Written by Michael Marchbank, President and CEO

How do we educate the public on the appropriate use of our sites and services? Our president and CEO provides some examples.

One of the questions that comes up when I am speaking with people in our communities, or having my coffee sessions with you at the sites, is how we are educating the public on the appropriate use of our sites and services.

This is important work for us and for the health care system in general. You’ve heard me talk about the work we’re doing to support the “shift” in health care -- moving away from a system that relies heavily on hospitals and toward a system that promotes health and wellness, prevention and management. This is how we can create a more sustainable system that better supports the health needs of our citizens. And we need their help to succeed.

That’s why, through various public information campaigns, we’re helping shift some perceptions and behaviours among the 1.8 million people who call our region home. A few examples:

The overdose crisis

We recently launched a new phase of our public education work on the overdose crisis, which also has included advice on avoiding and reducing the harm from overdoses. The new Overdose is closer than you think campaign includes a video, advertisements, media release, social media posts and the distribution of a conversation guide, all based on extensive research about who is most at risk and how to talk to them about the difficult issues around substance use.

Use the ER Wisely

As the Right Care Right Place project rolls out across the health authority, we continue to promote our Use your ER Wisely messages through the media and social media, as well as in hospitals, walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices with posters, rack cards and access to medimap.ca. One phase of this campaign recently educated patients and the public about how ER triage works, while an upcoming phase demonstrates unwise uses of the ER, and a third provides options on how to prepare for the holidays when family doctors may be less available. We also run individual campaigns on messages such as the use of 8-1-1 and the Fraser Health Crisis Line.

Accessing seniors care

Seniors and their families are one of the populations we focus on for public education, to keep them independent and healthy for as long as possible, and to help them access services when they need them. We have developed informational materials and campaigns around 7 Numbers Every Seniors Needs, a Family Guide to Services for Seniors, healthy aging campaigns, and access to home health and residential care. You can find elements of these and other public education campaigns on our Newsroom and our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We will continue to promote information and campaigns like these to our public as they prove to be effective. Besides these formal methods of educating the public, I am also grateful to you, our dedicated staff, who are also our most powerful advocates out in our communities. We are 25,000 employees strong, with 2,600 physicians and 8,000 volunteers, and together we spread the word in our own ways, whether it’s talking to patients, friends and neighbours, or sharing campaigns on our own social media accounts.

We’re in this shift together, as a health authority and as citizens of our communities.

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