Seniors Health and Wellness Centre
Kelowna, B.C. – A Seniors Health and Wellness Centre that has opened in the Central Okanagan is benefiting those with frailty and age-related medical conditions through a multi-disciplinary approach and access to specialist services.
“With a growing, ageing population, services need to keep up with increased demand,” said Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “Because we’ve stuck to our plan, we’re able to afford record investments in health and seniors care, like the new Seniors Health and Wellness Centre in Kelowna.”
“The new Seniors Health and Wellness Centre further strengthens seniors care by drawing on experts and team members from a number of different disciplines to care for clients. Working together, these teams promote an individual’s independence by stabilizing their age-related symptoms and connecting them with appropriate services and supports in the community,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson.
A partnership between Interior Health and the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice, the centre is located in Kelowna within the Cottonwoods Care Centre. Referrals may be made through family doctors or nurse practitioners.
“More than 22 per cent of residents within Interior Health are over 65 years, and that number is on the rise,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “Enhanced community care and improved access to specialized services will help ensure seniors with complex care needs continue to receive the care they require now and in the coming years.”
Services include a multidisciplinary assessment, short-term therapeutic interventions and access to a geriatrician and family doctors with a special interest in geriatrics. The collaborative team, including nursing, pharmacy and allied health professionals (such as physiotherapists, dietitians, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and social workers) provides targeted assessment and planning services. In addition to health assessment and treatments, the centre will provide education and connections to other community services to help seniors access programs promoting health and wellness, helping them live independently for as long as possible.
“The level of support offered through the new model will help seniors age in place while reducing emergency department visits, preventing hospital admissions, and avoiding premature placement in long term care facilities,” said Interior Health Board Chair John O’Fee.
The centre was made possible by the work of a team of partners who came together in the Central Okanagan to identify health gaps, priority areas, and possible solutions. Called the Local Action Team, this group included representation from the Ministry of Health; Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice; Interior Health; Patient Voices Network; United Way; and Baptist Housing. Seniors care measured high on the list of priorities, and specialized services and increased collaboration were identified as important areas to focus on.
“The Ministry of Health asked the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice and Interior Health to work together toward excellence in seniors' care in our communities,” said Dr. Gayle Klammer, Central Okanagan Division member and co-chair of the Local Action Team and Implementation Team. “The Seniors Health and Wellness Centre is the first step, offering comprehensive assessment and short-term follow-up by a team including physicians and allied health professionals."
“We strive to create seamless care with community seniors' services,” added Dr. Michele Thomasse, a member of the Local Action Team and the Central Okanagan Division. “The centre’s multidisciplinary approach enables us to leverage the expertise of the geriatricians and family physicians working together at the centre to increase capacity and improve patient outcomes.
“This centre allows us to provide seniors with the best possible assessments and care in a team environment," said Central Okanagan Division member Dr. Cara Wall, one of the doctors working within the centre.
“This is an excellent opportunity to develop additional knowledge and skills within the family physician community while working closely with the geriatrician and other team members,” explained Dr. Sohayl Ghadirian, a Central Okanagan Division board member who also sees patients in the centre.
The Seniors Health and Wellness Centre model will also be introduced in Kamloops this spring as part of the Northills Centre Interior Health Primary and Community Care Services.
The new specialized services provided by Interior Health support the Ministry of Health’s strategic direction, which focuses on a more integrated system of primary and community care that better meets the needs of patients, including seniors with frailty and complex medical conditions.