Visualize being told that you have an incurable disease, being handed a couple of pamphlets about it and leaving the doctor’s office in a daze.
This experience might be one that you’ve had if you suffer from cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic lung conditions or renal failure. But a three-year pilot program is gearing up in Castlegar and Trail to bridge the gap between health care professionals and people who have recently diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses.
“It’s kind of like being the grease for the wheel,” said Brenda Hooper, the Trail Castlegar Augmented Response (TCARE) Coordinator.
“What we hope to do is create a model for a program that will work so that we have a number of services out there. It’s about making those health care services—that are already there— work for somebody living with life-limiting chronic illnesses.”
The research project is designed to aid people suffering from chronic illnesses by providing supportive services for people with new tools.
“A lot of times the urban folks talk about rural communities and the gaps in rural care, but this kind of builds on the strengths that we already have,” said Hooper. “There are some things that we’re missing—like specialists—but we also have a lot of strengths—we know each other and see each other.
“Most of the time you meet somebody then you see them in the grocery stores three times and things like that, there are some fairly good things that we do have.”
The researchers are aiming to open up a safe space to communicate with professionals about the burdens that you’re working through.
“We would be able to have those kinds of conversations with us so it’s easy to ask questions with somebody who isn’t in a rush,” said Hooper. “I’ll have some time to spend with people and to be available.”
The pilot program is not accepting patients until 2013, but they are searching for participants and getting local organizations involved. Hooper will be presenting more information about the program in the regular Montrose council meeting on June 18 and Castlegar’s council meeting on July 16.
She has almost four decades of experience being a homecare nurse and a case manager, and she’s confident that her practical knowledge will benefit research participants to cope with chronic illnesses. The research program will also provide participants’ access to a nurse 24 hours a day.
For more information about the research project or to get involved, contact Hooper at 250-512-7721 or Brenda.firstname.lastname@example.org.