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A publication for Staff and Physicians of IH

Dr. Halpenny talks about our organization as he sees it from his day-to-day perspective.

Making engagement part of our every day, we pose a new question.

April 6–12 is National Volunteer Week. Thank you to all our volunteers at IH.

It's all about better meeting your needs by responding to the feedback you’ve given us ... learn more about the improvements we've made.

Find out more about new safety procedures in the world of IH fleet vehicles.

Screening, assessment, and individualized care plans for patients.

Ensuring you get your paycheque is Job No. 1, but it isn’t their only job – not by a long shot!

IH partners with family doctors to increase vaccination rates of children.

Shining a spotlight on the many communities that make up where we live, work, and play.

Snapshots of our staff in action over the last month.

Val Kristjanson, one of RIH’s site leads for 48/6, gets Monty the Monkey ready for "transfer" to another unit in the hospital. Story p. 14.

The @InteriorHealth magazine is a monthly publication created by the Communications Department of Interior Health. Past issues of @InteriorHealth can be found on our website under About Us/Media Centre/Publications & Newsletters. If you have story ideas for future issues, please e-mail: Deadline for submissions to the May 2014 @InteriorHealth magazine is April 11. Editors: Amanda Fisher, Breanna Pickett Designers: Breanna Pickett, Kara Visinski, Tracy Watson IH Communications Contributors: Lisa Braman, Lesley Coates, Susan Duncan, Karl Hardt, Erin Toews, Tracy Watson

I Dr. Halpenny chats with Jan Schultz of the Family Resource Centre Society for the North Okanagan, at the CYMHSU Collaborative.

At Interior Health, we want to set new standards of excellence in the delivery of health services in B.C. and to also promote healthy lifestyles and provide needed health services in a timely, caring, and efficient manner. To achieve this, we are guided by the following strategic goals: Goal 1 Improve Health and Wellness

Goal 2 Deliver High Quality Care Goal 3 Ensure Sustainable Health Care by Improving Innovation, Productivity, and Efficiency Goal 4 Cultivate an Engaged Workforce and Healthy Workplace

The articles featured in the @IH newsletter are great examples of how we’re achieving our goals … and realizing our vision and mission.

t is said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

learn more about the initiative on the Interior Health website.

On March 20, I delivered my first Leadership Link of the year from Vancouver, where I was attending the Health Shared Services BC board meeting. Leadership Link is a call I hold every I chose this saying to open because it sums quarter to share information about our up how I spent much of March – sharing strategic direction and key initiatives with ideas. And sharing ideas is especially leaders across IH. I especially enjoyed valuable in health care as we try to better this call as there were many challenging the system, improve quality, and ensure questions posed and insights shared by sustainability. managers. I appreciate their candor as it ensures I am in check with how people In early March, I sat in on the third learning are affected by the decisions we make at session for the Child and Youth Mental the senior executive level. After the call, Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) managers are provided reference Collaborative. The Collaborative is bringing information and key messages so they can together more than 150 people from across share relevant pieces with their own teams. B.C. with the common goal of improving services to children and youth with mental One item I shared during Leadership Link health and/or substance use issues was an update from my recent attendance throughout the IH region. The commitment at Leadership Council. The Leadership of everyone in the room was profound and Council meets throughout the year and the integrative work on these complex consists of my CEO counterparts from issues is remarkable. B.C.’s other health authorities and the Deputy Minister of Health. We discussed The CYMHSU Collaborative was also the a number of initiatives underway, including focus of a presentation by Andrew the Ministry’s plan Setting Priorities for the Neuner, VP Community Integration, at B.C. Health System. Together with the the Board of Directors meeting on March senior executive and Board, I’ll be spending 18. Andrew’s presentation clearly time over the coming weeks reviewing the demonstrated how the Collaborative’s plan in detail and determining what it work is supporting our IH goal to deliver means for IH, so look for more to come high quality care by developing and in the months ahead. implementing health improvement strategies for targeted populations. I started this column speaking of sharing ideas, and I encourage you to share yours Community Integration was again on the with us. One way of doing so is by Board agenda with Lex Baas and Anne responding to the monthly “Your Opinions Clarotto’s presentation on the Healthy Count” discussion (see p. 5). The April topic Communities Initiative. This initiative is for discussion is related to how people are another good example of diverse motivated to meet certain needs. You can organizations coming together to share also read what some of your colleagues ideas and put words into action. IH has had to share in response to last month’s signed Healthy Living Strategic Plans with question. I look forward to hearing from 24 local governments. I encourage you to you.



count @

What makes you feel like a valued contributor? Visit the Engagement web page on the InsideNet to view the complete list of responses.

“… when I am given enough time & the proper tools to do my job in a correct & efficient way.”

“For me, it is the smiles I receive back from the people I care for.”

“Every day I say ‘good morning’ to everyone by name that I see on my way to my office.”

“I feel valued when I am in a job that gives me the freedom to see a barrier and then find a solution.”

According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people are motivated to achieve certain needs. One must satisfy lower-level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher-level growth needs. In the spirit of employee engagement, here is a fresh look at Maslow’s five-level hierarchy of needs in a workplace context: Level 1 – Survival: basic human physical needs like food, shelter, etc. (e.g., receipt of paycheque) Level 2 – Security: stability needs (e.g., additional benefits such as pension plans, health benefits, vacation days, etc.) Level 3 – Belonging: social needs (e.g., the feeling that one is trusted, accepted, and part of something bigger) Level 4 – Importance: esteem needs (e.g., the feeling of confidence and that one is respected, important, and carries a responsibility that they are a vital part of the success of his/her organization, and their efforts show it) Level 5 – Self-Actualization: personal growth and fulfilment (e.g., the feeling of empowerment where emphasis now shifts to what the individual can do for others Keeping Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory in mind, the topic for April discussion is:

Which level best describes where you are in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and what would motivate you to be fulfilled and move to the next level? Please send your feedback to and we’ll share excerpts in the next @IH, along with a new topic for discussion.

RECOGNIZING our Volunteers


nterior Health is celebrating its thousands of volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 6–12. It’s an important opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers for the work they do to enhance health-care delivery throughout the region.

Volunteer recognition events are being held at many local hospitals and residential care facilities this month. In other areas, gifts or cards are offered as thanks. National Volunteer Week is Canada’s largest celebration of volunteers, volunteerism, and civic participation. It deserves to be recognized – across Canada, 13.3 million volunteers contribute 2.1 billion total hours of service every year. Interior Health is supported by an estimated 4,800 volunteers working throughout the region. “I really cannot say enough about our volunteers,” says Norman Embree, Interior Health Board Chair. “We literally could not do what we do without their support.”

Elk Valley Hospital nurse Pat Moore’s dedication to health care in her Fernie community doesn’t end at the front lines. When Pat isn’t putting her 40 years of nursing experience to good use supporting patients in the hospital’s emergency department, maternity unit, and inpatient ward, she dedicates her energy to supporting patient care behind the scenes as the volunteer president of the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation. “I always felt nursing was a career, not just a job, and I think that’s why I volunteer as well,” says Pat. “I find it very rewarding.” Pat was involved in forming the Foundation about a dozen years ago and feels pride in seeing the equipment purchased over the years put to good use for patients of the area. The Foundation also supports the health centres in Sparwood and Elkford, and regional efforts through the East Kootenay Foundation for Health. “When I look around at all the equipment we’ve purchased, I say, ‘Ya, this is really worthwhile.’ ” Her dedication to her community also extends beyond the hospital walls. Pat provides support for palliative patients through Elk Valley Hospice. In addition, she is on the Métis Nation Columbia River Society’s training and employment committee, which provides local Métis students with financial support for their education. And, she volunteers with the Art Station, a local gallery, when it changes its monthly exhibits. At 67, Moore is looking to retire from nursing at some point, but has no plans to stop volunteering. “I’ll just have more time then,” she laughs.

In addition to being an RN and president of the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation, Pat Moore has organized a Golf for the Cure cancer fundraiser and a local Hike for Hospice.

Sometimes people need a hug or even just a smile. When those folks come into the Diagnostic Imaging department at Penticton Regional Hospital, Volunteer Convener Rennie Manery is ready for them. Rennie has been a volunteer in DI for about five years. She attends to patients, greeting them and helping them navigate the department. She is ready to help them with robes and warm blankets. Some need help getting shoes on and off, or finding their way to the right room. And, of course, Rennie is quick to provide a smile. As convener, this avid volunteer manages the volunteers in the department. She also helps in the hospital’s SOS Café, lends her green thumb to the hospital grounds, and assists with fundraising for the local Kidney Foundation. And, in her off hours, she is busy gardening and singing in two choirs. “You have to do something. You can’t wait for someone else to take the initiative. I’m very healthy but someday I will need help too, and when that happens, guess what? These people will be there for me,” she says confidently of hospital staff and fellow volunteers. “People often come by while I’m gardening and tell me how much they appreciate seeing my garden because they live in an apartment. Volunteering is the same. It’s something I can do to make others happy.” Rennie Mannery keeps busy volunteering at the Penticton Regional Hospital as well as fundraising for the Kidney Foundation.

Judy Vigue’s laugh is musical, and very much like the melodies this avid piano player crafts – happy, joyful tunes that can immediately have a roomful of people tapping their toes and humming along. Judy believes music is a talent with which she has been blessed, and she has eagerly shared that talent as a volunteer with Interior Health in Revelstoke. Every Tuesday, she can be found playing piano for residents at the Mount Cartier Court cottages. On Fridays, she plays at the IH Adult Day program at Moberly Manor. “God gave me the gift of music, so that’s why I go,” says Judy, who also makes sure she takes time to say hello to every resident while she’s there. “I try to be loyal to these people. Many of the residents know me and always look forward to the singsong.” Judy, who is a retired registered nurse from Queen Victoria Hospital, doesn’t limit her volunteering to Interior Health. She is also the organist for Eastern Star meetings; plays before Sunday services at her local church; helps at church events with food preparation, serving, and clean up; and, spends time helping make dressings for the Cancer Clinic in Kelowna. No doubt, this spirit of volunteerism was what led to Judy’s award as Revelstoke’s Citizen of the Year in 2008. Judy Vigue at her favourite place, tickling the ivories for residents at Mount Cartier Court.

“What an honour that was,” she says. “I am a widow now, since 2000, and I have plenty of time to help in many ways. It makes my heart feel so happy when I make so many people glad to see me.”

The InsideNet Refresh Project Team: (L-R) Matt Wilkie, Phil Hutchinson, George Ritchie, Kara Visinski, Tom Jorgensen, and Amanda Fisher.


ot dazed and confused, but definitely frustrated and confused. That’s how some InsideNet users have described their experience with our employee website over the last several years.

But on March 26, 2014, following the launch of the refreshed InsideNet, staff members were singing a different tune altogether – particularly when it comes to finding resources for front-line patient care. “This is a tremendous improvement for the clinical staff,” says Clinical Nurse Specialist Cathy Roberts, who works in Cardiac Services at Kelowna General Hospital. “Clinical care these days is all about patient safety and quick access to relevant clinical information due to the rapid pace of front-line clinical work. Having needed resources in one area versus two, or even more, makes the information quickly and efficiently available.” As Cathy describes, staff across Interior Health are reaping the benefits of a new and improved area for Clinical Care Resources on the InsideNet, while also enjoying a fresh look and feel and enhanced home page features. The InsideNet project team embarked on the refresh in early 2013. A technology upgrade was the focus of Phase 1, and design and navigation enhancements took centre stage in Phase 2. The new design is simpler, brighter, and bolder with clean lines and a fresh feel. Home page updates like the larger rotating ad with a scroll feature, as well as the app-like buttons for quick access to key resources (e.g., the Staff Directory), are proving popular with InsideNet users. “The InsideNet looks GREAT!” says Vincent Yew, HR Business Partner for IH West. “I love the new look – very modern, stylish, and appealing on the eyes. I can tell a lot of work went into this new ‘refreshed’ page and a job well done to the team!”

The navigation enhancements aim to address the confusion users were reporting about two separate clinical areas on the InsideNet. Clinical Care Resources now houses the information and tools needed for providing front-line care (e.g., protocols, practice manuals, patient info sheets, etc.); and offers a targeted search, with a variety of filter options, specifically designed for this section of the site. In addition, a new section under “About IH”, called Programs & Services, contains business information related to our clinical programs and services. It’s where you will find contact lists, organization charts, strategic plans, committee terms of reference, etc. Cory Bendall, Regional Practice Lead for the Breathe Well Program, says the redesign of the clinical resources on the InsideNet speaks to IH putting time and resources behind better integration of services. “I believe this is a great beginning of one central access point for all disciplines to be able to find the most current and appropriate clinical resources to support their practice, and assist their patient’s progress through his/her pathway of care.” The purpose of the InsideNet is to enable employees and the organization to function more effectively and efficiently, and to foster a stronger community and greater employee engagement within IH. This latest refresh is another step forward on the journey. As the project team hears back from users, they will strive to make the InsideNet better, continuing to make enhancements as they learn more and know more. “Special thanks to all the stakeholders who have participated over the course of this project, including the content owners and editors from teams across IH,” says Matt Wilkie, IMIT Project Lead. “Their dedication and passion have been instrumental to the improvements we’ve made; their ongoing efforts are what make the InsideNet a valuable resource for all employees.”

Take a look at the video tour or browse the InsideNet Refresh User Guide.


or many, driving is a necessary part of the job and most of us don’t give it a second thought. IH supplies the vehicle, you hop in, and off you go. Top up the gas tank, return the vehicle, and that’s that. Now, picture this: you are on the road in an IH vehicle and a tail light isn’t working. Would you say something? Would you even know? What would you do? “The scenario described is just one of the reasons why it’s important to ‘know before you go,’ ” says Trevor Speed, Manager, Corporate Protection and Parking Services. “The Responsibility Code for the Use of IH Fleet Vehicles and the Driver’s Handbook were recently reviewed and revised, and a number of new safety procedures are now in place.” It’s important that all fleet vehicle users know what the safety procedures are, as well as their responsibilities, when operating an IH vehicle. This helps ensure not only their own safety, but the safety of their passengers, the next driver and his or her passengers, and the travelling public. A new “Pre & Post Trip Inspection” by the driver of a fleet vehicle is now required before driving the vehicle and upon return. “The inspection is similar to what you do when renting a vehicle,” says Trevor. “Walk around the vehicle and make sure it’s safe to use – are all of the lights and turn signals working? Are there any visible fluids leaking? Is there major damage, or a crack in the windshield? These are vital questions to ask before driving.” If there’s a safety issue while you have the vehicle (e.g., the windshield wipers stop working), you report the issue to the local vehicle coordinator (LVC). But how does the person who has the vehicle booked out next know there’s a problem if you’ve returned the vehicle at night or on the weekend? Or what if the LVC is unable to reach the next

Wipers work? Check. Gas tank full? Check. Mileage recorded? Check. Trevor Speed performs a pre-trip inspection before driving an IH fleet vehicle.

driver? To avoid this, you now complete a Service Request Tag. “The Service Request Tag has two parts,” says Cindy Reed, Fleet Coordinator. “The bottom portion goes to the LVC, and the top portion of the tag is left in the vehicle. The tag alerts the next driver that there’s a problem affecting the safety of the vehicle and to check with the LVC before driving it.” The Pre & Post Trip Inspection and Service Request Tags are located within a binder in every vehicle. Also in the binder is a new Driver’s Log for completion at the start and end of every trip, as well as other useful documents. “One of our IH goals is to cultivate an engaged workforce and a healthy workplace. Our fleet vehicles are an extension of our workplace, and we’re asking users to engage and help us keep them healthy and safe by following the revised policy and safety procedures,” adds Trevor. An i-Learn education module is on its way to help everyone “know before they go.” In the meantime, any questions can be sent to Frequently asked questions are also available on the Fleet Vehicle web page of the InsideNet.

What’s New?    

Pre & Post Trip Inspection Driver’s Log Service Request Tag Fleet Vehicle Document Binder

Patient STORY


udrey Martin was worried. The 77-year-old Salmon Arm woman had battled a number of health issues for many years, including diabetes and a stroke that had limited her mobility and speech.

And now came this – a serious infection in her left leg that landed her in the Intensive Care Unit at Shuswap Lake General Hospital. Audrey was left with little hope. She wondered if she would be headed for long-term care placement, instead of returning home to independent living with Ernie, her husband of 51 years. She feared that her leg would require amputation or, worse yet, that she may die from the infection. That was back in December. Today, Audrey is much improved and completing her recovery at home with her husband. She credits her progress to her caregivers at SLGH and their use of the 48/6 model of care.

48/6 screening and assessment helps care providers get to know their patients, so they can create individualized care plans and ensure there is coordination between all those who touch the patient, from nurses to allied health professionals. The goal of this personalized care and coordination is better patient outcomes – because everyone is on the same page, so to speak, for every patient’s care needs.

“I can only praise God for all the doctors and staff, the amazing care I received at SLGH,” says Audrey. “My leg and foot are brand new.”

With help and encouragement, four weeks later, I was

transferred … and henceforth a welcome return trip home.

For instance, when first admitted, Audrey required an overhead lift to move from a bed to a chair. Recognizing she wouldn’t have this at home, her Plan of Care needed to evolve so that she could accomplish this with limited assistance. Enter nurse Rob LaBelle and physiotherapist Angela Carson. “Rob said, ‘Instead of using the overhead lift, I am going to transfer you to the chair in the corner without using the lift.’ Which gave me hope, knowing the regular routine was being discontinued,” Audrey says. That afternoon, Angela installed an access pole to help with movement from her bed to her chair. Audrey says these

Audrey Martin is back on her feet and moving around thanks to the work of caregivers like RN Rob LaBelle and LPN Suzi Haskell.

Audrey Martin is surrounded by her caregivers (L-R): LPN Suzi Haskell, RN Rob LaBelle, physiotherapist Angela Carson, and Patient Care Coordinator Barb Bare.

actions helped change her emotional wellbeing, as much as her physical health. What she learned later was that these were actions that came out of the 48/6 assessment, designed to get her out of bed and walking as soon as possible. “The hospital was bound with that plan to take care of my being in motion at the moment when I needed it the most,” Audrey says. “With help and encouragement, four weeks later I was transferred to Bastion Place for more rehabilitation and henceforth a welcome return trip home.” Audrey’s Plan of Care was physical (an aggressive mobilization and toileting routine) as well as social (assistance from a social worker and a transition liaison for her Pathways to Home stay at Bastion Place), and it allowed her to receive consistent care and follow up. “48/6 was essential to Audrey’s successful return home,”

says Rob. “Prior to 48/6, Audrey would probably have been designated for long-term care. Instead, the interdisciplinary team worked together with the patient to pursue an aggressive Plan of Care that allowed her to return home at pre-hospital function much sooner than anyone could have imagined.” Rob says Audrey’s experience underscores the need for caregivers to work as a team and to include the patient in the development and evolution of the individualized Plan of Care. Everyone involved in Audrey’s care feels a great sense of pride in what they were able to accomplish, he says, and understands the key role that 48/6 played in Audrey’s recovery. “This isn’t just paperwork. We’re actually seeing results. We know our patients better and we’re working in a coordinated fashion to get our patients back to their pre-hospital function and back home.”


ites around Interior Health are getting very creative at finding ways to generate discussion about 48/6 among staff and have them incorporate the program into their daily practice. At Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, two sock monkeys representing both an adult and a pediatric patient – Monty and Monty Jr. – have been making their rounds of the units – through the hospital’s tube system! A patient scenario is attached on each “trip to hospital” and staff members are challenged to use 48/6 to assess the “patient” for pre-hospital level of functioning, as well as what arrangements should be made to help the patient upon discharge. “I think staff are engaged and talking about it, and seeing the humour in it,” says Val Kristjanson, Patient Care Coordinator for the 7 North medical unit and one of RIH’s site leads for 48/6 (pictured right). “For instance, in one scenario staff members were engaged to the point that they recognized Monty was a high falls risk – so they made him a set of hip protectors. Monty was wearing the hip protectors when he transferred to another unit for his next step in care planning. When he came back to me in the end, he came back with more information on his Admission History and Plan of Care than what I sent out – staff had received collaborative information from the rest of the Monkey family.” Read more feedback from staff on the 48/6 Clinical Care Management web page on the InsideNet.

Where are we now? 48/6 is a Ministry of Health mandated program that uses tools to help guide staff in screening and assessment of a patient's pre-hospital level of functioning in six key areas – functional mobility, nutrition/hydration, medication management, bowel/ bladder, pain, and cognition. It also adds a seventh dimension, psychosocial history, as an overarching influence on all of the other six. Interior Health began to trial the tools of 48/6 with staff in nine hospitals across the health authority in September 2013. Feedback from those hospitals helped to finalize the Admission History and Interprofessional Plan of Care, and early adopters of 48/6 indicate that patients have benefited from improved communication and teamwork between caregivers. All remaining hospitals in IH will now begin implementing 48/6, with a deadline of Sept. 30, 2014.


People Behind




35 million goes through their hands every two weeks. And they make sure you get your fair share.

Interior Health’s Payroll team of 22 serves more than 21,000 IH employees. Each team member is responsible for processing pay for 1,300 staff – and that adds up to tens of millions every pay period! No matter his/her daily role, each team member dedicates three full days out of every 10 to process payroll. But Payroll is responsible for more than ensuring you get paid every two weeks. The team processes records of employment; withholdings (e.g. CPP, EI, Canada Savings Bonds, staff lotteries, etc.); severance and pensions; audits and contract compliance; EI, WorkSafeBC, and ICBC queries; and, maintains employee master files. Payroll Clerk Crystal Tillotson says, “Most of our work is about helping employees and resolving issues. It’s a lot of problem solving and ‘detective’ work. And when we stumble upon a difficult situation, everyone works together to find the solution.”

worked in the Payroll department for 30 years. “From the days of just five staff to today’s team, each day has been an adventure. The entire team works hard, has a sense of humour, and always has a smile for you.” One thing that’s clear is that the Payroll team is not just about numbers, they are about people – their clients (you and me), their colleagues in other departments, and each other. They maintain a “family wall” where photos of weddings, babies born, family, and team gatherings are posted. Started by team member Barb Stubbs, the popular wall now includes neighbouring departments, too. Known as “the potluck queens” (apologies to Jayeson, the only male in Payroll), they also hold themed potlucks for holidays and any other event they can celebrate. “The greatest thing about Payroll is the group of people I work with every day. When someone asks how I am in the morning, they truly want to know. We share in each other’s stories and support one another,” says Crystal.

“Rarely do we have a ‘typical’ pay period. There is always something different happening,” says Susan LeBlanc, Manager, Payroll. IH is the only health authority in B.C. to provide only electronic paystubs and T4s. Using i-Site, employees have easy access at their convenience, and it saves dollars for investment in direct patient care. At 75 cents per piece, 21,000 paystubs would cost $409,500 to mail each year! Through i-Site, you can also view the breakdown of your earnings by date, withholdings, time banks (e.g. vacation and sick time), internal job postings, and claim mileage. i-Site was a collaborative project between Payroll, HR, and IMIT, and the teams were recognized with an IH Award of Excellence for innovation and creativity in 2009. “There’s never a dull moment in payroll. Whether it’s a new computer system, amalgamation (Northern Health was added to the IH payroll system in 2011), new government regulations, or collective agreement changes – I’m always learning,” says Iris Montgomery, who has

When you’re responsible for paying out $35M in pay every two weeks, you need a good way to wind down – Payroll Manager Susan LeBlanc (waving) says she runs for fun!

To reach Payroll with inquiries related to paystubs, direct deposits, records of employment, or T4s, call 250-870-5800, or toll free 1-888-909-6747, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also send questions to Have your employee number on hand (found on i-Site under “personal information” or on your pay stub) when calling with a question to help the team better serve you. And remember, it’s important to double-check your paystub every pay period. If you find an error, report it to your scheduling department or local timekeeper, along with any questions related to your work schedule, leaves, absences, and attendance.


very day immunization saves lives, but that wasn’t always the case. Looking back less than a hundred years, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. Clearly, we have come a long way.

Despite the fact that immunization has saved more lives in Canada than any other health intervention, there are still a number of children who are not vaccinated. The price of not vaccinating can be high. Today we are seeing outbreaks of diseases like pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, and measles, to name a few. These outbreaks are a strong reminder that there is still more work to be done.

“Our vaccination rate for children age two and under is 74 per cent. It’s good, but it could be better,” says Renee Liddicoat, Promotion & Prevention Practice Lead and co-chair of Interior Health’s Immunization Steering Committee. “Our goal is to increase our rates to 90 per cent. One of the ways we can do this is by working closely with family physicians.”

Our goal is to increase our rates to


per cent.

In Interior Health, public health nurses (PHNs) currently provide the majority of childhood vaccines. Families attend local clinics to get their children vaccinated and receive important health information.

“Our PHNs are providing such a valuable service and doing a terrific job. We started to think about whether there was more we could do to increase access to childhood immunization services. In April 2012, CIHS and the Office of the Medical Health Officer embarked upon the Expansion of Childhood Immunization to Family Physicians project,” says Project Lead Rhonda Wasylenki. “We started by surveying family physicians about their interest in offering childhood immunizations.” The survey indicated the majority of family physicians were very happy with the delivery of childhood immunizations by public health nurses and most were not interested in offering childhood vaccinations. One physician, Dr. Selena Lawrie from Kamloops, was keen to know more about providing immunizations. “Through our partnership with Dr. Lawrie, we were able to develop a process to support family physicians who are interested in immunizing children now or down the road,” says Rhonda. “We also had the opportunity to get feedback from families who accessed immunizations at her office.” Patricia Rosenau’s daughter was immunized by Dr. Lawrie recently. She was pleased with both the convenience and the overall experience.

“We felt really comfortable with Dr. Lawrie and her staff. After all the prenatal visits and having her deliver Melody, it just seemed like a no-brainer to have her do Melody's immunizations.” Although most physicians were not interested in providing vaccines at the time of the survey, there was a real interest in working together with public health to educate parents about the importance of vaccinations. “We know that family physicians have an important role to play in increasing our immunization rates whether that be as immunizers or educators and advocates,” adds Rhonda. “Our plan is to continue to partner with family physicians.” Physicians who are interested in providing childhood immunizations are encouraged to contact their local health centre or visit the IH website. For those who prefer to be advocates, some great resources are available including Your Child’s Best Shot and the Immunization Communication Tool. “I think at the end of the day we all have a common goal and it is to make sure as many children as possible are protected from these serious diseases,” says Rhonda. “When public health nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, and other health-care professionals work together, our message is stronger and we can do so much more.” For more information on the importance of immunization, visit In 2007, the Strategic Framework for Immunization in BC was adopted. The framework was developed through consultation with public health nursing representatives from all health authorities and called on health authorities to build capacity in their immunization program, increase immunization accessibility, and embrace innovation.

Left: Dr. Selena Lawrie (L) from Aberdeen Medical Clinic visits with mom Patricia Rosenau and her daughter Melody after giving her six-month vaccines. Right: Rhonda Wasylenki (L), Public Health Nurse and Project Lead, talks about immunization with mom Nadine Kowaski and her son Connor at a Public Health child health clinic.

Our Community


Merritt’s rolling hills, sparkling lakes, and over 2,030 hours of sunshine every year make it a haven for four-season outdoor recreation. With a thriving arts community, an art gallery located in Merritt’s historic Court House, and an active Arts Council, the communities’ arts are flourishing. Many businesses in town play host to large murals on the outside of their buildings, drawing in many tourists.


At a glance Population: Approx. 8,000 Health Services: Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre, as well as community and residential programs and services. Economy: Forestry, agriculture, tourism, and mining.

The summer offers some of the best sailing and windsurfing in North America, and nearby Nicola Lake offers endless choices for water activities. The area is also known for the beautiful horseback riding opportunities as well as camping, fishing, and endless trail systems for renowned mountain biking and hiking. Winter brings opportunities for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and curling, to name a few.

In our own words...

“Prior to moving to the Nicola Valley in 1991, Merritt is where we came to holiday. We loved the feel of being in our homey little valley with camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and kayaking just a heartbeat away. I began working at Nicola Valley Health Centre in 2001 and quickly learned the intricate specialty of rural nursing. We work together, we have coffee together, we celebrate each other’s triumphs or losses. We know each other both at and away from work, acknowledge each other in the grocery store, on the hiking trail, or at one of our many nearby lakes. We know each other’s families. “Merritt is where we call home. In town, everything is accessible on foot, or a quick 10-minute drive. Getting to hiking trails and lakes is only a short distance beyond the city limits. Every time I get to the great outdoors, it still takes my breath away....23 years later. Merritt really is a great place to live and work!” – Carol Fulcher, RN, BSN, Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre

Big White Ski Resort Submitted by: Karissa Aiken

Kamloops Submitted by: Emily Larochelle

Falkland Submitted by: Tracy Glaicar Nakusp Submitted by: Carolyn Hughes-Myers

Where We Live & Work ... A Spotlight on Our Communities Our employees regularly share photos of the spectacular scenery that surrounds them wherever they are in the IH region. Majestic mountain ranges, pristine pine-fringed lakes, blossom-filled orchards, abundant vineyards, and thick forests alive with wildlife are just some of the beautiful things that make up these places we call home. Covering over 215,000 square kilometres, Interior Health is diverse in nature and composed of vibrant urban centres and unique rural communities. This @IH feature shines a spotlight on many of these places ‌ and perhaps will entice you to add them to your travel wish list. This month we feature photos near Kelowna, Kamloops, Falkland, and Nakusp.

Submit your photos of the beautiful places that make up IH:

snapshots from the region ... Invermere maternity staff are committed to providing a high quality, low-risk delivery service at Invermere District Hospital. The team jumped at an opportunity to take a recent MORE OB (Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently) training session to support the rural maternity program. Pictured here, top row (L-R): RN Maxine Jones, RN Jonni Sharp, RN Andrea de Jong, RN Debbie Fink, and Midwife Kyra Warren. Bottom row (L-R): RN Donna Armstrong, RN/Educator Katherine Jerabek, and RN Shelly Raven (missing from photo: Dr. Shannon Page).

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital physicians, staff, and administrators let their collective hair down recently for the annual Enema Awards held March 8. For those who missed the engaging and team-building entertaining event, DVDs are available through the KBRH Health Foundation office and proceeds from those sales will go to the Foundation’s Critical Care Campaign. More photos from the show can be seen on KBRH anesthetist Dr. Iain Reid’s photography website.

Shining a light on the important role social workers play as part of care teams are (L-R) Dianne Hofer, Judith Ferreira, and Esther Krahn from Penticton Regional Hospital. They joined colleagues throughout IH in celebrating Social Work Week from March 9-16. Social workers play a vital role in our health-care facilities as there are many social determinants to health, including employment, education, and housing. Learn more about social work at

Interior Health nutritionist Jill Worboys (R) tries to keep up with writing down ideas as local residents brainstorm possibilities for a Salmon Arm food co-operative during the Food For Thought food security forum, held March 11 in Salmon Arm. IH nutritionist Laura Kalina was also on hand for the forum, which attracted about 200 people. (Photo credit: Salmon Arm Observer/Lachlan Labere)

Out with the old and in with the new! The replacement CT scanner is now up and running at Kelowna General Hospital – with advanced software to provide exceptional speed and clarity. The imaging speed of the new CT means staff can image a beating heart, perform a pediatric study without sedation, and provide answers to questions in cases where every minute counts. Increased clarity means earlier detection of lesions, with greater accuracy, which can greatly enhance treatment options and outcomes. Pictured here are the KGH CT technologists now working with this new machine.

RN Kyle Gantner gets a lift from his colleagues in the RIH Intensive Care Unit during their celebration of the second annual Kyle Gantner Day on March 7. It seems that Kyle often shows up to work in a certain striped sweater and scrubs. Last year, some of his colleagues surprised him by dressing the same, and this year they decided to celebrate the day again. It’s all in fun, of course, and no one enjoys it more than Kyle himself.

April 2014 - Interior Health  

Edition 142