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  • Community Information

    Bella Coola is a small and remote community approximately 450 km west of Williams Lake, located in BC’s Central Coast area. The Bella Coola Valley lies at the head of a 100 km inlet from the outer Pacific Ocean. It is home to approximately 1,900 people (2006) and it abounds in natural beauty with mountains, rivers and forests within a short distance from the village.

    The First Nations Nuxalk (pronounced Nu-hawk) people were present in the valley prior to any formal written history of the area. 50% of the population are of the Nuxalk First Nations, while the other 50% are Caucasian, most of whom are decendents of Norwegian settlers from 1894.

    Bella Coola temperatures range from 5 to 20 degrees Celsius in the summer and 5 to – 15 degrees Celsius in the winter. In the winter months, Bella Coola receives its fair share of precipitation.

    INDUSTRY:
    Logging, fishing, farming, tourism and services, forestry, ranching, service industries, value-added wood manufacturing and government agencies


    • Population

      Town Population: 95 (BC Stats, 2011 Census)
      
      Patient Catchment: 2,897 (LHA 49 - Bella Coola Valley, BC Stats 2009)
      
      Ages of Population:
      0-17: 23.3%
      18-24: 9.5%
      25-64: 53.9%
      65+: 13.4%
      (BC Stats, 2010 Figures for Bella Coola Valley)
      

    • Health Administrative Information

      Health Authority: Vancouver Coastal Health

      Health Service Delivery Area: North Shore/Coast Garibaldi

      Regional District: Central Coast

      Rural Designation: RSA community

      RRP Designation: A

      RRP Points: 39.00


    • Practitioners + Clinic information

      General Practitioners: 8 + 1 GP Locum (www.cpsbc.ca)
      
      Clinics
      Bella Coola Medical Group
      Box 220
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5342
      
      Nuxalk Health & Wellness
      Box 392
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5525 | F: 250 799-5640
      

    • 2012 socio-economic profile of Bella Coola Valley (Source: BC Government).

  • Bella Coola Health Centre
    Box 93
    Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
    P: 250 799-5441 | F: 250 799-5912
    

  • This small hospital provides acute care, extended care, and surgical care. The medical work is primarily outpatient primary care.

    • Contact Info

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services 
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
      

    • Hospital Info

      Acute Care Beds: 10

      Extended Care Beds: 5

      Emergency Care Beds: 2

      This hospital provides surgical services.

      Visiting specialists include:
      Surgery
      ENT
      Pediatrics
      Internal Medicine
      Psychiatry
      Urology
      Orthopedics
      

      Referral Hospital: Prince George (697 km)

    • Emergency Room

      There is a limited service Emergency Room in this community that provides basic acute care. It is open 24/7.

      Number of Visits Per Year: 2,032 (2009/2010 Statistics: VCHA)

      Number of Emergency Beds: 2

      Travel distance to transfer hospital (km): 697 km to Prince George.

    • Anaesthetics

      There are anaesthesia services in this community.

    • Surgery

      This community has surgical services, including:
      major, minor, orthopedic, and general surgery.
      

    • Lab services

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services Lab
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
      

    • Blood Bank

      This community has a blood bank.

    • Imaging services

      X-Ray
      Bella Coola Valley Health Services Imaging
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
      
      Ultrasound 
      This community has ultrasound services.
      
      Mammography
      Mammography services provided by BC Cancer Agency twice a year. See www.bccancer.bc.ca for details.
      
      Additional Services
      Fluoroscopy
      

    • BC Ambulance

      BC Ambulance Service provides coverage to this community, including Air Ambulance services.

    • Pharmacy

      Hospital
      Alexander Mackenzie Commemorative Pharmacy
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5432 | F: 250 799-5611
      


    • Extended Care

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services (5 beds)
      Extended Care
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5432 | F: 250 799-5611
      


    • Home Nursing

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5432 | F: 250 799-5611
      
      In-community 
      Bella Coola Health Centre
      Box 93
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5441 | F: 250 799-5912
      


    • Diabetic Nurse Educator

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services
      Diabetes and Foot Care Services
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5432 | F: 250 799-5611
      Hrs: Alternating Thursdays
      


    • Physiotherapy

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
      


    • Occupational therapy

      Bella Coola Valley Health Services
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
      


    • Mental Health and Addictions

      Mental Health Services
      Bella Coola Valley Health Services
      Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5432 ext. 231 | F: 250 799-5635
      
      In-community
      CYMH Bella Coola
      636 Cliff Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5395
      
      Alcohol & Drug Program
      P: 250 799-5523
      
      Nuxalk Health & Wellness
      Nuxalk Reserve
      P: 250 799-5525 | F: 250 799-5809
      Hrs: Mon-Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
      


    • Social workers

      Bella Coola Family Services 
      Box 217, 636 Cliff Street
      Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5395 | F: 250 799-5792
      

  • Bella Coola Community Support Society
    Violence Against Women Counseling Services
    1028 Elcho
    Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
    P: 250 799-5588
    

    • Practice Site Information

      Bella Coola Medical Group
      Box 220
      1025 Elcho Street, Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
      P: 250 799-5342 | F: 250 799-5991
      
      Physician Site Coordinator:
      Dr. Erika Cheng
      
      Manager, Physician Services:
      Cindy Aronson
      

      Practice Profile

      The clinic has big examining rooms, lots of up to date equipment such as office spirometry, slit lamp, ultrasound machine, lighted speculums etc. There is also a great clinic library and a computer with Internet connection.

      Regular days start at 8:30 am with rounds at the hospital, the clinic starts at 10 am. Wednesday and Friday mornings are for “research”. Regular days end at 5:00 pm. There is usually an hour of more formal teaching once a week. It is probably best to balance this small, isolated rural site with a rotation in a larger center.

      On-Call Schedule

      Tuesday and Saturday – 24 hours

      Hours: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

    • Training Site Information

      Medical Student Training: Yes

      Medical Student: UBC

      Family Practice Resident Site: Yes

      Medical Resident: UBC

    • Students & Residents Perspectives

      On the community
      Fantastic. Lovely people. The community is about 60% Nuxalk and 40% Caucasian and there are only about 1900 people in the entire Valley. Isolated community. Lots of unemployment and the challenges that come along with that. Worse substance abuse is EtOH, hardly any drugs other than T3s.

      On the Experience
      Given lots of responsibility from day one, which was both daunting and exciting. MDs are all available to answer questions if you have them. MDs are used to having learners present and will call you for procedures or interesting cases. A lot of pathology for a small community, including Rheumatological conditions, ACS, pancreatic and bowel cancers. Also had the opportunity to travel to Anahim Lake, a small town “Up Top” where they only have a nursing station. Third world medicine there.

      Challenges
      The remoteness and the sheer volume and complexity of the cases. For example, one night of call I was managing one woman with two different (and unrelated) forms of cancer with acute nausea, a 16 mo child with chronic renal failure, on dialysis who presented in hypertensive urgency and a man with ACS. You are responsible for helping to transfer these pts out – which is challenging but rewarding and a good experience. When on call you are also responsible for managing pts in Anahim Lake – the nursing station will call with questions that you need to manage over the phone. This isn’t city family medicine, and that was what I was looking for…but it can be a challenge!
      “No local specialists. Limited community facilities (no indoor pool, no indoor rink – but wouldn’t you rather skate on a beaver pond?). No Canadian Tire”

    • “Patient”

      % low: 70%
      % medium: 25%
      % high: 5%
      

    • Patient Load

      Practice per Day: 45

      Physician per Day: 20

      Resident per Day: early in rotation 8-10, later up to 15

    • Office Set-up

      Personnel in Office: 
      Nurses
      Nurse Practioners
      Public Health Nurses
      Physiotherapists
      Mental Health Workers
      Pharmacists
      

      Does your office have a surgical suite? Yes

      Payment Modality: Service contract

      Do you use a consistent charting system in your practice? Yes

      Is there a problem list on each chart? Yes

      Is there space for the resident to have an office an an examination room? Yes

      Would you expect the resident to rotate offices on a regular basis? No

      Technology: 
      Email
      Internet
      Healthnet in town
      Electronic Medical Records
      

    • Educational Opportunities

      Hospital Rounds: Yes, daily
      
      CME Teleconferences: Yes
      
      Conferences: Yes, there are opportunities for conferences.
      
      Journal Clubs/Reading: Yes, there are opportunities for journal clubs/reading.
      
      Computer-based: No
      
      CCFP Small group learning: No