Clinic’s pilot project looks to keep seniors proactive

WHITE ROCK – They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away – and a doctor in White Rock is expanding on that idea.

Dr. Grace Park, a family physician on the peninsula for more than 25 years, has devoted the better part of the last five years at Fraser Health working as medical director for home health. As a family physician, Park said she’s responsible for the entire life span of her patients and in recent years, has come to see how easily frailty can develop as they reach 65 and beyond.

“It’s become really important to me to try and get to people at a stage where they’re still able to manage themselves and so that they can develop the lifestyles and habits that will keep them away from requiring acute care services. Because once they start going downhill it becomes a very rapid spiral downwards,” said Park.

White Rock’s Primary Care Access Clinic, located in the Uptown Medical centre on Johnston Road, is one of three test sites (the other two are in Langley) participating in a pilot project for Fraser Health focusing on “pre-frail” seniors.

Supported by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and partnering with a health authority in Halifax, N.S., Park said it’s a test of seeing two regions come together to share resources serving the same demographic of pre-frail seniors, typically aged between 45 and 65.

“With pre-frail we’re talking about people who are still fairly robust and able to do things for themselves and are still probably quite active in the community,” she said.

Patients will be assessed to determine their emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual and vocational well-being. The doctor will then come up with a frailty index and then work with volunteer coaches in the community to develop a healthy exercise and diet plan.

After the assessment, volunteer coaches already familiar with resources and programs in the community, work with participants via weekly phone updates to keep patients on track.

Park said that her experience as a physician has taught her many of the barriers to health care include selfmotivation or a lack of knowledge about resources. Coaches can help in that regard.

“We need somebody to kind of hold hands and encourage people until it becomes a lifestyle.”

Park said utilizing volunteers in the community enables seniors in the program to become more socially active, a critical component to prevent isolation and increased mortality rates.

“It could be as simple as doing some exercise in your own home, and then it could be joining a group in the rec centre or it could be going with a walking club from the seniors resource centre.”

After a six-month period, during which time the patients receive support and coaching, Park said she hopes the project will show stability of frailty index or even

improvement. This proactive step means to address prefrail seniors before they become hospitalized or contract serious illnesses, preventing both acute and chronic health issues. It’s something Fraser Health has focused on in recent years to take away from the burden on the health-care system dealing with sudden illnesses.

Park noted that nearly one quarter of the current generation of seniors aged over 65 will be considered frail by the time they reach 85 by poor eating habits, isolation and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

As frailty sets in, seniors are less able to recover from falling down or preventing acute illness and as a result become less independent and more reliant on health care services.

Even people who don’t live in White Rock can get started on healthy choices, said Park. The provincial government has a program through Self Management B.C. called Active Choices.

Residents anywhere in the province can call the program and receive an exercise coach and instructions on how to lead the sort of lifestyle that prevents frailty.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Corner of Fraser Highway and 152 Street traffic camera. (Surrey Cosmos)
One dead after targeted shooting in Surrey

Incident took place near shopping complex at the corner of 152 Street and Fraser Highway

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Items collected from last year’s Ocean Park Food Drive. (Contributed file photo)
Ocean Park Food Drive expands, open to residents south of 32 Avenue

Homeowners south of 32 Avenue and west of 160 Street encouraged to put donations on doorstep

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

Most Read