United Way Lower Mainland has hired two community builders, local residents who can offer help, and a person to chat with about COVID-19 and other concerns. There are postcards and posters being distributed to help let the community know this is available.

Nurses make house calls in Langley pilot program

United Way Lower Mainland is providing extended nurse visits on porches or curbside

A wife and husband have booked an appointment for an extended sit down with a nurse, part of a new pilot program offered to Langley. Others have booked individual sessions.

There’s no one size fits all format for a new pilot project that pairs soon-to-be nurses with Langley residents wanting health information.

United Way Lower Mainland has launched new programs during COVID-19 to try and support residents. That includes hiring two community builders so far for Langley.

Community builders are local residents – Brenda Smith and Cindy Weber. They are coordinating the unique nurse visits.

The visits are being done by graduating nursing students, classed as level 3. In pairs, they will visit people at their homes. When Sprott Shaw College reached out about practicums for its nursing students, the UWLM decided to put their skills to better use. In the past, they may have handed out food or clothing to the disadvantaged.

It’s a great alignment of skills and need, Smith noted. The residents of Langley can get help and the nursing students get practical, real world experience.

“It can be about an old concern, a medical issue, or something new, or just to talk about COVID, and coping with life and mental health. It’s great because [the nurses] are really going to have to pull out all their resources,” Smith said.

Weber said the UWLM can help people connect with resources in the community that can help with their particular situation or it will also show where there are gaps that it or others can try to fill.

One benefit of the nurse porch or curbside visits is there’s no time pressure.

“Although we have access to walk-in clinics, there typically in and out, and they’re not in depth,” Weber said. “I think what is unique about this is we really have the opportunity to pick people’s brains.”

The service is intended to help people who are not comfortable leaving their home to get help, don’t have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations about health care, or have commitments that impact their ability to get to health care, such as children.

“It’s kind of an important nudge to get out there and really ask people on a really core level ‘Are you doing okay’ and have somebody trained so they can assess that properly and when they are making those assessments they can see where to direct them,” Weber commented.

The program is taking place in the Tri-Cities, Delta and Langley at this time but could expand elsewhere.

Langley appointments were created for June 29, 30, and July 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9. People can book at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. on the designated days.

To find out more or to book an appointment, contact Brenda Smith, 604-619-8457 or BrendaS@uwlm.ca or Cindy Weber, 778-866-0153 or CindyW@uwlm.ca . The nursing appointments can be for individuals or families, even neighbours, as long as proper social distancing is observed. There can’t be physical contact, such as for blood pressure checks, during these visits. The sessions are informational. There are safety and social distancing guidelines that the nurses will outline prior to the appointment.

There is the opportunity to expand the program if there is more demand for these nurse visits which are one aspect of the community builders’ work.

“We’re seeing a new need of newly emerging vulnerable people,” Weber said. “So the goal of the community builder is to access the people who aren’t used to raising their hand and asking, and letting them know we can come with the resources.”

The two are dedicated to the Langleys, and there is sufficient need that UWLM is looking at bringing on a third person who would take on the Aldergrove portion.

“This is a pilot project,” Weber.

Smith added the position is evolving as the pandemic continues. People who thought they were okay at the start have been finding finances stretched as the pandemic wears on, for instance. the community builders can help connect people connect with resources and agencies. They can also be contacted about volunteer opportunities with the UWLM pilot project.

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Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
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United Way Lower Mainland has hired two community builders, local residents who can offer help, and a person to chat with about COVID-19 and other concerns. There are postcards and posters being distributed to help let the community know this is available.

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