A lack of accessible services is too often the reality for residents of northern and rural First Nations communities. To help solve this problem, Capilano University is working with Carrier Sekani Family Services and local health professionals on a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education.
The year-long Rehabilitation Therapy Support Skills pilot program, which started in May 2017, provides additional training to health professionals already working in rural and remote First Nations communities, enabling them to support occupational therapists and physiotherapists who provide itinerant services or consultations to these remote communities. Rehabilitation is critical to restoring function and maintaining mobility and independence after injury, illness or diseases that affect physical functioning.
Katherine King, a community nurse with Carrier Sekani Family Services, enrolled in the program that is being delivered in Vanderhoof so she could better help her clients recover from illness or injury.
“Having these services available in isolated areas such as the ones we work in is a great opportunity for our clients,” says King.
Her own mother was unable to travel two-and-a-half hours from Burns Lake to Prince George to receive rehabilitation services after she fractured her hip, and there were no health professionals with training in rehabilitation who could visit her at home.
Brad Martin, Capilano University’s dean of the Faculty of Education, Health & Human Development, is proud the collaboration with a local health partners is helping to address a province-wide problem.
“This pilot could be expanded to other rural, Aboriginal communities in B.C. to provide better healthcare,” he says.
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