More than a medical building: What you need to know about the Bowen Island Community Health Centre

We are well on our way to seeing a community health centre built on Bowen within the next few years. Thanks to the generosity of donors, more than $250,000 was raised in November and December alone. More and more community members who believe in the importance of accessible and expanded health care on Bowen are stepping up with financial support for the capital fund.  

This new facility will be much more than merely a medical building. Community health centres (CHCs) are non-profit organizations that provide primary health and health promotion programs for individuals, families and communities.

Community health centres are increasingly changing the face of health care delivery in Canada and contributing to the development of healthy communities. According to a recent paper by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “The CHC model is well-positioned to address the primary health care challenges we face in both rural and urban British Columbia, while also helping to reduce health care costs through quality improvement and addressing the social determinants of health.”

CHCs provide comprehensive, coordinated, primary health care for their communities, encompassing primary care, illness prevention, and health promotion, in one to one service, personal development groups, and community level interventions.

CHCs are continuously adapting and refining their ability to reach and to serve their clients and communities. CHCs develop their plans based on population health needs and develop best practices for serving those needs. CHCs strive to provide client- and community-centred care. The Bowen Island CHC will employ tools such as community advisory committees, needs assessment and satisfaction surveys, and other community engagement processes to involve the community in decisions, planning, evaluation and continuous quality improvement. CHCs increase the capacity of communities to improve community and individual health outcomes.

CHCs build interprofessional teams working in collaborative practice. In these teams, professionals work together in a coordinated approach to address the health needs of their clients. Depending on the actual programs and services offered, CHC interprofessional teams may include physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, counsellors, health promoters, community development workers, and administrative staff. The inter-disciplinary team approach acknowledges that the health of an individual is intricate and multi-dimensional. When community health workers and health promoters are part of the team, preventative health issues as well as mental and psycho-social issues are addressed. Case consultations between health-care teams support the delivery of more efficient and effective health care.

CHCs develop strong connections with health system partners and community partners to ensure the integration of CHC services with the delivery of other health and social services. Integration improves client care through the provision of timely services, appropriate referrals, and the delivery of seamless care. Integration also leads to system efficiencies.

CHCs are governed by community boards. Community governance provides leadership that is reflective of diverse communities, thereby enhancing community health. Community boards and committees provide a mechanism for centres to be responsive to the needs of their respective communities, and for communities to develop a sense of ownership over “their” centres.

Every family on Bowen will benefit from a community health centre. Make your pledge or begin your monthly donations today  bowenhealthcentre.com/pledge-now/.

The sooner we reach our goal, the sooner we can break ground and bring accessible and expanded health care close to home.

Established in 2014, the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF) is a registered charitable organization dedicated to changing the realities of health care availability on Bowen. BIHCF helps expand and broaden the provision of integrated, accessible, and cost-effective health services for residents and visitors of Bowen Island. Visit our website at bowenhealthcentre.com.

As published in the Undercurrent March 18, 2020

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