With the start of the fall season comes the launch of a spectrum of programs from the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network.
The Wolf Creek PCN supports 10 communities altogether, said Jaime LaLiberte, executive director.
“We have a service in Blackfalds that just started up a month or two ago for foot care for high-risk diabetic patients as well as for preventative care, education, and the focusing on the treatment of specific foot issues,” she said.
“We have that in Lacombe already, but now it’s been extended out to Blackfalds as well.
And specific to Lacombe, the PCN also offers a free outdoor walking group which runs every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. The more advanced walking group goes every Wednesday as well from 1 to 1:45 p.m.
Meanwhile, PCN’s extensive selection of programs and workshops is available to local communities.
Helpful workshops run the gamut from ‘Happiness Basics’, ‘Anxiety to Calm’, ‘Journey Through Grief’ and ‘Moving On With Persistent Pain’ to ‘My Way to Health’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Strong and Steady’ among others.
Individual programs include ‘Connecting to Community Resources’, ‘Talk to a Counsellor’, ‘Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol’, ‘Pregnancy and Babies’ and ‘Insulin Management’ to ‘Memory Testing’, ‘MINT Memory Care’, ‘Recreation Therapy’ and ‘Tobacco Reduction’ to name several.
“There are a lot of virtual opportunities, and we also look for opportunities to have in-person classes as well all throughout the year,” she explained.
Various PCN staff are also available virtually as well.
“Our dietitians and mental health therapists can be seen virtually or in person. We leave it up to the patient as to what they prefer.
“But for some, when it comes to transportation issues, or they may be at a stage where they have a hard time getting around, sometimes it’s easier to offer it virtually instead of having them come in,” she said, adding that in case of inclement weather, a virtual meeting opens the door to being able to access the services whatever the case.
“It’s easy to just have a call, and be able to get that same support.”
LaLiberte said the overall goal is to make these programs available provincially, beyond the regions that the local PCNs cover.
She also wants to see a heightened understanding of how essential ‘continuity of care’ is to a person’s ongoing sense of well-being.
“That’s really what PCNs are all about – they are based on the medical home concept.
“The concept is that if you have that entire team working within your community – for instance, you go to your physician’s office and see your doctor, but not only are you seeing your doctor, you also have this entire team of support services – RNs, foot care nurses, dietitians, your exercise specialists.
”You have everyone there as a team and they all work together depending on what your needs are,” she explained.
“The communication loop is there as well – you are all using the same electronic medical record system, and physicians are aware of the results that are coming back from your dietician or your exercise specialist, for example.
“It’s all about working towards having that better health outcome for the patient,” she said, adding that for most PCN programs, no referral is necessary. Those interested can simply call the PCN office and inquire about signing up for a particular workshop or program.
“It’s about preventative medicine, too. We don’t want to only see you once you are ill, but we want to help prevent things along the way. So come and talk to us when you are starting to struggle in an area – it doesn’t have to get really bad before we can start to make a difference and work with you on it.”
For LaLiberte, the PCN’s mission provides her with plenty of inspiration in her day-to-day work.
“I love that it’s tailored around preventative medicine because I really believe that’s what our system needs. We can’t wait until things are at a point where it’s harder to handle some of those issues that come up later on in our lives,” she said.
”If we can be preventative and have all of these amazing programs in place and really support the preventative piece of it now, I think we can really make a difference.
“I think that’s why I’m passionate about it – it’s an area where you can make a difference in people’s lives early on.”
For more details on everything offered via the Wolf Creek PCN, check out www.wolfcreekpcn.com or find them on Facebook to stay up-to-date.