It’s a one-stop-shop for any health-related needs at Vernon’s newest medical centre.
The Health Nest, which officially opened its doors at 3117 32nd Street Monday, Jan. 14, is home to specialists of varied practices including acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy, counselling and midwifery, all of whom specialize in women’s health and prenatal care. While all those who practice in The Health Nest specialize in women’s health, midwife and Nest mastermind Carrie Sizer said that all patients are welcome and treated equally.
“What I find is through nine months of pregnancy, you get to know both partners,” Sizer said, noting that her patient’s partners often require unrelated medical attention. “(With services) all together in one place, we can send you straight to the specialist. It’s about working as a community together.”
Stephanie Mortenson, a registered social worker who has taken up an office in the Nest, said The Health Nest’s central location also plays a pivotal role in accessibility and comfort.
“You can feel comfortable that you’re around other services,” Mortenson said. “One support service doesn’t cover all aspects.”
Sizer, who has spent the last few years working as a midwife in Vernon, said the team’s medical colleagues have lauded the idea.
“It’s really important that we’re all getting together to promote the best possible health service,” she said. “It’s becoming more and more obvious that this idea would work.”
Beautiful grey hardwood floors flow throughout the newly renovated centre, leading visitors through the warm environment. Pops of colour, either in the form of paintings or accent walls, fill the space with a light glow as the large windows weave natural light into the welcoming mix.
“It’s going to be really blissful. It’s not going to have that clinical edge to it. It’s somewhere people can be relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere,” Sizer said.
A large open space fills the back of the office. While it is currently empty save for seating, Sizer said the space will remain open to allow for small group yoga sessions, baby massage classes, bereavement group meetings and other social, health-focused activities. When the space isn’t being used for community activities, children’s toys are available for entertainment.
“There’s nothing worse than going to an appointment where you feel that your kids are being too loud,” Sizer said, noting that The Health Nest is 100 per cent kid-friendly.
While a date has yet to be set, Sizer and Mortenson said that an open house will occur sometime in February. Despite only opening its doors this week, Sizer said that many of the practitioners are already fully-booked and all have appointments throughout the week.
“It’s really strong business women that support the community,” Mortenson said. “It’s a good team.”
Alongside Mortenson, who specializes in a strengths-based and client-centred approach to develop unique and individual treatment plans for each client, and Sizer, a registered nurse who began working in the field in the emergency department before finding her true love of midwifery and graduating with a bachelor’s of midwifery from the University of York, The Health Nest is home to Sizer’s midwife practice partner Birte Paschen, registered acupuncturist Christy Berger, physiotherapist Sharina Zantingh and massage therapist Katie Fairles.
Paschen said she and Sizer share clients on a weekly on-call and in-office rotation.
“It’s a really nice space. This is something I’ve also been dreaming about for a long time,” Paschen said. “I was in Revelstoke for eight years as their midwife and it was so small that this would have never been a possibility. I’m excited Carrie wanted to open this and I tagged along.”
Berger, a registered acupuncturist with a background in massage therapy, said her work is based in traditional Chinese medicine.
“I treat a variety of ailments,” said Berger. “I treat with acupuncture and also use a lot of massage therapy elements in my treatment.”
Zantingh, a longtime physiotherapist who has been working in Vernon for 11 years, said she specializes in musculoskeletal orthopaedic physiotherapy.
“That’s sports injuries, lower back injuries, shoulder injuries, car accidents, things like that,” Zantingh said. “I also work in women’s health, so I treat pelvic floor dysfunction, pain, incontinence, sexual pain and I also use IMS in my practice, which is intramuscular stimulation, which is really good for neuropathic type pain.”
Fairles, who has been practising for more than three years, specializes in craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation, “which are gentle manual therapy techniques.”
With the first week in the books, Mortenson said that anticipation is running high for the future of The Health Nest.
“There’s a buzz about it,” Mortenson said. “People are getting excited because it’s a bit different.”