Capilano University training health professionals in rural and remote First Nations communities

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NORTH VANCOUVER B.C. – A lack of accessible services is too often the reality for residents of northern and rural First Nations communities. To help solve this problem, Capilano University is working with Carrier Sekani Family Services and local health professionals on a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education. 

The year-long Rehabilitation Therapy Support Skills pilot program, which started in May 2017, provides additional training to health professionals already working in rural and remote First Nations communities, enabling them to support occupational therapists and physiotherapists who provide itinerant services or consultations to these remote communities. Rehabilitation is critical to restoring function and maintaining mobility and independence after injury, illness or diseases that affect physical functioning.

Katherine King, a community nurse with Carrier Sekani Family Services, enrolled in the program that is being delivered in Vanderhoof so she could better help her clients recover from illness or injury. 

“Having these services available in isolated areas such as the ones we work in is a great opportunity for our clients,” says King. 

Her own mother was unable to travel two-and-a-half hours from Burns Lake to Prince George to receive rehabilitation services after she fractured her hip, and there were no health professionals with training in rehabilitation who could visit her at home. 

Brad Martin, Capilano University’s dean of the Faculty of Education, Health & Human Development, is proud the collaboration with a local health partners is helping to address a province-wide problem.

“This pilot could be expanded to other rural, Aboriginal communities in B.C. to provide better healthcare” says Martin. 

Curriculum development and delivery for the pilot project was supported in part by Robin Roots, a practicing physiotherapist and clinical educator in northern B.C.

“This initiative is a key first step towards building a sustainable foundation for community-based rehabilitation services in remote First Nations communities,” says Roots. “Through an increase in local capacity and skills, rural patients will be able to benefit from enhanced rehabilitation focused on improving their mobility, function and independence.”

About Capilano University
Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. The University offers 99 programs, including bachelor’s degrees in areas as diverse as film, jazz, early childhood education and tourism management. Capilano University enrols approximately 10,500 students each year, 8,200 in for-credit programs and 2,300 in non-credit courses. Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. Our campuses are located on the territories of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Sechelt (shíshálh), Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

About Carrier Sekani Family Services
Carrier Sekani Family Services has been working hard to offer holistic wellness services for our 11 member Nations for more than 27 years. Our organization was created to reassert First Nations control of justice, health, social and family services, all of which have suffered through the process of colonization. Our staff work together across various disciplines to provide the best possible holistic wellness services to First Nations people in Carrier and Sekani territory. We offer a wide scope of services, all aimed at supporting holistic wellness for our community members. All of our programs are built on a strong cultural foundation, uniquely blended with leading evidence-based approaches.

For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact: 

Cheryl Rossi
Senior Communications Advisor
Capilano University
t: 604 983 7596
c: 778 879 7119
e: cherylrossi@capilanou.ca 

Submitted by: Cheryl Rossi


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