The Cypress Regional Health Authority board approved $170,000 in funding to proceed with functional planning for the Wellness Centre which will be incorporated into Swift Current's Integrated Facility.
The Health Authority approved the funding during their Sept. 25 meeting in Maple Creek, clearing the way for the Cypress Health Region to further explore the amenities they would be looking for in the multi-use project.
"We've been talking with them about how do we partner to create a Wellness Centre that would allow us to better manage and assist people to better manage their own healthcare," Cypress Health Region Chief Executive Officer Beth Vachon explained following the meeting.
"Part of what we needed to do as a next step in our partnership with the City of Swift Current was to start to do some functional planning. So what functional planning does is it allows us to look at what are the services we would consider for a new space. What would the space requirements be? How would the adjacencies happen within that space so we've got the right people working in close contact with other people."
Based on programming offered through Winnipeg's Seven Oaks facility, the Cypress Health Region's Wellness Centre would also be looking at bringing healthcare services together under one roof in order to provide improved team-based care.
Vachon noted there are numerous benefits to this type of consolidation.
"We know that often times there could be services we could offer in a better or different way for patients. So when we start to get all of our health professionals in close proximity to each other we know that how health teams start to work with patients can improve."
By tying in health services with the recreational facilities being explored for the Integrated Facility, they can appeal to all age groups of patients, helping make individuals physically stronger, fitter and more physically active as a starting point for their return to better health.
"If we can actually create an environment where there's opportunities for people, with supervision, to figure out what that activity plan might look like, in conjunction with a diabetic educator or a nutritionist, to really start to pull together plans for people in a way that is taking into consideration all of their health needs.
"But when we have people having to access those services independently and separate from a team of people, I don't think we can be as effective."
Vachon noted that the Health Region has been pleased with the partners involved in the process, who have all been important at the planning table.
"Its just been an ongoing discussion and dialogue about how do we partner effectively to utilize all of our limited resources in the most effective way. So we have to do the planning to really determine what it is we need, and then how do we partner with ongoing building that will take place out there into the future."
The funding approval was also timed in order to take advantage of opportunities and synergies as two school boards, the City of Swift Current, and the Cypress Health Region are involved in work developing the area behind the Cypress Regional Hospital. The two school projects remain on schedule to open for the upcoming school year, and planning work continues for the Long Term Care Facility which will be constructed adjacent to the current hospital site.
"It was good timing for this to happen, and our board agrees with us that we need to look at how do we continue to plan to ensure that the work that we're doing as a community continues to progress."