THUNDER BAY, ONT. — A new collaboration between the NorWest Community Health Centres and Evergreen Pharmacy will deliver a new model of health care to rural communities resulting in enhanced health care for rural residents, they say.
Pharmacists and business partners Devon Myers and Henry Templeman have owned and operated two locations of Evergreen Pharmacy in Rosslyn and in Kakabeka Falls for the past five years.
With an increasing demand for expanded services and continued support from the community, the partners built their new, state-of-the-art location in Kakabeka Falls in May.
“As accessible health professionals and pharmacists, we hear all sorts of medical questions and concerns,” Templeman said.
“We’ve always been hopeful and we worked very hard to try and get other health professionals to view Oliver Paipoonge and Murillo in Northwestern Ontario as a great option to set up practice and serve the community while meeting the high demand for health services.”
The new building features pharmaceutical space, and examination rooms with clinic space that NorWest Community Health Centre will be taking over. Templeman says the health centre will offer primary care and walk-in services while continuing to recruit more health professionals such as Life Labs, an orthodontist or a chiropractor.
“There’s a lot of benefits to interprofessional collaborative care,” he said. “It’s a growing model of health care and it has an abundance of evidence that proves that it helps to improve health outcomes and improve the delivery of medical care. To have all those services under one roof, and just to create a hub for Kakabeka to offer all these services is huge for the community.”
Meanwhile, NorWest Community Health Centres has been providing primary health care services in many of the municipalities — Kakabeka Falls for more than 15 years.
“Those mobile health teams go to O’Connor, Conmee, Neebing or Oliver Paipoonge on a weekly or bi-weekly basis,” said Juanita Lawson, CEO of the health centres. “The ability to move and transition some of those services into a clinic site, in many respects allows us to really expand that primary care model of service . . . without having to bring people into a Thunder Bay site to do those examinations.”
She says having Evergreen Pharmacy close by allows them to really navigate some of those complex matters with people who have prescriptions to make sure that their needs are met from a prescription point of view.
New collaboration initiatives between the clinic and pharmacy are now viable such as flu clinics, health and wellness clinics and recognizing and providing collaborative education around events like World Diabetes Day.
Lawson says they have been working with Evergreen Pharmacy and within the municipalities for almost a year to determine if the partnership meets the needs of the community.
“And I think it does in many ways,” she said. “We will still be providing services to individuals who are either vulnerable or at risk, doing home visits with our nurse practitioner, and this allows us to bring out a full-time nurse practitioner to the Kakabeka site.”
Patients can expect to have therapy services, foot care services or work with a dietician. They can be referred to other services that Norwest offers such as palliative care services, the memory clinic, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or rapid access addiction medicine clinics.
“We’re really excited to be working with Evergreen pharmacy, and with Rapport Credit Union who will also become a tenant in the building,” she said, adding that it would be great to do some financial literacy or look at how they might engage with the school system around doing some work with kids around fun and safety.
Rapport Credit Union has been serving Kakabeka Falls and the surrounding area for close to 70 years.
“We know that the health of our residents is vital to the overall success of the community,” said Virginia Ryvest, regional manager with the credit union.
“. . . We are very excited to be moving to this new modern location and sharing space with community-minded organizations of the Northwest clinic and Evergreen Pharmacy and continuing to support the growth of both our members and residents in this area.”
NorWest Community Health Centres belongs to a provincial network of 73 Community Health Centres and delivers primary health care and promotional health programs in Northwestern Ontario communities.
Evergreen Pharmacy has been offering medication and device teaching, immunizations, INR testing, and clinical services to improve health and independence.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal