Health Minister Terry Lake announced $47,000 to support a partnership between ASK Wellness Society and Royal Inland Hospital that connects homeless patients to supportive community housing after being released from the hospital.
“ASK Wellness Society are champions in the Kamloops community and work tirelessly to connect high risk individuals to housing and other valuable services,” said Lake this morning at the ASK Wellness Amazing Race kick-off. “The partnership between ASK Wellness and Royal Inland Hospital is a wonderful example of how team based care can enhance patient care and make the health system more cost efficient.”
The Ministry of Health funding supports a one-year pilot project to hire a social worker who will work closely with Royal Inland Hospital staff to connect homeless hospital patients who are managing chronic conditions to ASK Wellness services and housing. Housing and other supports can help at risk patients better manage their conditions and, ultimately, reduce return visits to the emergency room and costs to the system.
“This partnership is already making a real difference in our community and is bridging the gap between services,” said Bob Hughes, executive director for ASK Wellness Society.
The foundation of ASK Wellness’ partnership with Royal Inland Hospital aligns with Ministry of Health priorities for B.C. health-care. These priorities focus on ensuring value for money and support a provincial system of primary and community care built around inter-professional teams designed to enhance patient outcomes and quality of life by connecting individuals to community services rather than treating symptoms at a hospital or acute care level.
ASK Wellness operates locally in Kamloops and is dedicated to helping those most in need by improving awareness, education, advocacy, housing, and supports for those that are at risk or that are managing chronic health conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. As part of their mandate ASK Wellness has operated the Crossroads Inn and Henry Leland House in Kamloops for five years providing affordable housing and supports to individuals with histories of homelessness and other barriers to accessing health-care.
The ASK Wellness Amazing Race attended by Lake this morning, is an interactive event where race participants visit community service providers along the route in an effort to build relationships, foster collaboration and learn about invaluable community services that assist homeless and other marginalized members of Kamloops.
Under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative, the B.C. government works in partnership with local communities, the federal government, and non-profit providers to develop new housing options with integrated support services to help individuals who are homeless or at risk move beyond temporary shelter to more secure housing and gain greater self-reliance.
Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. Last year, provincially-funded homeless outreach and shelter workers connected more than 6,700 people throughout British Columbia to housing, income assistance and a range of support services.
To learn more about the ASK Wellness Society and the Amazing Race please visit: http://www.askwellness.ca/
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)