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4 Minute Read
Information Bulletin
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued special weather statements for several parts of the province, with daytime temperatures in the Interior ranging from the low to mid 30s. This is not a heat warning or an extreme heat emergency, but we will experience the first high temperatures of the summer. The warmer weather will also cause rapid snow melt, leading to high rivers and streams throughout the province so please keep water safety in mind this weekend. The first high temperatures of the season can lead to some people overheating because they are not yet acclimatized to warmer weather. There are some basic steps you can take to ensure you and your family remain safe and healthy during warmer temperatures. Additional heat information is available on the Interior Health public website. The BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) also has a broad range of heat-related information on its website, including information on the different types of heat alerts, how to prepare for warmer temperatures, symptoms of heat-related illnesses, those most at risk during warmer weather, and ways to stay cool. Preparing for hot weather: Identify a cooler space in your home and prepare it so you can stay there at night, if possible. You may need to change daily living arrangements. Find an air-conditioned spot close by where you can cool off on very hot days. Consider staying with friends or family or find places in your community to spend time such as movie theatres, libraries, community centres, or shopping malls. Check that you have a working fan. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works. Install awnings, shutters, blinds, or curtains over your windows to keep the sun out during the day. Practice opening doors and windows to move cool air in at night and shutting windows during the day to prevent hot outdoor air from coming inside. Get a digital room thermometer to keep with you so you know when your home is getting too hot. Who is most at risk? It is important to monitor yourself and family members, and to consider developing a check-in system for neighbours and friends who are at higher-risk during warmer weather The most susceptible individuals include: Older adults, especially those over 60 people who live alone people with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory disease people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety people with substance use disorders people with limited mobility people who are marginally housed people who work in hot environments people who are pregnant infants and young children Your health: Spray your body down with water, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath, or sit with part of your body in water to cool down if you are feeling too hot. Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated, even if you are not feeling thirsty Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Stay in the shade and use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headache, and dizziness. Take immediate action to cool down if you are overheating. It is important to remember that overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, severe headache, muscle cramps, extreme thirst, and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek a cooler environment, drink plenty of water, rest, and use water to cool your body. Heat stroke is a medical emergency In the event of a medical emergency, British Columbians are advised to call 9-1-1. However, it is also important to use 9-1-1 responsibly to avoid overwhelming the system. BC Emergency Health Services in partnership with ECOMM is reminding British Columbians to only dial 9-1-1 for serious or life-threatening injuries When to call 9-1-1: In general: when there is chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe burns, choking, convulsions that are not stopping, a drowning, a severe allergic reaction, a head injury, signs of a stroke, a major trauma. More specifically related to hot weather: severe headache, confusion, unsteadiness, loss of thirst, nausea/vomiting, and dark urine or no urine are signs of dangerous heat-related illness. If you have a less urgent health issue: You can call 8-1-1 and get connected with a nurse at HealthLinkBC. Or, if you can do it safely, you could go to an urgent care centre or clinic. That way, our highly trained emergency medical dispatch staff and paramedics will be available for people who need their services the most. There are also online tools at healthlinkbc.ca including a “Check Your Symptoms” tool.  While this bulletin is about the beginning of hot summer weather, additional information on preparing for extreme heat events can also be found in BC’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide.
2 Minute Read
News Release
A mobile phone app launched two years ago has continued to gain popularity among people who use drugs and those who support them, and is successfully preventing toxic drug deaths in B.C. “The Lifeguard Digital Health App has a proven track record of keeping people safe and is an important part of our government’s response to the toxic, unpredictable illicit drug supply,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson. Since its launch in May 2020, the app has been used by more than 9,000 people in B.C. There have been 104,783 sessions, resulting in 132 ambulance calls with 96 “confirmed ok” call backs to the app user. There have been 28 drug poisonings reversed and, most importantly, there have been zero deaths reported by Lifeguard. In Interior Health there were 12,084 sessions (May 2020 – May 2022) including 14 ambulance calls. In April 2022, there were 422 sessions within Interior Health. “There are many reasons why people use substances alone,” said Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown. “The stigma surrounding substance use is one of the main reasons. While we encourage people to access supports such as overdose prevention sites and avoid using alone, the Lifeguard App is an important alternative.” The concept is simple: Once downloaded on a mobile device, the app is activated by the user before they take their dose. After 50 seconds the app will sound an alarm. If the person using the app doesn't hit a button to stop the alarm, indicating they are fine, the alarm grows louder and if the individual does not respond, the app will trigger medical assistance with a call to ambulance services.  “I have used the Lifeguard app while using on my own and also when trying a new substance to ensure I would have help if needed. It's a great app,” said one person with lived experience with substance use. The Lifeguard app has continued to evolve since its launch. It now includes access to additional crisis lines, substance use supports, drug alerts, and guides to perform CPR and deliver Naloxone. In 2021 Métis Nation BC partnered with Lifeguard to launch a version for the Métis community.  To learn more about substance use services and the toxic drug crisis visit interiorhealth.ca. To learn more about the app visit lifeguarddh.com.
3 Minute Read
News Release
People in Kamloops and across the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region are invited to an open house at the Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower at Royal Inland Hospital on Saturday, June 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. Interior Health is hosting the open house to allow the community to view Kamloops’ new hospital tower, before it opens to patients on July 18. The event is being organized in collaboration with the RIH Foundation. People are invited to drop in throughout the afternoon and tour the building, entering through the new main entrance of the Gaglardi Tower located across from the public parkade. Parking will be free at RIH that day while wayfinding signage and volunteer guides will be posted to direct visitors. “The new tower is set to open and our government is proud to support this vital project for people in Kamloops and area,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I encourage people to stop by Saturday and see the new tower, which will provide public health-care services for decades to come.” “We are proud to usher in this new era for Royal Inland Hospital by showcasing the Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower to the people who will rely on it,” said IH vice president, clinical operations north Diane Shendruk. “While there is no question these are challenging times for Kamloops health care, it’s also clear that this state-of-the-art tower is a facility that Kamloops residents, people across the region and local health-care professionals need and deserve.” The Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower is a nine-storey hospital tower designed from a patient-centred and Elder-friendly perspective to provide a comfortable healing environment for patient treatment and recovery. Designed with extensive input from hospital staff and physicians, enhanced care spaces include single-patient rooms, each with their own washroom, as well as new operating rooms, mental health and substance use spaces, new labour and delivery rooms, a neurosciences and trauma unit, a rooftop helipad and more. Local Indigenous communities have been engaged on design elements including a cultural mural, representing the traditional territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc along with the other Nations that rely on RIH, including the Métis, Tsilhqot’in, Dãkelh Dené, Nlaka’pamux, Northern St’at’imc and Syilx Nations. Smudging ceremonies will be able to be hosted in patient rooms throughout the Gaglardi Tower. “We are getting so close to being able to open up the Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower and provide enhanced care spaces to the public and improved working conditions for staff and physicians,” said executive director of clinical operations at RIH Tracey Rannie. “We are excited to show off this new tower to the community, so they can see the culmination of the years of hard work on this important health-care project.“ A reminder that the Gaglardi Tower is a health-care facility and masks will be required to attend the open house.
4 Minute Read
News Release
Interior Health is celebrating a significant milestone in the provision of medical care in the North Okanagan, as this year marks the 125th anniversary of Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH). In 1897, the original “Cottage Hospital” opened in a house on 28th Avenue and health-care teams have provided treatment and care for people throughout the region ever since. “Vernon Jubilee Hospital has been home to amazing health-care workers that have provided public health-care to generations of families in the community and the area,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I wish everyone involved with VJH a happy 125th anniversary and look forward to the years and decades ahead.” “I am so proud to have a background of 17 years of nursing and to have worked alongside the amazing team at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. I have seen first-hand how VJH staff go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of patients and families, even in the face of challenges. Every day I bring this perspective to my role as MLA, and work to strengthen our health-care system for British Columbians. I wish everyone a very happy 125th anniversary of VJH and thank you for all that you do,” says Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “A great deal has changed over the past 125 years, for both Vernon Jubilee Hospital and for health care itself. What remains constant is the dedication to quality care demonstrated every day by the physicians and staff at VJH. They are exemplary, and we celebrate this momentous anniversary alongside them,” says Susan Brown, Interior Health’s President and CEO. The Cottage Hospital opened with just four staff according to accounts in A Century of Caring 1897-1997: The Story of Vernon Jubilee Hospital and of Men and Women Who Have Made Its History by Daphne Thuillier and in Vernon News articles. A Hospital Society spearheaded the purchase of the house for $2,000. The hospital moved to its current location at 2101 32nd St. in 1909 on land donated by Samuel Polson, on the traditional unceded territory of the Syilx people. That facility included an operating room, hot water heating and telephone service. X-ray service was added in 1912, and a laboratory was added in 1938. Over the years, the hospital expanded its footprint and services – the North Tower opened in 1949; the Centennial Wing was added in 1968; the Polson Extended Care Annex opened in 1982; and the South Tower followed in 1983. In 2011, the Polson Tower opened with expanded ambulatory care and outpatient clinics, new ambulance space, a new maternity and pediatrics unit with direct links to operating rooms, and new intensive care and coronary care units. In 2016, medical inpatient units were added on the sixth and seventh floors, and in 2019 came a fifth operating room and new MRI. Today, nearly 1,700 staff and physicians work at VJH, serving a population of about 93,720 people including First Nations communities and Métis peoples. “Vernon Jubilee has a long, proud history – it is the heart of the community,” says Richard Harding, executive director for clinical operations in Interior Health’s North Okanagan. “I’m especially proud of the health-care teams who provide such excellent care. The last two years of the pandemic have been challenging, but every day they gave – and continue to give – their best to patients and their families. We know from the messages we’ve received how much people are grateful for the care they’ve received from our staff and physicians.” Harding also expressed gratitude to the community for its ongoing support of the hospital. Interior Health continues to plan for expansion of services in the North Okanagan, and he said the cooperation of the community, including the VJH Foundation and North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap Regional Hospital District, has been vital to that work. “Teamwork and collaboration is the key to our success,” Harding said. “We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners, including physicians and staff, the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, Aboriginal partners, contracted service partners and local government partners, to provide high-quality health care to everyone in the North Okanagan region.”
2 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Interior Health is adding new evening and weekend vaccine clinics to provide easy access for parents to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19. “Vaccines for children are safe and effective and I encourage all families to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Carol Fenton, medical health officer with Interior Health. “Our vaccine rates for children are lower than we’d like to see in some areas. Getting vaccinated now will help protect your children throughout summer activities.” Parents and/or guardians can book an appointment for children aged 5-11 by registering online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or by calling 1-833-838-2323. Once registered, an invitation to book an appointment will be sent. The new evening and weekend clinics are: Kelowna: Age 5-11 Only – Community Health & Services Centre Saturday, June 18: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Nelson: Age 5-11 Only – Nelson Health Centre Monday, June 27: 3:15 p.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, July 4: 3:15 p.m. – 6 p.m. Vernon: Age 5-11 Only – Vernon Health Unit Thursday, June 30: 3 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Thursday, July 7: 3 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Penticton: Age 5-11 Only – Penticton Health Centre Wednesday, June 22: 2:50 p.m. – 6:20 p.m. Revelstoke: All Ages – Queen Victoria Hospital Saturday, June 25: 9:10 a.m. – 4:10 p.m. In addition to these clinics, Interior Health has ongoing vaccine clinics in communities throughout the region. Dates and locations for clinics for 5-11 year olds are available online and pharmacies have appointments for people 12 and older. When booking an appointment, people will be able to choose from a list of locations with available appointments. People 12 and older can book an appointment for their first, second and booster dose at a clinic near them. Booster doses are available once it has been six months after the second dose and people will be invited to book their appointment. Second booster doses are available for people who are 70+ or Indigenous people 55+ and they will be invited to book an appointment after it has been six months since their first booster dose. For more information about COVID-19, such as immunization, where to find rapid antigen tests, and information for visitors to a health-care facility or long-term care, please visit: https://www.interiorhealth.ca/health-and-wellness/disease-outbreaks/covid-19
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Due to limited physician availability, residents of the 100 Mile House area are advised that the Emergency Department at 100 Mile District General Hospital will be closed from: 7 p.m. on June 15 until 8 a.m. on June 16 Residents are advised of the following when the emergency department is closed: In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1. Visit the emergency department at one of the following facilities: Cariboo Memorial Hospital –  517 North, 6 Ave N, Williams Lake Royal Inland Hospital – 311 Columbia Street, Kamloops Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (24-hour service) if you are unsure of your need to seek emergency care. Interior Health regrets this temporary change to normal operations in 100 Mile House. All efforts were made to fill this shift and active recruitment for additional physicians to support emergency department services in 100 Mile is ongoing.
3 Minute Read
News Release
The inaugural cohort of the NAVIG8 Emerging Medical Leaders Program at Interior Health has graduated. These 26 participants completed a two-year, one-of-a-kind program that equips medical staff (physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners and dentists) with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to become the next generation of medical leaders in Interior Health. “Interior Health is paving the way in medical leadership training in B.C. and across Canada,” said president and CEO Susan Brown. “NAVIG8 aims to build a community of medical leaders who are partners in continuously improving care and creating and sustaining change in health care. I am thrilled Interior Health has people with a genuine connection to their work and a career that aligns with who they are.” This medical leadership training program is part of Interior Health’s continuous work in medical staff engagement. The idea originated from a late-night brainstorm and notes on a napkin. From there, it grew into a comprehensive leadership development program. “Our NAVIG8 program is an innovative approach to mentoring the next generation of medical leaders at Interior Health,” said Dr. Mike Ertel, vice president medicine and quality. “I have been privileged to speak with each participant in post-session calls and in these conversations, I heard timely and valuable feedback about what was working well and what can be improved. This has been instrumental in shaping the success of the program.” NAVIG8 is designed for medical staff who aspire to, or currently occupy, formal administrative leadership positions in Interior Health and who wish to supplement their medical background with applied operational skills. The program format includes experiential learning projects, a mentorship partnership, and in-person and virtual learning sessions. “Participants learn operational and administrative skills; receive mentorship from medical and administrative leaders; develop a deeper awareness of their own leadership strengths and opportunities; and gain deeper insights into how to engage, inspire, and motivate teams,” said Harsh Hundal, executive medical director, physician engagement and resource planning. Through faculty presentations, case studies, group discussions, workshops, and individual exercises, participants examine the distinctive characteristics that define successful leaders. The curriculum balances thought-provoking analysis and dialogue with self-reflection and personal development. The aim of the program is to build a community of medical leaders who can be effective partners in continuously improving care. NAVIG8 is the only health authority-based medical leadership program in Canada recognized by the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders as a pathway to certification as a physician executive. This unique two-year medical leadership training program has garnered significant interest from other health authorities and provincial organizations. Now in its third year, with the second cohort consisting of physicians, a midwife, and an oral surgeon, NAVIG8 has had a significant impact on program participants. “There is no question in my mind that the program is helping to transform me into a more confident and thoughtful leader. Networking with a group of my peers early on in the program was invaluable. I’m learning as much from my peers as from the speakers,” said a NAVIG8 participant. At the inaugural NAVIG8 graduation event, held April 21 in Kelowna, participants had the opportunity to hear presentations, view project posters, and connect in person. NAVIG8 Cohort 2 began fall 2021 and will graduate summer 2023. Watch a video about the NAVIG8 Emerging Medical Leaders Program
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Clearwater and area residents are advised of a temporary change to the emergency department hours at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital this weekend due to unforeseen limited staffing availability. The emergency department will be closed:  5 p.m. Friday, June 3 to 7 a.m. Saturday, June 4 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4 to 7 a.m. Sunday, June 5 Interior Health regrets this temporary change to normal operations and reminds residents to take note of the following if they require care while the emergency department is closed: In the event of an emergency, call 911. Visit the emergency department at one of the following facilities: Royal Inland Hospital – 311 Columbia Street, Kamloops Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (24 hour service) if you are unsure of your need to seek emergency care. The emergency department in Clearwater is normally open 24/7.
1 Minute Read
Public Service Announcement
Residents of the 100 Mile House area are advised that the Emergency Department at 100 Mile District General Hospital will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 3 due to unforeseen limited physician availability. Residents are advised of the following when the emergency department is closed: In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1. Visit the emergency department at one of the following facilities: Cariboo Memorial Hospital –  517 North, 6 Ave N, Williams Lake Royal Inland Hospital – 311 Columbia Street, Kamloops Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (24-hour service) if you are unsure of your need to seek emergency care. Interior Health regrets this temporary change to normal operations in 100 Mile House. Emergency department services in 100 Mile will resume at 8 p.m. on June 3.