What Have We Done Since Opening our Doors?
Caring Circle serves a critical role in the Bowen Island Community. In three short years, we have established a host of programs and services that are working to improve access to health care and resources, build health literacy, and foster community connectedness.
The goal of the resource centre is to provide essential health information and education, as well as one-to-one health navigation by a skills-based Program Director, to direct people to the care they need in a timely fashion. Having a brick and mortar storefront with a staff person has helped solidify our role in the community and offers a physical space where community members and health care providers can drop in 3 days a week to connect to our Health Navigator
Caring Circle responds on average to 325 – 375 requests a year for heath navigation support.
Our Driver Program offers rides to health related appointments when they had no other way to get there and most of those rides were into Vancouver. This service is available through the work of 15 volunteer drivers and the Caring Circle Program Director manages all of this administrative work. We facilitate approximately 25-30 rides a year.
Caring Circle has taken a leadership role in the management of the very successful Community Lunch. This program has attracted four other non-profit organizations on Bowen and provides bi-monthly lunches attracting 25 – 40 Islanders at each lunch. This program alleviates some of the social isolation that many seniors feel on Bowen given the lack of programming.
We have organized over the past 5 years
- 4 hearing clinics a year serving approx.10 people at each one
- a number of chronic disease workshops for issues like diabetes, COPD, asthma presented by VCH,
We are a member in the Literacy Advocacy Group on Island and in consultation with each other develop health education programming.
We have attracted a strong and committed board that has supported the work of Caring Circle through the creation of best practices for non-profits .
People often ask: Who Comes into Caring Circle and What are Their Concerns.
Here is a taste of some of the requests for help this year:
- A common request is from people scheduled for surgery, wondering what resources they have to get into place to make their rehab on Bowen go more smoothly.
- Many family members have inquired about resources to support an elderly family member at home as they are becoming increasingly frail. They also need advice as to options for assisted living in Vancouver.
- People want to know how VCH might offer health support and how to access VCH programs and services
- People ask about government programs like applying for OAS, CPP, Disability Pensions, TAP forms, Handicap parking permits, assured loading information, and medical equipment information
- A few parents looking for health information and resources for young families on Bowen
- People looking for information about the North Shore Palliative Care Program
- Neighbours have called worried about a person who they feel might be living at risk. Caring Circle often plays a role in supporting neighbours and friends by giving them resource information that is helpful in referring people to VCH services.
- People often come in with chronic disease issues or cancer treatment complications and looking for support i.e. nutrition, medical equipment, transportation assistance, information re their diagnosis, etc.
- The most frequent request for help is from people looking for someone to help them in their homes with simple activities of daily living. These are generally not caregivers trained in nursing, but are “companions” doing daily work such as cooking, driving, reading to, walking with, or helping get washed and dressed.
- The Caring Circle Program Director plays a critical role on the Health Centre Board, in their efforts to improve access to primary care on Bowen by building a clinic.