SOUTH GEORGIAN BAY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRE
As Ontario continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, the importance of integrating health care and social supports is more critical than ever. The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre (SGBCHC) quickly shifted its model of care within the context of COVID-19, to ensure their most vulnerable clients were well supported. After assessing the physical and mental health priorities of their clients, the SGBCHC employed a new method of client engagement called “wellness check-Ins”.
In partnership with 211 Community Connection, staff at the SGBCHC are conducting wellness check-in phone calls to clients at high risk of becoming isolated and referring them to supports offered at the CHC or through local partners. This includes clients who are at risk of feeling isolated, people who live alone, newcomers, vulnerable families, people facing mental health and addiction issues, people living on low incomes, those with complex health conditions and seniors.
During the wellness check-ins, SGBCHC staff ask a series of questions to assess the client’s mental, social and physical wellbeing including finances, social isolation, food access etc. Based on their needs, clients are connected to supports at the CHC or through community partners. Since May 2020, the SGBCHC staff have conducted over 350 wellness check-ins.
“Before the pandemic, many of our vulnerable clients already faced barriers around staying connected and accessing health and social supports,” said Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director at the SGBCHC. “Our wellness check-ins are a great example of how we’re using innovative ideas to stay connected and support our clients throughout this pandemic. We’re working hard to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks and is left behind. The feedback we’ve received so far from our clients has been very positive.”
The SGBCHC is encouraging community partners and organizations within the region to replicate this model of support to reach even more vulnerable individuals living in South Georgian Bay and surrounding areas.