Darrell Cole – Amherst News
Bill Schurman, Amherst’s recreation director, and community health boards co-ordinator Colleen Dowe look on as members of Amherst town council – including councilors Terry Rhindress, George Baker, Lisa Emery, Frank Balcom and Robert Bird and former councilor Dave March - fill out the community health survey for Cumberland-Colchester-East Hants.
The community health boards in northern Nova Scotia, including Cumberland County’s three boards, are in the midst of a community health survey and they are asking the public to participate in a 15-minute online survey.
“The community health boards are mandated to write a community health plan and most are in effect for three years,” Cumberland County community health boards co-ordinator Colleen Dowe said. “In Cumberland-Colchester-East Hants, our plans expired last November but because of all the changes and reorganization going on within the health authorities it was decided to postpone these plans until the fall of 2016.”
To prepare the plan, the health boards need community input which is where the survey comes in.
“The community health boards are the eyes, ears and voice of the community and the surveys are one way we can be sure we’re hearing the voice,” Dowe said. “We are collecting surveys until the end of March and we hope to encourage as many people as possible to participate.”
The survey asks questions on how people access health services, healthy living and mental wellness, healthy eating, oral health and community health priorities as well as some demographical questions.
Dowe said the survey helps the community health boards determine the community’s priorities and helps identify what potential barriers there are to healthier lifestyles.
Previous community health plans have helped identify access to more smoke-free spaces and increase access to healthy eating and physical activity among young people.
Dowe said the Numbers to Know program was also identified through the surveys in that Cumberland County doesn’t not have a good response to screening for health issues.
“One of the big issues we’ve noticed is that while young people and seniors have a better number when it comes to screening, the numbers are not so good with those who are working age,” she said. “Because of that, we have started taking the Numbers to Know sessions out to the workplace, places like Oxford Frozen Foods and the salt plant.”
Dowe said wellness grants are also tied to the community health plan.
To access the survey, go to http://www.cha.nshealth.ca/pdf_files/2015/community_health_survey.pdf