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Health Innovation Award for Patient-Centred Care – Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority

Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority 2019 Award Winners

Mental Health and Crisis Services webpage

People who are seeking access to mental health services are confronted by a number of challenges that can prevent them from receiving the care they need. These include: stigma that is associated with those experiencing mental health concerns, long wait times to access care, and within a rural setting, widespread geography that presents transportation challenges.

Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority’s (IERHA) Recovery Champions committee, comprised of community members with lived experience, families, partner service providers and Interlake Eastern mental health-care providers, identified a need to promote the use of e-mental health services that includes user friendly information, resources and self-managed tools that are beyond traditional mental health services.

The region’s mental health and crisis services web pages features online tools and services that are validated by mental health-care providers, the Recovery Champion committee and members of the public as being legitimate sources of help and information that are easy to use and access.

The web pages empower individuals to make informed decisions about managing their health. Service providers appreciate the expanded delivery of cost-effective and innovative care across the region that the pages provide. Access to mental health services is improved as there are no time constraints, no waiting periods and no travel restrictions.

The number of page hits to the mental health and crisis services web pages is growing every year. There were 9,582 hits in 2017, 11,548 hits in 2018 and 14,776 hits in 2019.

Primary Health Care Provider Outreach

To address the health inequalities that Indigenous residents in Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA) are experiencing, the health authority worked to establish relationships with First Nation communities to support primary health-care delivery via outreach clinics. These clinics bring ‘care closer to home’ to individuals who have limited options for travel outside of community.
The health authority worked closely with Lawrence West, Lake Manitoba First Nation chief, council and health director and his team to prepare the community’s health centre for a primary health-care outreach clinic. A shared instance of EMR has been installed on a health centre computer accessible to IERHA and health centre staff, making true collaboration in health care possible.

Health centre reception staff oversee clinic administration and book appointments and their community health nurses triage patients and conduct appointment pre-checks. A local pharmacist attends the clinic to help offer prescription services. At the community’s first clinic in January 2019, Dr. Ayman Soliman, site chief medical officer in Eriksdale and Ashern, saw 20 patients and had to turn patients away. As awareness of the clinic grew, so did the number of patients being seen each clinic day.

It is now a very busy clinic where there is need for additional clinic days. This model sees First Nation and non- First Nation health-care teams/providers work closely together, capitalizing on strengths/expertise with improved patient care as their objective. Situating care providers in the community increases opportunity to improve appreciation of Indigenous culture as well as the challenges and fears that Indigenous people may experience when seeking health care.

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