New research initiative explores mental health care in rural communities
A team of professionals from Providence Care has been awarded a grant from the Associated Medical Services of Ontario that will improve compassionate mental health services in rural communities.
Rosemary Brander, Karin Carmicheal, and Yola Oczkowski worked with colleagues from Queen’s University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to apply to the AMS Phoenix Project. The project, A Call to Caring, believes that the best healthcare is provided when caregivers can balance human compassion with technical expertise.
Now, the team will work together to conduct research with community members in Napanee, Sharbot Lake and Verona, to discover the best ways to compassionately serve persons with complex mental health needs.
“We have lots of ideas from our own experiences as to how we should offer services that are helpful to our clients,” said Rosemary, “but we recognize that we really need to talk to clients, their families, and the communities that are supporting them to learn how we can do it better.”
Their research process will include conducting interviews and focus groups with many different members of the rural communities to better understand the different community needs for better services.
“We are focused not only with patients and families but also with community services providers, healthcare and others,” said Rosemary, “this could be police officers, municipal workers, community care workers as well as healthcare professionals.”
Beginning in September, the year-long initiative could potentially lead to other grant opportunities to implement the results of their research.
“It’s really exploratory,” said Rosemary, “not trying to prescribe the answer but going forward with an open mind about how we can improve care. What’s important is that we are investigating how we can improve services with our stakeholders.”