Interior Healthand the First Nations Health Authority have come together on a shared investment of $3 million to bring elder care closer to home. Photo Credit: Contributed

Interior Health commits $2 million annually for First Nations elders care

Initiative to benefit 4,450 elders across Southern Interior region.

Interior Health (IH) and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) announced a shared investment of $3 million to bring elder care closer to home.

IH will contribute $2 million on an ongoing annual basis for a nursing enhancement to support First Nations elders and those living with chronic conditions.

The FNHA will contribute $1 million to support communities in preparedness. Together, this joint investment will benefit approximately 4,450 elders across the Interior region.

A shared decision-making process driven by the seven Interior Nations of Dãkelh Dené, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’át’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in resulted in a cooperative rather than competitive approach in planning for the investment.

The long-term ongoing investment will commence in 2019-20 and result in $10 million over the next five years directed towards First Nations elders care in the Interior region. The FNHA’s contribution will commence in 2018-19.

“As 7 Nations of the Interior we sat together to determine how the funding could have the most significant impact across our region,” said Ko’waintco Michel, co-chair of the Partnership Accord Leadership Table. “We agreed that no community should be left behind, and that increasing access to primary health care services closer to home was the area of greatest need.

“We appreciate Interior Health showing leadership in their flexibility in allowing us to define how best to meet the need in our communities by following a decision-making process that works for our Interior Nations.”

The investment decision was also driven by data from the First Nations Health Authority—Interior Health Authority Expenditure Project. The analysis of this data showed that in comparison to other residents in 2013-14, First Nations elders were less likely to visit physicians, had higher prevalence rates for many chronic conditions, and were more likely to visit the emergency department.

These results, and others, suggest that key early intervention points in a person’s care journey may be missed because of inaccessible or unavailable primary health care services.

”There continues to be barriers that challenge the delivery of health-care services to First Nations,” said Brad Anderson, Interior Health’s corporate director aboriginal health. “This partnership ensures care is being provided in the community—collaboratively and in a culturally safe way, where First Nations elders live, so they can be partners in their own care along with their family and an interdisciplinary care team.”

This nursing enhancement will improve access to culturally safe, holistic and quality healthcare services for elders living in community, including those living with chronic conditions.

The investment is also aligned with IH’s shifting focus on the development of community resources to support individuals in remaining in their homes longer, and renewed systems of care to improve access and service quality across rural and remote communities for cultural safety.

“As elder care has long been identified as a priority for Interior Nations, we commend the leadership of (IH) CEO Chris Mazurkewich and his team. This investment complements and adds value to the existing Nation-Based health care delivery models,” said Lisa Montgomery-Reid, FNHA Interior regional director.

“New and enhanced nursing roles will work with a broader scope of practice and collaborate with the elder, their family, and an interdisciplinary care team to develop individualized wellness plans.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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