Community Wellness and Protection
The Community Wellness and Protection Program assists the communities served by Three Corners Health Services Society (TCHSS) in maintaining the optimal health status and wellness of their members through the prevention, identification and control of communicable disease and environmental health issues within the communities directly served by TCHSS. The program includes the design, implementation, management and delivery of programs to protect First Nations communities from preventable diseases and will implement measures to manage, contain and control risks of outbreaks. The program includes measures to reduce the risk of exposure to environmental health hazards by raising awareness of water-borne, food-borne, and vector-borne diseases, including health problems associated with poor indoor air quality such as mold in housing. Programs in this cluster include the following:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- Communicable Disease Emergencies
- Environmental Health
The team delivering the Community Wellness and Protection Program consists of the Community Health Nurses, the Community Health Representative, Environmental Health Officer and will include other TCHSS staff when required.
Program Management and Support
The oversight of the program is the responsibility of the Director of Nursing.
Information and Data Collection
Staff in the Community Wellness and Protection Program utilize the Mustimuhw electronic health records database for record keeping and data collection. Client health records are stored and handled in a confidential and secure manner. Immunization coverage rates are submitted annually to FNHA as per their requirements.
Regular clinics are held for community members across the lifespan, including those in community schools, in order to maintain up to date immunizations according to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control guidelines.
- Staff immunization records are obtained and reviewed upon hire to ensure immunizations are up to date. Vaccines are offered and administered as required.
- Written and verbal information on all vaccines is provided before vaccine administration to ensure informed consent.
- Accurate and up to date immunization records are maintained.
- The immunization schedule is advertised in clinics, in the prenatal program and in newsletters in order to increase awareness.
- Screening/contact tracing of individuals exposed to vaccine-preventable communicable disease is completed. Individuals are referred to physicians for assessment/treatment and follow-up/monitoring is completed as needed.
- Vaccines are protected by maintaining cold chain as per Provincial Guidelines and monitoring the vaccine fridge temperature. Cold chain failure is reported to British Columbia Center for Disease Control and Interior Health Authority (IHA). Exposed biologicals are recorded and returned to BCCDC as directed.
TB services according to the TB Services for Aboriginal Communities Manual (Appendix E) are provided to community members and includes offering TB screening to all high risk groups annually, to Grade 1 and 6 children in community schools annually and to TCHSS staff upon hiring and annually thereafter.
- TB follow-up and contact tracing is conducted in consultation with FNHA Health Protection Nurse, British Columbia Center for Disease Control TB nurse specialist and physicians as needed.
- Chemoprophylaxis is administered for disease and infection and on-going monitoring is completed as required.
- Health promotion and prevention education is provided to community members through prenatal education sessions, community health fairs, workshops, and the TCHSS website to help facilitate rapid diagnosis of disease as well as appropriate screening and treatment of latent TB.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and other Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus, hepatitis and syphilis pre- and post-test counselling and testing are provided on request from community members. Pre and post test counselling is provided to clients in the prenatal program who have been tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus by their physicians.
- Contact identification, tracing and referral for assessment as well as post-test counselling are completed as needed through collaboration with the FNHA Health Protection Nurse, the IHA Communicable Disease Nurse and/or physicians.
- Prevention education is provided to community members through puberty education sessions, prenatal education sessions, community health fairs, workshops and the TCHSS website.
- Access to condoms is provided by having supplies available in public washrooms within the community.
- Needle exchange is provided if requested.
Communicable Disease Outbreak Control
- Outbreaks of infectious disease (such as enteric infections, hepatitis, influenza, invasive Group A streptococcal, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, rabies, varicella, etc.) are responded to with appropriate contact tracing, referral to physician, monitoring and reporting to FNHA Medical Health Officer in collaboration with Interior Health Authority and British Columbia Center for Disease Control Health Protection Nurses. The British Columbia Center for Disease Control protocol is followed.
- Ongoing pandemic planning and education for TCHSS staff and community members is provided by offering updates at staff meetings, at community-wide education sessions, in community newsletters and on the TCHSS website.
- The mold program includes assessment of homes identified by FNHA Environmental Health Officer and of individuals living in the home who are at risk for health issues related to mold exposure as per current FNHA recommendations.
- Clients with mold-related health risks are referred to their physicians for assessment and completion of an assessment form. Completed forms are forwarded to the FNHA Medical Health Officer for recommendations.
- The water quality program includes assisting with notification to TCHSS staff and community members, especially those with high risk health concerns, of any boil water advisories.
- Prevention education is provided to community members through community health fairs, workshops, community luncheons and the TCHSS website on such issues as West Nile Virus, Hantavirus, rabies, ticks, mold, food safety, drinking water safety, sun safety and any other environmental health safety issues.