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1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
People who rely on Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) in Trail are advised that the main entrance will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 to 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 for minor remediation work to the concrete at this location. To allow for the construction, patients and visitors will temporarily be directed to the ambulance bay entrance at KBRH. Signage will be in place to direct people to this temporary alternate entrance. The emergency department entrance is not impacted by this work. Patients requiring care in the emergency department will continue to use the normal emergency department entrance. Interior Health thanks patients and visitor for their patience as ongoing improvements to the regional hospital continue.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Keremeos and area residents are advised of a temporary change to outpatient laboratory hours at the South Similkameen Health Centre beginning Monday, Sept. 26, 2022 due to limited staffing availability. The South Similkameen Health Centre will be offering blood collection services on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., closed from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Limited walk-in service is available. People can book an appointment online at www.labonlinebooking.ca or by calling the Digital Health Support Desk at 1‑844-870-4756. The call centre is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 pm. on weekends and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on statutory holidays.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
New Denver and area residents are advised the emergency department at the Slocan Community Health Centre will not be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2022. The emergency department will resume regular hours on Sept. 18. Patients can access care at the Arrow Lakes Hospital at 97 1st Ave. NE Nakusp. People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.   Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  The emergency department in New Denver is normally open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
1 Minute Read
New Denver and area residents are advised the emergency department at the Slocan Community Health Centre will not be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2022. The emergency department will resume regular hours on Sept. 18. Patients can access care at the Arrow Lakes Hospital at 97 1st Ave. NE Nakusp. People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.  Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  The emergency department in New Denver is normally open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
4 Minute Read
News Release
Interior Health and the City of Kelowna, along with the provincial Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, are pleased to confirm the approval for the delivery of housing and supports for people with complex care needs living in the Central Okanagan. “Complex care housing is a groundbreaking approach for people with overlapping severe mental health and substance use challenges, who often have acquired brain injury,” said Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “B.C. funding up to 20 complex care spaces in Kelowna will connect people with the services they need, in these new homes, establishing stability and breaking the cycle of eviction and homelessness.” Multiple sites in the community will deliver complex care housing for up to 20 people. The housing and health-care supports will be provided by Interior Health professional staff and contracted service providers. “This is a significant step in the right direction and on behalf of Council we celebrate today’s news that our most vulnerable residents, who are potentially a harm to themselves or the public, will gain access to an increased level of care and housing,” said Colin Basran, Kelowna Mayor and Co-chair of the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus. “I want to thank the Province, especially Minister Malcolmson, and Interior Health for today’s commitments. This announcement is a milestone for community health and safety in Kelowna, as we continue to see impacts related to mental health and problematic substance use. This model provides a health-centred approach to support those most vulnerable in our community, who will no longer need to shelter outside or rely as heavily on crisis and emergency services. We know that the need in Kelowna and the Okanagan region is great. There’s more work to do and we will continue our conversations and collaboration with the Province to build supports for those most in need in our community.” The new complex care spaces are expected to open this winter. The service model is consistent with Kelowna’s Journey Home Strategy and has shown to be suitable and effective in supporting people with complex needs. Interior Health will now work with community partners and the City to confirm locations and service providers. “A lack of safe and secure housing is a significant barrier for people with severe mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Susan Brown, Interior Health president and CEO. “By working with our partners to embed clinical health supports in these new homes, we will ensure our community’s most vulnerable people are able to receive the care they need when and where they need it.” Kelowna Council endorsed the City’s Complex Needs Advocacy Paper in July 2021 and has been a leading and consistent voice in the call for enhanced care and support for B.C. residents with the most complex health and mental health needs. It joins Interior Health, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, the BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus, and many other partners and municipalities in applauding the Provincial Government’s work in delivering a new model of care this year. This complex care model provides supportive housing with an emphasis on intensive clinical health supports available 24/7. The new model will serve community members with concurrent mental health and substance use disorders, acquired brain injuries, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and developmental disabilities that often lead to challenges accessing housing as well as frequent use of crisis and emergency services.  “There are residents in Kelowna who are left to shelter outside, on the street because there’s no other place for them to go,” said Stephanie Gauthier, Central Okanagan Journey Home Society Executive Director. “We have a grave need for more housing locally, and a backlog of need for supportive housing, particularly for those with the most complex needs. This announcement will be transformational for our approach to homelessness and housing and speaks to the multiple-site model recommended in the Complex Needs Advocacy Paper. These new homes for up to 20 people with complex needs won’t solve homelessness in our community but it’s a big step in that direction.” For more information about complex needs and the City’s advocacy for greater care, visit Kelowna.ca/complex-needs. For information about mental health and substance use supports in the community, visit interiorhealth.ca or call 310-MHSU.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Keremeos and area residents are advised of a temporary change to emergency department hours at the South Similkameen Health Centre, due to limited nursing staff availability. Emergency services will be unavailable starting at 3:30 p.m. today, Sept. 6. The emergency department will resume regular hours at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 7. Patients can access care at Penticton Regional Hospital at 550 Carmi Ave. in Penticton. People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.  Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  The emergency department in Keremeos is normally open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3 Minute Read
Op-ed
Submitted by Susan Brown, President & CEO, Interior Health I was recently looking at the website of Moms Stop the Harm, a local advocacy group that is heavily involved in organizing Overdose Awareness Day events. I was reflecting on the last few years; the increasing drug toxicity deaths we’re seeing, the tremendous challenges first responders and care providers face, and the loss communities continue to experience. The photo tribute page on their website is heart-breaking. Row upon row of faces, most young men around the same age as my own son. Each person loved and dearly missed, gone too soon due to drug poisoning. International Overdose Awareness Day is held each year on August 31 to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with substance use and drug-related death. It is an important day to recognize the loss and grief felt by so many people around the world and here at home. This opportunity to build awareness is more important than ever. According to the latest report from the BC Coroner’s Service within Interior Health during the first five months of 2022 alone there were 149 drug toxicity deaths. The rising numbers correspond to an increasingly poisonous street drug supply. The presence of fentanyl is now commonplace and made even more dangerous with the addition of tranquilizers and other complicating substances. It is hard to be hopeful in these circumstances, but I have also seen tremendous system improvements. We often talk about “building the plane as we fly it” and this emergency has us doing just that, balancing crisis response with prevention and innovation as we strive to provide enhanced substance use services to all people in Interior Health. This is not the same crisis we faced when the Provincial Health Officer proclaimed the overdose public health emergency in 2016. The toxic drug crisis is not static - it keeps changing. We must keep pace. In the last two years in particular we have seen record investments in substance use services, including both bed-based inpatient and community-based outpatient options. Prescribed safe supply has been introduced in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, and Penticton, and we’re working closely with partners to expand to other communities as quickly as possible. Drug testing is available at 72 locations across our region, and continues to grow. Life-saving overdose prevention and supervised consumption services continue to play an important role in not only keeping people alive, but connecting them to support and treatment. Within Interior Health our substance use and harm reduction teams are increasingly joined by “peers” – people with lived and living experience who provide guidance in program planning and implementation. I thank them for sharing their wisdom. This August 31 you can show your support by wearing a purple wristband, attending an event, lighting a candle, or sharing information on social media. Most of all we need to rethink substance use, which is a heavily stigmatized health condition, and focus on working together towards a solution. To learn more about the overdose public health emergency, including prevention tips, visit our Toxic Drug Crisis webpage. Learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day and view a list of community events.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Barriere and area residents are advised of temporary changes to emergency department hours at Barriere and District Health Centre due to limited nursing availability. Starting Monday, Aug. 29 at 8:30 a.m., to Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m., emergency services will be unavailable and patients can access care at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. During this time, all other services will continue as normal at the Barriere Health Centre. People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.  Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  The emergency department in Barriere is normally open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Clearwater and area residents are advised of ongoing temporary changes to overnight emergency department (ED) hours at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital due to limited nursing availability. Emergency services will not be available from 6 p.m. on Aug. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 until 7 a.m. the following mornings. The emergency department will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all these dates. When service is not available, patients can access care at: Royal Inland Hospital – 311 Columbia Street, Kamloops 100 Mile House District General Hospital – 555 Cedar Avenue South, 100 Mile House People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.  Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  Other inpatient services at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital are not impacted by the change to the ED and continue as normal. The emergency department in Clearwater is normally open 24/7.