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B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

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The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island has been doing extra duty lately as an emergency shelter for the homeless and poorly housed, says the mayor of Tofino.

Josie Osborne says she and her council were shocked to discover that Tofino General Hospital regularly provides beds and meals for people who arrive at the facility for treatment who would normally not require in-patient service.

A delegation from Island Health, including the area’s medical health officer and a hospital doctor, appeared at Tofino council last month when the issue was discussed, she said.

“I personally was unaware that people were staying overnight in the hospital sometimes because they simply didn’t have an adequate home to go back to,” said Osborne. “That’s deeply concerning.”

Tofino General Hospital serves as a regional health facility for a vast region of eight communities, some of which are accessible only by boat or float plane. Osborne said due to the distances some people travel and the remoteness of their communities, the hospital sometimes admits people overnight who can’t make it home after treatment, although the homeless issue is a recent development.

“But there are a few people who live in Tofino who present at the hospital and they’ve got both medical and social reasons why the hospital staff choose to admit them overnight,” said Osborne. “It is effectively acting as a temporary shelter for some people who don’t have a safe home or a healthy place to return to at night.”

She said hospital staff now admit people on a regular basis overnight who have no other place to go.

“It’s a clarion call, I think, to the entire community to say we have problems we have to talk about,” Osborne said. “They are difficult to talk about but we’ve got to resolve these.”

She said she doesn’t believe the hospital is planning to close its doors to the homeless.

“I don’t get the sense the hospital is upset,” Osborne said.

Island Health spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said B.C. hospitals, including Tofino General, do not consider themselves emergency homeless shelters, but patients without housing are often admitted overnight to allow health officials to help make plans for their futures.

Tofino regularly struggles with affordable housing shortages for local workers who serve the area’s thousands of tourists, but now the accommodation crisis is hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest, said Osborne.

“With the exception of higher end market housing, it’s very difficult for people to find something affordable for their income range,” she said. “That goes from professionals down to tourism front-line workers to retirees who move to the community and want to spend their time here.”

Tofino is in the planning stages of developing an affordable, multi-unit, rental housing project on municipal land, but a completion date has not been set, said Osborne. 

She said discovering the local hospital is serving as an emergency shelter heightens the need to address the housing shortfall in the community.

“It just raises the level of awareness that there are gaps at all levels, especially when you hear about the gaps for our more vulnerable population.”

The B.C. Housing Ministry said in a statement the situation in Tofino demonstrates how the housing crisis is affecting communities. The province has committed to building 114,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Community

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

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Man with sad face drawing.

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

Duane (not his real name) shared, “I have dealt with my depression on my own for over 15 years, with the aid of anti-depressant drugs. I wasn’t even aware of the anxiety issues until they were pointed out to me just last year. Approximately 4 years ago I did seek therapy during one particularly low period in my mood. I carried on until April of last year when I had a suicide attempt that showed me I need additional help from outside resources including Mental Health, Red Deer PCN, and my company EFAP. Seeing how my suicide attempt impacted my immediately family was my impetus to get additional help.

I took the Red Deer PCN Happiness Basics program. I believe the course helped me to see that I have to make a daily practice of the skills I have been taught. I can’t just try and apply them when I’m feeling down. By doing this I have levelled off my moods; I am not walking on air but I seem to be avoiding the deep depressive periods I had in the past. I am thankful for this change in my daily life.

For anyone else struggling with depression, I would suggest they attend the Red Deer PCN groups and actively participate. Very good tools are provided but they are of no use if not implemented in your daily life. I will continue with one on one therapy. I am now taking the Anxiety to Calm group and I will apply the skills I learn every day!  I also will continue the medications prescribed by my psychiatrist.”

Always remember achieving mental health is an everyday task!

About the Red Deer Primary Care Network

We (RDPCN) are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacist work in clinics alongside family doctors.

In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

 

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Alberta

Alberta going after opioid manufacturers and distributors in class action lawsuit!

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Alberta health minister

Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer announce Alberta will support B.C.’s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

From the Province of Alberta

Alberta supports opioid class action lawsuit

Alberta will participate in the proposed class action, filed in B.C., to recoup costs of opioids from opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The action is brought on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies that have paid health-care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.

In 2018, there were almost 800 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.

“Responding to opioid overdoses has taken a tremendous toll on our families and communities, as well as adding to the demands on our health system. Our government will do our part to hold to account those who bear some responsibility for the wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths we’re seeing.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Albertans have paid a high price for the irresponsible actions of opioid manufacturers and distributors. While we cannot bring back those we have lost, we can recover some of the enormous financial costs Albertans have paid and continue to pay. And we’ll take a balanced approach going forward, including more access to treatment and recovery services for people with addiction.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Our government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, secure and protected. All Albertans have seen the terrible toll that opioid addiction has inflicted on our province and the individuals and families who suffer from the misery they create. Alberta will support the proposed national class action to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable for their role in the ongoing addiction crisis in Alberta and across Canada.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Alberta’s action on opioids

The Alberta government is working to improve access to treatment and recovery services for Albertans dealing with addiction and their loved ones. These actions include:

  • Committing $140 million to improving mental health and addiction care in the province, including $40 million specifically for opioid response.
  • Creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access life-saving addiction treatment.

The Alberta government is developing legislation similar to B.C.’s Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which allows that province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual, basis using population-based evidence.

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october, 2019

tue15oct(oct 15)8:22 pmmon28(oct 28)8:22 pmQuest for Gratitude 5 Day Challenge8:22 pm - 8:22 pm (28)

fri25oct6:00 pm9:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Banquet/Speaker Night6:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

sat26oct10:00 am12:00 pmRed Deer River Naturalists Bird Focus Group Walk10:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Maskepetoon Park Event Organized By: Red Deer River Naturalists

tue29oct(oct 29)1:00 amsun03nov(nov 3)1:00 amCanadian Finals Rodeo1:00 am - (november 3) 1:00 am Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

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