Recent Stories

2 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
A person can bleed to death from an injury in as little as five minutes. That means every second counts when it comes to stopping uncontrolled bleeding, and anyone – a friend, family member or even a bystander – can help save someone’s life. Think of it as you would with basic first aid, CPR or the Heimlich Manoeuvre – knowing the steps to getting bleeding under control fast can significantly increase a person’s odds of survival. Traumatic accidents can happen anywhere – in the kitchen or garage, in a motor vehicle, or during outdoor recreational activities such as cycling or hiking. No matter how safe you are trying to be, everyone is at risk of potential injury, which can result in bleeding from extremities such as the neck, groin, armpits, chest and abdomen. That’s where an initiative such as Stop The Bleed comes in. In a nutshell, Stop the Bleed trains people how to stop a person from bleeding to death. It was initiated by the American College of Surgeons in 2015 after the active shooter event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Stop the Bleed has been adopted by Trauma Services BC to help teach basic life-saving skills to health-care professionals and members of the public. “Bystanders or loved ones are often in the best position to provide early assistance to an injured person who is bleeding. Having the skills, confidence and basic equipment to stop someone’s bleeding early can mean the difference between life and death,” says Kyla Gowenlock, Interior Health’s network director for Trauma Services. “I encourage everyone to take the Stop The Bleed course and stock their car or backpack with the basic equipment. Anyone can be trained to save a life.”
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Tanya Chmilar (she/her/hers) Job Title: Registered Nurse/Registered Psychiatric Nurse Years of Service: 25 Worksite: Community Health Services Centre Community: Kelowna Ancestral Territory: Syilx Okanagan Advice to live by: Have fun and do your best. Maintain a work-life balance. Tanya Chmilar lives her motto every day — both at work and in her personal life: Have fun and do your best. After earning her Psychiatric Nursing Diploma in 1985, and her General Nursing Diploma in 1988, Tanya worked in Vernon, Kelowna and Cranbrook psychiatric inpatient units. She moved to Vancouver to complete her BScN from the University of British Columbia (UBC), then worked in emergency and short stay psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital and UBC.
2 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
This week, kids in B.C. are headed back to school. There will be many more people on the roads commuting to both school and work. While the weather is still mild, many will be enjoying alternative and active ways of getting around using bikes and scooters. A lot of people will also choose low-carbon modes of transportation such as E-bikes and E-scooters as they’re convenient alternatives to driving a car. “We can all be safer together and enjoy the health benefits of active travel as everyone gets back into their commuting routines for the start of the new school year,” says Dr. Fatemeh Sabet, an Interior Health medical health officer. “Preparation is key for a safe commute, and we encourage safety planning before you head out on your route to help reduce injuries and health-care impacts to the community.” Here are some tips to ride safely and reduce the risk of injury to yourself or others: Wear a helmet If you are a less-experienced rider, start slow and in areas of low traffic Know the rules - familiarize yourself with where you can and cannot ride Ride at a safe speed and in designated areas such as protected lanes and quiet streets Don’t carry passengers (e.g., doubling) Be visible (wear reflectors and bright clothing) Avoid using headphones so can you stay alert Always dismount and walk through a crosswalk Ensure your bike or scooter is equipped with added safety features, including a bell, lights and reflectors Remember, you must be 16 or older to ride an e-scooter in B.C. (Kelowna-based operators currently require you to be 18 or older) These tips also apply to other types of active travel, such as skateboarding and roller skating or roller- blading. Whichever way you choose to travel, stay safe, stay active and have fun.
3 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Jana Schulz (she/her/hers) Job Title: Regional Dementia Education Coordinator, East Kootenay Years of Service: 7 months Worksite: Rocky Mountain Lodge Community: Cranbrook Ancestral Territory: Ktunaxa Nation Jana Schulz was born and raised in Cranbrook, B.C. In less than a year at Interior Health (IH), she has made a big impression as the Regional Dementia Education Coordinator for the East Kootenay, based at Rocky Mountain Lodge in Cranbrook. “She does a wonderful job, and is very much appreciated by her colleagues on the regional Seniors Mental Health team,” says her co-worker, Cherylynne Greenard-Smith. “Her courage to speak up and give recommendations for fair and culturally sensitive treatment of Indigenous Peoples is incredibly helpful to the work that we do, and also admirable and inspiring.”
4 Minute Read
Research & Innovation
Navigating a conversation about an individual’s serious illness can be a difficult and uncomfortable part of the job for many health-care providers. Some may be unsure about what to ask, or how much detail to share with someone about their condition and prognosis. Yet, having open, honest and compassionate conversations with people during their illness is essential to help individuals and families make care decisions that align with their personal goals, hopes and wishes. Within Interior Health, providing support for staff and physicians by having Serious Illness Conversation Guide workshops has been a priority for several years. Online education tools and role play opportunities help clinicians feel more comfortable navigating these essential conversations. “Research in cancer care is clear. Person-centred communication gives less anxiety, less depression and on average a longer lifespan. Imagine this approach applied to both preventing and living with chronic disease. No side effects. Only benefits for all involved,” says Dr. Greg Andreas. “It is time to change. Care should be first about the person, not their pathology. Planning can then evolve for their best possible days, months, decades… I have yet to have anyone talk about how they would like to spend their last 12 months of life lost in our hospital system.” Practice lead Carla Williams agrees and says she believe when clinicians use the Serious Illness Conversation Guide and talk about a person’s wishes early on, it improves the individual’s experience of death and dying. She recalls how the guide helped her in a conversation with a woman who was palliative in hospital. “Staff were uncomfortable because they said she did not believe she was dying but they felt that hospice would be best for the patient,” says Carla. “I introduced myself as a social worker, (and) let her know that I was here to ask for permission to have what we call a Serious Illness Conversation to better understand her wishes relating to her health. “I asked ‘what is your understanding of where you are today?’ She very clearly stated, ‘I am dying and have a month to live.’ We continued through the discussion asking about her goals, fears, strengths, abilities, trade-offs and family. At the end of the discussion, she was clear that she wanted to go to hospice and have her family with her. She already knew she was dying and knew where she wanted to palliate and felt comfortable knowing she would not undergo more testing and have a lengthy hospital admission.” Carla says the Serious Illness Conversation Guide is especially helpful because the language is so clear. “In my experience with using the guide, I have never had a patient not understand the questions as they are written. There has never been a time when a patient expressed confusion over the question when using the guide as it recommends. I believe that the patient-tested language is powerful and that the questions truly illicit the true feelings and desires of the patient as they move through their own mortality,” says Carla. In Interior Health, the work to build capacity for Serious Illness Conversations and develop a community of practice has been led by clinical nurse specialists Vicki Kennedy and Shannon Paul-Jost. Vicki’s work is in palliative and end-of-life care, while Shannon’s focus is gerontology. They were early adopters, having participated in a BC Centre for Palliative Care’s Serious Illness Conversation Guide Train the Trainer workshop in 2018. Two pilot Serious Illness Conversation Guide workshops were conducted across the Interior Health region, and an evaluation showed positive results that clearly demonstrated the value of the guide. This led to the development of a knowledge translation strategy, and to the building of relationships with post-secondary institutions across the region. Today, faculty from UBC Okanagan, Thompson Rivers University, Selkirk College and College of the Rockies have all expressed interest in workshops for third- and fourth-year nursing students. Since July 2018, there have been 43 Serious Illness Conversation Guide workshops in Interior Health, with 891 individuals trained to have Serious Illness Conversations. Learn more: Visit our Advance Care Planning page Visit our Palliative and End of Life Care Overview page
7 Minute Read
Community & Culture
The Employee Experience team (L-R): Tracy Mooney, Kimberly Humphreys, Debbie Beaulieu, Kim Dedora, Aasia Paterson, Anna Meyers, Elisa Brown Employee Experience is a department within Human Resources at Interior Health (IH), focused on designing meaningful and welcoming employee experiences for all IH staff in the areas of: Onboarding Diversity and Inclusion Recognition Aboriginal Employment Continuous Listening (Employee Surveys) The team uses employee-centered design tactics by asking for, acknowledging and acting on employee feedback. The department objectives aim to achieve the IH goal to Cultivate an Engaged Workforce and a Healthy Workplace and Key Priority of Improved and Inclusive Culture.  Meet the Employee Experience team members!

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