Primary Health Care
What is Primary Care?
“Primary” means the first and longest lasting health-care relationship to keep people healthy. It’s the regular care people receive to prevent more serious or urgent health problems. It’s the care received through regular visits with care providers in a clinic – care that can help prevent visits to the hospital.
Many people think of primary care as typically provided by family doctors, but it can include nurses, midwives, dietitians, pharmacists, mental health professionals, therapists and others.
Primary care services lead to:
• less need for hospital and emergency department visits
• safer care
• more satisfied patients
• lower health care costs
Benefits of Primary Health Care:
• Access to health care is fast and easy.
• Ongoing care from someone who knows you and your health needs.
• Early treatment of health concerns before they begin to affect quality of life.
• Reduced reliance on hospital and emergency department visits.
• Health-care information is accessible to care providers when needed in one place contributing to better and safer care.
Home clinics are primary health care clinics that are a home base for people needing care. In order to be registered as a home clinic, medical clinics need to agree to adopt some common key elements of all home clinics. Interlake-Eastern RHA has been successful in getting almost every clinic in the region registered as a home clinic with the goal of working with the rest to get them signed on as well.
Home clinics must:
- Have a system that supports use of electronic medical records (EMR) for all patients. Care providers with access to EMR can see a patient’s complete medical history. This ensures seamless medical care in-clinic or when referring patients.
- Adopt clinical practice guidelines for primary care that are based on best practices. Among these practices is contacting patients to arrange appointments proactively. The guidelines identify when a clinic should be calling patients to arrange their return for a check-up.
- Provide appropriate comprehensive care based on patient age, gender and condition. This ensures holistic care and integrating expertise of other care providers when needed.
Typical home clinic services include:
• Health assessment.
• Clinical evidence-based illness prevention and health promotion.
• Appropriate interventions for episodic illness and injury.
• Primary reproductive care.
• Early detection of and initial and ongoing treatment of chronic illnesses.
• Primary mental health care including psycho-social counselling.
Care for the majority of illnesses (referral to specialists as needed).
• Education and supports for self-care.
• Medical support for patients who have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness – this would include referral for palliative care services.
My Health Teams are teams of care providers (located in the same offices or virtually connected online) that work with people to make sure they get the care they need, when you need it. The care providers participating in a My Health Team have been selected to address the specific health care needs of residents in a community of geographic area. The success of these teams lies in a collaborative approach that puts patients at the centre of care.
Each health–care provider in a My Health Team has a unique combination of knowledge, skills and expertise. Care providers don’t necessarily work in the same location but share electronic medical records for each patient. This ensures every care provider understands a patient’s health history and can connect them to care they need, whether in-clinic or via community health partners.
Health-care providers on a My Health Team may include:
- Chronic disease clinician
- Co–occurring disorders clinician
- Income security health provider
- Licensed practical nurse
- Mental health brief treatment counsellor
- Mental health transitional worker
- Nurse practitioner
- Occupational therapist
- Registered dietician
- Respiratory therapist
- Social worker
- Shared case counsellor
An objective of a My Health Team is to fill care gaps and better link people with resources that are essential to their continued well-being. The make-up of a team may be comprised of a variety of health-care professionals. Team members typically include a primary care physician and a nurse practitioner working with chronic disease nurses, community mental health workers and some different positions not common in Interlake-Eastern RHA but incorporated into My Health Teams.
Those developing the My Health Teams reflect care providers and community members who are committed to capitalizing on the opportunities for improved access to health care services that a My Health Team offers.
Selkirk & Area My Health Team
People involved include:
• Canadian Mental Health Association
• Addictions Foundation of Manitoba
• Representatives from: Health, Seniors and Active Living and Interlake-Eastern RHA’s primary health care team.
The Selkirk and Oakbank area team has been in operation since early 2020. The steering committee for this team is comprised of physicians and representatives from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, the Interlake-Eastern RHA, Manitoba Health and
Seniors Care and Manitoba Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery. The care providers added to this team include a chronic disease nurse, brief treatment counsellors and a community liaison counsellor who helps people overcome challenges with solution-based strategies.
This is Manitoba’s first Indigenous My Health Team with steering committee representation from physicians who practise in Ashern and Eriksdale and health leaders from Pinaymootang Health Centre, Little Saskatchewan First Nation Health Centre, Lake Manitoba First Nation Health Centre, Percy E. Moore Clinic – Ongomiizwin Health Services, Interlake-Eastern RHA and Manitoba Health and Seniors Care, and Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery, as well as an elder supporting and guiding the team. This guidance and understanding of local health-care needs has seen the team hire a chronic disease nurse, mental health and addictions worker and it has been actively recruiting for someone to support with physiotherapy and rehab.