Newcomers to Canada living in Burnaby, New Westminster and the surrounding areas will benefit from a new health clinic created and operated by the Burnaby Division of Family Practice and Fraser Health.
Newcomers often find it challenging to navigate the health care system because of barriers such as language, finances and a lack of family and social support. The clinic provides services for immigrants and refugees who do not currently have a family physician and who have been living in Canada for less than three years to help meet those challenges. Patients receive education about their own health and how B.C.’s health care system works. This includes information about making and keeping appointments, healthy eating and exercise, and taking medication if needed.
“Burnaby is a diverse and growing community and I would like to thank all those involved in the opening of the new Global Family Care Clinic,” said Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee. “New residents often have a lot to take in when they arrive in Canada and having a clinic that offers culturally supportive health services, including access to interpreters, can make a huge difference. This clinic is also a great example of how our Nurse Practitioners for BC program is benefitting communities throughout B.C.”
Kimberley Reid, a nurse practitioner with Fraser Health, is funded through the Ministry of Health’s Nurse Practitioners for British Columbia program. Reid works at the clinic together with consulting family physicians from the Burnaby Division and specialists, as needed, to ensure patients with complex health concerns receive the care they need.
“At Global Family Care Clinic, we don’t just diagnose illness and prescribe medications, but we take a person’s life circumstances into consideration,” says Reid. “We are the coordinator of their health care and work closely with other health and settlement providers who help secure appropriate housing, English language training, and other resources.”
The clinic provides holistic primary health care to newcomers, including pregnant women, new mothers, children, and families. The clinic also has the ability to offer interpreters who speak over 150 languages, in person or by telephone.
“At the clinic, we work as a team to help newcomers to Canada navigate the health care system and settle into life in Canada,” said Dr Charlene Lui, family physician and chair of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice. “In response to the often-insurmountable language barrier for newcomers, the clinic’s capacity to work with interpreters at no additional cost to patients helps us to ensure that patients’ health care needs are being addressed. The Global Family Care Clinic is a tremendous opportunity for nurse practitioners, family physicians and community services to work together to enhance the health and lives of some of this community’s most vulnerable families.”
Global Family Care Clinic is a transitional place where individuals and families are seen for 18-24 months while they are settling into their communities and learning about the health care system. When they are ready, they will be offered help finding a family doctor in their community for continuing care.
The clinic is located in the heart of the multicultural Highgate neighborhood at 7315 Edmonds Street and can be easily accessed by public transit.
Referrals are accepted from local organizations that identify families who can benefit from the nurse practitioner’s services. Health care, social service and settlement service providers can refer patients to the clinic. People are seen by appointment only, rather than on a walk-in basis.