Programming Connection

Chronic Health Navigation Program 

ASK Wellness Centre
Kamloops and Merritt, British Columbia
2014

Quick Facts

Goal (immediate)

To provide acute support for people living with HIV, hepatitis C or other chronic illnesses to stabilize their housing, health and finances

Goal (ultimate)

To improve client health outcomes, to increase clients’ independence in achieving those outcomes and to reduce the number of people accessing acute care inappropriately

Population

People living with hepatitis C, People living with HIV

Participants

People living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C or other chronic illnesses

Type of Program

Support

Setting

Community

Required Resources
  1. Health navigators
  2. Sustained, base funding
Scope and Duration

120 clients. Ongoing.

Date Started

2010

Region

Kamloops and Merritt, British Columbia

Recruitment

Referrals

Challenges
  1. Structural financial barriers. The Chronic Health Navigation Program supports vulnerable people on fixed incomes. User fees for services are a significant barrier to the work of navigators. Clients do not necessarily have full coverage for the services or medications they need. ASK Wellness Centre has developed a small fund to cover the cost of these fees so that clients can access the healthcare services they need.
  2. Healthcare provider education. Especially in smaller communities outside of Kamloops, healthcare providers have not had as much education on the social determinants of health, HIV and hepatitis C as their peers in larger centres and this can sometimes pose a barrier between clients and adequate healthcare.
  3. Lack of services. While Kamloops is one of the largest centres in the interior of British Columbia, there few HIV or hepatitis C specialists in the area.
  4. Inequity of health services. In the rural areas and communities surrounding Kamloops, comprehensive health services are insufficient to meet demand, and this can lead to health inequities among community members.
Evaluation

An assessment conducted by ASK Wellness Centre in 2010 estimated that its case management of clients with chronic health conditions cost $46,300 but saved the City of Kamloops $81,000 in health services.

On the basis of its Streets to Homes to Health (and now to Employment) model of service, ASK Wellness tracks:

  • the number of people housed and retention in housing after six months
  • the number of referrals from ASK Wellness housing to health services
  • the number of people accessing HIV, hepatitis C and other diagnostic testing
  • the number of people supported to manage their illness
  • the number of referrals to addictions programs

ASK Wellness is currently developing measures to track the impact of its employment programs.

Success is also measured through anecdotal evidence that clients’ health and lives are improving as a result of their involvement with a health navigator.