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Temporary Service Changes

Due to COVID-19 Omicron-related staffing challenges in our communities, we are making temporary service changes to support patient care and service access. We will resume normal operations as soon as possible.

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Get your child’s COVID-19 vaccine

Children aged 5 to 11 can now receive a COVID-19 pediatric vaccine. B.C. parents and guardians can register their children to get vaccinated and book their appointment as soon as they are invited.

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Getting a COVID-19 test

If you have symptoms and can manage your illness at home, you don’t need a test. Self-isolate and notify your contacts. Testing is prioritized for people at risk of more severe disease and people in higher risk settings.

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Experiencing Symptoms or Testing Positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 testing is prioritized for people at risk of severe disease or living and working in high risk settings. People who have symptoms and are able to manage them at home should assume they have COVID-19 and must also self-isolate.

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Volunteer at a COVID-19 Immunization Clinic

If you are an interested qualified health-care provider, learn how you can help provide boosters and first and second doses in 2022.

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Seniors Care

Find information about home and community care options, long-term care, assisted living and other services located throughout the Interior region.

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Booking a lab appointment

Learn more about how to find the nearest lab to you, and easily book you lab appointment.

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Aboriginal Patient Navigator

The Aboriginal Patient Navigator service at Interior Health supports First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples living in the southern Interior access health services. Aboriginal Patient Navigator services help clients navigate the health system. Learn more about how to contact Aboriginal Patient Navigator services near you.

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Mental Health

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health – you’re not alone. Learn how to access different support services and access helpful resources. Reach your local Mental Health Centre for community-based supports by calling 310-MHSU (6478).

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Substance Use

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use – you’re not alone. Learn how to access different support services and access helpful resources. Reach your local Substance Use Centre for community-based supports by calling 310-MHSU (6478)

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Patient Care Quality Office

Learn about the different options for sharing your feedback on the care that you or your loved ones have received.

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Flooding and your health

Flooding can affect your health and safety in a number of ways. You may be required to evacuate if a flooding is close to your home.

2021 Year-in-Review
"This year, communities across the Interior region faced many difficult challenges. And still, the spirit of compassion and partnership that is shared across our region pulled us through. I am incredibly proud of everyone at Interior Health and for the work  we do together with partners. You have made a difference in the lives of patients and families for years to come. May you enjoy a wonderful holiday season, and may the new year bring health and well-being to you and your loved ones."   Susan Brown President and CEO  
Interior Health's 2021 Year-in-Review
Take a look at Interior Health's 2021 Year-in-Review to see how to community has come together to get through this challenging year.
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Baby & Children Health

Access health information from infant to youth on topics such as dental health, hearing, immunization, nutrition and other topics.

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Heart Health

Learn ways to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and learn to recognize the signs of a heart attack. We offer many heart procedures and programs.

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Kidney Health

We provide renal programs and services to support kidney health. People who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease may be enrolled in the renal program to access services.

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Mental Health & Substance Use

We provide many mental health and substance use services. We strive to ensure our services are welcoming to all people, gender identities, cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.

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Seniors Health

We offer a range of seniors health services alongside our partner agencies. We aim to make our services person-centred, welcoming of all peoples, gender identities, cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.

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Access information you need before, during and after your surgery. Learn about surgeries we offer and recovery tips.

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Stories@IH

Stories@IH

Research & Innovation
By understanding airborne disease transmission, UBC Okanagan researchers are seeking new ways to break the chain of infection AIRBORNE. AIRFLOW. DROPLET. AEROSOL. Since the arrival of COVID-19, these words have become commonplace, integrated into everyday conversations as quickly as the virus spread globally. But what remains unclear—and requires further study—is the role of airflow, droplets and aerosols in the transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.   That’s where a team of researchers from UBC Okanagan’s Airborne Disease Transmission (ADT) Cluster of Research Excellence come in. The group is dedicated to studying airborne diseases, with the overall goal of reducing the transmission of respiratory infections. “What we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how much we don’t understand about airborne disease transmission,” explains Dr. Sunny Li, research and development lead for the cluster and an associate professor in UBCO’s School of Engineering. He points to the fact that people originally thought surfaces were the major transmission route for COVID-19, and then only later realized that it is mainly transmitted through the air. Dr. Li says airflow dynamics as well as the interaction between airflow and particles are complicated, and as a result the movement of particles is hard to predict. However, one aspect is certain; when it comes to understanding airborne transmission, size matters. “Think about the dust particles you see dancing in the sunlight,” he suggests. “Because they’re large, they don’t move far and eventually fall to the ground. Viruses, however, are incredibly small and they can stay suspended in the air for a very long time, similar to how pollen stays in the air. They’ll travel with the flow of air and that’s how they spread disease.” “If we better understand airborne disease transmission, we believe we can develop technology to reduce its spread and infection.”     At 0.1 micrometres (μm) in diameter the coronavirus is ten times smaller than a dust particle, which in turn is 10 times smaller than a white blood cell. Such particles with sub-micrometre diameters are referred to as aerosols, while larger liquid particles—which can carry smaller particles within them like viruses—are usually called droplets. The lack of information about the spread and infectivity of these small particles spurred Dr. Li to bring together a team of researchers from UBC Okanagan and Vancouver, and the University of Toronto. With expertise in multiphase flows, computational fluid dynamics as well as health and technology innovation, the group have formed the ADT research cluster, an interdisciplinary network of researchers focused on solving key challenges facing society. Armed with new insights from experimental investigation, computer modelling, clinical trials and manufacturing, the research cluster hopes to scrub airborne disease from the air. “If we better understand airborne disease transmission, we believe we can develop technology to reduce its spread and infection,” Dr. Li says. “Our research needs to go beyond the lab and into real-world scenarios,” he adds. “Because some data is collected in a controlled environment, it may be misleading. We need both real-world and lab data because they complement each other.” Dr. Li is working with ADT research cluster co-lead Dr. Jonathan Little from the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, along with Dr. Joshua Brinkerhoff from the School of Engineering to test experimental protocols in classrooms, hospital rooms and dentist offices. There are now some promising preliminary results.   Air scavenger for health and dental procedures With the support of a Mitacs Accelerate grant, an early ADT cluster project tested an airborne infection isolation and removal (AIIR) device developed by CareHealth Meditech for use in dental offices. With a similar look to an old-fashioned hairdryer, the device was designed to isolate and eliminate airborne droplets generated during dental procedures. “Many dental procedures generate aerosols, or small droplets that may contain infectious particles,” says Dr. Li. “The key to control transmission is to scavenge them locally before they circulate through the room.” The initial lab experiment involved performing dental procedures on a mannequin connected to a breathing simulator. Fluorescent powder was applied to the mannequin’s teeth and mouth to track the spread of potentially infectious particles. Ultraviolet light was then used to visualize droplet and aerosol creation and dispersal, along with the dentist’s exposure to the simulated pathogen. According to Dr. Li, early findings have shown that the AIIR device is effective at removing large droplets and aerosols. While it’s currently being used in some dentist offices, the cluster is exploring ways to improve the design. “Our team is looking at the device’s size and geometry in connection with its airflow dynamics and the dynamics of droplets and particles to see if we can make units that are more accurate and efficient,” says Dr. Li. Building on this experimental design, the next step of the ADT research cluster was to evaluate a scavenging hood in a health-care setting, in partnership with the Pritchard Simulation Centre team at Interior Health. Instead of sitting in a dental chair, the mannequin was placed on a hospital bed and exhaled glowing fluorescent particles while a tube was inserted into its airway. Researchers assessed the ability of an airflow dome to remove potentially infectious aerosols while the intubation was performed, and the ease of working around this new piece of equipment. “So far our findings are encouraging,” says Dr. Little, the health lead of the ADT research cluster. “The dome device efficiently removed the tagged droplets and inhibited their spread. Now we’d like to see how it will work during different medical procedures and how comfortable the health-care team feels around it. Adding a new piece of equipment into an already crowded operatory or procedures room can be tricky.” Dr. Jared Baylis, medical director of simulation for Interior Health and the UBC Southern Medical Program, is enthusiastic about this new simulation research and the opportunity to collaborate. “This is exactly what our program is designed to do. We’re well set up and have the practical expertise to run the experiments proposed by the ADT research cluster. We look forward to supporting more of their research.” He notes that this research and ongoing studies are made possible thanks to funding from the Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation Student Enhancement Fund. Dr. Little adds that although getting the right fit for these scenarios may take some time, “we need to figure this out,” so that life-changing procedures are not delayed by rising infection rates. This story was originally published by UBC Okanagan's News. Read the full story here. 
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Thea originally began her career with Interior Health six years ago as a Clerk/Receptionist in Williams Lake at Deni House, long-term care. Looking for a change in pace, she worked casual in Home and Public Health before becoming a Prevention Services Assistant in Public Health.   Thea, Her husband, and their four beautiful kids   One of Thea’s proudest career moments has been her time assisting the COVID-19 Mass Vaccine Clinics at Thompson River University in Kamloops. She collaborated with nurses, admin, security teams and Red Cross volunteers to keep the clinics running smoothly. Her co-workers inspire her daily through their positivity and willingness to help.   “Becoming the keeper of the vaccine has been a challenging role in the ever-changing pandemic, but I enjoy the behind-the-scenes work that keeps me on my toes.” Being born in B.C. and growing up in the West Chilcotin has allowed Thea to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle year-round. When she’s not working, Thea loves kayaking on the lakes, hiking in the mountains, kickboxing and doing mud runs.    Thea enjoying one of her favourite activities, kayaking Above all, getting to spend time with her family and friends is what she enjoys the most. Recently there has been an exciting addition to Thea’s family as she has welcomed the arrival of her first grandchild! We are IH is a recognition campaign to spotlight Interior Health employees and medical staff – through pictures and stories.   Name: Thea Telford (She/Her)   Job Title: Prevention Services Assistant (Vaccine Clerk) Years of Service: 6 Worksite: Public Health      Community: Williams Lake  Ancestral Territory: Secwepemc Advice to live by: Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.   To keep the We Are IH loop going, Thea nominates Erin Domenko:   “Erin Domenko always goes above and beyond in everything that she does. She is always willing to help, no matter what needs to be done and her dedication is second to none.” –Thea Telford Stay updated with careers at Interior Health Facebook  |   Instagram  |   LinkedIn  
3 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
Becoming a caregiver can creep up on you. Maybe it starts with dropping by your mom’s house to do her laundry or taking your dad to a doctor’s appointment or delivering groceries to your friend. Maybe you call your adult daughter every day to check in because she suffers from depression. Gradually, you find yourself doing more and more as the person you are caring for needs more support. You may not even realize it; you are making a commitment to care for someone else. Other times, caregiving is triggered by a major health event or acute diagnosis, such as a serious fall, motor vehicle accident, stroke, heart attack or cancer diagnosis. Life as you know it shifts, and all your energy goes to caring for the person who needs you. In an instant, caregiving becomes your new normal. People new to caregiving often feel: they don’t know what they don’t know overwhelmed by information and trying to sort out who their care providers are unsure of what resources or programs exist for the person they are caring for Caregiving doesn’t come with a crystal ball. Given the complexity and ever-changing role of caregiving, caregivers often feel better when they are prepared and supported. The first stages of caregiving can feel like the most challenging. Caregivers often feel uncertain about the future, and feel the least informed about what’s happening, what’s needed and expected. Finding the right information is a first step. This often includes: Getting the best possible diagnosis. It may take a lot of calls, tests and appointments with the family doctor and specialists, but caregivers and the person they are caring for find it helpful to know what disease they are dealing with and what symptoms to look for. Determining what supports you need. It can be time consuming to find the supports you need, but it is a very important step. Supports can include information, emotional support, and access to publicly-funded or private resources. Try to think about the specific types of support you need. For example, if the person you are caring for had a stroke, you may need more information about aphasia, the type of stroke, how it affected the brain, mobility and communication, and rehabilitation available in your community. Learning new skills. Depending on the diagnosis, you might need to learn new skills to care for your loved one. Start by asking your health-care team. Disease-specific programs and caregiver support are also helpful. For example, you may be faced with a complicated medication regime or a rehabilitation program or transferring someone from a wheelchair to a bed.  Although it may seem overwhelming at first, there are lots of resources to help. A great way to get started is to check out Family Caregivers of BC’s Caregiver Learning Centre. This story was originally published by Family Caregivers of BC     About the author     Wendy Johnstone works with Family Caregivers of BC and has close to 20 years of experience working with family caregivers. She provides one-on-one coaching and helps caregivers to build their skills, understand the resources available to them and gain confidence in their important role. 
3 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
I first experimented with tobacco as a kid. My mom and step-dad smoked at home all the time, so it felt like a natural thing. I hated it at the time, but as I got a bit older I discovered Indonesian clove cigarettes. My friends and I liked their smell and sweet taste and they became our "party cigarettes".  Over time I switched to regular cigarettes because they were cheaper. And by the time I was 16 I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.   “Looking back, I realize I was struggling with anxiety. I didn't know it at time, but I knew when I smoked I felt better.”   On New Year’s Eve of 2013, my wife suggested we both quit smoking the next day. I was all for it, but it actually took me years to successfully quit.    I really wanted to quit but wasn't sure I was ready. A year later I had cut down a lot, but I still smoked occasionally when I felt stressed out. My mom's health had really started to suffer because of the habit and I wanted better for myself and my wife. But I still relied on cigarettes when I felt anxious.   “Understanding that I was using cigarettes to manage my anxiety helped me to finally kick the habit years later.”     Over the next few years I really cut back and had periods of not smoking at all. I didn't want to smoke anymore and didn't want to use cigarettes to deal with stress. I started looking for help to quit and tried nicotine patches, gum and vaping. Vaping ended up making my addiction worse because of how convenient and accessible it is compared to cigarettes. Nicotine spray is what eventually helped me get through the cravings. In early 2021 I finally became smoke and vapour free. I've been learning how to deal with my triggers (stress and anxiety) in other ways, and I've also found I can't stand to be around cigarette smoke. My physical and emotional well being has really improved since quitting. But the thing I'm most proud of is taking this step so I'll be a positive example in my family. When I have kids some day, I don't want them to have a parent who is a smoker and give them the bad example that I had at home. That was the reason I was introduced to cigarettes in the first place. It took almost eight years after I promised myself and my wife to quit, but it's finally happened. And I think this time I'm not going back.     About the author Marcel lives in Nelson in the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa, the Syilx, and the Sinixt peoples. He is 37 and works as an IT project technician.        Are you ready to make a change? Changing behaviour is an individual journey but the right support can make all the difference. Here are three ideas to help get you started: Get informed and find out about supports available to help you by checking out our Tobacco and Vaping resources.  If reducing or quitting smoking or vaping is on your 2022 list, speak with your pharmacist about the BC Smoking Cessation Program.  Share your journey to quit or reduce tobacco use or vaping and inspire others to achieve their goals. Email us to get started.   

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Interior Health at a Glance

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834000+

Population
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4800+

Hospital Volunteers
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21000+

Staff
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1900+

Physicians