COVID-19 has demonstrated clearly that health and wellness require a collective response – one that includes both healthcare providers and the community. It’s vital that hospitals and physicians have the practical resources they need, and that patients have access to physicians and wellness information to stay well.
Locally, the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice works to bridge the efforts of physicians, healthcare and social service providers, and residents, improving the community’s overall wellness in the process.
“We are wholeheartedly invested in the community and in the well-being of the people of Abbotsford,” says Monica Mamut, Executive Director of the Division, a network of primary care specialists including family doctors, hospitalists, long-term care doctors and emergency doctors.
One of 34 Divisions of Family Practice across the province, the Division is a non-profit society that leads in partnership to support primary care specialists in the delivery of optimal health care, according to the needs of the growing community of Abbotsford, through physician recruitment and retention, mentoring, research, education and advocacy. The Division seeks to ensure that all the people of Abbotsford have access to quality primary health care, provided by primary care specialists who are committed to the wellness of our community.
The Division partners include the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health Authority, First Nations Health Authority, pharmacies, countless community service and education partners, and the City of Abbotsford. Together, they work to enhance patient care throughout the healthcare system and create healthier communities.
With delivery of care informed by the necessities of COVID, medical teams are finding new, innovative and safe ways of delivering care, pivoting quickly with limited funding.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division’s recent collective work includes:
- COVID-19 testing site: Division-run at the MSA arena in March, and now FHA-run at the University of the Fraser Valley.
- Influenza vaccine clinics: Community pharmacies and family doctor clinics have rethought their usual flu vaccine processes to provide flu shots in a COVID-safe way. A listing of flu clinics can be found on ImmunizeBC’s Flu Locator webpage.
- Respiratory Assessment: Primary care specialists are operating a respiratory assessment site so that family doctors’ offices and emergency rooms can remain open and be less busy to better provide care.
Outside of COVID-19, the Division supports primary care specialists to provide preventive care, recognizing this as a vital activity in supporting residents’ health and wellness, with the added benefit of easing pressure on the medical system. The Division also works to recruit and retain community doctors, and to connect residents without a family doctor with a primary care specialist, which in turn helps redirect non-acute cases from emergency rooms.
“The hospital is primarily for acute, often-emergent care, but it has come to be the first place people go if they don’t have access to a primary care specialist,” Mamut notes. “We’re really working to integrate the full system of healthcare.”
Working to stay connected with the community, the Division is active with the Abbotsford News, local radio and on social media channels, sharing useful information such as where to get COVID-19 testing or flu shots, and what primary care specialists and healthcare workers are doing to improve your health and wellbeing