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1 Minute Read
Toxic Drugs
Please see the attached document to learn more about the look, contamination, and risk associated with the current drug alert. View more toxic drug, environmental, and COVID-19 alerts
1 Minute Read
Toxic Drugs
Please see the attached document to learn more about the look, contamination, and risk associated with the current drug alert.  View more toxic drug, environmental and COVID-19 alerts.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
New Denver and area residents are advised of temporary changes to emergency department hours at Slocan Community Health Centre due to limited nursing availability. Emergency services will be unavailable until 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 and patients can access care at the Arrow Lakes Hospital at 97 1st Ave. NE, Nakusp. People in the community who need care due to life-threatening emergency (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 New Denver is normally open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week while Interior Health continues to recruit to fill positions to return to 24/7 operations.
3 Minute Read
News Release
Interior Health (IH) and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions are preparing to open the first complex care housing locations in Kamloops and Kelowna in the weeks ahead. Complex care housing has on-site health care and social supports designed for people who live with significant mental health and addiction and or medical challenges that result in difficulty finding and maintaining housing. Complex care housing in Kamloops and Kelowna will have 24/7 staff who support residents with comprehensive, person-centred services to meet their needs. “Everyone deserves a home where they can feel safe and live with dignity,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Complex care housing services opening in Kamloops and Kelowna mean that people with complex mental health and substance use challenges will be able to access housing or maintain their existing housing with additional supports tailored to their individual needs.” Across the province, complex care housing is being implemented in a range of housing types. Interior Health is implementing a model in Kelowna and Kamloops that will see smaller locations with five to eight suites. Interior Health will provide a range of health-care services on site including nursing, occupational therapy and social work. An IH cultural worker (Indigenous) and a peer support worker will join the teams to provide support from a lived experience perspective and offer further supports once the homes are up and running. Access to additional primary care resources will also be in place to ensure residents have access to ongoing general care. “The Complex Care model is new to our region and a first step towards improving the overall health and well-being of vulnerable individuals in Kelowna and Kamloops. This new service ensures residents have direct and ongoing access to services and supports from health teams who know their needs,” said Susan Brown, IH president and CEO. A contracted provider, Active Care Youth and Adult Services, will provide life skills training and support, which may include training in activities of daily living for things such as cooking, cleaning and shopping, psychosocial rehabilitation and education, preparation for independent living and support to access education and employment. “Active Care Youth and Adult Services is honoured to partner with Interior Health offering a new pathway out of homelessness. Complex Care is an exciting new initiative to support those who have multiple complex care needs, by providing a home with wrap-around therapeutic supports to help transform lives and, by extension, our community,” said Julie Pariseau, Active Care executive director. Interior Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions have committed to 20 total complex care spaces in each community. Individual placements will be staggered to ensure each new resident has time to become familiar with their surroundings and the care teams supporting them. Quotes: Tom Dyas, Mayor of Kelowna “The opening of new complex care spaces in Kelowna is a small step in the right direction to help some of our most vulnerable citizens dealing with overlapping conditions including mental health and addictions. The City of Kelowna and our neighbouring local government partners have advocated for this type of program for some time and while this is welcome news, the need in Kelowna and the Okanagan region for this type of housing and care is significant." Reid Hamer-Jackson, Mayor of Kamloops “The City of Kamloops is excited to see these doors open to support vulnerable members of our community with complex care needs. This is a pivotal step in the right direction and we look forward to continuing to work together with the province to tackle the health-care needs in Kamloops.” 
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Merritt and area residents are advised of temporary changes to emergency department hours at Nicola Valley Hospital due to unanticipated limited physician availability as of 8:30 a.m. today. Emergency services will be unavailable and patients can access care at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Emergency department services will be available again at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2023. During this time, all other inpatient services will continue as normal at Nicola Valley Hospital. 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 Merritt is normally open 24/7.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Merritt and area residents are advised of temporary changes to emergency department hours at Nicola Valley Hospital due to limited nursing availability. From 6:30 p.m. Sunday, January 8 to 7 a.m. Monday, January 9, emergency services will be unavailable and patients can access care at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops or Kelowna General Hospital. During this time, all other inpatient services will continue as normal at Nicola Valley Hospital. 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 Merritt is normally open 24/7.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
A bus accident on the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C) in the early evening of Dec 24 resulted in 52 patients transported to four Interior Health hospitals. Upon arrival 36 patients were assessed and treated for injuries that ranged from serious to minor. As of 9:30 a.m. today, eight patients remained in the care of hospitals in Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops. For those remaining in hospital, two are in serious condition and two have non-life threatening injuries. A central phone line (250-545-2211) was established for families needing information about the location of loved ones. Although the number of patients remaining in hospital is low, this is a life-altering incident for all involved, from the initial physical injuries to the emotional and spiritual impacts of an incident such as this.   Our thoughts are with the families and patients, as well as the many first responders at the scene, who were impacted by this tragic incident. Our deep gratitude to the many Interior Health staff and physicians already working or who came in to the hospitals to help care for the high number of patients who needed immediate care.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Keremeos and area residents are advised of temporary changes to emergency department hours at South Similkameen Health Centre due to limited nursing availability. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24, emergency services will be unavailable and patients can access care at Penticton Regional Hospital. During this time, all other community health services will continue as normal at the South Similkameen 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 South Similkameen Health Centre will reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 8 a.m. The emergency department in Keremeos is normally open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed on Sundays and stat holidays.
4 Minute Read
Op-ed
As I mark my fifth year as Board Chair of Interior Health (IH), I reflect on the highlights and challenges of 2022. Undoubtedly, times have been difficult for many people in the Interior, and especially tough on health-care workers. Our staff experienced the pressures to organize and deliver care in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, respond to the toxic drug crisis, and handle an unusually early and more powerful respiratory virus season. Health care is made up of people – your family, your friends, your neighbours – doing their best in their jobs to care for people in very trying times. I am extremely proud of our staff, medical practitioners, physicians and volunteers who, through their dedication to providing quality patient care, live our vision of health and well-being for all, every day. It wasn’t long ago we were banging on pots in our driveways to celebrate health-care workers. For many, those days are a distant memory as our staff face emotional exhaustion, moral distress and the added impact of mistreatment from the public at times. On behalf of the Board of Directors at IH, I want our staff to know that we and your Senior Executive Team see and appreciate what you are going through. We are committed to working for you to make your workplaces better. I also want to thank our patients and clients for your kindness, patience and insightful feedback as we continue to work together. In addition to our people, our partnerships have made great things happen this year. We continue to work hand-in-hand with Aboriginal partners to achieve equitable treatment and improved health outcomes for everyone in the Interior. As part of our commitment to implement anti-racism and culturally safe care, we have strengthened our partnerships with Aboriginal communities. 2022 marked the 12-year anniversary of Interior Health’s Aboriginal Patient Navigator (APN) program; there are now 13 APNs at IH sites who support patients and families. Eight new Nation-IH Partnership positions were also created. All these positions help connect Aboriginal patients to appropriate health-care services, provide emotional and cultural support, and ensure advocacy for Aboriginal patients receiving care in IH’s facilities and services. Nation engagement on priority areas, including mental health and substance use (MHSU) and creating seamless transitions from hospital to community, go hand-in-hand with our partnerships as we together implement key recommendations within the In Plain Sight report. In July, with funding from our partners Thompson Regional Hospital District and Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) Foundation, we welcomed the first patients to the new Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower at RIH in Kamloops. In collaboration with stakeholders, we opened an urgent and primary care centre to support our residents in Ashcroft, and completed construction on the pharmacy, oncology department and cast clinic at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail. We are working with partners to re-establish health services in Lytton and surrounding areas. We also announced long-term care projects underway across the region, and new MHSU services in a number of communities. We continue to develop new ways to use technology to support patients as they navigate health services. IH’s Digital Health Support Desk allows patients, caregivers and their families to more easily access IH virtual and digital tools, including lab appointment bookings. There is much to celebrate, but we also have much to accomplish; at the forefront are the staffing challenges across health care. Our leadership has worked tirelessly to fill unplanned vacant shifts to maintain services throughout our region. We launched a new, improved careers website that makes it faster and easier for job seekers to apply for careers with IH. We also continue to encourage people seeking health-care careers, such as through the Health Career Access Program and the new Associate Physician program. While there is much work ahead, it has never been more important we acknowledge our staff and their work. Your dedication, expertise and commitment to the care of others are the foundation upon which IH can offer health and well-being for all. Thank you, lim lempt. Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season.