Ontario’s Community Health Centres (CHCs) are your best defense in chronic disease prevention and management.
CHCs are all about keeping people well and keeping communities healthy. They provide primary care services with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. They work with local residents to build the capacity of the community to improve its general health.
Typical CHC teams include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, health promoters, community health workers and often chiropodists, nutritionists or dieticians.
The Belleville and Quinte West CHC operates in two locations: one in Belleville and the other in Quinte West. The centre’s clients include young families, working singles and families; single mothers, youth, seniors, newcomers, people living in poverty, and people struggling with mental health and addictions challenges. Everyone is welcome and the Centre pays particular attention to those who experience difficulty accessing health care and struggle with physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging in their community.
You don’t have to have a family doctor or Nurse Practitioner at the Centre to participate in many of its programs and services. They offer a wide range of free group programs and services to everyone to improve health and well-being, and they help connect people to community resources like financial, legal and housing assistance; child and family services; Good food box and Good Baby Box programs, to name a few. They also have a not-for-profit full time emergency dental clinic available to those who have minimal coverage through Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Health Smiles or have no dental coverage or very low income.
Their 6-week self-management workshop helps people living with or caring for someone with a chronic condition to better manage their symptoms. Chronic conditions can include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, lung disease, depression or other ongoing health issues.
The workshop covers a range of subjects including:
- Dealing with the emotional, physical and social aspects of living with a chronic condition
- Managing symptoms and medications, and treating side-effects
- Improving communication with health care team members
- Leading a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, making action plans and setting goals.
People of all stages in life benefit from good nutrition and physical activity. Group programs include: understanding nutrition and grocery shopping, weight management, indoor and outdoor walking, and seated exercise. Also, community resource workers can help individuals and families needing support or advocacy around day to day challenges such as:
- Completing forms and applications
- Finding out or accessing Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Programs
- Information on local food banks, resources, social clubs and supports
- Where to turn for legal issues, and child and family services
- How to get involved in education, training or community programs
Ontario’s Community Health Centres work to create better health for all. To learn more about the services available in your community, reach out to the centre nearest you.