VCH Public Health team members (L-R): Cheryl Pepin, Dana Sherman, Tara Deeth, Gerri Meade, Manon Chateauneuf.

Public Health and Primary Care join forces at Foundry North Shore

When Foundry North Shore opens in early summer, one of the site’s core services will be unique to the North Shore – a dedicated medical clinic for youth 12 to 24.

“Currently, there is no primary care geared solely for youth and young adults on the North Shore,” says Tara Deeth, Child and Youth Program Leader, Public Health Nursing Team. “We run youth health clinics, but this is new in that a doctor, nurse practitioner along with public health nurses will be onsite to address any health issues a young person might have when they walk through the door looking for help or support.”

As well as primary care and public health services, Foundry North Shore will also offer mental health services, substance use services, and youth and family peer support and navigation as well as social supports (e.g. vocational and housing services). It will be located at 211 West 1st. St., North Vancouver.

Youth health clinics at Parkgate Community Centre and West Community Health Centre will continue to operate for teens up to 19 while the clinic at John Braithwaite Community Centre will relocate to Foundry North Shore (just a block away) and be available to young people up to age 24.

Foundry’s youth medical clinic will be open five days a week. And like the other two clinic sites, a care card will not be needed.

Public health seeing more mental health

“Co-locating and being integrated into Foundry North Shore will maximize services and allow our public health nurses to work along side our mental health and community partners,” says Tara.

“While many youth come for contraceptives and STI testing, we have been seeing an increase in mental health issues over the last few years and it is the hope that the Foundry will allow a seamless referral and follow-up process for youth,” says Tara.

“Being together under one roof with other supports, like mental health and substance use counselling, will definitely reduce barriers youth can face accessing these services.”

GPs and an NP at Foundry North Shore

Dr. Haley Broker, one of the GPs who will be onsite at Foundry North Shore, says it’s important for youth to be attached to a family physician. An Nurse Practitioner will also be onsite.

“Many youth I see don’t have a doctor,” says Dr. Broker. “Most are seen by their parents’ physician but probably haven’t gone in 10 years and are not interested in seeing the same doctor as their parents. They worry that the parents’ doctor will inform the mother or father about their health issues, not understanding family physicians cannot break confidentiality to a parent.”

Dr. Haley Broker.

Under the Infant’s Act, youth can choose their own health care options as long as the physician believes they understand the treatment and any consequences. Youth also have the right to choose their own physician.

When Dr. Broker first heard about a place like Foundry opening on the North Shore, she thought it was a fantastic concept.

“There isn’t a place that envelopes everything like Foundry will,” she says.

“We might not all be onsite at the same time, but youth will be able to get more easily connected to a full array of services. Youth can walk in, see a nurse, Nurse Practitioner or doctor if they require primary care, be heard right away and be treated with respect. They will feel confident that they are being listened to and will be able to get the help they need.”

Dr. Broker says it’s especially important that youth in transition are connected with a physician and are regularly followed, and “not just dropped and abandoned at age 20 or 24 when youth clinics are no longer able to offer care.”

“There is such potential to change someone’s life for the positive when caring for youth,” says Dr. Broker.

More stories on Foundry North Shore

Follow Foundry North Shore on Facebook and Instagram (foundry_northshore). Website coming soon.

Contact Tanis Evans or Terry Bulych for more information

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