A home away from home for patients who come from out of town to use the Campbell River Hospital is in the works.
Island Health, with help from key stakeholders, hopes to provide safe accommodation for North Island hospital patients and their families to stay near the hospital while accessing medical services in our community.
“Island Health recognizes that North Island families are often faced with significant travel times in order to access hospital-based care,” according to a report from Pauline Bernard, Island Health director and Jeff Beselt, Island Health executive medical director. “This travel time to Campbell River Hospital can exceed four hours and can require boat and/or plane travel. During moments of crisis, this travel time, combined with finding appropriate accommodation near to the hospital, can contribute to increased emotional and economic stress for both patients and their families.”
The project has been in the conceptual phase for several years but recently key stakeholders came together to push the proposal along.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield, who is also chair of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board, said the Home Away From Home project was originally proposed as part of the new North Island Hospitals Project.
“I think it’s well-worthy of our support,” Cornfield said during a council meeting on Oct. 10. “It’s to have a place for families to come and stay regardless of what their condition is.”
Mayor Andy Adams said the project for him has been a long time coming.
“I have been sitting in on the Home Away From Home project and I’ve been a strong advocate through a number of community organizations and council over the past 10 to 12 years to get a facility of this sort,” he said. “To see the Community Health Network and Island Health and a number of other local governments and First Nations sitting at the table and getting involved and making this initiative come to fruition has been very exciting.
“It’s a great opportunity and they’ve certainly got a lot of work done and would certainly endorse the continued planning and potential endorsement of the funding to make this a reality for Campbell River,” Adams added.
While the project is still in the preliminary stages, Island Health reports that the Home Away From Home would likely be built on available land adjacent to the new Campbell River Hospital, and include space for a medical hostel open to any visiting patient or family member in the same facility. It is hoped to include: five large family rooms, with full bathrooms; one common kitchen; common daily Jiving areas; cultural spaces; day-use showers, computers and phones; outdoor patio and play area for children; parking areas; and short stay bedroom and bath.
Island Health hopes the Home Away From Home project can affect change by increasing access to safe and affordable shelter during times of medical needs; decreasing stress and poor health during times of crisis; improving birth outcomes for pregnant women from outside of Campbell River; and decreasing acute health care costs.
According to Island Health, the opportunity for the project was created by construction of the new hospital bringing together “a team of organizations that specialize in architecture, engineering, trades, design and finance who may be willing to provide in-kind contributions to build accommodation” as well as land being available on the Campbell River Hospital site.
City council, for its part, gave support in principle to the project during last week’s council meeting.