Research: could this be you?

The Research

During the summer of 2015, The Bowen Island Health Centre Society conducted a survey with residents of Bowen Island. The purpose of the 39-question survey was to provide accurate, local data specific to issues around the character, scope, and access to primary care on Bowen Island. 558 residents, representing about 30% of households, responded to the survey. Here are some of the highlights of the data analysis and actual healthcare experiences from Bowen Islanders.

“When my children were young, there were two instances where they got sick very very quickly, during non-doctor hours and around the time of the last ferry leaving Bowen. One time we waited it out and saw the doctor in the morning, the other time we rushed for the last ferry to go to a walk-in clinic, then had to find a place to stay in town with two under 1 year old kids (one of which was having fever seizures). Having a doctor available to talk to afterhours on Bowen would have helped us in making the right decisions for the health of our children.”

“When my child was very sick with high fever and rash on the weekend and on a National holiday when there was no doctor available on Bowen Island, we chose not to see a doctor because it meant taking an entire day to travel off the island and we were all under the weather, but if a doctor were close we would have gone to see one.”

“I tend to wait to see what happens with my daughter rather than go to see a doctor off island. We use the local doctors in cases of emergency but there have been a few occasions where we could not get an appointment and were referred to Docs on The Bay in Horseshoe Bay. Going to HSB with a sick toddler is no fun and so we tend to just call the nurses hotline and hope for the best.”

“Suffering from acute mastitis and unable to see a doctor on island meant hours waiting for a ferry then traveling to a walk in clinic all while getting progressively more ill – medicine or help would have lessened the symptoms faster.”

“There have been times when I would have gone to my GP if she was on island but I felt quite ill so I didn’t go because it was too far and I felt too sick.”

“My Primary doctor had limited availability and very difficult to access quickly. Bowen physicians not accepting patients who have another primary physician. Had to access walk in clinic several times over a few months resulting in delayed diagnostics and delayed referral to respiratory specialist and irreversible damage to lungs.”

“I am now 65 and looking forward to an uncertain future for my health on Bowen. Though healthy now, I am monitoring what is available and how my needs may change. Having a doctor on Bowen would give me the reassurance that my first line of care would be easily accessed. If I were to have an illness or accident, having rehabilitation and specific support close at hand would keep me here. As I live on my own, I am particularly sensitive to having a support system in place so that I can stay in my home. I particularly wonder how I would handle cancer therapy as a single person unless there is more health care available on the Island.”

“This is an on going battle with my mother-in-law. She is constantly putting things off because of the length of time it will take and to not be a burden to anyone.”

The Challenge