Cowichan is pioneering integrated health care planning this year through parallel development of plans for a new hospital and a Health and Care Plan for services and facilities in the community. Both will be completed by year end.
“…we are very excited to be moving in a parallel manner looking at hospital care and care in the community as an integrated whole in the Cowichan Valley,” says Dr. David Robertson, executive medical director for Island Health in the Cowichan Valley.
“A holistic approach to care requires that we recognise that care is not hospital or community, it is an integrated weaving of both; … coordinated planning is critical to providing quality health and care. In the Cowichan Valley, … we have a unique opportunity to do that big picture planning in a much more coordinated and intentional manner.”
Dr. Robertson said in an interview that lessons learned in the planning and construction of the two new hospitals in Courtenay and Campbell River demonstrated and confirmed the need for co-ordinated and integrated planning. Acute care beds get filled with non-acute care patients if services are not available in the community, he said.
Leah Hollins, chair of the Island Health Authority Board of Directors, recently wrote in an Op-Ed in the Times-Colonist: “The evidence is clear we have to think and act more holistically when we think about the health of our population, and how we support people in their community.
“Many people think of hospitals when they think of Island Health. However, the majority of our work happens in the communities we serve. Keeping people healthy and thriving at home is our aim. Community-based care includes long-term, home support, public-health, and mental-health and addictions services.
“Creating culturally safe and respectful environments for patients, clients, staff and medical staff is a key priority. We are committed to working alongside Indigenous people and partners to improve the health and wellness of Indigenous people across the region, who bear a disproportionate burden of illness.”
Island Health recently completed a community-wide consultation program to get input from the public and representatives of community partners providing health and care services outside of the hospital.