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‘This is a crisis:’ COVID compounds health-care worker shortages in the North

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YELLOWKNIFE — Health-care facilities across Canada have been grappling with worker shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, but struggles to recruit and retain staff are nothing new in the North.

The Northwest Territories and Nunavut are no strangers to staffing gaps and service disruptions, where many communities have limited resources and are often reliant on visiting staff from Southern Canada.

But the pandemic and a shrinking national workforce has only made things worse.

“We’ve gone from a situation of kind of cheerful strain to one of real worry that we won’t be able to meet the basic coverage to keep people safe and systems functioning,” said Dr. Courtney Howard, a longtime emergency physician in Yellowknife who worked her last shift at Stanton Territorial Hospital last month.

Howard, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in public policy, said doctors who don’t usually work in the emergency department helped keep it staffed.

COVID-19 amplified staffing challenges, with many professionals working extended hours and unable to take vacation time, she said, adding shortages at health centres across the territory put additional strain on the capital’s hospital. Health services have been reduced in 14 communities across the N.W.T., including 10 where only emergency services are available.

N.W.T. Health Minister Julie Green said at the end of June the vacancy rate was 26 per cent for the territorial health and social services authority, 50 per cent for the Tlicho Community Services Agency, and 13.5 per cent for the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

Several health centres in Nunavut have also faced service reductions and temporary closures this summer due to a lack of staff.

CBC reported in June that half of the permanent nursing positions were empty at Nunavut’s health department.

The territories have long faced challenges attracting and keeping health-care staff due to their remoteness, limited access to amenities such as high-speed internet, high cost of living and a lack of adequate housing.

A 2021 survey of 847 nurses working in the North cited high rates of burnout, workplace violence, inadequate staffing levels and increasing overtime as challenges.

Of the nurses who responded, 79 per cent in the N.W.T. and 68 per cent in Nunavut said they had considered leaving their job in the past two years. Nearly half of those surveyed in Nunavut and 43 per cent in the N.W.T. said they plan to retire in the next decade.

Some positives were noted in the survey, like the northern lifestyle, ability to work in small communities, and professional growth opportunities.

Howard said another advantage the N.W.T. has over southern urban centres is an existing system to accommodate locums and established relationships with physician recruiters across the country. She added rural communities have stronger local connections that help to identify and maximize available resources.

The N.W.T. government announced new measures late last week to ease shortages, including using paramedics to provide acute care support and funding for nurses to bring loved ones north during the winter holidays.

It also announced funding incentives for territorial government employees who refer nurses for hard-to-fill positions and international travel coverage for practitioners from abroad.

The territory aims to increase the number of resident health-care professionals by at least 20 per cent by 2023.

“We know that more work is needed,” said Green, the N.W.T. health minister. “This is a crisis and it can’t be solved overnight.”

Nunavut Health Minister John Main said there have been short-term measures to recruit more nurses, like financial incentives, for the past couple of years. He said paramedics have helped meet patient needs during staff shortages.

Nunavut has also developed a five-year plan to strengthen the nursing workforce and is updating its recruitment strategy.

“We want to be an employer of choice. We want our reputation to be one that is excellent,” Main said.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association, said immediate efforts to address staffing shortages should include retention incentives and reducing administrative tasks and patient ratios so practitioners can build better relationships with patients.

“It’s not a great patient experience to come into the health care system that doesn’t really see you, that you feel like a number or a disease and you don’t have time to sit and connect with the person across from you who is trying to walk you through your pathway towards better health,” he said.

In the longer term, Lafontaine said the association wants to build on existing virtual care models, have more internationally trained providers work in Canada and create a national approach to human resources.

“That is going to make a big difference especially in area’s that are under-resourced like Canada’s North.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Emily Blake, The Canadian Press

 

 

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B.C. pharmacists to renew, issue prescriptions as part of reworked health plan

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia is expanding the power of pharmacists to renew and issue some prescriptions as part of a wide-ranging plan to relieve pressure on the province’s struggling health-care system.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday the five-year health human resources strategy aims to redesign how health staff work, as well as retain, recruit and train workers through 70 action items.

“We intend to work together with every aspect of the health-care system and with patients to develop solutions that will make a career in health care a more sustainable and rewarding opportunity for people,” Dix told a news conference.

The past three years have added demands to an already overburdened system, Dix acknowledged. The COVID-19 pandemic, toxic drug deaths and aging population contributing to exhaustion and burnout among health workers, he said.

The problem isn’t limited to B.C., with the World Health Organization forecasting a global shortage of 15 million health workers by 2030, he added.

Starting Oct. 14, B.C. pharmacists will be able to administer more vaccines and renew prescriptions for up to a two-year period for people with chronic illnesses whose family doctors have retired or left their practices.

Next spring, pharmacists will begin prescribing drugs for minor ailments like urinary tract infections, allergies and indigestion, as well contraception, meaning patients won’t have to visit a doctor first.

The changes bring B.C. in line with guidelines set out by Health Canada and other provinces.

Jamie Wigston, a practising pharmacist and president of the BC Pharmacy Association, said the shift won’t require new training for pharmacists, whose skills have been underused.

“We’ve been trained to do much more than what we’ve been able to do for a long time,” Wigston said.

Empowering pharmacists to renew prescriptions is especially important for patients with mental health and substance use disorders, who need access to medications in a timely manner, he said.

The announcement will also help patients in rural areas who may have community pharmacies, but where a medical clinic or prescriber may be hours away, he added.

The government said renewing prescriptions for patients without family doctors would be at the discretion of the pharmacist. If uncomfortable, the pharmacist could consult with a doctor by phone or send the patient for a medical assessment.

The move comes amid an ongoing crisis in health care that has seen emergency department closures due to staffing shortages and long wait times to see specialists.

About one in five residents don’t have a family doctor.

The plan will also see paramedic training expanded to include pain management and enhanced airway management techniques. Firefighters and other first responders will be equipped to take blood pressure, use medication for life-threatening allergic reactions and prepare patients for transport by ambulance.

The plan does not cover pay for health workers, but Dix said the province is in ongoing talks with Doctors of BC, representing 14,000 physicians in B.C., to create a new compensation model for family practice doctors. Pay and benefits for workers like paramedics would generally be dealt with during bargaining, he added.

Another action item in the plan includes 128 new seats to the University of B.C.’s faculty of medicine and $1.5 million to help establish a previously announced new medical school at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.

Redesigning the system will include establishing clear workload standards, using technology more efficiently and adopting team-based models of care, the government said during a technical briefing.

It said it’s also working to lower “artificial barriers” to verify international qualifications for nurses, doctors and other health workers, reducing what is typically an 18-month to two-year process.

Expanding employer-based training will also allow health workers to earn and learn at the same time, officials say.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

 

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

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Java Burn Reviews – Effective Ingredients for Weight Loss or Bogus Claims – Maple Ridge News

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More consumers started consuming Java Burn, and the number is increasing every day. More consumers are pouring product-friendly reviews furnishing relevant information about Java Burn, its ingredients, recommended dosage, price list, complaints, and crucial F&A. Java Burn is a weight loss beverage consisting of green tea extract (300mg), green coffee bean extract (200mg), L-theanine (100mg), vitamin B-12(5mcg), chromium (20mcg), vitamin B6 (1mg) and vitamin D3(20mcg) totaling a 700mg dose. Innovator of this unique formula, John Barban, deems these components will stimulate a state of metabolism called nutritional synergy. This fat-burning supplement dissolves with any beverage without altering its taste and flavor. This morning beverage peps you up all through the day.

Enhance memory power

A healthy diet is crucial for overall well-being, and nutritional synergy fortifies the nutritional value of the foods you eat. The University of Illinois, in a study, found an association between specific nutrients and brain functioning in older individuals. Java Burn supports a weight loss regime without vigorous exercise and a restricted diet and enhances your memory power, intelligence, and brain function associated with global-oriented behavior. This nutritional supplement is organic; the flavorless powder stimulates healthy synergy, a form of metabolism when consumed with a balanced proportion of minerals and vitamins.

Instantly soluble

Java Burn is a weight loss supplement that comes in a tasteless powder form. The product is only available on the official website. A pouch of Java Burn costs $49; its organic ingredients instantly dissipate in coffee or other beverages stimulating metabolism. The product’s creator suggests you put one bag of the supplement in coffee, stir it well and sip. The powder is flavorless, so it does not alter the aroma or taste of brimming coffee. When your body’s metabolism rate increases, it burns the stubborn fat cells rapidly, and you shed that extra body weight.

The components of Java Burn are vegetarian and non-GMO, with no side effects, and a third party examines its effectiveness and safety. A pouch contains thirty sachets; drink one daily with an aromatic brimming cup of coffee.

Non-GMO

The critical elements of Java Burn contain green tea and coffee extracts, L-theanine, and chromium. The powder, when intakes in the morning, enhances metabolism speed and efficiency by 500%, and the fat-burning process continues throughout the day. The product reduces the feeling of hunger and optimizes nutrition synergy. All product ingredients are non-GMO, citing they are not genetically modified. Many scientists and environmentalists advocate that GMO products pose serious health threats. Furthermore, the formula does not use fillers, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners/colors, stimulants, or preservatives. Healthy men and women from the age group of twenty-five to sixty-five can enjoy this supplement for weight loss.

Stimulates metabolism

Genetic, junk food habits, and poor lifestyle are significant reasons for obesity; this fat-burning supplement is the easiest way to eliminate the extra pounds. The product naturally stimulates your metabolism process and kicks up fat burning procedures. The product goes well with any type of coffee, regular, espresso, American, and light, medium, or dark roast. The product is manufactured in the US, complying with GMP guidelines. Java Burn effectively burns the stored fat cells, thus supporting the weight loss program. When you consume the supplement mixed with coffee, its effectiveness increases as it is assimilated into the bloodstream. For an optimal result, the product needs to be consumed within two years from the date of manufacture.

2-3 months

When consumed with coffee, Java Burn suppresses hunger, and you need not count your calorie intake. To get the best result out of the product, you need to consume it for two to three months consecutively. It is the last time your body gets acclimatized to the product and starts burning stored fat by increasing metabolism and efficiency. Till now, no side effects have been reported by consumers, and the possibility is almost nil as all ingredients are non –GMO and natural.

Every manufactured sachet undergoes rigorous testing by a third party ensuring quality, effectiveness, and purity. The reviews submitted by thousands of consumers on the official website testify to the efficacy and safety of the supplement. If any health issue arises after consuming the fat-burning supplement, immediately contact a health care professional and stop taking the supplement.

Basal metabolism

The metabolism rate affects the calorie of fat you burn during exercise, sleep or rest. Metabolism, aka metabolic rate, is a biochemical process in living organisms that breaks up nutrients and fat to generate the energy necessary for survival. In simpler terms, the rate at which your body produces energy or burns calories. The human body burns calories in three ways; when the body is at rest (Basal Metabolism) to keep the body running. BMR (basal metabolic rate) is, to a degree, dependent on genetics. Metabolism occurs when you perform daily activities and exercise.

Factors

As metabolism is partly genetic, to change it, you need outside influence; people with higher metabolism feel more vigorous. On the other hand, people with poor metabolism feel lethargic; the body resists the fat burning process and the stored fat cells in the belly and thigh do not shed. As the body burns fewer calories, less energy is produced, and the person feels sluggish. Java Burn, coupled with coffee, claims it increases the user’s metabolic rate. Consequently, the mulish stored fat starts to disintegrate. If you achieve a higher metabolic rate, the body will burn more calories at rest and daily errands. Lean people are more active than obese ones as their metabolic rate is higher in the no exercise period than the latter.

Money Back Guarantee

The product is only available at the official portal. It is applicable for any number of orders. One pouch containing thirty sachets costs $49. If you order three pouches, the cost is $34 for each unit, and you get a supply for three months. Six pouches cost $29 per pouch plus the shipping charge. A sixty-day money-back guarantee comes with the supplement, so you can return it if not satisfied within the stipulated time. Due to its ongoing popularity, many counterfeit products torment the market, so purchase them online from the official website.

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Bad flu season predicted for B.C. – Kamloops This Week

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After two years of record-low influenza rates, experts are warning the flu will likely be back in full swing this season.

That’s because of a general lifting of pandemic health measures, such as required masking, gathering size limits and travel restrictions, according to pharmacist Kim Myers.

“It definitely increases the spread of germs and colds,” said Myers, who works in the Greater Victoria area.

Health Canada estimates that in a non-pandemic year, about 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized with the flu or flu-like symptoms. Getting an exact number is difficult as only nine of the country’s provinces and territories report hospitalizations to the national flu surveillance system, FluWatch.

Flu hospitalizations dropped during pandemic

of those which do report — Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan — 5,176 influenza-related hospitalizations were reported during the 2017-2018 season and 3,657 were reported in 2018-2019.

During the 2019-2020 season, half of which occurred within the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 2,493 hospitalizations. That number dropped to zero in 2020-2021, again not including Ontario, Quebec, B.C. or Nunavut.

Myers said it’s hard to tell whether this year’s flu season will be as bad as pre-pandemic years, but that it will almost certainly be worse than the last year or two. She said the awareness the pandemic has raised around the importance of vaccines makes her hopeful more people will get the flu shot this year. Already, Myers said, people coming into her pharmacy are asking when shots will be available.

Possible correlation between COVID-19 and influenza vaccine uptake

B.C. did see a small spike in flu vaccine uptake in the first year of the pandemic. In 2018, 34.6 per cent of people got the shot, followed by 37.2 per cent in 2019 and 42.1 per cent in 2020, according to Statistics Canada. 2021 rates are not yet available.

A 2021 research paper published in medical journal Vaccine found the primary indicator of whether Canadians will get a vaccination is whether they have been vaccinated before, suggesting those who got the COVID vaccine may be more likely to get the influenza one.

More than 87 per cent of British Columbians have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine as of Sept. 26.

Beginning in early October, B.C. residents will have the option of receiving COVID vaccine boosters and flu shots at the same time. The province said it will have the capacity to vaccinate about 250,000 people per week that way.

Who is most impacted?

For the majority of people, the flu means up to a week of sickness, but for young children, elderly people and the immunocompromised the virus can make it significantly harder for them to fight off infections.

Health Canada said 3,500 deaths are influenza-related each year, although that number is based off a mathematical estimate, rather than actual yearly data.

Myers said the best thing people can do to stop the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable to it is to follow many of the same precautions put in place for COVID-19: get vaccinated, wash your hands, wear a mask, stay home if you’re sick and minimize your number of crowded public outings.

“It’s not just for themselves, it’s trying to do it for those around them who are vulnerable and for those who aren’t able to receive vaccines. It’s important that we try and do that to help protect them,” Myers said.

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