A little bit of input from a whole lot of people – the more, the merrier – should help improve health care services in Woolwich and Wellesley, say those behind a new survey of township residents.
The Woolwich Community Health Centre and Wellesley Township Community Health Centre are conducting a community needs and capacity assessment this winter. To that end, a questionnaire will be mailed to each household within the WCHC catchment area.
The assessment is carried out every five years to ensure that the health centre and its satellite sites are providing appropriate programs and services to meet the changing needs of the community.
“We want to enhance our awareness and our knowledge about the health of our community, so we can plan the best way to allocate resources between our programs and services,” explained WCHC program coordinator Lynda Kohler.
The questionnaire covers a broad range of different topics, not simply about an individual’s current health concerns, but a more extensive look at the factors in one’s life that contribute to both health and possible disease.
“Community health centres have a focus on health promotion and illness prevention,” said Kohler. “We have a broader focus than primary health care, so while we do look at the health status of our community, we also want to ask the questions, ‘What are the factors that affect people’s health in our area?’ and ‘What are the factors that affect people’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle?’”
Two copies of the survey are being mailed to each household, which organizers hope will encourage a second member of each household to also fill one out. Included is a postage-paid envelope for returned surveys or alternatively, the survey will also be available on the organization’s website, www.wchc.on.ca.
In the past, the WCHC has received responses from approximately 20 per cent of the population. Especially noteworthy in the last survey, she said, was the number of responses from men (40 per cent), as previous community input had come predominantly from women.
“Often it is the female head of household who completes the survey, so we were happily surprised last time to find that couples had filled it out, or had even passed it on to their kids. We had one respondent who was 12 and another who was 90. That kind of diversity is ideal for us to get an accurate picture of the community.”
The survey is due back to the WCHC by Mar. 19, at which point staff will begin crunching the numbers. The results will be made public in the summer.