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Joint study will assess Western regionís health needs

By Sharon Gray | Oct. 16, 2007

Residents of Western Newfoundland are invited to share their opinions on the region’s healthcare system.

On Oct. 16, Western Health and Memorial University’s School of Nursing launched the Community Health Needs and Resources Assessment, which will look at health benefits and practices, satisfaction with existing health and community services, and community issues and concerns.

A household survey is one key component of the assessment. Households have been identified through a random telephone listing. A research assistant will contact residents in Western Newfoundland and ask them to participate in the survey. Participants will receive a copy of the survey, which they will complete and return in a stamped return envelope.

“The household survey will give us the information we need to continue improving services in the Western region,” said Susan Gillam, CEO of Western Health. “We recognize that people are our best source of information. The things we learn though studies like this one are invaluable because they come from our own communities.”

Dr. Sandra MacDonald, associate professor at the School of Nursing, is part of the team working with Western Health to complete the assessment.

“This is an opportunity for residents of Western Newfoundland to share their opinions,” she said during the official launch at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. “Similar projects carried out within Eastern Health and the Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority have been very informative.”

The Community Health Needs and Resources Assessment will be completed in three phases. The first phase will involve a survey of 700 to 800 households. The second phase will involve telephone interviews with people who are key members of their communities. The final stage will include community-based focus groups. Survey findings will be released in 2008.