- Health Centre
- Community Health Services
- Outreach Clinic
- UBC Medical Training Sites
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.
Logging, fishing, farming, tourism and services, forestry, ranching, service industries, value-added wood manufacturing and government agencies
Town Population: 807 (2016 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: 5 (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.
Bella Coola Valley Health Services Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0 P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
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)
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.
There are anaesthesia services in this community.
This community has surgical services, including: major, minor, orthopedic, and general surgery.
Bella Coola Valley Health Services Lab Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0 P: 250 799-5311 | F: 250 799-5635
This community has a blood bank.
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 Service provides coverage to this community, including Air Ambulance services.
Hospital Alexander Mackenzie Commemorative Pharmacy Box 220, 1025 Elcho Street Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0 P: 250 799-5432 | F: 250 799-5611
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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”
% low: 70% % medium: 25% % high: 5%
Practice per Day: 45
Physician per Day: 20
Resident per Day: early in rotation 8-10, later up to 15
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
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