Celebrating 55 years of Health Care for the Whole Person

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May 1, 2017 - 12:00am Updated: May 23, 2017 - 11:36am

It is one of the oldest yet highly evolved primary care centres in Saskatchewan.

The Prince Albert Co-operative Health Centre offers many services under one roof all with the goal of meeting the needs of the whole person.

“Our vision from the very beginning has not changed. Our focus has always been on the whole person, not just the disease or health condition. We consider the social determents of health, a persons physical emotional, social and spiritual well-being” said executive director Renee Danylczuk.

Long before the concept of a holistic approach to health was being discussed in the health care field, the Co-operative Health Centre was implementing the approach. It was created in 1962 at a time when there was a strike by doctors in response to the provincial government’s attempts to introduce a universal health care system. Led by the late Dr. Orville Kenneth Hjertaas, it emphasized access, prevention and education.

“We want to support people by giving them the tools to cope with a chronic health condition, establish healthy lifestyles to enjoy a healthier life.,” said Danylczuk.

A group of physicians and a nurse practitioner provide medical services at the centre and are salary based. It houses a stroke prevention clinic, an endoscopy program and day surgery, wound care and dressing changes, blood pressure monitoring, IV therapies and injections, respiratory therapy, laboratory testing and physiotherapy services among many others. Clients are also offered transportation and can take advantage of workshops or classes  such as a fit start program for seniors, live well with chronic conditions and a grief and loss support group. Danylczuk said health system navigators are also on staff and support clients to manage their health needs by assisting with making appointments with multiple health services, filling out medical and social service forms, connecting them with community resources and personized follow-up and health monitoring and coaching,

“If someone with diabetes doesn’t have adequate housing or food, taking care of themselves and their disease is not their first priority,” she said. “So, we help people deal with social issues and life challenges so they can eventually come to a point where they can focus on their own well being.”

Danylczuk explained, “Preventative health care is important. We have a population with chronic health conditions and many can be prevented and limited or delayed if we live a healthy lifestyle. The goal will be to reach out to the younger population and teach them healthy living habits so they don’t have to be someone living with a chronic condition.”

While the vision of the Co-operative Health Centre has never changed, some things have. The building itself located at 110 8th Street East has undergone major renovations. The east building recently received a mechanical and electrical upgrade. The main floor reception got a face lift, and the nursing and minor surgery area have seen complete redesigns.

The Co-operative is publicly funded through the ministry of health; however, a board of directors oversees the operation of the centre. Recently, three policy goals were created by the board to guide employees, members and clients. The first priority is to ensure people take responsibility to manager their own health.

Other priorities include healthy aging and ensuring people have barrier free access to health care services. Memberships to the co-operative health centre is encouraged but not required to receive services. Membership gives you a voice, opportunity to be a Board Member and reduced fees on any services that are provided for a cost. The Prince Albert Co-operative Health Centre is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year. It has come a long way since 1962, but its history continues to be the foundation of its health care approach.

For more information dial 306-763-6464 or you can visit http://www.coophealth.com/ you can also stop by the Health Centre at 110 8th Street East in Prince Albert.

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