Vancouver Coastal Health expands women's services in Downtown Eastside

Oct 13 2016, 6:49 pm

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has announced that women’s health services will be expanded on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“The Downtown Eastside is home to some of British Columbia’s most vulnerable women,” said Health Minister Terry Lake in a release.

“By expanding access to services for women in this community, we can help reduce barriers to wellness and increase access to supports that will help improve their health.”

Women’s only safe injection site

VCH plans to implement several new services over the coming year and this expansion will include women’s only supervised injection services.

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“Although Insite provides injection services for both men and women – and 27% of the clients of Insite are women – some vulnerable women feel safer and more supported when they are able to access services in women-only settings,” said Bonnie Wilson, director of VCH. “Our goal is to create a safe and supported environment  around substance use and harm reduction education.”

The location for the injection site is yet to be determined.

Pop-up women’s health shop

A Women’s Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT) will also be established. The team will be made up of multidisciplinary outreach workers, such as nurses, clinicians, a team leader, and a peer support worker.

The Women’s Intensive Case Management Team will be able to reach out to the community with the mobile health services van. This van will act as a “pop-up health shop” and will allow health teams to provide services in different areas of the Downton Eastside. The mobile health services van will be operational in the spring of 2017.

“We know that women, especially women who have experienced trauma or are vulnerable due to problematic substance use and or mental health issues have some unique challenges accessing appropriate health services in the Downtown Eastside, and we want to change that,” said Laura Case of VCH.

These additional services for women were made possible by VCH and generous donations from Vancouver General Hospital and the UBC Hospital Foundation.