West Winds Primary Health Centre is celebrating 10 years of service in the community in 2016.

West Winds, located on the west side of Saskatoon, is a partnership between the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Health Region that jointly delivers primary health in a neighbourhood setting.  West Winds also offers outstanding research and program evaluation opportunities for students in medicine and health sciences.

“We are very proud of our centre and all the work done to help people over the past 10 years,” said Jacki Veregin, Manager and Site Administrator at West Winds. “We respect our clients and are honored to work with our teams. Clients tell me regularly that we make a difference in their lives with everything that we offer here.”

West Winds Primary Health Centre

West Winds Primary Health Centre turns 10 this year.

Services at West Winds

Services at West Winds include Prenatal Classes, Academic Family Medicine (College of Medicine), Breastfeeding Centre and Pumping Room, LIVEWELL Chronic Disease Management, Food for Thought, Healthy and Home, Healthy Mother Healthy Baby, Home Care, Nurse Practitioners, Speech and Language Therapy, Client Patient Access Service, Pharmacy Educators, along with Population and Public Health including Child Health and Dental Clinics, Health Promoting Schools Initiative, Public Health Nutrition, Health Promotion, Older Adult Wellness and Postnatal support, among others.

Academic Family Medicine is a part of the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. Physicians provide first-line medical care to patients of all ages emphasizing patient-centered care and continuity of care.  Family Medicine also has a responsibility to teach medical residents and students about family medicine and to participate in research.

LIVEWELL Chronic Disease Management offers medical management, education, exercise and self-management programs and services for people living with a chronic disease. Among their offerings are men’s cooking classes for those whose limited culinary skills are a barrier to healthy eating, and adult diabetes clinics for general diabetes and diabetes in pregnancy.

“We made some changes in the past year, and now we schedule clients at these clinics so they can see the Internal Medicine Specialist, Nurse, and Dietitian, all in one appointment, instead of having to come three separate times,” said Veregin.

In the past year, Client Patient Access Services, the single-entry point to access Community Services and Long Term Care in the Saskatoon Health Region, at West Winds has expanded. Assessment and case management services are provided by Client Care Coordinators who help people to connect with the appropriate health care services in the community.

The Population and Public Health: Healthy Families department has had great success in offering drop in immunization clinics at West Winds Primary Health Centre and they work together with the Academic Family Medicine team to offer “shared care” well-baby clinics. This has been a huge success for families who have an opportunity to request the services. The Population and Public Health Dental Clinic continues to provide dental services at no charge to children aged one to 18 who live in the health region. All children require significant dental treatment to restore their health.

Food for Thought is a group program designed to support pregnant and parenting women who live with a variety of conditions that place them and their children at risk. Operating for over 20 years, the program provides hands-on experience in the kitchen with emphasis on good nutrition, which supports women in developing the skills they need to improve health and well-being for themselves and their children.

Food For Thought continues to maintain close links with several West Winds teams. The Nurse Practitioner provides birth control teaching and support, in addition to medical care, consultation and referrals to participants and their infants and children. Clients access immunization and well-baby clinics through Population and Public Health, the Dental Health Educator provides teaching and resources on dental health in pregnancy and on various infant and child dental health topics, and a new West Winds dental health collaboration is supporting direct referrals for service for those women who have not had access to dental care or who do not have dental coverage. On-site Lactation Consultants provide group teaching in addition to one on one support at the Breastfeeding Centre to those new moms who are experiencing challenges.

Approximately 140 participants access Food for Thought every year, and an ongoing partnership with the Saskatoon Open Door Society provides programming to immigrant and refugee women on Wednesday mornings.

“We recently expanded our partnership with the Open Door Society so we could provide support to pregnant refugee women who have just arrived from Syria,” Veregin added. “The Open Door Society has provided an Arabic interpreter so these women can receive information, support and services in their own language.”

Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants of the Healthy & Home program work closely with the Maternal Newborn Care Unit at Royal University Hospital to provide health care follow-up to mothers and their newborns after hospital discharge.

In the past year, the service focused on improving the efficiency of transfer of care from hospital to community (RPIW132), which resulted in the adoption of more standardized processes with an online booking system. Clinic appointments are now offered out of the West Winds Primary Health Centre as a viable alternative to home visits. Appointments are also available in the Breastfeeding Centre.

As part of the Healthy & Home Program, Lactation Consultants also host a weekly Breastfeeding Café, a drop-in peer support program for breastfeeding moms.

“This past year, the Café saw record numbers, with some sessions attracting up to 30 moms and babies,” said Julie Smith-Fehr, Manager of Healthy & Home. “In addition, the Postpartum Anxiety and Depression Support Program continues to be successful due to the collaboration between Healthy & Home, SHR Mental Health Services, and the Saskatoon Community Clinic.”

In 2011, West Winds Primary Health Centre achieved Baby-FriendlyTM designation as awarded by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a global program launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to recognize hospitals and community health centres that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.

“We are just getting ready for our re-designation in October 2016, and all teams at West Winds are involved, “Veregin said”.

The Healthy Mother Healthy Baby Program has seen 350 referrals in the past year. This program seeks to promote optimal pregnancy outcomes and healthy lifestyle choices by providing support, education, counselling, advocacy and referrals for hard to reach at-risk pregnant teens and women in the context of their family and community.

Healthy Mother Healthy Baby is provided in high schools within Saskatoon, and as well at venues like West Winds Primary Health Centre or in the home. Health Nurses, Outreach Workers and a Nutritionist provide information and education on prenatal growth and development, labour and delivery, breastfeeding, family planning, parenting and food security. The program offers milk, vitamin and mineral supplementation for pregnant teens and women whose diets are poor and whose incomes are inadequate to meet basic daily requirements. The program strives to be respectful and sensitive to the cultural differences of its clients and their families.

Prenatal Classes for Saskatoon Health Region are a sister program of Healthy Mother Healthy Baby and classes are offered at West Winds regularly on week days and weekends. A new on-line version is also very popular.

Home Care has a treatment area at West Winds, providing care and other nursing care to ambulatory community clients five days a week. Approximately 20 to 25 clients a day attend the Home Care clinic.

KidsFirst, a program that works with families to ensure all children enjoy a good start in life and are nurtured by caring families and communities, also uses the kitchen, meeting space and childcare room at West Winds.

Speech-Language Pathologists based at West Winds Primary Health Centre, continue to provide Speech and Language services to 41 Pre-Kindergarten classrooms in 13 schools in Saskatoon. Classrooms in both the public and Catholic school divisions receive services. During the school year, services include speech-language assessments, therapy, hearing screenings, as well as referrals to other agencies, are provided on-location at the schools. Over the summer, therapy is provided at West Winds for Pre-Kindergarten students whose families are interested in accessing continued services.

Pharmacy Educators and Nurse Practitioners work with clients out of the facility as well, and are involved in the collaborative care of patients within the West Winds Primary Health Centre. They both regularly see patients referred by Family Medicine Physicians and Residents.

“We are very proud of the Weight/Wait No More program, which is a collaborative effort between a pharmacist, family physician, nurse practitioner, and chronic disease dietitian from West Winds,” said Veregin.

The Weight/Wait No More program promotes and teaches healthy lifestyle behaviour, approaches to changing unhealthy eating patterns, and provides an educational component to managing weight in those overweight and at risk of developing chronic disease.  The Weight/Wait No More team of professionals is also involved in the Saskatoon Health Region’s Obesity Committee to help develop programing for overweight clients residing within the Region.

“Babies, young people, pregnant moms and their support person, the middle aged and elderly all come to West Winds for one program or another,” said Veregin. “It’s truly a community here.” Veregin said “It warms my heart when I regularly hear my colleagues tell me that one of the best things about West Winds is the informal partnerships that have evolved and grown over the years. Co-location has allowed the teams to lean on one another to provide the best service they can to clients by working together.”