Susan Farrar, Executive Director for the Madawaska Valley Family Health team (MV FHT) has news for Valley residents. Since its launch just over six months ago, MV FHT has expanded to include a social worker and dietitian. The FHT has also formed partnerships with other health care program providers. Many of these services are available to unattached patients. Above from left (front row): Tierney Lunney, Nurse Practitioner; Rosa Etmanskie, Office Administrator; Ashley Prince, Social Worker; Stacie Wojick, Medical Receptionist; Susan Farrar, Executive Director. (at rear): Craig O’Brien, Nurse Practitioner; Olena Jensen, Registered Dietitian (photo submitted)
Farrar explained how the social worker and dietitian can assist with a variety of needs. To make their services accessible, these professionals hold Walk In Wednesdays for unattached patients. Farrar says if you suddenly find yourself in a crisis situation – whether it’s a question about nutritional education for a medical condition or weight loss, an unexpected event (marital challenges, bereavement, job loss, panic attack) or a family member with mental health needs – you can call the MV FHT on a Wednesday morning and request a Walk-In appointment that very afternoon.
Patients who are rostered with a Primary Health Care Provider in the Valley can also self-refer to the dietitian or social worker. Just call the MV FHT on 613.756.9888 Option 5 for details of the process.
- Patient education MV FHT staff have many other plans to improve community health. One of these is to use the Program Room at the Health Centre for patient education. The first program, “Craving Change,” is a free four-week program in June run by the dietitian and open to anyone at least 18 years old. Participants receive a course workbook and homework is assigned. The first course is already full but MV FHT is taking names for the next session. MV FHT staff have other relevant education programs still in development that they aim to bring to Valley residents.
- Partnerships MV FHT is involved in partnerships with other professionals. For example, Nadine Utronkie is a Respiratory Therapist with Lung Health, a program offered by Champlain LHIN. Utronkie, who works with Christina Dolgowicz, Lung Health Coordinator, spends 2.5 days per week at MV FHT doing spirometry and seeing patients with COPD and asthma. She provides education as needed. The Respiratory Therapist can be seen through the SFMH Emergency Department even if you are not rostered with a Primary Health Care Provider here.
- Well Woman Clinic As well as partnering with other professionals, MV FHT nurse practitioners plan to run a Well Woman Clinic for unattached patients, starting in July. This means that women who are without a Primary Health Care Provider can still access PAP smears, breast examinations and receive assistance with women’s health concerns. Please call for appointment details at the Well Woman Clinic.
- Tuesday Wellness Walk Starting July 9, MV FHT’s social worker will host a Wellness Walk every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The short walk (1.8 km) starts at St. Hedwig’s Parish and is open to all ages. The route takes you along the water to nourish your physical and mental well-being. The Tuesday Wellness Walk will take place rain or shine. Call for details.
- Team expansion The social worker and dietitian are the first additional team members for the MV FHT. You may have seen ads for a physiotherapist. Because the team was unable to recruit for that position, those funds will be re-directed towards primary health care.
- Emergency Room support Some Valley residents have already experienced the support that the MV FHT provides to the St. Francis Memorial Hospital (SFMH) Emergency Department.
For more information about the Madawaska Valley Family Health Team, call 613.756.9888 Option 5. You can also follow them on their Facebook page.