The latest innovation of Sunrise Health Region will open its doors in the fall of 2014 in a building under construction at 259 Hamilton Road in Yorkton. The centre will open in leased space which will serve as the central hub for integrated primary health care in the region.
“What is exciting about leasing in a newly constructed building is that we have been able to design the interior to maximize use of the space for the needs of our clients,” says Vice President of Integrated Primary Health, Sandy Tokaruk.
The model of care and the building design had input from of over 30 people including health care professionals and client advisors and builds on a concept initiated over two years ago.
Primary Health Care is the day-to-day care needed to protect, maintain or restore an individual’s health. For most people it is both the first point of contact with the health care system and the most frequently used.
“We are moving towards a system that decreases hospital admissions by linking people to a primary health care team specialized to each individual’s unique health care needs. We will focus on keeping people well rather than waiting for an illness to occur. It’s the upstream approach,” adds Tokaruk.
The project co-locates a group of health care professionals currently funded in the region’s budget. Physicians with practices in the building will be leasing their space from the health region and will work as part of the Primary Health Care team. Additional funding for the initiative was provided by the Province with the expectation that learning’s from the initiative support integrated primary health care development throughout Saskatchewan.
Since February, 2014, members of the team are temporarily co-located at 150 Independent Street where they are seeing clients and working out the processes to best integrate the services. The initial focus is support for persons with chronic disease conditions, women’s wellness and general health needs. The team at the temporary location consists of a diabetes education nurse, a diabetes dietitian, an exercise therapist, four physicians, two nurse practitioners, pulmonary and coronary rehab facilitators, and clinical assistants.
The integrated primary health care centre currently welcomes physician referrals. Self referrals are welcomed for diabetes management support, women’s wellness support, and chronic disease conditions programs. The complete list of family physicians and nurse practitioners currently accepting new patients can be found on the Sunrise Health Region website.
At the permanent site the team will be expanded to approximately 24 health care professionals linked via an electronic medical record system to off-site physicians and health care providers.
The first connection is with the physician and nurse practitioner in Foam Lake. A full-time nurse practitioner was hired and Telehealth connection began in October, 2013. Soon the connection with Foam Lake will be further enhanced by an electronic medical record system linking all members of the integrated primary health care team. In the future the integrated primary health care centre will link with other health region facilities and private medical clinics in Yorkton and in all communities in the health region.
“We will be coordinating integration into other communities over time,” add Tokaruk. “It is important that what we put in place meets the needs of our individual clients and communities and that services are sustainable.”
The ultimate goal is to provide a robust set of client centered primary health care services so that clients have the right care, at the right time, with the right care provider.