Paramedicine is practiced two days a week in Boston Bar, the first community to do so in the Fraser Health region. BC Emergency Health Service photo

Boston Bar takes new approach to community medicine

Highlights from Feb. 27 healthy community meeting in Hope

Highlights from the Hope and area healthy communities committee Feb. 27. The public meetings take place the last Tuesday of every month at Fraser Canyon Hospital.

Boston Bar first in Fraser Health to get paramedicine

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, paramedic Chris Michel heads up to Boston Bar to provide a unique service to the community. He’s a trained paramedic, with advanced training in paramedicine.

Instead of rushing off to calls with sirens blaring, Michel spends his time visiting patients with chronic conditions or geriatric patients in their homes. Michel began providing paramedicine in December, he now has seven clients in Boston Bar.

Community paramedicine, which broadens the scope of what a paramedic does to include disease prevention and health promotion, has been a successful program for quite some time in the Maritimes. BC Emergency Health Services has plans to have 80 full time community paramedics in 99 rural B.C. communities, it will be the first province in Canada to run a province-wide paramedicine program.

Boston Bar is the only community in the Fraser Health region to implement this program, which has a focus on preventing hospital visits.

“Our role is to prevent people from getting into the hospital. So we’ll go see clients, we’ll set appointments and we’ll try and prevent them from coming back into the hospital. We provide education on chronic conditions,” Michel said.

A first visit involves a home safety assessment, similar to what home health would do, as well as a patient safety assessment. Patients are typically seen for three months at a time, they are referred by health practitioners or social workers to the paramedicine program.

Another part of Michel’s job is community awareness initiatives on everything from seat belt safety to learning to life with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Every three months he conducts information sessions at Park Street Manor on different chronic conditions.

A focus for Michel is finding and training Boston Bar residents to staff the ambulance station, which currently doesn’t have any locals working there.

Group wants to introduce safe harbour to business community

Stickers may soon be appearing in shop windows letting people — people of colour, women, queer and LGBTQ — know they are welcome and can find shelter there if needed.

The Safe Harbour sticker comes with inclusion and diversity training delivered by AMSSA, the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies. A push by the Hope Inclusion Project to expand the program to the business community is underway.

“We’re part of the Fraser Valley and these folks come to our community as part of the traveling public or holidaying or whatever and we need to embrace all members of our society,” said organizer Peter Bailey.

Safe Harbour is one way the group is looking to fill critical gaps in the community.

“Homophobia in our community, there’s a serious issue there, that we haven’t even begun to address or look at,” Bailey said.

“Our new initiative may be looking at how do we represent queer folk in our community, how do we provide them with safe spaces, but also how do we impact that kind of homophobia across the broader community?”

Health News Bulletin

Care Transit bus service: Every Tuesday a free return bus service runs from Silver Creek to Hope, with stops at Wildrose Campground (1 p.m.); Hope Valley RV (1:05 p.m.); Linsmore Community (1:10 p.m.); Thunderbird (1:15 p.m.); corner of Silver Skagit Road (1:20 p.m.); Harv’s (1:25 p.m.) and Owl Street Cafe (1:20 p.m.). The return pick up is from Save On Foods (3:30 p.m.); Buy Low Foods (3:45 p.m.) and 3rd Avenue at Fort Street (4 p.m.)

Care for dying friends, family and community members: A basic hospice training course will be given starting May 1 at the Fraser Canyon Hospital. The $30 course will teach “how to support family, friends and hospice clients on matters of death and dying, as well as helping them to better understand the grief journey.” Mary Norman is the Hospice coordinator, she can be reached for more information at 604-860-7713.

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