The Wellness Centre
What is a school based Wellness Centre? A Wellness Centre is a centralized location where students will find a number of health services for mental, sexual, and physical health, as well as health promotion strategies. It is a place where students can be assessed, treated, and referred to other programs or services as needed. The centre will provide guidance in locating any services that aren’t provided at the Wellness Centre itself.
Why do we need a Wellness Centre? Research shows that youth who have health concerns don’t perform as well in school as they might otherwise do. And students who don’t perform well in school have more health issues later in life. By bringing health services into the school, we are providing more timely and appropriate access to services in the hope that the youth will be as healthy as possible, not only while they are in school but over their lifetime.
Who is it for? It is for students and youth of the Westshore area (School District 62).
Who will work at the Centre and what will they do? The team at the Wellness Centre will be made up of Public Health Nurses (PHN), Nurse Practitioners (NP), doctors, mental health and substance use counsellors, Medical Office Assistants (MOA), students and volunteers. Whatever questions or concerns the student may have, the best suited team member(s) will provide care. The team will work together to make the student feel welcomed and their specific concerns addressed. Referral to appropriate collaborating agencies will also take place. If referrals are needed to another agency or specialist, the team will ensure the student is supported in getting the care they need. At the Centre, “Every door is the right door”. Students and volunteers will be involved in planning educational opportunities for the student body and the community.
Will it cost money? It will not cost money to speak to a team member at the centre. Prescriptions received through the clinic may not be covered by MSP.
Will I need a health care card or health number? No, but we may need some basic information from you (name, date of birth, phone number). If you require a referral to an outside agency, we will need your health number at that time.
How do I know that my information will be kept confidential? As members of the Wellness Centre, it is our duty to care for you and your information. We ask you for permission to collect your information at the first contact. We will explain fully where your information is kept and how it will be stored. If there is a need to share your information because of a safety concern, you will be made a part of the process in seeking alternate supports.
Do I have to tell my parents I have attended the centre? Will you have to tell my parents? Your information is kept confidential. We will not have to tell your parents you attended the Wellness Centre, and we do not share your information with anyone unless it involves harm to a minor. If a child (under 19) is experiencing harm or neglect, it is the responsibility of the adult working with the child to call support services to ensure the child is protected from harm. This may involve notifying the police or a child welfare worker.
What information gets reported to the RCMP? Youth in BC have a right to confidentiality and health care providers in the health center have a legal obligation to ensure that confidentiality. However if they feel there is imminent risk of serious harm to a youth then they also have a legal obligation to report the danger. So it is only under extreme circumstances that a health care provider would purposefully call police or child protection workers. If a student is using illicit drugs, the team at the Centre will work with the student to find healthier alternatives.
What do I do if I am too embarrassed to come into the centre (people will know that I have a problem)? Our goal is to make the space a comfortable, safe place for you to come and talk to someone about your concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable, let us know what we can do to improve.
Are you open outside of school hours? The clinic will be open Monday to Friday. There may be an alternate schedule determined during school breaks (winter, spring, and summer).
Can I come to the Wellness Centre if I already have a doctor? Absolutely, yes.
Will you have to report my information to my own doctor (if I have one)? No, but there may be circumstances where we need to report results to another health provider. This will not happen without you being aware and being a part of the process. We are here to help guide you.
What if I need a specialist? An appropriate referral will be made in consultation with you, and arrangements will be coordinated through the Centre to ensure you get the follow up you need.
What if I don’t like someone (doctor, PHN) who works in the clinic? If you don’t like the health care provider you have spoken to, talk to another member of the team. This is your centre and we want it to work for you.
How can I become involved? Anyone can become involved by coming to the centre and introducing yourself. A Wellness Centre phone number will be available in September. It will be available in the next newsletter.
When will it open? The date will depend on the location. Please review the Youth Clinics in the West Shore link above.
Will there be condoms available? If so, can these be put in the washrooms as well as the clinic? Condoms will be available in the centre and we will provide a place for them which will be accessible. Once we open the Centre, we will find an appropriate place.
What is the role of an MOA? The role of a Medical Office Assistant is to support the staff in the functioning of the Centre and may be the first person you meet when entering. The MOA ensures that files are kept up to date, referrals are sent to the appropriate person or agency, mark and label samples, order supplies, organize the clinic rooms, and answer phone calls. The MOA is a key player in the function of a health centre.
Will IH have resources or should we start gathering pamphlets and information? IH will have resources to provide, however, if you see something that should be included, bring it in to share with the staff at the Centre.
Will vaccines for flu and STIs be available at the clinic? Yes, during the flu season vaccines will be available at the Centre. Grade 9 vaccines will also be on hand for those that miss the school based immunization clinics organized in the fall/spring. The flu and recommended vaccines can be administered by a public health nurse at the clinic.
Will non-prescription medications be distributed at the clinic (Tylenol)? No, they will not be distributed. A doctor or a nurse practitioner needs to be consulted before medications are dispensed.
Will prescriptions be given to students? Only doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe medications. If you need a medication they will write a prescription for you. Since few medications are stored on site, it will be your responsibility to get the prescription filled at a pharmacy.
Will any drugs be kept on site? There will be no narcotics kept on site.
What services will the doctor be offering and which ones will they not offer? The doctor or nurse practitioner at the Wellness Centre will to provide medical services you would receive at any other medical clinic; however, the Wellness Centre is focused on youth health. This means linking students to additional supports as it is needed. Each student will be treated as a whole (physically, sexually, and emotionally) person.
Is there a requirement to have both male and female doctors available? There is no requirement for there to be both male and female doctors. The doctors (and nurse practitioners) who work at the Wellness Centre have a particular interest in advocating for youth and their health. If you are uncomfortable speaking to any of the doctors or team members, we will do our best to ensure that your needs are met in another way through the Wellness Centre. Doctors and nurses care about your health and well-being.
What is the protocol for youth leaving the classroom or late arrival – notes explaining absences? At times student will need to receive health care services during a regularly scheduled class. When that happens the health professional will give the student a late slip, but that slip will not mention specifically that the student was accessing the health facility.
Where will student medical files be kept? Medical files will be kept on site at the Wellness Centre; they will be accessed by only those involved in your care and will be stored safely and securely in a locked area.
How will you get feedback from the students? Will there be an advisory committee? Students are encouraged to provide feedback at any time. Staff of the Wellness Centre and students will collaborate on the process.
How will the clinic reduce stigma and encourage students to attend? With the Centre being in the school, it is accessible. Students have helped coordinate the space to be comfortable and welcoming. It is a resource centre as well as a health and wellness centre. Students are encouraged to come in and say hi.