Big Steps Towards Better Health Care on Bowen

Caring Circle LogoBowen Island Undercurrent
Jan 5, 2014 at 1:00 PM
In the 20 months since its inception, members of the Caring Circle’s Advisory Board have been working vigorously to determine health needs and to facilitate access to health and wellness information on Bowen.

The first initiative was the publication of the Bowen Island Health Resource Guide in March. The idea grew out of a recommendation by the “2009 Age Friendly Report to Council” which stated that Bowen Islanders needed a guide to help them navigate through the complexity of the health system.

In February, Colleen O’Neil, a retired RN, took on the job of health navigator/coordinator to assist people in accessing the health information they require.

Most recently, Caring Circle has been actively participating in the Vancouver Coastal Health’s “My Health, My Community” survey, which is designed to inform the Ministry of Health about gaps in health services.

VCH was hoping for a four percent response rate from Bowen Island, which would be approximately 110 adults. 400 people on Bowen have filled out the survey.

VCH has informed Bowen, that because of our “robust response rate”, they will be able to give us the results of the survey early in the new year. The Clinic Action Committee will use those results to determine if there are serious concerns around health care on Bowen, and whether a clinic would address some of our concerns.

Unfortunately the one gap in community input has been from “Males Age 18 to 29”. Because many men in this age group are in the construction industry it is likely that having an urgent care clinic on-island to respond to injuries will be very relevant to them. So, if anyone has a young man in their family or knows of someone in this age group, would you please urge them to log onto and complete this survey.

There have been a number of other projects that Caring Circle has initiated. After hearing of people who have no reliable means of getting to health-related appointments both on Bowen and on the Mainland, Caring Circle has launched a driver program initiative.

And, very recently, Caring Circle is in conversation with the Canadian Mental Health Association and some interested clinical counsellors and psychiatric nurses on Bowen to organize a support group on Island for people with depression and anxiety. We hope to have our first group meeting by early February.

We invite you to visit us, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the blue Heritage Cottage behind the Library, when Caring Circle re-opens on January 6. Share your concerns, challenge us with your questions, and spend some time in our resource library. Our coordinator can also help you find information on the computer. Caring Circle is your health resource centre and welcomes people of all ages.