Research completed by College of the Rockies instructor Shawna Ryan highlights the vital role played by Cranbrook Family Connections. Pictured (left to right): Tracy Pound (Homeless Outreach Program), Kim Levie (Cranbrook Family Connections), Erin Pan (Homeless Outreach Program), Gwen Noble (Executive Director, Community Connections Society of BC).

COTR, non-profit team up for resarch project

Nursing instructor partners with Cranbrook Family Connections to gather data on clientele, services.

A College of the Rockies nursing instructor has partnered with a local non-profit to conduct an applied research project that hopes to shed light on understanding and improving health care and social services to local residents.

Shawna Ryan, an instructor with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, teamed up with Gwen Noble and the Community Connections Society of Southeast British Columbia, for the project, which focused on data gathering and solutions to social and health care issues.

The research assessed the advantages of a co-located, comprehensive and collective approach to delivering social and health care services, such as the model in use through Cranbrook Family Connections.

Additional objectives included gathering demographic data of CFC clients, and the diversion of those clients from emergency and other health care services.

“As a non-profit organization, CFC is reliant on external funding, which is why we need to explicitly understand and be able to convey our collective impact on health and social service in our community,” said Noble. “We knew that partnering with College of the Rockies would give us access to reliable, detailed research and robust data that we could use to accurately communicate the important work we do here and what it means for our clients and community.”

The research was consolidated into a report that was used to support funding applications, while also being circulated to local dignitaries and community leaders.

“Research results verified much of what CFC staff knew anecdotally,” said Ryan. “Clients access multiple services during a single visit, as well as over the course of their visits to CFC, validating the belief that having multiple health and social services located under one roof makes CFC more effective.”

“Those who are accessing services are primarily females (72 per cent) who are young to middle-aged adults. Most clients would be considered low-income and many have dependents. The research also supported the belief that many clients access CFC on a regular (weekly or monthly) basis.”

Breaking down the data, 32 per cent of respondents said that if services weren’t available at CFC, they would have to go to a physician, nurse practitioner or emergency department. Further, over half of the respondents also noted they would go ‘nowhere’ if were not for CFC services.

There were 161 clients who participated in the survey.

“This data clearly demonstrates the demographics of CFC’s current clientele and also showed segments of the population that may be underserved,” Noble said. “This information not only bolsters our ongoing funding applications, but provides valuable information for applying for funds to serve additional client groups.”

Cranbrook Family Connections (CFC), a hub of services offered by the Community Connections Society of Southeast British Columbia, has been providing programs and services to Cranbrook and the East Kootenay region for 36 years.

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