Delores Purdaby, Brian Ayotte, Isabel Reinertson, Mohammed Zakreet, Dale Johnson, Phil Wright, Lorna Thomas and Lloyd Charlie give the new Seniors’ Health and Wellness Centre at Marine Plaza near the Salmon Arm wharf an enthusiastic thumbs up. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap offers one-stop wellness for seniors

Salmon Arm centre for seniors with chronic conditions offers collaborate approach to health

Wellness is a state comprised of many factors.

And each one of them is being taken into account at the new Salmon Arm Seniors Health and Wellness Centre near Marine Park.

This is a place where area seniors living with chronic conditions can go to have all their health concerns supported in a collaborative team approach – with a focus on health and wellness.

Services at the centre are available to residents of Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Sorrento, Malakwa, Mara, Enderby and the Secwepemc Nation.

Following a 90-minute initial appointment, members of a specialized care team collaborate on a tailor-made care plan for each individual.

Some of the issues that are addressed at the centre include: falling, memory changes, nutrition, pain, medications, swallowing and bowel or bladder function.

Members of the team that could be assembled to address clients’ needs and concerns might include a doctor, registered dietitian, social worker, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, pharmacist, registered nurse and rehab assistant.

They help each individual work toward their own health and wellness goals, help them maintain their independence and, if needed, support other family members and caregivers. Home visits are also possible.

“The vision is for a one-stop service for the elderly,” says Tracey Kirkman, executive director of the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, often referred to as SNO, who, with Interior Health, is funding the wellness centre.

Related: Multi-faceted care facility aims to be a one-stop wellness shop

The idea was born when Revelstoke doctor, Kate McCarrol, who has a specialty in geriatrics, was part of a similar team in Victoria.

She made known she believed the model should be taken to rural areas of the province as well. And, having helped establish a similar program in Kamloops, McCarrol approached the division for support for a Salmon Arm centre.

Approval was given and the North Okanagan Division of Family Practice is picking up the cost of the centre, which is located in the former Columbia Shuswap Regional District office, and Interior Health has provided funding for the team.

This collaborative approach is approved by both the BC College of Physicians and the GP Service Commission.

“After eight years of the division being around, this is our first collaborative, client-based, team-based program,” says an enthusiastic Kirkman, who points out more renovations are underway to make the centre warm and welcoming from the moment seniors arrive in the parking lot.

She believes the building interior and surrounding landscape can be a balm to help reduce clients’ stress and would like to see a private outdoor space developed to offer further opportunities to relax.

Related: Shuswap Hospice centre provides care for the living

Kirkman also has a vision of using the large former boardroom as a place for hosting exercise opportunities and other community events, such as providing educational workshops on a variety of subjects.

Marine Plaza is also home to Shuswap Hospice and clinic care services such as wound care, IV antibiotic administration, catheter care, fluid drainage care and PICC dressing changes.

Additional resources available at the centre include counselling, relaxation massage, respite and caregiver support.

As well as McCarrol, several local doctors are providing services at the health and wellness centre: Joan Bratty, Kim Grieve, Liz Watson, Frankie Carnegie and Barb McKinnon.

Retired doctors Brian Ayotte and Melanie Dyer sit on the board of the North Okanagan Division of Family Practice.

Referral to the centre is made by a person’s family physician or nurse practitioner, and the detailed care plan is returned to them.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

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