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East End clinic is well received by patients

Great start: staff of the Integrated Healthcare Clinic have treated scores of patients since it opened last year (File photograph)

A clinic set up to treat patients with mental health issues and chronic conditions has helped 145 patients in the last year.

The Integrated Healthcare Clinic, which runs out of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre at Southside, was established in July 2021 to provide care for those living in the East End.

Having launched in July 2021, the IHC offers people in the East End who need mental health and chronic illness services a place to receive care closer to home.

In the year it has been open, 145 patients have been seen at the IHC and there have been more than 500 patient consultations. Services include mental health, diabetes, and asthma services, as well as the patient-centred medical home (PCMH) which sees patients who have one or more chronic illnesses, but who do not have insurance or who are underinsured.

Anna Neilson-Williams, the clinic’s project leader and chief of psychiatry, said the venture had been “a very positive experience”.

Dr Neilson-Williams said: “For mental health clients especially, it provides a more relaxed feel, compared to visiting the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, but across all the services people appreciate having their regular appointments closer to home.

“We have managed through multiple Covid waves, using remote consults when required for safety. This means just over a quarter of our patient encounters have been via telephone, but the feedback has been consistent that using this location improves access and experience of patients.”

Scott Pearman, the deputy chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hospitals Board, added: “We are so pleased at the positive response from patients who have been using the IHC, and we are excited about next steps.

“The IHC is part of a broader strategy at BHB to improve access to care, and improve the outcomes for and wellbeing of our community.

“Our integrated approach is to listen to and work with our patients to make improvements, bring hospital services closer to people who need them, and coordinate more closely with our partners in the community.”

The clinic has been run as a pilot scheme to explore whether delivering treatments close to home has an impact on patients.

The feedback has been positive. One patient said: “I am disabled and the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre is not a long walk as parking is close and always available — not like the other places.”

Another added: “What was good about my care at the IHC was the pleasant receptionist on the front line, the sincerity and concern of the nurse in attendance, and location … location … location. Parking is never an issue.”

A third patient, who was not named, compared their experiences with previous treatment at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

According to a BHB spokeswoman, the patient said: “As soon as you pull into MWI and get out of your car the stigma starts — it’s with Bermudians, period.

“If you actually go inside the building it’s worse — not from the psychiatric staff but from other staff like security, That’s when it really starts.

“When I went over to the clinic even though the hospital part wasn’t open, I didn’t have those types of feelings — feeling like anyone was watching or was going to say something — when I walked in.

“I felt so much more relaxed going to my therapy because the whole atmosphere was 100 per cent different in a real positive way. ”

The patient added; “When I would leave MWI, although I may have had a very good session, the stress kicks right back in just like it did when I entered. All the people seeing me and looking, and me feeling bad about myself and my situation.

“Coming out in St David’s, I feel refreshed it’s really hard to explain the depth of it, but the good feeling from the session stayed with me and that’s the first time I had experienced that feeling in all the years that I’ve been in therapy. I started when I was 21 and now I’m in my 60s, so that’s a long, long, time.”

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Published September 09, 2022 at 1:00 pm (Updated September 27, 2022 at 2:07 pm)

East End clinic is well received by patients

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