“We’d like our good news story to be about delivering quality, publicly-funded health-care.”
That’s the goal of Karen Johnson-Lefsrud, chief executive officer with the Luther Court Society. Last year, the society opened Luther Court Community Health Centre (CHC) as part of the Victoria Primary Care Network. Since then, a dedicated team of family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists, medical office assistants and a population health and wellness coordinator have worked tirelessly to care for nearly 1,100 patients.
“Our patients are so excited and grateful because we are blessed with wonderful providers,” said Johnson-Lefsrud. “While it’s a challenging time in healthcare, we are honoured to know that in our own little corner of Victoria, we are making a difference in people’s lives. People are being attached to a doctor or nurse practitioner and receiving first class primary health-care at our clinic – it warms my heart.”
“Everyone comes with a different passion for their job, different interests and sets of experiences. And when that team comes together, it’s magic,” said Chelsea Wozniak, Director, Luther Court CHC.
Dr. Philip Brierley joined Luther Court CHC after working in a busy Vancouver medical clinic. He’s also a fan of team-based care where everyone has a voice and team members each contribute to the patient care journey.
“I like the puzzles of medicine and interacting with patients, but I also appreciate being able to bounce ideas off of other people and learn something new, as well as teach. Staff here are eager to learn and maximize their scope of practice and if I have a question, there is always someone to ask,” he said.
“Further, the team environment allows for utilization of each individual skill set, allowing for optimal patient care with timely access.”
Patients are raving about the CHC, citing the caring and knowledgeable staff and same day access as triaged by a nurse. Debra Dunsby lives nearby and has been attached to Dr. Brierley for the last several months.
“When I walk into Luther Court CHC, I know I am in the right place. Dr. Brierley is the kindest, most thorough doctor I have ever had, the clinic is lovely, and the staff there are wonderful and so welcoming,” she said. “It’s been the best experience of my life in terms of the quality of care that I have received.”
“What a miracle of completion of a huge remodeling to bring such a beautiful, efficient new clinic to the community,” said patient and Luther Court independent living resident, Janet Chell. “I am so pleased to have been assigned my great nurse practitioner to care for me. She is thorough, knowledgeable and friendly.”
As a community health centre, Luther Court CHC is committed to serving the entire local community, not just patients attached to the clinic. Recently, the team began trialing a series of community health and wellness presentations aimed at helping attached and unattached patients to manage their own health. The plan is to eventually provide presentations aimed at chronic disease management and other health issues in person and online to the broader community.
“The team is always thinking about how we can teach, empower, and educate. How do we help people to help themselves?” said Wozniak. “We feel strongly about this – whether it’s a group of patients attending a seminar, or an online presentation for community members, we feel it is time well spent.”
“We are providing preventative care for our patients and providing education for the community at large to improve their health regardless if they are connected to a primary care provider or not,” said Olivia Parry, a nurse practitioner at Luther Court CHC. “I think we are doing an amazing job here.”
In addition to offering quality primary care and health education, the Luther Court CHC team includes a population health and wellness coordinator who connects with community partners and organizations to increase referrals and coordination of services for both patients and community members. For example, the coordinator may refer people to sessions offered at the Yakimovich Wellness Centre, which aims to help people navigate their health and aging journeys.
“My goal is to increase community connection, so people can better access the impactful resources within our neighbourhoods which can support them in living happier and healthier lives,” said population health and wellness coordinator Mackenzie Low. “We are looking at all aspects of well-being – an individual’s mental, physical, social and spiritual health to make meaningful and lasting change.”
Those affiliated with Luther Court CHC agree that the past year has been both transformative and incredibly rewarding.
“The work we undertook to make this clinic a reality was no small task, but it was so worth it,” said Karen Johnson-Lefsrud.
People living in the Shelbourne, Gordon Head and Oak Bay areas of Victoria who do not already have a current provider may be eligible to become a Luther Court CHC patient and can register through the BC Health Connect Registry at https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry/victoria.
For more information about how to become a Luther Court CHC patient, please visit https://luthercourt.org/community-health-centre/becoming-a-patient.