The Eagle Bear Spirit drum group from Ktunaxa Nation helped mark the one-year anniversary of the Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre. Photo contributed by the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice.

The Eagle Bear Spirit drum group from Ktunaxa Nation helped mark the one-year anniversary of the Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre. Photo contributed by the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice.

Thousands of patients served through new Cranbrook primary care facility

Government, partners, mark one-year anniversary of Cranbrook UPCC operations

Thousands of patients have been served at the Cranbrook Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC), as government and partners mark the one-year anniversary of facility operations in the East Kootenay.

Opening 12 months ago, the Cranbrook UPCC has provided 25,095 appointments and served 6,522 unique patients, according to a news release.

“It’s exciting the Cranbrook UPCC is celebrating this significant anniversary. Throughout the past year, the centre has provided more people with better access to team-based health care while receiving crucial treatment in their community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

The UPCC model is designed to support people who are experiencing non-life-threatening conditions and need to see a health care specialist within 24 hours, but don’t require a trip to a hospital emergency department.

“We have been trying to improve access to care for the community, and I hope that people without a family doctor or nurse practitioner have been able to receive quality comprehensive care,” said Dr. Paula Dubois, UPCC family physician.

The Cranbrook UPCC is part of the East Kootenay Primary Care Network and a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, Ktunaxa Nation, Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, and the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice.

The East Kootenay Primary Care Network is a group of regional health care providers who work together to provide equitable and culturally safe person-centred health care.

“The care centre, and the partnership that supports it, is beneficial to the Ktunaxa Nation. It’s vital to our people to have access to these services and to culturally safe care. We’re establishing that here, including bringing in Ktunaxa language and respecting our cultural values,” said Jared Basil, Ktunaxa Cultural Safety Educator with Ktunaxa Nation Council.

The Cranbrook UPCC currently has a complement of 24 employees, which include a social worker, two physiotherapists, an occupational therapist, six registered nurses, three nurse practitioners, three family physicians and seven medical office assistants.

Recruitment efforts are ongoing to build out the centre’s full staffing capacity, which is located at the Baker St. Professional Centre at 1311 2nd St. N, formerly known as the Baker St. Mall.

Some specific services offered include urgent care, maternity care and allied health services, delivered in a team-based environment.

“All members of the health care team are integral to providing comprehensive care. Through a collaborative approach, we regularly communicate with each other, along with patients, regarding how best to support those with complex medical and social needs,” said. Dr. Dubois. “I think patients benefit greatly from having access to the team.”

Some days can include up to 100 visits, according to staff.

“The UPCC typically has more than 100 visits per day, and patients are connected with the health-care provider that best meets their needs such as a physician, nurse, physiotherapist, social worker and so on,” said Tara Fiedler-Graham, nurse practitioner. “We are fortunate to have PCN community services housed within the centre. These services provide timely and affordable access to allied health.”

An example of services offered at the Cranbrook UPC include physiotherapy after a Cranbrook resident needed care to treat golfer’s elbow.

“On my first visit with the physiotherapist, I was provided information on the problem, as well as instructed on exercises that would be beneficial to the healing process,” said Katy Fedorchuk.

“Being taught when and how to properly do these exercises resulted in a significant improvement over the two-week period between my appointments. I found the process all very straight forward, supportive and timely — the UPCC is in a good location, staff are friendly, and I was happy to have access to this health care service.”

The UPCC is currently open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on statutory holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.