One in three farmers met the criteria for depression in a survey of farmers across Canada. In this same survey, 40% of farmers reported they would feel uneasy getting help because of what other people think. But there are many supports available, and there shouldn't be a stigma on mental health. Farming has its own unique stresses, and Gateway is working to address some of these issues.
On Wednesday, January 23 a meeting hosted by Hensall Co-op saw over 100 poultry producers gather for a regional meeting where they discussed topics like chicken health, barn construction, market conditions, and even their own mental and lung health. Gwen Devereux, talked about the founding of Gateway, and some of the programs we have run to date. One such program is Lonely No More, an outreach program that targets isolated rural seniors that might be dealing with loneliness, and its affect on overall well being.
The talk with poultry producers was joined by Rose-Marie Dolinar by web conference. Rose-Marie has previous experience with this group, having conducted a Lung Health Study that investigated ways to improve proper respirator use (Results posted HERE). Rose-Marie is currently doing research on resiliency at the University of Calgary, and wanted to make an important distinction between mental health and resiliency.
Mental Health affects how we think, feel and act, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Resilience is the process of adapting well, "bouncing back" when significant sources of stress occur, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, threat of loss of livelihood.
There are many mental health resources available: talk with family, friends, health providers, faith leaders, and get lots of rest! If you become exhausted or depressed or have high levels of anxiety, get help immediately.
The path to mental wellness is achieved by taking time for yourself, making healthy choices and having supportive friends along the way. Do the activities you love, with people who make life fun, and acknowledge that we all need a little help sometimes.
Gateway CERH & Nipissing University are once again collaborating to provide placement for community projects as part of the Nipissing University Distant Learning Program. This semester a Gateway Board Member Gwen Devereaux RN is mentoring two nursing students.This is the third cohort of nursing students that Gateway has hosted. Devereaux stated she really enjoys assisting these ambitious and dedicated students who are working full time in our communities and at the same time, carrying out a study and placement program, that over five years will lead to a BScN.
“I graduated from HealthKick’s local Practical Nursing Program and began my nursing career in 2010 as a Registered Practical Nurse in Wingham & District Hospital. The fact that I would be able to pursue a college education in a field I loved and was passionate about was very important. Being able to obtain my education locally was extremely instrumental in where I am today. To further develop my nursing career while working with Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance, I returned to school to obtain my nursing degree (RPN-BScN Distance Learning Program) at Nipissing University. The opportunity to work with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health to complete part of my program locally,means everything.”
“I currently am working on my 3rd year of the Bachelor of Nursing Degree from Nipissing University. I completed a Bachelor of Health Science (2005) from Western University and the Practical Nursing Program(2013) from Georgian College, through HealthKick in Huron County. I am currently working as an RPN at AMGH while completing my community nursing semester. I am excited to be working for 4 months with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.”
Gwen Devereaux R.N.
Vice President Gateway Board of Directors
“We are very happy to assist our nursing students this year. Gateway’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of rural residents through research, education and communication. We are always interested in researching health issues relevant to our local community members. There is no better way than to assist our local health care professionals to advance their education. Once again we have two very bright students and we are delighted to help.”
Al & Hickmott have identified a need for information and education around the legalization of recreational cannabis. They are looking at strategies to increase community awareness. Gateway CERH is very interested in learning from this important project.
Huron County is thrilled to announce a new service for the communities of this region. Dr Alexandrea Peel, Geriatrician, has opened clinics at Goderich, Clinton and Wingham Hospitals.
Dr Peel grew up on a farm near Wingham and has returned with her husband Andy (from the Lucknow area) and new son Cohen. After completing medical school, a residency in internal medicine and her fellowship in Geriatrics, all leading her to several communities across Ontario, she chose to come home.
We are an aging population. This region has a higher proportion of elderly residents than similar communities in Ontario. An influx of retiring seniors from urban areas attracted to the beauty of the region and the strong medical services contributes to the need for specialized services of this nature.
A geriatrician is an internal medicine physician with additional training in caring for older adults with complex health care needs and assisting their caregivers with their care. Geriatricians provide a comprehensive consultation and treatment plan as well as follow up visits in collaboration with family doctors or nurse practitioners. Examples of common reasons to see a geriatrician include multiple health problems, hospitalizations or emergency visits, multiple medication side effects, falls, memory problems, or trouble managing at home. Dr. Peel also provides home visits and visits to long-term care or retirement home or to hospital inpatients when required. A referral from your family doctor or nurse practitioner is required.
We are very fortunate to have a tremendous health care system with hospitals, family health teams, long term care facilities, home care, a rural health research centre and retirement communities and now we have an opportunity to deliver advanced specialized care to more individuals. Adding a Geriatrician is an important step for our community. Dr. Peel hopes to secure funding from the community and the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care to develop a specialized interdisciplinary team who can respond to urgent health concerns of frail older adults and their caregivers. The goal is to provide the system navigation and medical intervention to prevent reliance on the emergency department and hospital system for issues that can be managed in the community. This team would be closely supported by Geriatricians, Geriatric Psychiatrists, and Care of the Elderly Physicians.
To determine the older patient’s state of health Dr. Peel does a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Her new consultations are usually 1.5- 2 hours in length. Evidence has shown this intervention improves quality of life and health outcomes for older adults.
Across Canada there are only approximately 300 physicians specifically trained in geriatrics. “It is our goal to establish excellent accessible senior care in this region and we look forward to communicating with key stakeholders in our community” said Devereaux.
Dr Peel is also a clinical teacher who hosts other prospective Geriatricians and Care of the Elderly Resident Doctors from Western University. Her first resident arrived this fall! She hopes to attract more Geriatricians, Geriatric Psychiatrists, and Care of the Elderly Physicians to practice in rural areas.
“I am so lucky to be warmly welcomed back to the community I grew up in. Caring for older people and their caregiver requires a village of supporters. All of the family doctors and family health teams, hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, Alzheimer’s societies, senior’s mental health services, geriatric nurses have been so helpful in setting up my practice. There is lots of work to be done and I have the best team around me” said Dr. Peel.
Newly elected Mayor of Goderich John Grace said “Welcome Dr Peel! Your arrival means so much to the delivery of healthcare to rural Ontario and in particular within our region. With the demographic shift in rural Ontario, it is absolutely essential to have a Geriatrician as one of our healthcare providers to complement the growing need. This is welcome news. As Mayor of Goderich, I couldn’t be happier.”