated and the onus is being newly placed on patients to self manage their health. This is theoretically good but without someone to guide them, people often feel lost trying to negotiate the system. The resulting frustration adds to the stress of having compromised health. Having health navigators is a fairly new role in health care but is being increasingly adopted.

Since the Caring Circle Health Resource Centre opened on February 20, 80 people have visited our volunteer health navigator/coordinator, Colleen O’Neil. Her role is one of helping people find the support they need as our health system is becoming increasingly complicated and the onus is being newly placed on patients to self manage their health. This is theoretically good but without someone to guide them, people often feel lost trying to negotiate the system. The resulting frustration adds to the stress of having compromised health. Having health navigators is a fairly new role in health care but is being increasingly adopted.

Over the past few weeks, people have come into the resource centre with many health-related concerns. Some of the inquiries to date have been for information about: breast prosthesis, diabetes, subsidized housing, pensions, representational agreements and wills, caregiver and brain injury support, arthritis, dieticians, smoking, anxiety in youth, and transportation.

We are keeping a daily log to record what issues are of concern and where there are gaps in services on Bowen. Please come in and have a look at the myriad of resource materials we have to date. This centre is not just for seniors, it’s for people of all ages.

There is information covering a myriad of topics ranging from transportation to housing, chronic disease, children and youth, cancer, senior and family activities, health promotion, health prevention and many more.

Our library has a good supply of health brochures and pamphlets but we need more books that have a health and wellness theme. We welcome your contribution of books that are current or at least still quite relevant. Please drop them off any day of the week through our mail slot beside the Village Baker. When you’re at your local health service provider, we’d appreciate you picking up any interesting brochures for our racks.

At present, our seven volunteers (many from SKY) are assisting Colleen in cataloguing the resources as well as helping to load helpful health links to our soon to be launched website. Our website will be designed along similar lines as our Bowen Island Health Resource Guide that was mailed to you, but will have more information.

Can you help us? If you have any recommendations of relevant links, please pass them on. Our launch date is April 30. The website is designed by Julia McCaig, Black Dog Creative, and, in our opinion, is one of the best health websites we have seen.

Caring Circle’s 15 person advisory board continues to meet monthly to discuss the guide, the resource centre and the work the Caring Circle is doing for the community.

Caring Circle is also in the process of pulling together an action wing, which for the time being, is called the Bowen Island Clinic Action Committee. We are just in the beginning stages of discussing the feasibility of having a medical clinic on Bowen Island with perhaps medical offices and emergency beds.

With all of this action, we haven’t had time to plan our path forward, so we have organized a retreat in May facilitated by Carol Mackinnon, which will be followed by an open house in June. It seems that many islanders still don’t know where we are or what we’re doing, so we invite you to encourage your friends and neighbours to drop in and introduce themselves.

If you wish, our health navigator can help you to find your way through the health system or find relevant information for you from our resource library.

Despite looking quite settled in our office, we are not financially stable and are spending much of our time looking for funding dollars. In that regard, coordinators Colleen O’Neil and Diane Marshall have liaised with several Vancouver Coastal Health representatives and joined Patient Voices and the Community Engagement Advocacy Network to learn about health initiatives in the province and speak to our concerns locally. Our most pressing costs are rent and salary for our navigator/coordinator.

If you would like to volunteer, either in the resource centre or at home on your computer, these are the things we need help with: looking for funding and working on proposals or researching good links to give to our web designer to post on our website. Please let us know if you have an interest.

Thanks to the community for the generous embracing of this health initiative. Together we can encourage one another other to make Bowen Island a healthier place.

DIANE MARSHALL

Caring Circle

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