Mayor Andy Adams discusses his support for a Campbell River home away from home
Mayor Andy Adams has a unique perspective when it comes to looking at the health care needs in the North Island. As well as being mayor, he is currently serving his second four-year term, and before that, served as a councillor for nine years. Mayor Adams also has a decades-long career in health care under his belt.
After working for Island Health in Victoria where he was the supply manager for the city’s four hospital sites, Mayor Adams accepted the position of Director for Materiels Management at the Campbell River and District Regional Hospital, which expanded to serve all health care facilities north and west of Campbell River.
Having worked in both health care and in politics, Mayor Adams sees the real need for the development of a home away from home in Campbell River.
“While Victoria is a trauma centre for all of the Island, Campbell River is the trauma centre specifically for the North Island,” says Mayor Adams. “There are a multitude of small communities and First Nations communities where we’re their closest stop for urgent health care.”
A place that provides financial, physical, and emotional support
Unlike Jeneece Place in Victoria, Campbell River needs a home away from home for all, not just families travelling here to address the urgent health care needs of their kids and youth, simply because of how far so many need to travel to get that urgent medical care.
“We are in desperate need of accommodation for all people who are coming down from Gold River or Alert Bay, for example,” says Mayor Adams. “In the winter months more hotels and motels are available, but that can be cost-prohibitive for some.”
A home away from home would alleviate logistical and financial stress for individuals travelling to Campbell River for urgent health care. He adds that there is also that social support offered in a safe space like this.
“When you look at Jeneece Place in Victoria, you see people staying there who have never met each other before, but within hours, they’re bonding. They connect because of their shared experience,” says Mayor Adams. “I really can’t say enough about the value that brings.”
Elevating care in Campbell River
Mayor Adams also knows that a home away from home would improve how the hospital itself functions, increasing efficiency and turnaround from an acute care perspective.
“Doctors will come and do their rounds early in the morning. They might assess a post-op patient and deem that they’re okay for discharge. But if that patient’s ride isn’t arriving from up north until 5 pm or later because the person picking them up has to stay at work, that’s tying up an acute-care bed for an entire day,” explains Mayor Adams.
“Having a place where people who’ve been discharged can sleep, watch a movie, have a snack, and wait for their ride will really help alleviate what we’re currently experiencing in the brand new hospital, where occupancy is at 120%.”
Community support for the Campbell River project to build Qwalayu House
Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island is working to raise $7 million to build, equip, and operate the future home away from home in Campbell River, Qwalayu House. Mayor Adams is confident that the community of Campbell River will rally behind this home away from home project. He’s seen the community come together for much-needed causes before. He worked to help secure land for the Campbell River Hospice Society, and within six months, the funds were raised to build the facility. And the Rotary Club of Campbell River, a club that the mayor belongs to, sponsored one of the rooms in Victoria’s Jeneece Place.
Mayor Adams has big dreams for the Campbell River home away from home and how it could complement the Campbell River and District Regional Hospital, the Campbell River Hospice Society, and the Yucalta Lodge, all of which are in close proximity to its future location. And he is confident in how the project would benefit many.
“We’ve seen this home away from home model be successful…and I think that model here would really serve the entire North Island and central coast extremely well,” says Mayor Adams.
“Whatever we can do to make this a reality, I’ll be available to help make it work.”