Interior Health public health nurses Erin Taylor and Heather Dueck pose with Shirley Stuart, Doug Brown and Sue McCraeof South Shuswap Health Services on Day 1 of the pilot project. (Photo contributed)

Pilot project brings public health nurse services to South Shuswap

Immunizations available Mondays at Copper Island Health and Wellness Centre

A partnership between Interior Health and the South Shuswap Health Services Society has resulted in a pilot project providing access to public health nurse services closer to home.

On Monday, April 9, IH public health nurses from Salmon Arm were at the Copper Island Health and Wellness Centre in the Blind Bay Marketplace for Day 1 of the pilot project. Services provided include adult and child immunizations.

“We’re just really excited to be onboard now to provide immunizations to that population…,” said IH pulbic health nurse Kaley York-Pearce, noting the project provides an opportunity to increase immunization rates, as well as awareness of the Copper Island Health and Wellness Centre operated by the South Shuswap Health Services Society (SSHSS).

In addition to immunizations, other services offered include general screening around children’s health, growth and development.

“We’ll do the general screening around diet and dental and speech and language, to check in with how the child is growing and developing and if there’s any concerns,” said York-Pearce. “A public health nurse is a great link with the other agencies in town that can help support the child’s development even further, so that can always take place at those clinics as well. We link with other services like a speech and language pathologist who can really strengthen speech development, or a dental hygienist through our Lift the Lip program that can apply a fluoride varnish for kids 1 to 3 years of age that may be more at risk for dental cavities or just may not have access to that type of dental care.”

SSHSS director Sue McCrae says the community organization is extremely excited about the partnership with IH and to be able to provide these additional services at the centre.

“Definitely, it’s going to be a place they can utilize for any need in the community that is identified by the public health nurses,” said McCrae. “And of course, we are hoping we expand into other community care services as well.”

McCrae adds, however, that the society will continue its ongoing recruitment effort for physicians.

“The immunization is the preventative side and by having the nurses come to us, it saves people having to drive into town…,” said McCrae. “We’re still going to continue in our quest to find physicians for that location.”

A health nurse will be at the Copper Island Health and Wellness Centre the second Monday of every month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., providing immunizations by appointment.

“It isn’t a drop in,” said York-Pearce. “We only have five defined appointment times between 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., so at this time we do encourage people to call 250-833-4101, which is our public health nursing line.”

For more further information about South Shuswap Health Services Society and the services it provides, visit sshss.ca.

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