A new service to be based at Abbotsford Regional Hospital will see University of the Fraser Valley student volunteers helping to connect community resources to patients who are being discharged.
Jena Kruckenberg and Mia Harries, two UFV students in child and youth studies and kinesiology respectively, are working together to launch the Resource Navigation program in partnership with the hospital and the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice, where both are also part-time employees.
The Resource Navigation program will see UFV students from a range of disciplines volunteering in a kiosk at the hospital where patients being discharged can access information about community resources.
“It’s a person-first approach to health care,” said Kruckenberg, who plans to be a hospital-based child-life specialist. “If the community can intervene soon enough in areas related to determinants of health, it might prevent further problems. We hope to point people in the right direction.”
“And our service will also provide a sympathetic ear as people leave the hospital,” said Harries. “Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, to hear their stories. That can be part of the process of recovery.”
The program will also benefit the student volunteers, who will come from a range of disciplines and be working toward careers in the health-care system and related areas.
The Resource Navigation program will have a soft launch in January, followed by a formal launch in April. The two student organizers are structuring the program in a way that their successors can take it over once they graduate this spring.
They are receiving volunteer applications from students from many different disciplines.
“We are creating a care team made up of future doctors, nurses, and health care specialists,” said Kruckenberg.
Harries and Kruckenberg were inspired by Michelle Favero, their supervisor at the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice (which represents local family physicians).
She challenged them to take on a project to improve service to the community based on the determinants of health.
They worked closely with the Abbotsford Food Bank to identify community resources to promote to patients being discharged.